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Erin Burnett Outfront

New CNN Poll Reveals Red Flags For Biden Among Dems; Source: Giuliani Legal Defense Fund Has Raised "Peanuts"; Drone Attack Rocks Area Close to Large Russian Military Base; "Tremendous Increase" in China Buying Up U.S. Land. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 07, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the poll everyone's talking about. It is not a good one for President Biden. Tonight his own party is speaking out.

And John King will be with us to break it all down. His top takeaways. Is Biden really in trouble?

And news breaking this hour, there are new details on just how much legal trouble and debt Rudy Giuliani is facing as Trump tries to keep him close by throwing him a fundraiser tonight.

Plus, China buying up more land in the United States. China setting up companies directly tied to communist party officials. So what is going on? It is a special report that you will see here first.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Biden wake-up call. A new CNN poll out today shows the president is at risk of losing the election if it were held today. The alarm tonight coming from his own party, the majority of which wants another candidate for president. Biden's fellow Democrats admitting tonight there is a problem.


SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): There's no doubt about it, the polls say what they say.

SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): There's 14 months until an election, and there's a lot of work we have to do.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I think the people have spoken loud and clear. They're not happy with the two choices and only two choices.


BURNETT: All right. And let's drill down on the poll. It does have some ominous details. Americans say overwhelmingly that the president does not inspire confidence. They say he does not have the stamina and the sharpness. They say that he has not helped the economy, and a majority say he acted inappropriately regarding the investigation of his son Hunter.

But what may be most worrisome for many Democrats is that in a head to head matchup, Biden and Trump right now are statistically tied despite what's going on with Trump legally. Biden isn't winning. It's not even -- you know, it's dead heat. In fact, Biden is statistically tied with all the Republican presidential candidates except for one, Nikki Haley, who is beating Biden.

And we have a lot to get to tonight and the reaction from the political world has been swift as this came out.

John King's OUTFRONT at the magic wall.

And, John, you know, you've had time to kind of go through this, break it down, think about it. The numbers are striking. And as I pointed out, it's not just a headline number. It is detail and depth.

How bad is this for Biden?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's abysmal, Erin. Let's fist insert the caveat. You heard it there from some of the senators, well, 424 days until the November election, so a long time. The White House says, the Biden campaign says we can turn this around. But he's been on the road for a couple of months talking up Bidenomics, so far, there's zero evidence he's breaking through.

This is just Democrats and did Democratic leaning independents, right? The president's base. Two-thirds of them want a different candidate. 67 percent of Democrats and Democratic leading independents say we want a different candidate.

We asked an open ended question, what's your biggest concern about Joe Biden as 2024 candidate? Look at that, it's stunning, Erin.

These are Democrats and Democratic leaning voters, these are not Republicans. Half of them say he's too old. If you add up these other numbers, mental competence, health, effectiveness, risk of dying, not being able to serve a second term, that's 74 percent when you add all that up.

Only 5 percent of Democrats and Democratic voters said they have no concerns at all. This tells you that the perception among his base, Democrats and Democratic leaning independents is he's not up to the job and that is affecting how they view him on just about everything.

BURNETT: And, you obviously, you know, you point out all those different points adding them up to 74 percent or so, age being the predominant ones. What are the biggest warning signs for Biden now that you see?

KING: So, let's walk through it. Number one, don't forget the age issue. It's huge right now, but how do people feel about the country. He's the incumbent president. He wants four more years. How do you feel about the country right now? How are things going?

Among all Americans, seven in ten say badly. The president has spent the past two months saying Bidenomics is working. Historically low unemployment, inflation is coming down, more jobs in a first term than any president ever. Well, seven in ten Americans still think as of now the economy is heading in the wrong direction.

And, Erin, this is where it gets stunning. Again, Joe Biden needs Democrats and in independents to win the White House, right? Half of Democrats say the country is going badly right now. Seven in ten independents say things in the country are going badly right now. Those are the voters he needs to win reelection.

What about his policies? Have Biden's policies improved or worsened the economy? What has the president been doing the last two months? Still, six in 10 of all Americans, 58 percent say his policies have worsened the economy, made things worse. A quarter of Democrats believe that, Erin. Sixty percent, just shy of 60 percent, 59 percent of independents believe that.

Again, Democrats and independents are how he wins reelections, that's how he wins the White House.


And they think a good -- a fair share think he's making it's worse. Are you proud to have Joe Biden as president? Kind of a threshold president, right? Do you want this guy?


KING: Two-thirds of Americans say no. Thirty-seven percent of Democrats, nearly four in ten Democrats say, no, they're not proud. Seven in 10 independents.

One more, this gets back to the health issue, the age issue. Does he have the stamina and sharpness to serve? He's asking for four more years. Seventy-four percent, nearly 3/4 of Americans say, no, he does not have the stamina and sharpness to serve.

Half of Democrats, Erin. Again, right now, Republicans have a big enthusiasm advantage. Half of Democrats think the president's not up to the job. Nearly eight in 10 independents think that. Four hundred and twenty-four days, but that's a lot of repair work to do.

BURNETT: I mean, it is -- it is amazing you look at just the independents, everyone talks about how crucial that group is. Self- identified larger than either other group. Eight in ten of them, right, saying no stamina. Seven in ten not proud. I mean --

KING: Stunning.

BURNETT: It is stunning.

I mentioned that he's a statistical dead heat with the former President Trump as well as the other Republicans running, except for one, Nikki Haley. She beats President Biden right now in a head to head outside the statistical margin of error. I want to play some of the moments that have given her some buzz for lack of a better word in recent GOP matchups in the debate.

Here she is.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Under your watch, you would make America less -- you have no foreign policy experience, and it shows. We have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can't win a general election that way.

I care about the fact that no one is telling the American people the truth. The truth is that Biden didn't do this to us. Our Republicans did this to us, too. Can't we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion?


BURNETT: I mean, you know, she's the only Republican beating him outside the margin of error, so -- and she's doing better than Trump, John. So what's going on there?

KING: The question is, can she make that case to Republican voters? Because she can't oppose Joe Biden in the general election unless she wins the Republican nomination. Right now, Trump is far, far, far ahead of everybody in the primary.

These are very interesting numbers if you look at it. First let me get to the Biden-Trump question. You know, there are a lot of Democrats who say Donald Trump could never win again. If the election were tomorrow, Donald Trump would win again.

This is a dead heat but Republicans have an enthusiasm gap right now. The Republicans have enthusiasm on their side right now. There's no question Donald Trump could win again today on paper, today, 424 days out.

This is a dead heat. There's no clear leader. If you look at the weeds of the poll, if you go deep into the poll, there is no question Trump could win again.

But to the -- look at it this way, Biden-Haley, she, as you know, the only Republican who beats him right now outside of the margin of error, right? So, how is she doing that? Look at these comparisons.

Who have become a key part of the Democratic base in recent years? College graduates, especially white college graduates. They used to be Republicans. They live in the American suburbs, right? They have move over to the Democrats because they don't like Donald Trump.

Joe Biden a 14-point edge among white college graduates. Remember that, plus 14. Look at him, the same group, white college graduates Nikki Haley, she beats him by seven points among white college graduates. She is digging deep clawing into the Democratic constituency, including in the American suburbs.

Another quick one, Erin, for you among independents. This is how you win in a close election, right, you get independents, Joe Biden beats Donald Trump, what is that? That's nine points, right? By 47 to 38, but you bring Nikki Haley into the conversation, she is winning right now by five points among independents.

The suburbs, college graduates, that's why Joe Biden is in the White House. Nikki Haley is way behind Donald Trump. On paper today, she's the strongest Republican against Biden.

BURNETT: Those tabs are fascinating. One final point, the Hunter Biden issue, which I raised. His legal issues do appear now, they're showing up in these polls. 61 percent say they believe that while he was vice president, Joe Biden was involved in his son's business dealings in both Ukraine and China, 42 percent say he did something illegal, 18 percent say unethical, important, a majority 55 percent say he's acted inappropriately regarding the investigation into his son. So how much does this matter?

KING: You see his numbers, they're under water just about everywhere. So, there's no question this matters. And the president's hands are essentially tied here. There are a lot of Democrats who have been frustrated a long time, A, at the Republican prosecutor, why did this go on so long. B, at Hunter Biden, why didn't you try to cut a plea deal in the very early days of the Biden presidency, way, way, back.

Now, this is going to carry through the campaign. Our team reporting the special counsel filing papers, saying he's likely to bring an indictment against Hunter Biden in the days ahead. The president on the record saying he will not talk about anything under the justice department purview, whether it's Donald Trump or his son. So his hands now, Hunter Biden, just like Trump's legal troubles -- Hunter Biden's legal issue, a huge degree of difference, please do not equate the two.

But still, Hunter Biden's legal issues will be with this president. And there's no question, does it hurt him among Democrats?


Probably not. But that's one of the things that gives independents a little bit of an eh.

And the Republicans, there is no public evidence that Joe Biden has benefitted from Hunter Biden's business dealings. None. The Republicans promised to show it. They have presented none.

But they keep saying Biden crime family. They keep saying there's something there.


KING: And guess what, Erin? That part of it's working.

BURNETT: The perception. All right. Thank you very much, John King.

And I want to go now to the Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter. She's also running for a U.S. Senate seat in California. And I appreciate your time, Congresswoman.

So, you know, you heard John break this down, and I know you've seen this poll yourself, but 67 percent of Democrats and Democratic leading independents want the party to nominate someone other than Joe Biden for 2024.

Does the Democratic Party need to start seriously looking at someone else?

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): President Biden has done a terrific job on the economy, and I think this is a matter of just people wanting to sort of dream up what they could imagine for different kinds of candidate at this point, but the truth is Joe Biden has a terrific story to tell on the economy. He's not getting a ton of help telling it, I think, and that's part of one of the things that I hear during my Senate campaign is people want to hear about what he's done. They also want to hear about what he's still going to do.

And if you think back to his big signature legislation, the things that got knocked out of it, the cost of child care, bringing down the cost of housing, two free years of community college, I think what voters are signaling is they want those problems tackled, and they still see the work ahead. And I would say Joe Biden sees the work ahead too, and that's exactly why we should elect him.

BURNETT: And I -- and I know you and I have had many conversations about the economy and that's important here, we could talk about it and how significant -- what is, what is -- you know, successes really are and also the perception. But do you really think ultimately, congresswoman, that if people just saw the economy differently, they wouldn't care about all these other issues that they seem to have strong opinions on, the stamina, the age, whether they're proud to have him as president, all of those, you know, frankly pretty damning numbers?

PORTER: Well, as somebody who's run three tough races, I have read a lot of polls in my day. And there's always cross signals, and I think that's some of what you see here. I think at the end of the day, you look at the Biden ability to win independent voters, particularly over Trump, I think this is shaping up with some of the exact same demographics going to support President Biden as did last time, and I think you hear, if anything, even stronger concerns about President Trump.

So what I saw in this poll was actually a lot of consistency from 2020 in terms of who's supporting President Biden, who's supporting candidate Trump, and I think we're going to see a very similar outcome, which is ultimately President Biden being reelected.

BURNETT: All right. You are running of course for Senate in California, as you mentioned, right? And there are a lot of people vying for the Democratic nomination. Polls have you as one of the top contenders. So, if you win the nomination, do you want Biden to campaign by your side?

PORTER: Well, I absolutely want to be President Biden's partner in helping him deliver a strong message on the economy across the country, and so, one of the things we see consistently is voters across party lines, across geographies, across different categories tell us that the economy is the most important issue to them.

Democrats need to listen, and we need to match the intensity and quality of our messaging on the economy to where voters' concerns are. Not take the bait on some of this stuff that Republicans are trying to distract from. But instead the Democratic Party needs to find its next generation, next set of leaders to talk about the economy and to help drive home what the president has done on the economy, what he's going to do on the economy and to be his partner in delivering that.

BURNETT: And just to be clear because -- obviously, you're supportive of the economy and you want him to win on that, you believe he's going to win, but do you want him to be on a stage with you campaigning with you, is that an asset for you?

PORTER: Well, I had one of the toughest races in the country last cycle here in Orange County. President Biden came and he talked about what he has done on prescription drugs.

And it was incredibly helpful and incredibly important to show people that this is what President Trump said he was going to do. He said he was going to begin to negotiate prices on drugs, and he didn't. President Biden did.

President Trump said he was going to deliver on infrastructure, and he didn't. President Biden did.

So I would absolutely want to stand at the ribbon cutting, at the opening of some of these infrastructure projects. I would want to hear the stories of patients whose lives have been improved because they can now afford prescription drugs.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Congresswoman Porter, I appreciate your time, it's good to talk to you again.

PORTER: Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, the breaking news on Rudy Giuliani, owing now we understand millions in legal fees. Trump doesn't want to pay them, so he's throwing a fundraiser in Bedminster as we speak, you know, to get other people to pay for it.


New details on the relationship now between those two men.

Plus, a CNN exclusive tonight, a new biography of Elon Musk purporting that he secretly ordered his company Starlink satellite turned off near Crimea because he feared a, quote, mini Pearl Harbor. Is he right to be worried? Is it okay to have that power?

And lawmakers sounding the alarm as China plants roots on American soil, literally. Our David Culver has an incredible report that you'll first see here tonight OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Breaking news, millions of dollars. That is how much Rudy Giuliani, the one-time lawyer for Donald Trump, owes in legal fees. This is a according to a source familiar with the matter. And it comes as Trump, as I speak, is headlining a $100,000 a plate fundraiser at his Bedminster golf club to raise money for Giuliani, one of his 18 co-defendants in Fulton County, all the things in the world to spend your hard earned money on.

Let's go straight to Paula Reid.

Paula, we knew Giuliani was struggling financially, right, they're trying to sell his apartment, there's been other reporting. But your reporting now about how much he owes, millions of dollars. I mean, it's stunning.

I mean, how much and how much will tonight's fundraiser even make a dent into it?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they estimate tonight they'll have around a dozen people, each paying $100,000 a plate, and that well over a million dollars there will make a dent in what one source says is around $5 million in unpaid legal fees.


REID: And this is the first of two fundraisers that the former president has agreed to help Giuliani with in an effort to help him pay off some of this debt.

Now, in addition to Trump's efforts, we know at least one Giuliani associate is also reaching out to people who Giuliani has helped in the past, folks who reached out to him for favors when he was on top, former deputies and politicians. But I'm told those efforts have resulted in what amounts to peanuts in terms of how much money those have actually raised.

But he's also looking at likely another million dollars in legal bills down in Georgia, in the Fulton County case, we heard yesterday prosecutors expect that trial will last around four months. They'll call 150 witnesses. That is a lot of billable hours, Erin. He currently has a defense team down there, but it's unclear if he's going to be able to come up with the money to keep them.

BURNETT: I'm still just my jaw's on the floor to pay $100,000 to go to a dinner to pay for someone's legal fees.

All right. You and your team, Paula, have reported on Giuliani going to Mar-a-Lago to plead with Trump face-to-face for help to ask for money. Trump didn't want to do it. They do, though, still spend time together Trump and Giuliani. They were at a Bikers for Trump rally on Labor Day as just one example.

I mean, is there -- what is the status of their relationship and Trump's, you know, the pressure that he may be under to fork over some cash.

REID: Erin, it's fascinating. Our colleague Kristen Holmes and I, we spoke to many sources on both sides of this. The one thing that everybody agrees on is that these two men enjoy a very strong relationship. They've been friends for decades.

But one thing that I learned is that Rudy Giuliani will not directly ask Trump for money. He believes it is disrespectful. That responsibility has fallen to his son, Andrew Giuliani, who is close to Trump and Giuliani's former lawyer, Rob Costello. He went down with Giuliani in the spring, we wrote about this in our story, to ask Trump for money. But learned Costello did almost all of the talking.

Giuliani currently owes Costello about $1.4 million. Tonight might help a little with that. It's interesting, around the former president there's a split among his advisers. Some people say, look, you don't have to help him. You can even cut him loose.

Others are insisting that, yes, you do need to help him. Look what he's done for you. All of his work in recent years has been for you. He has lost a great deal of his reputation based on that work.

One of his associates estimates he has lost between $10 million and $20 million in consulting fees based to the damage of his reputation because of this relationship.

But, look, they are hanging out. We saw them having lunch, playing golf tonight. They'll be at this fundraiser. So, apparently, they're not letting money get in the way of their decades' long friendship.

BURNETT: It's confounding.

All right. Thank you very much, Paula Reid, with all of her reporting.

Let's go to Ryan Goodman, OUTFRONT legal expert.

So, Ryan, all right. I'm sorry, I still -- can anybody watching comprehend paying $100,000 for a dinner for anything, never mind Rudy Giuliani's legal bills? I cannot get my mind around this. It does raise the question, though, right, Rudy Giuliani is so crucial in all of these cases that Trump is doing this now.

Is there a risk of Giuliani I guess for lack of a better word flipping if Trump doesn't help him in this way?

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: I could easily imagine so. I would side essentially with the advisers who are telling Trump, if you want to keep him in the fold, you want to keep this person viable financially because if he is going town financially at this burn rate, then he might very well either think just out of a sense of betrayal, even though I didn't ask him directly he's not given back to me -- given -- how much I've given my life to the former president.


GOODMAN: And the second might just be when these financial bills start to mount like this, you just can't have the legal team you need in place to fend off an indictment in Georgia that might take four months and then the judge in Georgia this week said, it might be deductible that amount of time. That's just an enormous financial bill that he has to pay if he's going to put up a strong defense.

BURNETT: Have you ever heard anything like this, people raising money like this?

GOODMAN: No, it's also unusual to go to a billionaire or a multibillionaire's home in order to pay $100,000 in when that person sitting in that room could obviously cut the check. So --

BURNETT: Right, that's just amazing. It's not just that other people are willing to pay for it, it's that someone could pay for it and isn't and they're stepping in. It's stunning.

So you brought up what's going on in Fulton County, that Rudy Giuliani would have that as well. Trump attorneys now say they may try to move his case in the racketeering case in Fulton County to federal court, just like Mark Meadows was trying to do. Now, we've been saying now for a couple of days any minute we could get a decision from the judge on whether Meadows will be successful in that attempt. We still haven't gotten it.

Do you read anything into that?


And do you think Trump has a chance of succeeding it, doing the same?

GOODMAN: So, I think Trump has a chance of succeeding. He might also be sending a signal to the state court judge that things can get really messy because he himself might get into federal court and it can throw a spanner into the work of the state court judge, because the state court judge raised that question, what happens if we start the trial and some of these defendants are going to -- put into federal court?


GOODMAN: I do think Trump has a pretty good shot. There's a good argument on his behalf that he should be in federal court because he's being charged for his actions within his office. That's the argument. His best argument is actually to let Meadows go first, Meadows has the strongest claim.

And then the law is a little bit uncertain. The law might say once one goes, 19 go. That the entire case gets removed to federal court. So, that might be Trump's best shot, let Meadows be the person because he's got the strongest claim, and maybe we can all go with Meadows.

Otherwise, he can do his own case and say, look, some of these charges do affect what I was doing in my office, even though some were about what I was doing with my campaign. That's another question that the judge raised in the federal court.


GOODMAN: He said, what happens in that situation.

BURNETT: All right. So, final development today. Peter Navarro who was the trade adviser for President Trump was convicted tonight of contempt of Congress for not complying with a subpoena for the January 6th committee. He is the second person to face that. He says he's going to appeal executive privilege.

But what could he be facing here?

GOODMAN: I think he faces something -- well, he faces something from one month to a year according to the statute.

BURNETT: In terms of prison time.

GOODMAN: In terms of prison time. There's a minimum, and then there's a maximum.


GOODMAN: There are two charges, two counts, but they'll probably run at the same time concurrently. So he faces real jail time. I think he might get something like Steve Bannon got for the very same kind of action, contempt of Congress, not testifying for the very same set of issues four months in prison. It raises the question why a person like that would face prison time rather than having just given information to Congress.

BURNETT: Well, it certainly does, I mean, no matter what you want to say, you have to really reflect upon your entire life if you end up in such a situation.

All right. Ryan, thank you very much.

And next, stunning new video into OUTFRONT, Ukraine's military taking credit for this attack on a Russians weapons cache near Bakhmut, and we're showing you right now the actual moment of impact from that bombing. That's ahead.

Plus, China ramping up massive investments in American farmland, which now has lawmakers, residents worried about what the Communist Party of China is up to on American land.



BURNETT: Tonight new video into OUTFRONT showing the bombing and destruction of a Russian nuclear weapons cache near Bakhmut. Now, this is according to the Ukrainian military. And the images come as Russia is slamming the United States for a weapon the U.S. is sending to Ukraine for the first time ever, which has depleted uranium munitions, which are mildly radioactive shells with armor-piercing capabilities.

The Russian military calling the move a, quote, criminal act that will escalate hostilities.

Melissa Bell is OUTFRONT with the story and a report you're you'll see here first.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sound of war, only not in Ukraine this time. It's increasingly common in Russia now, too. Emergency workers arrive quickly on the scene less than a kilometer from Russia's southern military headquarters. This war's now being brought most days to the civilians of the country that started it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): A window frame fell out. The glass shattered. I stood up and started cleaning it up. What else could I do?

BELL: And beyond the two drones that targeted Rostov-on-Don in the early hours of Thursday, a third was intercepted on its way to Moscow, according to the city's mayor. The people are suffering because of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine says one resident. Let Putin come here and see what is going on, she urges.

For civilians in Ukraine meanwhile, the war is all too familiar. A Russian drone attack in the Odesa region killed one on Wednesday, as Russians targeted agriculture infrastructure in port facilities for the fourth day in a row.

The attacks now pushing the war dangerously westwards with what may be Russian drone debris found this week on the soil of NATO member Romania, just across the border from the Odessa region.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't feel safe here. I'm on the Romanian shore and I do not feel safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We got used to the sirens. During the day, we ignore them, but our souls tends up when they ring at night.

BELL: The sound of sirens and the fallout of this war spreading ever more widely even as they become routine.


BELL (on camera): Erin, meanwhile here in Ukraine, the counteroffensive is continuing southwards along that Zaporizhzhia line. That's what we're hearing from the Ukrainian side.

There is news of, again, intense fighting today, intense mortar, rocket, artillery fire, a saturation said one sort of infantry on the battlefield with Russia in positions adding equipment and men all the time, and still, all we hear is that slowly but surely ever more southwards, the Ukrainians manage to move huge lots to both sides. Their ultimate aim, Tokmak, from which they should have a view on the supply lines of Russia towards Crimea, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Melissa, thank you very much in Kyiv.

And OUTFRONT now, Republican Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

And, Chairman, I really appreciate your time. So, you know, you heard Melissa talking about step by step in the south, and it had been much slower than expected at fist, but it has picked up steam. It appears from all accounts that the Ukrainians have picked up some serious steam in the south. Secretary of State Blinken in Kyiv is saying as much.

But you saw the defense minister obviously, Reznikov, very well-known, public face of the war sacked amid a corruption probe. Do you believe it is still worth it for the United States to send whatever needs to be sent to Ukraine?

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Absolutely. And what was key about what Melissa was saying is that the offensive is successful because they're still on the offensive.


TURNER: When Ukraine was able to make that shift that they're on the offensive and not just the defensive and that that line was one that they were challenging, excuse me, that wasn't just Russia, excuse me, holding the line and progressing into Ukraine, that made a big difference.

BURNETT: So as you know, of course, I mean, you've been steadfast in your support.


But there are many Republicans who are very vocal questioning it and saying that this is not of national interest to the United States, what is this? What is America doing?

Here are a few of your colleagues.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): We're actually helping China weakening ourselves all to figure out which guy in a sweat suit gets to run Crimea. That doesn't seem like America's interest to me.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): The United States needs to be pushing for peace in Ukraine, not funding a proxy war with Russia. We can't afford another foreign war. REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): There's conflicts all over the world that

we're not getting involved in, and this is Europe's war. We ought to let them fight it.


BURNETT: All right, I know you talk to them and how do you breakthrough? How do you convince them that it's not the way they see it?

TURNER: Well, they're not really the audience, I mean, obviously they have a very public position and they're making it known. The audience really is the American public, and I think the American public understand that we actually have to listen to our adversary that what they say makes a difference.

What Vladimir Putin have said are his intentions require that we be involved. It's not just Ukraine or that Ukraine is a democracy, that the atrocities that are happening need to stop, even though that should be enough, but what's greater --

BURNETT: It should be enough.

TURNER: What's greater is that Putin has said it's not just about Ukraine. It's about Eastern Europe. It's about Poland.

BURNETT: Yes, he has.

TURNER: This is his design to really expand a war in Europe and to try to take territory that he believes he wrongly lost when the Soviet Union collapsed.

BURNETT: And there's also the role here, the United States has decisions to make about what to send in terms of weapons, equipment, money, all of that. But perhaps the most powerful individual in the United States when it comes to this war is Elon Musk, right, with his Starlink. It has been crucial for the war. Ukraine wouldn't be where it was without it.

And yet CNN is exclusively reporting that Walter Isaacson's forthcoming biography of Musk says that Musk secretly ordered the Starlink satellite service turned off near Crimea to disrupt a Ukrainian sneak attack on the Russian navy there. He turned it off so the Ukrainians couldn't do it because he had a fear that that would provoke Putin to use nuclear weapons.

Now, Chairman, when you hear that and you think about Elon Musk was able to stop an attack, what do you think about a private citizen, a billionaire who's very vocal to have this much power in this war?

TURNER: Well, one thing that's clear is the Starlink system was absolutely essential for Ukraine to defend themselves.


TURNER: And you certainly get into this gray area of where the private sector and state action and conflicts arise. We sometimes have it in -- when you look at the defense industrial base, but when you have in actual operations of a conflict, it certainly gets more problematic.

But in looking at this overall, the Starlink system and Elon Musk's support for Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive.

BURNETT: Overwhelmingly positive. So when you see this, do you cringe? Or you just say on balance still been good?

TURNER: I think that --


TURNER: Yes. This has had an unbelievable impact. Ukraine would not be where it is today if it had not been for Starlink and the ability for Elon Musk to step in and say, I'm going to give the capabilities that Russia's working diligently to take down.

BURNETT: Yeah. It is incredible that one person can say you can do this and not do that, in terms of attack.

TURNER: Putin probably sees it the other way he shouldn't be in there at all.

BURNETT: Right, right. Well, that's a fair point.

Well, Chairman, it's good to see you. I appreciate it. Nice to have you in person.

And next, questions about what the Chinese communist party is doing right now buying up farmland in the United States, and it is a special report that you will see first here OUTFRONT tonight.

Plus, a fake Trump elector in Michigan laying out on a radio show exactly what the plot was to try to steal the election.


MESHAWN MADDOCK, FAKE TRUMP ELECTOR: I, along with the other 15 electors, were guided by legal minds, attorneys for our president, some very incredible constitutional attorneys.




BURNETT: Tonight, Microsoft warning that China is using artificial intelligence to mimic American voters and stoke division ahead of the election, creating images like this one of the Statue of Liberty, warning democracy and freedom is being thrown away, and really Americans are reposting.

It comes as China is increasingly buying up more and more of America's farmland, raising concerns about what the communist party plans to do.

David Culver has this story that you will see first OUTFRONT.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just a couple of hours into our drive from Seattle, we start to see the markings of American pride, stars and stripes lining the highways of rural Washington state. This is part of the agricultural backbone that keeps us fed. But as we look closer here, we find what might be for America is in some cases not American.

REP. DAN NEWHOUSE (R-WA): This is something we've kind of woken up to and thought we should do something.

CULVER: Dan Newhouse splits his time between Sunnyside, Washington, working as a hops farmer and the other Washington, where he serves on Congress's recently created select committee on the CCP.

I think a lot of folks, Congressman, would look at where we are and say how does that relate to the committee that focuses on the Chinese Communist Party?

NEWHOUSE: I think there's a huge connection. We've seen tremendous increase in the number of acres, for instance, being purchased by Chinese businesses. The increase in the investments has grown by a factor of ten over the last decade.

CULVER: A sharp rise he worries will continue.

NEWHOUSE: But the one thing that people need to understand is China is not ally. They're adversary

CULVER: Lawmakers on both side fear that with control of U.S. farmland, China could manipulate U.S. food supply, surveil sensitive military sites or even steal valuable intellectual property. China's foreign ministry says the U.S. is playing off of unwarranted national security fears to discriminate.

We drive about an hour from Sunnyside to see how close the business ties to China are.

You're about to see the sign. It's called Syngenta. This is a seed and pesticides manufacturer. It's one of the largest in the world, and let me show you something else, as you look from the outside here, nothing about this suggests that it's foreign owned.


In fact, you can even see, look right there, it's an American flag that's flying.

Syngenta is headquartered in Switzerland, but owned by ChemChina, which is 100 percent Chinese state controlled and designated last year by the Defense Department as a military company. Its CEO, a former government official and member of the Chinese Communist Party. Syngenta is operating here legally, and neither it nor its parent

company have been accused of wrongdoing. In a statement to CNN they stressed that Syngenta has approximately 4,400 U.S. employees in 43 states and all its activities are conducted on fields and farms in the U.S. to benefit American farmers.

Newhouse is sponsoring a House bill that would heavily vet and restrict future investment from Chinese entities, a similar effort passed the Senate in July, and more than two dozen states have either passed or proposed their own restrictions on foreign ownership of land.

KEVIN KNIGHT, OWNER, KNIGHT ORCHARDS: They were all family owned. Now, there's no families left.

CULVER: The restrictions on certain foreign investment could mean fewer options for family farms facing increased financial pressures and needing to sell.

Would you be hesitant in selling to any sort of foreign group that's coming in, even if it was a Chinese owned company?

KNIGHT: I wouldn't like it, but money is money. If they're the only check that you got, what are you going to do?

CULVER: The legislation could also have wider consequences.

One of the biggest counterarguments is, oh, that's going to lead to xenophobia, right? That's going to create a prejudice. To that you say?

NEWHOUSE: I think we can make that distinction between the Chinese people and the Communist Chinese Party, and we're not looking at trying to create an anti-Chinese sentiment in our country. We're just trying to be smart about how we respond to the communist Chinese.


BURNETT: I mean, this is incredible, so that you're driving -- Syngenta is one of the most important seed chemical companies in the world. And never mind that it's Swiss headquartered, right?

CULVER: Right.

BURNETT: You showed those flags. The American flag, you wouldn't even know it was Swiss headquartered. But 100 percent owned by a Chinese state-owned company that's designated by the United States as a military company? And that's just fine?

CULVER: And totally linked to the CCP. Yeah, and they're operating here legally. They've done nothing wrong, and I think that's part of the concern from lawmakers is if they're able to do that and they're able to continue, you know, really unvetted with future investments, how long does that pursue?

And so, if you look at the total number of, though, Erin, it's quite small when we're talking about how much of the foreign-owned land in this country is controlled by Chinese businesses or Chinese nationals. It's less than 1 percent, but it's in recent years, the trajectory has increased significantly, and that's the worry going forward, and that's why you see what is very rare in Washington, bipartisan support. You have both sides who are on board with this.

BURNETT: Right, and as that farmer said to you, wouldn't want to sell to China, but money is money. Ultimately, that's the reality.

CULVER: Survivability.

BURNETT: All right. Incredible, and, David, thank you very much.

And next, a Michigan fake elector talks in detail about the plot to steal the election pointing the finger squarely at the Trump legal team to blame. KFILE has got the audio next.

And another reported sighting of the escaped Pennsylvania murderer tonight.



BURNETT: New tonight: following team Trump's orders. CNN's KFILE uncovering one of the 16 fake Trump electors who is now facing charges in Michigan. Talking about, in her own words on a radio show, the how she was a fake elector. And she says she worked with lawyers for the Trump campaign. In fact, she laid out the goals for the alleged plot, a plot that is at the heart of cases brought by special counsel Jack Smith, and the Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis as well.

Here is the former Michigan GOP chair MeShawn Maddock in December 2020.


MESHAWN MADDOCK, FAKE TRUMP ELECTOR: I, along with the other 15 electors, were guided by legal minds, attorneys for our president, some very incredible constitutional attorneys. I've never in my whole life appreciated legal minds, and attorneys before, I can tell you that.

So what we did, along with seven other states, really sent in dueling electors. And they would be there before a federal constitutional attorney. And it will be before Mike Pence, and Congress to make that decision.


BURNETT: KFILE's Andrew Kaczynski is OUTFRONT.

So, Andrew, dueling electors they used the word. Now obviously, she's blaming it on the attorneys or, saying I did it all in their direction. But I mean, laying out the plot, this is in December 2020, when she's not even trying to cover it up, in some senses. She said a lot more than that, what was so significant but all of this?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: Well, it's significant because it shows that she really knew what exactly she was doing, when she put her name on that fake document. I mean, you heard in the clip right there. She says, they are going to be submitting their names to Mike Pence, so that he can take them as --

BURNETT: He can decide what to do about it, right?

KACZYNSKI: Right. He can say, they are the legitimate electors on January 6th, despite the fact that Donald Trump lost the state of Michigan, and these fake electors even tried to enter the state capitol, in December of 2020, but they were turned away.

And what's interesting about her comments here is, it tracks with those Trump campaign memos, about how they were going to facilitate this plot.

Take a listen to a bit more, for comments.


MADDOCK: It's not unprecedented, either. I don't have the exact dates in front of me. But when I was at the stop the steal event yesterday, I think the last time was in 1960. The state of Hawaii sent in a dueling slate. But, I think eight different times over the course of our history. And you know, once again, trust our Founding Fathers, you know. They had a way, and a plan, in case things like this went wrong.


KACZYSNKI: And what's interesting here, is she cites this in 1960 example of Hawaii. And there were dueling slates of electors there, but that's where the similarities end. Richard Nixon originally won the state of Hawaii via 150 votes, but that was reversed on a recount. Donald Trump lost the state of Hawaii by -- or, the state of Michigan by 150,000 votes.

BURNETT: Right, right, 150 versus 150,000, we all understand the magnitude there.

All right. So, what's interesting in all these sound bites that you just played is she's very clear, all these amazing constitutional lawyers, and Trump's lawyers, all these people, and they were involved, and they told us to do this. That's what she said in December of 2020. But six weeks ago, you found her talking again, and it sounds very different.


HOST: And in previous conversations, you said it was attorneys that ask you to do this. And you are following the advice of attorneys. Tell me, who asked you to do this? Because, this is a big surprise for our folks. Go ahead.

MADDOCK: You know, a lot of it is still vague to me, and I haven't emailed communication with any of these people. But Laura Cox was our state party chair at the time. Something from her staff contacted all of us, ask us to be at the Michigan Republican Party office at 2:00 p.m. I remember the time. I think it was December 18th. And so, we showed up.


BURNETT: I mean, she says it's a vague. But before, she had said we were guided by attorneys for our president, and incredible constitutional attorneys, I've never in my whole life appreciate legal minds and attorneys before. I mean, you know, as if this is very clear, and guided by them. What is the change here?

KACZYNSKI: Yeah, it's pretty interesting to see when people you cover suddenly develop amnesia for things they talked about so much before. Now, we did reach out to her, we asked about this. We didn't get a response. She did tweet us, eventually calling us fake news. But, she didn't comment on any of her recent amnesia.

BURNETT: Right, any of the substance of what you reported.

All right, well, it's not even what you reported, of what she said versus what she said.

All right. Andrew, thank you very much.

And the next, the escape Pennsylvania inmate still at large eight days after his escape, possibly spotted today again.


We'll tell you about it.


BURNETT: Tonight, closing in, another sighting of escaped Pennsylvania inmate Danelo Cavalcante. Pennsylvania state police confirming that he has been spotted, at a neither location not far from where he was spotted on security camera, just a couple of days ago. So you can see the eight different sightings that we have identified so far here on the map. That does make at least eight confirmed sighting so far.

Danny Freeman is OUTFRONT.


DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Pennsylvania authorities believe a escaped inmate Danelo Cavalcante is getting more desperate, as police in sweltering heat, blanket of the search area.

LT. GOV. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: He's already murdered two people, one in Brazil, and one in a very brutal manner. He's a very dangerous individual, and he remains so.

FREEMAN: State police believe the convicted killer is still not far from the Chester County prison he broke out of last week. The enclosed perimeter is southeast of the prison, 8 to 10 square miles of neighborhoods, major and winding roads, and dense woods.

BIVENS: We have had no sightings outside of that area. We have maintained a secure of a perimeter as we possibly could. And then, as recently as today, we have another report the same.

FREEMAN: That's now at least eight confirmed sightings. The latest, coming just before noon, near Longwood Gardens, where Cavalcante was spotted on camera earlier this week.

BIVENS: We were using people on foot, we have horses out there as well that are assisting with the search, tactical teams.

FREEMAN: But still, no capture as Cavalcante continues to evade police.

BIVENS: We've chased people for a lot longer than this, and ultimately, brought them to justice.

FREEMAN: This all comes 24 hours after local law enforcement released dramatic video of Cavalcante crab walking up to the prisons roof before pushing through layers of razor wire, and breaking free.


FREEMAN: Chester County prison acting warden Howard Holland said Wednesday the tower guard on duty did not see, or report the escape, when it happened.

And, it took nearly an hour to determine Cavalcante was missing.

HOLLAND: The action of the tower officer present at the time of Cavalcante's escape are a key part of our internal investigation, and we'll be taking appropriate action against personnel based on results of that investigation.

FREEMAN: But in a video of a county prison board meeting, obtained by CNN, the warden acknowledged staffing challenges at the prison the day before the escape.

HOLLAND: My biggest concern, although we have well intentions in our training of these new people coming in, because of the fatigue I think we're not as sharp as we need to be.

FREEMAN: Warren Holland declined our request for an interview

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an outrage. This should have never happened.

FREEMAN: Today, the Chester County district attorney said her attention is solely on the manhunt, and the family of the woman Cavalcante killed, Deborah Brandao.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They do have protection, and they are terrified. They are -- they haven't left their home. They are barricaded inside, and very concerned about their safety.


FREEMAN: And, Erin, we're just reporting on some breaking news out of this area. We can report now that Longwood Gardens, the botanical gardens we've been talking about all week, has been closed due to police activity on there. They've cleared all the guests, they are telling people on there to shelter in place. Still, no capture at this time though -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Well, obviously, things moving in quickly. Danny, thank you very much.

And thanks to all of you for being with us.

"AC360" starts now.