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Erin Burnett Outfront

Russia's Belgorod Region Hit With New Explosive Device Tonight; Trump Criminal Trial Set For March 2024 During GOP Primary Season; Surgeon General Warns Of "Profound Risk" To Kids On Social Media; DeSantis To Announce 2024 Run Tomorrow On Twitter With Elon Musk. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 23, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, anti-Putin Russian fighter speaking exclusively to CNN, as blowback within the country over Russia's invasion appears to be growing. CNN learning new details about Ukraine's counteroffensive tonight as well.

Plus, nearly every single team in America is glued to social media. And, by the way, it goes younger than teens. And the surgeon general has a serious warning tonight. The research shows this, it's not safe. So what is he going to do to keep his own kids away? Dr. Vivek Murthy is OUTFRONT.

And it's a story that you'll see first OUTFRONT: Can A.I. read your mind? Our Donie O'Sullivan wanted to find out. Researchers had a field day with his brain. You'll see it all for yourself.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Russians versus Russians. A new and violent challenge to Putin's Russia tonight, a group of Russians now fighting on behalf of Ukraine are claiming that they have liberated several Russian villages along the border with Ukraine.

The anti-Kremlin group posting videos of the men driving through Russian checkpoints at the way that the show this, there are no Russian guards that appear in any of the videos, so there guard-less checkpoints. Some of the vehicles these men are actually American made tactical vehicles. And we're trying to understand more about this.

Our Matthew Chance actually spoke to one of these anti-Russian Putin fighters, who wanted to remain anonymous and asked him why he has turned on Putin now?


ANTI-RUSSIAN FIGHTER (through translator): Our task is to heavily damage the oppressive part of the Russian system.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Now, we're going to have more on what that fighter told Matthew in just a moment, but these incursions on Russian territory also now have the governor of Belgorod, which is the region that has seen this latest attack pointing the finger at Putin's defense ministry. Here he is.


VYACHESLAV GLADKOV, BELGOROD REGIONAL GOVERNOR (through translator): Why is our border so porous? I have even more questions than you for the ministry of defense.


BURNETT: Pretty amazing, right? The governor of the region slamming the ministry of defense in this way, right? You heard Prigozhin doing that.

This is a Russian governor of the border region of Ukraine. The defense minister is by Ukraine for this incursion. Now, a top Ukraine official tells our Fred Pleitgen that his country had no part in the attack by Russians on Belgorod.


OLEKSIY DANILOV, UKRAINIAN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER (through translator): There is a part of Russians who are on the side of life, and went to deal with the darkness that exist in Russia now.


BURNETT: Now, these groups and who is in them, it's complicated, but in response to these attacks, Putin is going to extraordinary lengths to unite his country to justify the invasion that has led to 200,000 Russian casualties.

Here, Putin is today. So, he met with the chairman of what is called the Russian constitutional court. And this man pulls out a map for the 17th century to show Putin and to make a very specific point about Ukraine.

Just listen to it for yourself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We found a copy of a map from the 17th century, created during the time of Louis XIV. In the middle of the 17th, in the second half of the 17th century, created by the French themselves, why did I bring it? Vladimir Vladimirovich, it has no Ukraine.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Of course, Soviet rule created Soviet Ukraine. It's a well-known fact. No Ukraine existed in the history of humankind until then.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Wow, you go back to the time of Louis XIV, of course, gosh, you can go further and see that Kyiv was the founder of Moscow. You get the point. That's the absurdity that Putin was -- wanted today.

Fred Pleitgen and Matthew Chance are both standing by with new reporting on OUTFRONT.

I want to begin, first, though, with you in Kyiv, Fred, because you're hearing about a new explosion in Belgorod tonight?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Erin. While Vladimir Putin seems to indicate that there seems to be Ukraine, certainly, right now, the Russians feel the heat, at least appears, from Ukraine. In fact, right now, just a couple of minutes ago, the governor of the billboard region, you are talking about, who's criticizing the Russian military, he said that there had been another possible strike by a drone in the Belgorod region, and that mission was on a roadway and damaged a car there.

Of course, that's something that we've seen several times over the past couple of days, also in light of the incursions that have been happening. Despite the fact that as Matthew has been reporting, and we've been reporting, those are Russians who are going into Ukrainian territory.


So, it's Russians against Russians. The Russian government in the form of Dmytro Peskov, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, is trying to pin this on the Ukrainians. He says, today, that he believes this all shows that Russia is under attack from Ukraine, and that, therefore, Russia's war against Ukraine is justified.

Now, I also asked the national security adviser of the current weather Ukrainians are afraid that there could be massive retaliation from the Russians after this, perhaps another massive missile strike. He said, look, the Russians are already shaking us every day. They've hit us more than 1,400 missiles already. What else is going to come?

At the same time, of course, Erin, the Ukrainians are also preparing for that big counter offensive. I asked him or that stance. Here is what he had to say.


DANILOV (through translator): We are clearly aware of when, where, how and what should start. The final decision is up to the president and the security staff. When the decision is made, Russia will definitely feel it.


PLEITGEN: Of course, one of the things that we decided to talk about, Erin, this is very important in that context, is the situation in Bakhmut, where the Russians said they have to get the entire city. The national security adviser also called me that that is not true, that Ukraine still has troops in the city, who have also said that the fact that Ukrainians are still holding out in Bakhmut and trying to strike back is also a key factor in the Ukrainians being able to pair for that counteroffensive. That could happen at anytime, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Fred in Kyiv. So now, who are these fighters picking on Russia on Russian soil?

Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a bald cross border rate, exposing the weakness of Russian defenses.

And highlighting the increasingly brazen armed groups who say they're Russians fighting against the Kremlin.

Moscow dismisses them as Ukrainian saboteurs, who have not been defeated, a barrage of ferocious Russian strikes carried out on its own soil. Defense officials say, at least, 70 at the fighters, some in U.S. made Humvee armored vehicles have not been killed.

But for the Kremlin, attacks inside Russia, like a series of damaging train derailments over the past year, or attacks on crucial fuel storage facilities, have become an embarrassing feature of its war.

Even the Kremlin itself was targeted with drone strikes, which Russia blamed on Ukraine. But Russian groups, who say that they're fighting against the Kremlin, are increasingly emerging from the shadows.

CNN made contact with a fighter said to be front that National Republican Army, and anti-Putin group operating inside Russia. His voice and features have been disguised.

ANTI-RUSSIAN FIGHTER (through translator): A fire at the military facility, the death that the agent at the regime, or a day of activity on the railway that surprised the Russian army. For us, these are all successful missions.

CHANCE: Of course, not every attack on Russia's carried out by a member of an organized group. Some Russians are simply furious that the direction the country is going, taking matters into their own hands.

But some of the more shocking, carefully organized attacks have used explosives to kill pro-Kremlin figures, like Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, in April, in a St. Petersburg cafe.

Russian prosecutors say that the suspected bomber acted at the behest of Ukraine, a claim to country denies. But partisan say that they want the Kremlin to feel fear like this, too.

ANTI-RUSSIAN FIGHTER (through translator): Our task is to heavily damage the repressive part of the Russian system. We want to weaken the power that suppresses the people. The main factor in this is fear. This Russian regime fears war against it.

CHANCE: Especially a war increasingly being fought at home.


CHANCE (on camera): Well, Erin, tonight, the incursion by anti-Kremlin fighters into Russia appears to be over. There are some conflicting reports about how many casualties were actually caused. Still, the anti-Kremlin fighters say that their mission was to show ordinary Russians that it is possible to stand up, to resist and to fight the Putin regime, a mission they say was a success.

BURNETT: Matthew Chance, thank you very much.

I want to go now to Michael Bociurkiw, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

And Seth Jones, director of the international program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He also served as adviser to the commanding general of U.S. Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan.

He has just returned from seeing Ukrainian troops training and speaking with a number of officials, Ukrainian officials, as well in Europe.

So, Seth, let me start with you, this report Matthew is reporting, speaking to these Russian fighters to some of them. They're staging attacks inside Russia. They're supporting Ukraine. They say their goal is the complete liberation of Russia.

Let's be honest here, the truth is that we don't know a lot about these groups. Some of the fighters may be quite extreme. We are not -- we just simply don't know a lot about them at this point. We also don't know if Ukraine is working with them directly.

But what are you learning from Ukrainian officials, Seth?

SETH JONES, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, Erin, I am learning a couple of things from Ukrainian officials. One is that what they're trying not to do is to conduct a tax targeting Russian civilians. They saw the mistakes that the Chechens made with the Beslan attack against the school, with the subway attacks in Moscow, so they're trying to stay away from those kinds of activities.

The primary focus is that there is a little bit of sabotage going on, as we've seen tonight, but most of the activity we're seeing is targeting weapons depots, rail heads, fuel depots, that really are going to impact Russia's ability to fight a war. That's where most the Ukrainian attacks and sabotage operations are directed.

BURNETT: Michael, you know, the significance of what is happening in Belgorod, that these attacks are happening Belgorod, is obviously important. When you think about the beginning of the war, Fred Pleitgen was standing there when there was a roll of tanks coming in from Belarus, they came from Belgorod, right?

Belgorod has been the heart of the Russian invasion, and now, you're seeing attacks there.

MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Yeah, as you correctly pointed out, we're still putting the pieces together, but if this is something legitimate, the resistance movement, and it doesn't happen in different places in Russia, this could represent a tipping point for Mr. Putin. Secondly, this could very well be part of the Ukrainian strategy of the kind of shock-and-awe counteroffensive but in a subtle way.

It would be brilliant on the part of Ukraine's that they did have something to do with this, because it's a distraction for the Kremlin, but it's also happening in a time when Russian resistance is very stretched.

BURNETT: Right, along, right? You got 600 miles here on the front line, at least, Seth, when you talk about thinly stretched. You saw that Ukrainian troops training. I know you just returned from Europe and seeing some of that. What did you learn?

JONES: Well, Erin, I learned a couple of things. One is that the primary focus of the Ukrainians right now is to move from this war of attrition, static artillery barrages to one of maneuver or mobility. And that means trying to punch through Russian lines, identify weak spots on Russian lines, using satellite imagery or intelligence and a range of other ways and then to provide the logistics.

This is the problem the Russians had when they tried to take Kyiv, to make sure Ukrainians have logistics that they're able to get up to frontline forces that punched through Russian lines, spare parts munitions, fuel, that's a critical part. So speed and mobility are key parts of this counteroffensive campaign right now.

BURNETT: And they're obviously prepared to do it. So, let me ask you, Michael, Putin is in the same time cracking down on soldiers deserting. Now, this is been true, right? We understand that you get shot if you turn around. So, it's not new in that sense, but the lower house in parliament in Moscow approved amendments that would allow them to seize the passports of Russian conscripts. So, soldiers that are called in for conscription, they take their passports away.

What does it say to you that this is happening at this point?

BOCIURKIW: Clearly, a sign of desperation on behalf of Putin's inner circle. Mr. Putin has alluded to this phraseology before, when backed into a corner. He's bounce back, and I think this also falls into the Russian playbook of using these individuals as meat grinder and cannon fodder to fight Ukraine.

But I think the Russians are now showing that they're not as well prepared as we thought. There was a bit of a surprise with all these missiles and drones will come into places like Kyiv or it does where I am currently living. We would have thought they would have been out of this -- BURNETT: Right, in the south of Ukraine?

BOCIURKIW: Yeah, exactly, by -- out of this by now. But the Ukrainians are playing a very careful game with this. They're -- again, I've spoken to Mr. Reznikov, the defense minister. He has left me with a strong impression that this will not be a shock and awe type of counteroffensive, that things are going to happen in various set of bits and pieces.

BURNETT: Well, that can be psychologically so crucial as well. Seth, one thing I wanted to ask you as we were -- we're introducing the show. You know, you had that man from the constitutional, whatever, not remembering the exact name, you know, present the map to Putin today, of, right, look, I found this map from Louis XIV, and guess what? Ukraine is not on it.

What does it say to you that this is kind of the stuff that's being put out by Putin right now?


JONES: Well, Erin, I had several senior European leaders that are border states of Russia say very explicitly that they do not expect in, any way, shape, or form, Russians to let up now or in the foreseeable future. They consider Ukraine part of Russian territory and they are not going to stop. So, I think what this tells me, very specifically, is built from an information operations or disinformation operations perspective and I think many believe this, certainly, Putin --


JONES: -- that Ukraine is part of Russian territory. They think of this as the imperial Russian state perspective. And I would just say, as people try to think about whether this will end by a peace settlement, I don't think that is the way the Russians look at this.

BURNETT: Yeah, no, and I remember that treatise that was handed out all the troops in the summer of 2021 by Putin, this screed that include why Ukraine is part of Russia, I guess it harkens right back to that.

Thank you both so very much.

And next, Trump faces the judge in the Stormy Daniels hush money criminal case, as the -- trial is now set for, well, right in the middle of election year, right in 2024. Former Trump White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, will be back out front.

Plus, the average teen spends about three and a half hours a day on social media. Now, a new report by the nation's surgeon general warns that these sites and apps are truly bad for our kids. So, how is surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, who's also a father, protecting his own children? He is my guest.

And Ron DeSantis teaming up with Elon Musk to announce he's running for president. But will Musk help him with Republican voters or anyone? We're going to go behind the numbers with Harry Enten.



BURNETT: New tonight, Donald Trump's criminal trial related to the Stormy Daniels hush money payment is now scheduled for the middle of the 2024 election. A judge setting March 25th, 2024 as the start of Trump's trial on charges of falsifying business records. A judge making the announcement during a brief court hearing, which Trump attended via video.

Now, Trump could be seen speaking and showing to his attorney, though he is muted for most of the hearing, only saying, quote, yes, I do, when asked if he understood the judge's instruction of what he can and cannot publicly say about the case.

Kara Scannell is OUTFRONT. She's at the court house.

Kara, so here we are with a child and a child day, by the way, of March 25th is oftentimes -- you got a nominee Biden for all intensive purposes, unclear on how this will go this time. But the point is, this is in the heart of the primary season. Could this trial they mean Trump think a sideline of campaigning in any way?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, Erin, this trial date of March 25th, right? So, Trump will be here in the court house behind me from March 25th to however long that child takes. He will not be crisscrossing the country doing in-person rallies are fundraising events, so she will be here, you know, facing criminal charges, a real historic first of having a leading presidential candidate on trial.

And the judge making clear that once he sets the trial date, he said to everyone in the courtroom, the attorneys for both sides and the former president, that they cannot accept any commitments, personal or professional that will stop them from attending the trial. So, being very firm on that. I mean, this was a quick hearing, just 15 minutes. As you noted, Trump appeared by video, next to us attorney. He acknowledged that he had received this protective order, which bans the former president from posting on social media and it materials he receives from the prosecutors that could include what's statements, grand jury testimony.

They don't want that getting into the public demand because what prosecutors said were Trump's inflammatory statements on social media that he made against the judge and the case and the district attorney Alvin Bragg.

Now, the judge also explain the consequences if he violates the court orders, saying that there could be sanctions, everything going all the way up to contempt, which could involve some punishment. You know, this was not a very brief hearing, and the judge also expanding to the former president that he wanted to make clear that this was not a gag order. He said, you know, other than the protective order and the judges view narrowly tailored, he said that there's nothing in the case that will stop Trump from campaigning and nothing would stop him from publicly defending himself as he is making another run for the White House -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kara, thank you very much. I want to go as promised to the former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb.

So, Ty, here we are. We got a day, in a few days since we last spoke. March of 2024, March 25, 2024, to be exact, right in the middle of the election as I said, post Super Tuesday.

Is it possible, Ty, that there could be a verdict, when you look at that day for a trial starting, there would be a verdict in the Stormy Daniels case before the election?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Yes, if it indeed starts at that time, there will undoubtedly be a verdict prior to the election. In fact, the only thing that will slow the trial down is the fact that they went with 34 charges as opposed to six or eight, which were available to them. So, I mean, the government will take a little longer to prove its case because of the number of charges, but it will definitely be over by the time of the election.

BURNETT: All right. So, let's put a pin of that for a second. You have that done by the election. Now, let's talk about the other --

COBB: If it starts then.

BURNETT: OK, if it starts, then starts on March 25th. Let's talk about the other situation. You told me that the DOJ, now special counsel, last week said an indictment was imminent for Trump and the special counsel Mar-a-Lago classified documents case. Obviously, we talk about obstruction.

Since we talked, CNN has learned that Jack Smith subpoenaed the Trump Org for information regarding business deals in foreign countries. One of the sources suggested to put it into English, that the focus is on whether Trump may have shared classified information in exchange for business deals. You had already thought, and they have been very clear that they had the goods for an obstruction case here.

What do you read into these subpoenas?

COBB: So, I think the most important issue in interpreting the subpoenas is one where they issued? Are they really recent, or were they issued early on when there was a lot of chatter about Trump and nuclear codes, and Trump and, you know, foreign leaders? If they're dated, it doesn't really, you know, affect my opinion at all. If they are reasons, I think that could delay the case, because I think that they would want to put in the evidence that they have with regard to any improper dissemination or misuse of these documents, in order to high in the significance of the abuses that were happening with regards to production of those documents and demands from the Justice Department.

BURNETT: All right. So, at the very least, what we're seeing here is that the special counsel is looking at a few things, okay? So, maybe, he's got the obstruction case locked up but deciding whether to put something along with it or not, so we don't know the timing, but you've been very clear, Ty, you said Trump will go to jail. You said he will go to jail after being indicted in the classified documents case.

What happens though if this trial does not wrap up before the general election, Trump wins, does he just pardon himself, and it all goes away?

COBB: Those are all oddly -- those are possibilities, it sounded a little bit like Putin's description of the fact that Ukraine does not exist as it comes out, but it's real. The sad thing is, nobody knows. This is so unprecedented. The issue of whether Trump has the authority under article two to pardon himself is a matter of academic debate. There are good lawyers on both sides that.

I tend to believe he does not, but I could be wrong. The timing is, if there has already been a verdict in the federal case, that will be, that you would assume that could be consequential during the election. But if the case is still ongoing, once he is -- if he is elected, he does not at the power to pardon himself until he's actually inaugurated.

So, you know, if there's a verdict say before the election in November, the same thing could occur in advance of him taking office.

BURNETT: In a sense, he has to go to jail --

COBB: That could raise the particle stakes.


COBB: Right, and he would have to report to jail. So he would be sentencing him self extensively under the circumstances from jail and avoid jail on that day.

BURNETT: That's absolutely incredible, as you say, except for a reality that we could be looking at.

All right. Ty, thank you.

COBB: Thank you. Always good to be with you. Take care.

BURNETT: You, too.

And next, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, those are just a few at the effects that young people are now suffering from because they're using social media, and they're using it, we understand now, for an average of three and a half hours a day. It's part of a new report by the Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Dr. Murphy is OUTFRONT next.

Plus, it's a scary thought. Can artificial intelligence read our minds? Well, our Donie O'Sullivan took the risk and had his brain scanned to find out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Donie, we have a picture of your brain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yet, it looks good.




BURNETT: Tonight, a profound risk of harm. Those are the words of the U.S. surgeon general in an unprecedented warning about kids and social media. Nearly every teenager in America uses social media. Many of them, spending an average of three and a half hours every single day on social media apps and sites.

But Dr. Vivek Murthy, surgeon general, says in his new report, there is no guarantee that social media is safe for kids, of any age. And in fact, nearly all of the research points to negative impacts. Things like depression, anxiety, worse sleep, body and image issues, eating disorders, low self-esteem, online bullying, and it just goes on and on.

And this is not even talking about still unknown damage to the actual brain itself. A developing brain.

OUTFRONT now, Dr. Vivek Murthy, he is the U.S. surgeon general.

And, Dr. Murthy, I really appreciate the time. So, in this report here, it's really fascinating, I hope people will go and download it. You paint a frightening picture of the reality of the detrimental effect social media can have on young people. What surprised you the most about what you learned in this?

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, Erin, I am really concerned. You know, I'm concerned as surgeon general. I'm concerned as a doctor and as a father about the potential impact of these platforms on our kids.

The whole reason, Erin, that I embarked on this effort to create this advisory for the American public is because parents all over the country have been asking me about social media. It's the single most, you know, common topic that they ask about and they want to know, is this safe for kids?

So, when we look at the data, what we found are two critical things. One is that there is not enough evidence to say that social media is, in fact, sufficiently safe for our kids, but we also found that there is a growing body of evidence showing that social media use is associated with harms. You mentioned earlier a key finding in our report that on average, teams are spending three and a half hours a day on social media. That's on average.

I mean, it means many kids are spending much longer than that. The key point is that the data also shows when kids are spending more than three hours on average, that they face nearly double the risk, increased risk, of depression and anxiety symptoms. That is really profound. And, you know, they're more concerning facets here, but what we have to understand from all of this is that it is urgent that we take action to protect our kids and to make sure that their experience on social media is safe.

We have done that for other projects that kids use, for medications, four cars.

And we have not asked parents to go inspect the car themselves and make sure it's safe. We have set safety standards and we required manufacturers to implement and abide by those standards. We got to do the same thing here.

BURNETT: Right, so that's a question and you and I have talked about being parents of kids, our kids are around the same age, you know, you talk about 95 percent of teenagers using social media. But I was amazed, 40 percent of 8 to 12 year olds use social media. Frankly, I was shocked by that.

So, when you say we need to do something about this, it has to be collective, it has to be parents agreeing. You know, that this is the whole point of it, right? Because we excluded from the social media the child feels isolated and left out, right? Then you are on it and it causes depression and anxiety, and it's online bullying.

I mean, what are we supposed to do?

MURTHY: Well, let me just say, this is an incredibly difficult situation that we have allowed parents to be put in here. Where we have this technology that previous generations never had to contend with, that fundamentally transforms how our kids see themselves, interact with other people, perceive the world, and it's rapidly evolving. And what we've asked parents to do is to somehow figure out how to manage this with their kids and keep them safe. That, in my mind, is not unreasonable.

That's why while there are steps parents can take, and I will mention what these are, we absolutely need policymakers to step up and establish safety standards and actually enforce them. We need them to ensure that the identity of kids is protected. We need them to also ensure that they're requiring companies to share their data on the health impacts of these platforms, because independent researchers tell us all the time, they've requested the full access to this data, but they're not able to get it from the technology companies.

So, we need policy makers to take action. Tech companies certainly need to design their platforms with health and safety in mind. You know, Erin, many of these platforms are designed to maximize the amount of time people spent on them.

BURNETT: Right, that is the whole point is they're trying to make you addicted to them.

MURTHY: What I care about, though, as surgeon general is primarily this health and safety in my kids on the platforms and all of our kids, and that's why we should be seeking to maximize. But there are steps here that parents can take now. And I want to mention he's because otherwise, you know, parents can feel like just waiting for others to take action. It feels disempowering.

But today, parents can start conversations with their kids about their social media use. So, you understand more about what platforms your kids are using how they're using them. But also how they're making your kids feel.

And kids also need to understand the red flags. What to look out for that you should worry about, that you should report to an adult, bullying, harassment. What worries me, Erin, six out of ten adolescent girls say that they have been contacted by a stranger on social media in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.

But parents can also do one other thing. They can make sure that they are creating tech free zones in their children's lives, where we are protecting them and particularly protecting their sleep, physical activity, and their time in person with others. This could mean saying that dinnertime, when you're with family, is going to be a time that is tech free. It could mean saying that the time before you go to bed, an hour beforehand, and throughout the night, is a time where we don't allow our kids to use social media.

I say all of this knowing that all of these changes can be challenging. It is hard to take these phones and these devices, and social media, away from our kids. But this is why I think it's also important for us, as parents, to help one another, to partner with each other, and do this together because there's strength in numbers here. We've got to be there for each other.

BURNETT: There certainly is. The whole definition of social and the contagion you see across social networks, and all of it.

So, thank you very much for giving voice to it because it certainly connects with me and I can imagine just countless others who are watching. Thank you.

MURTHY: Of course. Thanks so much, Erin.

BURNETT: And there's so much more to discuss on this topic. I mean, it did hours, and hours, and hours, we spent so much time talking about it.

And our Dr. Sanjay Gupta has also covered this extensively as well. In fact, and higher season of his podcast, you can listen to, and you can read more of his thoughts, as well as see those podcasts at

And next, Ron DeSantis about to kick off his run for president on Twitter with Elon Musk. Okay, Harry Enten is going to take us beyond the numbers here on Musk and Twitter after this.

Plus, artificial intelligence is getting better and better. Now can actually read our minds? That is absolutely terrifying. How does it work? Our Donie O'Sullivan had his brain scanned to find out and you will

see it first here OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, Ron DeSantis is teaming up with Elon Musk. CNN has learned that DeSantis will announce he is running for president during a live streamed conversation with Elon Musk on Twitter tomorrow night. Musk today saying, quote, he will be the first time that something like this is happening on social media and with real time questions and answers unscripted.

Now, Musk also said he's not planning to endorse the candidate, but he did tweet in July, quote, if DeSantis runs against Biden in 2024, then DeSantis will easily win. He doesn't even need to campaign.

Harry Enten joins me now.

So, Harry, I mean, there's so much in this in the macro and micro world of what we are seeing, which is, you know, the nuclear detonating in the traditional world of media, okay? But they joining forces with Elon Musk to do this on Twitter and Elon Musk being the --

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Moderator, you might say.

BURNETT: The god, moderator, interviewer, whatever he is, owner, all of it. So, let's just start with DeSantis' choice of this platform. How much does it help DeSantis with Republican voters?

ENTEN: Yeah, I mean look, Elon Musk is a very popular man among Republicans in growing considerably more popular as we go along. Look at this, favorable ratings among Republicans for Elon Musk, look at that. Back in 2017, it was 37 percent. Look where it is now, 60 percent and somehow, the unfavorable view of Musk actually dropped, despite the fact that more people were getting to know who he is.

So, getting that seal of approval from Elon Musk, even if you're not on Twitter, getting that seal of approval is quite the thing because Musk is well-liked in Republican circles.

BURNETT: Okay, and DeSantis certainly a big moment is focused on Republican circles, right? Because his poll numbers had period so rapidly, right? He wants to shore that up. But he also then would be looking at reaching out to, well, Americans overall. The majority of American voters, of whatever political persuasion, MAGA and everybody else, are not on Twitter.

ENTEN: They are not on Twitter. So, was the reason you go on? Number one, if you look at who's on Twitter at this particular point, it's becoming increasingly more Republican.


I think that's one thing to point out. Look at that share that Republicans make up Twitter uses, 33 percent in 2021. It's up to 43 percent now.

More than that, it's about getting us to talk about it, right? Because if you look at who the media follows, you know, essentially on social media, what platforms they use, look at that. Twitter, 69 percent. And for journalists, you see the most or the second most used for work. So, getting on to Twitter gets them to sort of magnify the message.

BURNETT: Well, I guess that's true, right? You can rail against a traditional media and then you can -- the smart game to play.

Okay, but what's ironic about this, in some level, is that the person who used to rule Twitter, at least in terms of amplifying themselves, was Donald Trump. And he is now on Truth Social, although he's allowed back, right? He still is over there. So, what does it say that DeSantis is using the method that Trump used so successfully for his own announcement?

ENTEN: Yeah, we should point out Ron DeSantis has far fewer Twitter followers than Donald Trump does, right? He only has 4 million, compared to the 87 million of Donald Trump. But team up with Elon Musk, who has 141 million Twitter followers, all of a sudden, you get that magnified message out there and maybe this cycle, Ron DeSantis can be the candidate of choice. We will have to wait and find out.

BURNETT: It's really going to be fascinating and, of course, people will be watching.

All right. Harry, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next on "AC360", searchers are combing a new area in the hunt for Madeleine McCann. Of course, you remember, that three-year- old who went missing 16 years ago in Portugal. Where they are looking right now and why they are doing it now, that is tonight at 8:00.

Meantime next, mind reading and A.I. Are you excited or absolutely terrified? Our Donie also even had his brain scanned. Can you imagine that? Having to scan your brain, don't think about anything terrible right now, and he saw whether I can read his thoughts.



BURNETT: Tonight, more fallout from this fake A.I. generated picture of an explosion at the Pentagon. It led to a dip in the stock market yesterday. Russian state television released a statement explaining why it shared the picture with its 3.1 million followers, before then making light of the frenzy that they helped stoke saying, quote, this picture managed to pull several major news outlets full of clever and attractive people, allegedly.

Not sure why peoples attractiveness is relevant, but anyway.

It comes as A.I. researchers are experimenting with reading minds. That is where this is going, people. Mines like our own, Donie O'Sullivan's. And this is a report you will see here first OUTFRONT.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are reading people's minds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we don't like to use the term mind reading.

O'SULLIVAN: These newer scientists at the University of Texas in Austin say they've made a major breakthrough. They figured out how to translate brain activity into words, using artificial intelligence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are different images.

O'SULLIVAN: Earlier this month, they published a paper explaining how they have research volunteers who listen to audio clips while having their brains scanned by an FMRI machine. Overtime, A.I. algorithms, the very same tech that is behind ChatGPT, were able to figure out about the volunteers were listening to, just by watching their brains.

It is just crazy. You can watch how blood flows through the brain and using A.I. and GPT, everything else, translate it into words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it's wild that this works, when you put it that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thumbs up, Donie.

O'SULLIVAN: To test it all out, Professor Alexander Huth and I had our brain scan listening to parts of the Wizard of Oz audiobook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big brain. Like, obnoxious big.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Donie, we have a picture of your brain.

O'SULLIVAN: I have a brain!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it looks good.

O'SULLIVAN: I was scan first, followed by Professor Huth, capturing images of the changes in our brain's blood flow, as we listened to the words from the audio book and showing how our brains interpreted those words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When she had finished her meal and was about to go back to the road of yellow brick, she was startled here a deep grown nearby.

JERRY TANG, PHD STUDENT, UT AUSTIN: You can see that we are getting recordings every two seconds. While he's listening to a story, we will feed this data through our decoder and try to predict the story that he's currently listen to.

O'SULLIVAN: The next morning, the results were in.

Okay, so it's been 24 hours since we got our brain scanned. You can't confirm I have a brain? ALEXANDER HUTH, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UT AUSTIN: Absolutely.

O'SULLIVAN: Brilliant.

HUTH: So, we were able to decode some stuff from my brain, not so much from yours. So, this is one from my brain. This is from the Wizard of Oz. So, on the left side is the actual words that I heard. When she had finished her meal and was about to go back to the road of yellow brick, she was startled to hear a deep grown nearby. And the decode version of this is on the right. I was about to head back to school and I hear this strange voice calling out to me.

So, it gets something's right, it was about to go back, about to head back. It completely misses some things, like the road of yellow rig versus school, then it gets this nice kind of example of, she hears something, and then instead of a deep grown nearby, it's a strange voice calling out to me. It means something related, even if it's not the right words.

O'SULLIVAN: Still pretty incredible to think that was about to head back as something that, just by scanning your brain.

HUTH: Yeah, I think that's one of the things that's really surprising to us about this. It can get things like that, it can get things, like entire phrases of exact words. So, here is this same segment for you.

O'SULLIVAN: Now, so we expected mine not to be great.

HUTH: Because we have not changed the model on you. The whole day, I would be fine, but she wanted me to make it to her place. First, I got a little excited about it.

O'SULLIVAN: The reason it was not able to decode my brain was because the technology currently needs people to sit in the FMRI machine for more than 16 hours, so the A.I. models can train on specific people's brains.

Are we going to live in a world where, you know, I can walk by somebody on the street and they will be able to hold something up to my head, and they will know what I'm thinking?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Currently, we are very far from that. That might also never be possible. We can't completely rule it out, but as far as we know, that certainly will not be possible in the next few decades.

The real potential application of this is actually helping people who are unable to speak without them needing to get neurosurgery. Now we have this, like, snapshot of the brain.

O'SULLIVAN: Jerry Tang explains how they use OpenAI's GPT learned language model to help decode the brain.


The GPT model is made up of millions of pages of text from the Internet that the A.I. trains on and learns how sentences are constructed and how people talk, and think.

TANG: GPT basically made our predictions a lot better.

O'SULLIVAN: But it doesn't just work listening to audio. Professor who's showed us what happened when you watch a movie with no sound, while his brain was scanned. Watch as the technology is able to decode what his eyes are seeing.

HUTH: She then took my hand and held it to her lips. She kissed it, I smiled, and she pulled me in for a hug. I got her back for about hours, I had to stop the bleeding, and gave her my shirt to put over it. Pretty good. I don't know, it's a pretty good description of what was happening there.

O'SULLIVAN: Wow. Should we be scared by the work people like you are doing?

TANG: We think it's really important to continually evaluate the implications of brain decoding and also to start thinking about enacting policies that protect mental privacy and regulate what brain data can be used for.


BURNETT: I notice I'm sitting here with my arms crossed. I suddenly just -- I feel very threatened by this. Okay, in all honesty, it is amazing, but it is terrifying.

O'SULLIVAN: It is and look, as you can see, they're -- very controlled situations, although particular that video, the description of the video that he's watching -- it's so accurate. It could not really figure out my brain.

BURNETT: Which is a very big brain, I must say.

O'SULLIVAN: I think it's a big head. I don't think there's a lot of density in there. But I think, you know, they did say that it has to be trained on a person's brain for many, many hours. But again, on top of all of this, the fact that it's ChatGPT linked to all of this technology is just incredible.

BURNETT: It's impossible to stop, terrifying and incredible all at once. Donie, thank you so very much.

Thanks to all of you for watching that. Thank god people can't read our minds yet.

"AC360" starts now.