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Erin Burnett Outfront
Israel: Tunnel Shaft Found In Gaza Hospital Complex Amid Raid; Exclusive New Audio On OutFront: Trump Discusses Jan 6 Attack; Biden Says He Still Believes Xi Jinping Is A"Dictator"; CNN Exclusive: Biden's Brother Subpoenaed In Hunter Biden Probe. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 16, 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, breaking news. Israel revealing new evidence, a photo of a Hamas tunnel at Gaza's largest hospital. This as CNN obtains video of a family evacuating from northern Gaza. A neighbor shot in the head as he tries to flee with them in that secure zone.
Plus, more breaking news, exclusive audio of Trump into OUTFRONT, talking about going to the Capitol on January 6th to deal with what he calls, quote, the problem. Why the special counsel may already be seizing on this new sound.
And, she's known Chinese President Xi Jinping for 40 years, since he first came to her home in Iowa. Tonight, she opens up about the man she calls a friend and she had dinner with last night.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. Israel says it has now found evidence of a tunnel underneath Gaza's largest hospital, Al-Shifa. The discovery coming 48 hours, pretty much exactly 48 hours, after forces first entered the compound.
Now, according to this video, which it is important to say was both filmed and released by the IDF, you can see what they say is an entrance to the tunnel, it appears to be reinforced with concrete. You see pipes, cables, and debris outside it. We weren't able to geolocate this video.
And here is exactly where that tunnel shaft is located. As you can see, it is located not far from where people are sheltering. But, it is some distance away from where Israel last night released video of those weapons found behind an MRI machine. According to the IDF, the tunnel is near a booby-trapped car, which contained a large amount of M.O. and weapons.
Now, I want to be clear that CNN can't independently verify the images at this point. The Hamas-run government media office in a new statement tonight, for their part, says the health ministry has repeatedly asked for, quote, teams to visit and expect all hospitals, in order to refute the false incitement narrative. They say there aren't tunnels under there.
But, the IDF claims that this one video is part of what will eventually be proven to be, a sprawling, multilevel command center for Hamas. In fact, Israeli forces have now been inside that hospital complex for 48 hours, hunting for tunnels. As Al-Shifa's facilities director paints a sad, horrible picture of what is taking place inside the hospital with civilians, telling Al Jazeera, quote, we have been forced to amputate the limbs of some of the injured, because their wounds have been infected due to a lack of resources.
And in an ominous sign, Israel is now dropping leaflets across southern Gaza, calling on civilians there to evacuate. Now, you remember a few weeks, ago when those leaflets were being dropped, in those early days, they were trying to get them on the ground to find them in northern Gaza. But south is where and people have been told to go. They were told to go there in order to be safe.
And tonight, we have exclusive new reporting, on just how dangerous that journey to southern Gaza even is.
Our Jomana Karadsheh has the story of (INAUDIBLE). He says that he, along with his family and neighbors, were given just 30 minutes to evacuate their homes in northern Gaza, a track along which -- along what Israel has repeatedly said is a, quote, safe corridor.
(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: So, we have designated routes to a safe zone south of Gaza City, where there's no fighting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, of course, again, the leaflets are now coming down in the south, and those safe routes. As you are about to see, (INAUDIBLE) found his neighbor dead, shot in the head on one. We'll have that story in just a moment.
But, first I want to begin with Oren Liebermann, OUTFRONT live in Tel Aviv for us again tonight.
And, Oren, Israel, of course, under tremendous pressure to show evidence of what they say is under that hospital, right, that expensive multi-level tunnel complex. Is this all of the proof, right now?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This is so far what we have seen. The video you showed just a few moments ago, released from the Israel defense forces a short time ago. What appears to be a tunnel entrance, what they say is an operational tunnel used by Hamas, in the Al-Shifa complex. We have been able to geolocate that video, as you pointed out, to inside the complex itself. Worth noting that the hospital, the largest in Gaza, is a fairly large this facility.
Israel was under tremendous pressure to prove the argument, and the assertion they had made, that Hamas used the hospital above ground to shelter their terror infrastructure below ground. In the first batch of pictures they released, of some weapons they say they found in the hospital, they were far short of proving that assertion.
This at least, shows something underground. But have they proven it definitively? For that, we'll have to able to go inside and take a look. We have, courts have not been able to do that yet, because of where it is, and the difficulty of reporting in Gaza. Meanwhile, doctors and health officials at the hospital have repeatedly rejected Israel's accusation that it was used by Hamas, and the Hamas-run ministry there says these are baseless lies.
But, it is worth noting for at least we were seeing today, it appears to be much closer than they were yesterday, with the first batch of photos, to trying to prove an assertion that there's some sort of infrastructure below the hospital. The key question remains, what is it?
Now, shortly before they put that video out, they also released a statement about 65-year-old grandmother, Yehudit Weiss, the second Israeli hostage we know of who was killed in Gaza. The circumstances of her death are unclear right now, Erin, but the IDF spokesperson says she was murdered by Hamas, found near the Shifa Hospital complex, the same place as AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades.
BURNETT: Of course, a mother of five. Thank you so much, Oren.
And OUTFRONT now, retired Army Major John Spencer. He is an expert on the ground warfare and Hamas tunnels. He is chair of urban warfare studies for the modern war institute at West Point, and, a co-author of "Understanding Urban Warfare".
So, Major, I appreciate your time.
This is your area of deep expertise. So I want to show again the video, filmed and released by the IDF, of what they say is a tunnel shaft, inside of the Shifa hospital complex. You know, surrounded by loose wires, dirt, looks like chunks of concrete.
What do you see here?
MAJOR JOHN SPENCER (RET.), CHAIR OF URBAN WARFARE STUDIES, MODERN WAR INSTITUTE AT WEST POINT: I see basically a section of a tunnel shaft, for sure. And I actually see a tactic which is to avoid the biggest threat which is a tunnel entrance and an exit that they have already lost IDF soldiers. So, this is something I have been seeing the IDF do, when I think there is a tunnel complex, not try to find where it leads through the buildings, but find it and access it through construction equipment to try to negate that, to get the information out like we know they need to as fast as possible. But I definitely see a tunnel.
BURNETT: So, okay, so you obviously are looking at that. You know what you're looking at and it's a tunnel. Now, the IDF also put a video that they say is a cache of weapons found in a truck at the hospital, and then a another video that they say shows Hamas weapons found near an MRI machine, that they put out last night. Now, Major, Israel has had forces inside the hospital complex for
exactly 48 hours. Are you surprised, by the extremely limited evidence they've provided at this point or not?
SPENCER: No, not exactly. As, I know how deliberate and methodical they are approaching us, and how much danger there is in both civilian casualties, since the main hospital is still occupied by some patience. But, it does take time to enter a complex, secure it and then start to enter buildings very carefully, but also, their rush to get information out.
So, I'm -- I understand. I wouldn't say I'm also not surprised, because we all want to see, it is evidence that Hamas was using the complex. But I also understand as a military person who is done this type of operation how careful it has to go.
BURNETT: So, Israel has put out an animation, a network of tunnels underneath the hospital. It shows various rooms, and if you look at, what looks like two levels. Now everyone is saying, why am I not showing it? We are not showing it, because we can't confirm it. We haven't seen it for ourselves. And unlike the video the IDF may produce, we can't even geolocate it.
But they are putting it out. It's really detailed. It's got conference rooms and flags hanging and chairs. I mean, the level of detail is incredible.
The question for you, Major, is if Israel isn't even in the tunnels yet, how can they have created an animation like this?
SPENCER: My best -- I believe it's because they have human intelligence over years of what other people, whether it's informants, prisoners, prisoners of war, that explain the detail of what's under there and then it's a rendering of that human intelligence, if not signals intelligence, people talking about it.
I -- it seems to me, an intelligence rendering -- kind of like a criminal -- rendering of what is believed by reports to be under the complex.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Major, I appreciate your time, thank you so much.
SPENCER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And for civilians in Gaza, the struggle to find a safe place continues. One family made the horrific journey from their home in northern Gaza, to the south, where you are so sweet safe. Although again, I said those leaflets are coming down now warning that that may change. But, they filmed their entire journey. And I want to warn you, that some of the images that we will see in this report are graphic.
Jomana Karadsheh is OUTFRONT.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gaza City, two- year-old Walid (ph) distracted through his family's most difficult night of the war so far.
(SOUND OF ARTILLERY)
KARADSHEH: With daybreak, the Israeli military calls with an order, you have 30 minutes to get out. It was 9:30: a.m. on November the 10th, with makeshift white flags, they say the military told them to hold up, they prepared to move.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): We stay together, we don't rush. If there are strikes or shooting, it's not at us. We walk together slowly. Slowly together. No rush.
The Israeli army knows and I am recording because the army knows.
KARADSHEH: With the little they can carry, they head out, and into the unknown. Some too frail to walk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Carry him! Carry him! Put him on your back.
KARADSHEH: Journalist Rami Abu Jamus (ph) is filming the forced evacuation of his family, along with more than 30 of their neighbors. His phone in his right hand, and in the, other his son Walid.
He speaks French with his son, looking for his wife ahead.
While waiting for other elderly neighbors, struggling to catch up
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Carry him, Eyad. Put him on your back.
Don't be scared. Stay on the right. Don't be scared.
Be careful around this spot.
KARADSHEH: That constant buzz you hear is Israeli drones overhead. It's the soundtrack of Gaza, for years. As they get to the other side of the street, Rami spots his neighbor, Abu Ahmad, something is not right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): What's going on Abu Ahmad? What's wrong? It's all in God's hands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): My son, Ahmad!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): It's all in God's hands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): I told you, let's stay at home, my son! I told him, let's stay at home!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Let's carry him. Let's carry him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): I told you, let's stay at home, my son! Let's stay at home, my son!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Let's go. Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): If only we had stayed at home, God!
Ahmad? Ahmad! Are you breathing my son?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Yes, he is breathing. He is breathing.
Breathing? Let's carry him.
Yes, yes. Carry him. Carry him. Pray to God. Pray to God. He is still alive. There's breathing.
KARADSHEH: Ahmad was shot in the head, he didn't make it.
And around the corner, two others, a man and a woman also shot. It's uncertain who opened fire on the group. CNN geolocated these videos, and traced this deadly journey out of central Gaza City. We provided the Israeli military with details of this incident, and these coordinates.
But, they did not respond to our request for comment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello --
KARADSHEH: Hello, Rami (ph).
We reached Rami, now in the south.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): There were no ambulances.
KARADSHEH: Like most here, they were on their own. They got to Shifa Hospital, but so did the war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Total panic at Shifa Hospital. Look at the dead bodies. Not even a morgue. Gaza has fallen.
KARADSHEH: Witness to it all, two-year-old Walid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I kept trying to make sure he's not scared, and make him feel like he is seeing around us as a circus, or an amusement park. I don't know if I succeeded. Even the journey of humiliation, where you take a donkey here and a horse there, I was trying to make that entertaining for him.
KARADSHEH: I asked Rami why he decided to film.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I just want this to get to the world so they know the injustice that we are facing. They cast doubt on everything we do. They are stronger in every way, not just militarily, but with the information that comes out, the narrative that comes out, the news that comes out. What they say is the truth, and our words are lies.
Please, just deliver our message. I don't want anything else. I don't want all of those who have been killed who have died in vain.
KARADSHEH: Rami doesn't know what they'll do now. But, he says he will only leave his homeland, forced at gunpoint, or dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): My dear, my dear. Give me a kiss.
KARADSHEH (on camera): Erin, Israel says it calls on people to leave areas where there are military operations to try and minimize civilian casualties.
But as you, know the U.N. says nowhere in Gaza is safe. And there is criticism worldwide of the number of deaths in Gaza that has grown to over 11,400 people, of them, 4,700 children. That's according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, that draws these figures from sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave.
And, Erin, this is the story of one family, out of so many, who are going through so much. But, we don't have access to them to tell their stories. And, this family happened to film their harrowing journey out of the north.
BURNETT: Jomana, thank you very much. Hard to watch but important we all saw it. Thank you
And next, the breaking news. We have exclusive audio of Donald Trump talking about wanting to go to the Capitol on January 6th, saying, that he wanted to go, he wanted to go at one point to stop what he called the, quote, problem. More, of what he told veteran political anchor Jonathan Karl. He's next.
Also Beijing tonight blasting President Biden after Biden called the Chinese President Xi Jinping a dictator. Even the secretary of state, visibly cringing over the term.
And also, following breaking news in the Hunter Biden investigation. Tonight, President Biden's brother, we've learned has been subpoenaed.
BURNETT: Tonight, exclusive new audio into OUTFRONT of former President Donald Trump saying that he would have been, quote, very well-received by the people rioting at the Capitol on January 6th. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: But if you look at the real size of that crowd, it was never reported correctly. They were -- it's the biggest crowd I've ever spoken in front of, by far.
JONATHAN TURLEY, JOURNALIST: Really?
TRUMP: By far. That went down to the Washington -- that went back to the Washington Monument.
TURLEY: You told them you were going to go up to the Capitol. Were you just --
TRUMP: I was going to, and then Secret Service said, you can't. And then by the time you would have, and then when I got back I said, I want to go back, I was thinking about going back during the problem, to stop the problem, doing it myself. The Secret Service didn't like that idea too much.
TURLEY: So --
TRUMP: I could've done that. And you know what? I would've been very well-received. Don't forget, the people that went to Washington that day, in my opinion, they went because they thought the election was rigged. That's the way they went.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. That audio comes from an interview that Trump gave to ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl, who you heard there asking the questions. He gave that interview to Jonathan Karl just over two months after the insurrection.
OUTFRONT legal analysts say that what you just heard, in that exchange, is highly valuable evidence for the prosecution.
Our Ryan Goodman predicts that this audio will likely be part of the trial. So, we have much more the legal impact of this exclusive audio.
But first, Jonathan Karl is OUTFRONT. He is the author of the new book, "Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party".
So, Jonathan, you are sharing this exchange with us. And, you write in this book that this was an astounding admission, those are your words, by Trump. I mean, he is saying he wanted to go, which is right, this is the whole back and forth, right, of grabbing the steering wheel incident, with Cassidy Hutchinson. But that he wanted to go, and that he believed he had control over the crowd.
KARL: That he was going to be well-received by the people that were attacking the Capitol building, the people that were assaulting police officers, trying to get in to stop that certification of the election, that they would be, that they would receive him well.
So, I -- this was an interview I did as part of a long interview, for my book betrayal. And at the time, that exchange, because there is so much in that interview, didn't quite hit me, because, first of all, I didn't believe him when he said oh, I wanted to go. I mean, I never really thought I wanted to go.
But then I heard Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the January 6th Committee, the whole thing about how Trump was berating --
BURNETT: Did he lunge for the wheel?
KARL: Or whatever he was doing, pressuring his Secret Service agents, them adamantly refusing, clearly well-documented. So I went back, and, you know, I mean, this is -- this is an admission that those were absolutely his people, first of all. But also, that he had control over those fuel.
And remember, he didn't go up there and he also didn't do anything to try to get them to stop.
BURNETT: Right, and we all know there were other times when he would try to say, oh, they weren't his people, right? Remember in the infamous call with then speaker -- with Kevin McCarthy, saying these are your people.
Okay, so that audio obviously could now be evidence. They could be evidence in the federal mastication of Trump's efforts to overturn the election. You are heard people think that it will be.
You write that Trump was, quote, despondent, scared and seething with rage about another case, the hush money case, and him here in New York. And since then, two indictments, the Justice Department and Georgia found liable for fraud and a civil trial. You have the entire situation going on in New York, right, with that -- with that civil trial as well playing out.
Does he realize that, Jon, he is at real risk of going to jail?
KARL: I think that he has come to see that there is absolutely no difference between his presidential campaign and his legal defense. They have merged into one.
There are two potential paths for Donald Trump, I think, in his mind. He can win back the presidency, and do whatever he can to call it all of. Obviously, there is -- it's debatable how much he can do on that front. Or, he faces the very real possibility of going to prison.
He uses apocalyptic terms to describe his campaign. And it's not so much the impact on the country, it's the impact on him. He calls 2020 for the final battle. And I think that's, for him, he really feels it's the final battle. You know, if he wins, he is triumphant. Or, it's devastating.
BURNETT: And, of course, I am sure he is well aware that that also for somewhat harken to fields of Armageddon and, you know --
BURNETT: -- I mean, that's exactly what he is doing.
You write about him, that there is now nobody even trying. There were times, right, with that infamous op-ed in "The New York Times", right, they would say they tried to rein him in. You are saying no one is doing that right now. And you write, Trump is
more detached from reality than ever, and more willing to trash norms and customs that our system of government needs to survive, as a working democracy.
BURNET: You covered him for many years.
KARL: I wrote this for two primary reasons. One is that I think memories of starts to fade about what it was like, especially at the end of the Trump presidency. And there's been this effort to try to whitewash, or rewrite that history. But the second is that people don't realize what has happened to Trump since he left the White House.
And I do believe that in some sense, he has gotten more detached from reality, more willing to trust the customs of American democracy, to win, to prevail at all costs. But, he did have people around him in that White House, who tried to protect him from his own self destructive influences, and tendencies, and to protect the country from those tendencies. Those people are all entirely gone.
He will have a team, devoted to him. The most important qualification right now to be in a potential Trump administration will be loyalty. And right now, they're from -- I mean -- I mean, this is the smallest presidential campaign we've seen of a front runner, ever including significantly smaller than what he had in 2016.
BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty stunning when you say this. And when you say front runner, he is the front runner.
KARL: He is absolutely the front runner.
BURNETT: I mean, there's front runner, and then there's, you know, kind of in the distant -- the distance DeSantis may be. The latest poll we have of New Hampshire --
BURNETT: -- shows Nikki Haley surging. I mean, up to 20 percent. That's half of where he is, but it's surged for her, a huge surge for her.
Does he see her as a real threat now? Does he see anyone as a true threat?
KARL: I think that he thinks he has got it, essentially made. But, I think he will look at that poll very closely, a real strong anti-Trump candidate like Christie could have a chance.
I don't think that this primary is over. He is absolutely the front runner. People treat him like the presumptive nominee. But, I don't think it's actually over. BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. We really appreciate
you being here with us. Thanks.
KARL: Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: All right. And OUTFRONT now, Karen Friedman Agnifilo, the former chief assistant D.A. of the Manhattan D.A.'s office. She worked with special counsel Jack Smith.
So, Karen, you just heard the exclusive audio right, the conversation that Jonathan Karl had with Trump. And in it, Trump talks about wanting to go to the Capitol on January 6th, saying to the people there they would've listen to him, referring to what was happening there as a problem.
How do you think this is very significant?
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's extremely significant, because first of all, it completely corroborates what Cassidy Hutchinson was saying when she testified before the January 6th committee. If you recall after her testimony, there were many people, including they were saying people from the Secret Service, denying that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol, and try to go to the Capitol, and they stopped him.
So, this corroborates Cassidy Hutchinson, and really helps bolster and make her a credible witness to testify at the trial. The other thing I think it shows is he really talks about going twice, right? He said, first, I want to go with the crowd. And, he knew the crowd was there to stop Mike Pence from certifying the election.
So, it goes to the intent that he had, that same intent that he wanted to make it so Pence wouldn't certify the election. But he also said afterwards, I thought about, I want to go to stop the problem, as he called it. Which is interesting, because he could have stopped the problem, he knows he could have and, he didn't for, what, free hours, right, he sat there.
And so, that part of it I think lacks credibility. He absolutely had no intention of trying to stop that problem.
BURNETT: Right, right. I mean, it's whether he was trying to aqua he was trying to stop it or, also admitting that he knew early on that it was a serious problem, as opposed to oh, nothing is really happening here.
You know, it is fascinating just to see it. And in a conversation with someone like Jonathan Karl, who, you know, he's known for a long time, and he was in this extended conversation. So, you know, there is that sense that he really opened up to him.
So when you look at the new information, as you see it here, Karen, how does this add to jack smith's case against Trump, to get something like this now?
FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: Well, he is going to be analyzing all of the statements that front has made publicly about the events of January 6th, right, and, really analyze them against each other, and see which ones because he will have set on the one hand, I know I didn't think anything was going to happen, no, I wasn't part of his crowd, and then later, he's saying, I was part of it. So, Jack Smith's first of all, going to be very interesting and obtaining copies of these statements. But not just the short snippets that you have, the longer interview. He is going to want to see all of it, he is going to want to listen to all of it, and try to analyzes it against all Trump's other statements.
He may decide to want to put those in as inconsistencies, or he might want to wait and not put them in, and make Donald Trump take the stand and then use them to cross examine him, because, we'll see if Trump does testify.
BURNETT: Right, absolutely fascinating. And, of course, as I said, for sure if he wants those tapes, it is a very long conversation, and one of many that Jonathan Karl had with them.
All right, thanks very much, Karen.
FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, I'm going to speak to this woman from Iowa, who has known the Chinese President Xi Jinping for nearly 40 years. She had a no one-on-one conversation with him last night in California, and she'll be OUTFRONT next.
And more breaking news, the special counsel investigation into Hunter Biden's business dealings heating up, with the president's brother now subpoenaed.
BURNETT: Tonight, blowback from Beijing. China's government lashing out after President Biden called Chinese President Xi Jinping a dictator after what, was by all accounts, a positive and extended meeting.
Here is the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): This kind of speech is extremely wrong, and it is irresponsible political manipulation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In San Francisco, a carefully choreographed reset of the Iraqi U.S.-China relationship. U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, a meeting months in the making. Four hours of talks, meticulously planned photo ops, all seemingly going according to plan, until President Biden seemed to go off script.
REPORTER: Mr. President, after today, would you still refer to President Xi as a dictator? This is a term you used earlier this year.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, look, he is. I mean, he is a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs the country that is a communist county, that is based on a form of government that is totally different than ours.
RIPLEY: Biden's off-the-cuff answer to a question from White House correspondent MJ Lee drawing a cringe-worthy reaction from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and, a swift, sharp response from China's foreign ministry.
CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): This is extremely erroneous. It is an irresponsible political maneuver which China firmly opposes.
RIPLEY: Beijing had a similar reply back in June, when Biden called his Chinese counterpart a dictator at a California fund-raiser.
On the streets of Beijing, this man seems to agree with Biden's description.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translated): One party system, to be honest and open, that is a dictatorship.
RIPLEY: Something he says, keeps China stable, putting a positive spin on Biden's definition of the word.
Beijing's communist rulers have long argued stability makes their system superior to Western democracies. They never, ever use the word dictator. Neither does Chinese state media, ignoring Biden's controversial comments, even as it made headlines around the world, instead focusing on President Xi's personal diplomacy with the U.S. president, like the moment they compared armored limousines.
BIDEN: It's like Cadillac we have over there, they called the beast.
RIPLEY: On China's heavily censored social media, not a single mention of the outrage over Biden using the D-word for the second time in six months. The Chinese government takes that word very personally, blasting Germany's foreign minister for similar comments in September.
ANNALENA BAERBOCK, GERMANY'S FOREIGN MINISTER: What sign would that be, for other dictators in the world, like Xi?
RIPLEY: He wouldn't be the first to fend off that label. Listen to this exchange on "60 Minutes" between Mike Wallace and Xi's predecessor, Jiang Zemin. MIKE WALLACE, JOURNALIST: You are the last major communist dictatorship, in the world.
JIANG ZEMIN, FORMER CHINESE PRESIDENT: You mean dictatorship.
WALLACE: Am I wrong?
ZEMIN: Of course. This is a big mistake.
RIPLEY: As for President Xi, the communist leader who eliminated term limits, and some say his rivals, paving the way for a lifetime in power, we don't know how he feels about Biden's remarks. Unlike the U.S. president, Xi never has to answer unscripted questions.
RIPLEY (on camera): His diplomats spent months controlling every detail, from the venue to the food to the flowers of this meeting with President Biden. So, it is certainly no surprise that right now they are cutting off our signal inside China. This is a live picture from Beijing. They certainly don't want the Chinese people to know about the dictator comment. They don't want to see our coverage of this right now.
Erin, this has happened before, this happens quite a lot on this program. One barometer perhaps of how this actually went, might be whether President Xi follows through on a comment yesterday, when he says the resumption of panda diplomacy is on the table. You know, China hasn't granted any new panda loans to the U.S. for some 20 years. That might be changing. We'll see if it's still in -- the offer is still in place after that remark by the president.
BURNETT: Yeah, we certainly will. And, of course, that response by the Secretary of State Antony Blinken -- well, it was the look that said 1,000 words.
All right, Will Ripley, thank you very much.
And I want to go now to Sarah Lande. She has had an unexpected quarter century long friendship with the Chinese President Xi Jinping. They first met in 1985. There they are, when he was hosting a dinner at her home in Iowa. And, she had a green bean casserole, with Xi Jinping.
Now, Xi at the time was 31 years, old. He was a rising political star of the communist party. And he went to Iowa to see how Americans farm. Lande was the head of a volunteer organization called Sister States, which had been just founded that year, to connect Iowans to the rest of the world.
And after that meeting, Lande made several trips to China over the years. Xi came back to visit Lande again, that was in 2012. We got a picture of them together, right after he became president of China. And they were together again last night. And, they had a private meeting.
So Sarah Lande joins me now. And, Sarah, I mean, I think it is incredible for anyone watching, and
you, try to look at someone of such consequence in the world, with so much power, that you would know something like this over so many years, so well, 40 years nearly, you have known. How do you square words like dictator, with the man that you had come to know through your lifetime?
SARAH LANDE, PRESIDENT XI JINPING'S FRIEND, HAD DINNER WITH HIM LAST NIGHT: Well, one thing is, I think it's too bad that one word throws people off. You know, I think in China, there is one person that makes most of the decisions, and that's Xi Jinping. I don't know that I would call him a dictator, but he definitely is in charge, that's how they keep order there.
But I think many other things we should focus on, besides somebody calling him a dictator. How do even define a dictator? He believes he needs to keep control over a lot of his people, in order to keep the peace and security, and bring them up as equal. It's not the way we believe in the United States. I don't know what you call it, but you wouldn't call it free rein democracy because he does not believe that's the best for his country.
So, other then squabbling over the name dictator, let's look at what they did talk about. Let's talk about what they did decide, maybe to have more airlines going back and forth, maybe more people to people exchanges, having teams look into fentanyl and all of the other things deployed (ph).
LANDE: So, I think they are there are lots of other ways we should look into this conversation, rather than being mad that somebody's called someone a dictator. Calling names doesn't work, but just tell the story.
BURNETT: So you had dinner with him last night and you sat at his VIP table, just a few states away with him. You had a chance to talk with him one-on-one. Can you tell it to us about it, Sarah?
LANDE: Well, when I had a chance to talk 1 to 1, the old friends from Muscatine and special friends around the country had to meet with him ahead of time, in a small group of about 30 or 40. And then, each of us got to go up and shake his hands, and give him greetings or ask him questions.
So at that time, that was a real 1 to 1. At the dinner, I was at the head table, but there might be 30 people at the head table, so I didn't exactly get to talk with him there. But, he made a wonderful -- he made a very articulate talk on what he sees the way China could operate, in the best fashion with the United States. Lots of the things of what we would believe in, you know, working together when we can, working together to solve the big challenges of the world, encouraging more exchange, encouraging each of our countries to be strong in their own way. So, I think just to spend the -- quibbling about the name dictator is
a waste of time.
BURNETT: So, you know, you -- I mentioned that you've known him since --
LANDE: Let's look behind (ph).
BURNETT: Yeah, 1985, you have a green bean casserole together. I mean, you have a sense that you knew him personally, you know him, and you share some important moments. But it clearly seemed to have battered for him because he does have a real fondness for Iowa. You are talking when you do the chance to talk him one-on-one last night, it was that a group of just what do you say, 30, or 40 people who knew him, many from that time.
BURNETT: He told "The Muscatine Journal", at one point: You were the first group of Americans I came into contact with. To me, you are America. This is the first group of Americans that he came in contact with.
LANDE: That's what he said to us.
BURNETT: And you were among that group. So, how important do you think that moments, that Iowa, that you this time of his life has for him?
LANDE: I think it was. I remember something -- you know, it was his first time out of China, first visit to the United States. And, they have been eager to learn how to feed their people. And, they have been just eager to see what an open country was. You know, what the farmland was. I believe he stopped at San Francisco that time, too, and how we lived in our home.
You know, he -- at that time we did not have money to house them, so they stayed in a home, and they were just in somebody's bedroom. And for the green bean casserole, it came as part of a potluck supper. That's how we did it, because we didn't have money to take him out to dinner. So, they get every other volunteers, each brought their favorite dish.
And, they thought this was really strange -- well unique, because they always had the banquet with all of these dishes surrounding them, you know. And first they thought there wouldn't be enough food for them, because there are all these little dishes of casseroles around. But you know, they were happy, he was curious, and he was eager to see the Mississippi. My hometown is on the Mississippi.
And, he had a smile when he walked in the door, and everybody to every time we've seen, he has a warm smile. And, he was happy. And if you had seen him last night at the dinner, by the time he met with these groups ahead, he met with the old friends, and then he met with some CEOs, too, you would have thought, he saying, oh, my goodness sakes, I want to get out of here. He was looking good, not tired, sort of like he was set to give this
address, about how he wanted his country to work with America. And, the CEOs were at the table, his friends were out there, the room was jam-packed. And, he had that smile, relax on his face.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Sarah, thank you very much for sharing your story, and your thoughts with us. I appreciate your time so much, thank you.
LANDE: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. And next, the breaking news, the investigation into Hunter Biden, expanding tonight. The special counsel now using a grand jury in California. Could more charges be coming?
And, a new sign tonight that an embattled Congressman George Santos could be expelled from Congress.
BURNETT: Breaking news, CNN learning President Biden's brother has been subpoenaed. This is part of the criminal investigation into the business dealings of the president's son, Hunter Biden. Sources tell CNN that the special counsel is seeking documents and testimony from multiple witnesses, and that he is now using a grand jury in California, not just in Delaware, suggesting that new charges could be coming for Hunter Biden, in a second state.
So, Evan Perez is OUTFRONT breaking some of this.
I mean, Evan, what more could you tell us about why the president's brother -- President Biden's brother was subpoenaed?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, James Biden, the uncle of Hunter Biden, was at one time business partner of Hunter Biden. And so, that is one reason why prosecutors would be interested to get at least some information, some -- perhaps some documents, and perhaps some testimony from him, for what he knows about his financial dealings at that time.
Now, what we know is that this is an investigation that has been looking at his business dealings, mostly at his tax -- his failure to file tax, his taxes back in 2017, 2018. And what he didn't file them, and he didn't pay them on time, Erin.
And so, we know that this is now -- the grand jury in Los Angeles is trying to get documents and possible testimony from a number of witnesses, James Biden is just one of them. This is an indication that the special counsel David Weiss, is likely soon going to have to decide whether he's going to bring charges in this case.
BURNETT: So why, though Evan, is the special counsel now using a grand jury in California after bringing gun charges almost five months ago in Delaware?
PEREZ: Well, allegedly, the tax offenses that were being investigated, Erin, this is where they occurred. This is where Hunter Biden lives, in southern California. And so, the central district of California and Los Angeles is where they would have to bring those charges. Now, this is investigation has been going on for more than five years, now at this point.
And for a time, Hunter Biden's attorneys had agreed for this all to be consolidated in Delaware. Of course, that plea agreement, that plea deal that they had struck with prosecutors fell apart pretty spectacularly, back in June. And so, now, we know from prosecutors, that after bringing those charges in Delaware on the gun charge, on the gun charges, they are now pursuing or looking to bring possible tax charges, and perhaps other things in this case, in Los Angeles now.
BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much.
And also tonight, a disconnect. President Biden admitting that Americans are not feeling the positive effects of an economy that is improving on paper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I acknowledged the disconnect between the numbers, and how people feel about their place in the world right now. We can deal with the second part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, Harry Enten joins me now to go beyond the numbers.
So, Harry, the president acknowledges that people are still not feeling good about the state of the economy. And, he is right. There are many reasons for that.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: There are many reasons for that. I mean, you know, talk about all these economic statistics that are so good, and that's what President Biden is talking about. But let's just talk about disposable income for a second here, right. How much money folks have to spend on things. That's down, this quarter from last quarter, it is down considerably from what it was during the first year of the Biden administration.
BURNETT: Wow, 3.4 percent.
ENTEN: Down there -- it's down a lot, right? And historically speaking, if you go back since the 1960s, you would in fact see that on average, obviously, incomes will be up closer to 4 percent. So, there is this disconnect.
But I don't think there is this disconnect between Americans and what's actually going on. I think there might be this disconnect between what President Biden thinks is going on, and what is actually going on. BURNETT: Right, how people truly feel, right, because inflation is
part of life, you can't strip it out of any kind of an income number. I mean, we have been seeing headlines though now, like this one. Turkey prices have dropped, right? Thanksgiving dinner prices are falling from a record high. More peas please. No.
BURNETT: Actually, I love peas.
But the "Axios" one I think actually -- Thanksgiving dinner parties is falling from a record high.
BURNETT: Yes they're falling, but they're falling from a really high point, right? It's like you're all the way up here, and now you're just slightly less up there.
ENTEN: Yeah, that's exactly right. And, that's part of what is going on here right, is you are comparing him to just a year ago, when I compare it to three or four years ago. But there are also things that Americans have at this particular, point that they're having to pay for, where in fact they are not seeing drops.
Let's just talk about living, right? Talk about rents. Rents are way up from where we were a year ago. How about mortgage rates? They are way, way up from where they were a year ago, and they are far higher than you usually see the yearly changes on average. More traits are up 11 percent from where we were a year ago, the average is just being up 1 percent.
So, Americans are seeing what is going, on they are comparing it to what the average is going on. And, yeah there are some metrics that are, good but there are plenty of metrics that are not so good. And, those are the ones that American seemed to be concentrating on.
BURNETT: Right, and at this point without deflation, which of course would entail a horrible economy, prices are going down, they are just not rising by as much, right? And that is a really tough thing, people still feel that increase.
However, the Biden administration, President Biden has been trying to tout that improvement. Right, okay, inflation rates are still they are going, up but they are not going up I asked much, it's taming. And they have been calling this Bidenomics, that things are getting better.
Since June, he's been saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: It's called Bidenomics. The plan, it's working.
It's not an accident. It's my economic plan of action. It's Bidenomics. That's the American dream. That's Bidenomics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, you went and found when you first started using the term, started looking at numbers, approval since he started using the phrase. Is it working?
ENTEN: No, it ain't working. I mean, look since he was using it even back then, his economic approval rating, according to Quinnipiac University, was a little bit north of 43 percent. It's now in the 30s. This is, you know, 30-some percent approve of Biden's job on the economy.
So, his messaging isn't working, and the reason his messaging isn't working is because people are listening to what the president saying, they are looking at what's in their own pockets, and they feel the economy isn't doing so swell.
BURNETT: All right. Harry, thank you very much. I think it's fastening to look at when this word was used, and what's happened. Because those things matter, slogans catch on, do they work or not?
ENTEN: It ain't working.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Harry.
And next, the House Ethics report finds evidence that George Santos broke the law, a lot, stealing money to pay for lavish trips, and Botox. Is he about to get expelled?
BURNETT: Tonight, hanging on by a thread. The embattled Republican Congressman George Santos on the verge of being expelled from the House after a scathing new ethics report. A report that says Santos spent campaign money on Botox, spa treatments, and OnlyFans, which is a site commonly used for pornography.
In order to be expelled, 50 Republicans need to join Democrats and ousting the New York congressman. As of tonight, ten of them are indicating they would do so, they will vote to expel him after Thanksgiving. If that happens, Santos will be the only member in U.S. history to be expelled, who hasn't been convicted in a court yet, or who was not fighting the Confederacy.
Now as I mentioned, the House Ethics Committee claims to have found substantial evidence, their word, of wrongdoing by Santos for using campaign funds for his own personal use. Santos responded by blasting the report, announcing he won't pursue reelection anymore, so there's that.
But I spoke recently to Congressman Santos, and I asked him about one of these things that it is a disturbing allegation by U.S. Navy veteran, who told me Santos stole money, that had been meant for life- saving surgery for his dog.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Congressman, did -- are you saying you never spoke to him either?
REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I've -- look, this is even news to me now. This is breaking news for me. I don't even know this man's name or who is, never spoken to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: FBI agents are investigating Santos's role in the alleged GoFundMe account that was meant for that veteran's service dog.
Thanks so much for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.