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Erin Burnett Outfront

Judge Rejects Meadows' Effort To Move Georgia Case To Federal Court; Hurricane Near Category 5 After Intensifying At Historic Pace; Trump Rails Against Lawsuit Seeking To Block Him From Ballot; Ukraine Eyes Retaking Crimea Evan As Gains Are Gradual. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 08, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, a judge rejecting Mark Meadows' bid to move his Georgia case to federal court. Bad news for the former Trump chief of staff and for Trump. This as the Fulton County sheriff who watched Trump get booked at his jail, speaks out for the first time since his arrest, tonight, OUTFRONT.

And then, sounding the alarm. The world's top nuclear safety agency warning of a security threat to the major nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the largest in all of Europe. Multiple explosions are reported tonight.

And the eye of the storm. Hurricane Lee just shy of category five this hour, shaping up to be one of the biggest storms on record in the Atlantic. A long time storm chaser predicts both epic affects on the East Coast.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. Meadows rejected. A federal judge just denying the former Trump chief of staff's bid to move his Georgia election case to federal court. It could have major implications for Trump as well because Trump said, just yesterday, he wants to move his case out of Georgia to. He was hoping Meadows will succeed and there is his precedent.

That was failure though. Meadows had argued he should be immune from state charges, because he was just performing his official duties as White House chief of staff. He even took the stand just last week in his own defense in this effort it was a Hail Mary attempt to move this case to federal court, where he might have had a much better chance of getting it to dismissed.

But the judge tonight, and by the way, we expected this ruling could have come any of the past few days. Judge took the time to come to a conclusion, saying, tonight that Meadows had not met even the, quote, low threshold for removal, going on to add, quote, the evidence before the court overwhelmingly suggests that Meadows was not acting in his scope of executive branch duties during most of the overt acts alleged. Meadows failed to provide sufficient evidence that these actions related to any legitimate purpose of the executive branch.

So this development for Meadows is extremely significant. It comes as we got a rare look inside the case today. The unredacted special grand jury report that resulted in so many indictments is now public. We now know in fact that the jurors recommended charges against an additional 21 people, in addition to the 19 charged.

I mean, that's stunning, represented -- recommended charges against more than even got charged. Senator Lindsey Graham is among them. It is stunning. Of course, Trump was ultimately charged, along with 18 others.

But the report also tells us that the grand jury vote recommending charges against Trump was not unanimous. One juror voted against to those charges.

I want to get straight to Evan Perez in Washington tonight.

So, Evan, what more are you learning about this order regarding Meadows and the significance of it? I say it in the context of, you know, we've known this decision could come any day. The judge obviously took the time to get to the very bottom of it, and now, we've got a decision.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, this is a 49- page decision. The judge really goes through chapter and verse of what evidence Meadows presented. You remember he actually testified on his own behalf at the evidentiary hearing, and provided additional evidence for the judge to consider. As a matter of fact, the judge points out that some of the things that Meadows presented, even in his testimony and evidence that his lawyers presented, actually went against him.

They point out that Meadows had trouble even trying to explain the scope of his authority, the limits of his authority as a federal officer. They also said that Meadows acknowledged that everybody on that now infamous phone call with Brad Raffensperger, everyone, all the lawyers on there were actually campaign lawyers. I will read you just a part of what the judge says, where he describes the limits of what Meadows was trying to do.

He says the evidence at the hearing establishes that the actions at the heart of the state charges against Meadows were taken on behalf of the Trump campaign, with the ultimate goal of affecting state election activity.

He goes on to say, Erin, one of the most interesting parts of this is he talks about the limits on federal officials to interfere with state elections. He says, the executive branch cannot claim power to involve itself in states election procedures when the Constitution clearly grants the states the power to manage elections under the elections clause.

Again, this portends perhaps poorly for other people. The judge makes clear that this does not apply to anyone else, because he is going to hear all of these other challenges when they come. [19:05:05]

But it does really show that they have an uphill climb ahead.

BURNETT: Absolutely.

Now, Evan, you are also getting breaking news regarding Rudy Giuliani. What are you learning?

PEREZ: Right, Giuliani is now asking the judge, the state judge, that is overseeing the state case in his indictment, that they should dismiss these charges. At a minimum, should hold a hearing. They say that this is conspiracy and that Giuliani believes that the charges are, of course, without merit.

We expect, of course, that Fani Willis will respond to this. And at least from the initial read of how this judges overseeing this, Erin, this is not likely to go very far.

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

Let's go OUTFRONT now to Anthony Michael Kreis, the assistant professor of law at Georgia State University who has been with us for so much of this coverage, along with Elliot Williams, former federal prosecutor and former deputy assistant attorney general.

So, Elliot, let me start with you on this breaking news. The judge that 49-page carefully considered decision to reject Mark Meadows' bid to move the case to federal court, saying that Meadows failed to meet, quote, even the quite low threshold for removal. Very blunt.

Do you agree?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do agree, wholeheartedly, Erin. And what the judge did, meticulously as Evan noted, is walk through many of these specific acts that Mark Meadows was accused of having done, or at least has admitted to having done, and noted that none of them actually were in the scope of his duties as White House chief of staff. None of them, except one.

One of them where he sends a text message to Representative Scott Perry, asking for someone's phone number was the one thing that you could construe was actually being within his duties as White House chief of staff. Everything else was acting at the behest of the Trump campaign. And people need to know that there is a big, big difference between the political activity of the candidate for office, and the official duties of a White House chief of staff.

So, they were very meticulous and clear in this decision, and it's right, I think.

BURNETT: So, Anthony, you have others who might ask to do the same, to move the case to federal court. Donald Trump is one of them. His lawyer said they were considering asking to move it to federal court. Trump himself has said that they are going to do that. Now, it's interesting what the judge said, in other words, don't look

at this as mattering to anyone else. I will get every one of these cases on their own merits. You know, assuming to, say this president, it doesn't shut the door for anything else. It does, though, seem to make it more of an eye upward climb, doesn't it?

ANTHONY MICHAEL KREIS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Yeah, I think it's really unlikely that given the standard and how it was applied to Mark Meadows, that anyone else seeking removal will be successfully removed from state court into federal court. The big key here, I think for the Meadows analysis that will apply to others, is that the judge was very clear that pre- election, so before votes are counted, there is a greater federal interest.

But once the votes are counted or cast and counted and the certification process underway, it's really a state function. And so, to remove this case from state to federal court, given, that would actually be a form of federal interference and not a form of neutrality, which is really what the removal statute is about -- providing a neutral venue for people who are being charged related to their federal employment.

BURNETT: So, Elliot, does Trump have a chance then?

WILLIAMS: I really don't think he does, partly -- at least in front of this judge. Now, certainly, these decisions will get appealed up to the 11th circuit, where I frankly was a law clerk many years ago. Maybe even the Supreme Court.

But Trump doesn't really have a case in front of this judge because the same arguments that apply to Mark Meadows are substantially going to apply to Donald Trump, which is that he was a candidate for office, petitioning a state election entity for with respect to irregularities in the campaign.

Just as the professor said a moment ago, this is a state issue, with respect to a campaign. Not an official federal issue that the president or the White House chief of staff in their official roles ought to have been dealing with.

BURNETT: So, Anthony, Meadows of course was on that infamous phone call, right, where Trump pressured the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to find 11,780 votes. And the ruling, there's quite a bit of focus on Meadows roll on that call.

The judge writes in part, and I quote, reading here from the ruling, Meadows acknowledged that the lawyers on the phone call were lawyers for either the president -- for either president Trump personally, or the Trump campaign. And that no lawyers from the office of White House counsel or the department of justice were on the call. It was therefore outside Meadows federal role as an executive branch officer. I know you believe this is a very important part of the ruling.

How come? KREIS: Well, it's very obvious that the judge is making I think kind

of a dual point here, which is, one, that the Supreme Court it has actually said that there is no official executive interest, federal executive interest in private litigation. That's from a case called Clinton versus Jones.


As well, these are all lawyers that are political. And so, it's also not within the prerogative of federal officials, federal employees, like Mark Meadows, to engage in political election -- electioneering. You kind of have a dual pincher movement, both of those things happening which really undermines the notion that Mark Meadows was up to anything legitimate or furthering of federal interest.

BURNETT: Elliot, let me also ask you about the other news we mentioned, the special grand jury report, right? They charged in 19. They didn't charge 21 that the grand jury had recommended, right?

So, the grand jury recommended 21 additional charges. It's pretty stunning when you think about it. What does this tell you about the case against people who were charged? Why some were charged, while others weren't?

And I guess as part of that, do you -- what do you take away from the fact that the Trump decision was not unanimous, that there was one individual who did not vote for his indictment?

WILLIAMS: Right. Well, you know, certainly, with respect to the Trump decision, I think it doesn't bode well for putting this in front of a jury. There's always going to be disagreement.

Frankly, at the special grand jury stage, they had a much lower burden than prosecutors are going to have a trial. They're going to have to convince a trial jury beyond the reasonable doubt to convict. This special grand jury didn't even have that. Who knows what will happen here?

Now, with respect to folks getting charged versus folks not charged, there were some tricky legal questions about how charging members of Congress with crimes that might have happened within their official duties --


WILLIAMS: That I think would've just been really difficult to charge people with. The folks who got charged were clearly charged on account of the fact that the prosecutors looked closely at this, and thought and believed that they could actually win at trial. And I think it's a reflection of the good work, quite frankly, the prosecutors did in assessing charges where they thought they could win.

BURNETT: Anthony, Elliott just made a really important point though, when you talked about the one -- the standard here for the special grand jury, significantly lower than the standard that you will see for conviction in an actual courtroom. And this is a case that, by all accounts, is going to go to trial. Even if it goes the longer and, as the judge in Fulton County indicated, maybe up to eight months, you could still end up with the possibility of an acquittal, or a hung jury, before the election.

I mean, how do you kind of thread the needle on that? Do you think that putting this to trial is the best idea?

KREIS: Well, I think there's a really big difference between the penne jury, which is the jury that will eventually hear this at trial, and the special purpose grand jury. Which is the special purpose grand jury has a very different process in terms of juror selection, and the voir dire process, which is a little bit more rigorous in the trial setting. But most importantly is, you have to remember, the special purpose grand jury, these were investigators.

They were essentially citizen investigators trying to wrap their heads around a considerable amount of information over a long period of time, which is different than a trial where the D.A. is going to present a narrative and story, and spoon feed all of this evidence to them in a way that the special purpose grand jurors were wading through themselves.

So, I think, you know, there's a lot of reasons that one holdout juror may be a cause for concern or a cause for some special attention by the D.A. as they go forward, but I think we also have to acknowledge these are very different institutions in terms of what their purpose and function were.

BURNETT: All right.

WILLIAMS: To that point --


WILLIAMS: To that point, really quickly to that point, there was a lot of folks who only had one vote against them. So it seems like I don't want to read too much into it, it seems like there might have been just one person who's voting no every time.

BURNETT: Right, right, it's true. But it does in the highly politicized environment that we're in, it does raise serious questions about where we're going as all of these cases go to trial in so many different jurisdictions. Thank you both very much.

And next, more on our breaking news. The Fulton County sheriff is OUTFRONT. This is his first interview since former President Trump was booked in his jail.

Plus, Hurricane Lee tonight intensifying rapidly. Now just shy of a category five, the impact to the Northeast could be devastating.

And police ramping up search efforts after yet another sighting of an escaped prisoner. As we are just learning, a prisoner guard who is on duty has been fired.


BURNETT: Welcome back to OUTFRONT where we are following the breaking news. The judge in Fulton County rejecting Mark Meadows' bid to move his case to federal court, ruling that Meadows actions to help Trump overturn the election were not connected to his official duties as White House chief of staff.

In many legal experts say that if Meadows failed to move this case out of Fulton County, it's bad news for his 18 other codefendants, including Donald Trump.

OUTFRONT now, the Fulton County sheriff, Patrick Labat, this is his first interview since Trump was arrested and processed at the Fulton County jail, which Sheriff Labat runs.

And, Sheriff, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much for being with me tonight.

So, you've got this breaking news, the judge saying the trial for Mark Meadows is going to stay in your county, which could be a sign that a lot of other cases are going to stay in your county, including that for the former president himself. Fani Willis, the D.A., says she wants to hold a joint trial for all of them starting next month. She says it would be four months, the judge said it could be easily as many as eight.

We all saw your security preparations, how tight and how involved, and how intensive and exhausting they were for the one day Trump surrendered. How do you sustain that for maybe eight months?

SHERIFF PATRICK LABAT, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: Well, first, I'm very proud of the women and men in the Fulton County sheriff's office, as well as the many local and state partners that really jumped in to help. It was very well thought out plan, and to your point, it will be creating a rotation to sustain something of that magnitude.

We have here in Fulton County, a little -- a little expertise in working with these situations. We've had large trials before, nothing of this magnitude, in terms of the status, but we have certainly -- we will live up to the opportunity to show how well Fulton County and the sheriff's office present.

BURNETT: Right, right, that would be running a marathon, it's not a sprint. As you say, it would be day in and day out for months and months.

Of course, you are there, Sheriff, for former President Trump's entire booking process. You and I had spoken before. And you are adamant Trump would be treated like any other defendant, and you did that. That included his mugshot, something that had not incurred in his other indictments.

You were there with him in your jail. What was that like for you? How would you, you know, how could you describe his demeanor as he was being booked? LABAT: Well, I will tell you, having been in law enforcement for 32

years, having been in the jail environment equally as long.


It was eerily quiet, when you have that many security protocols in place. I will tell you, he came out, he was very stoic, really in a space that he was able to really lean on what we were doing, what we planned. And so, we took his mugshot, took his fingerprints, as we would anybody else.

And ultimately, we arranged for his bond paperwork to be brought to the motorcade so that we could get him in and off the premises as quickly as possible.

BURNETT: It's interesting when you describe his demeanor as stoic, that it was eerily silent. When you went through all that, the much, and the fingerprinting, did he say anything? Did you have any conversation? Or was he silent?

LABAT: He was pretty silent. We spoke. Our team gave very clear instructions. He took the mugshot and like, anybody else, took his fingerprints. And again, he was in and out pretty quickly.

BURNETT: Then no issue with any of it? Not that he could have, but in terms of his face, as you say, it was stoic? There was no expression?

LABAT: No. It was, again, eerily silent. And really, it was, for me, on a personal level, it was heartbreaking to see someone of that statue and who represents our country in that fashion, having to go through this. But again, the women and men of the Fulton County sheriff's office, both are sworn and professional team, very professional. In making sure that we follow through, not only with our commitment to serve our community, but really focus on the job at hand, and get the former president out.

BURNETT: It's interesting how you describe it as heartbreaking. I think it's important for people to remember that it should be for everybody, everybody in this country.

Trump did, of course, when he walked out. He grabbed that mugshot and ran with it, proverbially, said he'd raise $7 million in just a few days. He put out t-shirts and coffee mugs with the image, right?

He owned it. He used to raise a lot of money. Then he said this about this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I think the fake indictment that they did in Georgia was very helpful. And that they insisted on a mugshot, somehow it turned out to be very iconic.


BURNETT: Sheriff, in retrospect, do you think it was a mistake it all? Do you have any regrets about doing the mugshot, given that he, of course, has capitalized off it in a massively lucrative way?

LABAT: If there were any regrets, the copywriting, I will leave that up to the lawyers. It's still an opportunity for us to hopefully partake in some of the capitalization of that, and put it back in the sheriff's office.

We don't know, we will leave that up to the legal if you will, to make sure that they really earned their keep around here as well. So, we look forward to again our, making sure we maintain as safe a possible facility as we can.

As well as, again, I understand that the capitalization of it. Maybe that was a plan all along. We don't know. But we are in a place to maintain our commitment, make sure we focus on treating everybody as humanely as we can.

BURNETT: All right, to that point, Sheriff, I do want to ask you about the news out there, about your facility, when you talk about treating people as safely as possible. Trump has obviously attacked your jail conditions there. One of the fundraising emails he said in part, while I was being arrested, I got a firsthand look at the poor and disgraceful conditions of the Fulton County Jail. It's worse than you imagine, it's violent, the building is falling apart. Seeing the Third World state of that jail made me even more determined to run for president and save our country from permanent decline.

It is true, Sheriff, of course, that the jail is the focus of a civil rights probe by the Justice Department. Ten inmates have died there so far this year, the latest if I understand was earlier this week.

I want to give you a chance to respond to all of this.

LABAT: Well, first, let me -- let me say it. That's why I was present. I wanted to make sure that when these fake accusations came out, our facility in the portion he was in, I actually was there, and witnessed the portions that he actually walked through, very briskly. So, to that end, that began, much like everybody has said, it's fake news from that perspective.

And then, secondly, in terms of the DOJ and the Justice Department, if you go back and you look at the steps we've taken since I took office, since one 1/1/21, the focus has been -- the focus has been on us making sure we have been very transparent. But also a space that I have reached out to the Bureau of Justice National Institute of Corrections in November of last year, and asked for help.

We are working with our board of commissioners to really focus on how do we create a better environment. We inherited this, there's no mistake about that. Overcrowding across the country has really taken precedence when you look at the number of arrests, the number of things -- the violent arrests in our facility.


So it seems like an anomaly, the fact that the jail is a microcosm of our community as a whole, really speaks volumes. But we are focused and laser focused on making sure we ask for everything we need. And then get our women and men in our sheriff's office the tools they need to really come back to this urgent crisis that we have.

And so, even as early as today, I met with the chairman of Fulton County, the commissioner, so we could talk about that.

BURNETT: All right. Well, sheriff, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much for coming on.

LABAT: I appreciate it. Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, Hurricane Lee could be one of, maybe the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. Longtime hurricane hiker, Mike Boylan, says the impact of the Northeast, no matter where it may make landfall, we'll be, quote, epic. He's OUTFRONT next.

And Trump fighting back in court against attempts to use the 14th Amendment to keep him off the ballot. This is gaining steam, though, in states across the country. Can Trump stop it?


BURNETT: Tonight, Hurricane Lee, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest storms on record, could be a major threat to the Northeast and it is just shy of a category five. At this hour, the monster storm is rapidly intensifying. Wind speeds in fact doubled from 80 to 160 miles an hour in just 24 hours.

The storm at one point today predicted to have maximum sustained winds of 180 miles an hour, gusts topping 200 miles an hour. The storm is currently about 500 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands. Its track as it approaches the North America is still unknown. The strike on the United States coast though could have devastating effects.


At this very moment, NOAA's hurricane hunters are flying over the storm, trying to get a better understanding of it and just how hard it could hit the east coast.

Let's just show you the storm's eye. And this was filmed just this morning. The intensification, stunning to watch. See, just the storms and then actually a little peek of, you know, you are in the eye, right? So actually stars through this mammoth.

Let's go right now to Chad Myers, who is in the Weather Center.

So, Chad, you know, you are doubling your speed in 24 hours. Wind gusts north of 200 miles an hour, it's been measured. This could be the strongest recorded storm ever in the Atlantic Ocean. When all is said and done, what does this mean?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It means that this hurricane has some work to do, if we are going to get to any of that. It had a very rough 12 hours. This thing looks horrible right now. And that's great news. It ran into shear today, which means wind that kind of tore it apart.

I often say hurricanes are like my cat, don't touch me. If you touch it with something, it doesn't like it. That is what happened today.

Hurricane hunters are in it, as you said, just looked through it. The first past that they flew through was 120 miles per hour. Now, they had more time to go through and look for higher winds, but that is some good news. We have a storm that had a very tough time even keeping its eye intact today.

Forecast is still 145, category four all the way across, even 125. By the end of that cone, Erin, is Wednesday of next week. We have a long way to go. Even act that, it still only north of Puerto Rico.

Now, keep in mind, there are no models that have a U.S. landfall yet. Models are made by humans, humans make errors. Models have errors. We have to watch this. But it is still forecast to turn hard to the right.

If it turns hard to the right sooner, then all of the sudden, Bermuda, you are in the middle. If it turns to the right later, then yes, east coast, Nova Scotia, Atlantic, Canada, could be right in this thing. We have high pressure to the north, low pressure to the west, it's going to try to, what we call, splits the uprights. Right between Bermuda and the U.S.

One more thing it has to worry about is Hurricane Franklin. I know that was last week. But Hurricane Franklin used up a lot of the water, the hot water there is gone. It got mixed up with cooler water below, that could also take some stuffing out of the storm.

All of these are hopefuls. Still, even if we have a landfall in the U.S., we are talking seven to eight days from now. So, you have a lot of time to prepare. As it gets closer, we will know. But something is certainly to watch.

BURNETT: Right, right, absolutely. A lot that can happen in that time. Fascinating that point about Franklin, I learn something new every day. Okay, thank you, Chad.

So, let's go now to long time Florida storm chaser, Mike Boylan. He also runs Mike's Weather Page, popular hurricane tracking website with more than a million followers.

Mike, I appreciate your time.

You know, right now, and, you know, Chad talking about the tough 12 hours this storm is headed, it is one of the Atlantic's strongest storms on record, could be the strongest, depending, we will see what happens. A lot of experts have been baffled by it. I know you do thankfully could hit the East Coast hard. What are you seeing?

MIKE BOYLAN, STORM CHASER, MIKE'S WEATHER PAGE: Yeah, I saw the same thing today. These storms have a tough time to stay in that intense category five. Some of our high resolution models are showing it to actually come back Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, down to the 9:20 millibar range. There's a lot of unknowns, there's a lot of warm water.

What we saw last night was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. It was the most rugged-looking system ever. It turned into a powerful five, in a short amount of time. Like that video you shared, holy cow.

What I am seeing is this thing is going to grow. There's a funnel line coming in. All the models are showing this thing really expanding in the wind field. The basic size. Right now, it's about 4 to 5 miles wide.

Even with a skirt, this thing, looking at all the future models, this thing is going to expand so large that even if the skirts are coast, we're going to see a lot of wind, a lot of waves, a lot of coastal impacts. Pressure ranges could be in the 950s, nine 960s.

That could still be borderline category 23, that's quite a few models. I'm still concerned about people not thinking it's going to be a direct hit. A skirt, just like we saw last week with Idalia, could be pretty bad. This thing still has the potential to really get large. That's what I'm looking at next week.

BURNETT: So, you know, I mean, the rapid intensification, as you point out, is incredibly rare. That eye, as you say, it was stunning, right, 80 miles an hour. Then, all the sudden, within a day, 165 miles an hour.

Just in the matter of a day. I mean, it is pretty incredible. I know now, right, it hit some shear. We will see what happens. But what does that particular moment tell you about the storm, and how dangerous it could be?


BOYLAN: Well, the last several years, we've seen almost a storm every year due this. I was tracking Ian last year. I went from 50, 60 miles an hour, category five, in about two days. Ida did that.

I mean, just looking back, all of these storms have been doing this. It has just been incredible to me, that warm water. That was a hot topic, beginning of this season, we had a lot of hot water expected, you know, record warmth. I think we are seeing the effects of that.

Even though we are supposed to be an El Nino, which was supposed to slow our season down, the warm water is proving, I think, bigger than any of us realized. How hot water definitely fuels these storms.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Mike.

And next, lashing out, the former President Trump hitting back against the lawsuits to keep him off Colorado's primary ballot in 2024. That's soon invokes the 14th Amendment. It's an idea that has been floated and other states, including the state of Arizona. Is this just the beginning? I'm going to ask a key official from Maricopa County.

And we are learning more about the escaped murderer in Pennsylvania who is on the loose tonight. Police are revealing this is not the first time he has been on the run.


BURNETT: Tonight, the fight to keep Donald Trump off the ballot. Trump railing against the lawsuit to keep him off Colorado's 2024 primary ballot, using the 14th Amendment's ban on insurrectionists holding public office.


The former president calling it ridiculous and unconstitutional, trying to get the case moved to federal court.

OUTFRONT now, Stephen Richer. He's a Maricopa County recorder. He's a lifelong Republican, frequent guest on our program. He stood up to members of his own party, pushing back against baseless claims of voter fraud in Maricopa County.

And, Stephen, I really appreciate your time tonight.

So, this is in Colorado, but Colorado is not the only place. Of course, Arizona is another, right? Arizona is another state that is considering how to handle similar efforts to use the 14th Amendment to disqualify Trump.

So, where -- how do you see this? Do you think the 14th Amendment should be used in this case?

STEPHEN RICHER (R), MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA RECORDER: I mean, anything that can happen that's exciting in elections seems to happen in Arizona. It's fitting that we are teasing out in Arizona. My friend, somebody you had on the program before, but Adrian Fontes, our secretary of state, is looking at this right now.

I know one of the professors who wrote that paper that's really causing all this commotion. He was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He's a brilliant jurist, a brilliant conservative. So, I would put great stock in what he says, but this will have to be played out.

But I would say it's preposterous that we're even in this situation, that we're asking these hypotheticals, that it's even a question that has to be relegated to the courts and isn't just a matter of public opinion that someone like this could still be the nominee of one of our major political parties.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, it's -- there is a crucial point. And I know you talk about the legal arguments there. It was interesting. I was talking to, you know, Professor Tribe, who's a big supporter of it, as well, you know, and they make strong arguments, and yet, the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said, you know, you can't keep Trump off the ballot. He is, obviously, the secretary of state in Georgia.

And he said that it would backfire in the sake of democracy, that this should be given to the voters. Do you have a strong point of view? I mean, or if this moves ahead in Arizona, are you cool with it?

RICHER: Well -- I mean, the question of law is one thing, and that should play out in the courts.


RICHER: But in terms of the future of this movement and the future of the repeated lies and the future of the attempt to undermine our democracy, undermine our institutions, I hope that would be soundly refuted within the Republican Party. It doesn't appear as if that's going to happen. So, I hope that if it does make it to the general election, for this to be ultimately defeated, I agree with Brad and with Gabe in Georgia, that this has to be refuted at the ballot box.

Now, again, legal processes should be played out, but if it were in my ideal world, which the world is not often in my ideal world, in many respects, this would be defeated at the ballot box.

BURNETT: Okay. So you talk about these lies, right. Trump is continuing with this day in and day out, right? And yet he's got a 34- point lead, commanding lead. In fact, early this fall, it's a dead heat between him and President Biden. What does to tell you about American democracy that this is still embraced so overwhelmingly by Republican voters?

RICHER: All right. It's incredibly disheartening. You would think that the world's beacon of democracy no way could this happen here, but clearly it can. Now, I still have confidence in the American public. But it's shocking to me that some of these conversations, some of these actions could go on and still that percentage of people could be willing to contemplate going down that road.

Certainly, few places, if any, have had more of this happen than Arizona. Just last week, I was in a sentencing in a federal district court for someone who threatened to kill one of my colleagues because of the elections in 2020, the elections in 2022.

And so, how many more people like that have to be locked up, supporters of President Trump, have to be looked up because of the falsehoods that they are following? Like lemmings over the cliff.

BURNETT: How are you still dealing with this? I mean, I know you had a -- there was a man -- a Missouri man who was indicted last month after threatening you. You talk about your colleague. This is three years after the election. You are still dealing with this, death threats to you, to your family.

RICHER: You see things that are happening in Ukraine, you see things that are happening throughout the world, and it gives you a sense of an arc of history. So without being too melodramatic about it, I feel privileged to play a role in this incredibly important conversation, which is whither American democracy, whither our liberal democratic reforms and our democratic regime that we have been the world's leader of.

And I think that that's something worth fighting for. I'm going to continue that fight. I know a lot of my colleagues are going to continue that fight. I know a lot of them have chosen not to continue that fight. And I can't blame them for all the stuff that we've had to go through. But I'm trying to look at the positive of it.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Stephen, I'm glad to speak to you again.


Thank you for your thoughts.

RICHER: Thank you very much. Your thoughts are appreciated here in Maricopa County. I think we'll continue to feel like the center of the political and electoral world here.

BURNETT: Right. All right.

Well, next here OUTFRONT, Kim Jong-un on the verge of meeting with Putin, showing off what North Korea claims is its first submarine capable of launching nuclear weapons. What weapons will he be sharing with Putin?

The prison guard on duty also when a convicted murderer escaped from prison has been fired, as the inmate remains on the loose for a ninth day despite now being spotted many times.


BURNETT: Tonight, explosions near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine. The world's top nuclear safety agency warning tonight that security at Europe's largest nuclear plant could be in danger. The IAEA saying there have been dozens of explosions around the plant in just the past few days.

And remember they had sort of been dismissive of what President Zelenskyy told us earlier this summer. He said he had intelligence suggesting the plant, which is as large as a city, had been mined by the Russians.

Well, news of the explosions coming tonight as we have new video into OUTFRONT showing Ukrainian and Russian soldiers coming face to face with each other feet away as they are firing at one another, as you can see on the highlighted spots.


Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Ukrainian troops assaulting Russian positions in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv says its forces are piling on the pressure, both here and on the southern front line and are gearing up for more.

These soldiers practicing mountain warfare specifically to assault Russian occupied Crimea. MYROSLAV MELNYK, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES (through translator): If we

come to Crimea, there is a big possibility we would need these skills. We would definitely be fighting in the mountains because there will be partisan warfare.

PLEITGEN: But Ukraine's army is still far away from Crimea, and the gains they are making are slow, incremental, and come with a major human cost, as the number of dead and wounded escalate. Kyiv now specifically telling women with medical education they must register for military service starting October 1st.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Ukraine's president urging the U.S. to have patience while ruling out any compromises with Vladimir Putin.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Do you see any compromises from Putin? Did you see? Did somebody saw -- did somebody see? Where's Chechnya? Where's Georgia? Where's Moldova? He occupied it all this time.

PLEITGEN: But the Russians are facing major issues themselves. Short on manpower and ammo, the U.S. believes Vladimir Putin is actively advancing negotiations with North Korea to provide arms to Russia.

This says North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un praises his country's alleged military advances, claiming Pyongyang has now developed a tactical nuclear submarine, even though South Korea believes the sub is not even capable of normal operations.

KIM JONG UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): We will rapidly pursue the process of converting all medium-sized submarines into attack types in order to turn those existing submarines into nuclear submarines at once.

PLEITGEN: From Russia, convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, who was freed in a prisoner swap with basketball star Brittney Griner late last year, speaking to U.S. media for the first time since the exchange. Bout, who was known as the merchant of death and was serving a 25-year sentence for, among other things, conspiring to kill Americans, has always maintained his innocence.

In an interview with ESPN, Bout brushing off outrage over his release in the U.S.

VIKTOR BOUT, RUSSIAN ARMS DEALER: The same outrage was in Russia when I was sentenced to 25 years. Many people would say, for what? Just for talking? Are you serious?


PLEITGEN (on camera): So, that was Viktor Bout there. Meanwhile, the Ukrainians get more Western weapons. The first batch of German-made Leopard 1 main battle tanks have now arrived in Ukraine and Ukraine is set to receive dozens more of those vehicles in the next coming months. Now, of course, those will be extremely important as the Ukrainians try to sustain those counteroffensive operations -- Erin. BURNETT: All right. Fred, thank you very much tonight, in Ukraine.

And next, the latest on the search for the convicted murderer who escaped a Pennsylvania prison. The manhunt now goes into the ninth day.



BURNETT: New tonight, fired. The prison guard who did not see or report that convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante escaped has been terminated. This as we approach the ninth day of the manhunt for Cavalcante, who's stunning surveillance video caught moon-walking sideways between two walls in a yard to vanish, so far without being found.

Danny Freeman is OUTFRONT.


DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A show of force after two more credible sightings of convicted murderer, Danelo Cavalcante.

LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: We're giving this a very hard push today, and I'm optimistic. We'll see how the day goes.

FREEMAN: The number of law enforcement agents deployed in Chester County now close to 400. Reinforcements began after a sighting in a wooded area by a witness Thursday afternoon combined with an image from another private trail camera turned over to police last night.

BIVENS: That is definitely Cavalcante. It puts him over in the area of Longwood Gardens.

FREEMAN: The new image was taken Wednesday but shows Cavalcante still in the area.

BIVENS: Some cameras are not ours. So, we don't control that technology. We rely on others that may have a camera out there.

FREEMAN: Police say the picture is similar to this photo captured at Longwood Gardens on Monday night, the two images taken just a quarter mile apart. Pennsylvania state police say this is the largest law enforcement presence yet. On day nine of the manhunt for Cavalcante, troopers blocking roads, searching vehicles, and holding a newly expanded perimeter.

BIVENS: We have got numerous tactical teams that are out doing searches. We've got a large perimeter secured that is a pretty secure perimeter we can push hard against with the tactical team.

FREEMAN: As the manhunt drags into its second week --

BIVENS: What you're looking at here is a map of the general area where our perimeter is.

FREEMAN: -- a nearby fire station has become a bustling command post, officials taking CNN behind the scenes of the multiagency response.

BIVENS: In this area, we've got tactical teams operating right now, mounted, K-9s, aviation.

FREEMAN: Police able to adjust hundreds of officers with every credible sighting.

Why was this amount of people deployed right away?

BIVENS: The numbers, you will see them rise and fall. If this isn't successful, I may keep the same number, depending what the information is. We had as many as we needed for the various operations that we had going on.

FREEMAN: Last month, Cavalcante was convicted for murdering his ex- girlfriend back in 2021. But the killer is also wanted for murder in his home country, Brazil.

Today, police revealed the inmate who effortlessly scaled a prison wall last week eluded Brazilian authorities by spending time in the jungle.

BIVENS: I think he can probably endure for a little bit out there. But, again, the whole goal here is not a contest of how much can you take out there. It's how much can we stress you, how much can we push you that you make a mistake and we capture you?


FREEMAN: Erin, as we continue deeper into the second week of this manhunt, it has been frustrating and difficult for many residents in the area. Obviously everyone wants this man caught. But with this constant police presence and worry, it's getting harder to stomach without a capture -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. We'll see what happens in these next hours. Danny, thank you very much.

And thanks very much to all of you for joining us on this Friday.

"AC360" begins right now.