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Erin Burnett Outfront
Israel And Hamas Prep For Combat As Clock Ticks On Truce; Pro- Trump Attorney Now Cooperating In Nevada Election Probe; RFK Jr. Holding Rally As He Tries To Get On Ballots; George Santos Expulsion Vote Just Hours Away; Russian State Media Mocks Poisoning Of Ukrainian Spy Chief's Wife. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 30, 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:
Prepared to attack. That's Israel's message as the truce is about to expire. Is the fighting ramping back up? Fareed Zakaria is OUTFRONT.
Plus, a story you'll see first here tonight. Nevada officials investigating the state's fake electors for Trump. So, we track them down, and wait until you see what they did next.
And tonight, RFK Jr. gaining traction. We are live at his campaign rally. His supporters are going to tell you why it's Kennedy for them over Biden and Trump.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, prepared to attack at any hour. That's what Israel is saying tonight, as Hamas says it is, quote, at high combat readiness. Both sides preparing for the truce to end tonight if a deal is not reached by midnight Eastern.
Last night, the truce was extended 24 hours at the very last minute. And so today, what happened was eight hostages were released. Right now, this is a video of a group of six that just arrived back in Israel within the past hour or so. Two others were released earlier today. They have now been reunited with their families.
But the reality of it is that so far, only women and children hostages have primarily been released. That was the deal made by Israel and Hamas. But by Israel's last count, there aren't very many women or children left in Gaza. But, there are 118 men and still being held by Hamas.
So, to continue the truce, the parameters of the deal would obviously have to be changed. It was three Palestinian prisoners for every one Israeli hostage, and those women and children. And so, as we await word of the possibility of last minute deal, the reality is that violence is already underway at this time. Hamas claiming credit for a deadly shooting at a bus stop in
Jerusalem. And you see the attackers get out of the car, they're in and they actually shoot people waiting for the bus. And you can actually watch that happen in that terror and fear in Jerusalem. Hamas tonight, saying it's celebrating attackers killed three people and injured seven more at that bus stop.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubled down on his process to finish this war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We swore, and I swore, to eliminate Hamas. Nothing will stop us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Matthew Chance begins our coverage tonight OUTFRONT in Tel Aviv.
So, Matthew, here we are in these final hours before 7:00 a.m., your time, midnight Eastern. Where do things stand right now in these last- minute negotiations?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, there's just five more hours to go before the deadline expires, of those negotiations. But, the diplomatic effort we understand is absolutely intensive, to try to find a way to extend this hostage deal. This though, as a senior Israeli lawmaker tells CNN that he believes we're close to the end, that the current phase of this deal at least, unless Hamas can come up with another list of hostages to be released, like the ones that have been over the course of the past few hours.
CHANCE (voice-over): For the seventh night, after a last-minute extension, this fragile deal to free hostages in Gaza is holding. The latest group of Israelis being handed to the Red Cross, includes 40- year-old Amit Soussana, 21-year-old Mia Schem, an Israeli French dual national who appeared earlier in this Hamas propaganda video being treated for an injured arm.
Please get us out of here as soon as possible, she pleads to the camera.
And now, finally, the moment Mia's family, separated since October the 7th, were reunited, a glimmer of joy amid Israel's horror.
But the horror continues. Tonight, Hamas posting a video of an Israeli hostage, whose wife and two children it says were killed by Israeli strikes. The Israeli military says it's investigating, but in a video message which CNN isn't airing, Yarden Bibas calls on the Israeli government to bring his family home, so they can be buried in Israel.
And now, there are growing concerns at what comes next. The U.S. secretary of state has been meeting Israeli officials, to discuss the next steps. As one Israeli government legislator tells CNN, we are close to the end of this deal, at least this phase of it.
This phase being the release of three Palestinian prisoners for the release of every is a rarely woman or child. When it comes to the men who the Israeli soldiers are being held, Hamas wants to set new terms.
They want a different equation, the legislator says. As long as they can provide hostages, we are willing to talk.
Indeed, there is broad interest in keeping some kind of deal in place, not least in Gaza, where residents are receiving crucial food supplies, as well as medicine and fuel, during the pause in his early strikes.
We wish this was the last day of the war, and that we could be done with all of this chaos, says Muhammad Al Bashir (ph). Enough people have died, and suffered, he says.
It's a sentiment being voiced on both sides of this bitter divide.
CHANCE: In Tel Aviv, Israeli protesters are calling for efforts to bring the hostages home, to be stepped up, and for the Israeli government to avoid returning to a war that may put more lives at risk.
CHANCE (voice-over): Well, Erin, with time running out, Israel says it will quickly resume its military operations in Gaza. If nothing else, to pressure Hamas to release more of the hostages, now mainly adult males and Israeli soldiers that it still holds.
Back to you.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Matthew, 118 of, them according to the last Israeli count. A lot.
Fareed Zakaria is with us now, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS.
So, Fareed, what happens when this truce, such that it is, ends?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: It's a very good question, Erin. I think the Israeli government has a few choices, and they are very hard choices. One, it could try to resume the time of operation it had done, in a launched in northern Gaza. That operation, honestly, it's difficult to tell, but does not appear to have been that successful.
We know for a fact that the Israeli government, the Israeli military, essentially leveled large parts of northern Gaza. The number of bombs that were dropped in that tiny area over the last 45 days is more than the United States military dropped in years in Afghanistan. And yet, by the Israeli government's own numbers, they believe that they have killed 1000 Hamas fighters. Of the 35,000 they believe are around.
So, if you do all of that, and you've killed 1,000 out of 35,000, and your goal is to destroy Hamas, it feels like either you're going to have to do a lot more. Remember, 14,000 civilians have died. So, are you going to -- are you going to go up to the same kind of kill ratios? It seems unlikely.
So my guess, is they are looking at more-limited incursions into southern Gaza. And, those will be much narrower, more targeted. If feels again like the goal of completely destroying Hamas, remains elusive.
BURNETT: Well, I mean if as you, say by those numbers, that's a ratio of 14 civilians to every Hamas combatant killed by Israel, which, of course, says it goes to great pains to avoid civilian death. And U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel again. And on, that he told Netanyahu, he says he told him that Israel has take further efforts to protect civilians in Gaza when it resumes military action. And when he says Netanyahu agreed.
Okay, there is words and there's action. I mean, the reality of it is, Fareed, is how much can the United States even control what Netanyahu does next?
ZAKARIA: The United States does have leverage. I do think the Biden administration deserves credit for having tried to balance, they have essentially adopted the strategy of saying we're going to support Israel very strongly, support their right to defend themselves. But then, we're going to quietly and privately counseled them.
They tried initially, the Biden administration, to get Israel not to launch the kind of all out air attack, ground invasion, the kind of shock and awe that Israel did in northern Gaza. That didn't work. But, they did succeed in getting these temporary truces.
And, here we run up against another area where the Biden administration has had some success. Israel says it has two goals, destroy Hamas, and bring the hostages home.
But the two are in some contradiction. Because the only way you get the hostages home, is by negotiating with Hamas. So, which is it? What are you trying to do, particularly in the short run.
So, I think that the Biden administration is trying to press Israel to think hard about, surely the paramount goal is to get the hostages back. And then, you can try this much larger, more expansive goal, which as I say, so far they do not seem to be on a trajectory that they will accomplish.
BURNETT: And obviously, this truce, such that it was, right? You had women and children release, and it's hugely significant in so many individual lives.
[19:10:05] But it does come after so many of those families, felt as we know, that Netanyahu and the IDF had put defeating Hamas ahead of getting those hostages back, that's how many of them had felt. Today, Hamas released a brief hostage video, which in a sense highlight some of this contradiction. We're not going to show it obviously, Fareed, just one still image.
The man in the video, Matthew Chance just referred to him, Yarden Bibas, he says that his wife, their 10-month-old, and 4-year-old children all of whom were taken captive, he says that they are now dead -- his wife, toddler, baby.
And Hamas says they were killed an Israeli airstrike. They have not provided any evidence for that. Yarden in the video blames Netanyahu. Now, I want to emphasize, he's there, right? He's a hostage. This was filmed in Gaza, and released by Hamas.
Israel is calling the video itself an act of psychological terror. But it touches on a crucial issue here, and how much impact do you think it has?
ZAKARIA: I think it has a very large human impact. And let's not forget, Israel is a divided society, and I don't mean that to suggest that Israel is weak in any way. But I think there are a lot of Israeli civilians and citizens, who wonder whether the prime minister has had the right strategy from the start.
Remember, Bibi Netanyahu strategy was to build up Hamas, to bifurcate the Palestinian movement, to make it easier to say there is no want to talk to, and to essentially push off the possibility of any kind of Palestinian political rights or a state.
And that was a strategy that was not one that all Israelis agreed with. That was a strategy that was very much part of a very right-wing government. So, to a certain extent, some of those cracks and cleavages are beginning to emerge.
And people are wondering, is this the right strategy? Are we moving in the right direction?
BURNETT: So, Fareed, now, some of the families that I mentioned, the six hostages we understand have been released, they are now on their way to the hospital to be reunited with their families momentarily. Of course, we'll see if this is extended another day. We did see a video of a teen hostage, who was released. And she was released with her dog.
And this caught a lot of people's attention, because the dog was with her when she was taken hostage on October 7th. It's a dog, it captures our attention. And yet, it touches on something perhaps bigger, something important. Why do you think they let her keep her dog? What do you even make of this?
ZAKARIA: Ii don't know, I don't want -- you know, I don't have any sympathy for Hamas. I don't have any sympathy for the kind of brutal hostage taking. My guess is to a certain extent it is a PR element to it. They know
that it looks good in a sense. We have seen that a little bit of some of these hostage releases, the Hamas fighters trying to demonstrate a certain degree of --
BURNETT: With the waving. And but it also shows, Fareed, that they were thinking at the beginning, or somebody was at the beginning of the propaganda value of it?
ZAKARIA: Yes, but that's what I mean, it's a PR -- it's a PR effort to show that they were looking after these people well. I mean, my own view these kind of things is, it is barbaric to take civilians hostage. How you treat them, the fine, maybe you'll get a half-brownie point for not brutalizing them and killing them, and their pets.
But, let's not forget, these are -- these are, you know, these are war crimes, to take people hostage in the way that they did.
All right. Fareed, thank you very much.
And next, a story that you will see first here. Officials investigating fake electors in Nevada, and our Kyung Lah tracks them down, and here's what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you would turn that off, we have nothing to talk about really on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It's an amazing story.
Plus, independent presidential candidate RFK, Jr. not shying away from conspiracy theories, as you know. But he is gaining more traction among voters. So tonight, there's a live campaign rally, we are there, and you're going to hear from voters.
And the George Santos expulsion vote is just hours away. Right now, too close to call at this hour. Santos, trying to turn the table to expel another congressman. The story, ahead.
BURNETT: Breaking news, the alleged architect of team Trump's fake elector plot in 2020 now cooperating in yet another criminal investigation. CNN confirming that Ken Chesebro has agreed to work with investigators looking into efforts to overturn the election this in the state of Nevada. At the center of that investigation, fake electors for Trump.
So Kyung Lah went to Nevada, and she tracked them down, in this story that you will see first here OUTFRONT.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In northwest Nevada, nestled among the mountains on the Truckee River Valley, we find in this quiet Reno public library two state Republican leaders who don't want to answer our questions.
You haven't spoken, you're not going to comment on whether --
JIM HINDLE, NEVADA REPUBLICAN VICE CHAIRMAN: No comment.
LAH: Do you understand it's a --
HINDLE: Please, if you would turn that off, we have nothing to talk about, really on that. I have nothing to say.
JIM DEGRAFFENREID, NEVADA REPUBLICAN PARTY NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN: We don't have anything.
LAH: No contact?
What about your testimony in Georgia?
DEGRAFFENREID: I don't have any comment on that.
LAH: This is Nevada Republican Party National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid and Nevada Republican Vice Chairman Jim Hindle. They are also known to state investigators as fake electors.
This is them on December 14th, 2020.
DEGRAFFENREID: All right, electors, that is six votes certified for President Donald J. Trump.
LAH: But, Trump lost Nevada in 2020, by 33,000 votes. Joe Biden won Nevada six electoral votes. Not that you know, if you are watching this live streamed gathering, posing as an official event.
DEGRAFFENREID: Donald J. Trump, with the state of Florida, having received six electoral votes, is declared the winner of the electoral votes for the state of Nevada.
LAH: The document they signed that day became part of a charade, seeking to undermine voters faith in democracy, now leading up to 2024.
HINDLE: We've been making the road show around the state.
LAH: Crisscrossing the state, talking about next year's caucus, while Nevada's attorney general is investigating their actions in 2020, for possible criminal conduct.
A source tells CNN that Kenneth Chesebro, the attorney who helped orchestrate the Trump campaign's fake electors slot, is now cooperating with Nevada investigators. Chesebro, already pleading guilty in the Georgia election subversion case.
Is there any irony, in you going around with, to use your words, the road show, talking about 2024, when in 2020, you signed this fake elector?
HINDLE: I apologize but you -- this is not something I will entertain.
LAH: Do you still believe Trump won?
DEGRAFFENREID: That's irrelevant, the Electoral College elects the president, and so the Electoral College elected Joe Biden. And so, Joe Biden is the president.
LAH: And how do you explain what happened in 2020? That ceremony you participated in, and the document that you signed.
DEGRAFFENREID: Again, no comment on that.
LAH: We contacted all of Nevada's six fake electors about the state attorney general's investigation.
I'm looking for Shawn Meehan.
SHAWN MEEHAN, FAKE ELECTOR IN NEVADA: This is him.
LAH: And this is him in 2020.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shawn Meehan.
LAH: In the attorney general's investigation of the fake electors.
MEEHAN: I have no comment on that.
LAH: Let's try this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've reached the office of Michael J. McDonald.
LAH: Trying to reach Mr. McDonald again.
The leader of the fake electors, Michael McDonald.
Current Nevada Republican chairman was center stage just last month.
MICHAEL MCDONALD, NEVADA REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN: Trump! Trump!
LAH: One of Trump's closest allies in the west.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I want to thank Michael. He's been fantastic right from the beginning.
LAH: McDonald has been summoned by both the January 6th grand jury, and the Georgia fake electors case. But, did not reply to our calls.
AMY TARKANIAN, NVSOS ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBER ON PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY: It bothers me to know and, yes. And I know a number of Republicans that just wish that they would go away.
LAH: Amy Tarkanian is the former Nevada Republican chairwoman, and is now an appointed adviser with the secretary of state, who believes Nevada needs to protect democracy.
TARKANIAN: It's important to address it, because you want to make sure that everyone sees that these people are spreading lies. And that's malicious, there does need to be some repercussions. So it will make people think very, very hard, about trying to pull this kind of garbage off ever again.
BURNETT: Kyung is with me now.
I mean, it's amazing to see that, Kyung, how they didn't want to speak to see, that how one of the men -- who is one of the ones announcing that Trump won the Electoral College in Nevada, now saying oh, Biden did, and admitting it.
Just a few weeks ago, I had known about officials who indicated nothing would happen in this investigation. So, what's changed?
LAH: Well, we can tell you that something very different changed, and that name begins with Ken Chesebro, in the state of Georgia. He pled guilty, and after doing that, the terms of his -- the terms of his plea deal did change, and that allowed him to travel now to Nevada, and to another state, the state of Arizona, or the attorney general in Arizona has told previously to CNN that there is a, quote, robust investigation happening there.
Two sources familiar with the Arizona case tell CNN that it does appear that Chesebro is now talking to Arizona investigators, although the concrete details of how quickly that case moves along, we just don't know quite yet, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much.
So, Ryan Goodman is with me now.
Okay, here, Kyung talked about Ken Chesebro is going to cooperate in Nevada. Obviously pled in Georgia, central in Arizona, we'll see where that goes.
What's the significance of this?
RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: I think it's very significant. Chesebro's thought of as being a chief architect of the false electors scheme across the different states. And in Nevada in particular, in fact he writes in a memo that Nevada is the extremely problematic states, because the meeting of the electorate requires the secretary of state to oversee it. And so, he's already identified about his extremely problematic for
them, because the law does not allow them to do what they did. And so, it's there in writing, so he is a lot of legal jeopardy in Nevada. And usually, prosecutors aren't going to try to flip somebody if they are higher up. As a chief architect, they are doing that to go after somebody higher up in the chain of command.
BURNETT: All right. So if he is cooperating in all of these instances, and as the chief architect, then what does that mean?
GOODMAN: It doesn't necessarily mean -- it shouldn't mean that it points down, it should point upward. And the two people above him, Donald Trump and maybe Rudy Giuliani. You could say Rudy Giuliani is on the same plane. I think it's trouble for them, most of all.
BURNETT: Right, but very significant, you announcing it multiple states. Right, this strategy is not just Georgia.
All right, you saw Kyung tried to talk to two of those alleged fake electors in Nevada.
And I just want to play some of that again, because it really did stand up, here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Have you spoken that you're not going to comment on whether --
HINDLE: Or not anything that's going on, right.
LAH: Do you understand the --
HINDLE: Please, if you would turn that off, we have nothing to talk about really on that yet.
I have nothing to say.
LAH: What about your testimony in Georgia?
DEGRAFFENREID: I don't have any comment on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So if Chesebro is cooperating fully, what does it mean for them?
GOODMAN: I think if I were them and their attorneys, I -- they should be very worried, and maybe they need to think themselves of cooperating because Chesebro can seriously implicate them. The day after that memo he writes, where he is the architect, and that's his blueprint, the day after, he reaches out to them, to the Republicans in the Nevada and says, okay, I'm the point person on this plan.
So what could he do but actually hurt them as well, criminally by now, turning and cooperating with the prosecutors.
BURNETT: Right, right.
And as you say, even though it's pointing up most likely, a lot of downstream, would go down as well.
BURNETT: All right. So Donald Trump, the appeals court today reinstated the gag order against him and his legal team in the Trump fraud trial. This is been going back and forth, right, this gag order, but it's back in place. So, what are the actual implications of this?
GOODMAN: I think it bolsters the judge in the case. It's not just him now that will enforce the gag order, but he has been imprimatur of the appeals court behind him saying your gag order is appropriate. And in fact in the courtroom, he does just that. He says I'm going to enforce these gag orders rigorously and vigorously.
And so for Donald Trump, I think that's a particular concern for him because the judge is already fined him twice. And at a certain point, fines run out, and you start really thinking this would be jail time. If it were an ordinary defendant in a case --
GOODMAN: -- that would be very likely. But what might say from his that's name is Donald Trump. But otherwise, I think he's got to be concerned about that.
And then also, it empowers the district court and the court of appeals in D.C., which is currently deciding whether or not to reimpose the gag order there. I think it makes it more likely that they will, because they've now got a boost of legitimacy that these things are correct.
BURNETT: All right Ryan, thank you.
And next, RFK, Jr. gaining steam with voters now, coming into the first voting. So, who are his supporters?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we need someone far outside of the mainstream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. We're going to be live at his campaign, next, and you're going to hear from those voters.
And the George Santos expulsion vote, it is now just hours away. So, what does this actually mean? The vote right now is too close to call.
BURNETT: Tonight, you are looking live at Robert F. Kennedy Jr. making his pitch to voters in Utah. He is there, trying to get enough signatures to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for president.
Here is some of what he told his supporters just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American dream for my generation, the central proposition of the -- fundamental proposition of the American dream was that if you work hard, if you played by the rules, that you would be able to finance a home, you'd be able to take a summer vacation, you could raise a family. You could pay for your retirement, on one job. There is nobody in that generation who believes that that promise is going to be kept to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Kennedy has consistently been pulling over 20 percent. And that, to state the obvious, is enough to impact the outcome of the election.
So, tonight, we went straight to hear his supporters, to talk about why, why they want him to be president.
Lucy Kafanov is there at this rally, OUTFRONT, in Salt Lake City.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready for Kennedy '24!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., hitting the campaign trail in Utah, as part of his long shot bid to win the presidency.
KENNEDY: I declare myself an independent candidate.
KAFANOV: A scion of the country's most famous Democratic dynasty, now setting his sights on the White House as an independent.
KENNEDY: The Democrats are frightened that I'm going to spoil the election for President Biden, and the Republicans are frightened that I'm going to spoil it for President Trump.
KAFANOV: For some Utah voters, it's a message that has appeal.
JERRY GARCIA, UTAH VOTER: I plan on voting for RFK, just because we need a little bit of diversity in this political climate nowadays. I think it's just gotten a little too much, you know, red and blue. The world is not black and white.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) KAFANOV: The campaign is hoping to gain traction with young voters.
KENNEDY: And so, we have a whole generation of kids who, you know, for whom the American dream is just a broken promise.
RED OWEN (ph), VOTER: I was hesitant to want to vote for another lesser of two evils. And all the sudden, RFK Jr. popped up on my feet.
KAFANOV: Red Owen, a student of Brigham Young University, voted for Donald Trump in the last election. But when Kennedy began appearing on some of his favorite podcasts, he said he was one over by his antiestablishment message.
OWEN: He approaches issues with understanding of the grievances that both sides of the anti establishment movement feel. President Trump and President Biden are motivated in their candidacies against one another, by grievance and vengeance and spite.
KENNEDY: People can disagree, and still respect each other.
KAFANOV: Kennedy is a controversial candidate, known for amplifying baseless conspiracy theories, particularly about vaccines.
KENNEDY: If you got vaccinated, you are more likely to get sick, you are more likely to get severe illness, and you are more likely to die than if you are unvaccinated.
KAFANOV: But some supporters are willing to overlook that.
BERNIE GARCIA, VOTER: The candidates are really royalty in this country, because they do the right thing.
KAFANOV: Bernie Garcia, a soft ascribe liberal, who's voted for Democrats in the past, said he likes how Kennedy takes on corporations and environmental causes.
GARCIA: It's something that both the left and the right I think and find common ground on.
KAFANOV: And you don't feel like Robert Kennedy is too far outside of the mainstream?
GARCIA: I think we need someone far outside of the mainstream.
JOE COOK, KENNEDY VOLUNTEER: He is offering things that I think appeal to many Americans, without necessarily falling into a strict ideology.
KAFANOV: Kennedy faces an uphill climb. Joe Cook (ph) is a volunteer helping the campaign gather signatures for ballot access in Utah.
COOK: He's not going to appeal to everyone, but he is speaking to everyone.
BURNETT: So, Lucy, you talked to people who obviously don't mind Kennedy's conspiracy theories it seems.
And, he's -- obviously does not seem to be shying away from those, does he?
KAFANOV: Yeah, not at all. In fact, and in an interview just today, he claimed once again said the coronavirus was a bioweapon. It's something he's written entire book about. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEDY: The U.S. intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA, through USAID, became the biggest funder of bioweapons research at the Wuhan lab.
SARS-CoV-2 certainly the product of bio weapons research.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAFANOV: Now, some of Kennedy's own siblings announced his presidential bid as, quote, dangerous, but his supporters aren't fazed. They like his name, they like what he has to say in terms of his anti-corporation and anti-establishment message. They like what he has to say about the environment and housing. And many of them, at least the ones we've spoken to, are not getting their information about him through traditional news sources, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Lucy, thank you very much.
And Lucy is obviously there, Harry Enten, in the room, where RFK Jr. speaking right now, a full room. And, interesting you know that she points out, his supporters are getting their information from other places, to Latino voters in her reporting, who support Kennedy, obviously a crucial group. And, you've got a lot of issues at stake right now.
So, how is Kennedy doing with Latino voters?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: It didn't surprise me. You know, I was speaking with your producer Susie beforehand, who had pointed out and said is there anything in the numbers that sort of, it's emblematic of something larger. And in, fact, if you look amongst Hispanic voters, we basically have a three-way tie between Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and RFK Jr.
He is getting 31 percent in average last two Quinnipiac University polls. It's his best racial or ethnic group, eastern far better again amongst the many is among white voters, and slightly better than he does among African American voters.
BURNETT: But this is incredible. You know, when you hear, just keep this number up for a second.
ENTEN: Yeah. BURNETT: People talk about this race. Everyone understands Kennedy is playing a role right now. But it is still put forth as a two horse race.
BURNETT: And, that's not a two-horse race.
ENTEN: That is not.
BURNETT: That is a 30-30-30, which is incredible.
So, does Kennedy have room to grow his support from here? We've seen, and I think I remember when the first poll came, out it was at 19 percent, and people were shot, and in the second, and then the third. It's been eight months.
BURNETT: It's been steady. Which is obviously incredible, can it go up?
ENTEN: Absolutely, it can go up. You know, one of the things I often like to do is go underneath the hood, go beyond the numbers, as we might say.
And, if you look at the net favorability scores, that's a favorable rating for minus the unfavorable readings. Look, Kennedy is underwater. But he's only slightly underwater, he's doing significantly better than Donald Trump, significantly better than Joe Biden.
And the fact is that as more people get to know about RFK, Jr., it wouldn't be surprising to me if his numbers went up, because the people who do know a lot about him are actually pretty split on him, versus say Trump or Biden, where the voters are overwhelmingly negative on those two.
BURNETT: Right, right, and so they are settling, at least it feels like right now, in those two cases from the numbers. So then, it comes down to a matter of, you've got to growth. And then, you have to have turnout.
BURNETT: You talk about a lot of voters, as Lucy said, we're getting information from alternative sources. Are they going to show up on Election Day?
ENTEN: I'm not sure. This is probably the most negative number for RFK, Jr. Amongst those who say they are extremely motivated to vote in 2024, we see that in fact he is getting much lower share the vote than he is getting amongst those voters who say they are less motivated.
Twenty-seven percent amongst those who say they're less motivated voters, versus just 10 percent of those who are extremely motivated voters. So the fact is this to me is the big question going forward for RFK. Can he get those folks who are less motivated to turn out to vote, those untraditional voters? If he can, he has a real chance to shake up the race.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, I'm sure Biden or Trump would say those less motivated, they're just angry with the other choices and maybe they will come around. But we just -- we don't know.
All right, Harry, thank you very much.
ENTEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, George Santos going down fighting. His expulsion vote now just hours away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): Yes, witch hunt George Santos is great right there, I remember that, on the top line of the commitment to America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And, Russian state television openly mocking the poisoning of Ukraine's top spy's wife. Openly mocking it. There is a reason that Putin may want this revenge. We have a special report, OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, hours away from a historic House vote on a resolution to expel the Republican Congressman George Santos, after the House Ethics Committee had issued an absolutely scathing report that found evidence that he broke multiple federal laws, stole from his campaign, and pushed a constant series of lies, as they say, about himself to voters and to donors. And many of which frankly, Santos refused to explain here on this show, when he appeared.
The push to boot Santos, creating a sharp divide among Republicans on the House floor, among people both supporting and opposing the vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Santos is a liar. In fact, he has admitted to many of them.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Whatever Mr. Santos did, with Botox, or OnlyFans, it is far less concerning to me, then the indictment against Senator Menendez, who's holding gold bars inscribed with Arabic on them from Egypt, while he is still getting classified briefings today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Congressman Santos, for his part, vowing not to go away quietly. And that if he does go down, that he will take some of his colleagues with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTOS: If I leave, they win. If I leave, the bullies take place. This is bullying.
I will be filing -- I will be filing a slew of complaints, in the coming hours of today and tomorrow to make sure that we keep the playing field even.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Melanie Zanona is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.
So, Melanie, where do you think things stand right now? Obviously, we are hours away from this vote, an incredible situation to be in such a moment. And, not actually even exactly how it will go.
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yeah, I don't think anyone on Capitol Hill truly knows how this vote is going to go down tomorrow. And, it could be a close vote. I mean, there is momentum inside the GOP to expel Santos. But remember, it is a high bar for expulsions to succeed. It requires a two thirds majority of the entire chamber, so that would mean they would need around 80 Republicans, assuming all Democrats back this effort.
And, there is a divide inside the GOP right now. There are probably dozens of Republicans who say this damning House Ethics Committee is enough for them, and then it's time for Santos to go.
But, there are plenty of Republicans, including Speaker Mike Johnson, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who say they are concerned about the idea of expelling someone who has yet to be convicted in a court of law. And privately they might not say this allowed, but they are thinking at, there's also concern about narrowing they're already thin majorities.
So, it's going to be a high stakes vote tomorrow, it's going to be a dramatic and rare step if they do move to expel George Santos. A lot of Republicans were just hoping he would resign. Santos, obviously, saying he won't. So, we will know a lot more tomorrow about the congressman's fate here.
BURNETT: It is -- it is really going to be an incredible moment.
So, also right there, in that -- when he was on the steps outside the Capitol today, Melanie, he says he will be filing a slew of complaints against his colleagues. One of which was a motion to expel the Democrat Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who pled guilty to pulling a fire alarm. Will these efforts go anywhere for Santos? ZANONA: Well, first of all, that resolution to expel Jamaal Bowman,
that would be null and void of Santos is expelled. And I think a lot of these threats are just empty threats, from the congressman. I think he is just trying to project an image that he wants to go down swinging, if he is ultimately expelled tomorrow.
And in a pen and pad with reporters, our colleague Haley Talbot also said that he would say that he would try to file some ethics complaints against the members. He was talking about his post-Congress life. He said he's going to potentially write a tell-all book. He did not rule out the idea of participating in reality TV, like "Dancing with the Stars".
But there was a moment, according to Haley, where he said he is concerned and worried about the idea of going to jail. He said he's made peace with the fact that might be his ultimate, faith that he might be kicked out of Congress. And he did admit that he let down his constituents in some ways.
So, a rare, tiny bit of introspection, and contrition there for the congressman.
BURNETT: Very rare, haven't spoken to him, it is very rare to have a moment like that. So, interesting that it actually happen today.
All right. Thank you so much, Melanie.
And next, Russian state TV speculating on how and who could have poisoned Ukraine's top spy's wife, as Ukraine and the West point to Vladimir Putin as the suspect.
And Senator Rand Paul using the Heimlich maneuver on a fellow senator in trouble today.
BURNETT: Tonight, a desperate race tonight, a desperate race against time. This is what's left of an apartment building, after a deadly Russian missile strike series in eastern Ukraine. Crews searching for a family that may still be trapped inside the rubble, that includes an eight-year-old girl. This video also showing a six-month-old boy named Eli, who was rescued, given urgent medical care.
This comes as the wife of Ukraine's top spy chief is also recovering, after suspected poisoning by Russia. It is the latest in a long list of enemies of the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, likely poisoned.
Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Ukraine's military intelligence wages war in the shadows, but it is hitting the Russians hard, orchestrating cruise missile attacks on Vladimir Putin's Black Sea fleet, ousting Moscow's forces from oil and gas drilling platforms off the coast of occupied Crimea, in the daring, amphibious assault.
And, attacking the Russian capital with a long distance combat drones.
While maintaining deniability.
The man leading the intelligence service GUR is Kyrylo Budanov, one of Russia's most feared enemies.
I appeal to Russian soldiers, to those who got lucky enough to survive in destroyed trenches, he recently said, it will be even worse. You have a choice, die, or save your life.
But now, Ukraine believes the Russians may have struck back. Kyiv saying Budanov's wife, Marianna Budanova has been poisoned by what they say is, quote, a heavy metal.
A Ukrainian source telling CNN Budanova tested positive for both arsenic and mercury poisoning.
Ukrainian officials believe the Kremlin could be behind it, like the foreign minister right here on OUTFRONT.
DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Definitely, our intelligence chief is the enemy of Russia, as all of us are, all of those who are fighting against Russia. So, it's highly likely that Russia is behind it.
PLEITGEN: Kremlin-controlled media already in a feeding frenzy, rejoicing in the news, while seemingly brushing off the allegations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Maybe she just broke her thermometer during one of the parties with her husband's colleagues. Not very sensational, but Ukrainians and their Western owners literally screamed from such news and began to blame Putin.
PLEITGEN: But in a different episode, they brought in a Russian parliamentarian accused of poisoning and killing a former Russian agent in London in 2006, to explain how it would be done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Will something slipped in her tea, and she drank it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's no other way to poison food and drink, other than to pour it in and slip it in somehow.
PLEITGEN: In the past, the U.S. and others have accused Vladimir Putin of ordering poison attacks on his opponents. And a few groups have enraged the Russian leader more than Ukraine's military intelligence, led by Budanov, the former head of Ukraine's foreign intelligence says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I believe that this was a personal revenge from Putin. Personal revenge for all the shame that the defense intelligence under the leadership of Budanov have inflicted on him, shame that supersedes what Prigozhin has done to him.
PLEITGEN: And, Erin, the Kremlin hasn't issued a directive denial of these allegations, but they do seem to be trying to brush them off as well. The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, he came on he said, quote, Ukraine blames Russia for everything -- all of this, of course, as Kyrylo Budanov's wife is battling the effects of that poisoning -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Fred Pleitgen.
And next, Senator Rand Paul, does the Heimlich maneuver, saving a fellow senator.
BURNETT: Senator Rand Paul and the Heimlich maneuver. The senator from Kentucky, who is not an ophthalmologist, sprang into action during a Republican Party lunch today. It was an Iowa Day themed lunch. So, Iowa Senator Ernst was there, you can see her there with fellow Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. And they were hosting everyone with pork chops and rib eyes. That's a post there from Senator Grassley. He posted a picture of the food.
So, Ernst starts choking on the food. Paul jumps in, performs a Heimlich maneuver on her, successfully dislodging the food. Well, I mean, look, I don't want to make light of it, it's very serious, and she was very grateful. She did joke about it later.
But, he did step in when it mattered. And South Carolina's Lindsey Graham was not at the lunch. But when he heard about what happened, he jumped in with humor, God bless Rand Paul, I never thought I would say that.
All right. Well, thanks so much for watching. We appreciate it.
"AC360" starts now.