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Erin Burnett Outfront

GOP Senator: "We Got Outmaneuvered" On Border Deal; Teamsters Union Exec Skips Trump Roundtable, Calls Him "Scab"; Zuckerberg On Social Media And Mental Health: "No Causal Link"; Will Trump's January 6 Trial Be Held Before The Election?; Top Ukraine General Fired, Possible Replacement Speaks To CNN. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 31, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Outmaneuvered. Republicans are fuming over the border bill crumbling before our eyes. The Democrats claiming that they're the ones who can actually fix the border.

Plus, a, quote, scab and an insurrectionist. Those were the words of a top Teamster executive who refused to meet with Trump today. That executive is my guest.

And breaking news, a major military shakeup. Sources tell CNN that Ukraine's top general is out. And tonight, we hear exclusively from the man who may replace him.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, outmaneuvered. That is how a Republican senator is describing what is happening to his party on the border bill that right now is essentially dead on arrival on the -- in the House, a border bill that would affect this entire country. Democrats are seeing an opportunity and they're wasting no time tonight in piling on.


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): It's clear that when it comes to border security, Democrats are for the fix and Republicans are for the fiction.

REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): We may have owned it before, but now you own it. Now you own it because we can fix it. Now you don't want to fix this. Now you guys own it.


BURNETT: Well, Swalwell and Moskowitz who see there are not alone. Democrat Tom Suozzi is running in one of the closest watched House races. He says, quote, it's a better issue to run on now than it was ten days ago.

And that is because of comments like this one from House Speaker Mike Johnson just today.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: From what we've heard, this so-called deal does include that -- does not include, sorry, does not include from what we've heard, these transformational policy changes that are needed to actually stop the border catastrophe.


BURNETT: He keeps emphasizing the word what he's heard. We understand his office is being briefed, but obviously, he doesn't want to convey that. He wants to say from what we've heard.

Here's one fact: Johnson has not actually seen the final bill. Nobody has.

The one thing that he does know for sure, but he is hearing loud and clear is Trump lobbying the House Republicans to reject the bill because it would be a, quote, win for the radical left Democrats. And that, that collusion between Trump and House Republicans and the House speaker is why Republican senators are seething.


SEN. MIKE BRAUN (R-IN): To me, this looks like we got outmaneuvered.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): People have to show courage. If you're afraid, you got to read the bill. I mean, don't be ignorant. Read the bill.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): We can't think that this is about political advantage for one candidate or another.

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): Republicans have talked about this for a long time. I'm just telling them to read the bill and make their own decision on it.


BURNETT: Lankford obviously, very conservative the top Republican leading the negotiations, trying to maintain his calm there despite deep frustration.

Republicans know the Democrats are going to flip the script on immigration and they're going to run towards it and not against it if they can't pass this bill.

And Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT. He is live in Douglaston, New York, where he's covering this high-profile special election. Border security is now front and center. This is a must-win race when you look at control of the House, Miguel, and the Democrat, Tom Suozzi, who we just heard from, is feeling very confident on this issue. MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we're seeing

that exact dynamic here in this race. And Tom Suozzi certainly wants to take this off his back. He is running as a centrist in to take on Republican issues, whether it's crime or taxes, or immigration, saying he's a centrist, I can get things done.

But in this suburban district of New York City, immigration is a massive, massive issue. It's very unclear who will end up on top in this special election.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Immigration and the fight over how to deal with it taking center stage in the first special election of 2024.

AD ANNOUNCER: Tom Suozzi will work with both parties to close illegal immigrant routes.

MARQUEZ: Tom Suozzi, a centrist Democrat, trying to turn the tables on Republicans and convince voters that he has the right plan for solving the immigration crisis.

TOM SOUZZI (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: My opponent in this race won't even give a solution. She says it's a problem. Yeah, I agree there's a problem. I have a solution.

MARQUEZ: His opponents, Mazi Pilip, a Nassau County legislator says Suozzi, who represented the district for three terms, then ran unsuccessfully for New York governor, is part of the problem.


AD ANNOUNCER: Tom Suozzi voted with Biden every single time. Biden and the Democrats let in 10 million migrants.

MARQUEZ: And that she has the solutions voters are looking for.

MAZI PILIP (R), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: We have to keep building the wall. In the same time, we have to increase the number of officers who will be there to secure the border and we have to be a more tight when it comes to asylum seeker.

MARQUEZ: Despite a bipartisan immigration bill currently being hammered out in the Senate, House Republicans at the urging of Donald Trump have said they won't consider it.

SOUZZI: Former President Trump is saying, oh, no, I don't want to give Biden a win. Well, that's -- what's wrong with politics.

MARQUEZ: As Democrats blame Republicans for blocking a solution to help solve the crisis, Republicans are pummeling Democrats last for creating the problem.

PILIP: Thanks to Biden's quasi open border policy, millions of migrants have crossed the southern border. MARQUEZ: The race in suburban New York City, eighth purple district,

largely Jewish, registered Democrats slightly outnumbering Republicans, but GOP candidates have performed better here in recent years.

The big issues: Israel, cost of living, abortion, and crime, but maybe none bigger in the closing weeks than worries over immigration and how to deal with it.


MARQUEZ: So early voting starts this Saturday. Election Day is on the 13th. And whoever wins this race, it will send a massive strong signal throughout the country to districts everywhere like this about what we might expect in November -- Erin.

BURNETT: Miguel, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to the Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell.

And, Congressman, I appreciate your time tonight.

So, you know, you're seeing this, you're seeing the importance of this and this one district in New York which happens to be an incredibly crucial one right now, do you think this is now a winning issue for Suozzi and other Democrats when maybe a month or two ago, you probably wouldn't have thought that?

SWALWELL: Yes, Erin. And thanks for having me back.

Immigration is a winning issue for anybody who wants to get something done. And you're seeing the contrast between the two parties. The Republicans are a party of followers and Democrats are showing themselves to be a party of the leaders. They want to now just admire the problem, weaponize the problem and politicize the problem.

And you saw that with the efforts to impeach the secretary in charge of the border, and even "The Wall Street Journal" said, essentially, it'd be insane to throw out the secretary of homeland security. That's not going to solve the issue.

Solving the issue would work in a bipartisan way to take on the challenge at the border.

BURNETT: So there are a number of Democrats who think that the president is actually going too far on immigration in terms of limiting it. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Progressive Caucus, told "Politico", and I quote her, Congressman, the president would just do very well to remember, it has never worked for Democrats to just take up Republican talking points and think that somehow Republicans are going to turn around and thank us for it. That's just not going to happen.

And Democratic Congressman Greg Casar said, and I quote him: It's bad immigration policy. It's bad for our economy. It's not humane. It's bad for Americans. And then I think its bad politics as well. I don't think that we should be accepting a hostage taking situation and Trump light policies as Democrats.

Now, that's coming from the left of your party. But it does raise a crucial question. You know, there's -- very clear, Democrats or Republicans who are negotiating this bill are calling it the strictest in this century, the strictest in generations. Is Biden risk and going beyond where your party is right now?

SWALWELL: I think he's going right where the American people are. And, of course, in a negotiation, you're never going to get what you want.

But at the great big center of this country believes that somewhere between putting kids in cages, which is inhumane and wrong, and somewhere between an having an absolute open border, you can have policies where the border is secure, where you have barriers where it makes sense, where you use surveillance and sensor technologies and you surge border patrol agents, that you have a pathway for earned citizenship to meet a lot of our workforce shortages in this country.

And that you show compassion to people who are coming here with asylum claims. And you have enough resources through judges to adjudicate the claims that are meritus (ph) and get rid of the ones that are not. That to me makes more sense.

And the deal led by the second most conservative person in the Senate, James Lankford --


SWALWELL: -- working with Democrats, is at least getting us somewhere near that rather than just as I said, weaponizing the problem and not wanting to be a part of the solution.

BURNETT: So, you know, taking a step back here, obviously, there is the bill itself, right? And as it's being described as the strictest, as you say, pointing being negotiated in the Republican side by one of the most conservative members of the Senate. Then there's also the laws on the books now, what can be done with what we have, and we hear that argument a lot, right? Enforce what's on the books before we talk about what is needed.

The House Speaker Mike Johnson says that Biden can use Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to fix the border which basically gives a president broad authority to restrict immigration.


So the key line in it, Congressman, reads: Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens did the United States would be detrimental to the interest of the United States, he may by proclamation and for such a period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens or immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens, any restrictions he may deem appropriate.

Now, Congressman, you and I know, everyone knows President Trump used this many times. He was challenged in court, including when he used it to ban travel from those five mainly Muslim countries. But in that case, the Supreme Court ruled on Section 212(f), that it exudes deference to the president in every clause.

So, Congressman, just a very basic question.


BURNETT: Why wouldn't President Biden?


BURNETT: Sure, he'll be challenged in court. Go ahead and try to use this now to stem a quarter million people coming over the border every month.

SWALWELL: Well, I mean, certainly, resources are being searched to the extent that they can, but, Erin, that many of the challenges were also successful in court, and I think the last thing you want is uncertainty day-to-day on what the situation is at the border.

So if you can put it into law with a bipartisan piece of legislation that would let the president stopped asylum claims from time to time and put the resources there so that you can restart them, which seems to be the crux of what this deal could be, that gives more certainty to our process and we should take it rather than just leaving this to the courts. And then next week when it stayed, it's back open again. That to me is just chaos.

One party again, they just want to sabotage the process, throw at the secretary in charge of the process not solve the process so that you can help Donald Trump in the upcoming election and benefit on the chaos.

BURNETT: Right, which, you know, Jonathan Turley, who obviously had represented Trump in the impeachment hearings, at least from a constitutional law perspective, thinks that impeaching the homeland security secretary makes no the sense at all. And it's completely inappropriate.

But there are things out there that don't really still make sense, Congressman. Like for example, does it make sense to you that President Biden has repeatedly asked for fewer immigration detention beds and his annual budget? And some people point to these things as the signals that this administration has sent that the border is open

SWALWELL: Yeah. So I think anyone who could be a threat to the United States certainly would want them in a detention bed. And in an ideal world, if someone comes here with an asylum claim, you can process that claim as quickly as possible and return them to their country if they don't meet the standard. But we don't have the resources right now to do that.

And then I think that's what this deal can get us.


BURNETT: But he hasn't requested the resources in the past I guess in part is what I'm pointing out with things like the beds as an example.

SWALWELL: Sure. And Speaker Johnson has said that he won't take additional, you know, resources unless we pass the most extreme draconian bill that they had. Again, I think most Americans live in the great big center on this issue and we're getting closer to finding it. And I just hope my Republican colleagues realized that we can do big things on a complicated issue if we just come together.

BURNETT: And that's certainly something, as you point out, Senator Lankford agrees with.

Thank you so much. I appreciate your time, Congressman Swalwell.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, a top Teamsters executive today skipping a meeting with former President Trump, a man that he calls an insurrectionist and a scab. But can Trump still score that union's endorsement? Well, that Teamster exec is next.

Plus, Mark Zuckerberg says he sorry to parents who say social media contributed to their children's suicides.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, META: I'm sorry for everything you have all been through.


BURNETT: But then, why is he then denying the link between social media and poor mental health?

And Nevada Republicans go to the polls next week. The fix is already in, it appears, for Trump. We'll show you why in a special report, coming up.



BURNETT: Tonight, a quote, union buster, scab, and insurrectionist. That's what a top Teamsters executive is calling Trump as the former president meets with the union. Trump is trying to get a big endorsement and make no mistake, an endorsement from a major union, the Teamsters union would be -- would be unprecedented.

Vice president at large, John Palmer, who will be my guest in a moment, though, refused to attend the union meeting today with Trump. This is just days after Palmer sent a letter to the Teamsters president, Sean O'Brien, where he argued that Trump should not be welcomed by the 1.3 million member union, saying in part, quote, he's a known union buster, scab and insurrectionist. We should never entertain dialogue with a candidate was such an anti-union record.

John Palmer is now OUTFRONT. So, John, we understand this meeting happened today, and I know you

chose not to go Trump called the meeting, quote, very strong. He sounds very confident that the Teamsters will endorse him. Obviously, your union, 1.3 million Americans are member of your union.

What is -- what have you heard about what happened in that meeting today?

JOHN PALMER, VICE PRESIDENT AT LARGE, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS: Well, I saw a list of questions. There were a lot of tough questions asked concerning where he stood and what he might do on his next term but my sense is, you know, we already know this man is. You judge people by the actions that they take, right?

And all the things that I said, scab, union buster, insurrectionist, are provable beyond a doubt. You know, he crossed the picket line with the IATSE people. He hired union busters to staff the department of labor, the National Labor Relations Board, which affects us greatly because I'm an organizer and I've had to deal with the labor board.

And you know, as far as the insurrection goes, you know, we all saw what happened. There's folks that want to somehow address that up as a vacation day for some folks. And that's very unfortunate.

BURNETT: Do you think though from what your peers and your union, your -- those of you running the union, do you think Trump really has a chance of getting this endorsement?

PALMER: I would say zero.


I don't believe he does have a chance. I was disappointed in the appearance, you know, particularly the press conference that occurred after the meeting. I think it -- it sends out a sort of, you know, it was in my letter where I suggested that it's a tacit endorsement. You know, he is not going to do anything for labor. He never has done anything for labor and frankly, he's not a trustworthy individual.

BURNETT: So after the meeting today and you talk about what he spoke, but he was asked about your criticism specifically, and I wanted to play part of that exchange. Here it is.


QUESTION: One of the teamsters executive board members objected to your visit today, calling you a known union-buster, scab and insurrectionist. What's your response to that?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: They're wrong about that. I've dealt with unions for my whole life. I've had a great relationship with unions.


BURNETT: So what do you say to that, John, when you've looked at his history with unions? Great relationship with unions, he says.

PALMER: I think -- I think we know about Donald Trump's long history and inability to tell the truth. I mean, I just laid out exactly why I said those three things and he's guilty of all those things. It's fact. You know, a rock is a rock. When you tap on it with your knuckles, your knuckles are going to bleed.

So I know folks live in information bubbles and take on different viewpoints, but we all need to -- need to look for truth and as leaders, it's incumbent upon us to tell the truth to our members.

Now, I served in the military. I'm very proud of that service. My whole family did. I also believe that -- I lost an uncle in Korea who I never knew, but people died so we could have the right to disagree. I'm fine with people having a different viewpoint. But as a leader, it's my responsibility to lay the facts out for folks.

And this isn't -- for working men and women in general, let's go beyond unions. Everything -- you know, the good things that happen with unions transfer into the non-union workplace. So yes, go ahead.

BURNETT: So, no, no, I know, obviously, you know, you made it clear here that you don't support Trump, actually, that you do support Biden, but I want to ask you something about your union itself, right? And just what's happened in this country in terms of political shifts, right? One-point-three million members, as I mentioned a moment ago.

Our Harry Enten has been going through the numbers and, you know, he's pointed out that the Democratic edge with union voters has declined dramatically, right? In 1948, it was a 62-point edge, 21 points now in 2020.

So do you worry that a lot of people in your union simply don't see it this way, that they would be happy to have the union endorsed Trump?

PALMER: I think it is a cause for concern and I think sometimes as we rise in the ranks of leadership, we become disconnected from the membership. And as, you know, as an organizer person who -- you know, education is everything.


PALMER: And instead of endorsing somebody or playing footsie with somebody who clearly isn't going to work in our best interests, we should be out there talking to our members. The facts are pretty clear as to why this man should not -- should not get our endorsement. I certainly will -- won't.

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

PALMER: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Mark Zuckerberg, making a public apology to parents, but right after he said he was sorry, he then said this.


ZUCKERBERG: The existing body of scientific work has not shown a causal link between using social media and young people having more mental health outcomes.


BURNETT: Okay. Well, I mean sure. Well, a doctor who has long studied the impact of social media on mental health says Zuckerberg is wrong, and, of course, anyone's actual experience would indicate that's the case as well. She's my guest next.

And Nevada votes next week. But is the contest already rigged for Trump?


REPORTER: What do you notice about this ballot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person I wanted to vote for wasn't on his ballot.




BURNETT: Tonight, sorry. Not sorry. Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg, whose company owns Facebook and Instagram, today facing the families of online abuse victims with this message.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): There's families of victims here today. Have you apologize to the victims? Would you like to do so now?


HAWLEY: They're here. You're on national television. Would you like now to apologize to the victims who have been harmed by your products? Showing him the pictures. Would you like to apologize for what you've done to these good people?

ZUCKERBERG: I'm sorry for everything you have all been through. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered, and this is why we invested so much and are going to continue doing industry-leading efforts to make sure that no one has to go through the types of things that your families have had to suffer.


BURNETT: All right. That was a stunning moment and it came during a very tense Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on online child safety.

So there was that apology, which, of course, was prompted right by -- prompted. But here's the same hearing and Zuckerberg a few minutes later.


ZUCKERBERG: Mental health is a complex issue in the existing body of scientific work has not shown a causal link between using social media and young people having worse mental health outcomes.


BURNETT: No causal link. Well, that does fly in the face of numerous credible studies at this point. And well, frankly, it's an insult to those families.

OUTFRONT now, Dr. Lisa Strohman. She's a clinical psychologist who specializes in technology use.

So, Dr. Strohman, you are watching this today? And you said you had to turn off the television during the hearing because it upset you so much. Tell me why.

DR. LISA STROHMAN, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yeah. Thank you, Erin. You know, I've been in the field and working as a clinical psychologist for over 20 years. And I sit in a room with children and families that have been harmed by social media. And I've spent my career being an advocate on this point. So to hear Mark Zuckerberg stand up and say that there's no causal link means that he has bad advisors because he -- he is basically trying to turn the scientific community in my opinion against himself.


He is absolutely in patently lying that he doesn't have evidence that this is actually harming our children. And he has a personnel issue if he doesn't have those people that are in that internal world of his giving him that feedback on a daily basis.

BURNETT: So, Zuckerberg, you know, in denying that link, the causal link between social media use and poor mental health, you know, there's a lot of research on this, of course, as you're well aware, going through some of it. I mean, there was a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology that found that Facebook use was associated with a decrease in self-reported mental health. And literally the number that you can correlate likes, right, the number of likes with mental health.

And then there's this -- this is an analysis of CDC data. I know, Doctor, familiar to you but it shows spikes and feelings of sadness and suicidal thoughts. And you can see that on one line and this comes along with the introduction of the various social media platforms.

So you can see things out there. What else does the data show that you have looked through in such detail?

STROHMAN: Well, it's always going to be correlational data. And so to his point, he can use the word causal because he knows that we cannot do studies where we put children in front of harmful content and see whether or not it hurts them. So this CDC data shows that overlay shows the correlational relationship between when these -- these products are coming out in the effect that it's having on our teenagers.

So, when he says that mental health has a complex issue, that was the part that really got to me because it's a simple issue. We're either well, or we're unwell, and our children are suffering and they're unwell. So it's a simple issue.

If they put the dollars behind actually the services and going upstream and keeping the children off of these platforms, then we wouldn't have to spend billions of dollars that he's putting back into his tech company to create buttons that aren't working anyway.

BURNETT: You know, it's an actually an amazing thing and that this issue actually has united people from both parties in Congress, which pretty much nothing does. I want to play you actually a bit of an exchange that Zuckerberg had with a Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn.


SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): Children are not your priority. Children are your product. Children, you see, as a way to make money.


BURNETT: Obviously, there's, you know, it's interesting. Mark Zuckerberg is a parent himself now. So he can see this from other perspectives, but from the perspective of his company and how it is run, and what they do and how they make money, how they grow, is she right?

STROHMAN: She's absolutely right. And in fact, if you look at the evidence, it's out there, it's really on a child time on a platform. They're making about $270 per child.

And my question to the world is, is it worth it? Are we trading in our humanity for dollars in this case? Because our generation of children are never going to grow up well enough, healthy enough, or mindful enough to be able to be contributing into our society if we keep intruding into their minds with this content that's harming them.

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

STROHMAN: Thank you for having me, Erin.

BURNETT: All right.

And next the next major contest in the Republican primary is next week. But here's the thing. Nikki Haley and Donald Trump are not even on the same ballot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This definitely smells of rigging the caucus on behalf of Donald Trump,


BURNETT: Plus, breaking news this hour, sources telling CNN now that Ukraine's top general is out. And tonight, an exclusive interview with the man who could be his replacement, a seismic shift in the Ukraine war tonight. We'll be back.



BURNETT: Tonight, rigged for Trump. It's the loaded word obviously, but it is the accusation against the Republican Party in Nevada, which is running a caucus next week with Trump as the only major candidate actually, you know, you're allowed to vote for.

Well, that's odd, right? Nikki Haley's in the race. And to add to the confusion, the state then is running a separate primary election where Nikki Haley is running. But it actually doesn't matter because the only thing that matters is the caucus, because the candidate that wins the caucus where Trump's the only ones on the ballot gets the 26 delegates. The primary winner gets nothing.

So, Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with why a lot of Nevadans are crying and foul and saying the Nevada GOP is in Trump's back pocket.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be very confusing for people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't understand why we're doing it that way.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Nevada's primary, Republican voters are finding there's something missing, Donald Trump.

This is very much like the ballot you just turned in, right?


LAH: And what do you notice about this ballot person?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person I wanted to vote for wasn't on his ballot.

LAH: So, do a lot of people understand what's happening this time in Nevada?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so. I don't -- I didn't.


LAH: At his Nevada rally, former President Donald Trump said, no need for concern. Just go to the caucuses.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Do the caucus, not the primary. The primary is meaningless.

LAH: Nevada passed a law in 2021 that switched from caucuses to a primary system that Trump didn't want to run in.

So, now, Trump is participating in the party-run Nevada caucuses on February 8th. Nikki Haley is running in the state-run primary two days earlier. Outside of this Trump rally, his voters were still trying to make sense of the dual system.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Nevada, I think it's going to confuse a lot of people. Only the results of the caucuses award delegates towards nominating the Republican presidential candidate, the state party sets that rule. It's why Trumps campaign is pushing the caucuses.

If you're lost, you wouldn't be the only one.

We're trying to talk to people about the caucus versus the primary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. There's a lot of confusion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is confusing because I got the information, but it does not tell you when to vote.

LAH: You're looking up the difference between the two?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, like caucus, primary, different stuff like that. I still don't know why he's not on there.

CHUCK MUTH, FORMER CLARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN: It's hypocrisy that you couldn't cut with a chainsaw.

LAH: Former Clark County Republican chairman Chuck Muth voted in the primary, but knows it doesn't matter.

MUTH: I believe that they set up the caucus because they wanted to for sure that Donald Trump was not embarrassed in Nevada and secured Nevada's vote. This definitely smells of rigging the caucus on behalf of Donald Trump.

LAH: He's talking about the leadership of his state Republican Party some of those leaders just happen to also be criminally indicted by the state for attempting to falsely certify that Trump won Nevada in 2020, he did not win. All six fake electors have pleaded not guilty to felony charges.

Michael McDonald, Nevada Republican Party chairman and close Trump ally.

MICHAEL MCDONALD, NEVADA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: And we will deliver you 100 percent delegates for the state of Nevada to Donald J. Trump.

LAH: And Jesse Law -- Clark County Republican chairman, who sang at Trump's last Nevada rally. Last November, we caught up with a caucus road show held by Republican Party leaders, Jim Degraffenreid and Jim Hindle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a party, make sure that were choosing the most competitive, the most representative candidate to be our nominee.


LAH: Amy Tarkanian, former state GOP chair and lifelong Republican, doesn't buy any of this.

What does it mean though if you have these indicted fake electors who are also behind pushing this caucus?

TARKANIAN: How do you trust it? How do you trust it? To me, it comes across as a complete pro-Trump scam. That's it, plain and simple. It's sad, and it's disappointing.

I think really they've disenfranchised the Republican voter.


LAH (on camera): Since Nevada's Republican primary doesn't award any delegates, the best Nikki Haley can hope for is bragging rights. Donald Trump, he's the only major name left in the caucuses, which will award 26 delegates -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much.

And I do want to add that we reached out to the Nevada Republican leadership for comment and they did not respond to our request.

Well, next, Trump's federal January 6 case is on hold. It is now awaiting a key decision from an appeal court.

There's a real big question here though. This was expected to happen quickly. It has taken now almost a month. Why is it taking so long for the judges to rule on whether Trump is immune or not. Former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb has a theory.

And breaking news, sources tell CNN that Ukraine's military chief has been told he's being fired. He's been side by side with Zelenskyy since day one, a crucial development in this war. As the man who could replace him sits down exclusively with CNN.



BURNETT: All right, growing questions tonight about whether Trump will actually face a criminal trial before the election. It's now been seven weeks since all proceedings were paused and the DOJ election meddling case against Trump, the case halted until a federal appeals court rules on Trump's claim that he has presidential immunity from criminal prosecution. Everyone expected there to be a ruling very quickly here from this

court. But three -- the three-judge panel has been silent for three weeks. Almost certainly delaying the scheduled March 4th trial date.

OUTFRONT now, Ty Cobb, the former Trump White House lawyer who signed onto an amicus brief filed in the D.C. circuit court of appeals to argue against Trump's claim of immunity.

And, Ty, we've talked about this. You'd expect that a quick decision after the appeals court. Oral arguments were on January 9th. It is January 31st. They have said nothing.

What do you think is happening?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: So I think the three-week delay is, is -- if you've just take a setback, given the -- given the magnitude of the decision involving a former president and an unprecedented constitutional claim, it's not -- it's not difficult to imagine that the court would take, you know, three weeks to a months to perfect an opinion. I hope that's what's going on.

It is also possible that the court could split two to one not on whether or not Trumps arguments are valid because they're clearly invalid and will be rejected, but on the issue of whether or not the claim should be heard at this time. As you recall, there was an amicus opinion citing the (INAUDIBLE) case that said that -- you know, that no interlocutory appeals should be heard pre-conviction. The court asked him questions about that early in the hearing but then they reverted to the famous exchanges with regard to the logical extent of the arguments put forth by Trump's attorney --


COBB: -- ending with the attorney insisting that SEAL Team Six could kill a political rival under certain circumstances.


COBB: I think -- I think if this -- if this goes through the end of next week without a decision, that's a concern. I think a 2-1 opinion invites en banc review, which I think otherwise would be rejected. That would add additional delay. And also a 2-1 opinion would make it more likely that the Supreme Court might take this up.

My own view as we've discussed before, along with, you know, several other constitutional scholars, although many people disagree, is that the Supreme Court is unlikely in the -- in the event of a strong D.C. circuit opinion is unlikely to take this case up pre-conviction.

HANNITY: All right. So, then when you talk about conviction, right, you have to have the trial.

COBB: Right.

HANNITY: And that didn't get there and then appeals. But if you look at the timeline, Norm Eisen laid out that how he thought that this could actually end up delaying the beginning of the trial until August.


Now, if you do that, there's a -- you know, long-standing kind of DOJ rule, right? That you don't have, you know, public steps that could influence an election within 60 days in an election. James Comey --

COBB: Right.

BURNETT: -- you know, could talk about that.

Okay. So that would put you there. So I guess the question is, do you think its possible that this case which was scheduled originally to start on March 4th, could possibly not start at all before the election?

COBB: No, I believe -- I -- so do I think that's possible? Yes. I think that's -- I think that's very possible. I still think it's 60/40 that the case will go forward in late May or June, assuming an opinion within the next week.

And I do believe that, you know, it is possible to get the trial done, but obviously the appeal would not be completed before Trump -- if he -- should he win, would be inaugurated. And at that point, he will have the ability to order his Justice Department to dismiss the appeal. And, you know, this case will be as though it never existed.

He's not going to pardon himself. It's sad to see journalists still insisting that's a possibility because, A, it was never a possibility and, B, its unnecessary because all he has to do is direct the Justice Department to dismiss the -- dismiss the appeals.

But, yeah, I think he's not going to be incarcerated in advance of inauguration should he win.

BURNETT: I want to ask you before you go, Ty.

COBB: Sure.

BURNETT: Alina Habba, Trump's lawyer who lost the case in the E. Jean Carroll $83 million defamation settlement. He -- Trump has indicated he's looking for new representation for his appeal. She represented him and she said a recent interview. She talked about that and what it was like working with him.

Here's what she said


ALINA HABBA, DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Winning always helps. He doesn't want anybody on his team representing him that's, you know, going to keep failing, of course. Loyalty, it's something he talks about all the time, but loyalty in not a cryptic mafia way.


BURNETT: So he did say he's looking for new representation.

You worked for him. What do you -- you know, for the White House, so, you know him. What do you think about how she's handled the case?

COBB: I think she's handled it in the mafia way. She's done his bidding. She's articulated his political narrative of victimization and unfairness in the judicial system and made some outlandish claims, including the conflict claims, and she lost. So she's losing. I'm not surprised that Trump is looking for appellate representation.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Ty, thank you very much. I appreciate your time as always.

COBB: My pleasure. Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. See you soon.

And next, the breaking news, Ukraine's army chief fired, according to sources, a major development tonight. Next you'll hear exclusively from the man who could replace him.



BURNETT: Breaking news, a major military shakeup. President Zelenskyy of Ukraine telling his top general, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, that he's being fired. Sources are telling CNN. This is an enormous move. It is a seismic move. They've been together since day one and it comes at a crucial time in the war.

Formal announcement is expected by the end of the week. It comes as U.S. aid is on hold, but one person now seen as a potential replacement is a man that Vladimir Putin tried to assassinate ten separate times. He's just sitting down for an exclusive interview with CNN with our Fred Pleitgen, who is OUTFRONT.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): With Ukraine facing a Russian onslaught in many frontline areas, Kyiv says continued U.S. military aid is more important than ever, Ukraine's military intel chief tells me.

KYRYLO BUDANOV, HEAD OF UKRAINIAN DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE (through translator): Shells are one of the most decisive factors in his war. It's about quantity. Not so much the quality as the quantity.

Next, there are assault aircraft. These are aircraft of the type of the United States has, like the A10 Thunderbolt 2 and so on. This is what can really help inflict a military defeat.

PLEITGEN: But further military aid to Ukraine hangs in the balance as Democrats accuse former President Trump of derailing a possible compromise. Budanov says he's not concerned about Trump. BUDANOV: He's an experienced person. He has fallen many times and gotten back up again. And this is a very serious trait. To say that he and the Republican Party are lovers of the Russian Federation is complete nonsense.

PLEITGEN: But the Russians are currently on the offensive on the front lines. We've seen Kyiv's forces suffering a severe lack of ammunition struggling to hold the line.

Still, Budanov says he believes the tides will turn and Ukraine will attack.

BUDANOV: In my opinion, the main events on the battlefield will start happening sometime in the spring or early summer.

PLEITGEN: Vladimir Putin wants Kyrylo Budanov dead. The Ukrainian say Moscow tried to fascinate him at least ten times. Recently, Budanov's wife and several bodyguards fell ill after what Kyiv says was poisoning by a, quote, heavy metal, but they survived.

The military intelligence directorate is said to be behind an increasing number of cross-border attacks targeting key infrastructure inside Russia and the occupied territories. While never claiming responsibility, Budanov tells me Russians can rest assured the war has come to them.

BUDANOV: I believe that the plan includes all major critical infrastructure facilities, a military infrastructure facilities of the Russian federation.

PLEITGEN: With Ukraine's offensive, essentially stagnant, the Kremlin is currently feasting on rumors. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is close to firing his top general, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, and possibly installing Budanov as a successor.

The spy chief, coy.

Isn't that something that weakens the country if it appears as though the president and his top general are not on the same page?

BUDANOV: I am also the head of one of the military agencies. So, I personally have no conflicts with anyone.

PLEITGEN: You've got people talking about new possibly being the new general?

BUDANOV: If I was appointed yesterday, would we be meeting?


PLEITGEN (on camera): So as you can see there, Erin, still a lot of uncertainty surrounding that situation with General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi.

Meanwhile, I also asked Budanov what exactly victory would look like for Ukraine. He said nothing less than taking back all of Ukraine's territories, including Crimea -- Erin. BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Fred. And, of course, that is

exactly what Volodymyr Zelenskyy says repeatedly. So they are on the same page.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.