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Erin Burnett Outfront

Navalny's Widow: Russian Government "Hiding" His Body; Russia Takes Key Ukrainian City; Biden Rips GOP For Failing To Help Ukraine As Key City Falls; Nikki Haley Ramps Up Attacks On Trump's Legal Problems. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 19, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Taking on Putin. The wife of Alexey Navalny, bravely speaking out, attacking Putin and accusing his regime of holding onto Navalny's body in order to cover up his death.

Plus, cries for help. Ukrainian soldiers under attack saying they don't have enough people or shells to stop Russia, as Putin's men take hold of a key Ukrainian city.

And, quote, everything he touches, we lose. Nikki Haley intensifying her attacks on Trump as the former president gets some help to pay his mounting legal bills.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight: confronting Putin. Alexey Navalny's widow is taking on the Russian president, slamming Putin for his treatment of Navalny and the Kremlin for not immediately returning her husbands body.


YULIA NAVALNAYA, WIDOW OF ALEXEY NAVALNY (through translator): He did not have the courage to look him in the eye or even say his name. And now they are also cowardly, hiding his body, not showing him to his mother, not giving it to her.


KEILAR: According to Navalny's team, it will be another two weeks before his body will be allowed to leave Russia.

Yulia Navalnaya's nine-minute address was powerful and brave, but it also puts her own safety at risk. She's called on Navalny's supporters to resist Putin, even more fiercely than before. And tonight, scenes of that resistance, this is an image of Navalny projected on the Russian embassy in Lisbon. And inside Russia, nearly 400 people in Navalny vigils have been detained. Some of them ordered to spend 15 days in jail, according to a Russian-based human rights group. And while this crackdown is taking place, on Russian state TV, Putin loyalists are doing all they can to tarnish Navalny's reputation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been saying for many years, including in the studio, that this man is a traitor to the motherland.


KEILAR: A traitor, that is the message that Putin wants out there, but that's been doing nothing to stop the growing international outrage -- outrage that could hit Putin, where it hurts, his economy.


REPORTER: Are you going to impose additional sanctions on Russia over Navalny's death?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We already have sanctions, but we are considering additional sanctions, yes.


KEILAR: Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT live in Moscow.

And, Matthew, you spent much of the day on the streets of Moscow. What are you hearing?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, I have. And many Russians are frankly shocked at the sudden and unexplained death of Alexey Navalny, and that shock is slowly turning to grief and to defiance, as thousands of ordinary Russians, you know, defy the crackdown on dissent in the country and turnout in towns and cities that makeshift memorials across the country to pay their last respects.


CHANCE (voice-over): Despite the risks, Russians are publicly grieving that Alexey Navalny's death.

In Moscow, a steady stream of mourners laying flowers for the late opposition leader.

Across Russia, rights activists say hundreds have been detained for just this.

My hero has died, this man told us. I grew up watching and learning from him. So it feels like a personal loss, he says

This woman tells us she desperately wants Russia to change. But now we're at a dead end, she says.

With sorrow grief, and pain.


You feel that pain more than Navalny's own family and his widow, Yulia, here meeting outraged European leaders, is vowing to expose what she says are her husband's killers and to assume his opposition mantle.

NAVALNAYA: I will continue Alexey Navalny's work. I will keep fighting for our country and I encourage you to stand by my side.

To share not only grief and the endless pain that has enveloped us and does not let go. I'm asking you to share my rage, anger, hatred for those who dared to kill our future.

CHANCE: Meanwhile, the Russian president expected to be reelected next month, has yet to mention the unexplained death of his fiercest critic. The Kremlin refusing to comment while it says investigations are underway.

Even recovering Navalny's remains in Russia is proving painstaking. His elderly mother, Lyudmila, has traveled nearly 2,000 miles to the remote Arctic region where he died in prison, has been told, according to Navalny's spokeswoman, that postmortem tests in the body won't be released for at least another two weeks.

Plenty of times, say Navalny supporters deeply suspicious the Kremlin, for the real cause of this sudden tragic death to be hidden.


CHANCE: Well, Brianna, in another sign of defiance in Russia, tens of thousands of people here have signed a public petition demanding the immediate release of Alexey Navalny's body, to his family, but so far, the Kremlin seem unmoved by those appeals.

Back to you.

KEILAR: Matthew Chance live in Moscow, thank you.

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

Evgenia, thank you for being with us tonight.

Alexey Navalny's team announcing his family will not be able to get his body from Russian officials for another 14 days. I want to listen to what his widow Yulia said about why she thinks that is.


NAVALNAYA: In the cowardly way, they're hiding his body, not showing to his mother, not giving to his mother. They're lying and they're waiting for the traces of another of Putin's Novichok to disappear.


KEILAR: She can't provide evidence, but obviously, it's very suspicious.

And, Novichok, of course, is the nerve agent that was used on Navalny when he nearly died in 2020.

Do you think that Putin is behind Navalny's death?


Absolutely. I believe that it is a political assassination, and that is a tool that Vladimir Putin has been using for many years in our country, both on the Russian soil and on foreign soil as well. And I believe that Vladimir Putin is responsible for Alexey's murder, and the fact that his body will not be released to his family for two weeks. And there's already actually don't even try to find a different explanation for this. They're saying that they're conducting a chemical analysis.

Meanwhile, the two causes put forward by the Russian authorities, the two causes of Alexey's death were the sudden death syndrome and thrombosis, which according to Alexey's doctors, was unlikely because Alexey was not suffering from any condition that would make it likely.

So, this was obviously a murder and they themselves are not giving out the body to the family. But, you know, had they done this, wouldn't be a great opportunity for them to prove that they had nothing to do with Alexey's death, had they allowed the family to conduct an independent expertise to find the blood clot that they claim was there and caused Alexey's death would not be the best option for them? Well, apparently not because they know that they have to hide something and they're doing it and they're going to take two weeks to hide that.

KEILAR: There is broad suspicion because so many of Putin's enemies have died mysteriously.


Do you think that Navalny's death makes Putin weaker or stronger?

KARA-MURZA: I believe that the fact that Vladimir Putin eliminates every single of his opponents is indeed a sign of weakness because no strong leader would have to do anything like this. A leader who enjoys the support of his population truly enjoys the support of his population. A true leader who knows that the country stands behind him, will not use repression, will not use political assassination, will not subject people to torture in jails.

KEILAR: Evgenia, your husband has been in prison for nearly two years now. He was poisoned twice in the years before his arrest. What fears for your husband safety is Navalny's death bringing up for you?

KARA-MURZA: Navalny's murder did not bring any new fears because I have been fearing for my husbands life since 2015 after the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, and my first -- my husband's first poisoning, two months after that. Both things happened in 2015.

I have been living with this understanding that anything can happen. I'm not the only one feeling --

KEILAR: Oh, sure.

KARA-MURZA: -- this way.

In Russia, there are hundreds and hundreds of political prisoners and many of them are treated the same way, held in isolation, deprived of contact with their families, and being subject to daily torture.

KEILAR: And Yulia Navalnaya is vowing at this point to continue the work of her husband. She has urged others to stand with her in that fight.

Can opposition leaders who were in exile be effective against Putin? Because Navalny, your husband, they made a calculation that they needed to be in Russia. How can the movements succeed from outside?

KARA-MURZA: First of all, I want to say that my heart goes out to Yulia and that I can feel her pain, and millions of people all over the world feel her pain. And I stand with her.

As far as opposing Vladimir Putin's regime, I believe that the only way we can achieve that, we can bring closer the day when the regime in the Kremlin collapses and peace is restored on the continent is if we can work together. Both people who are inside of the country and those Russians who are forced to leave, but continue the work from outside. And I believe that is my -- it is my duty to continue my husband's work while he's in jail. It is my duty as Vladimir's wife, as the mother of my children, and also as a Russian citizen.

The war in Ukraine has been going on for two years, for two years, the Russian state is leading the war of aggression that has led to tens of thousands of dead civilians, civilians murdered. And as a Russian citizen, it is my duty to stand up and fight against this and do everything possible to bring close to the date when its doing the war ends, and the regime collapses.

KEILAR: Evgenia, thank you so much. We are thinking of you and your husband, of course, is we are thinking very much of Alexey Navalny, his family, and what they are going through. We thank you for your time this evening.

KARA-MURZA: Thank you very much.

KEILAR: OUTFRONT now, Max Seddon, he is the Moscow bureau chief for "The Financial Times".

And, Max, about 400 people have been detained so far during these crackdowns on vigils for Navalny. Should Putin be worried about public reaction to Navalny's death?

MAX SEDDON, MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF, FINANCIAL TIMES: I think the fact that you're seeing so many people arrested for essentially doing one of the few things that is legal to do in Russia to express any kind of un-satisfaction with the regime, just laying flowers at memorial, but that can be enough to get you arrested and we've got to remember that it wasn't just these people who are arrested. There were many more who were harassed or they had their personal data taken by police. Some of them are even physically threatened.

So it shows you that not for Putin's reelection and he's already been in power for 24 years. This was extended to at least 2030. It's the fact that as long as he's alive, and we know that they are not interested in brokering any kind of dissent, any kind of opposition.

And two years into this, into this war with Ukraine, this full-scale invasion, they, they really feel like they're on a high.

KEILAR: He also sidelined an opposition candidate from the ballot in the election next month, so that he doesn't have to face him.


In that light with Navalny's death, is this being seen as a clearing of the decks?

SEDDON: I think it's a little early to speculate. There's so much we don't know about how it Alexey Navalny died. We know that his wife Yulia said today that he was -- he was murdered and she believed that she knows the reason why this happened.

Now, she hasn't revealed this yet. But if you compare this all to Putin's previous elections, he never let a genuine challenger like Navalny ran against him, but even weld well after he had total control over the presidency, he's still have at least stage managed liberal candidates who were meant to appeal to Navalny electorate, to let them let off steam and to show that they didn't have very much support.

And this year, it's the first time when no one liked that was even allowed to run. They seem to have toyed with it in the form of this failed candidate, Boris Nadezhdin, who by his own admission, is someone much less popular, much lessons inspirational than Navalny, but just the -- it's a bit like the inanimate carbon rod and the Simpsons, just people where were so happy that any -- even the mob was anti-war message was able to be voice that you saw people enthusiastically lining up for hours in the freezing cold, to sign up to support his campaign.

And that was evidently assigned that there is more anti-war support than a Kremlin wanted to broker. And that is, I'm sure a large part of the reason why he was allowed to run.

KEILAR: And, Max, the list of Putin critics and enemies who have died suddenly and mysteriously is obviously long. It's part of the reason why there are suspicions. You just heard Evgenia say she's feared for her husband safety, not just recently, but for nearly a decade.

Is he more at risk now?

SEDDON: I think what whatever has happened here, whatever exactly happened to Navalny, I think the Kremlin's attempt to sweep this under the rug and sort of threat this like a done deal, something they can get away with, it really shows you that Putin thinks that he can do whatever he wants. Two years since the war, he feels like he's winning. The Western support for Ukraine is fading. That Donald Trump would be much more favorable to him despite what he said to Carlson might be the precedents.

I think he can get away with absolutely anything and I'd certainly be worried.

KEILAR: Max Seddon, we appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

SEDDON: Thank you.

KEILAR: OUTFRONT next, new video from the frontlines where Putin just scored a huge win on the battlefield in Ukraine. We'll hear from Ukrainian soldiers pleading for help.

Plus, Trump now hawking $400 gold sneakers while his supporters have come up with a new way to help the former president pay off his huge legal bills.

And an out-of-control satellite that's about the size of a school bus is now spiraling back to Earth.

And tonight, our Bill Weir has a special report on the incredible amount of dangerous space junk that's now circling Earth.



KEILAR: Tonight, President Biden pointing the finger at House Republicans as crucial military aid to Ukraine remains stalled.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're making a big mistake not responding. Look, the way they're walking from the threat of Russia, the way they're walking away from NATO, the way they're walking away from leaving our obligation, it's shocking. I've been here a while, I've never seen anything like this.


KEILAR: Ukraine's arsenal depleting as the Russians make gains on the battlefield, capturing a key city in eastern Ukraine.

Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): One of Ukraine's main strong points in Avdiivka under a hail of Russian bombs, Moscow's defense ministry released this video of what they say is their forces targeting a Coke fuel plant at the northern edge of town.

On the ground of fight for shear survival, Ukraine's third assault brigade, posting this video of their troops breaking through Russian encirclement to escape Avdiivka. They claim all their soldiers made it out alive.

This week, all caring hearts, not only in Ukraine, were concerned for our heroes, for our Avdiivka, for every defender and for the fate of our people, for the fate of the entire state, Ukraine's president said.

But among frontline soldiers, bitterness and anger at a lack of both manpower and firepower.

The Ukrainian say they killed thousands of Russian troops with both artillery and drones, only to be overrun in the end.

We didn't have enough people. We didn't have enough shells, the soldier said. We didn't have enough possibilities to throw them back. If we had a large amount or at least an okay amount of shells, we could have stopped the enemy, but unfortunately, we didn't have them.

And it's increasingly becoming clear not all Ukrainians made it out as the noose was tightening. A video call between a wounded Ukrainian soldier and his sister indicates some were left behind.

So what? No one is coming, she asks. You guys are there, too, or are you alone?

Everyone left, he answers, everyone retreated. They told us a car would pick us up. I have two broken legs, shrapnel in my back. I can't do anything.

Are you alone or what? She asks. No, there are six of us, he replies. How could they leave you? She pleads. I don't know. Just like that, four people who are like me can't walk either there, he answers.

Ukrainians now claim the wounded soldier and several others were killed by Russian forces. The Russian army gloating, claiming this video of Moscow soldiers shows them raising their flag on a building inside the Avdiivka Coke plant.

Under the continuous fire of Russian troops, only a few you scattered formations of Ukrainian militants managed to hastily leave Avdiivka, abandoning their weapons and military equipment, the spokesman says.

Avdiivka is Russian President Vladimir Putin's biggest victory in months. The Ukrainians fear, other frontline towns could also fall if they don't get more weapons and ammo soon.



PLEITGEN: And now, Brianna, this is turning into a big problem for the Ukrainians. They say that the Russians aren't just pressing in the area around Avdiivka, but in several places on the eastern front and also on the southern front, the Russians trying to win back some of those territories that the Ukrainians took when they conducted their counteroffensive last year -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Fred Pleitgen. Thank you.

OUTFRONT now, retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, a former assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs under President George W. Bush.

General, Ukraine has lost Avdiivka, which has been a key city in the fight in the east since 2014. Do you think that Russia has the upper hand right now on the battlefield?

BRIGADIER GEN. MARK KIMMITT (RET.), FORMER ASST. SECRETARY OF STTE FOR POLITICAL-MILITARY AFFAIRS: Well, I don't know if that's the upper hand. I don't even know if it has momentum, but it's certainly is the case that they are advancing even incrementally far more than they have in the past. And certainly looks like the Ukrainian forces have lost the initiative and they are now reacting to the Russian tactics, rather than forcing their will on the battlefield against the Russians.

KEILAR: General, if Congress still hasn't passed new funding for Ukraine within a few months, army officials are saying that they will actually have to start making some pretty hard decisions. There'll be diverting money from some less critical projects. But these are still things that will get a lot of attention, like badly needed barracks construction, or even enlistment incentives amid record low recruiting, could that backfire or could it force Republicans hands? What do you think?

KIMMITT: Well, first of all, I think this whole issue about whether we are giving enough ammunition to the Ukrainians versus the political battles are going up on the Hill. Those are really two different things. The political argument is a red herring.

The problem of getting enough ammunition to the Ukrainians is a production problem, not a political problem. I talked about this in September of 2022 in an article in "The Wall Street Journal" and candidly, I'm surprised that we have been able to maintain sufficient artillery ammunition to the Ukrainians during then -- since then.

KEILAR: No, it's a very good point.

Certainly, the machinery of war takes time to were, to quite the speed that it needs to be at.

General Mark Kimmitt, thank you so much. We appreciate your time tonight.

KIMMITT: Thank you.

KEILAR: Next, Trump leaning into his mounting legal problems on the campaign trail. Now selling these gold sneakers trying to raise money. Is the strategy working though? Plus, a Georgia judge now deciding whether or not to remove Fani

Willis from Trump's election interference case. Atlanta's mayor who has spoken with Willis is my guest.



KEILAR: Tonight, Nikki Haley on the attack blasting Donald Trump in South Carolina, just days before the state's primary.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look at last week, he lost another case on immunity. He'll be tried as citizen Trump. Republicans lost a bill on Israel. They lost another bill on Mayorkas and the border. The Republican Party chair lost her job and Donald Trump's fingerprints were on all of it. Everything he touches, we lose.


KEILAR: Her comments on the campaign trail come as former President Trump remains focused on his legal problems, writing today on social media, quote, I should not have to go through any fake prosecutions before the election. This is communism and a threat to democracy. Our country will not stand for it.

OUTFRONT now, Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, and Van Jones, former special adviser to former President Obama.

Scott, to you first. While Haley is spending these closing days before the South Carolina primary attacking Trump, he is laser-focused on trying to capitalize on his legal problems and make them a weapon. Is it working for him?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, pretty obviously, yes. I mean, he's won two primaries. He's going to win another one this weekend. And I think he has correctly identified that most Republican primary voters believe he got a raw deal the first time around and they're willing to give him a chance at vindication this time.

I mean, she's making substantively correct points about, you know, who our enemies are and what's going on in the world, but her problem is there are no more persuadable voters. All the ears are closed because they've made up their mind. They want Donald Trump. I'm interested to hear what she has to say at her press conference or speech that she's making tomorrow, that she's announced because right now what she is talking about, what she's selling is not really being received by Republican voters who have decided that a vindication is at hand for Trump and they want help and make it happen.

KEILAR: Van, Trump supporters have actually created a GoFundMe to help pay for his nearly $355 million legal fine. It's raised at this point about half-a-million dollars. That's a lot of money, but its still about $354.5 million to go, right? And now he's selling sneakers $399 gold sneakers, but still is that where you want to be as a candidate?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it's not, but I tell you it's not where we want to be as a country either. There was a theory that said the reason he won in 2016 was because Republican field was so crowded, everybody was so arrogant. They, although they could beat him and he got these little plurality problem, and he just kind of snuck his way in there. But if you could just clear the field, the Republican Party is healthy enough, smart enough to guide enough good. Can you just click get? Them one-on-one against a normal Republican and then you'll see.

And here's what you're seeing. The Republican Party is now the party of Donald Trump. It is not a healthy party that cares about Ukraine and our placed in the world and cares about treating people right, it cares about one person.


And he is basically made himself into a martyr for his own cause. And nobody else is cause. And a big chunk of this party is following along.

KEILAR: Well, I mean, Scott, speaking of someone who has become a martyr, which is Alexey Navalny, it was days before Trump even mentioned his death. And then when he did, he compared himself to Navalny. He said that he, Trump, is being targeted because he's running for president.

This is the quote here. The sudden death of Alexey Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our country. It is a slow, steady progression with crooked, radical left politicians prosecutors, and judges leading us down a path to destruction.

No condemnation of Putin. And I wonder how you feel about that.

JENNINGS: Well, look, I'm a hawk on Russia and I think a lot of Republicans are, and I think over time, you'd love to hear Donald Trump repeatedly say, I understand that the Russian government is our enemy. Sometimes he does it, sometimes he doesn't. In this case, he's obviously focused on other things.

I mean, my honest guess is he turns on the television. He sees the media. He sees Nikki Haley, and he sees Joe Biden all focused on the same thing and he says, well, why would I -- why would I fall in with them? And I mean -- may sound rudimentary, but my guess is, when it comes to decision-making about how he's going to approach an issue or deal with something on any given day that that's part of the calculation.

But look, as a party, I mean, I do think it would be best if the people who are running the party and obviously that's Donald Trump would occasionally say, I understand these people are the enemy. They are bad, and we need to do what we can do to counter their influence in the world. He's not doing that on this one hopefully, hopefully he'll do it in the campaign.

KEILAR: You make it seem so easy with the way you do it.

Van, what's your reaction?

JONES: I mean, malignant narcissism. I mean, come on, a hero for democracy, an icon for freedom all around the world. Someone with more courage than anybody I know to willingly walk back into the jaws of Putin, just to stand up for democracy, is killed. And Trump says, hey, it makes -- it makes me think of myself. I'm thinking of myself.

He has much more in common with Putin, that he has with Navalny, first of all. He aspires to be a dictator by his own acknowledgement admission. Look, it's a huge blow to the hopes of the world that we don't have a Mandela like figure waiting in the wings to take Russia back in a better direction. It is a huge blow. And everybody that I know with a carbon -- every carbon-based life form that I know, everybody know what the functioning brainstem felt hurt to hear that Navalny was gone except for Donald Trump, who just makes it about himself again.

KEILAR: Van, Scott, thank you to you both.

Next, District Attorney Fani Willis waiting for word on whether she'll be removed from her case against former President Trump. Atlanta's mayor, who has spoken with Willis, is next.

And a satellite, the size of a school bus about to collide with Earth. So what's being done to prevent the growing amount of space junk from becoming a serious threat?



KEILAR: Tonight, all eyes on Fulton County as we await a judge's decision on whether or not to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis from the sprawling election subversion case that she has spent years building against former President Trump. The judge considering what to do after last weeks two-day hearing. And if he decides to remove her from the case, it would fall apart, which would, of course, be a major victory for Trump.

OUTFRONT now, we have Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

Mayor, thank you for being with us. We do appreciate it. And I know you felt it was important to be in the courtroom for this second day of testimony. You've spoken to D.A. Willis.

Is she confident that she'll remain on the case?

MAYOR ANDRE DICKENS (D), ATLANTA: Yeah, absolutely. I had to go to the courtroom the second day to just lay on her let her see me and for her to know that she's got supportive, compassionate leaders in the audience. You know, when you're going through something like this, you don't want to be made to feel alone. Women are under attack all across America and she shouldn't be made to fill alone. So I went to see her and then I went and talked to her and told her,

you know, I had her back and, you know, wanted her to know that she didn't have to feel like folks weren't supportive of her. And, you know, she feels confident that the other side didn't reach the burden of proof. And so, she's going to continue to do what she does best, which is be the D.A. for this county that has really been helpful, in bringing down violent crime across Atlanta and Fulton County.

KEILAR: Her testimony was dramatic. It was at times contentious. I want to play a little bit of it.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This would be ridiculous to me that you lied on Monday. And yet here we still are.

A lie, that's one of your lies. You've been intrusive into people's personal lives. You're confused.

I'm not on trial no matter how hard you try to put me on trial.

No, no, no, no. This is a true. And it is a lie. It is a lie.

We don't answer it since you said it. Don't be cute with me and then think that you're not going to get an answer.


KEILAR: Do you think she helped or hurt herself with her testimony?

DICKENS: Well, first of all, Fani Willis is not on trial. This is a trial about Donald Trump and the attempt to steal an election, him and 18 co-defendants, and four of them have pled guilty.

So this is all a distraction. This is something that's when Donald Trump is in trouble. He throws dirt on anybody and tries to find victims. And so, what we're dealing with is, you know, Fani Willis is being put out front on this, but the truth of the matter is, we really have to focus on who is on track wow, for criminal acts that have been made against the United States. And that is Donald Trump, as he's willingly and had a group of folks that have tried to overthrow an American election in 2020.


And he's -- he's not only on attack against Democrats, he's under -- he's on attack against Republicans. He's attacked the Republican Governor Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. So we're talking about Democrats and Republicans that he has attacked while he's trying to take over and make an election go away.

And the deal is Donald Trump is a bipartisan predator. And so he is trying to slinging mud on anybody you can.

KEILAR: Well, multiple things can be true, right? What you said, the fact that she has been attacked, she has been attacked personally. She has been attacked when it comes to her race and her gender. She also had a relationship with a prosecutor who obviously the timeline is fuzzy but who was on this case.

The former DeKalb County solicitor general said, you're a person, prosecutor and politician, right? And so the prosecutor, the lawyer should listen to the people that are advising you and you should very clinically apply the law which would be like, don't say anything, let your people do their job. But the person and the politician who has to run for office and the person who was personally offended feels the need to respond, being critical of Fani Willis.

What do you say to that?

DICKENS: I'm no lawyer and I don't even like to go to court. I went there the other day to look at somebody that just needed to know that people were supportive them. What I am is the chief executive of this city that has done a whole lot to make sure that we brought down violent crime and a part of that is needing a D.A. that has been extremely helpful in focusing on making sure that violent criminals are arrested and dealt with.

And so, together with the Atlanta Police Department, D.A. Fani Willis and GBI, FBI and others, we have had a third highest drop in violent crime across the nation, a 21 percent reduction in homicides. So what I need a D.A. to do is to continue to focus on the cases before us in the city of Atlanta and in Fulton County.

KEILAR: Yeah. Obviously, very busy slate of legal efforts there.

Mayor Andre Dickens, we appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

DICKENS: Thank you.

KEILAR: OUTFRONT next, it's 5,000 pounds, it's roughly the size of a school bus. And now this out of control satellite, it's coming back to earth. And as our Bill Weir reports, dangerous pieces of space debris, it's actually just the beginning here.

Plus, disgraced former Congressman George Santos now suing Jimmy Kimmel for fraud. Why?



KEILAR: Tonight, an out of control satellite is on a collision course with Earth. The European space agency says the satellite will make a fiery re-entry into the atmosphere on Wednesday, but it's unclear if it'll reach the Earth's surface.

It comes as NASA has uncovered a shocking amount of space junk, 100 million tiny pieces of debris to be exact. And it's getting worse.

Bill Weir is OUTFRONT.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We all dropped things around the house.

PIERS SELLERS, ASTRONAUT: Guys, I think my spatula escaped.

WEIR: So, when astronaut Piers Sellers dropped a spatula while spreading putty on the space shuttle, it was relatable news.

SELLERS: I don't see it on me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We'll take a look.

WEIR: But while a spatula in space was still novel in 2006. It seems quaint now, because nearly 70 years after Sputnik, the moon holds tons of human trash. And the final frontier is filthy with rocket fumes, an orbiting junk.

Check out this NASA time-lapse. Each dot, a manmade object bigger than a softball, flying ten times faster than a bullet, the website orbiting now is tracking over 8,300 satellites, most of them put there by private companies like SpaceX. And over time, they will only add to the hundred million tiny pieces of manmade debris in orbit.

So behind us is the National Air and Space Museum. Do they have an exhibit on space junk? Is it time that we start paying attention?

RON LOPEZ, ASTROSCALE: There's been discussion about it, and it is time that we pay attention to the issue.

WEIR: Ron Lopez heads the American branch of Astroscale, a Japanese entry into the growing field of orbital debris removal.

LOPEZ: The interesting metric is that over the next ten years, were going to launch three times as much into space as we have launched since Sputnik, since the beginning of the Space Age, three times as much in just the next ten years.

WEIR: While they're a long way from flying garbage trucks, Astroscale just launched a second test mission and funded only by private investment recently proved that they can use magnets to catch and potentially extend the lives of dying satellites.

In 2018, a team from the UK prove that space junk can be snared with a net, which helps with traffic control up there, but does nothing to stop dead satellites from burning into countless pieces of metal, throwing off remnants can stay in our skies for years.

The launches are almost a weekly fear daily occurrence. Is that having an effect on the stratosphere?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. So as we see this increase in space traffic, we see significantly increased emissions in the something we've been talking about is adding a lot of material to the stratosphere that was never there before. All of the sort of the mass of material that we put into space doesn't all just stay there, and when its de-orbited, it basically acts and same way that a meteoroid does.

WEIR: With special high flying jets, a team from NOAA recently discovered that 10 percent of the particles in the stratosphere contain bits of rocket and satellite metal and in the next few decades, it could be 50 percent matching the amount created naturally by meteorites. Scientists worry that this could eventually alter Earth's climate.


So, this summer, Japan and NASA aimed to launch the world's first biodegradable satellite, made mostly from wood.


WEIR (on camera): One small step for sustainability there, I suppose. The Senate unanimously passed the Orbits Act last year, Brianna, this puts this mess in the Department of Commerce that's how -- that's how much is going on in space, also tells NASA to come up with have garbage trucks to clean up the mess up there.

It is very rare, very long odds that anybody will be hit by a piece of debris. But when you look at the pollution crisis on Earth, odds are big will make another mess up there if were not careful.

KEILAR: Really amazing and so important.

Bill, thank you for that report.

OUTFRONT next, George Santos suing Jimmy Kimmel because of this.


GEORGE SANTOS (R), EXPELLED U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Hey, Julia, congratulations on getting your driving test.



KEILAR: Disgraced former Republican Congressman George Santos is now suing Jimmy Kimmel for pranking him on Cameo.


JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Will Santos say it? Here we go. George, can you please congratulate my legally blind niece Julia, on passing her driving test?

SANTOS: Hey, Julia, congratulations on getting your driving test. You prove that even the legally blind can do it.


KEILAR: Now, Santos is alleging Kimmel misuse the videos by tricking him and then airing the videos on his show. A violation of Cameo's terms of service according to Santos.

So far, Kimmel not responding.

Thank you so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.