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Erin Burnett Outfront

Ukraine Braces For Retaliation After Second Bridge Attack; Manchin In New Hampshire, Not Ruling Out Third-Party White House Bid; Authorities Eyeing Serial Killer Suspect In Other Cases; Georgia Supreme Court Rejects Trump Bid To Shut Down Probe; China's Foreign Minister Vanishes From Public View. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 17, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Ukraine bracing for Putin's promised revenge after a critical bridge is destroyed. This as Ukraine says Russia has more than 100,000 soldiers staged in a key area. We are live near the front lines.

Plus, the Gilgo Beach serial killings. The police commissioner in charge of the case is OUTFRONT as we learn more about evidence taken from the suspect's home, including a doll in a glass case. Does the chief believe there may be additional victims?

And the Chinese foreign minister vanishes. The official, also close adviser of Xi's, hasn't been seen in weeks. The government says they don't have any information on him. So what happened?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening on this Monday. I'm Erica Hill, in tonight for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Ukraine bracing for retaliation. Vladimir Putin vowing revenge following a major drone strike by Ukraine on a strategically vital supply route for the Russian military. Ukraine using naval drones to successfully target the Kersh Bridge.

Now, the map you can see here why this is so important. You can see how that bridge would link mainland Russia with occupied Crimea. It's also the longest bridge in Europe.

Putin quick to speak out.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Another terrorist attack was perpetrated overnight on the bridge. There will be a definite response from Russia. The ministry of defense is preparing relevant proposals.


BURNETT: New satellite images of the bridge show traffic brought to a complete halt. A top Russian official estimates the bridge will not be fully functional until November. Even the smallest interruption to traffic on that Kerch Bridge is going to have a profound impact on Russians when it comes to resupplying.

It's important to note, too, this isn't the first time that the bridge has been hit. A massive explosion severely damaged the Kerch Bridge back in October. In that event, it took four months before it was fully reopened.

The 12-mile bridge isn't just a supply route, though. This is really a point of pride for Putin. For Ukrainians, however, it is a hated symbol of Russian occupation.

Russian state media today egging Putin on, urging devastating strikes on Ukraine's infrastructure.


OLGA SKABEYEVA, RUSSIAN STATE TV HOST (through translator): We started but quickly stopped striking their energy infrastructure. We did not achieve our goals. Residents of the Ukrainian capital and all of Ukraine still have light, gas, and water.


HILL: Alex Marquardt is OUTFRONT in Odesa.

So, Alex, when it comes to this bridge attack, I do want to get to that, but I know there's also some activity behind you. What's happening there?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Erica, we're just about 24 hours out now from that attack by Ukraine on the Kerch Bridge with those sea drones. As you just played in that clip there, Vladimir Putin vowing to retaliate. He said earlier that his military was drawing up plans to give him options. In the past few moments, really the fast few minutes, since I've been standing here, some dramatic scenes and sounds here in the port city of Odesa, which, of course, is one of the most critical and important cities in the country.

The air raid sirens have been going off. We've been hearing some loud thuds in the distance. I just heard another one. It is very hard to tell what that is right now. But there have certainly been several, I would say, around five of them.

And then just moments ago we saw something on fire streaking across the sky. It did look like a drone that had been shot down. All of this needs to be verified. I continued to hear some thuds in the distance. We've also seen spotlights in the sky.

I can see one right now. Those spotlights are often used to try to spot drones as the Ukrainians try to shoot them down. Now, Ukraine has a very complex system of air defenses. But, at the same time, you often have forces on the ground who try to shoot them out of the sky with their guns. And in the past week since I've been in Ukraine, we have seen attacks

not just on Odesa but on Kyiv and other cities. This is almost a nightly affair from Russia trying to send drones at Ukrainian cities, most of them thankfully do tend to be shot down. This comes, of course, after a very important day, this extraordinary strike by Ukraine confirmed in a very rare way by Ukraine that it was carried out by these sea drones or surface drones.

We did just hear from the deputy prime minister of Russia just moments ago saying that traffic has been restored on that Kerch bridge in at least one lane.


That is a four-lane highway there. That same official had said that it could take some three and a half months to get this bridge fully up and running. But Vladimir Putin certainly going to be upset by that attack, both because of what it means for the access to Crimea and because of the symbolism. Again, Vladimir Putin vowing to retaliate, sort of keeping a close eye on what's going to happen here in Odesa and all across the country tonight -- Erica.

HILL: All right. Alex, appreciate it. And we know you'll keep us posted as you and your team work to find out what all that activity is, as you pointed out, behind you. Appreciate it.

Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT tonight with more on the fallout from that bridge strike as Russia backs out of a crucial food agreement. This is now threatening millions. It's about to make the price of food skyrocket.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Russian investigators at the scene on the blast of the Crimean bridge that killed the couple driving this car and wounded their daughter, also causing part of the roadway to collapse.

Russian President Vladimir Putin irate, vowing revenge.

PUTIN (through translator): There will be a response from Russia to the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge. The ministry of defense is preparing relevant proposals.

PLEITGEN: A source in Ukrainian intelligence acknowledges Kyiv was behind the attack.

The Crimean bridge connects Russia to occupied Crimea. Ukraine says cutting the roadway could hamper the logistics for Moscow's war effort in Ukraine.

Analysis of the operational situation and the traditions of warfare allow us to cut off the enemy's logistics routes, the spokesman for the SBU says of. The Crimean bridge is currently one of the transportation corridors for military supplies for the Russian army. It's not the first time the bridge has been hit. In October 2022, a

fuel tanker exploded, severely damaging both the road and railway, and causing a massive fire. A Ukrainian official only recently explicitly indicating Kyiv's involvement.

Russia now also announcing it is canceling a grain deal that had allowed for the safe transport of agricultural goods out of Ukrainian ports. The move could cause havoc on international grain markets, prices already surging.

While the Kremlin says ending the deal is not related to the bridge attack, the E.U. and U.S. blasted the move, accusing Moscow of weaponizing world hunger.

SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: This is a reckless decision that will have profound human consequences. And it is just another example of Russian callousness and disregard for human lives.

PLEITGEN: The Ukrainians say they want to salvage the grain deal but will also continue fighting hard to take all of their territory back, including Crimea, as Ukraine's president recently told our own Erin Burnett.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We cannot imagine Ukraine without Crimea. And while Crimea is under the Russian occupation, it means only one thing, war is not over yet.


PLEITGEN (on camera): That was Volodymyr Zelenskyy there speaking to our own Erin Burnett, Erica. And tonight, Volodymyr Zelenskyy also ripping into the Russians, saying that Moscow is jeopardizing food security for around 400 million people, especially in developing nations. He says that grain exports from Ukraine need to continue. He's calling on the international community to step in, Erica.

HILL: Yeah, so much concern over that.

Fred, appreciate it, thank you.

OUTFRONT now, retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

General, always good to see you.

So when we look at what happened, Ukraine striking this decisive blow to a bridge that is logistically and symbolically significant. How big of a win is this for Ukraine?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I put it in the big win category, Erica. And it's because it is a military target. That's what the spokesman for the Ukrainian army was mentioning.

This is not just a strike against a piece of infrastructure. It is a strike against the capability of Russia to resupply their forces. Now, that's a four-lane bridge on two sides. There's also a railroad bridge off to the side of it that was struck earlier. But it certainly will affect the Russians' ability to resupply their forces in Crimea, and also the linkages between a Russian city Rostov-on-Don, which is a transfer point, and some of the Russian forces that are in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson province, which is just north of Crimea.

So it certainly is a good target, and it is truthfully a very good strike by the Ukrainian forces. It's going to affect Russia.

HILL: It's also -- I know you noted too that strategically you see this as really being tied to the way Ukraine has been conducting its operations on the battlefield. How so?


HERTLING: Yeah. You know, when you take a look at the details, and it's very hard to explain, what Ukraine is attempting to do is somewhat of a modern-day siege. They're attempting to strike as many logistics hubs, railroads, road transport points, arms caches and fuel caches that the Russian army needs to conduct any kind of further operation or even to sustain themselves inside of Ukraine territory.

So, as they're attempting to continue with the offensive to hit some key defensive positions of the Russians and push them out of their security zones, what they're also doing is strangling the Russian forces by hitting all the things that you need for any kind of military operation. They are -- the Russians truthfully, in my belief, are frozen somewhat in place in their defensive position.

HILL: So if they're frozen somewhat, how quickly, though, would you expect some sort of retaliation? We know it's going to happen. Important to note, we don't know exactly where some of what he saw was coming from. That will come out obviously in the coming hours. But would you imagine that Putin would strike so quickly?

HERTLING: He will plan a strike. But, truthfully, Erica, what we've been seeing for the last 18 months is him striking infrastructure targets that wound and kill Ukrainian citizens. Those are the war crimes. Very different than striking a military target.

Will he be able to put together some type of overt strike and claim it's in retaliation? Will he hit cities like Alex Marquardt is nearby, the city of Odesa, which has had no play so far in this conflict or the city of Lviv or several other cities that are mostly places where Ukrainian civilians are harbored? Probably.

You're going to see him continue to strike places where Mr. Putin doesn't believe Ukrainian forces have air defense. As I've said several times when we've talked, you can't put those air defenses everywhere throughout the country. They can't guard everything.

So, Russia will continue to probe to try and strike more civilian targets and cause more criminal activity.

HILL: General Hertling, always appreciate your insight. Thank you.

HERTLING: Thanks, Erica. OUTFRONT next, spoiler alert, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin just

appearing in New Hampshire, teasing he could enter the race as a third-party candidate.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I've never been in any race I've ever spoiled. If I get in a race, I'm going to win.


HILL: Plus, a New York architect, a married father of two on suicide watch tonight after being charged with killing three women. Tonight, new questions about how many more victims could possibly be out there. Suffolk County's police commissioner, he is my guest.

And a startling new discovery about Alzheimer's and where in the U.S. it's most commonly diagnosed.



HILL: Tonight, keeping Biden guessing. Moments ago in New Hampshire, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman wrapping up an event flirting with a unity ticket run for president.

As third-party candidates under the centrist group called No Labels, Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans are especially concerned that a No Labels ticket could hand the White House to Donald Trump.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT in New Hampshire, tonight.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator Joe Manchin openly flirting with a third-party presidential bid tonight in New Hampshire.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We're here to make sure that the American people have an option, and the option is can you move the political parties off their respective sides? They've gone too far right and too far left.

ZELENY: What he calls the unity ticket, many Democrats fear could be a spoiler, by siphoning just enough votes from President Biden to help Donald Trump win back the White House.

MANCHIN: I've never been in any race I've ever spoiled. I've been in races to win. If I get in a race, I'm going to win.

ZELENY: A town hall meeting marked the 2024 debut of No Labels, a bipartisan group trying to offer Americans a third choice, if a rematch emerges between Biden and Trump. At Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Manchin, a West Virginia

Democrat, and Jon Huntsman, a former Republican governor from Utah, made their bipartisan pitch to move the nation beyond its partisan gridlock.

JON HUNTSMAN (R), FORMER UTAH GOVERNOR: There's been an implosion in trust toward our institutions and our leaders. People want more.

ZELENY: For more than a decade, the No Labels movement has promoted bipartisanship over extremes. The group, which registers as a nonprofit and declines to disclose its donors, plans to raise $70 million for a candidate in waiting. Tonight, the group unveiled what it called a common sense policy book, aiming to find middle ground on controversial issues from abortion rights, to guns, to immigration. It's a centrist agenda that sounds downright utopian in today's deeply divided Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're putting nation before party. We're putting democracy before party.

ZELENY: No Labels has only secured ballot access in Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado, aides say, with the goal of reaching 20 states by the end of the year.

Another threat to Biden's re-election bid comes from Cornel West, the former Harvard scholar who is mounting a green party presidential bid. He too rejects the label of spoiler.

WEST CORNEL, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wish they would spend as much time focusing on the plight of poor and working people as they do focusing on the spoiler. I don't even like that category since so many of folk who vote third party don't vote at all.

ZELENY: While third-party efforts have shown little promise in modern American history, deep displeasure with Trump, and Biden have shined a brighter light on the prospects this year, mindful of an enthusiasm shortfall facing Biden, Democrats are increasingly sounding the alarm. Haunted by Ross Perot's independent bid in 1992 and green party runs from Ralph Nader in 2000 and Jill Stein in 2016.

Manchin, who has yet to say if he intends to seek re-election to the Senate next year or run for higher office, dismissed such concerns.

MANCHIN: I'm not here running for president tonight. I'm not. I'm here trying to basically save the nation.


ZELENY (on camera): Now, Manchin said he will make a decision about his future by the end of the year. Of course, that Senate decision also impacts the balance of power on Capitol Hill as well.

As for No Labels, Erica, I am told that they plan to hold town hall meetings just like this throughout the summer and fall months, and will make their decision early next year likely after Super Tuesday when they see what the primary matchup is like on the Republican side versus Joe Biden.


But Manchin says he will not be a spoiler, Erica. Some Democrats are not so sure.

HILL: And we're going to ask one of them right now.

Jeff, appreciate the reporting as always. Thank you.

OUTFRONT now Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna who sits on President Biden's 2024 presidential campaign advisory board. And Benjamin Chavis, the national co-chair of the No Labels -- No Labels group, who's also a Democrat.

It's good to have both of you with us tonight.

Congressman Khanna, as we just heard there from Jeff Zeleny, Joe Manchin says he's going to take a little time, he's not deciding right now. But when it comes to Senator Manchin, how seriously do you think he is considering mounting a third-party run?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I respect Senator Manchin. We work cooperatively to get the IRA passed. I'm hopeful that he will run in West Virginia. He can carry that seat. My view is that's what he will end up doing.

HILL: Are you concerned at all, though, that he may mount a third- party run?

KHANNA: Well, look, my concern is with the No Labels agenda, let's just be clear what it is because the American people will not embrace it. You've got Joe Lieberman as the founder, who is the biggest advocate for the war in Iraq. Both parties have rejected that.

You've got them advocating cuts in Social Security. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump are against that. They're advocating for a '90s centrism that hollowed out manufacturing in this country that made our jobs go offshore.

Jon Huntsman, when he ran for president, didn't get more than 1 percent because people said they wanted jobs in the Midwest.

I tell you something, I think Joe Biden and Donald Trump are far more in touch with their wings of the party than the centrism that the country has drastically rejected.

HILL: So, your chance to respond here, Benjamin, as you just heard from the congressman. He thinks that the two leading candidates are more in touch with the wings of their party. Your goal, though, I know, is to go after the people who are maybe disenchanted with those wings.

Why do you see that there's a space there potentially?

BENJAMIN CHAVIS, NATIONAL CO-CHAIR, NO LABELS: Well, thank you. And, first, shout-out to our congressman from California. I know him very well. I appreciate his leadership.

But I would disagree that the platform, the policy document that we released here, the common sense is about what the majority of the American people want. And I think the congressman is right. Right now, Trump represents the base of the Republican Party and President Biden represents the base of the Democratic Party. The question is with those two bases, where are the majority of Americans?

And all polling shows that most of Americans don't want to repeat of 2020. That's when No Labels comes in. We haven't decided yet to run a candidate. We are getting ballot access in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And we will not make a decision about endorsing or passing the infrastructure onto a potential candidate, unity candidate in 2024 until after Super Tuesday.

So we are hard at work. We had a great town hall meeting this evening here in New Hampshire. I'm with Senator Manchin and with Governor Huntsman, Senator Lieberman was here, senator -- congressman, members of Congress are here. Governor Pat McCrory is here.

There are a lot of Republicans. I'm a Democrat, but I'm working with Republicans and independents to try to find bipartisan common sense solutions to our nation's problems. So I'm enthusiastic. What we are trying to do is not limit people's choices but give people more choices. We want more people to go out and vote in record numbers in 2024.

And what's going to bring out the people, the issues, not just the personalities running.

HILL: Congressman Khanna, we heard from Joe Manchin. I'm going to play that again, in terms of what he feels he could do in a race. He says he's not going to be a spoiler. Take a listen.


MANCHIN: I've never been in any race that I ever spoiled. I've been in a race to win. If I get in a race, I'm going to win.


HILL: Again, we don't know if he's getting in this race. You want him to stick with the Senate race. Regardless of whether it's Joe Manchin or somebody else, if there is a No Labels ticket, I know as we just heard, there are a few things that have to be decided before that happens. But if that happened, do you believe this would hand the race to Donald Trump in a Biden/Trump matchup?

KHANNA: Well, first of all, let me say, I respect Benjamin Chavis' record on civil rights. We may disagree on the issues here, but I respect what he's done there.

Look, it's a free country. I'm not going to tell anyone you can't run. But I do think that this is a time where democracy is on the ballot, and those of us who care about voting rights, civil rights, a woman's right to choose, those of us who care about bringing manufacturing back, should do everything we can to support President Biden. And if people start to support other candidates that take away that vote, that risks hurting his ability to have a re-election.


I also think the way to bring this country together isn't with new respect on their platform. It's to talk about re-shoring and bringing manufacturing back, like this president has with the CHIPS Act. It's to talk about doing things like building on infrastructure. It's to have a program of bringing jobs to communities left out.

And I think that platform is what's going to bring the country together.

HILL: There are also questions about the funding and who is really putting the money in here, Benjamin. Democratic Senator Mark Kelly brought up that concern over the weekend. Take a listen.


SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): I don't think No Labels is a political party. I mean, this is a few individuals putting dark money behind an organization. And that's not what our democracy should be about.


HILL: Senator, very clear, they're calling it dark money. I know your group doesn't release its donors. According to "The New York Times," there are a number of wealthy donors who have given heavily including to President Trump, who also has given to no labels.

Are you concerned Republicans could be using this effort of No Labels, this group, to defeat Joe Biden?

CHAVIS: Well, given my civil rights background, I can assure you I would not be involved in anything that's going to be a spoiler in favor of Donald Trump. So if you can't put that jacket on Benjamin Chavis, and you can't put that jacket on No Labels.

What we're trying to do is to bring more people -- the congressman is right, democracy is on the ballot. But democracy means you give people choices. Democracy means you don't try to limit people's access to the ballot.

You open the ballot up and give America -- American democracy is at the strongest point when it is diverse, when it is open, and when we get more people to participate. That's why I'm involved with No Labels.

I'm excited. We had a great day today in New Hampshire and we're going to do this all over the country. We have more Americans with the centrist views versus the extreme views.

HILL: Benjamin Chavis, Congressman Ro Khanna, I appreciate you both joining us tonight, gentlemen, thank you.

KHANNA: Thank you.

CHAVIS: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, he's been charged with killing three women. Authorities now believe, though, the Long Island architect accuser may not have stopped there. This as we're learning one of the first things the suspect allegedly said when taken into custody.

Plus, breaking news in Trump's effort to stop the investigation in Georgia over his attempt to overturn the election there. The D.A. in that case said a decision could come in just weeks.



HILL: Tonight, is it in the news? Those are the words of suspected serial killer Rex Heuermann asking police as he was about to be put in jail whether his arrest was getting publicity. And this new information comes as authorities now say they believe it's possible Heuermann has been committing murders for more than a decade and that there could be more victims.

Police have also been on a hunt for, quote, souvenirs. They believe Heuermann may have kept at this storage locker in Long Island. The search coming after police discovered a hidden vault in the basement of the 59-year-old married father of two, a vault filled with hundreds of guns.

His home is just seven miles from where the remains of 11 people, including a toddler, were discovered. Many of them bound and wrapped in burlap sacks.

Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators not done digging through the home of Rex Heuermann, the man authorities say is behind the serial killings that have haunted a New York community for more than a decade.

ANTHONY CARTER, SUFFOL COUNTY DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: He intended to commit these crimes. He intended to cover up these crimes.

GINGRAS: Inside the Long Island home Heuermann shared with his wife and daughter, sources say police found a locked door, and behind that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over 200 guns. He had an arsenal in a vault that he had downstairs.

GINGRAS: Far more than the 92 guns Heuermann registered in the state. Investigators also seen removing an encased doll-like figure and a Playboy magazine from the home. Sources tell CNN police are scouring a nearby storage unit they say they're looking for possible souvenirs or trophies he may have kept after the killings.

RAYMOND TIERNEY, SUFFOLK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have executed a number of search warrants. So right now we have a flood of information and a flood of evidence coming in. And it's going to take us a while to sort of go through all of that.

GINGRAS: The 59-year-old architect is charged with killing three women, sex workers, whose bodies were found tied up and stuffed in camouflage burlap sacks and dumped along a desolate beach area more than a decade ago. The district attorney says they're close to charging him with a fourth victim in what became known as the Gilgo Four murders.

RICHARD HARMON, NEIGHBOR: It's a shocker. I mean, it's a real eye opener.

GINGRAS: With a newly formed task force dedicated to the case, a break came earlier this year when DNA from a discarded pizza crust matched a hair found in one of those burlap sacks, according to police.

Authorities also believe Heuermann used burner phones and fake email accounts to research his victims, their murders, images of child abuse, and at times even taunted one woman's family by calling them after her death using her phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man is -- he's a demon, and it's really hard to get into the mind of somebody that's capable of committing the crimes that he committed.

GINGRAS: Other evidence? Witness testimony. Investigators say they have someone who ID'd Heuermann's Chevrolet Avalanche seen here parked in front of his home over a decade ago as connected to one killing. That witness also describing the 6'4" Heuermann as an ogre, according to court paperwork.

MICHAEL BROWN, REX HEUERMANN'S ATTORNEY: The only thing I can tell you that he did say as he was in tears was "I didn't do this."

GINGRAS: Heuermann pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer calling the evidence against him circumstantial.


GINGRAS (on camera): And we've learned Heuermann is on suicide watch at the jail where he is being housed. He is expected back in court next month.

Listen, Erica, this investigation is far from over. We've seen investigators inside his home throughout the day. They've been there since last week, still collecting evidence.

Sources tell us they are going to use Heuermann's DNA and compare it to not only cases here on Long Island, but also the cases in New York City, whether it be missing persons or homicide cases. They're also still fielding calls through the tip line, and we've learned they're still talking to witnesses. And that includes his wife and child. HILL: Wow. It just gives you a sense of how massive this investigation

really is.

Brynn, appreciate it. Thank you.

OUTFRONT now, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison who had promised that solving the Gilgo Beach murders would be a top priority for him as commissioner.


He established, of course, a task force that helped do just that.

Commissioner, it's good to have you with us tonight.

You know, as Brynn noted, it's been three days now since the suspect was charged in the murders of three women but have been named prime suspect in the murder of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes. She reporting tonight that authorities may be close to charging him.

Are you closer to charging him in that case tonight?

COMMISSIONER RODNEY HARRISON, SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY POLICE: So, it's going to take a little time. I'm not sure exactly what the time frame is. But because the hair follicle was somewhat damaged in trying to match the DNA connected to the hair, it may take longer than we anticipate. But if it does come back as a match, then we'll definitely charge him with the murder to Ms. Barnes.

HILL: Meantime, authorities are telling that they're really operating under the assumption that Heuermann may not have stopped killing even after the remains were first discovered more than a decade ago. Brynn mentioned that there are other areas as well, tips still coming into that tip line. When you look at how big this could be, do you believe this suspect could potentially be responsible for other murders that may not even, at this point, be on the radar?

HARRISON: Well, I say this before, we'll see. But this investigation is still ongoing. The task force will remain intact.

We'll continue to search and follow any types of tips that may come to the crime stopper hotline or things that may lead us in another direction. But he's definitely somebody that I'm glad that we got off the street, compliments to the men and women of the task force. But there's still a lot more work that needs to be done.

HILL: Have you been surprised at all by the volume of calls coming in since this arrest?

HARRISON: I'm not. This is a case that has touched the whole country. And some of the cases -- excuse me, some of the calls that have come in, something that we definitely need to take a closer look at. Unfortunately, there are some calls that are a little far fetched as well. We have to vet every single call that comes in, see if it's something that has a little bit of a touch and feel to our case. And if it's something that we need to go out and investigate further, we'll do as such.

HILL: We've been told that the suspect's family is cooperating with this investigation, including his wife, his daughter who worked with him at his architecture firm. Do you have the sense that they had any idea he was potentially capable of these kinds of crimes?

HARRISON: So, what I'm being told is when we initially informed them about their husband, their father, they were shocked. They were disgusted. They were embarrassed.

So, if you ask me, I don't believe they knew about this double life that Mr. Heuermann was living. But time will tell. Once again, there still needs to be more questioning done to family and friends, taking a look at some of the calls that are coming in, and seeing what information we can gather to see if the family might've known exactly what Mr. Heuermann was up to.

HILL: Brynn laid out some of the details in terms of what we know about what's been found so far in these searches, going through that house, combing for evidence, looking for anything that looked maybe out of place.

I think one thing that stood out to a lot of people is this doll that was reportedly found and that too raising questions, it was not found in the room of his children court papers do show that the suspect made some disturbing Internet searches including searches for child pornography. Do you think there is any sort of a connection there?

HARRISON: There could be. You know, why this doll was in the house, once again, we will have to get down to the bottom of it as the investigation comes to -- more information comes to our attention. But, yes, some of the searches that we saw that he was doing is alarming.

It's very, very concerning. And, once again, I have to make sure that everybody understands that it's a very good thing that we got this animal off the streets.

HILL: So you say it's a very good thing you got this animal off the streets. One thing that stood out to me as we were learning everything on Friday was the fact that we were told that authorities moved in because they were concerned about public safety. What specifically was that concern about public safety? Was it about another woman, perhaps another sex worker you were worried was going to be murdered? Was it about broader public safety in the community?

HARRISON: So, I think that might've been bad information. I'm sure you're well aware of the case was in the grand jury, and we were looking for that indictment. And there was a belief that possibly some of that information might've gotten out.


So, in order to make sure it didn't get to our subject Rex Heuermann, we thought it was imperative to move in on him that day. HILL: So, just to clarify then for folks at home, this was more about

a concern of him being somehow tipped off to what was about to happen as opposed to authorities' concerns that he may have something nefarious planned?

HARRISON: Correct. And once again, as we were surveilling him with our partners from the FBI, they had a team of individuals following him. So, him looking to go out and hurt somebody wasn't necessarily our concern, even though he had that in him. And that's why we put that 24-hour surveillance on him. But we were more concerned about some of the information getting out, and then him getting knowledge of that, and then maybe fleeing the country. So we thought it was important that we grabbed him that evening.

HILL: I appreciate you clarifying that. Commissioner Harrison, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

HARRISON: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. Donald Trump suffering a major setback in his effort to stop the Fulton County, Georgia, investigation into his attempt to overturn the election in that state. Is the former president now on the verge of being indicted for a third time this year?

Plus, China's foreign minister missing. He hasn't been seen publicly in weeks, and the Chinese government says they don't have any information. So, what happened to him?



HILL: Breaking news, a major loss for Donald Trump in Georgia as he tries to shut down the criminal investigation into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The conservative Georgia Supreme Court putting out a unanimous ruling tonight rejecting Trump's request to disqualify the Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis saying, quote, Trump has not shown that this case presents one of those extremely rare circumstances in which this court's original jurisdiction should be invoked.

Paula Reid is OUTFRONT.

So, Paula, is this essentially the end of the line, or can Trump appeal further?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Erica, this was always a long shot for former President Trump trying to throw out the evidence that has been gathered of this long-running investigation. He does have other pending efforts to try to block this probe. But it's unclear if those are going to be successful. And we are expecting a decision on possible charges in that case in the coming weeks.

HILL: All right. As we watch for that, we know that Donald Trump's also facing a critical day tomorrow in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. His attorneys will be with the DOJ prosecutors in a Florida courtroom. They're there -- among what they'll be discussing, the start date for his court trial. What are we hearing ahead of the hearing?

REID: Well, we don't expect former President Trump to be here tomorrow. It's unclear if his codefendant Walt Nauta will attend. But all eyes are going to be on judge Aileen Cannon. She is the Trump- appointed federal judge who will be overseeing this case through a possible trial.

And, as you noted, one of the issues they're going to talk about tomorrow is a possible trial date. And this is a great example of how important Judge Cannon is in deciding the outcome really of this case. We know there's a tentative date on the calendar for next month for this trial. That's not realistic.

But the special counsel has said they could be ready to go to trial in December. But defense attorneys for former president Trump say it's too early to even put a date on the calendar. And they want to push this until after the 2024 election. But the special counsel is keen to proceed with what they describe as a, quote, speedy trial. So all eyes are going to be on judge cannon to see which way she appears to be leaning, as this is going to be one of dozens and dozens of decisions that she makes that will ultimately have a big impact on how this case turns out.

HILL: A lot, lot of eyes will be on that. Paula, appreciate, thank you.

OUTFRONT now, Ryan Goodman, co-editor in chief of "Just Security" and former special counsel at the Defense Department.

Ryan, when we look at this, Judge Aileen Cannon saying they are going to discuss, as Paula was just talking about -- they are going to discuss a potential trial date here. If the start date for that trial is delayed beyond what the DOJ asks for, which was December, should we read anything into that?

RYAN GOODMAN, JUST SECURITY CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: It's a great question. I don't think so. I think if there's a reasonable argument on the defendant's side to say we're not ready to go to trial within four or five months from now, early December, we need more time, it's complex, it involves classified materials. And there are many conditions placed on when they can even access the classified materials in a specific facility in Miami that they have to go to, and they can't even discuss the matter of those classified materials outside of the facility. We need more time, this is being rushed.

So if she gives them a couple months or something, I think it's within bounds and that's not really a sign of anything on her part.

HILL: When it comes to the judge, look, there's been a lot made as we know about Judge Cannon. Donald Trump was asked specifically about her over the weekend in an interview, and whether she would rather potentially rule in his favor. Take a listen to his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I don't know. I know it's a very highly respected judge, a very smart judge and a very strong judge.

INTERVIEWER: But you appointed her.

TRUMP: I did. And I'm very proud to have appointed her. But she's very smart and very strong. And loves our country, I mean, loves our country. We need judges that love our country so they do the right thing.


HILL: So they do the right thing. I should point out, he's being specifically asked about whether she would perhaps delay the trial as he wanted.

Those comments, how damaging are they?

GOODMAN: They're self-destructive. Let's put it that way. I don't think he helps his case. It puts the judge in any normal situation, the judge in an awkward position.

That's not the appearance that the judge wants for him to be saying oh, I appointed her and she'll do the right thing and she loves our country, and doing it on Fox News, it just not the right kind of a setup for him to be speaking that way. He's he should've said I can't really comment on the judge and the courts will be fair, or the court something-something.

So, it does, in fact, may mean that she may be even more guarded in how she does rule. But once again, that does that suggest that if she then rules in his favor in an extraordinary way, then we've got a different situation.

HILL: Lots to watch for, Ryan, appreciate your insight, as always.

GOODMAN: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, just what happened to China's foreign minister after appearing publicly almost daily? It's now been more than three weeks since he was seen in public. And the government claims it has no information.


Plus, new research revealing Alzheimer's is most common in certain areas of the country. We'll tell you where.


HILL: Tonight, missing. China's foreign minister, Qin Gang, a trusted aide of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, vanishing from public view, missing now for 22 days. This is the last time he was seen in public. You see him smiling, walking side by side with Russia's deputy foreign minister. Though rumors tonight are fuelling intense speculation. He recently

missed several high profile events. Officials indicating one was for health reasons.

I want to go now to CNN senior international correspondent Will Ripley. So, Will, we look at this, Qin Gang was single handedly pulled up the ranks by Xi, so this looks bad for Xi. Yet, the Chinese foreign ministry's response to all of this, to him going mysteriously missing, is they have no information.

Just put this in context for us, Will, how unusual is this?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is China, Erica. This is a nebulous black box, especially when it comes to their law and order, their investigative process. And when you're talking about senior officials in the communist party, well, the secrecy is even more intense, which is why there has been such rampant speculation in China about where Qin Gang might be.

I mean, he's the second highest diplomat in the entire country after Wang Yi. He spent his whole career working as a diplomat. He was promoted to foreign minister last year. He works as Chinese ambassador to the U.S. a lot of people in Washington know him well. He was a trusted aide of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. And he even met with Antony Blinken, secretary of state, during his visit to June in June.

It was on June 25th that he vanished. And ever since then, the citizens have just really been wondering what could have happened? Did he run afoul with Xi Jinping? Did something happen to cause him to be disappeared, like so many other Chinese officials we've seen this happened to in the past, Erica?

HILL: You mentioned that speculation, what can you tell us about that speculation? It's not just in China that there's a lot of it, but far beyond China's borders as well.


RIPLEY: Yeah. Look, there are rumors that are swirling around. Most of them are unsubstantiated. But this is what happens when you have an explanation that is given basically, oh, he has health reasons. And people are wondering, OK, so what's -- is the health reason that he run afoul of Xi Jinping? Is that bad for his health? It's bad for the health of other people that end up getting sentenced to life in prison or possibly even worse.

And so, there are -- there are real questions about whether this is part of President Xi's kind of trademark crackdown on not only corruption but also dissent. And people are wondering what went wrong. There are rumors swirling around about his private life, his romantic life, all these things you can't really talk about because it's -- you know how the internet is, even in China, there's a lot of fake news swirling around.

HILL: Yeah. All right. Will, appreciate it. Thank you.

OUTFRONT next, a first of its kind study finds Alzheimer's is most commonly found in three U.S. counties. We'll tell you which ones.


HILL: Tonight, a new report details which regions of the United States are most likely to have people living with Alzheimer's disease, and it is eye opening.

This new data from the Alzheimer's association shows the areas in dark red on this map, those are the areas with the highest concentration of the disease. Now, the top three areas, top three counties, Miami-Dade County, Baltimore, and the Bronx. In those three areas, about one in six seniors have the disease.

Some other interesting findings here, the report noted that rates among Black seniors are more than double those of white seniors. And when you break it down by gender, the rates are 13 percent higher among senior women than among men. All this new information coming as we also learn a second Alzheimer's drug could soon be approved in the United States.

Eli Lilly releasing phase three clinical trial results for its drug today. It found patients taking the drug in the early stages of Alzheimer's have 35 percent slower disease progression than those that took the placebo. Researchers point out they're hesitant about how long that benefit may last. But still, important information.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

I'm Erica Hill in for Erin Burnett.

"AC360" starts now.