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Erin Burnett Outfront

Hours Away: Supreme Court Hears Trump Case On Ballot Eligibility; U.S. Strike Kills Iran-Backed Militia Commander In Iraq; Tucker Carlson Sits Down With Putin As Kremlin Calls Him Unbiased; Republicans Puzzled By Their Own Drama, Back-To-Back Defeats; China Seizes On Texas' Feud With White House To Falsely Float "Civil War". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 07, 2024 - 19:00   ET




We are live in the Supreme Court where in just hours, a crucial hearing to determine whether Trump is disqualified from the ballot will begin. It is a decision that could upend the 2024 election.

One of the attorneys in the courtroom tomorrow is OUTFRONT.

Plus, Putin's American friend, the Russian president, sitting down for an extensive conversation with Tucker Carlson, who has never shied away from pushing Putin's propaganda.

And Chinese headlines saying Texas is about to secede from the Union, that a civil war is breaking out in America. Why is the communist government letting these lies flourish?



BURNETT: And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the Supreme Court, front and center. You were looking at live pictures of the nation's highest court with the first case that could impact the 2024 election begins in just hours. The justices tomorrow morning will hear oral arguments there in an unprecedented case that could help decide the entire election.

So Colorado's highest court, the Supreme Court in Colorado, has already ruled that Trump engaged in insurrection and is therefore disqualified from the Colorado ballot, disqualified from holding the highest office in the land. So that ruling removes him from the ballot in the state. This is ruling which just to state the very obvious will have massive impact.

And not just in Colorado on the entire country. I mean, Maine is also removed Trump from the ballot, even though attempts to kick Trump off on the ballot at least nine other states have failed. What this could do tomorrow is set a precedent that could spread around the country, even though Colorado alone would make history and change this election.

Now, one of the attorneys making Colorado's case, who will be at the Supreme Court tomorrow is my guest in just a moment.

And in these final hours before the Supreme Court takes this first Trump election case, we're also waiting to see if Trump will formally appealed to the Supreme Court over whether he is immune from prosecution just because he was president. Twenty-four hours ago, three judges unanimously ruled that Trump does not have immunity from criminal charges against him, which means that the federal January 6th case can proceed, and that will likely have a verdict for election day, which polls at least indicate would dramatically and instantaneously transform this election, this according to polls.

Now, let me give you the timeline. Our legal analyst, Ryan Goodman, and his team at Just Security came to this conclusion. They say that the appeals court gave Trump until Monday, February 12th to appeal this decision on immunity. So then the Supreme Court can decide whether or not to take the case and that decision they expect will happen around February 29.

If the Supreme Court lets that three ruling stand without review than the January 6 trial could start the beginning of June, and a verdict could come by September 1st.

Now, if they review the three court -- the three-judge ruling and as expected up hold it, but they do it through a formal review and they denied Trump immunity that way. Well, then it starts a little bit later. But Ryan, his team still say that trial would start by the end of July with a verdict of guilty or not guilty the week before the election.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT at the Supreme Court to begin our coverage tonight.

And, Evan, obviously this is a crucial moment. This is the beginning here of what could be a lot coming before the Supreme Court. What are you expecting?


Look, the stakes are high for the former president. Obviously, everything rides on this case. There's a number of other states, as you pointed out, that are waiting in the wings to see how this one turns out. And the former president's legal team were expecting they're going to bring up, they're going to make a comparison between this, this effort to remove him from the ballot to Venezuela, where the authorities there have disqualified opposition candidate. They're going to compare that to what is happening in this case.

Of course, as you pointed out, this is a case that none of us, a lot of -- none of us really thought was going to get this far and it got here just by the thinnest of margins. It was a 4-3 vote by the Colorado Supreme Court, all Democratic nominees on that court. And you'll also remember that the lower court judge had declined to remove the former president from the ballot, although she declared him to be an insurrectionist.

So we are expecting that there's going to be some tough questions brought by the justices tomorrow. This is a conservative court. They're going to give -- they're going to give this a very tough, tough time we think.


But obviously, all -- we don't know how this is going to go and we don't know how long this will take. And so, for the former president and his legal team, everything rides on how this argument goes tomorrow.

BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much, just outside the Supreme Court tonight.

And Sean Grimsley is OUTFRONT now. He will be at the Supreme Court tomorrow. He's part of the team arguing that Trump should be removed from the Colorado ballot.

So, Sean, you and I have talked throughout this case, as it is moved its way through the courts, what does it mean to you to be in that room? The Supreme Court justices for these arguments?

SEAN GRIMSLEY, ATTORNEY ATTEMPTING TO BAR TRUMP COLORADO BALLOT: Well, it's very gratifying for us to have made it here. We've made it here really and only five months we filed the case in September. And this is an issue that we knew was likely going to make it to the Supreme Court at some point and were thankful to the court that they've put it on such an expedited schedule that they can decide this issue before March 5th, Super Tuesday, so that people can go to the polls on Super Tuesday, knowing whether President Trump is in fact disqualified.

BURNETT: So what is the most important part of your team's argument tomorrow before the Supreme Court? You heard Evan talking about how Trump's team will make the case that, you know, we're moving someone from a ballot at legally as opposed to via a Democratic vote, that they're going to liken that to removing opposition candidate and from the ballot in Venezuela. What's your main argument going to be?

GRIMSLEY: Well, this is not Venezuela and as you know, we won below. So we're defending the Colorado Supreme Court's decision. And if you look at the legal issues in the case, they really are pretty straightforward in our favor. The biggest issue for us is just the magnitude of the decision that we're asking the Supreme Court to make.

And, you know, there's been an argument that this is somehow anti- democratic, that we should let the voters decide.


GRIMSLEY: This is the furthest thing from anti-democratic. Last time President Trump was on the ballot, he ignored the will of 80 million U.S. voters and summoned the mob to attack the Capitol during the peaceful, otherwise peaceful transition of presidential power. Section three of the 14th Amendment is one of the few self-defense

mechanisms that the constitution has to ensure that our democracy remains viable, going into the future.

BURNETT: So let me ask you, I understand your argument you're making. Of course, you're aware as I am, that there are many legal experts, you know, some of whom very much believed that Trump should be found guilty in the January 6 case itself who think that this could be unanimous, that you could even have liberal justices on the Supreme Court ruling against the Colorado Supreme Court, and you in this case.

Has there anything that you've seen from the court itself, from the justices on the court themselves, that leads you to believe that this will go otherwise?

GRIMSLEY: They're taking this very seriously. So they granted cert. They put this on a very expedited schedule. They appreciated the fact that they need to decide this issue before hopefully Super Tuesday and they are digging in.

And I, frankly, when I first was brought, this case was skeptical. But as you dig into each of the legal issues that Trump is arguing, keep him on the ballot, each one of them we think is a bad legal argument. I think what you're seeing probably over in the Supreme Court if you were there right now, the justices digging in, the clerks digging in and realizing that President Trump under the plain language of Section Three of the 14th Amendment is disqualified from holding office again.

BURNETT: Trump's attorney tomorrow is named Jonathan Mitchell. He is going to be arguing before the Supreme Court for the sixth time, has done this obviously many times before. You know, obviously, I can only imagine what it's like to be in the night before you go in front of the Supreme Court, but does that -- I don't know what the right word is, but, you know, give you pause at all? I mean, this is somebody who obviously is very experienced at this.

GRIMSLEY: No, because at the end of the day, yes. The arguments are going to be important tomorrow. The justices though, are reading the briefs. They're doing their own research and they're going to come to their own decisions about what is right.

And my colleague Jason Murray, although he's never argued before the Supreme Court before, is an extraordinary advocate. As you might imagine, once this case was decided at the Colorado Supreme Court, people were coming out of the woodwork to argue this case.

Once it was granted here, and we all unanimously on our team decided, even though Jason had not argued before, he was the right person, the only choice to argue this case.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Sean. I appreciate your time. We will all be watching tomorrow.

GRIMSLEY: Thank you.

BURNETT: David Axelrod's with me now. So, David, you know, you hear Sean laying this out. They're calm. They're confident.

But I know you've warned that this case could tear the country the apart. Those are the exact words you used. You don't use them lightly. Why do you feel so strongly?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, let me preface it by saying, it is stunning that three years after President Trump left the capital in disgrace, having sold this lie that the election had been stolen from him and having incited people to storm the Capitol, that he is in the position he's in and where in the position were in.


I'm not here as an apologist for Donald Trump, and I'm certainly not here as a lawyer. But I'm sure that one of the things that Supreme Court has to consider is what is the impact of a decision like that? You know, there are a lot -- there are myriad legal questions that they're going to consider tomorrow, some will undoubtedly offer off- ramps if they want an off-ramp.

But I'm trying to imagine what it would be like if the Supreme Court said, we're removing the front-running Republican candidate from the ballot. And essentially saying in the American people, you won't have the opportunity to vote for him. And I think it would be very, very disruptive in this country. I think it will create a huge reaction and that worries me. It worries me because partly because of Donald Trump, there's so much cynicism about our institutions already.

And, you know, the strength of our democracy are these institutions you can argue that, well, that's why you have to go the way the Colorado court suggests, but I think in the minds of many voters, this would be a subversion. And it would draw a very strong reaction.

BURNETT: And, you know, you also have the January 6 case itself, right? So this issue that the color Supreme Court concluded that the president, the former president cited an insurrection and therefore is removed from the ballot. The -- I know its not a technical insurrection charge, but the January 6 case is proceeding separately, obviously.

You just saw the layout there. You know, Ryan Goodman coming to the conclusion that if they -- the Supreme Court concludes that the president does not have immunity for crimes committed in office, that you would get a verdict in the worst-case, possibly the week before Election Day. That is an incredible thing to even consider, isn't it?

AXELROD: It is incredible to consider and it's almost incredible for me to believe that the courts and the DOJ would operate on that schedule. You know, they've been very skittish in the past about sort of getting involved as close to the election as even months. This is a matter of weeks.

I also think that I don't know what they are. And again, I'm not a lawyer, but I suspect that whatever dilatory tactics that the Trump legal team can employ, they will continue to employ them because their goal is absolutely to push this case beyond the election.

But one thing about the immunity case, Erin, is that the court is in an interesting position, say they rule in the president's favor on this. They have another swing at the bat very quickly to rule on the immunity case, and they may rule against him on that, and they may see that as a balancing act.


AXELROD: So it'll be interesting to watch.

BURNETT: David Axelrod, thank you very much. These final hours before what is what is going to be a crucial day and a crucial year for the Supreme Court.

And next, the breaking news, new pictures, the United States just took out a Hezbollah commander involved in the attack that killed three American soldiers. We are live with the latest details, but we understand then a command or killed by us fire tonight.

Plus, Ukraine's manpower decimated and exhausted. And now, Kyiv is relying on men in their 50s to fight Putin's forces. It took a deep look on this. It is a special report and an important one we believe that you'll see first OUTFRONT.

And a meltdown inside the Republican Party after back-to-back humiliating defeats for the speaker of the House.



BURNETT: Breaking news, a U.S. strike in Iraq killing a Kataib Hezbollah commander responsible for deadly attacks on U.S. forces, including the one that killed three Americans in Jordan. This is according to U.S. Central Command. This is the aftermath of a drone strike that we understand targeted that commander's vehicle while it was in Baghdad.

Alex Marquardt is following these breaking developments OUTFRONT.

And, Alex, we've got this footage just in of a strike tonight, striking a car, killing a commander in Baghdad, they say. What more do you know about the strike and who was killed?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And, Erin, you can see in that remarkable video how precise this strike was against that SUV in eastern Baghdad. U.S. Central Command says that they carried out this strike against the commander of Kataib Hezbollah, which is one of the most powerful Iran-backed groups in Iraq, which they say has carried out attacks against U.S. forces all across the region that the Biden administration is saying this is part of the direct retaliation -- U.S. retaliation for the death of those U.S. Americans -- those U.S. service members in that attack at the Jordan base a week and a half ago.

The first set of retaliation we saw on Friday night that was when B1 bombers attacked 85 different targets in Iraq and in Syria, seven different facilities, that was designed to degrade the capabilities of these militia groups. Tonight's attack was specifically against militia leadership and the commander from Kataib Hezbollah, who was killed, we're told, according to three U.S. officials, his name was Wisam Mohammed Saber al-Saedi.

He was in charge of logistical operations, which includes rockets and drones. Now, notably, Erin, this is causing some diplomatic trouble for the U.S. because the U.S. did not tell Iraq that they were carrying out tonight's strike until afterwards. That's the same thing that happened after Friday night strike. They hadn't told Iraq ahead of time. Iraq has called these strikes inside -- by the U.S., a violation of sovereignty. And earlier, we heard from an Iraqi security official who said that this is new aggression by the United States, saying that this undermines all understandings between Iraq and U.S.

Major question, Erin, now is whether these U.S. strikes will deter attacks by these militant groups that have been almost 170 in Iraq and Syria since October -- Erin.

BURNETT: Alex, thank you very much.

And also developing tonight, Ukraine on the verge of this massive military overhaul and perhaps even bigger, it has actually been nine days since President Zelenskyy told his top commander, Valerii Zaluzhnyi that he's been fired. But Zelenskyy has still made no formal announcement about the decision or replacement.


Instead, he's publicly said the changes he's about to make could just go well beyond Zaluzhnyi. But a major point of why they are in this position. This contention between Zelenskyy and his top commander is how much to expand the draft. And this is the reality as the war drags on, Ukrainians on the front lines are older, they are now fighting fitting well into their 50s and a draft has been at the core of this.

Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT with this story you'll see first OUTFRONT.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The explosions are dangerously close as the drone team from the 92nd assault brigade set up there bird, attached the bombs and head off into battle.

While drone technology is often seen as the realm of tech-savvy youngsters, one of the pilots here is over 50.

One way or another, everyone should serve, he says. It is our duty to defend our land, our families, our motherland. If you do not want to fight, what kind of citizen are you? Ukraine is badly outgunned by the Russians, but the reality is, they're also outmanned, unable to recruit enough soldiers willing to join the military, especially younger ones.

Decimated and exhausted, Ukraine's top general, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, has called for a new mobilization drive, maybe including up to half a million people.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is unconvinced and sources tell CNN he has informed Zaluzhnyi he'll be fired with differences over troop numbers, a key reason why.

Mobilization is unpopular and in front of Ukraine's parliament, some are protesting for their spouses to be de-mobilize.

Antonina says her husband is too old to be serving this long.

My husband is 43 years old, she says. It is difficult for him to endure all this time on the ground, jumping from shelves and performing all those tasks at the front line, and there are many people like him.

I'm here for my dad to come back, her son says.

But on the front lines, like in this rocket launching unit, some say they need more people to give those who've been in combat nearly nonstop a breather. The commander of this launcher is 59. In Ukraine, people can only be drafted until they're 60.

All of Ukraine is at war, and each and every man who thinks he lives in Ukraine must go through it, he says. It's irreversible. People here are tired.

Ukraine's parliament is working on a law to make mobilization more appealing and possibly allow soldiers to exit the military after three years. But back at the drone unit, they don't believe that talk.

There should be no illusions, he says. Also among soldiers whom politicians have given hope that there will be demobilization, there will not be any.


PLEITGEN (on camera): And, Erin, that draft law and mobilization cleared the first hurdle in Ukrainian parliament today, but it still has a long way to go before it can be an acted. But the lack of manpower is definitely something that soldiers pretty much everywhere that we've gone to on the frontlines have told us is a major issue. They say they need more people not just to put them in the trenches, but also the rotate people out who've been fighting for so long -- Erin.

BURNETT: Fred, thank you very much. Remember, last summer on those frontlines, I was amazed at how much there were older people and how long they had been away from their families without seeing them up to a year in some cases. OUTFRONT next, Putin's American ally. The Russian president sitting down for a conversation with Tucker Carlson who says Putin is not a threat.

Plus, meltdown. Republicans openly criticizing their own House speaker. On the Senate side, the GOP today blocking a border bill that they had demanded. What's going on?



BURNETT: Putin talks to an American friend. The Russian president turning to right-wing conspiracy theorist Tucker Carlson to speak. Carlson's conversation with Putin is expected to be released momentarily. It is a conversation that the Kremlin is eager for the world to see.

Well, why? For that, just listened to the answer from Putin spokesman fawning over Carlson.


DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN (through translator): We received many requests for interviews with the president. There is no desire to communicate with such media outlet. And there is hardly any point in it. There is hardly any benefit from it. He has a position that differs from the others.


BURNETT: He, Carlson, has a position that differs from the others. And so while potencies no benefit in sitting down for an interview with a journalist, he does see benefit from a conversation with Carlson because of this.


TUCKER CARLSON, TV HOST: Hard to see why he's a threat to us. And I don't think Putin is --


CARLSON: We should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia, and Ukraine.

It might be worth asking yourself since it is getting pretty serious, what does this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Does he eat dogs?

These are fair questions and the answer to all of them is no. Vladimir Putin didn't do any of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Carlson has also given Putin cover when it comes to claims that Russia blew up a crucial dam. Remember that dam in that Russian controlled area that Putin had taken over in southern Ukraine.

Look at this.


CARLSON: It's not like Vladimir Putin is anxious to wage war on himself -- oh, but that's where you're wrong, Mr. and Mrs. Cable News Consumer. Vladimir Putin, is exactly that sort of man, the man who shoot himself to death in order to annoy you. We know this from the American media


BURNETT: The American media, separate from himself.

But it's not just defending Putin's invasion of another sovereign country. It's actually also personal slams against Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which as you'll see here in this case is a barely veiled call out of Zelenskyy's Jewish heritage.


CARLSON: Sweaty and rat like, a comedian turned oligarchic, a persecutor of Christians, a friend of Blackrock.



BURNETT: Ever since Tucker Carlson landed in Moscow, the state run media has really said at all. They've treated him like a true celebrity, down to the details about when and how he charged his cell phone. They ran video of Carlson eating at a fast food joint, and the fawning goes both ways.


CARLSON: Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine or what his goals are now. You've never heard his voice. That's wrong.


BURNETT: Well, actually that is wrong. That is not true. We do hear from Putin regularly. We hear his voice. And what he says is written about. We play him on this show.

In fact, here he is in a four-hour press conference in December specifically telling all of us exactly what his goals are now.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There will be peace when we achieve our goals. They haven't changed. This is the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, its neutral status.


BURNETT: So there's the goals in his own voice and he says they haven't changed.

The world also knows exactly why Putin invaded Ukraine. He handed out a document to every single Russian soldier explaining why Ukraine is not a country in the summer before he invaded. And just three weeks ago, Putin once again said, quote, the statehood of Ukraine will soon be in question.

Putin wants total domination of Ukraine. He's never said that it's anything else. He's very clear.

And for real journalists who have traveled to Russia and reported on the facts during this war, they have been jailed. Evan Gershkovich from "The Wall Street Journal", he's languishing right now in prison. Vladimir Kara-Murza, he's also right now in a penal colony.

Look, everyone wants to hear from Putin more. That's why media outlets like CNN, we request access constantly. Many times requested an interview from Peskov. We hope the Putin will choose to do an interview with a journalist.

OUTFRONT now, Evgenia Kara-Murza. She is the wife of a jailed Russian journalist and activist, Vladimir Kara-Murza, who I just showed you. He was arrested after speaking out against Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and was just unexpectedly moved to one of Russia's most brutal penal colonies in Siberia. He is serving a 25-year sentence.

And, Evgenia, I know you and I've spoken many times during this war. Your husband is in prison right now, 25 years. He just moved to another penal colony, and I know you have had to deal with the reality that you might not see him again because he called the Russian government a, quote, regime of murderers. Obviously, it is not a country with free speech.

What is your reaction when you hear the Kremlin promoting this as a real interview with Putin now?


Well, you know, even if I didn't know anything about Mr. Carlson, about his career in journalism and about his quite questionable opinions about certain things, that it would be still alarm bells ringing very loudly in my head. And take, for example, the fact that according to Peskov, Mr. Carlson is a journalist who is telling the truth. We're talking about the country where people who are actually telling the truth and up behind bars, and have been treated as spies, foreign agents and traitors, like my husband Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was sentenced to 25 years for so-called treason, for consistently denouncing the crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine, and consistently do not denouncing repression by the Putin regime inside of the country.

This is the reality. In 2022 alone, over 200,000 independent online media resources were banned, were blocked by the Russian authorities. And the remaining independent media outlets were closed down and banned. And countless number of journalists were forced to flee the country fearing persecution. And those who stayed behind basically do they work anonymously because they are under constant threat of arrest or forced exile.

This is the country that were talking about, where truth is been consistently persecuted by the authorities. And, of course, the fact that Mr. Carlson is there is -- well, it's not only atrocious, but Vladimir Putin needs him. You see, the reach of his own propagandists like Margarita Simonyan or Vladimir Solovyov --


BURNETT: Those are main presenters on Russian television.

KARA-MURZA: -- is limited.


KARA-MURZA: Yes. Those are one of the most notorious propagandists ever, but the reach is limited.

Now, Mr. Carlson has over 11 million followers on Twitter and other social media. So Vladimir Putin needs him to put out that image of reality that he himself promotes through propaganda.


That image of reality in which his claims on Ukraine or somehow legitimate and in which has a good guy who really wants peace. Meanwhile, four more civilians were killed in shelling today in Kyiv and people in Russia continue being thrown in jails and tortured there for telling the truth about the nature of this regime.

BURNETT: Evgenia, I know a week from today is your 20th wedding anniversary. You had a chance to briefly -- your husband called briefly. They allowed one call. On the last call, you had 15 minutes and you didn't speak to him because you gave those 15 minutes to your three children so they could speak to their father.

What is the latest you're hearing about how Vladimir is doing? Because I know and it is important that people understand that his health is not good.

KARA-MURZA: Vladimir has been moved to a so-called special regime prison colony, which is the harshest grade in the Russian penitentiary system. His still in a solitary cell where the bed is affixed to the wall from morning until night, where he doesn't get any human contact except for when he's still allowed to see his lawyer, rarely, and -- well, it is true that last time. The kids were able to speak to him where they end of last year, close to New Year's, Vladimir was allowed 115 minute phone call with the kids that was the first phone call in over half a year.

We have three kids, divide 15 by three. That means three minutes -- five minutes each and I was literally standing there with a timer because I couldn't let any of our kids to speak for more than five minutes to the father. And, of course, yes, I didn't speak to him at all because I didn't want to take that time away from the kids.

Now, Vladimir put in a request for a phone call on our 20th wedding anniversary, and a couple of days ago, he received an official denial that's -- paper said that they reason for the call was not justified enough, that was not on the list of exceptional circumstances which would allow such a call, unlike, for example, death they said. So if anyone dies, that maybe Vladimir will be allowed to talk to me.

This is the reality of Vladimir Putin's Russia.

BURNETT: Evgenia, thank you very much. It's important. We all hear it. I appreciate it.


BURNETT: And I want to go to Max Seddon. He's the Moscow bureau chief at "The Financial Times".

Max, you've covered the Kremlin for more than a decade. You heard Evgenia speaking. You know her husband and you know "The Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich, both obviously jailed by the Kremlin. You heard Evgenia sharing the latest about Vladimir.

So what was your reaction, Max, when you heard that Tucker Carlson said he's doing this interview to inform people about Russia, that Putin never speaks and that no other Western reporters bothered to do it?

MAX SEDDON, MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF, FINANCIAL TIMES: Well, Erin, its frankly, really, really quite something even by Tucker Carlson standards to have a go with Western journalist or for not doing enough to cover the Russian side of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Evan Gershkovich, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Alsu Kurmasheva who's also in American citizen, are all in prison right now, exactly for that reason. They -- they literally made telling the truth about the war illegal. They've prosecuted hundreds and hundreds of their own citizens.

So the idea that, you know, no one's tried to do that is as frankly ridiculous. And the funny thing was that even the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, we heard from earlier, actually felt the need to correct Tucker Carlson because the reason that this is his first interview, these given to a Western journalist since the start of the war is kind of a flex. Your own Christiane Amanpour and others have complained about it, and Peskov said, you know, we've got lots of requests, you know, we don't want to do that because we don't like their point of view. You know, Tucker Carlson has a different point of view.

And that's why they're doing this. Quite clearly, they think that Putin is going to get a much easier ride than he would from someone like Evan Gershkovich, for example.

BURNETT: Right, right. And of course, you -- all of --me, many, many, everyone has requested that interview many, many times.

So, you know, you -- what does it tell you that they praised him today? Obviously, the interview's done, right? It's been done here for awhile. It's going to be released shortly. What does it tell you that the Kremlin praise Tucker Carlson today?


SEDDON: Well, this is really quite, quite a rare opportunity for them to get their message out to the Trump synthetic crowd in the U.S. because if you look at what Trump himself has done basically torpedoing more and more U.S. aid to Ukraine in Congress in recent weeks, this is exactly the sort of thing that Russia wants.

And for them, it's, you know, a big way, not just connect with Americans who they think might be sympathetic to them ahead of the election. It's also a message to Russians ahead of the Russian election, which is -- which is next month. You know, no surprises about who's going to win that. But one thing that Putin has been trying quite a lot to do during the wars since Western countries sanctioned Russia is to try to show everyone that Russia isn't isolated, that Russia has friends in China and the Global South. So that is what having so many famous American that they can fawn over like Tucker Carlson (INAUDIBLE) Kremlin.

BURNETT: Max, I really appreciate talking to you. I always do and thanks so much. I know it's late where you are. So thank you.

SEDDON: Thanks.

BURNETT: All right. Next, Republicans in disarray tonight. They are pointing fingers at each other after a string of failures.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He needs to count votes before it comes to the floor.


BURNETT: Plus, a civil war in Texas. Texas declaring its independence. This is what you're seeing in China, spending a lot of energy on pushing these headlines about Texas. It's a story you'll see first tonight, OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, the Republican Party in infighting after back-to- back humiliating defeats on the -- on Capitol Hill.

Just today, there was a bipartisan border security and foreign aid bill. It was blocked in the Senate after Republicans blocked the deal that they had demanded. Over on the House side, Speaker Mike Johnson now targeted by fellow Republicans because he lost two major votes last night, one just because he counted wrong.

Congressman Thomas Massie tweeting in part quote, getting rid of Speaker McCarthy has officially turned into an unmitigated disaster. And Massie is far from the only Republican who is now criticizing the new speaker publicly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He needs to count votes before it comes to the floor. As bad as Pelosi was, she knew her votes before it took place.

REP. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WI): It's unclear to me why we barreled ahead with a vote knowing that the votes weren't there. We did not need to embarrass ourselves.


BURNETT: All right. That was Congressman Gallagher there that you heard on the "Hugh Hewitt Show" today.

And Hugh is with me now.

So, Hugh, you know, it's like Gallagher said, we didn't need to embarrass ourselves is the quote, right, that he said to you. And yet that -- that's what happened, the count was wrong. How bad does this make Republicans look and the new speaker?

HUGH HEWITT, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: Well, they got head fake. They thought Congressman Green was not going to come in by the Democratic yes vote, and they were going to successfully impeach Secretary Mayorkas, but they got head fakes. And Mike Gallagher and Tom McClintock are very serious guys, and they're not going to change their vote. Ken Bucks kind of off on his own trail somewhere doing his own thing.

But the Republicans only have a four-vote majority and Majority Leader Scalise was missing. So they were surprised. It is embarrassing. It is not the end of the world for Republicans.

I think if the supplemental that is expected to pass the Senate tonight with aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, the United States defense industry does not get through the House. That will be a substantive defeat that will leave a lasting mark.

BURNETT: All right. But do you see that getting through? I mean, you know, there had been the whole, you got to put it all together, you know, the border with the foreign aid. And if you don't do that, we won't do anything. And now what you got to put them separate or we won't do anything.

So, just putting aside the confusion and the bizarreness of that, you know, putting Ukraine in with Israel -- I mean, do you -- do you have any confidence that a bill like that's going to go through? HEWITT: Going to be close.

I think Speaker Johnsons going to have to take a deep breath and seek support from Democrats because there are more than a handful of Republicans who oppose additional aid to Ukraine. But GOP is traditionally the party of national security. And I think they will eventually pass this.

I do want to correct one thing, Erin, at least give you my perspective.


HEWITT: The border your bill or the border legislation is not a fiasco. They asked James Lankford to go and get the best deal that he could. He did that. He brought it back. There was no border wall and there were a number of other things in it that simply the Republican caucus could not go for.

So, the Democrats made their best offer. James Lankford made counters, tried to get the best deal brought back the best he could get, and the Republicans said not even close, not going to go.

So, now, we're back to just the foreign aid. And I hope it passes.

BURNETT: Yeah. All right, but when you hear some Republicans saying, as they have and maybe it was in the height of the emotion after that border bill, after all this work and a very serious senior conservative Senator Lankford putting his reputation and time on the line to do it, now saying that this is going to hurt Republicans in swing races and that they deserve it.

Do you think that will not be the case when it actually comes to election?

HEWITT: No, I don't. I don't think that is going to be the case.

Senator Lankford, there's probably no one as admired as Senator Lankford. Everybody loves him, and he is a genuine hardcore conservative. But what he brought back wasn't good enough. What matters are facts and the first three years of President Biden's presidency, 8 million people across the southwestern border uninvited, he has not finished the wall, he has not maintained the wall, and we don't even know how many people got over that we're not encountered.

So, the border fiasco, the open border is still the Biden problem. In fact, tonight's "New York Times" has a story on more on tomorrows paper. The number of aides that have been dispatched by team Biden to Michigan to try and stop an embarrassment up there because he's losing ground in Michigan and Tony Blinken basically backpedalled on support for Israel today.

So all of the problems are not Republican problems. Both parties have their problems heading into the fall race.

BURNETT: All right. Hugh Hewitt, I appreciate talking to you. Thank you.

HEWITT: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, China's fake news campaigns centers on Texas right now and claims of looming civil war there. Why is Beijing and the government there pushing out this false story?

And Prince William speaking out for the first time since his father's cancer diagnosis tonight.



BURNETT: Tonight, quote, civil war on the brink. Texas declaring a state of war, headlines like this are actually being blasted across China. Their media sensors are doing very little to stop this even though, of course, it is false.

So why does the Chinese government do that? What's happening?

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a world where information is power, where fact and fiction collide, a digital drumbeat of disinformation from China, the U.S. State Department says, threatening the very fabric of the free world.

CHINESE TV ANCHOR (translated): There are concerns in the U.S. that the conflict between Texas and the federal government is going to turn into a civil war.

RIPLEY: One of Beijing's latest campaigns focusing on Texas, a tidal wave of disinformation, surging across social media in China in recent weeks, zeroing in on tensions between Texas and the White House over illegal migrants spilling over the border from Mexico.

ANNOUNCER: If Texas declared independence from the United States --

RIPLEY: Chinese social media users captivated by videos like this, speculating about Texas declaring independence. Online chatter of a looming U.S. civil war, getting hundreds of thousands of likes, shares, and comments, mostly untouched by Beijing's army of online censors.


RIPLEY: And not an isolated incident, the State Department says, releasing its first ever report on what it calls the People's Republic of China's information manipulation.

RUBIN: When you look at the pieces of the puzzle and you put it together you see a breathtaking ambition on the part of the PRC to seek information dominance in key regions of the world.

RIPLEY: What the U.S. calls a multi-billion-dollar coordinated campaign of distortion and disinformation devised by the Chinese government, exploiting divisions within the United States.


China's foreign ministry firing back, accusing the U.S. of hypocrisy for being the first nation to weaponize global information.

Beijing blasting the State Department report as disinformation that misrepresents facts and truth, labeling America, an empire of lies.

The U.S. says China's digital authoritarianism accelerated in recent years, magnifying perceptions of chaos in America, a welcome distraction, analysts say, for Beijing's communist leaders grappling with a growing pile of problems at home. From China's real estate crisis, new homes never finished, prompting protests by angry buyers, to a plunging stock market, skyrocketing youth unemployment, and rapidly aging population.

Beijing and Washington battling for information dominance.


RIPLEY (on camera): Tonight, one key point on this fake news of a looming civil war in Texas, Erin, this is not the first time. Just the latest example on the Chinese internet of information being twisted, manipulated. The U.S. says it's part of this much bigger campaign by the Chinese government, almost an Orwellian attempt to poison the information space that is crucial for democracies to function, weaponizing, disinformation, exploiting existing fault lines and divisions in the United States and beyond with one goal, Erin, they want to reshape global opinions to benefit China.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Ripley, thank you very much from Taipei.

And next, Prince William breaking his silence on his father's cancer diagnosis tonight.


BURNETT: Tonight, Prince William speaking out for the first time since his father's cancer diagnosis.


PRINCE WILLIAM, UNITED KINGDOM: I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you also for the kind of messages of support for Catherine and for my father especially in recent days, it means a great deal to us all.


BURNETT: The prince also acknowledging his wife, Kate, recent abdominal surgery from which she is still recovering. Those comments coming during a charity gala in London, where the prince was with Tom Cruise. He's taking over more -- more duties here.

The future king returning to those royal duties today after a three- week absence, his schedules packed with the king and his wife, all absent. He also hosted an award ceremony at Windsor Castle earlier in the day.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.