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Erin Burnett Outfront

Biden Meets With National Security Team, Weighs Retaliation Options; Trump Rails On Union Chief After Biden Endorsement; Trump Is Fixated On Sabotaging "Horrible" Border Deal; Women Rise In Kim Jong Un's Powerful Inner Circle. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 29, 2024 - 19:00   ET




The breaking news, all eyes on the White House as Biden vows to retaliate after three U.S. soldiers were killed by a drone strike. And tonight, we hear from the parents of one of those soldiers.

Plus, Trump's new target, tearing into the president of the United Autoworkers, calling him a weapon of mass destruction and a dope for backing Biden. Tonight, the president of the UAW, Shawn Fain, is OUTFRONT to respond.

And inside Kim Jong-un's inner circle. Women are elevated there now and the powerful men who posed a threat to him, especially relatives, are ending up dead.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And a good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, retaliation. President Biden meeting with his national security team vowing to respond after three American soldiers were killed by an Iranian-backed drone strike in Jordan. Forty more were injured and, of those eight are still in the hospital, suffering from their injuries. It is an attack in which we now know three were killed.

Forty-six-year-old Sergeant William Rivers, 23-year-old Specialist Breonna Moffett, and 24-year-old Specialist Kennedy Sanders.

In a moment, I'm going to speak to Specialist Sanders' parents.

CNN is learning that the three were killed after air defenses failed to recognize the enemy drone, which was honing in on its target, at the same time an American drone was returning to the small U.S. outpost that is known as Tower 22 in the north of Jordan, near that Syrian border. It is the deadliest attack on American forces since the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. And it follows months of strikes by the Iranian-backed Houthi militants in the Red Sea, that have targeted American troops and commercial ships.

And tonight, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warning of a situation in the region saying it is now the most dangerous moment in more than 50 years.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: I would argue that we have not seen a situation as dangerous as the one we're facing now across the region since at least 1973. And arguably even before that.


BURNETT: And arguably even before that. It is an important moment in history here and on Capitol Hill, the Republicans are leading the charge demanding Biden respond to this strike with force, major force.

Senator Cornyn stating, quote: Target Tehran. Senator Tom Cotton calling for, quote, devastating military retaliation against Iran. Senator Lindsey Graham saying hit Iran now. Hit them hard.

It is, of course, certainly not the first time nor likely the last that we'll hear Senator Graham talk like this.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Blow it off the map.

Go to Tripoli. Start bombing Gadhafi's inner circle.

If we have to go to war to stop this, we will.


BURNETT: Those are just a few examples of Senator Graham. In those cases, he was talking about Iran, Libya, and North Korea. A push to war.

And it may be the course the U.S. chooses but, of course, it is a major decision and the question must be asked of whether it is the right one.

MJ Lee is OUTFRONT live at the White House.

And, MJ, what more are you learning about how and when the U.S. may respond?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, we know that President Biden and his national security team that they are actively discussing options for retaliation. He convened his team yesterday and once again today.

You know, even though the U.S. has been responding to these attacks from Iran-backed proxy groups for months now, obviously this marked a real turning point. A U.S. official saying that things are now fundamentally different after the death of three U.S. servicemembers and the decision, Erin, is so complicated in large part because the White House has been so insistent that they do not want things to further escalate in the region, but at the same time after Sunday, the president has shown a real desire to respond with real force, again because now we have lives of three U.S. servicemembers that have been lost.

And earlier today, when I asked White House spokesman John Kirby whether the president is actively considering striking inside Iran, this is the complicated answer that he gave.


JOHN KIRBY, NSC SPOKESMAN: We are not looking for a war with Iran. We're not looking to escalate here.

This attack over the weekend was escalatory. Make no mistake about it. And it requires a response. Make no mistake about that.



LEE: And since Sunday, of course, we have continued to learn more about the details surrounding the attack, but there are still many outstanding questions including whether Iran was directly involved in directing this attack or whether this was largely the responsibility of a proxy group working on their own and exactly which group was responsible.

But for President Biden, Erin, all of this is obviously entangled in the growing calls for a ceasefire which is put a lot of political pressure on him, as well as the ongoing hostage negotiations, which again for the White House remains top priority because remember, there are still six American hostages that remain unaccounted for in Gaza as well -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. MJ, thank you very much from the White House tonight.

And OUTFRONT now, Oneida Oliver Sanders and Shawn Sanders. Their daughter, U.S. Army Specialist Kennedy Sanders, was one of the soldiers killed in that attack on the U.S. military outpost in Jordan.

And, Oneida, Shawn, I'm so terribly sorry for -- for your loss. Incomprehensible for parents to understand what you are now going through.

Oneida, how did you even learn about what happened to Kennedy?

ONEIDA SANDERS, MOTHER OF SPC. KENNEDY SANDERS, U.S. SOLDIER KILLED IN JORDAN: Two uniformed officers made a personal visit to our home to let us know that she was deceased.

BURNETT: Shawn, you served in the Marines, of course. So these two uniformed officers that Oneida was talking about, they come to your home yesterday. I know you were there.

I saw it reported actually that Oneida was not there. You waited 20 minutes because you wanted her to come home. You wanted to wait for her. And you got these two soldiers there waiting.

What were those 20 minutes even like, Shawn?

SHAWN SANDERS, FATHER OF SPC. KENNEDY SANDERS, U.S. SOLDIER KILLED IN JORDAN: Longest 20 minutes I faced in my life. When I opened the door, I initially knew what was going on.

BURNETT: Oneida, when you got the call from Shawn, did you know, too, in those 20 minutes that you're rushing home?

O. SANDERS: No. He didn't tell me what was going on. He just, you know, said come home, come straight home. And I could hear panic in his voice and I asked, you know, was there anything wrong? And he confirmed that yes, something is wrong, but he never told me what it was.

So, you know, like any mother, I immediately started calling all of my children. I FaceTimed -- tried to FaceTime Kennedy twice. Tried to text and call her. Of course, no answer, but when I got home and saw the officers, I, too, was fully aware of what had happened.

BURNETT: I'm so sorry, Oneida.

I know that you said you tried to FaceTime her twice because you did speak to her every day. I mean, you were so close to your child. I know you sent us a screen shot of a FaceTime conversation you had on the Friday -- just this past Friday.


BURNETT: And you spoke to her hours before the attack even happened. I mean, I don't know if -- if you remember every word of that or if you struggle to now. What was that conversation like that you now know was your last?

O. SANDERS: Well, actually, I was in Atlanta with friends. We had just gone to an Alvin Ailey show in Atlanta, the 65th anniversary. And she called us while we were at brunch with her friends in the background to tell me that she was going against my wishes to purchase a motorcycle.

And I told her she knows I was against and I told her that she was strictly prohibited from purchasing a motorcycle and she just said, prohibited? You know, as if to say, you know, I'm 24 years old.

So that was our last conversation then. But right before then, she sent me a text message with a picture of a lanyard that she had crocheted. I didn't know exactly what it was. I just looked at the picture.

And I said, well, what is it? She said a lanyard. I said, did you make it? And she said, yes. And that was it on that conversation.

But, yes, our last conversation that I actually talked to her was her plan to purchase a motorcycle.

BURNETT: And saying what a mother would say. No, absolutely not. Shawn, what would you want people to know? You know, they're looking

at your beautiful daughter that was everything to you and your children. What do you want us to know about her? She's now died in service to her country.

S. SANDERS: Is pretty much to remember her service, and the commitment and the sacrifice she made for the country.

BURNETT: Oneida, there are some demanding President Biden, you know, strike back hard at Iran to avenge this terrible loss, the death of your daughter, the two other soldiers who were killed.


The eight others still suffering in the hospital.

Is there anything specific that you want to see done in response?

O. SANDERS: You know, whatever is decided will not ease our pain at any level. Kennedy still has battle buddies who are still left there and I know if it was her decision, she would definitely be very concerned about their safety. But you know, whatever happens won't change our situation at all.

BURNETT: Shawn, have you -- have you had a chance to speak to President Biden at this point? Has he reached out to you and Oneida?

S. SANDERS: Not yet, but it's something scheduled. It will either be the president or the secretary of state.

O. SANDERS: Secretary of defense.

S. SANDERS: Defense.

BURNETT: Or the secretary of defense.

Have you thought about what you want to say on that call?

O. SANDERS: No. Really, we've received several calls from congressmen, other people in government, and basically, everybody's just calling to offer their condolences. And to, you know, tell us that they honor Kennedy as a real (ph) hero.

So, no, I'm not really expecting to really say or request anything when he does call. I'm just expecting to hear him offer his condolences.

BURNETT: And, Oneida, I want to ask you, Shawn said he wants everyone to remember Kennedy for her service. That she did die serving her country.

When you were talking about her a moment ago, you were talking about how she crocheted her own lanyard and wanted to ride a motorcycle. And it just gives the impression --

O. SANDERS: Yeah. BURNETT: -- of a very strong-minded, enthusiastic, curious, young soul. What else do you want us to know, the world to know, about your daughter?

O. SANDERS: Well, she was definitely a free spirit. She was -- her personality was contagious. Everyone who's come in contact with her say the same things about her. Her smile was contagious. She was always laughing about everything.

So I just want people to remember that, you know, even though her time was short on Earth, she lived her life to the fullest and she enjoyed her life. In any situation that she was in, she made it enjoyable, even being deployed.

She found different things to do to pass her time. She was trying to learn a new language. She, of course, was crocheting.

She was taking jiu-jitsu at some point. She joined a run club. She joined a football team.

So any situation that Kennedy is in, she's going to take full advantage of it and enjoy it.

BURNETT: Well, we are all so grateful for her and what she's done and to you for being able to even come on and share a little bit about someone who meant the world and your life to you. Thank you both so much.

O. SANDERS: Thank you.

S. SANDERS: Thank you.

BURNETT: Evelyn Farkas is with me now, the former deputy secretary of defense and the executive director at the McCain Institute.

And, Evelyn, they haven't yet had the call from the president of the United States or, they say, it could also be from the secretary of defense. They will get that call. They, of course, bring home what this is about and what a president decision is being made in this moment, right? When you've got the senators pounding the table and attack and bomb, ultimately, this comes down to human lives and the incalculable loss of a life like Kennedy's.

So what should the response of the United States be and the president sitting there, talking to them, talking to the parents of the others who have lost their lives, or to their children, in making this choice?

EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RUSSIA & EURASIA: Well, yeah, Erin, I think Kennedy's mom -- first of all, that was incredibly moving. Like what a beautiful person she was and I'm trying really hard not to cry. Not totally successfully but I don't want to cry on the air here.

You know, but the -- Kennedy's mother was correct. Look, nothing we can do now will bring her daughter back, but what her daughter would care about and every service member and every American would care about is making sure that we deter and prevent further attacks. I know earlier, you guys had General McKenzie on talking about the fact there will be lessons learned. The military won't make this mistake, but we have to stop it at the source.

And so, I think we do have to take some punitive action and it has to be strong enough, proportionate, that the Iranian proxies, whoever's responsible, doesn't do this again.


I am not for bombing Iran though because I think it takes the eye off the prize. The most important thing right now, the context for all this, is the fact that Secretary Blinken and Director Burns are in the middle of trying to broker a hostage release, 100 hostages for a ceasefire, temporary, yes, but something that brings us in the direction of actually freezing this part of the conflict in Gaza.

Ultimately, we have to move to a diplomatic solution. We can't have an ongoing war here because the biggest threat to the international order is the one that is Ukraine and this is distracting us from that and benefitting Putin and the Iranian, the North Koreans, et cetera.

BURNETT: And the reality, of course, is Blinken even talking about the region itself, right? The Middle East and not -- obviously related to Ukraine in many ways but still separate, right? The Middle East is as dangerous as it's been in at least 50 years, if not more.


BURNETT: I mean, that's an incredible thing to say and an incredible shift in how one would have made this analysis on October 6th. So could we truly be looking at a major war as the United States right now? Is that risk real?

FARKAS: Yeah, if we're not careful, we can, Erin. I think that Secretary Blinken is correct. I mean, we -- this is the most dangerous situation the United States has been in for a very long time, as long as I can remember in the Middle East. But it's because precisely because the same actors are involved as the ones that are active in Ukraine.

So again, Russia, Iran, North Korea. Don't forget. Iran and North Korea are providing weapons to Russia. China is benefitting as well, and China is causing problems for us in the South China Sea as we speak. They're also trying to break the U.S. power that we exercise in that region and elsewhere.

So, these actors are working together which makes this one situation in the Middle East even more dangerous. Plus, I don't have to remind you, that Iran is on the brink of having a nuclear weapon. North Korea is threatening also making very threatening noises and they have -- they are nuclear weapons state for all intents and purposes.

BURNETT: All right. Evelyn, thank you very much, with sobering analysis. FARKAS: Thank you.

BURNETT: And we do have a special report on North Korea coming up later this hour.

And next, a, quote, weapon of mass destruction, we're talking in this case about a person. An insult Trump is hurling at the president of the United Autoworkers Union after he endorsed Biden. Shawn Fain, the president of the UAW, he'll respond next.

Plus, Trump leading the charge to blow up a bipartisan border bill, saying he doesn't want a bill which is ironic because when he was president, he begged repeatedly for one. You'll see.

And under fire. We're going to take you to the front lines in Ukraine where Fred Pleitgen and his team suddenly found themselves under attack in this report.




BURNETT: New tonight, Trump's latest target, the president of the United Autoworkers, the target of two verbal assaults within hours of each other from the former President. Trump posting today in part, quote, Shawn Fain is a weapon of mass destruction on autoworkers and the automobile manufacturing industry in the United States. All autoworkers should, all caps, vote for Trump.

Just hours earlier, Trump bashed Fain by saying this: He's a real, all caps, stiff who is selling the automobile industry into the big, powerful hands of China. Get rid of this dope and vote for DJT.

Trump admitting his initial attack was because of this interview where Fain did not hold back and explained why he has chosen to endorse Biden instead of Trump.


SHAWN FAIN, UNITED AUTO WOKERS PRESIDENT: Donald Trump has a history of serving himself and standing for the billionaire class, and that's contrary to everything the working class people stand for.


BURNETT: Shawn Fain is OUTFRONT now.

So, Shawn, Donald Trump says you are a weapon of mass destruction, that you are a stiff and that you are a dope -- said all those things today. What do you even -- how do you respond to that?

FAIN: Well, thanks for having me, Erin.

You know, first off, the weapon of mass destruction against the automotive industry has been two words, corporate greed. You know, this is Trump. Trump always resorts to name-calling because the facts are very clear. He doesn't want to talk about the truth. You know, he talks about what during his presidency, the phrase came out alternative facts of what we call lies. He wants to make this election about anything but real issues.

And you know, this isn't about me or Donald Trump. I don't care what Donald Trump says about me. I don't care what he thinks about me.

I care about facts and the facts are very clear for the large majority of Americans. The working class people have been left behind by Trump's billionaire class, the billionaire buddies and the economy only works for the wealthy.

You know, you look. 1970, I read this the other day from the Economic Policy Institute.


FAIN: From 1979 to 2022, the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, wages increased 344 percent. The bottom 90 percent increased 32 percent.

So this is an economy that Trump dreams of. This is what he wants. He doesn't give a damn about working class people and that's what this is all about.

BURNETT: All right. So, one thing he is connecting with in some way is a sentiment that at least has grown within unionized households and that is a shift over time politically. You know, you've admitted this yourself, Sean. You've said there are rank and file members of the UAW that Trump appeals to.

Our Harry Enten was looking at some numbers and what I'm referring to is a shift over time and overall union member vote towards the Republican, right? Still plus Democrat, okay? But there's been a shift, right, Shawn?

So, 1948, it was 62 points. Plus 62 Democrat. 1992, that had been cut in half to 31. And by 2020, it was down to 22 percent advantage for Democrats. Still an advantage. But that's obviously a massive erosion.

Why do you think it is that many of your members do not see this the way that you do?


FAIN: Well, I'll say this is -- It's been a masterful plan by the billionaire class and the corporate class. I mean, they over the last 40, 50 years of our lives have played the greatest game they always play, and that's divide and conquer. They divide the masses over single issues and meanwhile, they run away with all the money, all the profits and things get worse for us.

You know, what we have to do as organized labor, we have to lead the fight and we have to lead the dialogue with facts. And that's why our contract campaign was so successful with the Big Three. That's why 75 percent of Americans sided with us in that fight, because we were focused on the things that matter most to working class people, wages, better wages, you know, retirement security, healthcare. Better healthcare for everybody.

And getting our time back. You know, it's shameful through all of this. You know, working class people working harder and longer than ever. They're working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, working multiple jobs and are scraping to get by.

That's the economy Donald Trump loves. That's the economy that the billionaire class loves. And it doesn't work for working class people. I think when we focus on the core issues that matter most to working class people, we'll see a difference in how the election goes.

BURNETT: So, Shawn, I know that you did not -- you had ruled out meeting with Trump, but the Teamsters Union is not doing that. They've got 1.3 million members, right, massive union. Trump is meeting with union members and leaders this week. There's an event he's hosting on Wednesday. Earlier this month, he met with the head of the union at Mar-a-Lago.

Do you have any feel for how this is going? Do you know the head of the Teamsters Union? Do you think he could be getting their endorsement?

FAIN: Look, I've talked to Sean O'Brien. I respect Sean O'Brien. He's a good leader. And, look, good success in that union, done great things.

And, you know, I'm not going to even try to speak for what their decision is. All I can speak for is from our perspective and the facts we've seen. It's really clear for us. It's a very clear picture when you put the two candidates side by side.

I mean, you go back to the economic recession. Joe Biden stood with the American worker. Donald Trump blamed the American -- he blamed the workers for everything that was wrong with the Big Three back then.

You know, Joe Biden gave us a path forward. You go to when Trump was president, 2019. Lordstown assembly plant in Ohio was slated to close. Trump blamed the local president, told people don't sell your houses and did nothing.

In 2019, when GM was on strike, what did Donald Trump then the president say? He didn't say anything. He didn't do anything.

In 2023, Joe Biden, when we were on strike, he came out and stood with the workers. He joined us on the picket line. You know, Belvedere assembly plant, in Illinois --


FAIN: -- was slated for closure in 2023. The community was written off for dead.

Joe Biden worked with us to not just get one plant. We got that plant revived and another to be built there and save the community.

So there's -- there's a stark contrast in these candidates. Joe Biden has spent a lifetime serving others and serving the working class. Donald Trump's spent a lifetime serving himself.

BURNETT: All right. Shawn, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

Shawn Fain is the head of the UAW.

FAIN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, dramatic video capturing the moment that our Fred Pleitgen and his team came under Russian fire, while trying to report and show everyone what's really happening along the front lines in Ukraine.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We were getting ready to film here and all of a sudden, we heard what appeared to be outstanding artillery then a shell came in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred meters, guys, 100 meters.

PLEITGEN: One hundred meters, got you.


BURNETT: Plus, does Trump have a cash problem? The self-proclaimed billionaire could soon be on the hook for nearly $500 million. Will that hurt Trump's bottom line? A "Bloomberg" reporter who's doing the math is OUTFRONT next.



BURNETT: Sabotage. President Trump obsessed with killing what could be one of the strictest immigration bills of the century, a bill that President Biden is ready to sign. But today, Trump is claiming a bill is no longer needed.

He posted on social media, quote, the Democrats broke the border, all caps. They should fix it, all caps again. No legislation is needed.

This is a very interesting turn of events because when Trump was president, he really wanted an immigration bill to fix this problem.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I would love to see a big immigration bill. We should be able to make an immigration bill that can really solve the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Okay. Trump said those words in 2018 and 2019. He did not think he could close the border via executive order at that time. In fact, he only did that during COVID.

He needed a bill just like Joe Biden needs a bill and the situation is dire. I mean, obviously, there's no reason to cloak that at all. James Clapper, the former director of national security under Obama, told me that this is a national security crisis.

Trump put it this way. This weekend, he said that, quote, criminals, rapists, murderers, terrorists are coming over the border then he added, quote, terrorists are pouring in.

Okay, in fact, Trump said this about the influx of immigrants.


TRUMP: There's a 100 percent chance there will be a major terrorist attack in the United States.


BURNETT: A 100 percent chance there will with a major terrorist attack because of what's going on in the southern border. If that's the case and Trump cares about the country, he would want a deal immediately. At least it would seem that way, right?

But he doesn't. He doesn't want a deal at all. On Thursday, he posted, quote, a border deal now would be a gift to the radical left Democrats.

And even as House Republicans scrambled to get in line behind him on this contradictory history, some Republicans in the Senate are standing up. They are livid at Trump and they are livid at his enablers at the GOP.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): This is not about Trump. This is about security for our own country.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): The fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and Congress people that he doesn't want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for is -- it's really appalling.

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): When we're finally getting to the end, oh, just kidding, I actually don't want a change in law because of the presidential election year.


BURNETT: Senator Lankford, calling it out like he sees it. And you have to admire that.

OUTFRONT now, Republican governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu. He's endorsed Nikki Haley for president.

All right, Governor, so let me start here. Do you understand the logic of saying there's a 100 percent chance of terror attacks because of the southern border situation and then also saying do not pass a bill that serious conservative Republicans senators have worked on and support because it's an election year?


GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: No -- look, it's Donald Trump. He's going to say whatever is in his political interest in the moment. But there's a couple of key points that I don't -- I think can't be overlooked. Number one, Joe Biden does have the authority to enact policies to stem the tide that has been coming over the border, right? I mean, there's a reason why we've gone from a couple million crossings a year to like eight million crossings a year, just outrageous number.

So, there's certain policies that can and should be enacted. Biden has the power to do it. He can't act like he needs this bill to do something on the border.

I think the frustration that you have and I have is you have both sides pointing at each other, using politics to explain why they want to do nothing and nobody wants to see that. I think -- I would support this bill. I think it's a good step.

It's not the end all be all. Every little bit counts. The border security is our number one security issue but there's no reason you can't secure the border, fund Ukraine, fund -- you know, support Israel, make sure that we're pushing back on terrorism in the Middle East -- you can do all that for a fraction, a fraction, of just one year's defense budget.

So, it's all possible --

BURNETT: That is true.

SUNUNU: -- it's just the political will to do it and neither side really seems to have that right now.

BURNETT: Right. And I understand all the points you're making. I guess I'm just honing in on, and I know you scratch your head at this all the time, but do you think there's anybody in his base or in the people who are enabling him in the House who find it incongruent who say criminals, murderers, rapists, terrorists are pouring in and there's 100 percent chance that there will be a terrorist attack in the United States and say a border deal would be a gift to the radical left Democrats.

That's where -- does that break through to anybody?


SUNUNU: I mean, it's politics. You're right, I get it. It's just politics. No, no, because -- look -- look at the polls. Right after the first in

the nation primary right here in New Hampshire, the number one issue of folks coming out of the ballot box on Tuesday was the border.


SUNUNU: Up here in New Hampshire, border security is the number one issue. It's the number one issue for folks all across this country. So I think the big frustration is do something, do anything. Hey, Washington, D.C., you've built this massive reputation on being completely inept. Now you actually have the ability to do something. Don't let us down now. Don't let politics get in the way.

Both sides take some responsibility. Don't let politics get in the way. Secure the border and let's start actually moving forward. It's not -- there's not just one law that's going to solve this whole thing. It's not going to happen overnight. But let's start taking steps and let's show the American people that you're putting a priority on our number one security issue.

BURNETT: And, Governor, you said we could do that and we can deal with the Middle East, and we can deal with Ukraine at the same time. And we can. We have a special report actually coming up in a moment from the front lines of Ukraine. And as -- but the reason obviously it's so central to this conversation is it's now been tied to the border funding in Congress.

You wrote in "The Washington Post" an op-ed in March that has resonated with me. You said to abandon Ukraine would set off a negative change of events for U.S. interest domestically and abroad. You continue to say some in the Republican Party have lost their moral compass on foreign policy.

In fact, some of those who are pounding the table now to bomb Iran are saying that we don't need Ukraine funding. What do you say to them now?

SUNUNU: Yeah. Consistency is everything. Look, you can't just -- you can't just be where you want to be in the moment for political reasons. People are smart in America. They see right through that kind of nonsense and Washington has this terrible habit on both sides for years of doing this.

So at a momentum, be consistent. Be true to your principles and if you don't want to provide funding and you want to be a nationalist, and just, you know, protect our borders and that's it and call it a day, I disagree with that vehemently, but if that's where you are, then let us know where you are. But I do believe and I think most people understand that, you know, world peace through America strength and you have to protect your allies. You have to make sure that your enemies know that you're going to stay in resolve and go against them. That's what this is all about, American resolve.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Governor Sununu. I always appreciate seeing you. And thank you.

SUNUNU: You bet.

BURNETT: Well, the hold on U.S. funding in Ukraine is empowering Vladimir Putin. Today, in fact, Putin formally announced he's running for re-election this spring. Now, his victory at the ballot box is, of course, a foregone conclusion but on the front lines in Ukraine, his victory may depend on something the United States controls and that is weapons and military aid.

Fred Pleitgen is there and filed this report for OUTFRONT.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): All out warfare in unforgiving terrain.

Forest battles in eastern Ukraine mean facing a near constant Russian onslaught. Vladimir Putin's army trying to breakthrough Ukrainian defenses.

Dmytro is one of those holding them off.

The situation is very active and very tense, he says, because the enemy has much more equipment and manpower basically every day they try to storm the positions. A dead Russian soldier and a destroyed tank show just how close the Russians have come.


It's a fight for survival and against the elements.

The trench, cold, wet, and soggy -- the only heat coming from candles the soldiers cower around, gathering strength to face overwhelming Russian firepower.

They shoot direct fire, planes are flying. Basically, they have it all, he says. But probably the worst are tanks. When they fire, you don't even hear it. You hear an airplane when it comes over. With a tank, you're in God's hands.

Artillery fire, another threat here as we found out when we came under fire trying to make it to the area.

This is unfortunately something that when we work here in the east of the country, happens all too often. We were getting ready to film here and then all of a sudden, we heard what appeared to be outstanding artillery but then shells came in. One hundred meters, got you.

We're now trying to make our way out of here as safe as possible. That means we have to keep distance between our cars and we have to keep moving the entire time to make sure we can get out of here, hopefully safely.

We believe a Russian drone spotted us and directed the artillery fire. But two can play that game.

Nazariy is a Ukrainian drone pilot. He guides Kyiv's artillery guns targeting Russian infantry, but also armored assault formations including main battle tanks. He says ammo shortage mean he has to be extremely precise.

It's no secret we're starved of artillery shells. We try to work as efficiently and accurate as possible.

Trying to fight back any way they can on one of the toughest battlefields of this war.


PLEITGEN (on camera): And once again there, Erin, you see those ammo shortage really hampering the Ukrainians as they try to defend their positions. Nevertheless, they tell us right now, they are holding the lines there and they're inflicting catastrophic losses on the Russians. One unit told us that in a span of just a couple of days, they believe that they destroyed more than 40 tanks and armored vehicles from the advancing Russians, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Fred Pleitgen in Kyiv, after coming under fire. We're glad you are safe, you and your entire team.

And next, on the heels of an $88 million penalty, Trump could be ordered to pay another $370 million. We'll tell you why and what it actually means, what does it mean to his bottom line.

Plus, North Korea's most powerful man surrounding himself with women and we'll explain why it's not what you may be thinking. The powerful men in his family in the meantime are ending up killed.



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump's cash crunch. So, the former president, as you know, right, owes $88 million to E. Jean Carroll for defamation, but he could also be ordered to pay another $370 million over the next few days. That's how much the New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking in damages in the Trump Org fraud trial.

That trial in addition to the $370 million could also block Trump from ever doing business in New York again. So, the total, basic math here, $460 million. Trump may have to pay in these cases.

Obviously, that is a massive amount of money. Some -- even someone who's talked a big deal about his cash on hand, it's a lot to him.


TRUMP: We got a lot of cash. We have substantially in excess of $400 million cash, which is a lot for a developer. Developers usually don't have cash. They have assets. Not cash. But we have, I believe 400-plus and going up very substantially every month.


BURNETT: Four hundred plus and going up very substantially month over month. The problem is, of course, if he were the say he doesn't have the money now, then that becomes a lie and, well, you understand the mess that he would then be in.

OUTFRONT now, Erik Larson. He's been covering the Trump fraud trial, of course, and also the E. Jean Carroll case for Bloomberg.

And, Erik, of course, you've covered Trump's businesses for nearly a decade.

So, I'm just trying to understand this. Everyone wants to understand. So, $460 million, obviously, that's an incredibly huge amount of money. Trump's finances have been in fake -- opaque. I didn't mean fake.


BURNETT: Opaque and inflated as well, right? As he would do that to be on lists. Whether it's Bloomberg millionaires or Forbes or whatever it is.

So, how much does it hurt him if he has to pay $460 million?

LARSON: Well, a lot. But he is worth about $3.1 billion. So he's been accused of inflating his net worth for years. That's the main thrust of the attorney general's case. But regardless, he actually does have a lot of assets. A lot are performing pretty well and he's worth about $3.1 billion.

And that would include about $600 million in liquid assets. As you saw in that deposition, he said he has more than $400 million in cash on hand, but it's also true that he faces potentially in the space of less than a week, $450 million plus in damages from these two lawsuits, E. Jean Carroll case and this attorney general verdict which is expected at any time.

BURNETT: Right, and, obviously, I just did a quick math. So, it's 15 percent of what you're valuing him at. Just to be clear, he himself has admitted, right? It's not liquid. So, of his liquid assets, it's, what, 80, 85 percent, if you're right at $600 million.

Now, but in terms of his overall value, look, the real estate has improved since the peak of the COVID crisis, even though some of his properties, commercial properties in big areas like New York are still hurting. They're hutting a lot less than they were.

So you have some averages here, 1290 Avenue of Americas is now worth half a billion dollars, according to your analysis. The Doral in Florida, $305 million, 40 Wall Street, which has been at the center of this case that's now at stake, $270 million, according to your analysis. Mar-a-Lago itself, nearly a quarter billion dollars.

So, these -- if you add up just the improvement on these properties, of their assessed values, since the peak of the COVID crisis --

LARSON: It's significant.

BURNETT: Yeah. LARSON: I mean, we -- I should say, this was a Bloomberg billionaire's estimate. It's a whole team of people who looked into his assets to point out since the time this lawsuit was filed, his assets have actually gone up about $500 million, which is pretty which is pretty significant. He was at about 2.5 before, and now at 3.1.


So, it was interesting timing for this change to come about, just the time he was being accused of inflating his assets. It doesn't mean that he wasn't. In fact, the judge this that case has already held him liable for fraud exactly for that.

But in terms of whether he has money to pay for these damages if necessary, it would seem that he does. But he would have a lot less cash than he says he has now.

BURNETT: That's for sure. But it is pretty incredible. You look at just the massive amount of money that it is, that it hits him like it does, but he could, despite all the inflation, the opacity, he could -- he can pay it.

All right. Erik, thank you so much.

LARSON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, we're going to take you inside the secretive world of North Korea's Kim Jong-un, a world where his sister and his daughter are now elevated to high positions while the men, like his uncle and brother are killed.

Plus, is this image Amelia Earhart's missing plane?


BURNETT: Tonight, the U.S. on high alert for signs of lethal military action from Kim Jong-un. This as the erratic North Korean leader says he successfully launched a successful cruise missile from a submarine in less than week. Kim personally oversaw the missile launch, as he always says. But he is often surrounded by the women in his inner circle. You see him here at a ballistic missile launch in April. There is his sister, by his side, his wife, and his daughter, who is widely believed to be his successor at another ballistic missile launch just last month.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea's most powerful man making an emotional appeal to women. Kim Jong-un wiping away tears, urging moms to have more babies, to boost the plunging birth rate. Pyongyang's patriarch persists, observers say, but things may be changing in Kim's Korea. The North Korean leader bringing powerful women into his orbit. Foreign minister Choe Son Hui who recently met with Russian President

Vladimir Putin. Kim's younger sister Kim Yo Jong, a close aid and trusted confidante, famous for fiery speeches.


And this dramatic demolition of the Inter-Korean liaison office.

The younger Kim's meteoric rise likely fueled by her close brotherly bond and powerful Kim family bloodline. The family photo that shook the world, the supreme leader revealing his daughter believed to be Kim Ju-ae at a missile launch in late 2022, the first in a series of carefully staged father-daughter photo-ops, elevating the profile of Kim's elementary-aged child, raising questions about succession.

LEE SUNG-YOON, AUTHOR, "THE SISTER", A BOOK ABOUT KIM YO JONG: By appearing in public with his daughter, my nukes are here to stay, and my power will be handed down to my progeny or maybe somebody else, his sibling.

RIPLEY: For three generations, the men of the Kim family ruling North Korea with an iron fist. Now many wonder could a woman be next in line? Could Kim be grooming his own daughter to some day take command of North Korea's growing nuclear arsenal?

LEE: The power will be kept. This absolute power will maintain, will be maintained in the family.

RIPLEY: A family where the women seem to be faring better than the men. Kim's own uncle, Jang Son Tec, seen half-heartedly clapping when Kim came to power. South Korean lawmaker said he was executed by anti- aircraft guns and possibly decapitated, former President Trump claimed.

Kim's exiled older half-brother Kim Jong-nam assassinated by poison at a Malaysia airport.

Whoever the next North Korean leader is, man or woman, Kim's top priority, analysts say, protecting his family's fortune and power.


RIPLEY (on camera): And tonight, historians on both sides of the political spectrum believe that North Korea is essentially the most perfected totalitarian state in our history. They have a model, a police state, propaganda, total control of the population through surveillance, information, isolation.

And, Erin, it is a recipe success for the next North Korean leader whether they are a man or a woman.

BURNETT: Amazing.

All right. Will Ripley, thank you very much from Taipei tonight.

And next, has Amelia Earhart's long lost plane actually been found? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And next, is Amelia Earhart's long lost plane actually been found?


BURNETT: Is this Amelia Earhart's long lost plane? If you look at the screen, you're seeing what an exploratory team from South Carolina believes is the plane Earhart was fly when she went missing over the Pacific Ocean in 1937. The discovery was made after a high tech underwater drone surveyed 5,200 square miles of the ocean floor. The former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer who funded the $11 million search telling the "Wall Street Journal" the aircraft-shaped object was found less than 100 miles from the Howland Island where Earhart was supposed to stop and refuel.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.