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Erin Burnett Outfront
Biden Plea Deal On Hold After Off-The-Rails Court Hearing; McConnell Led Away After Freezing Up At News Conference; North Korea Hosts Russia, China For Massive Military Spectacle; UK: Russia Has Changed Posture Since Pulling Out Of Grain Deal; Sheriff On Serial Killer Suspect's Behavior In Jail; Ex-Officials Testify About UFOs, Claims Of "Non-Human" Pilots. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 26, 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, disaster in court. Hunter Biden's plea deal put on hold by a federal judge who questioned whether parts of the deal are even constitutional. What happens now?
Plus, McConnell's health scare today. The Senate minority leader appearing to freeze, unable to speak as he tried to hold a press conference. We have new reporting ahead this hour.
And a woman who worked for serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann speaks out, saying he used to brag about skinning animals and blushed when other women were in the room. This is the sheriff in the case shares new details about Heuermann's life in jail.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a debacle. A federal judge catching the president's son Hunter Biden and his legal team completely off guard, blowing up his deal with the Trump- appointed prosecutor.
Hunter Biden walked into court this morning, thinking it was fait accompli, this was easy, this was just a sort of an open and shut, it's done, he'd be walking out with a plea deal. The deal, he would be spared jail time for illegal possession of a gun in exchange for pleading guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges.
But that is not what happened. In a move that clearly stunned both the Biden team and prosecutors, the judge called the deal into question, even saying, well, is it even constitutional?
Now, CNN was inside the courtroom during the hearing. Biden was seen looking down as a prosecutor was detailing his personal struggles, his earnings, his tax troubles. But then things went south, the deal started to collapse.
And at that point, it became clear that Biden was blindsided. He appeared agitated and worried, according to our reporters who saw him in the room. His brow furrowed as he huddled with his lawyers. How in the world did it get to this point? And you walk into a room,
this is when everything's already done and agreed to, and this just is pushing paper. But that's not what happened.
But how did Hunter Biden and the DOJ not see this coming, not foresee that a judge could have serious questions about the deal?
And Republicans on Capitol Hill are having a field day with this stunning development, further fueling the conspiracy theories they have about the DOJ being biased and working for the Biden White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): It collapsed because it was a sweetheart deal from a family that is being protected, Hunter Biden being the main character.
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Hunter Biden is getting a sweetheart deal that no other American who wasn't rich and had a father as a president would ever get ever.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If you believe the whistle-blowers and what they're saying, no, this was a sweetheart deal, it was corrupt in terms of how it was handled.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, this comes as there are growing calls from Republicans to begin impeachment proceedings against President Biden himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You mean the president will definitely be impeached?
NORMAN: Well, (INAUDIBLE), but it's looking that way. It's not looking good for the president.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: But -- this is rising to the level of impeachment inquiry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sara Murray is OUTFRONT live in Washington.
Sara, this is -- as I said, you go in fait accompli, open and shut. And, wow, what a debacle. What happens now?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, Erin, it was quite a day of twists and turns in this courtroom. As you said, very unusual for something like this to happen when they go in with a plea agreement. But the judge made clear that she wants more information about sort of the legal structure of this agreement. She also wants to be very clear on what exactly Hunter's plea bargain would include. She's giving both sides 30 days to brief her on some of the issues. But this was clearly not the day in court that any of the parties were expecting.
MURRAY (voice-over): Tumultuous day in federal court. Hunter Biden left with no plea deal. After a federal judge said she was not ready to accept it. President Joe Biden's son arrived at federal court today prepared to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges, and to strike a deal to avoid a felony gun charge. After a five-year justice department probe that Hunter Biden once predicted, he would emerge from unscathed.
HUNTER BIDEN, PRESIDENT BIDEN'S SON: I am absolutely certain, 100 percent certain that, at the end of the investigation, that I will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
MURRAY: Instead, Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee, wanted to know if the investigation was over. Prosecutors told her it was ongoing. Then the two sides could not agree if Hunter Biden was at risk of additional charges if he took this deal.
With that, the deal was derailed. Eventually, Hunter Biden's team agreed he was not shielded from further charges, and the deal seemed, for a moment, back on track.
But then the judge raised questions about the gun deal. Is this even constitutional, she asked. And she said she was not ready to sign off on the deal.
The hearing ended with Hunter Biden in a pro forma move, pleading not guilty. The courtroom drama providing another opening for Republican lawmakers who slammed the plea agreement.
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): At least there's some scrutiny going on. The plea deal we saw as it started, was garbage.
HAWLEY: Hunter Biden is getting a sweetheart deal that no other American who wasn't rich or had a father as a president would ever get ever.
MURRAY: Republicans already seeking more information about the Hunter Biden probe after two IRS whistle-blower who's worked on the case claimed there was political interference dating back to the Trump administration and continuing under the Biden administration.
GARY SHAPLEY, IRS WHISTLEBLOWER: There should not be a two-track justice system depending on who are you are and you're connected to.
MURRAY: The White House today reiterating that the president stands by his son, but played no role in the investigation.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This case was handled independently, as all of you know, by the Justice Department under the leadership of a prosecutor appointed by the former president, President Trump. MURRAY: The plea deal was set to cover Hunter Biden's tax
transgressions over a five-year span, his drug issues and his firearm possession charge. Prosecutors say Hunter Biden failed to pay between $1.1 million and $1.5 million in federal taxes. And they highlighted his substantial income from Ukrainian and Chinese energy companies, saying, he did in fact have the funds available to pay his taxes in certain years, but he failed to do so. Instead, prosecutors say he spent wildly on personal luxuries and expenses.
MURRAY (on camera): Now our team in the courtroom today said the judge did address Hunter Biden at the end of this wild hearing, acknowledging, I know you wanted to resolve this, saying, I'm sorry, but saying that she has to be careful in her handling of this.
So, it's very clear, Erin, at least for now, Hunter Biden's legal woes are certainly not over, and neither are his political woes.
BURNETT: Absolutely. All right. Sara, thank you very much.
Now, Sara has laid all that out. Let's bring in Ryan Goodman now, of course, former special counsel of the Defense Department and he's with "Just Security" now. Laura Coates, former federal prosecutor, our chief legal analyst. And the former Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger.
So, thanks very much to all of you.
Let me just start, Laura, with what happened today. As I said, you go in, usually, they're sort of, you know, rubberstamp moments, at least that's the perception. Everyone's got their T's crossed, their I's dotted. Have you ever seen a plea deal like this just fall apart so spectacularly in the way it did?
LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: In this way, absolutely not. In fact, it is so common to have plea colloquy, that's the name of it, when you go through essentially what the defendant is giving up, you ensure that the person is fully aware, and knowledgeable, about what they are signing off on. It's something of a high-profile matter, let alone when this very low profile.
The attorneys go to great lengths to make sure that this plea colloquy moment goes very smoothly. Why? To avoid a debacle such as this. But it seems very clear that from the judges perspective, it was not entirely clear that one thing that really was really the end all, be all, for a case like this in part, which is, with this cover any future prosecution? Did he essentially have a kind of immunity in which he would not be privy to prosecution in the future?
The full scope of the plea was not articulated in a clear enough way for the judge to know and one more additional point here, Erin, normally a judge is not involved in what's called a pre-indictment diversionary program, where the government essentially says, look, you say on the up and up, you will greet our terms, and we are not going to actually charge you with a crime, but we reserve the right to do so.
In this instance, it appears they were asking for the judge to sign off on that in advance and, essentially be a part of the group that decides whether or not Hunter Biden actually has abided by those terms. That's the -- irregularity she was actually pointing to. This entire thing was absurd.
BURNETT: All right. So, I want to ask more about this issue of the further investigations in a moment. But, Ryan, she also raise the, judge, this is to have constitutionality, saying, asking whether the government or the agreement about Hunter Biden's gun offense was even constitutional, right? This was a very basic, you know, specific, it was the right article that she could oversee.
Was she right to raise that concern?
RYAN GOODMAN, JUST SECURITY CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Absolutely. There does seem to be, as Laura just described it, an irregularity in this agreement.
GOODMAN: I call it an anomaly in the sense, same idea, which is the diversionary program is to set Hunter Biden up, as any defendant would be, into something like a rehabilitation program. But if he breaks the conditions for being in that program, then it could trigger a re- prosecution, in which he could then be sentenced.
But that is an executive branch decision, it's a prosecutorial decision. What did the agreement say? It's said that it would be up to judge to make that decision. And she's saying, wait a minute, this was a separation of powers issue. I didn't know that this was constitutional to put me in that role.
BURNETT: Which is amazing if it seems, it's so clear to so many, that this was an issue, that they would walk in again into that room, Laura, and not have seen it themselves.
I mean, I don't know what -- whether lazy is the right word, I don't know. I don't know what happened, but it seems bizarre to me.
Congressman, you know, Republicans have been making the argument that this plea deal was unfair. And now the fact that it's unraveling so spectacularly, they are seizing on that to make their point, calling it a sweetheart deal that wouldn't be available to other people and saying that that is why it unraveled.
Does the collapse of the agreement give more fuel to that Republican fire?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I mean, it definitely gives them more fuel and I think it's unfortunate because the conspiracies that have come out of some of our former colleagues about the DOJ and weaponizing the DOJ is ironic, particularly because the former president of the United States talks constantly about weaponizing the DOJ for his own ends. He tried to fire the acting attorney general, to put in his guy that's going to go in and questioned the election.
So yeah, I do think this definitely will help and I don't know if it's necessarily going to turn any minds in the middle or, you know, currently Democrats, but I think it will kind of embolden their argument. You already hear it. They're all saying sweetheart deals, here's a little inside thing. We get all these, like, words that work, these little things we have to say.
So, evidently, whoever was -- the talking points underlined sweetheart deal and must poll well.
And, Laura, now the point you raise about other investigations into Hunter Biden and what role they played here. I mean, part of the reason this collapsed, in part, was because federal prosecutors said, they confirmed when she asked, is this investigation over? They couldn't say it was over, right? They were saying it remains ongoing, which suggests that there could be other prosecution possible on other issues. Maybe not, who knows? Investigations are still ongoing.
What kind of offenses are we talking about here?
COATES: Well, that's the bizarre aspect of this and you would not have contemplated in negotiated a full 360 deal, but essentially said, look, this is going to close this matter and any other matters, although a prosecutor does not have to give you a lifetime of immunity, so to speak, and say because you have a plea in one context, you will never be prosecuted in the future for any other offense that might either be arising out of this -- which would be abnormal or one that gives you might otherwise commit.
So, there is this --
BURNETT: It would be a sweetheart deal.
COATES: It would be a sweetheart deal.
But let me say on that very point, Erin, when I hear all the political talking points, it seems to suggest that this judge was somehow trying to throw the book at the prosecution because she didn't approve of the leniency involved in the actual deal. No, she was concerned about separation of powers, and having a role almost as a third party to an agreement between the prosecution and the defense, and she wanted to understand, it seems to be, that as any other defendant ought to have the right to know, what are you signing up for?
You are giving up an enormous amount of rights when you say you're going to plead guilty. You don't have the appellate rights. You don't have a jury of your peers.
And so, to suggest that somehow, this judge was giving an attaboy to the talking points that say, hey, see? She also does not like the Hunter Biden deal, that's not what actually the discussion really was about.
BURNETT: So, Ryan, what do you think these other offenses we are talking about here? Obviously, the broader context, anybody watching is well aware, there's a lot swirling around, right? The payments from Burisma, the allegations from the chief, all of that. CNN has done extensive reporting on that as well.
What are we talking about, other investigations?
GOODMAN: Difficult to know. But the judge did speculate, in open court, that it could be that Hunter Biden was acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign actors, foreign power, that could be a foreign party or it could be a foreign government. And that is something that could be part of an ongoing investigation that's not related to tax crimes, not related to gun crimes, and it's not related to drug crimes.
It seems highly plausible that that might be some kind of issue that's still under investigation by the Justice Department and they seem to be saying that there clearly is something there.
BURNETT: And, of course, Congressman, that's what leads to the continued drumbeat about the president. The White House calls this entire case a personal matter. President Biden stayed out of public view today. But obviously, these developments on Hunter Biden come as Republicans have been escalating threats to impeach President Biden.
So, does the collapse of this deal, do you think it moves the needle for moderate Republicans who have been loathe to go along with that rhetoric so far can out jump on board?
KINZINGER: So, it gives them an excuse. So, when you're in that, I was in that position many times, as kind of the -- you know, the moderate, I guess. The temptation is to look for a reason to say, hey, I'm still a reasonable person. However, this is now causing me to reconsider. This can give ammo to that.
I mean, the bigger picture is, look, this is not a case against Joe Biden. It's a case against his son. You know, there's accusations surrounded by the president, but no more and the impeachment inquiry is not just a fact finding mission.
It is a serious thing, but I said back in January that they would impeach Joe Biden, simply because the pressure is going to be so great on other news networks and in the base to do it. So, I think they're going to find any excuse to get there.
I certainly hope some of my former colleagues that are more sane and reasonable actually understand that this is really bad for the country.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.
And next, also on Capitol Hill, the Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just speaking to reporters after appearing to freeze midsentence during a news conference earlier today. He would not say if he had spoken to a doctor. So, what could've caused it?
Dr. Reiner is next, along with Dana Bash. She's been covering McConnell for years in his new reporting this hour.
Plus, top officials from North Korea, China, and Russia all gathered together tonight to celebrate nuclear power in North Korea.
And also, inmates in the prison where the suspected Gilgo beach serial killer is being held are reportedly making threats. Should Rex Heuermann be released into the general population? The sheriff who oversees that jail is OUTFRONT tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking out about a health scare earlier today, where he froze for about 30 seconds during a news conference. Here's what he just told reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The president called to check on me, I told him I got sandbagged.
REPORTER: How are you feeling now, sir? How are you feeling now?
MCCONNELL: I'm fine.
REPORTER: Have you seen a doctor? Are you going to see --
REPORTER: Any idea what happened?
REPORTER: Any idea what happened?
MCCONNELL: I'm fine.
MCCONNELL: Got to watch those sandbags.
REPORTER: Senator, did you talk to a doctor today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are good, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sandbag, of course, with a reference to Joe Biden, right? At his commencement address that McConnell was making.
But here is what happened to McConnell earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: We are on a path to finishing the NDA this week. There's been a good bipartisan cooperation and a string of --
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): Are you okay, Mitch? Anything else you want to say or let's just go back to your office?
BARRASSO: Do you want to say anything else to the press?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead, John.
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): So, this is the -- we are coming up on the one year anniversary of the IRA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. So, it is obviously hard to watch. It was a press conference.
OUTFRONT now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, CNN medical analyst and cardiologist who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush, along with Dana Bash, our chief political correspondent, anchor of "INSIDE POLITICS", and a long time, you know, you've covered McConnell, obviously, for many years, Dana.
So, Dr. Reiner, an aide says McConnell felt light headed and stepped away for a moment. But as I said, that video is hard to watch. He stares off. He's not blinking, more than 20 seconds past. Obviously, this is a crucial individual.
What stands out to you?
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, you're right, it is very difficult to watch somebody have an acute event. And I think what Senator McConnell had was a cute neurologic event. It's important to remember that he had a concussion four months ago, which is basically a traumatic brain injury. And about 10 percent of people who need to be hospitalized for a traumatic brain injury, like Senator McConnell, will suffer from a post-concussion seizure. I think that is what we watched.
The staring straight ahead was really a very, very stark and actually very difficult to watch. I think he had to the kind of seizure that this is sometimes called an Epson seizure. I was glad to see him recover and be able to talk to the press about ten minutes later and then this evening, he even looked better.
So, that is good news, but to me, that is what it looked like. It looked like he had a seizure.
BURNETT: How serious is an event like that, Doctor?
REINER: Well, the other striking thing about watching Senator McConnell is that he looks so frail now. You know, until about a year ago, until six months ago, Senator McConnell was this really vibrant precedence. Now he looked, you know, almost deflated, very, very fragile, and his injury has really taken a toll.
And that is what happens when older people, Senator McConnell is 81 years old, when older people have a traumatic injury, fall. This is sometimes the consequence. They come out of it maybe not the same person.
BURNETT: Dana, you've covered McConnell for years. What are you hearing from your sources tonight?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I spoke to somebody who spoke privately to the Republican leader not long after that incident. He insisted, in private, just as he has done along with his aides in public, that he was fine. He did, as Dr. Reiner said, come back to the microphones. He kept his schedule for the rest of the day.
There may be even in votes tonight, they're waiting to see if there's a deal on the defense bill. And I was told that he has a dinner that he is still intending to attend this evening. But you can definitely see the fear. Obviously, not just for Senator McConnell, but the Republican leaders who are standing around him. They obviously wanted to give him a moment because they didn't know what was happening, but then they finally realized, this is a time where we need to move him away from the cameras.
Yes, he is older and he has been vibrant, but he's also somebody who suffered from polio when he was a young boy and he is not somebody who has always skipped down the hallways. So, yes, you see a bit of a difference there, but not a huge difference, at least to the untrained eye, compared to what Dr. Reiner would see.
BURNETT: And, Dr. Reiner, McConnell did continue his work day after the incident. As you said, you know, you are glad that he did that. Dana mentions he voted and maybe votes even tonight. She just indicated.
But you heard McConnell asked by a few reporters whether he want to see a doctor, he didn't answer. I mean, obviously, that doesn't mean he didn't have, you know, which I'm sure call was made, I can't imagine one was not. But again, in the context of what you're describing, what you think it was, is this something that would, you know, impact his ability to do his job? Or not? Or have more serious consequences?
REINER: Well, I think it speaks to the intensity of the injury that he had in March and, you know, he was in the hospital for several days, then he went to rehab for a couple of weeks. And he didn't return, I think, to the Senate for about six weeks. That really is a long absence after a concussion. So, I think we really know that he had quite a severe injury back in March.
But as for how he would be evaluated now, I think it depends on whether he has had this episode before. If this episode has happened in the weeks and months after the event and has been investigated already, which would typically be with full neurological exam and scan, CT scan, and MRI scan, then there might not be any reason to repeat it now.
But if this is the first time he's had an episode like this where he stopped midsentence, staring into space for, you know, almost a minute, then this would really require a full neurological exam and, you know, imaging today.
BURNETT: So, Dana, what does this mean for his future?
BASH: Well, in the short term, nothing, if you believe what he said. Obviously, making a point to go out to the cameras, to make a joke after he spoke to the president, as you said, the sandbag joke.
BASH: That was kind of an 80-year-old, 81-year-old to an 80 year old something really bad happened in front of the cameras, very inside joke.
But the fact that he is trying to, and his aides, are trying to intentionally say that he is okay means that he has no intention of changing anything, at least in the near term. Look, just by reelection numbers, he's not up until 2026. So, he's got several years and he's absolutely has been determined to try to win back enough seats, finally, in the United States Senate, to become a majority leader again. And I haven't got any indication that that changed today.
BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much. I appreciate it.
And next, Russia ramping up attacks on the key port city of Odesa. Neighborhoods that hadn't been spared now decimated. Does Ukraine need more American Patriot missiles to protect itself? Former U.S. ambassador, Samantha Power, who is just in Odesa, is next.
And a woman who worked for the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer, speaking out, revealing gruesome details about conversations she had with the suspect. The sheriff in the case is next with new details here on the suspect's demeanor behind bars.
BURNETT: Tonight, North Korea, Russia, and China together in Pyongyang, delegations of the highest level, including General Sergei Shoigu, Russia's defense minister, arriving in North Korea, where Kim Jong-un is about to put on a massive military parade to broadcast his nuclear powers. All of this coming as tensions are rising between North Korea and the United States, and the fate of that U.S. soldier who crossed into North Korea is unclear. Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive show of force in the North Korean capital. Pyongyang, marking 70 years since the end of the Korean War. A time for North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, to project nuclear power, with a powerful patron signaling support.
China, sending its highest level delegation to North Korea since 2019, the first since COVID restrictions plunged the secretive state into near total isolation, led by a senior communist party official with close ties to President Xi Jinping.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sending his defense minister to North Korea, a visit to strengthen Russia, North Korea military ties, the ministry says. Two high level visits by Russia and China, coming at a crucial time for Kim's regime, rapidly rising tensions with the U.S., North Korea's longest ever ICBM tests, a barrage of ballistic and cruise missile launches, a rare stopover in South Korea by a nuclear capable U.S. submarine and one week ago, an American soldier surprised sprint into North Korea. U.S. Army private, Travis King, the first active duty U.S. service member to cross the heavily armed border in more than 40 years.
The Korean DMZ, the demilitarized zone, is one of the most heavily fortified border areas in the world. That's the reason why you have barricades and spike strips, and all of these military checkpoints, to try to prevent people from being able to go in or come out.
I've made several trips to the North Korean side of the DMZ, including this visit in 2015.
Is there a real danger here of something breaking out? Yes?
That ominous exchange with a North Korean soldier came true last week. A U.S. soldier sprinting across the military demarcation line during a tour of the heavily armed joint security area.
GEN. ANDREW HARRISON, DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE UNC: Clearly, we are in a very difficult and complex situation.
RIPLEY: A situation some say should never have happened. Private King was being sent home to be booted from the army. He spent almost 50 days in a South Korean jail for assault, but somehow managed to join a tour group visiting the DMZ. King's name, on a passenger manifest, approved by the United Nations Command.
How could that person's name, in any situation, be allowed to actually get so close where they can run across, you know, into North Korea?
HARRISON: That one going inquiry seeks to establish details such as those.
RIPLEY: The State Department says North Korea acknowledged receiving a message from the U.N. Command last week. Radio silence ever since.
King's condition, his location, his future in North Korean captivity, unknown.
RIPLEY (on camera): What we do know, Erin, is that that soldier is likely very low on Kim Jong Un's priority list right now. He just met with Russia's defense minister. He got a letter hand delivered from Vladimir Putin. We know that North Korea has a stockpile of artillery, maybe for sale, maybe they're talking to the Russians about that.
Of course, they have this huge Chinese delegation in town as well. There are banquets, there's going to be this big military spectacle on the streets of Pyongyang, likely in the overnight hours here, and North Korea's sitting pretty. The elite sitting pretty in Pyongyang, getting things that they need, borders reopening. No need to talk to the United States about the soldier.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Will Ripley.
And I want to go now to Samantha Power, the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Also the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and she just returned from Ukraine.
And, Administrator Power, I want to talk to you about Ukraine and your most recent visit in just a moment. But first, on the back of Will's reporting, these high-level leaders from China and Russia altogether with Kim Jong-un in North Korea coming as, you know, Putin handed that letter from Putin's hand-delivered but General Shoigu to Kim Jong-un and announcing an official trip from Putin to China later this year.
When you put all this together, do you think China is backing Putin more than ever?
SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: Well, I think just panning out from one moment in time in a very isolated country where Russia is establishing its popularity.
Russia is also convening an Africa leader summit in not too long, in the next week, where attendance at that summit has plummeted from the last time that it tried to convene African leaders. I think 16 or 17 leaders will attend. Last time, 43. When President Biden extended invitations African leaders, all were invited attended, 49 leaders.
So, Russia's isolation actually is, I think, not getting addressed by mass disinformation in the Global South, by visits like this that tried to play up the allies he has left.
With regard to the PRC, obviously, we engage the PRC and would find it deeply problematic, as would so many countries in the Global South if military assistance were provided.
But right now, again, our focus is to solidify and maintain the solid allied coalition that has existed since the beginning of the full scale invasion. And you see in the wake of Russia's really horrific and devastating decision to pull out of the Black Sea grain initiative, real revolution in a lot of developing countries and the PRC is very mindful of what public opinion and developing countries indicates. Indeed, the PRC is one of the major recipients of wheat that had been coming from Ukraine, from the Black Sea.
So, we are hopeful that in the dialogue that exists in North Korea, and every place else, that Beijing is raising its voice and its concern over what Putin is doing. And we would note also that when Putin struck Odesa in the wake of my visit there, it was actually the Chinese consulate that shook and, itself, was damage in those strikes. So, there's a lot to talk about.
BURNETT: Right and certainly, that was very notable. Actually, that was something that Michael Bociurkiw, resident of the port city of Odesa, a frequent guest on the show, wrote about when he was writing about the strikes that he is living through day after day in Odesa right now.
You know, you point out that regarding this great deal, Ukraine is crucial and it is, right? It's one of the world's largest suppliers of green, corn, wheat, everything, right? Was known as the bread basket of the former USSR for a reason. The World Food Programme gets 80 percent of its grain from Ukraine.
And Michael Bociurkiw, who I had just mentioned, also wrote, Administrator, quote, as much as words of condemnation from austere body such as UNESCO have become a customer response to Russian aggression, words don't repel missiles the way the Patriots do.
Do you support more Patriot missiles now, as a way to provide security to Odesa, to provide security for this food that the world so desperately needs?
POWER: Well, I met with President Zelenskyy the day after, actually, the most severe strikes on Odesa, and again, just the day after I had been in Odesa myself. And we discussed a variety of ways of defending a city that had actually been relative to other Ukrainian cities, relatively immune to the kind of bombardment missile strikes, in part, because of this U.N. broker deal and offered to kind of collateral protection, it seems.
And you saw that earlier this year, week, the United States announced a new drawdown, a new security assistance package. I've just been up on Capitol Hill all day today engaging senators about our next request for, you know, additional resources on the civilian side which, of course, will be coupled with security assistance.
So, the last thing I'm going to do on behalf of President Biden's preview where that assistance will go. But it's very clear that now that Odesa is a target, that thinking collectively among allies and partners to Ukraine about what the next step is is very important. And I would say that out of the Vilnius summit, the Ukraine NATO Council was created and actually had an emergency meeting this week in light of Russia's decision to pull out of the Black Sea grain initiative, to discuss what additional defenses are needed.
BURNETT: And, Administrator, because of your specific view on this, right now, in your role, how worried are you about a full scale global food crisis? If Russia continues these attacks and forces the blockade, and stop that grain?
POWER: I'm really worried. You know, wheat prices are up as of midday today, they were up 10 percent since Russia pulled out. But I'm not only worried. We are working with Ukrainians to look to diversify their export routes and, indeed, you've probably heard about, you know, working by real, river, road, the Danube River ports have increased from 3 million metric tons a year to just shy of 3 million metric tons a month, actually, leaving Ukraine.
So, we are not going to sit idle and wait for Putin to change his mind. I do think this Africa leader summit that he's competing, I'm hopeful, will be an occasion where African leaders will try to press him to go back to the deal, given the stakes among the poorest of the poor communities in the world. But we are going to have to compensate in some fashion as more hungry people are created by Putin's decision to weaponize food and to try to destroy the Ukrainian economy.
BURNETT: Administrative Power, thank you very much, I appreciate your time tonight.
POWER: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. And next, disturbing new details emerging about the suspect in the Gilgo Beach murders. One woman who worked for him says Rex Heuermann used to blush at the sight of women. The sheriff in the case is next.
And claims of a cover-up, former officials say the U.S. has evidence of aliens and UFOs, and is not sharing it to the public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have said that U.S. and has intact spacecraft. You've said that the government has alien bodies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to be careful to describe what I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, a woman who worked for the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer is speaking out.
Mary Shell revealing that Rex Heuermann, who was charged with three murders so far, like to share graphic details about butchering animals he hunted down, saying, quote, more than once he gleefully described the process of dressing the game, seeming to delight in grossing his employees out. He would also blush at the sight of female staff, according to Shell, who will be my guest tomorrow night.
But this coming as the Long Island town that Heuermann lives and is reportedly looking to buy his home. He purchased this six room home in 1994 for $170,000. It's 1,323 square feet. The estimated value now on Zillow is $635,000. Heuermann, of course, may likely never see it again. Heuermann is in jail tonight as authorities continue to go through the massive amount of evidence that they found there, and that's how they described it, as massive.
Joining me now, the Suffolk County sheriff, Errol Toulon. And Rex Heuermann is being held in the Suffolk County jail tonight. Sheriff Toulon runs that facility.
And, Sheriff, I appreciate your time. I'm glad to have you back.
You know, a few days ago when you and I spoke, you had seen Heuermann yourself on three occasions. Have you seen him again since we last spoke? And if so, is there anything you can share with us about that interaction?
SHERIFF ERROL D. TOULON, JR., SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK: Well, now, Mr. Heuermann is out of protocol. So, now, he is able to engage in a normal services that any inmate in our facility can engage. And he has participated in yard, he is receiving mail, he is making phone calls. And so, he is acclimating I guessed for the best of his ability to his new confinement.
BURNETT: Have you -- have you been able to speak to him again in any way, or not at this point?
TOULON: You know, I've spoken to him and introduced myself. You know, I'm the sheriff of the jail, and I do speak to all the inmates that are in our, you know, in our custody as I'm making tours. It's very nondescript. There is nothing unusual about the conversation, it was just a yes.
He has been interacting with my staff, and speaking to my staff regarding various things. He has been watching television. I don't know what he has been watching. He has not been reading anything no periodicals or no newspapers. And so, it's really, for us it is a status quo and standard operating business with a regular inmate in our custody.
Of course, it is a little different because of the crime he is accused of committing.
BURNETT: So, let me ask, you mention that calls, also mail. Is there anything you can tell us about that? It's all of that coming from media organizations, or other members of his family or other personal interactions that he is having through either of those means of communication.
TOULON: The calls are outgoing calls, so there is no incoming calls to him. So we do not monitor who is calling whenever he is going to make a phone call. And the mail is really checking, his legal mail is never searched, but his nail like any other parts of mail in our custody will be checked to make sure that there is no contraband, but the mail is not read as to who is sending the mail, and what is being said, and in that particular piece of mail.
BURNETT: So, obviously, okay, so this may surprise some, honestly to hear, this sheriff, that you are not monitoring his calls, you are not getting mail. I mean, these are the -- these are the rules, these are the procedures, and the extent to him as well as two other inmates. I know your plan when you and I last book was to move into the general population.
And you mentioned he's participating in the yard. Does that mean that's happened? He is now interacting with other prisoners in a normal way and with them in yard and other things?
TOULON: Now, his recreation now is solely for himself, we do not have them interacting with anyone else in the general population for his protection and also the protection of the other inmates, and of course my staff.
BURNETT: So, correction officials in your jail I know have been also grilling other sex workers as they are booked there, about any past run-ins with Heuermann. They've been trying to gain information that you can, Sheriff.
Has anything come from those conversations at this point?
TOULON: You know, we have two females that were formerly in our custody, that have said, an additional two that said they'd come across this, this just came into my desk, I was notified maybe an hour ago. So this still has to be vetted, because one of the things that we were concerned about when we did start into dealing with an influx of people, saying that they had met him or they have interact with him, and not necessarily being true because maybe they want their 15 minutes of fame.
And so my staff is really going to vet these additional females to see if they actually did come in contact with him, and then see what that contact was. And see if that can lead us in any other possible direction.
BURNETT: Which I understand completely, that you want to do that, are there any details about these women? Obviously not knowing whether what they are saying is true or not, but any details about them that stands out? I mean, obviously I imagine just to confirm that they are sex workers?
TOULON: Correct, they are sex workers. And it's one of the first things I asked, ironically. I want to know their height, their ethnicity. Just to see if they fit in the general framework of what this victims of Mr. Heuermann.
So, you know, they are little older now. They are not younger sex workers. So that is why it is very important for my staff to actually vet their, you know, through investigation. You know, what they're saying about the possible interaction with him, just to validate their statements.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Sheriff, I appreciate your time as always. Thank you.
TOULON: Thank you for having me on.
BURNETT: All right. Good to see you again.
And next, former officials testifying that the U.S. government is not being upfront about UFOs and, quote, nonhuman pilots, or aliens.
And the music world has lost a powerful voice. Sinead O'Connor, provocative Irish singer, has died.
BURNETT: Tonight, former officials declaring under oath for the first time that the U.S. government is in possession of UFOs and nonhuman pilots. As one congressman, put it, quote, alien bodies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has any of the activity been aggressive?
DAVID GRUSCH (RET), FORMER AIR FOCE INTELLIGENCE OFFICER; WHISTLEBLOWER: I know of multiple colleagues of mine that caught physically injured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that the government has alien bodies.
GRUSCH: I have to be careful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen any of the bodies?
GRUSCH: That is something that I am not a witness to myself, biologics came with some of these recoveries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Human or nonhuman?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, are they saying that there is alien life and the U.S. government has been hiding it? I mean, it's sort of and believable when you think about what they are saying. Whether this is real.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole fleet of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My gosh. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa! Got it!
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Something is out there, we don't know what and we ought to be concerned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were primarily seeing dark gray or black hue inside of a clear sphere.
FOREMAN: That was the message from all the witnesses about unidentified anomalous phenomenon, UAPs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe UAPs pose a potential threat to our national security?
DAVID FRAVOR (RET.), FORMER U.S. NAVAL COMMANDER: Yes, you are talking something that can go into space, go someplace, dropped down in a matter of seconds. Do whatever it wants and leave. And there is nothing that we can do about it. Nothing.
FOREMAN: Back with videos released by the government and their own firsthand observation of what are more commonly called UFOs, he three retired military men, two former Navy pilots and a former Air Force intelligence officer described a mysterious somethings, objects, lights, with astonishing capabilities.
RYAN GRAVES (RET.), FORMER NAVY FIGHTER PILOT: These objects were staying completely stationary in category four hurricane winds. The same objects would then accelerate to supersonic speeds, 1.1 or 1.2 mach. And they would do so in very erratic and quick behaviors that we don't -- I don't have an explanation for.
FOREMAN: And when the witnesses started talking about what they claim they had been told. It went even further, albeit with no proof in tow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that the government has alien bodies, or alien species.
GRUSCH: I have to be careful to describe what I have seen firsthand in this environment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen any of the bodies?
GRUSCH: That is something that I'm not witnessed myself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is huge. This is worldwide.
FOREMAN: The whole spectacle was enough to have some committee members openly accusing the government of a cover-up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's unacceptable to continue to gaslight Americans into thinking that this is not happening.
FOREMAN: While others like the witnesses were calling for more open reporting procedures or anyone who sees anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't be afraid of asking questions, that we can't be afraid of the truth.
FOREMAN: So, yeah this was a red letter day for true believers out there, people who really believe that there are some other visitors to Earth, there are some unknown things in the sky, very, very excited about the testimony there as you heard. However, for many skeptics, there remains this notion of, look, we don't really know what they saw. And what is science, what is fiction? Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you very much.
And next, Sinead O'Connor, the gifted singer, who didn't shy way from controversy, sadly, has died at the age of 56.
BURNETT: Tonight, Irish singer Sinead O'Connor has died, according to Ireland's public broadcaster. She was only 56. She was, of course, perhaps best known for this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BURNETT: That iconic video sent her career to new heights, but fame did not grant her immunity from suffering. She was open about struggles with addiction and mental health and she was distraught after the death of her 17-year-old son by suicide last year. No cause of death is publicly known tonight.
Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" begins now.