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Erin Burnett Outfront
Special Counsel Eyes Trump's About-Face On Election Security; Ukraine Claims Responsibility For Drone Strikes In Moscow; Police Dig Up Backyard Of Serial Killer Suspect's Home; Israeli Police Clash With Protesters After Government Votes To Limit Supreme Court's Power; San Francisco Biz Owner Fed Up After Attack Outside Shop. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 24, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the special counsel zeroing in on a Trump Oval Office meeting where Trump praised election security. That evidence tonight could be key to Jack Smith's case. I'm going to speak to a former Trump official who has inside information on that crucial meeting.
Plus, Russian fighters speaking out exclusively to CNN. And we're hearing incredible new details about their struggle to stay alive. No food for days, no water, forced to drink snow to survive.
And padlocks over the frozen burritos. Mustard locked behind plexiglass. All this to keep shoplifters at bay.
Our CNN reporter witnessed three thefts in 30 minutes in the same San Francisco Walgreens. She'll tell you about it.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the Trump flip-flop that could get him indicted. The special counsel Jack Smith investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election is now focusing on an Oval Office meeting, which then President Trump praised election security in which he praised election security.
You heard me right there. I mean, sources are telling CNN exclusively the prosecutors are asking former U.S. officials about this meeting, which was in February 2020, a meeting in which President Trump was heard commending officials in charge of security for the upcoming election, which, of course, at that point was about nine months away. In fact, Trump was so pleased at what he heard about election security in that meeting, that he suggested that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security hold a press conference to tout their hard work.
Well, in a moment, I'm going to talk to Olivia Troye, former homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who was closely involved with this meeting. But this is all remarkable to hear because, I mean, you'd be forgiven by saying, wait, did I just get this backwards in some way. Because just a few short weeks later, of course, Biden was gaining steam, leading Trump in national head-to- head matchups.
And suddenly, Trump's tune changed. Here he is in April of 2020 just two months after that Oval Office meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Mail ballots, they cheat, okay? People cheat. Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country because they're cheaters. They go and collect them. They're fraudulent in many cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, remember a few weeks earlier, he was saying let's talk about how safe and secure our elections are. Well, that's an about face. And, of course, after that point, the flood gates then about fraud were wide open for Trump and haven't closed since.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This will be a rigged election.
This election will be the most rigged election in history.
Because the only way we're going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.
It's a rigged election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, what's also noteworthy about the February 2020 oval office meeting is that the person you see here, Chris Krebs, then the director of cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency at DHS, would've been one of the people Trump was likely praising. I mean, because Krebs was in charge of the administration's most senior cybersecurity issues. He was the official responsible for securing the presidential election.
In fact, Trump was likely praising Krebs himself when he was talking about, you know, having that press conference. On November 17th, 2020, Krebs came out and tweets this. On allegations that election systems were manipulated, 59 election security experts all agree. In every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.
Incoherent, the word Krebs used to describe President Trump's claims at the time. More than seven hours later, well, guess what, boom, there goes Krebs, Trump fired him with a tweet saying, quote, the recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 election was highly inaccurate, and that there were massive improprieties and fraud, including dead people voting. Poll watchers not allowed into polling locations, glitches in voting machines which changed votes. And he went on and on and on, saying, therefore, Chris Krebs has been terminated effective immediately.
Well, there you have it. Good enough to be praised when Trump thought he was winning, fired by a tweet for saying the truth when Trump lost.
Now, these exclusive new details come as Jack Smith's investigation appears to be in its final stages. Trump and his team are now expecting an indictment after receiving a target letter from the special counsel. That indictment could come at any moment.
The D.C. grand jury in this case is scheduled to meet tomorrow morning, and that is where our Paula Reid is OUTFRONT now.
Paula, what more can you tell us about this February 2020 meeting? We understand it was in the Oval Office, and how key it may be for Jack Smith?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Erin, based on this new reporting, it's clear that the special counsel is really focused on Trump's mindset before he started publicly attacking the integrity of the U.S. election system. Another thing I think is really interesting in this new reporting from our colleagues is that they also asked multiple witnesses if Trump ever retaliated against other officials who contradicted his public criticism of election integrity.
This is significant because it all goes to knowledge and intent. So what exactly did Trump know, and what was the intent behind so many of these public statements? And now, you can expect that investigators are trying to reconcile what he was saying privately, like in this meeting, with these public statements.
BURNETT: So, Paula, it is amazing just to imagine that such a flip- flop could actually exist. I know you're also learning about thousands of documents that the special counsel has just received. I should emphasize "just received", right? so we're not finding out about them, he's just getting them related to Rudy Giuliani and his efforts to find voter fraud.
What do you know about these reams of documents?
REID: Well, this is brand new, Erin. This is something that investigators on the Hill and the Justice Department, they've been trying to get for well over a year. We learned that just yesterday, the special counsel was given thousands of pages of documents related to Rudy Giuliani and his team of folks that were trying to find any fraud related to the 2020 election.
One member of that legal team is the former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik. Now, he had previously declined to hand over a lot of these materials to investigators on the Hill when they were looking into January 6th, citing privilege. But now that the special counsel has reached out, they have waived -- the Trump campaign has waived that privilege and they are providing these documents.
Now, Erin, that suggests that they don't believe there is anything incriminating here. But you can bet investigators are likely going over this line by line to inform any potential charges. But we also know that Bernie Kerik has now scheduled his own interview, his first interview with the special counsel. That's going to happen in the next few weeks.
So I'm sure after they go through these documents, they're going to have some follow-up questions for him. We know they've already spoken with Rudy Giuliani, but they could always call him back.
BURNETT: Absolutely, as you have reported, I know that there's been some individuals, one at least in at least three times.
All right. Paula, thank you very much.
And so, now, let's go to Olivia Troye, who worked at the White House at the time of the meeting, as homeland security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence. Also with me is Ryan Goodman, former special counsel at the Defense Department now with Just Security, and Ben Ginsberg, Republican election lawyer who testified before the January 6th committee.
So, Olivia, let me start with you. You hear Paula's new reporting that Jack Smith is asking multiple witnesses about an Oval Office meeting that Trump had in February of 2020 where he praised improvements to election security, to the extent that he suggested holding press conferences to brag about how great it was going to be.
I know you were closely involved in the meeting. You wrote memos. You prepared people who attended it. What can you tell us?
OLIVIA TROYE, WORKED AT WHITE HOUSE DURING FEBRUARY 2020 MEETING: Well, I think it's prudent is doing this because I think it paints a holistic picture of what was going on in the White House at the time, and what Trump understood to be election process here in the United States in terms of how DHS secures elections.
I can tell you that in the lead up to this meeting, there had been numerous meetings across the national security community with the Department of Homeland Security, with the National Security Council, which I attended, with the director of resilience (ph), where we were planning in preparation for the 2020 election. And there were numerous discussions on how to conduct this election in a safe manner. There were also discussions, Erin, on Russian interference and the concern about Russian interference in this election, and how we were going to counter that and deal with that.
All that culminates with this meeting in February. And I am aware of this meeting because, as homeland security adviser, I had to do the prep for any meetings like that where the former Vice President Mike Pence was going to be in a meeting, or when General Kellogg would attend these meetings, and sometimes he would come to me and say what do you know about this? I know you've been tracking these things closely.
Now, all of this happens with the context of COVID as well, which -- and I mention this because there are a lot of complicated dynamics happening at the time in the White House, especially in February as things are sort of getting more concerning in what we're watching. And so, Trump is having a lot of mixed emotions in February, which is why you see Mike Pence get appointed to the head of the task force in the later of the month.
And I say all this because they were always looking for good new stories. So, after this briefing, I remember that there was sort of a concerted effort of we should be touting this as a success right now because we're looking for something good because we knew that what was coming in the next couple months was going to be really bad when it came to the pandemic.
BURNETT: So, Ryan, you heard what Olivia said, that the tone coming out of this, we should be touting this as a success because they had something good. Obviously, the context of COVID and those were dark days.
But, you know, you hear her talking about this meeting. How significant could this evidence be, this meeting for Smith's case?
RYAN GOODMAN, JUST SECURITY CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: It could be very valuable because it does get into Donald Trump's mindset. If Smith can prove that Donald Trump understood that the election was safe and secure, which this evidence seems to suggest exactly that with multiple witnesses at the meeting, and then when it's not convenient for him to say that, instead he's trying to spin a narrative of an election that was stolen, he turns around and fires the very person that he wanted to give a press conference.
GOODMAN: And that person, Chris Krebs had actually said this was the safest election based on the very same systems, computer systems that they presented to him in February of 2020. So the idea that he somehow magically distrusts the system is a problem for him.
BURNETT: So, Ben, to this point, right, so now we know in February of 2020, you know, you hear the reporting, Trump is very happy. He says things are secure. He's thrilled to hear this. This is good news. Let's tell everyone this is safe and secure.
Then he loses the election, and all of a sudden, he says he did not believe that he lost, and that nobody can prove that he did not believe it, even though everyone around him told him that, all of those things that we're somehow supposed to believe that he believes he won. Legally, does that fly? Now you have a meeting like this.
BEN GINSBERG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the meeting is going to be a key piece of evidence in showing what his intent was. But that will be combined with many other things that happened, including the 64 court cases that he brought post election where he had every opportunity to prove that there was fraud. He whiffed on each and every one of those cases.
It also goes to what was found, or, more accurately not found, in post-election audits, such as the one in Arizona by the Cyber Ninjas, others that were done around the country. The full hand re-count with paper ballots, that was done in Georgia. So this is an important meeting to show the flip-flop, but it will tie in with all the other allegations that Donald Trump made without any evidence yet coming to light.
BURNETT: So, Ryan, the other thing that Paula just mentioned is this -- that many thousands of pages, massive amount of new documents coming in from Bernie Kerik now, right, former New York police commissioner. In other words, it's not that we're finding out about, because sometimes we just found out about a meeting that could have happened a while back. This is just coming in now.
So, does this change anything on the timing or the scope of an indictment?
GOODMAN: I don't think so. I think we're still basically on indictment watch that it could come any day this week, especially. And the documents that are being presented that came out of the Giuliani team have come up in part in other places. For example, Giuliani and Bernie Kerik tried to provide the best side of the documents in the D.C. bar disciplinary hearings. And they found that the documents showed nothing in favor of Giuliani.
So, it had probative value was their conclusion. In other words, it's not going to change Jack Smith's mind, it's not going to redirect him from where it looks like he's going towards this indictment.
BURNETT: Right. Okay. So it could be inclusive of, in addition to things could be being looked at.
All right. So, Olivia, one thing just to be clear when you also talk about this meeting. Did you get any sense from whether it be General Kellogg or Vice President Pence afterwards as to the president's mood or tone inside that meeting?
TROYE: Well, it's mixed. I think it was very clear that he wanted to tout the successes and have people in front of the camera because, again, we were doing press conferences at the time, especially later on, like, when we would pick themes that were actually positive notes to try to push out a positive message. That was a coordinated effort that was happening at the time.
The one thing that was tense was the Russia topic because that was right around the time when the acting -- well, the director of national intelligence, Admiral Joseph Maguire who was a very longtime mentor of mine, and former boss of mine, and I very close, where he briefed about possible Russian interference and the preference of Moscow that Trump be elected over Biden. And that did not go over quite well with the president.
A week later, I remember this vividly because I was beside myself and shocked when I had heard that Joe Maguire had resigned. And I remember talking to him in the aftermath of that because that, to me, quite honestly was a sign of what was starting to happen internally. And -- but the tide changed as months went on, Trump's tone changed in terms of the elections. BURNETT: Right.
TROYE: And I think it was, like, April-May timeframe. My own family remembers when I came home one day kind of shook about conversations that were happening, things that I was seeing.
And I was, like, I'm very concerned about what's going to happen this fall with the election.
BURNETT: And, of course, you were prescient, you were correct. It is interesting, Ben, though, from what Olivia's saying that not only did the president of this meeting want to do a press conference on how great election security was and that it was so wonderful and praising it left and right, that his frustration then and the guy he fired shortly thereafter was the guy who was saying there might be challenges to election security in the form of Russia, right? It's because Russia's the third rail for the former president.
GINSBERG: Yeah. I mean, Chris Krebs sort of walked into a split rail between both Russia and then saying the election was otherwise secure. But all of this and this meeting is particularly important in terms of the reckoning that the country needs to have with Trump's election denial charges because the 30 percent of the country not believing in the credibility of our elections is not a sustainable number.
Donald Trump -- bringing Donald Trump to account to actually prove the underlying case that he claimed was true would be a real service to the country.
BURNETT: All of you, thank you so very much, on this obviously important evening here as we're awaiting a potential indictment, and one that would be incredibly historic.
Next, a CNN exclusive. We're going to hear from former Russian soldiers. They were recruited from prison to fight Putin's war. But wait till you hear what happened to them on the front lines. It comes as Ukraine tonight takes credit for an attempted attack on Moscow, saying there is more to come.
General David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA, is OUTFRONT.
Plus, police using K-9s, radars, even an excavator to dig up evidence at the suspected Gilgo Beach killer's home. Famed forensic scientist Larry Kobilinsky is OUTFRONT.
And a father smashes a windshield to rescue his baby in a hot car, all of it caught on video which has now been viewed more than 6 million times on TikTok.
BURNETT: And that is just moments ago here. Air raid sirens going off right now in Odesa. This as the southern city in Ukraine braces for more brutal bombings by Russia as a Russian soldier recruited from prison to fight Ukraine is now speaking out exclusively to CNN, says he was shot and still forced back to the front lines by Russian troops where he would then go several days with nothing to drink, nothing to eat, and at times so desperately thirsty he would drink snow.
Now, we're going to have that incredible piece for you in a moment. But first as those air raid sirens are going off in Odesa, a major development earlier today. Ukraine saying it was behind a drone attack on Moscow today, vowing to launch more. Russian officials calling it a, quote, terrorist attack, warning of harsh retaliation.
And also, we are getting remarkable new aerial footage from the city of Bakhmut, showing that utter devastation after months of relentless fighting, much of it fought by prisoners recruited by Russia.
Nick Paton Walsh is OUTFRONT with this exclusive reporting.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia is often cruelest to its own. The bleakest fate, prisoners recruited by the ministry of defense basically as cannon fodder. These so-called Storm-Z battalions surrendering here, have death rates hard to fathom. Here are two rare stories. One of them incredible survival, and another of a young and quick death, told to CNN a great risk from inside Russia.
Ex-con Sergiy (ph) barely made it back, now he works two jobs and can't sleep because his ears still ring form shell shock.
We first talked when he's been shot for the second time. From 600 prisoners recruited with him in October, he says only 170 are alive, and only two of them without injury. Sent again and again in waves to attack Ukrainian positions.
RUSSIAN CONVICT (through translator): I remember most clearly the last of the nine concussions I had. We attacked. RPGs, drones flew at us, our commander yells on the radio, I don't care, go ahead, don't come back until you take this position. Two of us found a small hole and dived in there. A drone threw a grenade at us and it landed in the 30 centimeter gap between us, my friend was covered with shrapnel all over. Yet, I was untouched somehow. But I lost my sight for five hours.
WALSH: He only stayed in hospital that time and got home as doctors made him an orderly. He has nightmares that he is told to be first out of the trench again. But daily life in the trench was a nightmare, too, of frostbite, hunger and thirst.
RUSSIAN CONVICT (through translator): Sometimes we didn't eat for several days. We didn't drink for several days. It was a four- kilometer walk to water. And thank God it was winter. We were drinking the snow.
WALSH (translated): If a person didn't want to fight, what happened? RUSSIAN CONVICT (through translator): Sometimes the commander reset people. He zeroed them out, killed them. I only saw it once, a fight with a man who stole and killed his own people.
I didn't see who of the four people around him shot. But when he tried to escape, a bullet hit him in the back of the head. I saw the head wound. They carried him away.
WALSH: For some, it never got that far. Andriy (ph) was 20 when he was jailed on drug offenses, and 23 when he was sent from prison to the front. This training was fleeting. His mother Yulia said he had yet to grow into a man still kidding about.
RUSSIAN CONVICT (translated): Really, it's a sea, sun and sand here, sunburn, then the wind chaps your face, and (EXPLETIVE DELETED), it rains.
WALSH: Like with many prison recruits, he just disappeared. But it was on May the 9th, victory day in Russia, when presidential pomp in Moscow marked the Nazis' defeat. Andriy called her the night before to say his unit would attack at dawn.
MOTHER OF RUSSIAN PRISONER (translated): We were arguing. It is horrible to say, but I already thought of him like he was dead. He left knowing everything. Every day I told him no, no, no.
And he didn't listen to me. When he said, "We're going to storm," I wrote him, "Run, forest, run".
WALSH: We think these ruins are near where he died, up to 60 others, Yulia heard, died in the same assault that day. Yulia got nothing, no body, just a letter from the military saying Andriy had died the very day he left jail.
MOTHER OF RUSSIAN PRISONER (translated): The hardest part was that I was afraid he would kill someone. Because I can live with my son as a drug addict, but with my son as a murderer, it was difficult for me to accept it.
WALSH: The horror Russia inflicts on Ukraine, it seems, matched nearly by that at home.
WALSH: Erin, we also heard from Sergiy in that report. The Russian front lines don't really seem to have the normal rotation of troops to go back a little, rest and then return fresh to the front. You only leave when you're injured or when you die.
And that, again, I think a snapshot of quite how ghastly morale must be as Russia enters this vital moment trying to hold back Ukraine's counteroffensive, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Nick, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT now, the retired army general and the former director of the CIA, David Petraeus.
General Petraeus, look, it's riveting reporting there by Nick, you know, just the personal stories, hearing that mother. Seventy-two percent, according to the numbers here of the soldiers that went in from that unit died. Two out of 600 he said are uninjured, and then the stories that they were telling, eating snow after days of not having anything to drink.
What do you take away from all of this?
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR; FORMER U.S. CENTCOM COMMANDER: Well, I think Nick has it right in that there has to be some degree of fragility. Now, keep in mind that these are the former prisoners. They were treated even worse than the normal bad treatment that Russian commanders mete out to their soldiers.
But, at the end of the day, you do wonder where that moment is that they might begin to crumble, perhaps crack locally, perhaps even more broadly. And, of course, that's what the Ukrainians are, in some degree, banking on. They're picking their way through these very considerable mine fields, anti-tank and anti-personnel mines --
PETRAEUS: -- working their way past tank ditches, dragon's teeth obstacles, trench lines and so forth. And, yes, even though those soldiers are not taken care of the way that we would certainly ensure that we do in our forces, they still are quite formidable in number and capability and in artillery and other various weapon systems.
So, you know, our chairman of the Joint Chiefs said that this would be very long, very hard, and very bloody. And that has turned out to be exactly right. And the question is when can the Ukrainians get the kind of break, the kind of penetration where they might be able to bring to bear the new combined arms capabilities, western tanks and infantry fighting vehicles and so forth, and test these Russian forces, see if they will crumble.
BURNETT: So -- and on this front, the defense minister in Ukraine acknowledges that the counteroffensive is behind schedule to CNN, something President Zelenskyy told me earlier this month when I was with him in Odesa. At the time he said it was due to, what you say, those Russian mines, weather, artillery, but they acknowledge they're behind.
There are some, though, general, who are saying that the American supplied cluster munitions could be extremely significant. I've got video here showing Ukrainian forces using those cluster munitions against Russian troops.
Do you think that those could be a game changer? And, if not, do they have what they need? They don't even have enough artillery. President Zelenskyy's very clear about that. PETRAEUS: Well, they will be a big help, and, particularly, against,
for example, artillery units, which is really one of the most formidable of the Russian capabilities against troops in trench lines, against reserve force assembly areas, and so forth. And they can be very, very helpful. Indeed, they're also helpful because the Ukrainians are running out of conventional artillery munitions. This is yet another type of munition.
And, so, this is something we have in quite large numbers. I strongly supported the decision to provide these munitions, noting that the ground is already saturated with Russian use of cluster munitions --
And this is Ukraine's own territory. I mean, we ought to allow them to determine what munitions they should use to liberate their territory and to prevail in their war, as they see it, of independence.
BURNETT: So there's a huge question right now about these Wagner troops, and in the context of Nick's reporting, talking about prisoners, right?
We know Wagner had used a lot of them as well. Now, there's questions about where the Wagner troops are, whether they're going to be involved, whether they're in Belarus -- all of this uncertainty because of Yevgeny Prigozhin's coup attempt, which I know you have said made Putin more vulnerable than perhaps any other time in his rule.
And now, General, we're finding out Putin, and this is from the Kremlin, right? So, it's not even any speculation. The Kremlin is saying Putin had a three-hour meeting with Prigozhin, and that Prigozhin himself has resurfaced publicly last week with Wagner fighters in Belarus.
Now, it's grainy video, we cannot definitively say that that's him so I want to be clear about that, though it appears to be.
But, General, what is going on here? The guy tries to stage a coup and then gets hours-long meetings with the guy he was going to take out?
PETRAEUS: Well, I think Putin, number one, recognizes that Russian foreign policy needs the Wagner Group still. They need them in Central African Republic and Mali and other locations in Africa and about five or six countries there alone, in Syria very much, and so forth.
So this is a very useful tool that they don't want to remove from their arsenal, if you will, for foreign endeavors. It was one that used to be deniable, now, it's very clearly out in the open. And then they really did, though, want to clip Prigozhin's wings. They threatened him. It was an existential threat. They were going to cut off his contracts, and also force his soldiers
either to sign a contract with the ministry of defense or go home. Now they've added a third option. They can go to Belarus and train Belarusian soldiers for whatever that is worth.
But, Putin, I think, feels that he has sufficiently shown that he is firmly still in control. You will remember the pomp and circumstance a day or two later where he praised the work of the security services, which really wasn't all that deserving of praise. You may recall that it was Prigozhin who lost nerve and realized this wasn't going to turn out well, and took the deal and turned his forces around.
But it's still a useful asset for Putin. And I think that's -- the source of this. And if I could go back to the earlier question, I should've pointed out that the Ukrainians do very much need additional artillery ammunition, of all times. They need additional air defense munitions and air defense systems.
Odesa is, as we have seen, much less capable than is obviously Kyiv. You've been in Kyiv. They hit it very hard and they knock down just about everything the Russians throw at them. That's not the case in Odesa where Russia is very clearly destroying civilian infrastructure that's going to increase in the end world hunger, because that which is enabling the grain and so forth exports.
BURNETT: All right. Well, General, thank you very much. As always, I appreciate your time and the context that you always provide.
And, next, we have live pictures from New York where investigators are searching for DNA to link the suspected Gilgo serial killer to more murders. How much information can investigators glean from this DNA that, of course, is 80 years old and has been subjected to the elements?
And police clashing with protesters tonight after Israel votes on a plan that's being called a, quote, constitutional coup.
BURNETT: Tonight, you're looking at investigators taking boxes of what appears to be evidence from the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer's home. Now, this happened just moments ago. What you're looking at on your screen.
Investigators have been zeroing in on the suspect's home trying to determine if someone or something is buried there. We're also learning the search inside his home includes a vault where they found more than 200 guns, and that that search was, quote, fruitful.
Heuermann is a well-established New York architect and is charged with killing at least three women who vanished more than a decade ago.
Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT tonight from the suspect's home.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police confirming that they have been using ground-penetrating radar technology and a back hoe to dig outside the home of serial-killing suspect Rex Heuermann to see if they can find anything of forensic value underneath that ground, perhaps more evidence of human remains.
RODNEY HARRISON, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: It is a different type of technology that will help us be able to identify anything in that backyard that we need to take into our possession.
CASAREZ: Authorities not ruling out today that he might be linked to more victims than the three murders he is currently charged with.
HARRISON: It's hard to say. Once again, this person's been at large for a long period of time. We'll see if there are any other victims on Ocean Parkway or anywhere else throughout long island.
CASAREZ: Police will continue searching the home for at least one or two more days, the police commissioner told reporters. And investigators also note the importance of searching through the garage and attic as well. A law enforcement source confirmed to CNN.
BONNIE BEAUFORD, LONG ISLAND RESIDENT: I hope that they don't find something. But, at the same token, I feel like it's just going to be more evidence on top of evidence for this guy.
CASAREZ: Bonnie Beauford said Heuermann has been to a local grocery store she works at in the past.
BEAUFORD: That's what made me get intrigued with the whole storyline because I'm like then, I'd rarely seen. So, but I didn't suspect that he was doing that, but he looked like he could be up to something.
CASAREZ: Investigators not ruling out other suspects in the killings.
SHERIFF ERROL D. TOULON, JR., SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK: I think that this investigation is going to last as long as it takes to make sure that every piece of evidence that's gathered, every suspect, or if it's just Mr. Heuermann will be excluded or precluded from this investigation of possibly being a suspect.
CASAREZ: The investigation spanning beyond New York to three other states, something the sheriff says was unexpected. The sheriff also noting that Heuermann has been stoke during his interactions in jail.
TOULON: If you think about someone that two weeks ago was walking around freely, he seemed very comfortable inside of the cell.
CASAREZ (on camera): And we do have some activity going on right now behind me. You can see all the official vehicles are out in front. There are law enforcement positioned on both sides. Some right over there. Right behind those vehicles, that's the home. I want to show you more of that video of what we shot just minutes ago because they were bringing these boxes out, and they look like packing boxes, moving boxes. They appeared to be sealed. They were stacking them on the table.
And then they were putting them in like a moving van. Also, there was another vehicle, and they shut that down, but it looks like they're closing up for tonight.
But they are taking a lot of items from that home -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Jean, thank you very much.
And, as we see that evidence coming out, let's bring in Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky. He's a forensic scientist, an expert in DNA analysis, also a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.
And, Doctor, it's always great to speak with you.
Look, you and I have spoken over the years. You have investigated crimes for more than 40 years. You've consulted on high-profile cases, Casey Anthony murder trial, the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
What stands out about this case to you?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, DNA ANALYSIS EXPERT: Well, I'm not surprised at all that bodies were discarded at Gilgo Beach. I've been there. It's a very difficult area for K-9 units or police investigators to go through. It's not walk -- people don't walk around there, it's rather desolate.
That doesn't surprise me. What surprises me is that so many years have elapsed with so little progress. And people are fearful that, you know, there's a serial killer in their midst. What are we going to do? And the police aren't doing anything. I think that's what stands out in my mind.
BURNETT: So now that -- and, obviously there were mistakes as we pointed out. Then they reinvigorated the investigation. We don't know what we don't know. We now know it's in three states that they're looking. We know that there are additional bodies have been found at Gilgo Beach.
We don't know if he's involved. We don't know if there are many more. I mean, do you -- do you think that it's possible that they are able to tie Heuermann at this point to many more murders?
KOBILINSKY: I think it's very possible, because Heuermann's DNA profile is now on CODIS, this national database. And this database has subdivisions. It's got unsolved cases and it's got felons.
Heuermann is on that list. If there is some kind of match, the algorithms of the CODIS system will find it and link him. And so, you can come up with that information.
Also, there are other bodies there at Gilgo Beach, therearound, in that area. And they have to be connected to somebody. It may not be Heuermann, but it's possible it is.
So we have to wait and see what time tells us.
BURNETT: And, Dr. Kobilinsky, on this front, obviously, we don't know what he's been doing. We don't know how many victims there possibly could've been, right? So, I don't want to imply that every victim is a decade or more ago. It is the reality that the ones he is being charged with right now are a decade old.
So, is there any issue in terms of DNA degrading? When you see his DNA is now in the system and you can cross-reference it with everything, is that good, is the quality of the DNA high enough if you're looking at murders in the past?
KOBILINSKY: Well, if you're looking at old specimens, it may not be. As it turns out, looking -- the example of a hair. A hair has a root and a shaft. The root has good cellular material, and you can do the normal autosomal STR DNA analysis and get a lot of data, very identifying data.
On the other hand, the shaft of the hair doesn't have that same situation. It's got mitochondrial DNA, which is present thousands of times in greater amounts than nuclear DNA. So, when biological specimens decompose, the only thing you've got left is mitochondrial DNA. You find it in hair, you find it in bone, you find it in teeth.
And, so, if it's old evidence, you can do mitochondrial DNA analysis.
BURNETT: Dr. Kobilinsky, thank you.
And, next, the violent protests rocking Israel after a new law targets the Supreme Court of one of America's closest allies.
Plus, the San Francisco Walgreens now locking up frozen foods to deter shoplifters. Our Kyung Lah went to the store and she witnessed three thefts in 30 minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Did that guy pay? Did that guy pay? Did that guy pay? He didn't pay?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, protests in Israel turning violent after an historic vote that's deeply dividing the country. Israeli lawmakers by the slimmest of margins voted to overhaul the justice system, severely limiting the powers of the Supreme Court, a move critics say is pushing Israel towards dictatorship. Biden called it divisive, and the law -- the vote pits the United States against its close ally.
Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT live tonight in Jerusalem.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Israeli police trying to disperse the crowd using water cannon trucks, but facing massive resistance.
For now the protesters are telling us they believe it's so important for them to stay out here right now and voice their anger at the decisions that were made today in Israeli parliament, that they say they are not going to.
As the police try to wrestle them away, anger unloading after parliament with a far-right majority passed a law severely curbing the Supreme Court's power to check the government. Opponents saying democracy is at risk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were trying to do our best to perfect democracy in our country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it has an impact in the world, to see that we are not going down slowly and quietly.
PLEITGEN: It's called the reasonableness bill, and is part of a set of plans to not only cut the Supreme Court's power but also to make it easier for the government to change the makeup of the court itself.
All opposition Knesset members walked out in protest during the vote saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right coalition are destroying Israel's democracy.
In a televised address, Netanyahu firing back.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Today, we performed a democratic need. According to most people of Israel, this is the essence of democracy, to do what the majority wish.
PLEITGEN: But many Israelis, not just those out on the streets of Jerusalem, say they fear for the country's future, says this Israeli actress, Noa Tishby, who was dismissed as an Israeli special envoy for criticizing the judicial overhaul.
NOA TISHBY, ISRAELI ACTRESS & ACTIVIST: The majority of the Israeli population is not behind this particular vote. That's just the truth. But the Israeli people are not going to stop fighting to make sure that Israel stays a liberal democracy, which is strong, safe, and secure.
PLEITGEN: And those scuffles continue well into the night in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities.
(END VIDEOTAPE) PLEITGEN (on camera): And, Erin, one of the things that both sides can agree on is that the rifts here in society between these two groups are essentially getting a lot bigger. The proponents of these measures are saying, look, this is just the beginning, there's going to be further laws, further measures that are going to curtail the powers of the Supreme Court of this country. Whereas the protesters that we spoke to today say they are going to keep coming out until these measures are repealed.
Now, they say they understand it's an uphill battle, but they say they are going to continue to go out on the streets.
BURNETT: Fred, thank you very much live in Jerusalem tonight.
And, next, what's happening at Walgreens. Frozen burritos, mustard, coffee, fake eyelashes now under lock and key under its stores in many cities.
But in San Francisco tonight, so bad that a reporter witnessed three thiefs in 30 minutes at a Walgreens.
Plus, dramatic video of a father trying to smash his way into a hot car in order to save his trapped child.
BURNETT: Tonight, San Francisco businesses fed up with crime. One sandwich shop owner is calling for action after he says he was attacked outside his store. He says he yelled at a man to stop urinating on his trash can and was sucker-punched. His Instagram post about the incident has now gone viral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAN FRAN BIZ OWNER: I'm (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fed up with this goddamned city. It's like -- I can't just be outside and just running a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) business without getting punched in the goddamned face. It shouldn't be this way at all. Like this isn't how our city should be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, it's not clear what was said before the altercation or whether there's even video of it, but San Francisco police have said they are investigating.
It comes as some stores are locking up everything from coffee to frozen food to try to combat theft.
Our Kyung Lah visited one Walgreens that's hit by shoplifters more than a dozen times a day. It happened three times while she was inside.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Richie Greenberg walked into a San Francisco Walgreens when he saw in the frozen food section when he saw this.
RICHIE GREENBERG, SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENT: Chains, heavy chains, that went from padlock to padlock on both sides of the doors. And this was bizarre, something I've never seen before. This is just more icing on the cake telling us that rampant crime is -- has become a regular part of life.
LAH: So typical that in the 30 minutes we were at this Walgreens, we watched three people, including this man steal.
Did that guy pay? Did that guy pay? He didn't pay?
LAH: Walgreens says this Richmond neighborhood store with aisles of products like mustard locked behind plexiglass has the highest theft rate of all their nearly 9,000 U.S. stores, hit more than a dozen times a day when thieves turn to cleaning out ice cream and frozen burritos, workers grew so frustrated, they resorted to the chains. They were ordered down by corporate because of the negative messaging.
But Walgreens isn't the only retailer impacted in San Francisco.
You have to ask an employee for help.
At this store, frozen food is controlled with a cable lock, fake eyelashes locked behind plexiglass, along with lotion and nail polish.
And another grocery store, $14 bags of coffee, under lock and key.
What is this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I don't understand why coffee, I don't know.
LAH: Oh, here she is. Oh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's become kind of like a police state in San Francisco. I don't know how else to describe it.
MARJAN PHILHOUR, SMALL BUSINESS & COMMUNITY ADVOCATE: It's not part of city life. It's not part of the way people should be living, right, and that includes folks who are committing the crimes.
LAH: Marjan Philhour, mom of three, small business and community advocate says these visible problems are leading to renewed activism, driven by residents, like the recall of the city's district attorney last year.
PHILHOUR: I think what we've seen the last couple of years is less toleration, more exasperation and more movement to action by every day San Franciscans to change how their city is run. It's not enough right now, but there is a change, and I think ultimately we will get there. LAH: San Francisco supervisor Matt Dorsey, former police spokesperson
and recovering drug addict, sees the rampant shoplifting as a systemic problem from city leaders to an understaffed police force to the fentanyl crisis.
MATT DORSEY, SAN FRANCISCO SUPERVISOR: When you're seeing that level of retail theft that tends to be sub subsistence level retail theft. People who are --
LAH: People are hungry.
DORSEY: People who are hungry. There is a level of addiction playing out in many parts of our city. It's happening at levels we really haven't seen in San Francisco.
What I'm hearing from my residents and what I'm hearing from San Franciscans is it's time for tough love. We are not doing any addict in this city favors by enabling behavior that is potentially deadly in ways we have never seen.
LAH (on camera): Erin, in a statement to CNN, Walgreens says it is focused on safety and preventative measures but that retail theft remains one of its top challenges.
Here's some important context, though, on the city, Erin. Property crime and violent crime at the end of last year was actually lower than it was before the pandemic, so what's going on here? Low level drug use as well as the sort of retail theft may be considered lower level crimes but they're uniformly and widely felt by so many -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much.
And next, a father smashing a windshield in order to save his baby from a scorching car. A dramatic video after this.
BURNETT: And finally tonight, an update on the baby scene in this viral video being rescued from a scorching car in Texas. You can see the baby's father smashing the windshield with a tire iron. He accidentally locked his keys inside the car after he parked at the grocery store.
Now, at the time, the heat index was about 105 degrees. And a sergeant at the police department tells OUTFRONT the infant was out of the car by the time the police arrived. We're told the baby is doing fine and didn't need further medical attention. Thank goodness for that.
And thanks to all of you for joining us.
"AC360" begins right now.