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Erin Burnett Outfront
Biden Touts Economic Record As Trump Expands GOP Lead; New Video Into OutFront: Russian Strike In Eastern Ukraine; U.S. Official: Kim Jong Un May Meet With Putin In Russia; Now: "Exodus" Out Of Burning Man As Muddy Roads Dry; Police: 4 "Credible Sightings" of Pennsylvania Prison Escapee; Impeachment Trial Begins Tomorrow For Texas A.G. Paxton. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 04, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next: Leaning into the economy. President Biden ramping up his reelection campaign as he pushes his economic vision. But so far, he's struggling to impress voters. Why is that?
Plus, Putin calling back up, the Russian president may soon meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un to make a plea for more weapons. What does it mean for the war in Ukraine?
And on the run. The convicted murderer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison is believed to have been spotted four times now. The district attorney involved in the search is my guest.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Erin Burnett.
And tonight, Biden's battleground pitch and what is quickly becoming the centerpiece of Biden's campaign. The president today celebrating what has been an upbeat job market in other economic data in the must- win state of Pennsylvania.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Job satisfaction is higher than it's been in 36 years. Our unemployment is down. Inflation is down as well.
Bidenomics is a blue collar, blue print for America. It's for you.
My plan for the country is to make the economy work for people like you because when it works for people like you, it works for everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Yet not everybody is sold on Biden's plan. In fact, he's struggling to convince voters that his administration has been good for the economy. A new poll from the "Wall Street Journal" finds that 58 percent of voters say the economy has gotten worse over the past two years, just 28 percent say it's gotten better.
Which is why today, President Biden tried to hammer home the point that he is better for jobs than his predecessor and potential 2024 competitor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The great real estate builder, the last guy here, he didn't build a damn thing. When the last guy was here, you are shipping jobs to China. Now, we're bringing jobs home from China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And that last guy also known as former President Trump is according to a new poll now neck and neck with Biden. Should the two face-off again in 2024? Forty-four percent say they vote for Trump. 46 percent they say would vote for Biden. It's a dead heat.
And despite Trump expanding his lead in Republican primary polls, his competitors are not letting that slow them down. Today it was all about New Hampshire with Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchison all trying to shore up support at a Republican Labor Day event.
Kayla Tausche is OUTFRONT at the White House.
And, Kayla, despite the president's public optimism, is their concern behind the scenes about how voters feel about the economy?
KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the feeling among aides and advisers about the economy and voters concerns, they're mixed. I mean, on the one hand, many officials believe that continuing the slow progress of implementing the signature laws that President Biden signed last year will chip away at some of that pessimism. There's also a sense that some deeply partisan views about the economy and the country overall simply are not movable.
And then there is also a belief that even if some of those views are movable, that there's enough time between now and Election Day for the momentum in the economy to shift. So, that's why President Biden is doing speeches like today's right now, to try and set the agenda of the 2024 campaign, and sharpening the attacks on his most likely future opponent, of course, former President Donald Trump.
I mean, there are more than a few echoes of 2020. Whether it's the Scranton versus Park Avenue overtones, or just the audience of President Biden's speech today, the focus on trying to shore up support among labor, which is a critical constituency for Democrats. And many of those rank and file workers stuck with Trump in 2020.
Just today, the head of the United Auto Workers, Shawn Fein, was on CNN. And he told the network that any endorsement for Biden would need to be earned, and that actions speak louder than words.
And the irony there, Brianna, is that the issue for the UAW in not endorsing Biden is electric vehicle tax credits, a cornerstone of one of those signature laws that's going to be a cornerstone of the campaign. So, even policies design to win over some Democrats are going to cost votes elsewhere.
KEILAR: Yeah, such a good point. Kayla Tausche, live for us at the White House, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now, we have Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former White House communications director for former President Trump. And Basil Smikle, former executive director of the New York state Democratic Party.
You know, Basil, these poll numbers that we're seeing there on the economy, are they really problematic for Biden?
BASIL SMIKLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think owing to the reporting, they may not look at today. But I do think that they can get better. There is time for the president to lean in on that economic message.
And, you know, there's so many people that want him to talk a little bit more about the sort of Trump effect and what's happening with Trump in these legal battles. But the reality is, for a lot of Democrats, that's baked in. For Republicans, it's baked in.
So, who are we really talking to, a number of disaffected Republicans and independents who are there for Democrats during the midterm elections. I think they're going to be incredibly receptive to leaning into this economic message.
And also, factor in that, you know, years ago, we used to talk about all these states that were these -- Ohio and Florida including. Not so much anymore. So, as the number of states a number of orders shrink in terms of who can swing this general election. I do think that the economic message becomes more and more tailored to those voters and there is time to make that hit home.
KEILAR: So, Alyssa, you've heard Biden taking some jabs there at former President Trump who appears as well on his way to being Biden's opponent again in 2024. Trump has actually gone up 11 percentage points since April in the new "Wall Street Journal" poll among GOP voters, now approaching 60 percent. No one else even comes close here.
And major GOP donor, Dan Eberhart, who has been on this show regularly and is backing Ron DeSantis just told "The Washington Post," quote, if someone doesn't stop Trump in Iowa or New Hampshire, it's over.
How much time do you think is left for a Republican to stop Trump?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, it's an increasingly narrow amount of time. To put it into context, there's no example in modern history of a second tier candidate overcoming such a large margin from the first -- the front runner. You're talking 40 points.
Listen, I've talked to a number of these campaigns whether it's Nikki Haley's, Tim Scott, or others. And what they were advising their candidates is, you know, you cannot put off those Trump voters by coming after him too hard. The problem is we're in this period where he's indicted four times, impeached twice as former presidency and they've not tried to define why that makes him unfit. They've in fact in some places gone on to almost defend them when indictments come down.
So, I'm not shocked by the fact that he's doing better. I mean, betting odds are going to be that Donald Trump is the nominee and we're going to get the rematch of seven in ten Americans don't want of Trump versus Biden again.
KEILAR: Basil, we're also seeing that age is an issue in this election. You've got "The Wall Street Journal" poll showing 73 percent of all Americans say Biden who is 80, is too old to run for reelection next year. Trump at 77 years old is not very far behind him, but only 47 percent of all Americans say that Trump is too old.
And then, if you were talking about just Democrats, "The Journal" says 66 percent, so two thirds, believe Biden was too old to serve another four-year term.
Why does this seem to be a bigger problem for Biden than for Trump?
SMIKLE: You know, I'm not sure why. I imagine it's probably a lot of the same reasons that people don't feel that he's done well for the economy. But my message to those voters is that the Biden-Harris team did exactly what we asked them to do. They brought the country back to normalcy. And they have improved the economy.
On the flip side of this is Donald Trump who is four times indicted, and was -- in my view, the de facto head of an insurrection on January 6. So, the question is what is it that you're looking for, do you want someone that's going to run the bureaucracy, manage government in a good way, but also be able to protect voters against the disillusion of many of their rights?
There's really only one choice you have. So, while I may understand to some extent people's views of who they think should be president. You know, again, when I was -- my first choice for president in 1992, my first vote was Bill Clinton, who was I think 46 when he was elected. So, I get that. If you're younger than a Gen X-er, you've seen a lot of young presidents in your lifetime.
However, if you are concerned about where this country is going, the changes in your rights, and the ability to manage government -- I don't really see an alternative to Biden-Harris.
KEILAR: So, Alyssa, this age issue, though, it's a big one. And Biden is dealing with it and he's sort of confronting it head on. Here's what he said earlier today trying to use it to his advantage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Someone said, you know, Biden's getting old, man, I tell you what. Well, guess what? Guess what? The only thing that comes with age is a little bit of wisdom. I've been doing this longer than anybody.
And guess what, I'm going to continue to do it with your help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Do you think that works for him with independent voters who want someone besides Trump?
GRIFFIN: Well, listen, he's taking a page out of Ronald Reagan's playbook. I think it's the only thing he can do is embrace his age. But I think there's a broader conversation the American public needs to have about the gerontocracy that's essentially governing us in Washington, whether it's Dianne Feinstein, Mitch McConnell, we -- we have to be able to have a conversation about age without just jumping to ageism if you say someone maybe too old to former years of a job.
We have, you know, an age requirement to run for office and maybe we're thinking about if this is a person who's up for it. I say this every time to note that Donald Trump is just several years younger than Joe Biden as well. This is an issue on both sides.
But I do think it's a very real one, 73 percent of Americans care about it. And here is why, and I don't to be morbid in saying this. The average age of an -- a median age for the male in the U.S. is about 78 years old.
So, people's perception is Joe Biden has outlived their grandfather, just statistically speaking. So, it's hard for them to see why this is someone they think they can trust in office for four more years. Listen, he's making the case, he's leading into, I think that's the only thing and right thing he could do. But it is a legitimate issue.
KEILAR: Yeah, not my grandfather. Mid 90s, still going.
GRIFFIN: Good for him.
KEILAR: And good for him.
Alyssa, thank you so much. Basil, really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
GRIFFIN: Thank you.
KEILAR: OUTFRONT next, North Korea's Kim Jong Un may soon travel to Russia to meet with Putin to discuss weapons. Could this affect the war in Ukraine?
Plus, the mass exodus, live pictures of some 70,000 people who have been trapped in the desert. Well, they're now allowed to leave after quite the muddy mess. Someone who still at Burning Man will be joining us live.
And a close encounter with a dangerous fugitive. An officer spots the murderer who escaped from prison and is now on the run. So, how did he get away? We have the local D.A. as our guest.
KEILAR: Tonight, North Korea coming to the aid of Russia's war efforts. Kim Jong Un now planning a trip to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin to discuss supplying weapons. The timing of the meeting is unclear, but "The New York Times" says it could happen this month and would focus specifically on anti-tank missiles and artillery shells.
In a new video into OUTFRONT, the explosion of Russian artillery lighting up dark in the battlefield in the east, the one area where Ukraine says that the Russian military is on the offensive.
Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): As Ukrainian troops inch forward into Russia's defensive lines on the southern front, changes behind them, in Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy switching defense ministers. Oleksii Reznikov out, Gustav Umerov in, a Crimean tartar with a proven track record on diplomacy, now in charge with the sharp end of the war. Most pressing for him, consolidate gains in the south, hold off Russians in the east, and energized allies to get more weapons and faster.
All of the pressure mounts on President Vladimir Putin to rejoin the Black Sea grain deal Umerov help negotiate. By inviting the Turkish president to the grain deal talks in Russia, Vladimir Putin got a big platform to vent his grievances with Ukraine's Western backers.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The West to put it mildly deceived as about humanitarian goals by the humanitarian Black Sea initiative to assist developing countries.
ROBERTSON: But just hours ahead of the meeting, Putin's drones were destroying vital grain stores in Ukraine. As they have done with increased intensity since Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain deal in July.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan went to Sochi hoping to convince Putin to accept a new U.N. grain deal. If he had success, it might be slow coming.
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): I believe will be able to reach a solution which fulfills the expectation soon.
ROBERTSON: The deal was, in fact, two deal, in parallel -- one with Ukraine, one with Russia. Inspectors check cargo as grain ships exited the Black Sea and entered Turkish waters. It lasted for a year before Putin unilaterally pulled out.
His reasons for exiting the deal apparently rooted in Western sanctions, imposed as a result of his illegal and unprovoked war of choice, potentially now leveraging the grain deal to roll some sanctions back.
PUTIN: What we saw was that there was a refusal to renew deliveries of the agricultural spare parts. And also, there was problems with them -- financial settlements and transaction fees.
(ROBERTSON: Erdogan wants to be a peacemaker, but in Sochi seemed to scold Ukraine and legitimize Putin.
ERDOGAN: In order to be able to take common steps with Russia, Ukraine needs to soften its approach. Putin rightfully does not approve with 40 percent of the grain goes to European countries.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Now, Putin says that he is willing to consider reviving the grand isle but only if he gets what he wants. And according to him, that is lifting of export restrictions that he claims are being placed on some Russia's agricultural exports.
But also, he's doubling down, if you will, upping the ante, adding the pressure. He's not just standing back and waiting until that U.N. grain deal is done. He's finding another way to get his grain to market and is working on this for President Erdogan. So, adding pressure, doubling down, working on a separate work-around grain deal with the Turkish president -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Nic Robertson, thank you so much for that.
And OUTFRONT now, Steve Hall, former CIA chief of Russia operations and CNN national security analyst.
Steve, it's not just Erdogan.
Putin expected now to meet with Kim Jong-un to negotiate a weapons deal. And "The New York Times" is saying that Russia wants artillery shells, and anti-tank weapons.
What does it say to you about Russia's war effort?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, it's really, it's truly amazing, Brianna. I mean, if you'd asked me a couple years ago whether or not it was likely that the Russians and their supposed vaunted military would have to turn to North Korea of all countries to help them resupply, to help them with the shortages that they're experiencing in their war efforts in Ukraine.
I would've said absolutely not, it would be like the United States training to Uruguay and saying, hey, can you help us out on the war. So, it's got to be horrifically embarrassing for Russian leadership, to the Kremlin, they got to know how ameliorating that feels. Now, the Russian people will be told something different, it will be spun in a positive way and being -- so most of them get their news from the government. It will come across quite differently.
But it's truly amazing if they've had a chance to -- they can't even get China to help because China understands how badly it would hurt them. So, they got to turn to North Koreans of all people. It's just amazing.
KEILAR: It is very telling. There's a newly-surfaced image I want to ask you about. It's on Telegram. It purports to show Russian General Sergey Surovikin and this would actually be the first sighting of him following the Wagner rebellion which some speculated Surovikin had advanced knowledge of here more than two months ago. And Surovikin's ultimate expulsion as head of Russia's air force came out of that here very recently.
The Telegram post says Surovikin is, quote, alive, healthy, at home with family in Moscow .What does that say to you?
HALL: Well, I would say the jury is still out. I mean , there is a lot of different ways that the Russians can do deepfakes and make it appear as though Surovikin is still alive and he maybe. We simply don't know at this particular point.
But if Surovikin is able to survive the debacle of Prigozhin, remember, we were kind of saying the same thing about Prigozhin initially. Hey, we saw, you know, wandering around St. Petersburg, he was in Moscow and then, all of the sudden, the inevitable happened.
So, whether or not that's going to happen to Surovikin or not, we'll see. He's certainly had to pay a price, there was the arrest, and the House arrest information that we had about him. We'll see if he's actually out of the woods yet. I'm not sure.
KEILAR: Is you're tracking President Zelenskyy's firing his defense ministry? He's citing the need for, quote, new approaches to the war and this is something that has come amid a number of corruption scandals of the defense ministry. What's really happening here, because Russians state media has claimed that this is a sign of Ukraine's failure on the battlefield? Steve, what are you saying?
HALL: Yeah, it's not surprising that the Russians would coach it this way, Brianna, because, of course, they're looking for anything that they can get to stick to the wall in terms of propaganda. Now, on the Ukrainian side, Ukraine has long had a problem with corruption. As a matter of fact, that was one of the motivating factors behind the Maidan revolution that threw out the Moscow-leaning politicians, or at least president.
But even since then, the Ukrainians have had a problem with corruption. They understand they have a problem and it's critically important that they do something about it because they understand that they're getting all of the support from the West which takes corruption very seriously. So, I think, you know, this is a difficult decision for the Ukrainian president to be in. He's got to do something about it.
I think he's doing the right thing, he didn't say, for example, I'm fighting a war. I don't have trying to deal with corruption. He understands he needs to take it seriously. And he's doing so.
KEILAR: Steve, thank you so much. We appreciate your time tonight.
KEILAR: OUTFRONT next live, pictures of the line of cars, here it is -- campers and trucks trying to leave Burning Man after being trapped for days by rain and mud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was impossible to function, impossible to move around, impossible to communicate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: It's been tough and of someone who is still there will be joining us, next.
Plus, new sightings of the convicted murderer who escaped from prison. So, do officials finally have a pin down? The D.A. involved in the search is my guest.
KEILAR: Tonight, exodus at last. Some 70,000 people who have been stuck at Burning Man are now slowly being allowed to leave. You're looking here at live pictures of just this massive caravan of festival-goers making their way out of the desert. Rain turned the normally dry Nevada lake bed where the festival is had into a sticky, muddy mass, shutting down the only road in or out, stranding people for days.
Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The exodus underway. That sunshine you see is the savior drying the mud, just enough for tires to grip, not sink into the sludge.
PAUL ROMERO, ATTENDED BURNING MAN FESTIVAL: It was impossible to function, impossible to move on. A lot of struggling people and what became very cold, very storm-like conditions, people's tents and camps became pretty much destroyed.
WATT: More than 70,000 people were basically trapped for days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burning man, waterman.
WATT: Trapped in this makeshift desert city that pops up in Nevada every year around Labor Day, filled with campers, and creators, fun lovers and those with their freak flags flying. That culminates in the man burning. ZOHAR KENNARD, ATTENDED BURNING MAN: We plan on leaving after the
burn, Saturday night. And then it started raining on as. Everyone took their shoes off, started dancing in the mud, it was great. And the reality sunk in that we couldn't leave.
WATT: Chris Rock and some other celebs decided to take the only uncomfortable exit available.
THOMAS WESLEY PENTS AKA "DIPLO", DJ AND BURNING MAN ATTENDEE: This New York Knicks jacket on and he got up and left, started walking, we walked three hours in the mud. And he was happy it was me. I think Cindy Crawford walked with us, Kaia Gerber, Austin Butler. It was a challenge but that was honestly one of the highlights of the whole trip.
WATT: Thousands of others stuck it out, many embracing the ethos of self-reliance that surrounds this festival.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was waiting for the looting, honestly. I thought that would've been great. But now, it's beautiful actually when you go to the camps. Everyone was helping each other out.
WATT: Burning man, raining man, suck it up, stick it out.
BOBBY WHITE, BURNING MAN ATTENDEE: I had my RV here. All my other candidates have RVs or big rental trucks or things like that. And getting those out was basically impossible. I mean, sure, you could've walked out. But what will I do with my stuff.
WATT: All this chaos caused by less than an inch of rain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even just the slightest bit of rain makes everything super slick.
You walk around on your feet, you have like five pounds of mud on your feet.
WATT: Why? Well, this is a desert. Nothing much grows, the soil isn't lovely, loamy, and absorbent, it's just miles of gray clay. Most years, this is a dusty, not a muddy mess.
And under an inch of rain, well, it's still two or three months-worth of rain in this arid land within just 24 hours.
Tonight, they will finally burn the man for those that remain. And pray for no rain.
WATT (on camera): So, at noon today, organizers said that there was about 64,000 people on the site. Two hours later, they officially open the road, but they are advising people maybe you want to wait until tomorrow, but by the look of those lines, not many people are taking that advice. This radical self reliance, that's what they say is one of their central ethos of the festival. This year, it proved why -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Sure did. Nick Watt, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now is Kaz Qamruddin who is still at Burning Man in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.
Kaz, we are looking, we have video that you sent us of just some incredibly thick mad and soaking wet tents. What has it been like for you all living in these conditions?
KAZ QAMRUDDIN, BURNING MAN ATTENDEE: Actually, we have a well organized camp, camp daydream, and half the camp is RVs, and half the campus tents. So as soon as the tent started getting water logged or unlivable, people in RVs started taking in some of the tenters, so everyone was warm.
We also have shipping container, semi-trucks that we had emptied out on remade beautiful lounges in there for people to sleep in, blankets. You know, a community that comes together in hard times. So, this actually could end up being one of the best Burning Man's for a lot of people because it used all the principles all at once and tested it for the full experience.
KEILAR: Yeah, it certainly did test you all. And with that idea of self reliance here. That is also something that was tested. But that said, do you think that there are things that could've been handled better by organizers, what are your thoughts on that?
QAMRUDDIN: Actually this is the first time that this has been, and 35 years they've been doing less festival, I think this is the first time than anything like this has happened. I think they handled it to the best of their ability is. And put out all the proper instructions which is not to move. It was up to the attendees to follow the rules.
As soon as you start moving 30,000 pound vehicles, are these, things without four by four you're going to get stuck. If you listen to the rules it's all drying up right now. People are starting to leave.
But the people that started to leave in panic or wanted to get out ahead of time while there was still rain. They're still stuck out there. They're still stuck out on the road out, and they're causing a bottleneck situation for all the people that actually stayed and listened.
KEILAR: So, you stayed, you've listened, when are you planning to leave?
QAMRUDDIN: I'm listening.
I'm probably going to leave after the man burns tonight, or tomorrow morning because as you guys said, we've been notified that the gates are now open. The problem is this Monday is the mass exodus. So, this is when the traffic will be the heaviest. People can plan on sending in their cars from anywhere from 2 to 12, to 14 hours on the way out. S, I'm going away and hopefully just be in line for a couple hours before I hit Torino. KEILAR: Patience is a virtue for sure.
Kaz, thank you for being with us. And we hope that you have a wonderful time. You're very optimistic even under these conditions.
QAMRUDDIN: It's such a great community to be a part of. And it really is -- it's all about coming together and working as a team. Thank you so much.
KEILAR: Kaz Qamruddin, thank you from Burning Man.
OUTFRONT next, officials reporting four possible -- four possible sightings of the dangerous murderer who escaped from prison. As they now resort to blasting a message from someone very close to the color, who is it and isn't going to work?
And a rising star in the Republican Party now about to face an impeachment trial after members of his own party turned against him.
KEILAR: Tonight, new sightings of a convicted murderer on the run in Pennsylvania as the manhunt intensifies. Danelo Cavalcante broke out of the Chester County prison five days ago. Law enforcement believed that he's been pinned down inside of a two-mile perimeter outside the Philadelphia. That is where this home surveillance camera captured him in a backyard on early Saturday, about a mile and a half from the prison. And yesterday, a state trooper spotted him in the woods. He was able to get away.
Cavalcante was convicted of brutally stabbing his former girlfriend to death and he's also wanted for murder in Brazil.
OUTFRONT now, we have Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan with us.
Deb, thank you so much for being with us. The state police have confirmed four credible sightings of Cavalcante at this point. Any more sightings today?
DEB RYAN, CHESTER COUNTY, PA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: As yesterday afternoon.
RYAN: No, not that we're aware at this moment. The last one we were aware of was yesterday afternoon.
KEILAR: OK. So, what happened after the state trooper spotted him?
RYAN: So, we were told that he spotted him, he radioed back, and when he attempted to pursue him the suspect was able to evade him. So, we believe he still some more on the perimeter as you indicated in a two mile radius of some kind. We have been actively pursuing him since the escape back on Thursday.
We have hundreds of law enforcement officers, choppers, dogs, and drones trying to track this man down. And he will be brought to justice.
We believe it's just a matter of time.
KEILAR: He was carrying a backpack in this recent surveillance video that we're seeing. A backpack he, of course, didn't have when he escaped prison. Do you have any idea where he got it or if someone might be helping him?
RYAN: We don't know where he got it yet. There have been some reports of burglaries in the local area (AUDIO GAP) missing from the residence. We have no reason to think he's being assisted on the outside by anyone else. We think he's alone and we think he's in hiding at this time.
KEILAR: I think he's responsible for those burglaries?
RYAN: It looks as though he has. We don't have a lot of credible information to definitively link him to some of these allegations of burglaries. But there were a few that appeared that he was the person who broke into someone's home.
KEILAR: Are there any things of concern that are missing in those burglaries, weapons or things that could be important to know that he has on his person?
RYAN: No. I want to make sure it's clear the only thing we heard that was reported missing was food. At this point, it's five days in. We suspect that he's hungry, he's tired, he's dehydrated.
We know that he had broken in -- we believe he had broken into someone's residents to take some fruit and vegetables. That's all the information we have about anything or any items that were taken from any residents at this time.
KEILAR: Deb, we learned today that Cavalcante's mother had recorded a message to this son. It's being broadcast from this helicopter, we have a picture of it here that circling the area that's urging him to surrender.
Has he attempted to make contact with his family or anyone?
RYAN: We have no evidence of that. We don't think he has a cellphone. He escaped with nothing on, and as far as we can tell, other than the clothes he was wearing. At this time, we know that he had contacted his mother right after he murdered Deborah Brandao in 2021. It was the very (AUDIO GAP) hoping this plea for a peaceful surrender by his mother will compel him to come forward in a peaceful manner. And so, they've been blasting it out from the helicopter with the intention that he will surrender to law enforcement soon. KEILAR: Of course, a lot of people want to know how this happened in
the first place. I know your focus very much on catching him. You said that the prison is very aware of vulnerabilities. It's made efforts to correct them.
But let me ask you this, will someone be held into account even as you won't share details of those vulnerabilities obviously. Will someone be held into account for a murder or being able to escape from the president and leave an entire suburb in fear?
RYAN: Of course. We're conducting the investigation as you indicated. Our priority right now is making sure that this man is captured. So, all of our energies are being focused on that.
At some point when we are able to conduct a thorough investigation of the prison, I'm sure we will identify where the actual vulnerability was, and we'll make sure whoever is to be held accountable will be held accountable.
KEILAR: All right. District Attorney Deb Ryan, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
RYAN: Thank you. Have a good night.
KEILAR: All right. You as well.
OUTFRONT next, Texas tonight bracing for a high stake impeachment battle as the states disgraced attorney general vows to retaliate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN PAXTON (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let's clean house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And what does former President Trump and his 18 codefendants have in common with a superstar from Atlanta?
KEILAR: Tonight, abuse of power, bribery, retaliation -- those are just some of the allegations facing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose historic impeachment trial begins tomorrow. Paxton, a close ally of Donald Trump, has been suspended from his duties since May, after a Republican-led impeachment in the Texas state house. But will Republicans in the state Senate vote to oust him?
Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days before the start of his impeachment trial, Ken Paxton showed up at a rally to kick off his wife's state senate reelection campaign. STATE SEN. ANGELA PAXTON (R), TEXAS: Please welcome to the stage, my
husband, my best friend, Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton.
LAVANDERA: The suspended Republican attorney general was impeached on 20 articles, including charges of retaliating against whistleblowers, abuse of power and bribery, as well as misconduct involving an alleged affair. Paxton used this moment to pound the theme that he is the victim of a political witch hunt.
K. PAXTON: Actually, if you kind of kept up, I -- you can read that I'm responsible for JFK assassination and for 9/11 and everything in between.
LAVANDERA: Paxton's impeachment trial begins Tuesday in the Texas state senate, and it features some of the highest profile and unique legal characters in the state.
Paxton is represented by Dan Cogdell and Tony Buzbee, they describe the impeachment of Paxton as a drive-by shooting.
TONY BUZBEE, ATTORNEY: This was a sham. It was a sham from the get-go.
DAN COGDELL, ATTORNEY: To say this case is not about politics has the credibility, the believability, and the sincerity of the fellow that's trying to convince his wife that he'd go to strip joints for food. It's not about the naked women, sweetheart. It's about the food -- nonsense. It's definitely political. Nonsense.
LAVANDERA: Prosecuting the case against Paxton are the legendary Rusty Hardin and Dick DeGuerin. For decades, they've worked the biggest cases in the state. A few months ago, when Paxton's lawyers ripped the impeachment process, CNN asked Rusty Hardin to comment, and he referred us to this classic scene from the 1992 Joe Pesci courtroom comedy, "My Cousin Vinny".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That guy just says (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
LAVANDERA: But the political stakes are sky-high. In May, Paxton was overwhelmingly impeached by Texas House Republicans, 121 to 23.
And Paxton is vowing political retribution against those Republicans who voted against him.
K. PAXTON: Let's clean house.
LAVANDERA: There are 31 state senators, one of them is Angela Paxton, the attorney general's wife, but she will not be allowed to vote on her husband's impeachment. There are 12 Democrats in the Senate, and prosecutors need 21 votes to remove Paxton from office. The question is, whether nine Republicans will vote against Paxton.
Veteran Republican political strategist Brendan Steinhauser says, it's not clear how this trial will play out.
BRENDAN STEINHAUSER, VETERAN REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: There's a lot of political pressure coming from all sides. This is unprecedented, so they're trying to do their constitutional duty, they are trying to do legally, morally, I think the right thing. They do not know that is yet until they dive into it and see the evidence.
LAVANDERA: Paxton has enjoyed support from Donald Trump and among Republican voters.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: He's a great man.
LAVANDERA: Steinhauser says Paxton is benefiting from Trump's attacks that the justice system is weaponized against politicians like them.
STEINHAUSER: That alignment is important for Paxton, because it helps him, it gives him some political support amongst the grassroots voters and activists in the Republican Party of Texas. And it makes it more difficult for state senators and state representatives to impeach and then convict him.
KEILAR: Ed, how is this all expected to play out when the trial begins tomorrow?
LAVANDERA: Well, it starts tomorrow morning, there is a small chance that the majority of the impeachment articles could be dismissed by a simple majority vote of the Texas senate, which is overwhelmingly Republican, but it's not clear if that's going to happen.
Then, the question becomes if the case in trial continues to move on. It's expected the last several weeks. Ken Paxton's lawyers have said he will not testify, but impeachment managers insist that they will call Ken Paxton to testify in this impeachment trial. So, it will be a very stressful few weeks here in the Texas capital -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Certainly will be. Ed Lavandera, thank you.
OUTFRONT next, why a popular rapper's legal troubles in Fulton County could reveal a lot about what former President Trump is about to face. We have a special report next.
And coming up later tonight on CNN, a new CNN film explores the life of rock star Little Richard and his impact on music.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just like a shot out of a cannon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His voice. That, oh. He created the rock and roll icon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, y'all, it wasn't Elvis.
LITTLE RICHARD: I am the king of rock and roll! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first songs that you love that your parents hate is the beginning of the sound track to your life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little Richard's lyrics were too lewd to get air play on the radio.
LITTLE RICHARD: It was just as clean as you were.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very good at liberating other people. He was not good at liberating position.
LITTLE RICHARD: Michael was inspired by me. Prince. James Brown. I discovered him. Jimi Hendrix was my guitar player.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was just down on the desk and doing Little Richard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone was beholden to him.
ANNOUNCER: "Little Richard, I Am Everything," tonight at 9:00 on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Tonight, several codefendants charged as part of the sweeping Fulton County probe into Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, facing a Wednesday deadline to enter a plea or appear for their arraignment. This, as another racketeering case brought by the D.A. against a major rap star could offer clues as to what lies ahead.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Onstage, Young Thug is a rap superstar. On the streets of Atlanta, prosecutors say he is a gang leader, indicted along with many associates and allegedly tied to a raft of crimes.
FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Crimes of violence, crimes of theft, crimes involving drugs.
FOREMAN: And the person pushing that case is Fani Willis, the same district attorney who indicted Donald Trump.
WILLIS: My number one focus is targeting gangs.
FOREMAN: Surprisingly, the rapper's case could provide clues about how the former president's case might proceed. Both were filed under racketeering laws, typically used to fight organized crime. Both indictments listed a range of crimes and a lot of defendants. Although Young Thugs case through peels and other developments, is down to fewer than a dozen.
And both involve well-known public figures who have pleaded not guilty, and whose cases have grabbed headlines, with Trump lashing out at this prosecutor just as he has others.
TRUMP: I didn't do anything wrong. I did nothing wrong.
FOREMAN: With such claim so easily flooding headlines, the process of selecting an impartial jury is complicated. Young Thug's case was filed in May 2022, and jury selection has been underway since January of this year.
Former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So, if it's taken eight months to pick a jury in the Young Thug case. I have no belief that you could do it quicker than that in the Trump case.
FOREMAN: Indeed, he says considering all the defendants, all the lawyers, and all the legal wrangling in young thug's case, it is impossible to imagine the politically explosive case of the former president moving any smoother or quicker.
MOORE: It's a resource strain, and it's a time drain, but that's what I suggest made no possibility of trying the case next year.
FOREMAN (on camera): And, of course, all of that can push every deeper into the 2024 presidential race, where all of the political and legal questions just to get worse.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
KEILAR: And thank you so much for joining us.
"AC360" with John Berman starts now.