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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Hours Away From His 3rd Arrest In 4 Months; OutFront Speaks To Attorney For Eastman, Alleged Co-Conspirator; Growing Speculation About Meadows' Role In Trump Case; Security Barriers Up In Fulton County, Georgia As D.A. Fani Willis Says Trump Case Is "Ready To Go"; Video Into OutFront: Kamikaze Strike In Eastern Ukraine; Why It Took 4 Years for Biden To Acknowledge 7th Grandchild. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 02, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump in court. The former president expected to face a judge in person in less than 24 hours as his attorney lays out Trump's defense, claiming Trump was just following orders from a trusted attorney, John Eastman. Eastman's attorney is OUTFRONT, along with famed constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe.

Plus, up in flames. Putin's military recruitment centers are being attacked against Russia. Who is behind it, and we have new details tonight on why Russian priests are telling fighters that their mission is to die.

And just into CNN tonight, we have new reporting on what finally convinced President Biden to publicly acknowledge his seventh grandchild, Hunter Biden's 4-year-old daughter Navy.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Trump headed to court. In less than 24 hours, former President Donald J. Trump will make his first court appearance in Washington, on charges related trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Now, his appearance as we understand it right now is scheduled for 4:00 Eastern. Now, Trump will have his fingerprints taken digitally. Now, a mugshot will not be taken. This is according to a U.S. Marshals' spokesperson.

But at this hour, security at the D.C. courthouse is extremely tight. Police are monitoring online chatter for potential threats, Secret Service, law enforcement agencies also doing dry runs, they're walking through the building. All of this is unfolding now just hours before Trump arrives in the city.

Capitol Hill is also on high alert. Today, there was a security scare that sent staffers running. Tomorrow, of course, marks Trump's third arraignment in four months. The first for allegedly falsifying business records, the second related to classified documents. And now, of course, in less than 24 hours, Trump is expected to plead not guilty to four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States of America.

Well, the frontrunner in the Republican presidential field is facing a whopping 78 criminal total charges, 78 charges in three separate criminal cases.

Now, Trump's attorney in the January 6th case is arguing Trump's efforts to overturn the election were based on legal advice from conservative attorney John Eastman. He is one of the six co- conspirators in Trump's indictment.


JOHN LAURO, TRUMP ATTORNEY: What President Trump had was an actual opinion of counsel that his request to Vice President Pence was completely lawful and completely constitutional.

INTERVIEWER: He also had many, many opinions of his own White House counsel that that was not legal.

LAURO: No, you're entitled to believe and trust advice of counsel. You have one of the leading constitutional scholars in the United States, John Eastman, say to President Trump, this is a protocol that you can follow, it's legal. That eliminates criminal intent.


BURNETT: So he's laying it all on John Eastman.

Well, the special counsel alleges that Eastman was one of the architects behind Trump's attempts to overturn the election. In a moment, I'm going to speak exclusively with Eastman's attorney, because all of this comes as "The New York Times" is shedding new light on who could be co-conspirator number six in Trump's indictment.

This person is described as a political consultant who helped implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding. And according to "The New York Times," Boris Epshteyn, a strategic adviser to Trump's 2020 campaign may be the individual. This is based on an email sent to Rudy Giuliani in December of 2020, which is referenced in the indictment.

That email, according to "The Times" reads, in part, quote: Dear mayor, as discussed, below are the attorneys I would recommend for the memo on choosing electors.

So far, Epshteyn's attorney is refusing to comment on this report. But there is so much to get to tonight.

I want to begin with Evan Perez because he is outside the federal courthouse where Trump will appear tomorrow in Washington.

And, Evan, what more are you learning about what exactly is going to happen tomorrow? EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, there's a

lot of security preparation to what is really going to be a very, very short hearing with this magistrate judge tomorrow here at the courthouse behind me. We expect that the former president is going to be brought in very quickly into the courthouse. The fingerprinting process, the processing process should be a lot faster because, of course, this was done very, very recently down by the U.S. Marshals down in Miami for the other case, the Mar-a-Lago case.

We expect that the hearing will also include an arraignment. He will be informed of the charges. And then the judge will begin setting a schedule for a possible trial.


We know that he has drawn a very tough judge.


PEREZ: And that judge has expressed her intentions that anybody who had something to do with January 6th, that they should face the consequences. Of course, you know, Erin, that this is a courthouse that's right across from the west front of the Capitol where a lot of the most horrific violence happened on January 6th.

And she has also been very tough on the former president. She wrote the very strong opinion saying that presidents are not kings when she turned back his attempt to try to keep his White House records from the January 6th Committee.

So we expect that this is going to be the beginning of a process that should get a trial that could happen within a year. Now, the former president, of course, wants to delay this beyond the election. We'll see whether Judge Tanya Chutkan will agree with that -- Erin.

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

And, as promised now, I'm joined by John Eastman's attorney, Charles Burnham. He is representing multiple clients in special counsel's Jack Smith investigation. But we are focusing on Eastman tonight.

And I very much appreciate your time, Charles. Let me just start to try to understand where exactly your client stands. Obviously, he's labeled co-conspirator number 2 in the indictment.

Just to be clear, has your client, John Eastman, been indicted at this time?

CHARLES BURNHAM, ATTORNEY FOR JOHN EASTMAN: No. Well, thank you very much for having me on. And absolutely no, John Eastman has not been indicted on this time. We very much think he should not be.

BURNETT: So, have you been in touch with the special counsel's office since the indictment was revealed yesterday?

BURNHAM: We have not. BURNETT: Okay. Now, is there any chance that your client would

cooperate with the special counsel Jack Smith?

BURNHAM: Well, I think it depends on what you mean by Cooperate. Dr. Eastman is happy to tell his side of the story, to talk about the issues he believes are important to the Constitution and the country. And under the right circumstances certainly he would share those views and share his recollections of everything that happened in 2020 with the special counsel.

But if by cooperation you mean flipping on Donald Trump or providing incriminating information, then absolutely not, simply because those aren't the facts of this case, as it pertains to Dr. Eastman.

BURNETT: And I want to get to those in a moment. But you say under the right circumstances, but you don't want to -- you don't describe it as flipping. What are the right circumstances would that be? Immunity from prosecution or from indictment or -- I mean, obviously, he's in this indictment listed as a co-conspirator. So people anticipate that there likely will be an indictment.

So I'm just trying to understand what does "under the right circumstances" mean?

BURNHAM: Well, I think if we thought that there was an opportunity to engage with special counsel in a manner that we could be assured that they had an open mind about the truth and we could attempt to explain some of the circumstances that might've led them to name him as an unindicted co-conspirator because we do believe there are some serious misunderstandings. If you read the indictment, there's much I could talk about, about that.


BURNHAM: And under the right circumstances, we'd be happy to have that dialogue with Mr. Smith or with his assistant, certainly we would.

BURNETT: OK. All right. But if I -- if I am trying to understand what you're saying that there would be some sort of immunity involved, you're talking about the misunderstandings, as you see them in here, that would be fair?

BURNHAM: Certainly, I mean, immunity would be great. We'd be happy to receive it, but I'm not sitting here saying we would insist on that.

BURNETT: So you'd do it for less than immunity?

BURNHAM: Oh, certainly, certainly.

BURNETT: Like what?

BURNHAM: Because Dr. Eastman has nothing to hide in the situation. He's been very open about his role. He's made numerous TV appearances. He's written articles on it.

He's been very much an open book, as his attorneys have, to a certain extent, about his activities in 2020. He has nothing to hide, he committed no crimes. And under the right circumstances, we look forward to having that dialogue with the special counsel.

BURNETT: So let me get to the heart of this then, because what I just played, and I know you heard a moment ago, Mr. Lauro, Trump's current lawyer speaking this morning. His defense, the former president's defense, is to say that your client told him what to do, and he just did it.

He said, and I quote him this morning, there you saw him with Savannah. You had one of the leading constitutional scholars in the United States, John Eastman, say to President Trump, this is a protocol that you can follow, it's legal. That eliminates criminal intent.

So he's blaming your client, not his. Is Trump throwing Eastman under the bus?

BURNHAM: Absolutely not. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about that. And I respectfully disagree with the phrasing that he's blaming our client. In fact, I have absolutely no qualms with any of the statements from Mr. Lauro on your show. He's made a couple other statements to that effect.

Dr. Eastman was President Trump's attorney and Mr. Trump did have a right to rely on his advice. Dr. Eastman stands by that advice, and he'd give largely the same advice, I think, if the situation repeated itself today. And that's really is the heart of this case.


I agree with you, Dr. Eastman is now looking at possibly the threat of indictment for acting as an attorney, making arguments on behalf of his client, prosecuting attorneys for doing that which is their jobs, I submit, would be a very troubling prospect if the special counsel indeed takes that step.

BURNETT: So, you dispute that Trump's lawyer saying that his counsel told him to do this, and therefore it's fine, it's not Trump's problem, that is not throwing Trump under the bus?

BURNHAM: I don't think it's throwing John Eastman under the bus. I don't interpret that at all --

BURNETT: I'm sorry, throwing John Eastman under the boss, I misspoke, yeah.

BURNHAM: That's correct. I don't interpret it as throwing him under the bus at all. I have no problem with Mr. Lauro's statements at all.

BURNETT: OK. All right. So, let me understand why then? Because what the indictment alleges that your client did, of course, in terms of the advice, crucial advice, they lay out meetings, they talk about who is in these meetings early in January, before January 6th, January 4th and January 5th, Eastman, your client, meets with the president, the vice president, and the defendant, Trump, and Eastman ask the vice president to either unilaterally reject the legitimate electors from the seven targeted states or send the question of which elector slate was legitimate to the state legislatures. So they say that happened.

The next day they say it happened again on the morning of January 5th at Trump's direction. There's this meeting with Eastman. Eastman advocates that the vice president do what he preferred the day before, unilaterally reject electors from the targeted states.

This is the heart of the matter, that Trump is saying that your client told Pence to go ahead and do it, reject the electors from the states, it's fine, there's no problem with it. Did that not happen?

BURNHAM: Well, I would add a little bit of nuance there. Dr. Eastman is on record several times stating that his recommended course of action was not to unilaterally reject the electors peremptorily on January 6th. His recommendation, this was repeated by President Trump in his remarks at the ellipse, was simply to send the matter back to the states, many of the legislatures of which had yet to complete their investigations of the various allegations that were out there, for them to do whatever investigation they thought -- they saw fit pursuant to their power as state legislatures, and then report back to Vice President Pence and the Electoral College on whatever their findings were.

In Dr. Eastman's longer memo, which has been in the public domain for a long time, spells out several situations, three or four situations, in which this process might've resulted in affirming now President Biden's victory. So it wasn't simply a scheme to keep President Trump in power by whatever means necessary. Everybody involved knew that this process could result in nothing other than Biden and Vice President Harris being inaugurated as they were.

BURNETT: So, let me -- the further point though, then that happens in this indictment. It says on January 4th, that your client, John Eastman, met with the president and vice president, and then asked Pence to unilaterally reject or send the slates back to legislatures, as you and I are talking about.

The indictment then goes on to say, Charles, on that same day, when Eastman acknowledged to the defendant's senior adviser that no court would support his proposal, the senior adviser told Eastman you're going to cause riots in the streets. Eastman responded that there had previously been points in nation's history where violence was necessary to protect the republic.

Now, on this point, Charles, the takeaway here, of course, is not veiled. The line says that your client felt that this was a point in history where violence could be justified to protect the republic. Is that accurate, does he stand by that?

BURNHAM: Oh, absolutely not. And I have two points to make about that. The first is those allegations, being familiar with the investigation of this case, are drawn from the one-sided recounting of that conversation from Mr. Jacob is the individual referred to there. So, I would ask your viewers to --

BURNETT: That's the senior adviser.

BURNHAM: That's right, to the chief counsel of Vice President Pence.

I would just ask your viewers to imagine if they were ever involved in a contentious argument, how they would feel if the substance of that argument were to be communicated to the world solely by their adversary, right? I'm not accusing Mr. Jacob of anything, but that's just his version of what happened, right?

And there is significant nuance there. Dr. Eastman never called for violence or anything close to that. It was simply a discussion of what would likely happen if some of the issues that the two gentlemen were debating were to make their way through the courts, and there's much more we would add to the highly selective presentation of that conversation included in the indictment, which is a common problem we've seen in this indictment that there's a quote here, and a quote there, and the full context isn't there.

And, of course, Jack Smith doesn't have to put the defense case in his indictment. There's no obligation for him to do that. But I think it's important for everybody to understand that when you see these three or four-word quotes in the indictment, there's more than will be eventually added to that story and the conversation with Mr. Jacob is a perfect example of that.

BURNETT: All right. So, just to understand, though, you're just saying context is missing.


You're not saying he didn't say what's in here.

BURNHAM: I'm not conceding the quote at all that some aspects of Mr. Jacob's characterizations are accurate or at least roughly accurate. Some are not. And anything involving calling for violence we would dispute certainly.


BURNHAM: That's completely inconsistent with everything else the world knows about Dr. John Eastman. It's --


BURNETT: I do -- and obviously he has been a world-renowned constitution -- nationally renowned constitutional scholar, which is why he is at the heart of this.

Let me just ask one other thing to understand because there are some very specific allegations in here. We just talked about a couple of them. There are others.

When Jack Smith lays out accusations involving your client in terms of organizing the fraudulent slates of electors, just in Arizona. He says the Arizona House speaker explained that state investigators had uncovered no evidence of substantial fraud in the state. Eastman concedes that he didn't know enough about facts on the ground in Arizona, but nonetheless, told the Arizona House speaker to decertify and let the court sort it out. The Arizona House speaker refused, stating that he would not play with the oath he had taken to uphold the United States Constitution and Arizona law.

The Arizona House speaker, Charles, of course, is Rusty Bowers. Did your client tell him to decertify the results and let the court sort it out?

BURNHAM: No, not in those terms or anywhere close to that. And I think that's the important point. Dr. Eastman's role in this is he was not a forensic investigator. He wasn't there examining the machines or going through the ballots. He was the constitutional scholar.

So his main role with respect to state legislatures in particular, as you mentioned, was to educate state legislators on their constitutional power in elections, which many of them, through no fault of their own, just certainly weren't familiar with. So, with respect to Arizona, and other states, Georgia, Dr. Eastman educated the legislatures on what the Constitution said about their power in elections. And it was largely up to them to look at the investigations, consider the evidence, and decide if there was any basis to exercise that authority.

And the important thing to remember is before any state legislature could take any action with respect to the election, a majority of that body, these are representatives elected by the people, accomplished individuals, would have to vote in favor of that. If Dr. Eastman or whoever else was making similar arguments couldn't convince a majority of the state legislature that they had the power and grounds existed to use it, then nothing would happen, as ultimately nothing did happen.

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

BURNHAM: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

BURNETT: All right. Charles Burnham as I said is representing John Eastman, who is at the core of this.

OUTFRONT now, Laurence Tribe, constitutional law expert and Harvard law school professor.

Professor, let me give you a chance to respond. You heard him say that his client does not have an issue with President Trump saying that he did everything he did at the recommendation and behest of John Eastman, and then he says that that is not throwing John Eastman under the bus.

LAURENCE TRIBE, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, I don't know what bus they're talking about. And I also don't know what kind of constitutional expert John Eastman is. I know he's an advocate. I've never read any significant scholarship he wrote, except this crazy theory about the independent state legislatures, which even a very conservative U.S. Supreme Court decisively rejected, rejected just this June.

But I'm looking at the details of the indictment, all 45 pages. I recommend that after the kind of gobbledygook that we just heard, that your readers actually read it, the context is all there. It's a masterpiece.

And in particular, I mean, here's an example. Paragraph 122, at 11:44 p.m. on the infamous day --


TRIBE: -- January 6th, there was a statement quoted from co- conspirator 2, John Eastman, this is an email. He said, I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation of the Electoral Count Act just to postpone everything for ten days so the legislatures could perform this crazy function, which the U.S. Supreme Court said they can't perform without complying with their own state constitutions.

This is all nonsense. There is no constitutional defense. When John Eastman is indicted, we can listen to what kind of defense he has.

But I know the law in this area. I've taught it for 50 years. There's no defense here. They're simply playing for time. They want the American people to say we don't care if these people were going to overthrow the election.

Judge Carter, David Carter, a distinguished federal judge in California, in March of 2022, said that if the plot that John Eastman and Donald Trump were hatching together had succeeded, we would have ended our democracy.


We would no longer have a peaceful transition of power to the official winner of an election. That is serious. We don't -- I don't think lawyers should play games about things like this.

BURNETT: Well, you know, I want to play a little bit more of what Trump's attorney said today, right, about his defense. Because Trump, who has been indicted, obviously, is making his defense of, well, it was Eastman who told me what to do. Let me play part of what he said.


LAURO: You had one of the leading constitutional scholars in the United States, John Eastman, say to President Trump, this is a protocol that you can follow, it's legal. That eliminates criminal intent.


BURNETT: Okay. Does it eliminate criminal intent?

TRIBE: No. All of his own lawyers, the White House counsel, all of the real lawyers were telling him you can't do this. We just heard Vice President Pence, former Vice President Pence say today that the kooky lawyers were concocting these schemes. We know that even Donald Trump is smart enough to know that he doesn't have the power to have his own vice president put him in power over the election of the people of the United States.

What's he going to do? Is he going to say that Kamala Harris could put Biden in power if it looks like the Electoral College has gone for Trump? It's nonsense.

That's not the way it works, folks. It's not the way the rules are written. The Electoral Count Act, the Constitution, it's -- they're making it up. And for any defendant to say, I can plan to overthrow the election as long as I can find some crazy lawyer somewhere to tell me, oh, you've got the power, you can do it, whatever you want because you're president, that's what he has said.

He's basically said, I'm president, I have all the powers, look at article two. The fact that you find somebody to say that doesn't mean that you've got a legal defense. This indictment very carefully shows that all of the people involved knew that they were making it up as they went along, there was no evidence. Sometimes they say, oh, but we have theories.

Well, theories are very nice in a classroom, I love teaching. But you don't overthrow an election on the basis of theories. You need facts.

There were no facts here. They lost all of the lawsuits where they tried to float these nonsense ideas. And now, they're basically saying to the American people, even if this trial is over with, even if there is a conviction, put us back in power, we'll pardon ourselves and we'll go on, but there will never be another free and fair election.

BURNETT: Point number three in the indictment, of course, was, you know, in a sense, it seems like Jack Smith trying to say, you have a right to say that an election is stolen. If you want to say it, that's a First Amendment right. You have a right to falsely claim an election is stolen. That's a right.

To try to put it out there, that this isn't a First Amendment issue. And, yet, that is what we are hearing from Trump's team, right? Trump's attorney saying this is an attack on free speech.

So, how do you, as someone who spent 50 years in this space talking about political speech, if the indictment says you can go ahead and falsely claim this, that is free speech, but that's not what this is about. Did the indictment make the case?

TRIBE: The indictment makes the case completely. The fact that words are used doesn't mean it's free speech. I can say give me your -- like a holdup note at a bank, give me your money or I'll shoot your head up. That's speech, but it's also bank robbery.

You know, you can say that all the money in the U.S. mint belongs to me. But the moment you start grabbing it, that's not speech anymore. Even if you use words to grab it, that doesn't give you a free speech defense. Give me a break. BURNETT: All right. Professor Tribe, I appreciate your time. Thank


TRIBE: Thanks.

BURNETT: And, next, new signs pointing to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, possibly cooperating with Jack Smith. Did he flip on his old boss, and how crucial is he in this 45-page indictment? A special report on him coming up.

Plus, all eyes are on Georgia now, where any day Trump could be indicted for a third time. The Fulton County sheriff is OUTFRONT on his preparations for a possible indictment, and why he says Trump would be treated like any other defendant, fingerprints, mugshots and all.

And new video into OUTFRONT tonight of Ukraine's gains in the south and east, as Ukraine steps up attacks in Moscow. Zelenskyy's adviser telling OUTFRONT there is much more to come.



BURNETT: New tonight, growing speculation that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is cooperating with the Justice Department, and, in fact, may have been doing so for a long time. This after he was not named as a co-conspirator in special counsel's Jack Smith's indictment of Donald Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. This is despite Meadows being a major witness in all of the meetings related to that effort.


DENVER RIGGLEMAN (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Mark Meadows at this point -- and you're right, Joe -- at this point was not, as far as a definition, not on the descriptors for the co-conspirators. For him not to be on there is just a massive indicator.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): I assume that he's made all his information known to the Department of Justice. And he knows a lot.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: I think that lends a lot of credence to the theory that he is working with or cooperating with or has provided significant information to Jack Smith.




TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before the mob raged, before police were beaten and lawmakers ran, there was White House chief of staff Mark Meadows telling his aide Cassidy Hutchinson, according to her testimony --

CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO MARK MEADOW: There's a lot going on, Cass, but, I don't know, things might get real, real bad on January 6th. That evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared.

MARK MEADOWS, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: This is about Donald Trump and about actually going after him once again.

FOREMAN: Although Meadows dismissed the committee's work early on, if anyone knew then-President Trump's plans for the lost election, it might have been Meadows.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I just want to find 11,780 votes.

FOREMAN: After all, he joined that phone call when Trump leaned on Georgia's top election official to overturn his loss there.

MEADOWS: We believe that not every vote -- or fair vote and legal vote -- was counted.

FOREMAN: The latest indictment notes at one point, Meadows told Trump the Georgia officials were doing an exemplary job, but one day later, Trump called them terrible people covering up fraud anyway.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The ultimate check and balance is the United States Congress.

FOREMAN: On January 5th, Congressman Jim Jordan messaged Meadows, insisting Vice President Mike Pence should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional and stop certification.

Meadows response: I have pushed for this, not sure it is going to happen.

And when the mob tried to violently force what Pence would not, could not do, Donald Trump Jr. messaged that his father had to act, he's got to condemn this. Meadows' reply: I am pushing it hard, I agree.

Witnesses place Meadows in meeting after meeting with others who were allegedly pushing slates of fake electors, disingenuous lawsuits, and bogus claims of bad voting machines, saying little about it publicly. Meadows sat down with the grand jury earlier this year, and since then, he's been even more tight-lipped, spurring some to wonder if what Mark Meadows is not saying speaks volumes.

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That looks to me like somebody who's cooperating with the federal government.


FOREMAN (on camera): Now, to be clear, we do not know if Mark Meadows is cooperating with the government. We do not know if he's in any legal jeopardy. But we do know earlier this spring team Trump wasn't very happy that he kind of went underground. And we also know a lot of people in this town right now would very much like to know where Mark Meadows stands -- Erin.

BURNETT: Uh-huh. All right. Thank you very much, Tom.

So, Ryan Goodman is OUTFRONT with me, OUTFRONT legal analyst.

OK. So, when you put all this together, like Chris Christie's way of saying it, this very much looks like someone cooperating with the federal government. Do you think that that's what's happened? And now in the context of the 45-page indictment, how powerful is he if he's flipped?

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: So I think he's cooperating. And, in some sense, it was already indicated by other things that we knew before, but the indictment, the fact that it does not list him as a co-conspirator where he has as much legal jeopardy as, say, Giuliani. So, he should be listen there as such. The fact that he's there.

And then everything that paints him in terms of what his role is does not paint him in a picture of somebody who's doing wrong but rather somebody who'd be a cooperating witness. Then there's also some nuggets where there's one particular conversation between Meadows and Trump directly when Meadows is down in Georgia, and he reports back to Trump that the people there conducting the investigation --

BURNETT: Say it's being exemplary fashion.

GOODMAN: So, that's new information. It sounds like it's coming either directly from him, in all likelihood, or that they know that he will corroborate that information.

BURNETT: OK. So, now, it's not just whether he is, but how long he's been, you know, working with them, if he is, and what he's been providing.

In May, a source closed to Trump's legal team tells CNN that his lawyers had no contact with Meadows or his team. And team Trump is in the dark on what Meadows was doing with their role. So, that's May, June, July. That's at least three months.

Is that -- I mean, could it be that? Could it be longer? And does time matter?

GOODMAN: Time matters in many ways because it also would mean that he maybe helped them get to other witnesses, other information that they would have built up a robust amount of evidence. It was CNN that first scooped that there was no contact between Meadows' side and Trump's side in May.

"The New York Times" followed in up in June and they said that that situation had already existed for months, if there are. So that's already several months plus the three that you identified. That's a long period of time. It almost overlaps with how long Jack Smith's been around. Not fully

necessarily, but that's a long period of time. And then like you said, just to answer to your other question, Meadows is all over this indictment. He really does hold the keys to the kingdom. That would be a star witness.

And he was running point from what we know from the select committee on the false electors scheme, for example. He would have very valuable information about what Trump knew, what Trump said.

BURNETT: And so in a trial he would be there?

GOODMAN: He would. The only caveat is, I think, that we would want to know, does Mark Meadows accept responsibility for having done wrong? If he didn't, then he's a little bit of a complicated witness because then he's up there on the stand saying, I didn't do anything wrong.

BURNETT: Yes, all these things happened but I didn't do anything wrong, and I was there doing what they were doing.

GOODMAN: Exactly. And then Trump says, well, I was doing what he was doing. Then if he didn't do anything wrong, nor did I. That's the kind of key question here as well, did he flip but then accept some kind of legal --

BURNETT: And that would be part of a formal agreement, correct, whether he did or didn't.

GOODMAN: It should be. That's right.

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

GOODMAN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Georgia now taking center stage as Trump could soon be indicted in Atlanta for trying to overturn that state's 2020 election. The city already barricading the area around the courthouse. What are the plans for Trump if he's indicted? The Fulton County sheriff is next.

And we have this new video into OUTFRONT tonight. This is Ukraine's kamikaze drones in action as we are learning new details tonight about who may be behind the rash of attacks on Russian military recruitment centers.



BURNETT: New tonight, Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaking out about Donald Trump's historic indictment for trying to overturn the 2020 election. Something that Raffensperger, of course, resisted every step of the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R), GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: I've been consistent since day one, that there weren't thousands of dead people. We had found four. And there weren't 66,000 underage voters, there were zero. There were zero nonregistered voter. So, every allegation that was made, we ran down the line, made sure that we had the facts.



BURNETT: Raffensperger's comments come as Trump is facing a fourth criminal indictment. That is in the state of Georgia. And right now, I want to show you the courthouse in Fulton County, surrounded by security barriers as the D.A. Fani Willis has set her probe into team Trump's efforts to overturn the election in her state is done, and that she is ready to go with charging decisions.

OUTFRONT now, Fulton County sheriff Patrick Labat. He is responsible for security around the Fulton County courthouse.

And, Sheriff, of course, we can see the work that your team has already done to surround that courthouse. How imminent do you think a possible indictment is?

SHERIFF PATRICK LABAT, FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF, GEORGIA: Well, again, thank you for having us here in Fulton County.

We expect -- we're preparing for both sides of the coin, if you will. We are serious about safety and security of that courthouse. And so we are preparing as though an indictment is forthcoming.

BURNETT: And tell me about those preparations. What are you doing?

LABAT: Well, a number of things, and we've been meeting here daily over the last few weeks. We are certainly partnering with our partners at the Atlanta Police Department, Chief Schierbaum and his team, looking at four or five -- working with four or five different sheriff's offices in the metro area really focusing on creating a false multiplier so that we have the necessary resources to keep our community safe.

BURNETT: So if former President Trump is indicted by Fani Willis, sheriff, could you walk me through what happens -- he's going to show up for arraignment tomorrow in Washington -- he would show up in your courthouse. What happens when he turns himself in? Can you walk me through that process?

LABAT: Well, for us, our process is slightly different. As you know, we sent teams to both New York and Miami, and even the D.C. process is slightly different. So, we will work with our D.A. We will work with our clerk's office to make sure from the perspective to what attorney looks like. And it also is co-dependent on what the jurors (ph) that is picked as well the judge's preferences.

So, since COVID, we've been doing a lot of things via Zoom. I don't expect that to be the case. But once a decision is made, we'll be able to focus on turning processes.

BURNETT: Right, and whether -- as you point out, it could be Zoom. That could have been the case in Washington, although we anticipate that will be in person tomorrow. We understand it will be.

So, then, Sheriff, can you tell me -- obviously we looked at the other situations the former president hasn't had a mugshot taken, handcuffs put on, even though that may have been the situation for any other defendant. What will happen in your jurisdiction? Or, have you decided?

LABAT: Well, I've been very adamant to say we will treat all individuals equally. A lot of that, though, really falls on the shoulders of the presiding judge. So the judge has the ability to really refer or make certain to come along with that. Other than that we will treat all individuals the same.

BURNETT: So basically when it comes to something like a mugshot, if that's what others would get, you would do it, except for if the judge requests otherwise?

LABAT: Correct. And the judge may bar it. The judge may limit the actual production of it there after. So there are opportunities for the judge to make decisions as well. We certainly will abide by our protocols until we are otherwise told by presiding judge.

BURNETT: So as we're looking at the courthouse, Sheriff Labat, we're looking at security barriers. You're here ready any day for possible violence. And you've admitted that there have been dozens of threats made against you. The D.A. Fani Willis has had threats. Other officials have had threats.

Over the weekend, Willis shared a racist and sexualized message she received in an email.

How worried are you, Sheriff, about your own safety and the safety of your team who will be out there that day?

LABAT: Again, we take all threats seriously. Our focus is to make sure our community at home is safe. And so, ultimately, when it comes to threats against madam D.A. as well as myself, we've put measures in place. We've gone down this path, and got elected to these jobs to do just that.

And so we will focus on that. Our safety and security is paramount. But so is the safety and security of the Fulton County courthouse. And we've had an opportunity over the last few months to deal with a few high-profile cases. And we understand what courthouse security looks like. And, quite simply, we are ready.

BURNETT: All right. Sheriff Labat, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

LABAT: Thank you. I appreciate you.

BURNETT: All right. And, next, Ukraine has Russia on its heels for now. The Kremlin is facing attacks on military recruitment centers, a lot of them.


And we have new details on what's happening there.

Also just into OUTFRONT, new details on why President Biden for years has refused to acknowledge his seventh grandchild and why he chose to do it now.


BURNETT: We've got new video into OUTFRONT tonight from the front lines in Soledar in eastern Ukraine. That's where Ukrainian forces are right now trying to break through Russian lines. The Ukrainians are pinpointing Russian positions from the sky using their drones, kamikaze drones which are destroying tanks, armored vehicles, and camouflaged machine guns there.

This comes as Russia continues to struggle with low troop morale, and that is now on display.

Here's what a priest from the Orthodox Church told Russian state television that he is telling forces on the front lines.


RUSSIAN PRIEST (through translator): Why are we here and what are we doing? The stuff about patriotism and motherland.

Those slogans work just fine for teenagers but not for 40 and 50-year- olds with wives and children. They need something more serious.


I told them, you came to war not to kill but to die. This is your sacrifice to God. You are giving your life to God.


BURNETT: Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Air defenses lighting up the sky in southern Ukraine, as Russia launched a wave of drone attacks on the grain port in the Odesa region.

The Ukrainian military later saying they managed to shoot down 11 of the Iranian-made Shahid drones. Two enemy targets were detected because of their sound and were seen, he says. We opened fire resulting in the destruction of one Shahid.

But Ukraine is increasingly fighting back, attacking central Moscow with drones twice within three days. A presidential adviser vowing there will be more to come. I think Moscow will have more and more war on its territory. And this

has nothing to do with Ukraine alone. Now this is due to the historical significance of this moment. If you start such a war, you have to expect that this war will be on your territory.

And Russia is increasingly on the back foot on the territory it occupies inside Ukraine. Kyiv saying its forces are making gains both in the south and in the east.

Eager to shore up support, Vladimir Putin handing out gold stars to troops who fought in what the Kremlin still calls the, quote, special military operation.

You came to the front line with a single goal, he says, to be with the fatherland and your people in difficult times.

Putin has increased fines for those who don't answer draft summons, and Russia's parliament recently voted to increase the draft age limit.

And now, the country is also dealing with a wave of arson attacks on military recruitment offices, though authorities haven't identified a link to the war.

They say, in many cases, phone scammers are pressuring vulnerable people to attack the facilities. But speaking to Brazilian media, Ukraine's president saying he believes there are cracks in Putin's armor.

He will not be around for another 30 years. He will die, this is completely clear, but I give him ten years tops.

But the Russian military remains a threat, both on the battlefield and for Ukraine's cities, towns, and key infrastructure, facing attacks both day and night.


PLEITGEN (on camera): And, Erin, another sign that the Russians might be feeling the heat, the Kremlin is now acknowledging that they are arming civilians in the border areas with Ukraine.

Now, a Kremlin spokesman said that that was indeed because of recent cross border attacks, as they put it, originating from the territory of Ukraine. Of course, we know there were some anti-Putin Russians fighting on the side of Ukraine that conducted some cross-border raids in the past. The Russians, however, saying that any arming of civilians is strictly in line with Russian law -- Erin.

BURNETT: Fred, thank you very much.

And next, why did it take four years for President Biden to acknowledge his seventh grandchild? Why is he speaking out about her now? New details just in to OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Tonight, new details behind President Biden's decision to publicly acknowledge his seventh grandchild.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have seven grandkids, four of them -- five of them -- old enough to talk on the phone. You know, every day, I either text them or call them.


BURNETT: Up until last week, the president and first lady publicly spoke about six grandchildren, a tally that excluded Navy, a 4-year- old girl in Arkansas, proven in a 2019 paternity test to be Hunter Biden's daughter.

Now, sources tell CNN, President Biden's silence until now was he was following Hunter's guidance to remain quiet as a complicated legal fight unfolded.

I want to go straight to senior White House correspondent Kayla Tausche, who broke this story.

So, Kayla, I mean, it's amazing, right? Everyone has been watching this unfold for days. But it's been three days -- three years since the paternity test proved that Hunter Biden is Navy's father. Yet it is only now that the president and first lady are publicly acknowledging they have a seventh grandchild.

What more are you learning about the decision to acknowledge Navy as part of their family?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we know the president and first lady were taking their queues directly from Hunter Biden himself, who requested they not acknowledge the little girl, as he sought to lower his child support payments from a prior settlement. There were meetings with aides where they deliberately discussed referring to six, not seven grandkids.

And sources familiar with those discussions tell me that even if the Bidens had wanted to acknowledge Navy Roberts earlier, they felt that doing so would throw Hunter and family sensitivities under the bus. So, they made it clear to their advisers that they were fiercely loyal to Hunter and that that outweighed any political considerations.

But that position, of course, became untenable in recent weeks as opposition from the Republican field became louder and louder. There were scathing op-eds about this point. And so, once that legal case largely got resolved, with Hunter's blessing, they made that change.

BURNETT: So, Kayla, what's interesting is, obviously, Joe Biden talks often about his closeness with his family. Navy Roberts is a different situation, I mean, right? She doesn't have Biden as a last name. She lives in Arkansas with her mother. What does all of this mean for the Bidens' relationship with this

little girl going forward?

TAUSCHE: Erin, that all remains to be seen. There's been a suggestion that the president and the first lady would like to have a relationship, that they would like to meet her. But whether and when that visit actually happens, we don't know.

And the other question is how the campaign decides to depict the grandkids going forward because they've always figured very prominently in depictions of the Biden family. We should note that attorneys for both Hunter Biden and London Roberts, Navy's mother, did not respond to our questions. And the White House declined to comment, saying that this is still a family and personal matter and will remain that way.

BURNETT: It's certainly going to remain a charged issue no matter how you look at it or how it's resolved.

All right. Kayla, thank you very much.

And thanks so much to all of you for joining us tonight.

"AC360" begins right now.