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Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump Unleashes On Judge Who Found He Overvalued Properties; Trump About To Speak As He Competes With Biden For Union Votes; New Video On OutFront Shows Intense Firefight In Ukraine; Target: Closing 9 Stores In Major Cities Due To Theft, Violence. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 27, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, rejected. The judge overseeing Trump's federal 2020 election case refusing to recuse herself, while the former president lashes out at another who found he committed fraud. Do the attacks add up?
Plus, Russia now claiming the attack on its prized Black Sea fleet is carried out using American intelligence. The Kremlin also releasing another video of the top commander who Ukraine claims was killed. Is he alive?
And, closed for business. Stores across Philadelphia shuttered tonight after widespread looting, and now Target closing even more stores because of crime.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
Denied. A judge rejects Trump's request to recuse herself. The federal judge, Tanya Chutkan, says she will hear the DOJ election fraud case in Washington, D.C. It is a blow to Trump, and it comes as he is lashing out another judge's ruling in New York, even posting the judge's picture on social media.
And posting, I have a deranged Trump hating-judge adding, quote: Nobody has been as unhinged as this guy. Mar-a-Lago is worth perhaps 100 times more than he values it. Other properties are likewise worth substantially more.
We should be clear here, of course. The judge didn't pretend to value anything. It was all based on estimates that Trump had been given based on professionals, and then Trump said it was worth something very different.
Of course, when it comes to the case of Mar-a-Lago, he had valued it, that assessor there had valued it at about $27 million. Trump says it is worth 100 times more, which would put it at about $1.7 billion.
Here is the thing: a Trump supporter, the author John LeFevre, tried to bolster Trump's claim on Mar-a-Lago today. He used Zillow. And he came put with a value, I'm sorry, he's the one who came up with the value of $1.7 billion. Trump's value was 2.7, one billion dollars less than Trump claims. That's a person who is trying to defend Trump's claim, could come up with a number of billion dollars less than Trump had claimed.
And let's take a close look at another one of those properties that Trump refers to -- 40 Wall Street, one of the most treasured jewels in Trump's crown. That property is central to the New York attorney generals case against him. It is a building that Trump loves to tout.
Just listen to him on 9/11. Let me just be clear here. This is on 9/11, 2001, moments after the World Trade Center buildings collapsed. Here is Donald Trump.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Forty Wall Street actually was the second tallest building in downtown Manhattan. And it was actually before the World Trade Center was the tallest. And then when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second tallest. And now, it's the tallest.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: Just think about that for a second, if you were alive on that day. That's what he said on 9/11. As all those people died, he's talking about how his building is now the tallest?
And he wasn't even right. According to "The Washington Post", his building, just one block east, 70 Pine, was still taller, if you care about that specific fact.
But that's the reality of Trump. That's his M.O., to say it, even if it's not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If you say it long enough, hard enough, often enough, people will start to believe it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And you know what? He has been right about that. It has worked for Trump in astonishing ways, to be honest, in completely astonishing ways. And when it comes to 40 Wall, it wasn't just how tall it was, it was what it was worth, at the heart of this case.
In 2015, Capital One determined the property was worth $257 million. That's a lot of money. But two months later, real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield, which was working with Trump, valued the property at a suspiciously large increase, they valued at $540 million. But Trump turned around and filed documents suggesting it was worth $735 million. I mean, that's almost a half a billion dollar difference.
Say it enough, and they will believe you?
Trump told "Forbes Magazine", which has been Trumping tracking Trump's wealth for decades, of course, that this is all good for financing and for getting those loans, and we say something is worth a lot more than it really is, right?
And then Trump went on, in that same interview with "Forbes" in 2015, to say this about his prized possession.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's going to throw off, would you say, $50 million maybe this year?
Fifty million at least.
We're going to make $64 million, net, net after debt service this year, at least.
We're going to make $64 million in that building this year, and don't forget, I bought it for peanuts, and then I spent money on it.
We have the mortgage. By the way, you know what the mortgage is? The mortgage is paying what? Two and a half percent.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: Trump pointing out a lot of numbers there. But according to "Forbes", those numbers don't add up. I want to go through some of those, right, because he reportedly made close to a million dollars last year, not $50 million or $64 million. And the interstate wasn't 2.5 percent. According to "Forbes", it was 3.7 percent.
But these lies about his wealth a core to why he even won the White House. He was elected in no small part because he told the American people, and they believed him, that he was a successful businessman, and his whole premise was, he is going to run the United States like he ran his businesses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Nobody's ever been more successful than me. I'm the most successful person ever to run.
I'm much richer than almost anybody.
I am really rich. I will show you that in the second.
I'm a great businessman. I made a fortune. And I want to put that same thinking for the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Dan Alexander, "Forbes" senior editor and author of "White House Inc.: How Donald Trump Turned the Presidency into a Business". And, Dan, you and I have spoken, you know, back when we're doing documentary here on CNN about the Trump family businesses. You have analyzed so much of this stuff over the years. When you saw this judge's ruling, this 45-page ruling, that I have got here, what did you think? Were you shocked, by the way, the amount of times that Trump has lied about 40 Wall Street specifically?
DAN ALEXANDER, FORBES SENIOR EDITOR: If I were coming in this fresh, having not spent several years looking at Trump's lies about his net worth, sure, I would be shocked. But after looking for a long time, every asset, every detail on every asset, you have to scrub and scrutinize. Because, odds are, it's going to contain a lot.
You add all of that up, and it tells a story of a guy who has lied about his net worth for years and years. And unfortunately for him, prosecutors not only have the documents that he sent to banks, where he is stating that he was richer than he was. But more importantly, they have the documents showing the math of how he got to those numbers.
And those are the key documents where you can see sort of the fantastical twists and turns that he was pulling to try and make himself look richer than he is. And it's those documents that make this case so strong, because he can't run away from bad math.
BURNETT: No, you can't. And the whole point of this is that it was persistent and consistent in terms of the lies, over decades, as laid out. You obtain the documents, and the recording of Trump talking about 40 Wall Street, which I just played there.
And as we pointed out here, with your fact check, the interest rate was wrong on the mortgage, all of it, right, was not true as he claimed it to be. But the whole point is, 40 Wall Street is just one of many properties that he vastly overvalued.
ALEXANDER: That's right. You know, Donald Trump's fortune is comprised of roughly 30 to 40 different assets. And if you go down the list, it is easier to find ones where there is fraud then to find ones where there is not.
There are some that looked relatively clean. But by and large, if you are looking at a number, you can assume that it's been twisted or turned in one way or the other.
BURNETT: It's pretty shocking. 30 or 40 properties and it's easy to find ones where there is fraud other than where there's not. You noted that in the 1982 inaugural edition of the "Forbes" 400, right, where you list 400 richest people, Trump appeared alongside his father, combined estimated net worth of 200 million.
At the time he told, guess what? You guys are wrong. It's half a billion. And by the way, I'm sure, a lot of people you call, they don't want to take your call, they don't want to tell you anything. And he is showing you more than you are saying, right? This has been going on a very long time from your own experience. ALEXANDER: Right. For over 40 years that "Forbes" has been looking at
Trump's finances and there's no number that we could ever say that he would say, oh, you got it right. It's always more, more, more. And it's not just true of when we are looking at his finances. More importantly, now, these documents show it is also true in banks, or insurers are looking at his finances.
It's not a crime to lie to the media. But it certainly is to financial institutions who are handing hundreds of millions of dollars.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Dan. As I said, senior editor and author at "Forbes" and author of "White House Inc."
So, let's go to Ty Cobb, now, former Trump White House lawyer.
You know, Ty, it's pretty incredible when you lay this out, and you hear it and I know this is sort of a different venue than the one in which you have dealt with Trump, right? But talking about a mortgage rate and the income and all of it is a lie.
All of it, it's all false.
So, what did you make of this ruling in the New York case?
TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I think the ruling is significant. I mean, it's a very high bar to get summary judgments when you have this much at stake. But Trump had no defenses. And as the judge pointed out, I mean, his opinion is very detailed, very judicious, you know, littered with just citations, appropriate citations and criticism of the defense arguments, and highlighting the overwhelming evidence against him.
But he basically points out that Trump relentlessly, as you've -- as you have highlighted now, you know, puts forth claims that simply are not true, that have no foundation, that cannot be supported by the facts.
Now, I will give this judge some credit because in footnote nine, for those of us who own this document --
COBB: He essentially characterizes Trump's approach to, you know, this defense and the way it's presented and saying, as Chico Marx playing Chicolini says to Margaret Dumont, playing as Gloria Teasdale in "Duck Soup", well, who you're going to believe? Me or your own eyes?
BURNETT: Yeah. I mean, as -- and you point out the footnotes. You know, I have to say, in all of this, just to take that moment, on 9/11, that your comment on that day would have been, my building is now the tallest. I don't know. For some reason, there's still things that can break through all of this, and give one pause, I hope.
The one -- COBB: But how is 9/11 -- how is 9/11 about Trump? You know? That's
just -- it's just -- it's just repulsive. And it's so sad. Almost 3,000 people lost their lives.
COBB: And he's talking about his building. And lying about how big it is.
BURNETT: Yeah. Ty, so, one of the things that some of the New York attorneys were saying is that it was highly unprecedented in this judge's ruling to sanction Trump's lawyers, actually sanction them. They -- five of them were sanctioned in the case, and ordered by the judge to pay $7,500 apiece. It's not the amount. It's the fact that it happened, right? It just doesn't happen.
BURNETT: One of those attorneys, Chris Kise, is also representing Trump in the federal documents case. And yet, amidst all this, Trump adds two new lawyers to his legal team today.
Are you at all surprise that he continues to add new lawyers, when so many have gotten in trouble for working for him? Never mind these the sanctions. I mean, look at Eastman, Giuliani, Chesebro, right?
COBB: No, that's true. And I think the significance of the sanctions is it highlights yet again, you know, the extent to which Trump, you know, pushes his lawyers out there in a way that forces them to lose their own credibility.
And, you know, for a judge to sanction a lawyer is not an easy act. And it doesn't happen that often. And this just highlights, again, the frivolousness of most of Trump's positions. Just as Judge Chutkan has ordered today highlighted the frivolousness of his, you know, efforts to recuse her.
BURNETT: And let me ask you about this ruling. He wanted the judge, Judge Chutkan, right, to be removed. She is overseeing the 2020 election subversion case by the DOJ and Washington.
She denied that request to recuse herself, as was her right to do. Now, Trump had pointed, Ty, to statements that she made in a case involving another January 6th defendant, in which she alluded to Trump, saying -- she said that the rioters were there in fealty and loyalty to one man, not the Constitution. She added, it's a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day. He said that implied bias. That was his argument.
Was her decision today the right move? Or does this open the door for Trump down the road?
COBB: No, this wasn't even a close call. And, in fact, the law is so clear that you cannot recuse a judge for information that comes to him or her while they are on the bench. And as she highlighted in her ruling, Trump's lawyers, again, and sadly, took those comments way out of context, and suggested they were her thoughts when, in fact, she was merely responding to a defendants argument at sentencing, which is perfectly lawful.
This recuse meant -- there was never a basis to recuse her. I think you will see other attempts by Trump to attack the judge and get rid of her. I think the whole argument over the gag order is designed to ultimately try to provoke an opportunity to mandamus her and get -- and try to get rid of for that way. That will also fail.
BURNETT: All right. Ty, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
COBB: My pleasure. Nice to be with you.
And next, the battle for blue-collar workers. Trump is about to speak to autoworkers in Michigan, hoping to win their support. Can he?
Plus, questioning Russia's commitment. New video shows some residents in Russian occupied Crimea now doubting Putin's pledge to protect them.
And American soldier Travis King, who ran across the DMZ border into North Korea, is now back in custody. North Korea sent him back. How that dramatic exchange went down.
BURNETT: Tonight, former President Trump is about to speak to autoworkers in Michigan, trying to capitalize on the ongoing United Auto Workers strike and win over voters, and what is obviously a crucial swing state. Trump's visit coming a day after President Biden becoming the first president to cross a picket line in support of UAW workers.
And it comes at the exact same time as the Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library. There is, of course, no coincidence there.
OUTFRONT now, John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, Bakari Sellers, and former Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger.
Okay, thanks to all of you.
So, Congressman, traditionally, at least in the way you would think about things, Democrats own the union voter. But Harry Enten has been breaking this down, 22-point edge among union workers in 2020. I mean, that's big, right? It was 31 in 1992, 62 in 1948. So, it's been a precipitous drop.
Macomb County, where Trump is tonight, blue-collar, he won by 11 points in 2016, 8 percent, eight in 2020.
[19:20:04] I mean, those are sizable, in a way, the way that election obviously was decided.
So, is there an opening for Trump?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is. Look, I was a Republican member of Congress. I was endorsed by many unions in my district, which -- you know, it's kind of unique in Illinois, how they do it, a little bit. But I think there is a real gain of Republicans in Donald Trump's case among the working class.
And it's not because of a union issue. It's not because of prevailing wage. It's not because of project labor agreements, all these issues. It's because, culturally, the Democrats are not speaking to the working class right now.
When you talk about a border issue and the Democrats are fairly silent on it -- they are. Let's be honest. That bothers somebody, whether they are part of a union or not.
When you talk about the issue of guns, actually, one of the issues that was brought up to me that when I would meet with unions in Illinois, are Second Amendment issues. They'd asked me, is Illinois going to get concealed carry? This is back before Illinois got concealed carry.
So, I think the issue is, union voters are not single issue voters. It's very complex. And the Democrats are losing it.
BURNETT: And, Bakari, to that point, the AP spoke to, you know, somebody that President Biden was with yesterday, Curtis Grant (ph) was his name, 38 years at GM. He said he disagrees with Democrats and issue securing the border, which you just mentioned, but also social issues, which he specifically mentioned.
So, how big of a problem is this for Democrats?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I do think it's a problem. And I do think Democrats have kind of see the blinking lights on the flashing lights, the check engine lights. I'm not sure it's because of all the social issues and my good friend Adam would make it about. It's definitely not about abortion. Democrats are going to ride that issue of abortion to some success in the next election.
But it has to do's with something a little bit larger than that. It's not as granular as the social issues. I think it's more than 50,000 foot view which Adam was kind of getting at. It's about meeting voters where they are.
There is this perception -- I want to stress, perception -- the Democrats living glass houses, that we only cater to some liberal elite that we no longer talk to working class voters. There are many Democrats out there who don't subscribe to that notion. However, we have been successfully branded as such.
Now, there is one person in this country who is able to feverishly rebut that notion. His name happens to be Joe Biden. Because there's no way you can call Joe Biden some, you know, figure of the -- of the rich elite. I mean, he's from Scranton, you know? He's Joe. He's Uncle Joe.
And so, he would actually do well getting outside of D.C. and meeting people where they are.
Let me just also, real quick, Donald Trump has pulled off the biggest con in American political history.
KINZINGER: This is true.
SELLERS: Somebody who uses the bathroom in golden toilets making poor or average working class people that they -- that he works for them.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, I'm sure they were gilded golden toilets.
SELLERS: Gilded, we don't even know how that feels.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm sure it's not painted.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: To be fair --
BURNETT: To your point, though, Trump has claimed he backs workers, okay?
BURNETT: Let me just put the claim out. This is what he told Neil Cavuto at one point. This is a while ago, but listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I'm paying too much. I mean, I'm paying some guys much more than I should be paying. It's the same thing with the unions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
TRUMP: They get their little 5 percent. They get another 2 percent. They get another 3 percent, 4 percent. Then, all of a sudden, they are making more people money than the people that on the company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, I just, because, I've got to do this, I wanted to do so math. Okay, hourly wage for the UAW members of GM, Ford, $30 -- $32.32. So, $67,000 a year for a 40-hour week. Okay, you can get into, they want a 30-hour week, fine. Okay, but just
look at this. Let's look at the CEOs. Okay, $21 million for Ford, $29 million for General Motors. I don't know what is going -- $24.8 million at Stellantis.
So -- but, hey, 2 and 3 percent. Before you know it, you are at 24 million bucks.
AVLON: That's right, and look --
HOOVER: Good math.
AVLON: And this is where -- this is where it's good we've got tape and we've got to roll the tape --
BURNETT: Just the grain of Rice's children's book --
AVLON: That was an unnecessary reality check, right? Not only that Trump was saying that kind of stuff, which is nonsense, right? That the average workers raises on some percentage scale is going to come anywhere near. I mean, you know, in 1965, the average CEO made 30 times with the average worker would get in this company. Now, it's 400.
AVLON: That's the underlying issue. And Donald Trump showing contempt for that kind of gap that he in some way symbolizes in that clip.
But where he has been able to connect, as I think Adam was saying and Bakari was acknowledging, is this cultural divide that Republicans have been able to ride since really the dawn of the cultural war. You go back to the late 1960s, early 70s, there's an iconic moment in Lower Manhattan, where the hard-hit workers building the buildings, the kind that Trump would work with, got in a fistfight with the anti- Vietnam war protesters.
And that sort of shows that beginning, that gap, there's a shot from that rally and that riot, ultimately. That's grown over time. And there's this culture war disconnect. You can say it's a distraction from the economic issues, and it is.
But it's really powerful. It's very persuasive. And so that's what Biden's challenge only that he's got the record on this. He's also got to point to the fact that, you know, manufacturing jobs are increasing under his watch.
AVLON: That's a necessary detail to look at as well. But it's not going to raise the cultural resentment that a lot of these folks feel for folks on the far left.
BURNETT: And he's there tonight, Margaret, as the GOP debate is going on, giving his speech at the moment, right, I mean, stealing the thunder in every way that he possibly can.
HOOVER: I mean, these are -- this is like a photo op to follow a photo op, to follow a o photo op, to follow a photo op.
A couple things. Bakari, you know, acknowledged that Joe Biden can authentically speak to white working class voters who have been disenfranchised by the liberal elite, coastal liberal elite perhaps. If only he had been getting out and using the bully pulpit of the presidency more frequently.
I mean, as far as I can tell, this is the first time you have gone anywhere and done a victory lap about his record. If he wants to harken -- you know, point to the infrastructure bill, if he wants to point to his policy successes in how he's actually helping the working class -- man, he should have been out a lot sooner than this. So, he's got his photo op now. Trump is, of course, skipping, you know, the primary pass and go without -- and going straight to follow him.
The campaign is happening in Michigan tonight. This sideshow in California is like Earth two point oh. It's that we wish was happening there's a policy debate on the Republican debate.
BURNETT: But it's amazing, Congressman, what Margaret is saying. The sideshow is in California.
KINZINGER: Oh, yeah.
BURNETT: That -- I mean, it's incredible.
KINZINGER: It's a sideshow, because nobody is going to take on the actual front runner who's going to make the Republican nomination. They are going to sit here and try to audition for cabinet position, audition for the vice presidency, or audition for 2028, with the exception of Chris Christie.
SELLERS: It's jayvee basketball. I mean, that's what it is. You want to show up on Thursdays and watched jayvee players? Or do you want to play on Friday nights and what you are going to be the nominee's, Donald Trump versus Joe Biden.
There's also one other thing. And Margaret's point is valid. And it made me think about this. But a lot of times, in our political lexicon, we do this here on CNN, they definitely do it on other networks. When we say working class voters, a lot of times, people just think white folk.
But in places like Detroit, in places like Philadelphia, there are a lot of Black working class people. And you know who they are not voting for? Donald Trump.
AVLON: Yeah. And just also, what this all matters, union household participation is much higher in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, the swing states where the election will be decided. But one thing that Republicans could go up with Trump if they had any stones to stop tiptoeing around him is the fact that he's utterly abandoning conservative principles when it comes to things like trade and tariffs.
One thing he can't -- he can't make these folks is he's the most protectionist president Republicans ever put forward. But even that contradiction is proposal to increase tariffs by 10 percent. Folks are sound about in the Republican Party because they're for --
BURNETT: So, you're in a country where, I mean, I guess, we're in a wave where a lot of people like that stuff.
SELLERS: I mean, he's more Bernie Sanders than he is --
BURNETT: Taxism (ph), America First --
SELLERS: Donald Trump on labor is more Bernie Sanders than he is Ronald Reagan.
HOOVER: Which is how he wins Michigan, and that's why he's there tonight.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I guess --
SELLERS: That's a good TV there.
BURNETT: We'll leave it there --
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.
And next, Russia releasing another video of the Russian Black Sea fleet commander. Is this really proof of life video? Or is this actually old footage of the commander?
Plus, target is now shutting down stores in major liberal cities, because of crime. Are Democrats doing enough when it comes to public safety?
BURNETT: Tonight, new video into OUTFRONT of fierce gunfight on the southern front in Ukraine. You see the soldier shooting through a window. The Russians returning fire, Ukraine saying Russia has launched at least 130 attacks on the south in the past 24 hours, and it comes as the top commander for Russia's prized Black Sea fleet, the commander that Ukraine had claimed was killed in that massive strike, surfaces and yet another Russian video, who may be alive and well.
Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Nearly a week after Ukraine claimed to have killed the commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet with a cruise missile attack, now another sign he may very well be alive after all.
Russian military TV showing Admiral Viktor Sokolov handing out medals to a navy soccer team, although CNN is unable to verify when the video was filmed.
The awards ceremony had to be postponed for one reason, the reporter asked Sokolov to comment.
No, it's postponed just because we were busy and had to push it back a few days, he answers.
Asked to reassure local residents after the missile strike, the admiral in denial. Nothing happened, he says. Life goes on.
The new clip comes a day after the Russians released a clip of a video apparently showing Sokolov attending a top level a video conference call with a Russian defense minister, seemingly propped up by a pillow.
Russia still irate about the strike on the HQ, the foreign ministry spokesperson claiming, without evidence, western involvement in the attack.
There is not the slightest doubt that the attack was preplanned using Western intelligence assets, NATO satellite equipment, reconnaissance aircraft, and was carried out at the instigation and close coordination with the American and British intelligence service, as he said.
Both the U.S. and the U.K. maintain their militaries are no way involved in the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, some residents in occupied Crimea are questioning how committed Russia is that they are safety, after this video emerged purporting to show mostly women and children prevented from entering a bomb shelter during an air raid alert a few days ago.
Why did you kick us out, a woman asks? I have been told this shelter is for employees only, the guard answers. All kids, all people, kicked out into the streets, she says.
Moscow trying to portray strength in the aftermath of a Black Sea fleet HQ attack. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu filmed visiting a missile factor that is allegedly increasing its output. But even videos released by the Russian military itself, like this paratrooper unit, shows Moscow's unit forces struggling to hold the line against the Ukrainian army on the battlefield, as Kyiv says its forces are the ones that have the momentum.
[19:35:01] PLEITGEN (on camera): And, Erin Burnett, that last footage is actually pretty remarkable, because it shows the Russians on their side acknowledging that their forces are struggling, kind of hold the Ukrainians back.
And that's in the southern front, where, of course, Ukrainians are conducting their main push. And it's also where the Ukrainians say, in the past couple of days, they have been making some pretty significant gains, the going still very tough for them. But they do say that, in that part of the frontline, they have a considerable amount of momentum at this point. That Russia seems to indicate that is true, Erin.
BURNETT: Fred, thank you very, from Eastern Ukraine tonight.
As this plays out on the battlefield, U.S. aid for Ukraine, of course, is being held hostage by far-right lawmakers in Washington. There are now less than four days into a potential government shutdown in part of this issue. The Senate has a bipartisan bill on the table that will provide about $6 billion in aid for Ukraine, and Speaker McCarthy, though, says he will not bring it up for a vote in the House, as extreme members of his caucus are publicly saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I believe that the United States position should be for peace in Ukraine, not continuing to fund and provide weapons that are killing people every day.
REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): Before we send blank checks to some of the country, we need to take care of our people.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Enough is enough. I'm putting my countrymen first. And I don't think we should send another nickel to Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It's worthwhile with all of this gaining some steam in public perception to be clear on some facts. First and foremost, the vast majority of this money is going to American companies and jobs, right, because those are the people that are making the Abrams tanks, the ammo and everything else. And you take Lockheed Martin, which makes the HIMARS, that have been core to Ukraine's counteroffensive, the company announced it's going to increase its workforce in Camden, Arkansas, by 20 percent, just because of this new demand.
That money is going to America. And there are no blank checks. Every dollar, of course, is authorized by Congress for a specific purpose. And of the money approved so far, altogether, all of it, altogether, is less than one half of 1 percent of America's GDP.
OUTFRONT now, the Republican governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu.
And governor, what is your message to Republicans, some of whom we just heard there, who may not only forces shut down over this, but are trying to block aid to Ukraine? GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, I think one of the
frustrations here as a Republican as you have these extremist that have what I think is just a bunch of faux outrage over fiscal discipline. I mean, if they really care about fiscal discipline, they wouldn't be backing someone like Donald Trump who, historically, as the worst fiscal record of any Republican president in history.
BURNETT: That is true.
SUNUNU: So, he's really just trying to block things. You have the Senate that has passed a bill. That's great. You have McCarthy who is, I think, trying earnestly, in getting something, you know, done. It would be great if the president were back in Washington negotiating with both of these groups.
I don't like that the president seems to act like keeping the government open is not his responsibility either. All three of these leadership groups have to get together take responsibility, and find a common path forward.
BURNETT: All right. But here's the thing. When it comes -- Ukraine has brought a piece of this, right? But, you know, I don't think we should send another nickel to Ukraine. You know, putting my countrymen first?
The GOP used to be, Governor, the party that was viewed to be the strongest national defense and national security, right?
And today, though, you have Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene putting forward a amendment that would cut the defense secretary salary to $1. The defense secretary of the United States cut the salary to $1. These are people like Bill Gates who come in and get to be the defense secretary, right?
These are -- these are career military civil servants. She wants the credit to the dollar. And of course, Senator Tuberville is continuing his months-long hold on more than 300 military promotions because he's upset about the abortion policy at the Pentagon. What's going on here in your party?
SUNUNU: Well, let's be very clear. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz do not define the Republican Party. That's one of the biggest frustrations I have, and I think a lot of us have.
That is not our party. That is a very extreme version of our party. They don't do anything. Where is the Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene bill that actually did anything to help America? It doesn't exist, right? It's all politics all the time.
And you are talking about 10 to 15 individuals in Congress. Not the Republican Party. So, let's be fair --
BURNETT: But if they force a shut down, if they prevent the budget, if they stop aid to Ukraine, they are defining your party. SUNUNU: No. They are defining themselves, and they are defining
Congress's inability to get anything done, which is what the greatest frustration of all of us have, Republicans and Democrats alike, that none of them seem to be able to move the ball forward. They are more defiant in Washington about what they don't do as opposed to what they do do. And again, they claim our outrage in all of this, and they get to raise money off of it.
But at the end of the day, it doesn't help the American people. It doesn't help Ukraine. Of course, you have to support Ukraine.
We have to win that war, absolutely. You have to secure the border. You need fiscal discipline. You need all these pieces in the package. And if you do that, everyone gets a little something, right? Everyone gets a little something. And you get to keep the government going forward.
But you need all the parties involved, including President Biden.
BURNETT: So, Governor, let me ask you, because tonight, you've got the former president speaking at the exact same time as the rest of the Republican potential nominees are in the debate.
And Congressman Kinzinger, Margaret Hoover, they were just referring to, unfortunately, the debate as being the sideshow. Trump is just so far ahead, right, that right now, he could easily be the nominee. And that has not changed from the very beginning, no matter who has gotten a raise in any situation.
But you are very vocal, Governor. You have been passionate that they believe the GOP presidential race is still wide open. Still wide open.
SUNUNU: Of course. Yeah, of course, it is.
BURNETT: What makes you believe that?
SUNUNU: Because the field is narrowing down, as it should be. Trump is below 40 percent in states like New Hampshire, where the conversation is happening.
BURNETT: That's true.
SUNUNU: Most folks haven't even decided who they are voting for.
Even one third of Trump supporters say they would consider voting for somebody else. So, these debates are all about finding out, who the alternative is, because as I've always, said one-on-one -- you get it before to one on one before Super Tuesday, doesn't have to be in Iowa and New Hampshire. But before Super Tuesday, where you have more winner take all states.
It's not about the popular votes, guys. It's an electoral -- it's the electoral vote, ultimately, that is going to decide the general election, and when those states come down to one-on-one in the primaries and you have all the delegates in these winner-take-all states, there's a huge opportunity for the other candidate, which would have political momentum, which have all this money coming off the sidelines, which have a lot of energy, with a candidate like Trump who is ceiling at about 45 percent. I mean, that's actually terrible. Terrible.
BURNETT: I guess if you consider him as an incumbent, if you look at him that way, it is terrible, of course, as a non-incumbent, it's pretty damn good. But he is well-known, to your point, to state the obvious.
All right. Governor Chris Sununu, thanks, as always. It's always a pleasure.
SUNUNU: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, a potential Biden challenger. I'm going to speak to a Democratic Congressman who is pressing for another Democrat to run against Biden. He originally told me it wouldn't be him. But did he change his mind?
Plus, store shut in Philadelphia, after widespread looting. Target now closing stores in major cities. What's going on?
BURNETT: Tonight, every single local store in Philadelphia is closed. It's pretty incredible, right? This is the United States of America. It is close. It's because of mass looting in the city. Last night, targeted more than a dozen liquor stores.
These are the looters -- stealing merchandise, vandalizing stores across that city. And by the way, it comes as Target announces its closing nine stores in major cities across the country because of theft.
Veronica Miracle is OUTFRONT.
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another smash-and- grab, this time in Philadelphia. Three stores hit last night, at least 50 people arrested. They were not part of an earlier police protests, officials say. Retail crime is again front and center, as major brands close stores.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are locking up the toothpaste.
MIRACLE: The latest Target closing nine stores, citing theft and organize retail crime, threatening the safety of our team and guests, and hurting business. At the San Francisco Target soon to close, even general merchandise is behind plexiglass.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't surprise me. MIRACLE: Regulars say they have seen the crime firsthand.
You live across the street. Tell me what you see here on a daily basis happening at this Target?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least once, or twice a day, I would say the homeless come in here. They steal stuff. They take off running. The majority of them get caught, but there is quite a few that get away.
MIRACLE: This target joins two others in Oakland, closing on October 21st, along with three in Portland, Oregon, two in Seattle, Washington, and another in New York City.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We take officers and we put them in the garage, or out here.
MIRACLE: The NYPD says Target was paying for increased patrols at the East Harlem store, but that's continued. Target is just the latest to take drastic action. Starbucks closed 16 stores last year citing safety concerns.
We spotted grocery stores in San Francisco locking up coffee. Another, cable-locked frozen foods. In the 30 minutes, CNN spent at this San Francisco Walgreens in July, we saw three people, including this man, steal.
Did that guy pay? Did that guy pay?
New data from the National Retail Federation says 28 percent of retailers reported closing stores due to crime, $112 billion in losses last year is an $18 billion dollar jump over the year before.
From Nordstrom in Los Angeles to Lululemon near Atlanta, and now, an Apple Store in Philadelphia. Dozens of high profile smash and grabs have business owners calling for tougher laws.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want everyone to know, this will not be our last protest.
MIRACLE: This week, Oakland small businesses went on strike, closing their doors for hours, standing in front of a shuttered restaurant. They demanded public officials do more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This restaurant survived applied Oakland and the riots. This restaurant survived the pandemic. But this restaurant can't survive crime.
MIRACLE: Erin, there was a line of cars this morning to get into this Target here in San Francisco.
People were being turned away. It turns out at the store, and the one in New York, they abruptly change their hours. They are opening later now. So, already, the community is feeling an impact. These stores across
the country are not officially supposed to close until October 21st -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Veronica, thank you very much.
And, of course, you know, as someone who spends time in New York City. You go into a Target. You can't even buy the stuff you want, because it's all locked up. And you need to go find someone to help you get, if you can't buy laundry detergent. Obviously, it's bad business.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota. Target is headquartered in his state.
So, Congressman, you know this all too well. And it's an important company in your state.
You know, I'll play the video again of storms being looted in Philadelphia last night. Every liquor store in that city is closed tonight because of looting. And there's -- you know, again, there's moments where you say, gosh, I cannot believe this is happening here, in this country.
In fact, it is happening in big Democratic cities across the United States where you're seeing some of the big stores like Target pull out, New York City, San Francisco, Portland, Pittsburgh, Seattle. These are big Democratic cities. I mean, Pittsburgh, the margin of victory for the Democratic mayor was 70 percent.
Are these cities failing their residents when it comes to public safety, Congressman?
REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN): Well, Erin, let me start with Target, a wonderful corporation that employs hundreds of thousands, does so compassionately. Is generous with the communities which they do business. And they lost a billion dollars in the last year to shrinkage, to theft, organized crime, and the like. Companies like Lowe's, and other billion dollars.
It's untenable. And your question about, do cities have a responsibility to do something? You are darn right. And I am getting tired of conversation, and seeing these videos. We have a combination of despair in our communities. We also have a lack of consequences.
And I think this is where Democrats, and Republicans, have to put away the nonsense, like you're seeing right now in the U.S. Capitol, and get to work. Resource are police departments, ensure consequences are legitimate, and also investing community so we have juvenile diversion programs. So these young kids see other paths to prosperity and opportunity.
This is not unsolvable. But once we politicized it, and when people say a Democratic city, or Republican governor -- that's not the problem. It's an American problem. And yes, we have a big one, and we better get to it fast.
BURNETT: All right. We are putting out practical words. And recently, the city came to the independent mayor of Eagle Pass, Texas. He said there are border crossings. And you said in your words, there are consequences. They seem to be lacking.
And they're lacking where you are as well. We're three days from a deadline to fund the government. Here we are, deal nowhere in sight. No consequences to those on Capitol Hill at lace. Consequences for this country though.
Do you think a shutdown at this point is inevitable?
PHILLIPS: Yes, we need a juvenile diversion program here in Congress because we have people acting like kids, with great consequence. And we're about to face a circumstance, Erin, where members of our military won't be getting paid, children will be going hungry, and we overrode once again the American brand around the world, and completely avoidable.
The fact of the matter is we lack a mechanism in the U.S. House where two thirds, I would say two thirds and three quarters of the house is ready to vote right now to get us through this nonsense and fund the government. And do better, and just a handful are holding us hostage.
And one man, the sad truth is Speaker McCarthy is the one person standing in the way of resolving this whole issue. And it saddens me. And we've got to get to work, and redo the House rules package, and ensure the government works for people. The same way we need our cities to be safe and secure no matter your zip code. We need it in the U.S. Congress right now.
And I'm getting embarrassed, I'm getting frustrated, I am angry. And everyone watching who shares that point of view, we've got to unify. I don't care your politics. It's time, and I've had enough.
BURNETT: You've been very outspoken. You say it's time, and you had enough. I think you probably do share the sentiment of vast majority of Americans. And you've been outspoken about the upcoming election as well and about President Biden.
And you did support him for his first term. I know you don't support him running again. You said you think someone else needs to run and enter this race.
Last time you and I spoke, you said, it wouldn't be you. But I heard you, interestingly, on a podcast with Steve Schmidt, where you seemed to change your mind about that. Let me play the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Yeah, I am thinking about it. I haven't ruled it out. I'm concerned that something could happen between now and next November that would make the Democratic convention in Chicago an unmitigated disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, has something changed? And do you think you really may jump in?
PHILLIPS: Well, Erin, first of all, Erin i, have great respect for you as a journalist, I don't blame you for asking that question. But I've got to tell you, I am 100 percent focused right now on avoiding a shutdown, and if there is one, to ensure that it's as quick and resolve as soon as possible.
We can talk about this in the coming weeks. I have great admiration for the president. I'm also data person. I look at the numbers. And yes, I am concerned. But what I am concerned right now is a deal that this president made with Speaker McCarthy, that Speaker McCarthy now is not upholding and not keeping his conference in order. And as a result, the entire country is going to take pay a price, and that's all I want to talk about tonight and I want to get back tonight and I'll talk to you about that other political stuff in the coming weeks.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I'll look forward to that. I appreciate your time tonight on all this. And I do believe most people share your frustration and your anger. Thank you very much, Congressman.
And next, the American soldier who crossed into North Korea is now back in U.S. custody. Why did Kim Jong-un just give him up like that?
BURNETT: Tonight, the American soldier who ran across the border to North Korea during a tour of the DMZ is now on his way back to the United States, after being held for about two months, officials tell CNN that Travis King was escorted out of the country by a Swedish convoy, and then he walked across a bridge to U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns in China, and that was taken into U.S. military custody. I mean, it's an incredible sort of lay out to imagine the choreography of all that. He's expected to land in Texas in a matter of hours.
But many are wondering, why was this so easy? Why did Kim Jong-un decide to let him go?
Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When U.S. Army Private Travis King in his daring dash across the DMZ in July, many wondered if North Korea would use him as a political pawn, like past American prisoners.
His speedy release in just over two months a surprise to many. Even more shocking, it's came with no concessions U.S. officials tell CNN, calling his quick release a result of intense diplomacy after weeks of trying to break down diplomatic barriers and open a direct line of communication with North Korea. The U.S. and North Korea have no formal diplomatic ties. Swedish
diplomats in Pyongyang acted as intermediaries, sending word to Washington the North Koreans were ready to release the soldier.
China allowed King to cross the border for handover into American custody. A senior official telling CNN, King is in good health and good spirits as he makes his way home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want my son there. Get my son home.
RIPLEY: In the days and weeks since he disappeared, desperate pleas from Private King's family in Wisconsin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reach out to mom and let him her voice. You know, he is not the type that just disappeared.
RIPLEY: A phone call that finally came, the U.S. says, adding King is very much looking forward to being reunited with his family.
A family statement expressing gratitude and asking for privacy.
King was the first active duty soldier in more than four decades to hand himself over to the North Koreans. State media claimed in August, King was running from inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army, a message that played right into North Korea's long running anti-U.S. narrative.
Past prisoners served as props for Pyongyang's anti-U.S. propaganda, paraded in front of state TV cameras, held for extended periods to gain concessions from the U.S. This time was different.
North Korean state media barely mentioned King during his two months in custody. His release came far faster than others who spent months or even years in North Korean captivity, some only released with the help of former U.S. presidents like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Times have changed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is focusing on his friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, while deepening his military ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, King's quick release maybe a sign, analysts say, the value of a U.S. detainee just isn't what it used to be, with U.S. relations at their lowest level in years.
BURNETT: So, Will Ripley, will that support from China and Russia -- I mean, obviously, it means everything to Kim Jong Un at this point. It's truly bolstered him.
RIPLEY: Yeah, and basically, he is now emboldened to make a big announcement. Just within the last two hours, Erin, we got word from North Korean state media that they have re-written their Constitution in North Korea to make them officially a nuclear weapon state, a nuclear power.
That means that nuclear weapons are there to say. Any hope of denuclearization that the U.S. had, well, they should not be encouraged by this quick return of the soldier. If anything, North Korea figures they already have what they want, what they need and they will be testing their nuclear program pretty soon.
BURNETT: Wow, and as you point out, the symbolism, officially as you say. Just in the past two hours, announcing that the nuclear states in their constitution, those things matter.
Will Ripley, thank you very much.
And thank you all very much for being with us as well. It's time now for "AC360", of course, with Anderson.