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Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump Pleads Not Guilty In Georgia Election Case; Physician: McConnell "Medically Clear" After 2nd Episode; Justice Thomas Officially Discloses Trips On Megadonor's Jet; New Satellite Images Show Aftermath Of Hurricane Idalia; Ukrainian Women Training To Use Drones In War. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 31, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump pleads not guilty. The former president entering that plea in the Georgia 2020 election case as the state's Republican governor comes to the D.A.'s defense.
Plus, Mitch McConnell now medically cleared to keep working. That's according to the Capitol's attending physician. The okay coming after the 81-year-old froze for the second time in just a few weeks, froze publicly. So what does this mean for the minority leader's future?
And Idalia's destruction. We're going to take you to some of the hardest hit areas in Florida as we check in with a woman who told us on Tuesday she was not going to evacuate. So what happened?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. Thanks for joining us. I'm Erica Hill, in for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, not guilty. Former President Trump entering that plea in Georgia today for all 13 counts he's facing there, and opting not to appear in court for his arraignment.
This marks a shift for Trump. For almost five months now, he has seized on previous court appearances and last week's arrest in Atlanta to galvanize his supporters and, of course, to raise money.
Tonight, we're learning the judge in Georgia will allow all arraignments next week to be shown live on camera. And that's a big deal because keep in mind here, Trump's federal cases in Florida and D.C., they don't allow cameras. So could that have been a factor in his decision?
Trump is also looking to distance himself from his 18 codefendants in the Georgia case. Today, he formally asked the judge to separate his case from his codefendants and asking for a speedy trial, one that could start October 23rd, less than two months away.
And we have to clock ticking. Trump has been intensifying his attacks on the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, writing recently she should be impeached. Today, Georgia's Governor Brian Kemp shutting down calls to oust
Willis or to defund her office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: Up to this point, I have not seen any evidence that D.A. Willis' actions or lack thereof warrant action by the Prosecuting Attorney Oversight Commission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: He went onto say calls to hold a special session would actually be unconstitutional and in his view unsuccessful.
Also tonight, we're standing by for a crucial decision that could have major ramifications on Trump's upcoming trial. At any moment, a Georgia judge could rule on whether to move Mark Meadows' case to federal court. Both sides have just filed additional briefing, so any ruling on the issue possibly could apply to Donald Trump.
There is a lot to cover tonight. Let's begin, first, with Evan Perez, who's OUTFRONT live in Washington tonight.
Evan, at this point, how likely is it Trump could see his case severed from his other codefendants, and what would that mean for him?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would mean that he would not have to go to trial in two months, as you just pointed out. And the former president's lawyers have some good reasons. They laid out some good reasons to the judge why they should sever -- why he should sever the case. Steve Sadow, his lead lawyer in Atlanta, he says he has a trial in another case in Florida that will happen soon and that one will conflict with the former president's ability to get ready for such a trial. He says there's no way Donald Trump could be ready for trial by October.
As you know, there's a couple of other defendants that have already moved to do a speedy trial in part because they want to be separated from the other defendants. So, for those reasons, it's probably very likely that the judge will allow the severing of the former president's case.
And then, of course, Erica, one of the things we're waiting for is that we fully expect that like Mark Meadows, Donald Trump will also ask for his case to be tried to move his case to federal court. He's going to make a lot of the arguments that Meadows is making including, of course, the fact he believes he should be immune as the former president.
So one of the things we anticipate happening is they're watching to see how the Meadows case turns out. As you pointed out we're waiting for that judge to rule at any time before the former president makes his request. Of course, he has 30 days, Erica, from the date of arraignment, which was, of course, today.
HILL: We will be watching for that. Evan, appreciate it. Thank you. OUTFRONT now Ryan Goodman, he was special counsel for the Defense
Department, and former special prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers.
Good to see you both tonight.
So, Ryan, as we look at this, the proceedings in Fulton County will be televised now, which is -- which is a big deal. But the judge ruled that this would happen. It's something Trump will never have to worry about in a federal case because cameras are not allowed in federal courtrooms.
By opting not to appear and avoid those images, do you see that as part of a legal strategy from Trump's team?
RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: I think so. I think that he wants to avoid the rolling cameras both at the arraignment in terms of the image that creates of him in which he can't control the frame. It's not just one shot, it's the entire episode of him going before the court and kind of being overpowered by the criminal justice system, and then the trial itself being televised is something that I think could be very damaging to him politically, but also legally because that is something everybody would then see. And it could affect the jurors in the D.C. case, which is a bigger case against him.
So, I think as a legal strategy as well, there's every reason for him to be trying to get into federal court and avoid these live camera shots that would otherwise take place.
HILL: It's interesting that you talk about what we'll see, too, because, Jennifer, we know there's been a push for some time now to allow cameras in federal court. It's still not happening but a push especially when it comes to high profile cases.
And it's not just about seeing the defendants in those moments, but also hearing the evidence, seeing how it's all playing out in court, as opposed to reading quotes and reading about it after the fact. What do cameras change when they're in the courtroom?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's just about transparency, Erica. I mean, there's so much spin and so much misinformation happening right now about what the evidence is and isn't. If people actually tune in to watch this trial or even just watch news clips later put together by the media with cameras in the program, they will see themselves what the evidence is just like a juror would.
And that's just far different from hearing people characterize the evidence in their own terms with their own interests, so it's really to the benefit of all of us that all of the United States could see what the evidence is in these cases even though as you just said it's actually not going to happen in federal cases this time around for Donald Trump. HILL: Yeah, but the ask will continue. We're waiting for the judge to
rule on motions that were just filed by both Fulton County and Mark Meadows legal teams. This is, of course, about Mark Meadows bid to move his case out of Fulton County and into federal court. They had to submit those motions today.
So, Ryan, I think you just finished going through these. What stands out to you here in additional arguments and additional filings?
GOODMAN: There's one juicy piece of information that's new in the D.A. filing. They basically say, look, Mark Meadows -- you could say lied, was not fully forthcoming, was not credible because he denies on the stand he had any role in his words in coordinating the false electors and then the D.A. says we presented him with the exhibit which e-mail exchanging correspondence with Jason Miller about coordinating the false electors and Jason Miller is with the Trump campaign. He's not a government official.
That's damaging to him. It also shows that the judge can't really credit Mark Meadows testimony if he's not a credible witness, and that's really all Mark Meadows has. And there are other incidents that they raise as well. So, I think that's a big one for them, and I think the other one is, it's a close call.
I don't think there's like a clear shot by either side, but the D.A. does also raise a good argument which is that the judge has recently asked them after they had the hearing, what if I decide some of Mark Meadows acts were in his official duty and some were not? And the D.A. says, well, if you do it that way, then he actually has no defense and he needs a federal defense, because if some were not, it means you believe as the judge he acted beyond his official duty. And if you act beyond your official duty, you don't have a defense -- a federal defense and that means you can't get into federal court.
HILL: So fascinating. So, as we wait for the judge to write this decision, if Meadows is unable to win that argument, Jennifer, what's the impact on the other codefendants who have also filed to move their cases into federal court?
RODGERS: So I think we're all going to have to wait for that ruling because Mark Meadows has the strongest case to move into federal court. Here he actually was a federal official, and unlike Jeff Clark works directly for the president. Really it is true a lot of his job was doing what the president wanted him to do. If he loses this bid and the state wins their remand function, then none of these defendants are going to win their movement to federal court.
If he does win and gets to stay in federal court, then I think the judge will have to go through and consider them. So, there's this kind of piggybacking effect, which is why I think we haven't seen any movement on those yet until Mark Meadows want to decide it.
HILL: Yeah, it's a lot of wait and see, anxiously waiting to see what we hear from the judge. So, meantime also in Georgia, Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp knocking down this effort today by one state senator who is pushing for a special session rather, and wanting to investigate D.A. Fani Willis. Kemp said he does have some concerns with how the D.A. has handled her case, but admitted he hasn't seen any evidence that she engaged in illegal behavior, going onto say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEMP: The bottom line is that in the state of Georgia, as long as I'm governor, we're going to follow the law and the Constitution regardless of who it helps or harms politically.
And in Georgia, we will not be engaging in political theater that only inflames the motions of the moments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Ryan, I think it was notable too. He said not only would it be unfeasible, but he also said it's unconstitutional. Do you agree with this assessment?
GOODMAN: So, it's difficult to know in terms of unconstitutional in the Georgia law, such as specific domain. But I definitely agree with his assessment that there has been no evidence presented she acted unlawfully, and if that's true, then why would you setup a session?
And just -- I think it's a powerful moment. It's like a teaching moment on the rule of law above politics, and that's a conservative Southern Republican governor making that statement. And the courts have kind of adjudicated this very question. Trump has raised these concerns about the D.A. and the courts have said she's done nothing that would even amount to her getting offered the case, let alone getting her defunded or thrown out of office.
So I think when Governor Kemp says that, there's a lot behind it and the real place to take these issues is in court, not in this politicized environment.
HILL: Ryan, Jennifer, appreciate it. Thank you both.
OUTFRONT next, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cleared to work after freezing for the second time in just a matter of week. This as we're just learning Republican leaders are now holding discussions about the 81-year-old leader's future.
Plus, trips on private jets, luxury vacations. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas finally disclosing the gifts paid for by a Republican donor. There's still, though, a lot that we don't know. The reporter who first broke this story is my guest.
And we take you to the front lines of Ukraine to see the very women who could be leading the fight against Russia. A special report ahead.
[19:15:33] HILL: Tonight, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is, quote, medically clear to keep up his work schedule. That's according to the U.S. Capitol's attending physician who says he's consulted with McConnell and his neurology team, this after McConnell froze publicly for the second time in five weeks, raising questions about the 81- year-old's health. McConnell is now working behind the scenes to reassure his allies he is capable of doing his job.
Manu Raju who's been breaking this news on McConnell is OUTFRONT tonight on Capitol Hill.
So, Manu, what more do we know about the senator tonight?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, he has been trying to assure his colleagues that he is fine, that he's able to do the job and trying to send signals privately that everything is essentially normal. He's carrying on with his schedule.
In the immediate aftermath of that moment yesterday phoning his colleagues, including some of his top allies, including Senators John Thune, John Cornyn, Shelley Moore Capito, among others, and they reported back and he sounded fine, even after attending a fund-raiser for Congressman Jim Banks, who's running for the Indiana Senate seat, saying that McConnell was sharp and engaging there and releasing a statement trying to alleviate any concerns about his fitness.
But there's still major questions particularly why he had those pausing episodes and whether or not this will impact his ability to run the Senate. In talking to some Republicans including one congressman today, he said there are more questions that need to be answered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN HERN (R-OK): It's tough. Obviously the fall he had was more -- it was more damaging than most people thought.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So the big question right now on Capitol Hill is exactly how long Senator McConnell can continue to remain as Republican leader.
His confidants are indicating he has no plan to step aside before the end of this current Congress which ends at the end of next year. But the question will be will he continue to run the Republican conference that he has run since 2007 being the longest party leader in the entire history of the United States Senate. Will he try to do that from 2020 and beyond?
That seems to be a growing skepticism on Capitol Hill that he will continue be on this Congress and that could setup a significant leadership scramble that could define the Republican Party for many years to come. And that is really the focus of the moment.
And, Erica, next week, the Senate returns after a five-week recess. Mitch McConnell will face his colleagues for the first time since that episode and undoubtedly, the questions will remain.
HILL: Yeah, absolutely, Manu. Appreciate the reporting as always. Thank you.
OUTFRONT now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, director of the cardiac cath lab at George Washington University Hospital.
Dr. Reiner, I have to say one of my first thoughts when I heard this light-headedness and dehydration was that freezing up is not generally a symptom of those two. Maybe you lose your balance, you blackout, you feel nauseous but you don't freeze-up. Is that a typical symptom?
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No. I think everyone has had an episode where they feel a little light-headed. Perhaps they've had a fever for a couple of days and the fever breaks and they're dehydrated or they've been out working in the garden and they've been sweating a lot, typical symptom of dehydration is light-headedness, not inability to speak for 10 seconds.
The note from Admiral Monahan at the office of attending physician is really limited to what his patient will allow him to say basically. And what basically his patient wanted him to say is that he was clear to go back to work. And that doesn't surprise me because this has happened before and it's undoubtedly been evaluated in the past.
And then he made this comment about dehydration and light-headedness as a common symptom of people who have had a concussion, and that's undoubtedly true. But what he doesn't really say is that the symptoms from yesterday were related to that. So sort of true, true and unrelated.
I think Brian is limited to what his patients will allow him to say.
HILL: He did notes he spoke with his neurology team, with McConnell's neurology team. You mentioned this though that he can only say so much. He's medically clear to continue with his schedule. What does that even mean that he's medically clear in that case? What would he be cleared to do?
REINER: He's clear to go to meetings and give speeches. There's really no clear set of guidelines for how you clear a politician. We know how to clear airline pilots and Secret Service agents and police officers. They have a certain set of physical duties that they have to be able to fulfill to do their jobs.
But for our aging members of Congress, there are no set guidelines. There's also no way to remove a member of Congress who becomes physically unwell. Actually, the only officer in our federal government who can be removed because of disability is the president. So there really is no way to remove a senator.
So what basically Dr. Monahan was saying is that there's no evidence something acute happened to him or something new happened to him and there was no further acute work up necessary and he can resume his job. That's basically all he was saying.
HILL: In your experience and being based there in Washington, D.C., do you think this will be enough to silence folks, to have him feel comfortable with how he's doing health wise? And I say that, too, because what I've noticed is genuine concern.
REINER: Yeah. The problem is that we've seen this recur in just five weeks. And if it happened once, perhaps it's a one-off event. When it happens twice in basically the same setting, you know, giving a remark and such a public figure who'll be before the cameras frequently, it'll happen again.
And if it happens again, the voices suggesting perhaps the senator step down from his leadership or leave the Senate entirely will become even louder. I think what Senator McConnell is going to do is have to decide whether he's going to make those changes at his own pace or be forced out because it is not unlikely this will happen again in a very public way.
HILL: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, always appreciate your insight. Thank you.
REINER: My pleasure.
HILL: OUTFRONT now, Republican governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu.
Governor, good to have you with us tonight.
I'm wondering if you have concerns about senator McConnell's health and his ability to carry out his role as minority leader.
GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Look, Senator McConnell has done a phenomenal job. And I think as you said rightly so, it's -- it's all concern. Everyone wants the best for him.
This is a guy who works incredibly hard, but when you have multiple episodes like this, his age is involved and there's something else there. I think as the doctor just mentioned, I mean, you have two episodes in five weeks. And so, it's something that both he and his staff are going to have to have a hard discussion about.
HILL: In terms of that discussion, he's known for being private about his health, which is understandable. Many Americans want to be private about their health. But given the power of his position, do you believe he and his staff need to be more transparent here?
SUNUNU: Well, I guess. I don't know what to be more transparent about other than what the real medical condition is. But I think, obviously, as was mentioned, if this keeps happening and there's no reason to think it won't, I mean, that creates an issue.
And let's remember, this isn't just Speaker McConnell. I mean, obviously, we have great concern for him. We have the senator from California. We've had our own president who's had issues.
Obviously, age is playing a role in Washington right now and not in a positive way, unfortunately. And so, there's just an opportunity here to say, okay, no hard feelings. It's health, age, we've got to move you out of a leadership position and bring kind of the new generation, other voices in.
There's lots of folks that can do these jobs. And those folks have done a very good job for their constituents and for the country, and we say thank you, and you know, bring in some -- some new leadership.
HILL: Last question because I do want to get to other topics, but you do bring up age, meaning Senator Feinstein and mentioning President Biden. Are people ready to have that conversation? And specifically, are lawmakers ready to have that conversation?
SUNUNU: Well, Americans are ready, that's for darn sure. I mean, this is not a new narrative. This is something that folks have been discussing over the past year. I think it's bubbled up quite a bit when you have presidential leaders on the ticket that are quite elderly, frankly. I mean, both in the 80-year range.
We have issues with a Congress -- senator -- a couple of senators now, not being able to fully perform their jobs. And in these type of leadership roles, you need to be on the job, 100 percent being able to move at any given time. I mean, that is the pressure on these jobs.
This is America at stake. This isn't -- this isn't a small game here. There's a lot at stake for this country for 330 million Americans. And I think just as a citizen, we all want to know that leadership whether we agree with their policies or not can give 100 percent, 120 percent of the time.
HILL: So, let's talk about what's coming our way, let's talk 2024 if we can. Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was asked by a news outlet in New Hampshire whether she would be open to choosing Donald Trump as her vice president, and she did not rule it out.
Why do you think so many aspiring Republican leaders find it so hard to walk away from Donald Trump?
SUNUNU: Well, I can't speak for Governor Haley, Ambassador Haley. She's a terrific candidate. She's done a terrific job.
I don't think anyone wants Donald Trump as their vice president. I don't think Donald Trump wants the job as vice president. That would be a disaster in the making for a whole bunch of different reasons.
But my -- look, my focus is just making sure that these candidates are the best version of themselves, on the retail politics, which is great debate specifically by ambassador Haley. She did a phenomenal job at the debate a few nights ago, and as I've said, that was an amazing moment, first time in six years Republicans across the country got to see Republican leadership without Donald Trump, and it looked pretty darn good.
So I think it gives people a lot of hope it isn't just a Trump message that is going to lead the Republican Party. HILL: I understand you can't get in her head, but we have seen her go
back and forth the fair amount, you may be a fan of her as a candidate. Again, why did you think it's so hard for candidates to quit the former president? Do you see that vise loosening?
SUNUNU: Yeah. Well, no, I think what's going on is that recent polls have shown up to a third or more of the president's recent support are willing to go to another candidate. So, you know, that -- we always talk about that 35 percent or so base core that he has that won't move, well, there's another 15 points, if you will, that 35 to 50 percent that is willing to move, that supports him today but is very willing to move to another candidate.
So, it makes sense why candidates would be a little bit hesitant. Not everyone's going to go nuclear on the former president like Chris Christie. Chris, I think he's doing a great job, but it's on everyone's style. They have to show separation.
But I -- you have to understand, they're trying to wean that 15 percent into their camp to be the one or two candidates to take him on.
HILL: CNN has obtained audio of really an urgent appeal for a massive sum of money by the CEO of Ron DeSantis' super PAC. This is on the first Republican debate where he told donors, quote, we just need your help getting $50 million more by the end of the year and $100 million by the end of March.
Fifty million in the next four months, what does that tell you about the state of Ron DeSantis' campaign?
SUNUNU: Well, they're obviously pretty optimistic. I mean, if you're ex -- if you're out here publicly talking $50 million to $100 million, you think you can achieve those goals. They're obviously pretty optimistic about their position and how those dollars should be spent.
I know the governor right now, he just -- he's managing the -- as the governor should, he's managing the hurricane. He's put his campaign on suspension and really took care of the state of Florida. He did a great job of it.
And they that they can find -- they obviously feel they can find a lot of separation. You need funds to do it. When you got a great product, you got to sell it. So, all the candidates obviously have to spend time raising money but that tells me they're obviously pretty optimistic.
HILL: Governor Chris Sununu, appreciate your time. Thank you.
SUNUNU: You bet.
HILL: OUTFRONT next, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas finally on the record about the luxurious gifts he's received from a GOP megadonor, and it is raising once again the question whether justices should abide by formal ethics code.
Plus, the heart breaking new satellite images out of Florida which suffered that direct hit from Hurricane Idalia.
HILL: Tonight, new financial disclosures from Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito revealing gifts and travel paid for by conservatives. Alito's new filing includes the trip he took to Rome that was paid for by the conservative Notre Dame Law School's Religious Liberty Initiative.
Thomas is disclosing for the first time, private jet trips paid for by GOP mega donor Harlan Crow. There were two trips on Crow's plane. One to attend a speech in Texas, and another to Crow's estate in the Adirondacks. Also listed, three properties Thomas sold to Crow, transactions that were not previously disclosed by the justice but had been revealed by "ProPublica's" Justin Elliott who had led the investigations into Thomas' dealings with billionaires.
Justin is OUTFRONT now.
So, Justin, in looking at these amended disclosures, does that lay to rest the ethics concerns surrounding the justices?
JUSTIN ELLIOTT, PROPUBLICA REPORTER WHO WORKED ON CLARENCE THOMAS REPORT: It certainly answers some questions. I mean, this is the first time we've gotten an extensive statement from Justice Thomas.
As you mentioned, he actually admitted for the first time he failed to disclose this real estate deal in which he sold properties down in Georgia to Harlan Crow, the wealthy businessman and political donor who's also his friend. It's also the first time in 25 years that he disclosed private jet flights provided by Harlan Crow last year.
But, I mean, in terms of the larger ethical questions, I think disclosure is one level of it. The other level is whether public officials should be accepting this kind of largesse, you know, regular private jet travel and free vacations from anyone, which is something that, you know, we've spoken to a lot of federal judges at this point who say they can't imagine taking anything like this. Some of them have told us they're careful about even letting someone buy them lunch.
So I think it's better to have the transparency that we didn't have in the past but there's the core issue of the gifts themselves.
HILL: Yeah. There is still -- you know, there's still a lot we don't know. As you mentioned this is the first time more than 20 years before hearing or have seen reporting of these flights. Justice Thomas's attorney noted that the omission of these dealings with Harlan Crow was, quote, inadvertent. Do you think ultimately there'll be a full public accounting of the gifts he's received over the years?
ELLIOTT: That's a great question. I mean, the Senate Judiciary Committee has sent out some letters to Harlan Crow and others asking for just that, and so far they haven't been getting anything. It's an open question whether Democrats on that committee will try to escalate that and maybe issue subpoenas.
I mean, we at ProPublica, we reported that Thomas -- Justice Thomas has taken more than 30 free vacations I think around 30 now private jet flights, and those are just -- that's just what we discovered through a lot of shoe leather reporting. So, he certainly has not come clean about what's happened over the last 20 years with his new court filing.
HILL: It was interesting. It was hard to miss Thomas' attorney taking a shot at your reporting in a lengthy statement he put out. But at one point saying that the reporting -- at least in the way I read it, have been a -- in his words here, a, quote, terrible precedent for political blood sport through federal ethics filings.
What's your response to that?
ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, to us, this is just a basic good government issue. I mean, I've been covering ethics for a long time, written about Democrats and Republicans.
I think most people can understand that if you have a powerful public official like a Supreme Court justice who -- who's taking, you know, hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars of gifts from people who have at the very least ideological interests related to the Supreme Court or the public official's job, that's something that should be out in the open at the very least whether it should be happening or not.
So, you know, we welcome the conversation. We're excited to see this lengthy statement for the first time in months after reporting about this. But don't agree that there's anything wrong with this basic journalistic truth.
HILL: Justin, really appreciate you joining us tonight and all the work that you have done here. Thank you.
ELLIOTT: Thank you.
HILL: Harry Enten is with me now.
So, Harry, the information uncovered by "ProPublica" did raise a lot of questions --
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yeah.
HILL: --about the ethics of Supreme Court justices. How about public opinion? Where does public opinion land these days?
ENTEN: You know, when I was a kid, I thought, you know, the honesty and ethics of the Supreme Court justices is to be really, really high, right? But look at what Americans think now. In fact, about a third say they're low, another say they're average, only about a third say they're high. This to me is ridiculously low given how high generally speaking
people in the past have held up Supreme Court justices. We no longer hold them up as these heroes. We hold them up as either average or even below average.
HILL: Below average, it looks like. I mean, those numbers are really astounding. So, given that, right, given what people see in terms of their ethics, their honesty, what do people think should be done?
ENTEN: Yeah, they think there should be a formal ethics code with the United States Supreme Court, right, like they have for those lower federal courts, and a lot of people in the legislative have to agree upon.
Look at this -- 90 percent. Where do you ever find 90 percent of Americans --
HILL: You don't.
ENTEN: -- agreeing on anything?
Or north of 80 percent independents, Republicans, nearly 100 percent -- 96 percent of Democrats. There is universal agreement on this, Erica.
HILL: Yeah, I mean, I think there was also -- there's also been a lot of surprise in recent months since more of this reporting has come out there's not an ethics code.
ENTEN: Yeah, I didn't know that to be honest.
HILL: I find that in conversations with people. Give me a sense -- has public opinion changed over the years?
HILL: How significantly?
ENTEN: Yeah. You know, one of the things I think there's this real question about especially as you've had these Supreme Court rulings come down over the last few years that controversial whether it be Justice Thomas and perhaps this ethical quandaries that he's land himself in is whether or not the Supreme Court has too much power. And what we see is while still the majority of Americans don't believe that, look at the trend line we've seen on too much power over the last few years.
You know, you go back to 2019. You see it was just 21 percent. You jump forward now to 2023, look at that. It's nearly doubled to 40 percent.
HILL: Yes. In four years.
ENTEN: In four years. You very rarely see that type of public movement in such a short period of time, so I think what we're seeing with Justice Thomas and sort of the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court, the American public wants to tap on the breaks a little bit. And they say you know what, maybe they do have too much power and we need to take some of it back.
HILL: We'll see if that happens.
ENTEN: We'll see.
HILL: Harry, good to see you, my friend.
ENTEN: Good to see you.
HILL: Thank you.
OUTFRONT next, picking up the pieces. You'll hear from a woman who told us just two days ago she was not going to evacuate despite Hurricane Idalia heading straight for her. How is she tonight? We'll check in.
Plus, heart-stopping new video just in of OUTFRONT of Ukrainian soldiers coming within feet of heavily armed Russian fighters.
Stay with us.
HILL: Tonight, we have some really remarkable images to share with you showing the devastation that Idalia brought to Florida. So, in Steinhatchee, homes just in shambles from the impact of the storm. The marine completely destroyed.
On the hard hit island of Cedar Key, residents say they have power, no running water though. Temperatures are sweltering at this hour.
Our Carlos Suarez was able to get to Cedar Key to see that damage firsthand. He's OUTFRONT.
CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Broken tree branches, toppled fences, pieces of wood, and other debris scattered everywhere.
Heather Greenwood is cleaning up around the Cedar Key Bed & Breakfast she helps manage. Grateful, the business and her nearby home are still standing after Idalia.
HEATHER GREENWOOD, RESIDENT OF CEDAR KEY, FL: Look at what is positive about it all. I mean, our house is still standing, some are not. But nobody lost their life. All of our cats are still here.
SUAREZ: Greenwood who spoke to OUTFRONT just before Idalia hit --
GREENWOOD: I'm going to make sure that I'm around to be able to help out the people that did stay.
SUAREZ: -- now says she feels blessed as she helps her community recover and rebuild.
GREENWOOD: It's on one of the highest point on the island. The storm surge would have had to been above the 15 feet.
SUAREZ: Cedar Key officially saw a storm surge of nearly nine feet. And with many homes and businesses destroyed, not everyone in the area is as upbeat as greenwood.
ANNETTE ROWE, CEDAR KEY, FL RESIDENT: Pretty devastating inside. It's very sad. It's heartbreaking. We are just going to pull together and come together.
SUAREZ: Idalia left a path of destruction in Georgia, and South and North Carolina. But Florida suffered the worst of the storm, including Tampa Bay, Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg, which also experienced record storm surges.
Cities like Crystal River saw entire areas flooded, these satellite images showing the before and after.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: People losing homes, losing businesses, really, really a lot of work that needs to be done.
SUAREZ: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis toured more damages area today, promising funding help for all 25 counties that fell under the hurricane warning.
President Joe Biden formally declared Florida as a major disaster area.
DESANTIS: I know it's going to be a lot of work, but we will get everyone back on their feet.
SUAREZ: A hopeful message for people who lost everything during the storm, including these homeowners in Horseshoe Beach which sits squarely in the middle of the Big Bend area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad always said, if we ever had a direct hit right off the gulf, then it would not last.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very painful, I tell, you know, my daughter. I can't hardly even talk about it. I love that old house right there, you know, like a family member.
HILL: Wow, Carlos, I'm sure at this point reality is setting in. Residents in the area, now that they can really take in the full impact of the storm, now the recovery begins. How are they -- how are they feeling tonight?
SUAREZ: That's exactly right, Erica, so the damage really is widespread, and the challenge going into the next couple of days is going to be getting all of this debris off of that island, a lot of the folks that we spoke to on Cedar Key say, look, they really feel that things out here could have been a whole lot worse. We made our way a little bit more inland throughout the day, and we saw that a lot of the homes there really appeared untouched.
Erica, the power is back on in Cedar Key, but without running water, some of the folks that we talked to out here said, look, you are going to drive back onto the mainland to spend the night -- Erica.
HILL: Yeah. It made sense.
Carlos, we really appreciate the reporting, and we are so glad that you found Heather. We've been trying to get in touch with her, and so glad that you found, her and that we know she's okay. Thank you.
OUTFRONT next, a special reports, we're going to take you inside the secret training for Ukrainian women playing a crucial role up in that country to take on Russian soldiers.
Plus, really remarkable images tonight to share with you, of the world record crowd that showed up for Nebraska's women's volleyball team.
HILL: Tonight, Ukraine's military gaining back more territory on the southern front, that's according to Ukrainian officials, and Russian military bloggers. And a new video into OUTFRONT, you see a drone capturing fierce fighting in trenches around Bakhmut, with Ukrainian and Russian soldiers, just feet apart when opening fire on each other.
Drones continue to play a major role in this war. Tonight, Christiane Amanpour is OUTRONT with Ukrainian women learning how to operate them on the battlefield.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice-over): Any support is welcome in Ukraine, especially if it appears blessed by Jesus say these drone students set up in an abandoned church working on their simulators, and convinced their cause is just.
YULIA, UKRAINIAN DRONE PILOT: We do whatever we can now to resist because Russians wants to kill all of us. This is genocide.
AMANPOUR: Next door in the construct and repair class, Yulia soldiers and tweaks and teaches. This part is fairly simple and fun, she says.
Did you study engineering? What are you in normal life?
YULIA: A writer and a film director.
AMANPOUR: You're a writer and a film director.
AMANPOUR: And now, you're a drone operator.
AMANPOUR: We're not allowed to disclose the location where Julia and the others put theory into practice. Here in this innocuous looking field, where the rudimentary obstacle course, this could almost be child's play, but with deadly results, of course.
These are all civilian drones that the Ukrainians are repurposing for their current war effort. They can be caught off store shelves, but this signifies a turning point in the conduct of modern warfare. A $500 drone that has been weaponized can take out vehicles, and weapon systems worth millions.
Software engineer Lyuba Shipovich started the victory drones initiative.
LYUBA SHIPOVICH, CO-FOUNDER, VICTORY DRONES: The most advantages it's one of the most cost effective weapon, and it's also weapon, and it could be used as reconnaissance. For reconnaissance purposes, if you see the enemy, you can hit enemy, you can hide like your soldiers. So it's pretty --
AMANPOUR: But enemy can see you?
SHIPOVICH: Yeah, if you don't use security measurements.
AMANPOUR: Like hiding or disguising their signals because the Russians are adapting fast. She says they're mostly crowd-funded and have deals with the Ukrainian military to train front line troops, tens of thousands so far, in what's become indispensable strategy.
That was just practice dropping a water bottle full of sand. But just a few days ago the group says, one of their former trainees took out this Russian tank on the eastern front. They can also wipe out artillery positions and troop carriers.
How long did it take you to learn to fly?
Many of these citizen soldiers are women, busting stubborn myths.
And Yulia, of course, agrees in fact she assembles the drones her husband flies, too.
A lot of women have taken up this fight.
YULIA: Yeah, we are all people and we are fighting for our existence.
AMANPOUR (on camera): And the woman are really proud they tell us, of being called to their frontline duties, whatever it might be. And since we have been here covering this invasion, we have seen a huge, exponential jump in a number of women who joined the actual armed forces, and the military authorities here say that since Russia's first invasion back in 2014, women's participation has jumped more than two and a half times.
So, it's a big deal. As they said to, us we are all people, and we are all defending our country -- Erica.
HILL: It's great, what a fantastic story, and quite an effort as.
Christiane, thank you.
OUTFRONT next, the University of Nebraska serving up a world record, and a big win in women sports.
HILL: Tonight, talk about turnout. More than 92,000 fans packed the University of Nebraska's memorial stadium. There to cheer on the women's volleyball team. Let's be really specific, 92,003 people. That's a world record for attendance in a women sporting event, and also shattered the NCAA's volleyball attendance record which had been just over 18,700.
Take a listen here as the crowd erupts when the Nebraska women make their way out of the tunnel to the court. I mean, the applause is deafening. The Huskies, happy to report, won three-nothing, 3 to 0. They're five-time national champions.
And get this -- they sold out a record 306 consecutive regular season matches. What a run, congratulations.
Finally, tonight, the rock star behind "Tutti Frutti" and "Good Golly Miss Molly", Little Richard, who's an icon and an innovator in the world of rock and roll, and a new CNN film explores his fascinating and complicated life in the often untold story about the Black clear origins of rock and roll.
Here's a look at the new film, "Little Richard: I Am Everything".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, playing Little Richard's heaven on earth. He was so hot. Wed play something like five nights a week. Two or three shows a day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, in the 1950s, there's legal segregation, Bblack kids are not able to listen to music in the same spaces as white kids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black and White musicians weren't allowed to play together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had one night for white, and the next night for African Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the White kids would come to the Black kids concerts, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Don't miss "Little Richard: I am Everything", Monday night, right here on CNN at 9:00 p.m.
Thanks so much for joining me tonight.
"AC360" starts right now.