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Erin Burnett Outfront
Hamas Releases New Video Of 3 Israeli Hostages; Georgia Election Workers Sue Giuliani Again After Nearly $150M Verdict; Nevada Pro-Trump Fake Electors Plead Not Guilty To 2 Felonies; Texas Governor Signs Bill Allowing Police To Make Migrant Arrests. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired December 18, 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:
Hamas releasing new video of hostages as Israel finds the biggest tunnel network yet, and all eyes are on the growing number of attacks in the Red Sea.
Also breaking tonight, Rudy Giuliani just hit with a new lawsuit and it is from the same two election workers who he's already on the hook to pay nearly $150 million. The election workers' attorney will be OUTFRONT.
And, he was hired by the Trump campaign to find voter fraud. He's speaking out tonight right here. What did he find?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, Hamas releasing new hostage video, and this new video, which the Israeli Defense Forces call a criminal terror video, shows three elderly men pleading for their release. One of the men in the video is 84-year-old Amiram Cooper.
Now, I spoke to Cooper's son Rotem last month shortly after his mother who had also been kidnapped was freed from Hamas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROTEM COOPER, MOTHER AS RELEASED BY HAMAS, FATHER STILL BEING HELD: We know that my father is alive. You know, definitely, a week and two days ago, and he is uninjured at that time. He knows that she was released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And yet, he is still captive tonight. And this video comes at a very perilous moment. Just today, the CIA Director William Burns met with Israeli and Qatari officials in the effort to try to free more hostages. There's hopes that these talks can be constructive.
I mean, we'll see, but the reality, of course, as the world saw this horrific event, right, the death of three hostages who were shot while raising white flags by Israeli forces. Their death underscore the deadly risk endured by an unarmed civilians in Gaza.
Just today, the U.S. raising concerns about an Israeli sniper killing a mother and daughter outside a church in Gaza. Now, according to the church, the two were on the grounds of the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, they were walking to the sister's convent when they were shot and killed by an Israeli sniper.
Now, the IDF disputes whether anyone was killed. But today, the Biden administration is stepping up pressure on Israel, on a civilian front. The Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveling to Israel to tell Israeli leaders that protecting civilians is both a, quote, moral duty and a strategic imperative.
The Biden administration wants to see Israel scale back its sprawling ground invasion. They want him to focus on precise missions like rescuing hostages or destroying specific tunnels. And we do have something I want to share with you tonight on that, a new image of the tunnel tonight. So, you're looking at this year, you can see how wide it is. These images can come from both the IDF and also "Reuters" journalists who are there to witness it.
The tunnel spans two and a half miles. It reaches more than 156 feet underground, it is equipped with electricity, a ventilation and communication systems. It goes incredibly close to the Israeli border, and can be used for large forces to move, right? You can see, this isn't a narrow thing at all this.
This discovery comes as this war is spreading beyond Israel's borders, and the Iranian funded militia, the Houthis today claiming responsibility for an attack on a ship in the Red Sea. The USS Carney quickly responded to the ship's distress call.
And over the past two months, Houthi forces have been involved in the number of attacks along the Red Sea, actual hijacking, drones, missile attacks, on commercial ships. And all this is adding up now to a lot of ships rerouting, taking longer to get where they're going to go, skipping the Suez Canal.
These attacks are taking a toll on the whole world because 90 percent of the world's commerce moved by ship, 10 percent up to the Suez Canal every day, never mind things like oil and liquefied natural gas going through that passageway every second.
Today, oil and natural gas prices spiking after British Petroleum said it would stop all shipments to the Red Sea because of these strikes. And we're going to have much more on these attacks in just a moment.
I want to begin, though, with Will Ripley because he is OUTFRONT live in Tel Aviv.
And, Will, today you are in southern Israel just a few miles from Gaza and what did you see?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Erin, we were working most of the day with an a stones throw of the fence that divides Israel and Gaza and you did not need a map to know what we are getting close to Gaza because there was a massive smoke plume that was rising up from that embattled area. And in fact, every few minutes as we were driving and then even louder on the ground, we heard very loud booms. This is the sound of outgoing Israeli artillery landing, theoretically presumably on the people of Gaza, which makes you wonder what the conditions must be like for them they're both above and even below ground.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Beneath the bombed out rubble of Gaza, a massive underground labyrinth.
Newly-released videos from the Israeli military claimed to show the biggest Hamas tunnel in Gaza. Two and a half miles long, up to 164 feet deep, with electricity, ventilation, and communication systems.
The IDF says the tunnel is wide enough for a large vehicle, even a makeshift railroad.
CNN cannot independently verify these videos, claiming to show what the IDF calls Hamas' strategic infrastructure. Hundreds of terror tunnel shafts throughout the Gaza Strip. The IDF on a mission to locate and destroyed dozens of attack tunnel routes.
Hamas made the unverified claim of building more than 300 miles of tunnels under Gaza, tunnels for smuggling goods, launching attacks, storing rockets and ammunition.
And Israel says, Hamas command centers hidden beneath homes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under this child's cot, one of the baby's cot, there's a tunnel that was used for terror by Hamas.
RIPLEY: For three Israeli men held hostage in Gaza, a sign of desperation to the end. A white sheet and a plea for help scrawled in Hebrew with leftover food. It reads, help, three hostages. A message either missed or ignored by Israeli soldiers, who shot them down from a distance, all three shirtless waving a white cloth.
The men hold up in a building and the embattled Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. It's not clear if the hostages were abandoned or managed to escape before the fatal confrontation. The IDF admits the killings broke their rules of engagement, adding pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to secure the release of around 129 remaining hostages. Amid growing international calls for a cease-fire, a truce Israel says would only strengthen Hamas.
As everyday people suffer on the streets of Gaza, social media images show crowds climbing on aid trucks, a sign of growing desperation, amid a mounting humanitarian crisis, as the number of dead in Gaza approaches a staggering new milestone of 20,000.
RIPLEY (on camera): That number just gives you chills and yet that is the reality in Gaza right now. And also the reality, these new serious questions, Erin, about how the IDF is operating on the ground.
The fact that these three Israeli hostages came out shirtless, waving a white cloth, two of them were shot instantly but yet the third who went back and caught again waving a white cloth and was shot and killed before the forces realize he was in fact is really, we wonder what is happening to the countless civilians who are dying in Gaza, some of them face to face with Israeli forces that are on the ground there, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you very much, Will Ripley, in Tel Aviv.
OUTFRONT now, Daphne Richemond-Barak. She's an expert on Hamas tunnels, and the author of "Underground Warfare", also assistant professor at Israel's Reichman University.
And I really appreciate you taking the time, Professor. So, when you look at the passageways of the tunnels, now we're looking at the much wider tunnels than we've seen before, you can see a lot of people walking through together as oppose to that very narrow pathway of the other images we have seen either from vehicles, the IDF said even wide enough for a railroad, electricity ventilation communication all of this.
I mean, you spent a decade of your life studying tunnels like this, this entire system, what do you see here?
DAPHNE RICHEMOND-BARAK, TUNNEL WARFARE EXPERT: I see a tunnel that looks a whole lot like the tunnels that North Korea has dug into South Korea. This is what I see. I see something of a much higher level of sophistication which you described, much wider, more resistance stronger dug not just by hand, but actually with the use of some sophisticated civilian boring equipment.
So, we're talking about tunnel warfare on a different level, and I see also in addition to the inference of North Korea, kind of the large tunnels, enabling a massive invasion and infiltration into the country, also see the hand of Iran here, which, you know, is a country that has buried facilities.
So, it's very different from what Hamas has done with its underground tunnel network, but you can see that with Iran's help, Hamas has been able to dig deeper and better.
BURNETT: So, you know, you talk about the equipments heavy one equipment that would have been used. I know the IDF have shown what they say are some images of construction on this tunnel.
This tunnel, though, where it's located, we understand, according to the IDF, it ends just about 1,000 feet before from the Israeli border, specific crossing actually, the Erez Crossing in northern Israeli Gaza border. [09:10:09]
So, when you take into account what the tunnel is, you talk about possibly being used for a large-scale invasion, and where you see it, then, what does that layer of context tell you?
RICHEMOND-BARAK: So a couple of things. I think you put it very clear. It raises a lot of questions. The first thing I can tell you is that I am pretty sure this is not the only tunnel of the like that Hamas has, not all Hamas tunnels look like this one, but, I presume it has a few dozen I would say of such kind of like more heavy duty tunnels.
And now, the question -- the next question that comes out is what did Hamas intend to do with this tunnel? Obviously, it's a very important military asset. It was well-concealed and came very close to Israel's border. So, I see two options.
Number one, this is a tunnel that was actually used or some portion of it, or some variation of this tunnel was used on October 7th itself to enable this massive infiltration of over 3,000 Hamas fighters. I mean, these are some of the numbers. We know -- we don't know the exact number.
We noticed it's a very high number, and then to go on foot into Israel. I find it -- I would find very surprising that they didn't use any kind of cross-border tunnel. So, maybe this is one of those.
But I think another order of question comes to say this was not used, then what was Hamas's plan? Was it to use this tunnel and make it operational? Because it is obviously quasi-operational right now, and make it usable during the war, during the operation to carry out another infiltration, or more kidnapping and more killings. It's either one of these two options. Because of exactly what you said the fact that it is coming so close to Israel's border I see these two scenarios.
And I presume that Israel will uncover in the coming days more such tunnels.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you so much, Professor. I appreciate your time tonight, professor.
RICHEMOND-BARAK: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. As I mentioned earlier, the war is widening now. There's a growing number of Iranian-backed Houthi attacks hitting the Red Sea, which obviously is a crucial shipping route for everything. Anything you order on Amazon, oil, gas, you name it.
OUTFRONT now, retired U.S. Army Major General James "Spider" Marks.
And, General, I appreciate your time. So, looking at the map here, I mean, this has been a huge number of incidents since October 19th when Israel started that scale. Missiles, drones, coming from Houthi missiles intercepted in the Red Sea. What's actually going on here? MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well,
Let's do a little bit of perspective first if we can, Erin. First of all, as you indicated, Suez is here, Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb, another choke point, and then you got the Gulf of Aden into the Indian Ocean here.
There's about 1,300 miles between Yemen and Israel, and Yemen has done a swarm of drone attacks as you indicated in the direction of the eastern Mediterranean, going after U.S. military vessels, naval vessels that were there. They were intercepted by other U.S. vessels that are in this area.
When you look at where the attacks have taken place, again, as you described, it's essentially in this area right here. What's important to notice is that most of these attacks really affect the distribution of commercial traffic through the Sioux and through the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. That has a huge effect in terms of decisions that are being made in terms of what's being shipped where.
This is clearly what Iran is trying to do. The Houthis are sponsored and funded by Iran. Iran is now taking a very strong strategic effort in order to move this fight into Gaza. Again, it's not surprising to any of us.
So, what we are seeing in terms of where the Houthis are. Here's Yemen, this portion of Yemen essentially is where the Houthis are located. If you go back to this map, again, this is the portion right here. So, their ability to intercept with a degree of precision, all of this traffic is indicative right there for you as well.
BURNETT: And so, General, the big question of course is as you see this and with is going to be a need for more U.S. support, how capable are the Houthis of escalating this even more, of doing more damage? I mean, you know, they have been aiming, but you could see an absolutely horrific incident happening.
MARKS: Oh, absolutely. The key thing is that Yemen has the initiative. The Houthis have the initiative to fire when they want, they know when the traffic is coming through, all the passages that comes through the Suez are declared.
They obviously received that information. It's not a mystery. So, they know what's coming when it's coming. They can prepare what they want to do.
The key thing is, how do you get ahead of that? How can the United States and its partners in the region really put a punishing blow against the Houthis to element -- to disincentivize their activities that they're taking on right now?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, General Marks, thank you.
And next, breaking news, Rudy Giuliani just hit with a new lawsuit from two women he's been ordered to pay nearly $150 million. Their attorney joins me next, the story developing now.
Also breaking, Texas Governor Greg Abbott just signing a bill making it a crime to enter Texas illegally, meaning that migrants can not be arrested, thrown in jail or deported at the hands of local law enforcement.
And pushing back on Putin. Soldiers and their families demanding that they be sent home from Ukraine. It takes a lot of courage to do that and it's a story that you'll see first OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Breaking news, Rudy Giuliani sued again, just days after Giuliani was ordered to pay $150 million for defaming two Georgia election workers, the same election workers who are suing Giuliani again. Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss who repeatedly threatened and intimidated at a result of Rudy Giuliani lies about them, have asked a judge to permanently stop him from doing it.
It all comes as they're growing concerns as questions as to how Rudy Giuliani will pay the woman any money given his deep depth and mounting legal problems.
So, Katelyn Polantz has been working her sources on all of this today for OUTFRONT.
So, Katelyn, you found so much out. Let's just start with this new lawsuit. What exactly does it do and is it likely to succeed?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, these two women, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, they are going to court because they want Rudy Giuliani, not just to pay them but to stop lying about them. That's what they're doing right now.
They initially won that verdict last Friday for $150 million, because of statements Rudy Giuliani was making after 2020 election. So, before 2021, up until 2021 and then the lawsuit happen. Now, because Rudy Giuliani in the middle of that trial went outside the courthouse and doubled down on saying he had evidence, that he believed that he was still telling the truth about these women, lies about what they had done after the election as absentee ballot counters, they're going back to court and they're asking the judge -- very likely the judge who oversaw his trial and his very familiar with everything Giuliani has been saying and doing related to this case not showing up, losing in front of the jury, not taking the stand in his own defense.
That judge is very likely to be looking at this, too, this new lawsuit whether seeking this court order. Here's one of the statements that Giuliani made on Steve Bannon's podcast on Saturday, the day after the verdict about Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss and the situation.
POLANTZ: -- a single piece of evidence that many Americans have seen about how these women acted that would have been totally contrary to their unrebutted, uncorroborated testimony. He called it a sham of a trial. That's one of the statements that Giuliani made with these women are now going back to court, to have a judge look at and see if they can get an order from the judge saying, stop talking.
POLANTZ: Stop talking about these women and lying about them.
BURNETT: So, I know their attorneys are seeking to control elect this money from Giuliani as soon as possible. But, as we all know, it's unclear if Giuliani has any money to pay them. You've been looking into this.
What have you have found?
POLANTZ: Well, they are moving very fast. Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss's legal team, they are very skilled. That has done this in a lot of different aspects of defamation cases against right-wing figures. And they are moving fast to collect money that they can.
So, Giuliani has been very public in the past several months, saying he did not even have money to fight this lawsuit that these women brought against him, and now he has a lot of debts. I mean, it is very substantial when you look at them all stacked up. It's $146 million, so just under that $150 million you're talking about is going to be what he ultimately owes Moss and Freeman. He's also going to be doing attorney fees.
There's other lawyers have worked for him that he owes $1.4 million, too. They are suing them for him separately. And then he had all these unpaid phone bills that went to court.
So, he has a lot of death. That said, even though he has steps, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss are going to try and get some of the money they can out of him, at least a piece of it, and they are counting what he has.
They already identified he has a Manhattan co-op is trying to sell for more than $6 million, it has not been sold yet, it just left. But, he also has a condo in South Florida, they're going to try to grab at that. They're also going to try and get access to some of his bank accounts and he said in court, he has a new Newsmax contract with the streaming service.
So, how much he has still remains to be seen. How much he gives them also remains to be seen -- Erin.
BURNETT: Right, right. And, of course, the order of creditors I guess they want to move quickly to get ahead of whether it's a phone company or lawyers who are demanding these, all these other creditors.
OK. Thank you very much, Katelyn Polantz, who's breaking all those numbers and doing that work.
I want to bring in now John Langford, attorney for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
Those watching Friday would've seen you, John.
So, let me just there where Katelyn finished. I know you're trying to basically circumvent an automatic 30-day delay collect the money. You want to collect it as soon as you possibly can because you see those numbers, someone who has $57,000 of unpaid phone bills. That is not good for paying any portion of the $146 million he owes your clients.
So, how much money realistically do you think that Shaye and Ruby are going to get?
JOHN LANGFORD, ATTORNEY FOR RUBY FREEMAN AND SHAYE MOSS: Well, thank you for having me back, Erin.
Again, I think the jury is out on just how much Mr. Giuliani has. We asked for all of his records that would show exactly what he has, and he never produced that information.
So, as you just heard, I mean, we know he has a co-op in Manhattan. We know that he has a condo in Florida. It appears he might have other substantial assets.
And we are looking at all of those potential sources of money to go after him, to make sure that Mr. Giuliani pays what he rightfully owes two Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss.
BURNETT: Can you give any other clarity when you say other assets in addition to the condo in New York and Florida? Is there anything that you may be aware of that you are able to share of substantial assets?
LANGFORD: Well, there are things that have been publicly recorded. So, for instance, Donald Trump has posted at least one and multiple fund- raisers for Mr. Giuliani over the summer that were a million dollars ahead. We do not know where that money went. We don't know where it's sitting.
We know that he has a legal defense fund, and he raises money to and we're learning in real-time of additional assets and that's stuff I can't yet talk about.
BURNETT: All right, I'm curious about that, though, of course, and the thought of additional assets maybe. So, more to come on that, but soon after you won the verdict, Rudy Giuliani trashed the ruling, it's punitive and absurd, he denigrated the judge, he called the case unfair, and he went on to say this is about your clients.
BURNETT: All right. I'm sorry, we don't have the audio, John. But what he says is that these women claim to be poor at their defense (ph), it must have cost $8 million to $10 million at times 50 to 20 lawyers in the courtroom. This was not for them. They would have been beneficiaries of what purports to be a fortune. He had gone on, you know, thrashing the ruling, denigrating the judge.
How does all of this play into your new lawsuits against Giuliani? What you actually want to get out of that?
LANGFORD: Well, as you just heard, the big difference between the new lawsuit and the lawsuit that just resulted in the verdict on Friday, is that the new lawsuit seeks what's called an injunctive relief, injunction as an order telling someone to stop doing something.
And so -- and this new lawsuit, we're looking for an injunction that would stop Mr. Giuliani for making the specific kinds of defamatory claims about Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss. And you might think, well, what's the utility of a court order? We know Mr. Giuliani does not seem to care about court orders.
Well, the utility is significant. So, among other things, an injunction can stop anybody who's been active with Giuliani for any of his agents from violating a court injunction. In addition, an injunction is something that other people cannot assist Mr. Giuliani and violating. And so, there is real teeth to an injunction and we think it's going to be a powerful remedy and we are very serious about making sure that Mr. Giuliani finally stop spreading his lies about Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss.
BURNETT: John, thank you. I appreciate your time.
And next, a software engineer --
LANGFORD: Thank you.
BURNETT: -- that was hired by Trump to prove widespread voter fraud is now finally speaking out. We're going to tell you what he uncovered and tell you why he wants to share it now. Ken Block is my guest.
And, breaking news, you're looking at live pictures of a volcanic eruption in southwest Iceland, this happening now. Lava now is worsening as you're watching this, right, hundreds of -- imagine it, 4,000 people living have been evacuated, but this is what is going on right now. We'll have more, coming up.
BURNETT: Tonight, fake electors in court. Six pro-Trump fake electors pleading not guilty today in the state of Nevada. They face felony charges for signing on to a false slate of Trump electors in an effort to overturn the 2020 election.
Now, one of the indicted is the state Republican chairman, who just introduced Trump at his Nevada rally last night. Trump calling him and some of the other fake electors, quote, great patriots who are being treated very unfairly.
Jessica Schneider begins our coverage OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) electors that is six votes certified for Donald J. Trump.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The six Nevada Republican charged with serving as fake electors for the Trump campaign in 2020 --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not guilty, Your Honor.
SCHNEIDER: -- in state court Monday morning, all pleading not guilty to two felonies, one count of forgery and one count of filing a false record.
These signatures central to the felonies each fake elector is now facing. Trump lost the state of Nevada in 2020 by 33,000 votes, with Joe Biden winning the state six electoral votes, but these six defendants signed false certificates saying Trump won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you would that turn that off, we have nothing to talk about really.
SCHNEIDER: CNN's Kyung Lah tracked down some of the fake electors before they were charged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment.
SCHNEIDER: They all refused to talk. The leader of the alleged fake elector scheme is a current Nevada Republican Party chairman, Michael McDonald.
MICHAEL MCDONALD, NEVADA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: Donald J. Trump!
SCHNEIDER: He's appeared at recent Trump rallies in the state, with Trump praising him over the weekend.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: A tremendous man, a tremendous guy, he gets treated so unfairly and he loves this country and he loves the state. Nevada, GOP chairman, Michael McDonald, he's a fantastic man.
SCHNEIDER: In court --
MCDONALD: Not guilty.
SCHNEIDER: McDonald joined all of his fellow defendants appearing remotely. At their arraignment, the judge set a trial date for early March and prosecutors were hand over hard drive with evidence to their lawyers.
Nevada is the third state to file criminal charges in connection with the Trump campaign's fake electoral plot, the plot was carried out in seven states, and so far, prosecutors in Michigan, Georgia, and Nevada have charged more than a dozen fake electors. Their lawyers in court appearances and court filings have insisted that their actions were meant to give Trump the ability to contest the results of the election in court. But state prosecutors argued their months-long investigation show it was purely intentional fraud.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These charges are the culmination of a long and careful investigation into these actions taken into the aftermath of the 2020 election.
SCHNEIDER: And, CNN has learned that several of the Nevada fake electors are still active in states politics. Two of them, Erin, Jim Hindle and Jim DeGraffenreid have been making their way across the state of Nevada, actually educating voters about the 2024 electoral process. That includes how the caucus process works.
And when CNN asked Jim Hindle about that iron new of fake electors educating voters about the process, Erin, he declined to comment.
BURNETT: All, right. Jessica, thank you very much.
And this fake elector scheme, as it was taking shape, Trump's team was trying to spread wide voter fraud over and over in state after state. And one of the people that they turn to, to prove them right was software engineer Ken Block.
And Ken is OUTFRONT with me now.
And, Ken, I really appreciate speaking to you and I know you took your time to figure out if it was the right thing to do for you to speak out. But you are hired by team Trump to investigate voter fraud, and you were focused I know on the six key swing states, one of which were just talking about, Arizona.
So, what was the bottom line? From everything you looked at, Ken, did you find the widespread fraud they wanted you to find?
KEN BLOCK, HIRED BY TRUMP CAMPAIGN TO LOOK FOR VOTER FRAUD: Well, thank you for having me on, and good evening.
And, no, in my job, looking for voter fraud for the campaign, we didn't find any -- we didn't find enough fraud to have impacted the results of any election in any of the swing states that we took a look at. But, much more importantly, the campaign asked me to look at the claims of fraud that other people were making and these claims were coming in fast and furious in the 30 days after the election. My team looked at approximately 15 or so claims, every one of which we were able to prove was false.
BURNETT: Every one of which, as you say, you are inundated, I guess I would point it will be a theory a day, coming in from everybody in Trump's orbit. Can you talk at all about which claims stand out to you or when you look back on it's now, when they throw the ball into your court, which one of them really stands out to no? BLOCK: Well, I mean, they were all quite different, honestly. They all
stood out for different reasons. At the end of the day, if I was going to classify the different fraud claims, some of them were I believe honest efforts by people who didn't understand what they're looking at. They misinterpreted data, came up with a wild finding that was bizarre and could not possibly be right, and that was easy to sort of swats away.
Others were literally college professors bringing forward complicated mathematical theories that claim to prove that in one state or another state there was massive amounts of fraud. Those took a lot more work, not only because I had to pack my way through pretty dense mathematical theorem, but at the end of it I had to discuss with groups of lawyers and campaign consultant and other people who had no idea what I was going to be talking about to describe in blatant terms why this claim that must have been accurate because of where it came from was in fact false.
BURNETT: Right, I mean, and I know that has to have been a hard part. You were, of course, subpoenaed, Ken, by the special counsel Jack Smith and the DOJ investigation, also by District Attorney Fani Willis in the Georgia investigation. You know, one of these is how you and I originally spoke last spring when we had a conversation.
So, what did investigators want to know from you?
BLOCK: So, in both of those legal matters, I was called a fact witness.
BLOCK: I was subpoenaed for all of my communications in any form with the Trump campaign and both of those legal matters. That's been so far the extent of my involvement with both of those investigations and now legal actions. We will see what develops from this point forward. But, so far, I have not had to appear in front of a grand jury personally. It is just all the materials I created that happen.
BURNETT: So, Trump even today, three years later, he is still continuing to put these theories out there and to tell people they are true and people still believe them to be true, millions and millions of people. Here he is just in recent days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I got 75 million votes, I got -- and that's their account, okay, which is a phony account. Anytime you have mail in ballots, you have corrupt elections. They cheat like hell. It's the only thing that they do is they cheat on elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You know, you said to us, Ken, something that I assume to be quite profound. You said, never have you believe that finding so little in the way of fraud would need so much. How do you feel when you continue to hear Trump put things out there to a believing public and many of these cases that you know are not true, that you yourself investigated?
BLOCK: Yeah. So, what's happening now is we are seeing individuals and organizations creating a lot of noise about voter fraud, trying to bring forward a new proof that voter fraud has occurred. All of these efforts, while they claim to be bringing forward proof are not providing proof of fraud.
Fraud is something that is detectable, something that's quantifiable, and ultimately something you can verify.
Just the other day, there was a poll that purported to provide proof that 20 percent of all the mail ballots that were cast had some form of fraud attached to them on the -- based on the foundation of a telephone poll conducted by a robot, not even by a human being.
And these aren't -- these aren't elements of proof, but yet tens of millions of people received this information, they desperately want to believe that President Trump improperly lost the election, and they're ready to believe it and they're ready to take action if asked to help correct what they believe is wrong, and one of the main reasons that I'm out here with this book talking about my experiences and looking, it's provide direct evidence I was paid to look for this fraud. I was paid to vet the fraud in preparation for these cases to go to trial.
And this was for a group of attorneys within the campaign who were serious about their jobs, and they did their due diligence. That was what I was performing for them. I was performing due diligence.
BLOCK: I found nothing, reported that, they took that information, accepted it, reported it up the line to Mark Meadows who was the chief of staff at the time, Mark Meadows then communicated the findings that there were no fraud to the Oval Office.
So, it's has to be told, this story has to be told. People need to understand what really happened in terms of fraud and to try to understand what actual fraud is as opposed to hearsay evidence, which is most of what people are being told is evidence of fraud.
BURNETT: Ken, thank you very much. I appreciate it and I want everybody to know your new book coming out is called "Disproven". It is available for presale right now. It will be, of course, released early next year.
And next, the breaking news, the Texas governor just signing a controversial bill that makes the state crime to illegally cross the border. Tonight, we'll see what's happening.
Plus, Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, speaking out with a message to Putin, that it is time to send them home.
BURNETT: Breaking news, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signing a bill that makes entering Texas illegally a state crime. It means local law enforcement has the ability to arrest migrants and can imprison them and send them back to Mexico.
Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT from the border town of Brownsville, Texas, tonight.
TRUMP: They are poisoning the blood of our country.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump's hard-line immigration stance echoed in Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott signed into law what the ACLU dubbed as one of the most radical anti-immigrant bills ever passed by any state.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: Senate Bill 4 is now law in the state of Texas.
FLORES: SB-4 creates a new state crime for illegal entry into Texas, gives local police the power to arrest and judges the power to remove violators.
ABBOTT: But the problem is far more than just numbers.
FLORES: After multiple attempts, the controversial measure passed a Republican-led legislature.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an un-American.
FLORES: But not without a fight by the Democratic minority that erupted into this on the House floor.
STATE REP. ARMANDO WALLE (D), TEXAS: Y'all don't understand the shit you all do hurts our community.
FLORES: After Republicans cut debate short.
WALLE: And y'all don't understand that. You don't live in our (EXPLETIVE DELETED) skin.
FLORES: That is Texas State Representative Armando Walle from Houston -- an American with Mexican roots.
He says he fears SB-4 will lead to the racial profiling of Latinos across Texas.
WALLE: Why do we and those who look like me, why do we have to carry our passports around?
FLORES: The Republican authors of the bill say there is no need to safeguard the measure against racial profiling. Texas has now determined the cost of SB-4, some county governments fear it's unfunded mandate. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't agree with the cost that being shifted
over to our local taxpayers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't agree.
FLORES: Texas Republican Senator Brian Birdwell voted against a measure saying it is unconstitutional.
STATE SEN. BRIAN BIRDWELL (R), TEXAS: You are setting a terrible precedent for the future by invalidating our obedience and faithfulness to our Constitution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe SB-4 is completely constitutional.
FLORES: For Americans outside of Texas -
Representative Walle --
Walle warns SB-4 could be used to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's 2012 so-called "show your papers" law, which upheld that immigration is a federal function.
WALLE: This is their road map now, now they have a much favorable Supreme Court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not in conflict with the precedent set in Arizona versus. U.S.
FLORES: As for Walle, who lost the fight against the law, but it was one of the strongest voices against it.
WALLE: It fills me with pride, because I've had elderly people today tell me that they were proud that somebody stood up to them, stood out for somebody who didn't have a voice.
FLORES (on camera): Now, I asked Governor Abbott point blank if he's trying to overturn Arizona versus the United States. And again, that is the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld immigration is a federal function.
Now, Governor Abbott first said that he believes that SB-4 stands alone, that it is unconstitutional and, Erin, then he said, quote, we also welcome a Supreme Court decision that would overturn the precedent set in the Arizona case, Erin, only hinting a yes to my question.
BURNETT: All right. All right. Absolutely, Rosa. Thank you very much, in Brownsville tonight.
And next, Putin's men on the battlefield are speaking out in a very rare show of dissent, something you need to hear about because they're saying they're in pain and they want to come home. A special report only here next.
Plus, breaking news live pitches out of southwest Iceland where a volcano has just started to erupt.
BURNETT: Tonight, brave Russians making a rare public plea to Putin to bring their sons and husbands home from the battlefield. Even some soldiers are speaking out.
And Matthew Chance tonight is OUTFRONT in Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On state television, Russian troops are shown on the rampage, advancing near Bakhmut in Ukraine, seizing land as they say, pushing Ukrainian forces back.
They need soldiers. They don't know what to do, says this Russian commander.
But concern over the plight of Russia's own mobilized troops is beginning to stir.
Ordinary families with men serving in Ukraine are now pleading for them to return.
We just want our husbands and sons to come home says this woman.
A brave call in a country where descent is barely tolerated.
But the partial mobilization of Russians which began last September was always an unpopular move -- as men were bused into military service, hundreds of thousands more fled the country to avoid the draft, even sent to Ukraine are still there.
Men like Alexander from Voronezh who says he was drafted in January this year.
Now, he wants home.
We are also tired, he says, on his social media post. Our backs and knees hurt. No one cares about the money or the benefits, he says, we just want to be allowed home everybody really wants that.
The Kremlin is in no mood to ease off this war.
With U.S. aid to Ukraine blocked in Congress, there is a feeling here West resolve may crumble, bolstering Vladimir Putin as he registers to stand virtually unopposed for yet another presidential return.
That which divides us must be put aside, Putin insists in his first campaign speech. Russia will be sovereigns, will not bear at all, he adds. Among Putin's hard-line supporters and there are many, the prospect of
his continued rain is being celebrated. We do not need any other president, one of them shouts.
But New Year celebrations elsewhere are muted. Bring my husband back, bring my dad home, say the festive messages on this tree.
The year is drawing to an end.
But Russia's conflict in Ukraine drags on.
CHANCE (on camera): And, Erin, as Ukraine is now warning that it will cut back on its military operations because of a drop off in international aid, including from the United States, Russia is doubling down, saying it's going to step up its activity on the battlefield until such time President Putin says all of its war aims have been achieved.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Matthew Chance, as I said. He is live in Moscow this evening.
And breaking news next, live images out of Iceland, a volcano, is right now high-speed erupting lava spewing hundreds of feet into the air. These are live images, and we'll be right back.
BURNETT: Wow, look at that. That is live. That massive volcano eruption erupting on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula, lava spewing hundreds of feet in the air. This is just moments ago now as you can see obviously a haze of fire. Intense earthquake activity presaged this, including a powerful earthquake earlier today. It is, wow, magnificent to see.
Thanks very much for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.