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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Desperate To Delay New York Trial, Dares Judge To Jail Him; RNC Robocall Of Lies; CNN Aboard A B52 Bomber. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 10, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Breaking news, 0-3. Trump rejected three times in three days, failing to delay his hush money case which starts in four days, as he openly dares the judge to call him out for violating his gag order.

Also breaking, quote, massive fraud. Our KFILE uncovering a new robocall on behalf of the RNC's new co-chair, whose name is Lara Trump, spreading lies about election fraud to 145,000 people, and Andrew has the tape.

And an OUTFRONT exclusive, our Oren Liebermann takes us aboard a U.S. bomber for one of the longest million military missions in the world, one that takes Oren to the doorsteps of China, Russia, and North Korea. You'll see for yourself.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight: the breaking news, three strikes. Trump's legal team back in court, suffering another blow tonight with four days until Trump's first criminal trial is set to begin. His team trying yet again to kick Judge Juan Marshawn off the case and while Trump is trying every single trick in the book to get the hush money case delayed in New York.

He is also daring the judge to call him out for violating a gag order. Today, Trump fired up a whole number of posts online, including one which was a response to the disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti, who formally represented Stormy Daniels. And Avenatti wrote about Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, two likely witnesses in Trump's case, and Trump responded to that by saying, thank you to Michael Avenatti for revealing the truth about to sleaze bags, who have with their lies and misrepresentations cost our country dearly. Lies, misrepresentations and sleaze bags.

According to OUTFRONT legal analyst Ryan Goodman, who's with me in just a moment, this is a clear violation of Trump's gag order, which prohibits him from, quote, making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation in the investigation or in this criminal proceeding. Now, both of the individuals mentioned there, Stormy Daniels,

obviously, the center of this, Michael Cohen as well, sleaze bag, lies, misrepresentation, pretty obvious there. Is the gag order that was put into place because the judge ruled Trumps past attacks against jurors and prosecutors were, quote, threatening, inflammatory, and denigrating, and all of this has had a tangible real effect and real life for some of the people who will be testifying in this trial, including Stormy Daniels, who recently in a documentary spoke about some of the threats that she's received.


INTERVIEWER: At one point, you recorded the last will.

STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR AT CENTER OF TRUMP'S NY CASE: Yeah, I was completely sure that I was going to die. I'm desensitized to some of it. But they've also become more violent with me. I'm more prepared with my legal knowledge, but I'm also tired, like my soul is so tired. So I mean -- I don't know if I'm so much a warrior now as (EXPLETIVE DELETED), man. I'm out of (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


BURNETT: The attacks against Daniels have not stopped. Trump began attacking her and Michael Cohen. And remember, of course, as I said, Cohen's central to this. He's central because he was the person who set up the payments in order to silence Daniels and other women.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with funding.


BURNETT: When you hear Trump's voice in the background.

That same Allen that Michael Cohen refers to, Allen Weisselberg is Trump's former chief financial officer, and is now behind bars. He's in prison. He was sentenced just this morning to five months in prison after he admitted to lying on the stand in Trump's New York fraud trial.

So just to all of this, somebody went to prison today because of all of this.

Paula Reid is OUTFRONT and all of the late developments tonight.

And, Paula, Trump failed again today to delay his hush money trial. I said three strikes. They refrained from saying you're out because I know they'll try to try anything. It seems they can if they can come up with it in these next days, what happened and what's his next move.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yeah, Erin, I also tried to stay away from sports analogies, but I can report that after seeing petitions denied on Monday and Tuesday, Trump's lawyers were back before the court of appeals today arguing, yet again, that his hush money case should be delayed.


This time, they said the delay would help them continue to litigate the issue of presidential immunity and help them try to get the judge removed from the case. Now this was so extraordinary. This action on a day when the court was already really busy, that, Erin, we learned that the basement of the courthouse had to be converted into a courtroom to hear these arguments.

Our New York colleagues report this is the fourth time that that kind of accommodation has ever been made. But ultimately, this was rejected and how the question is, okay, what else could they try?

Now in a statement tonight, the Trump team said, the former president, quote, legal team will continue fighting against this Biden trial and all the other witch-hunts.

Of course, this is a case brought by the Manhattan district attorney, has nothing to do with the Justice Department, the federal government or President Biden, but if they want to continue to pursue this, the next stop would be the court of appeals in the state of New York. That is the highest court in the state.

Now, if they failed there, then, Erin, they would have the option to possibly ask the Supreme Court to pause the hush money case while they contemplate this issue of presidential immunity on April 25th, of course, the justices are going to hear arguments about that issue related to the federal election subversion case. That is something they could try. But at this point, Erin, it's unclear if the Trump team is going to file any additional appeals of this week or before Monday

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

Mimi Rocah is with me now, the former SDNY division chief, Ryan Goodman, our legal analyst, and Stephanie Grisham, the former Trump White House press secretary.

So, Mimi, three days, three efforts, three failures as Paula said, unclear what else they could try to do, but she laid out one possibility that we could try to go to the appeals court, fail, try to go to the Supreme Court, tried to get a stay there on this case. While immunity is decided -- is any of this realistic?

MIMI ROCAH, FORMER SDNY DIVISION CHIEF: I think there's nothing that they can do in the New York courts that will stop this. I think the New York courts are repeatedly signaling both the judge, the trial judge, the appellate division has already done this, and I believe the court of appeals will also ruling very quickly on these repeated motions and appeals. They are seemed to be a full steam ahead that this is a real trial date and it's sticking.

I think the Supreme Court is always a wildcard here. I mean, we saw what happened with the immunity, right in the federal case. And so that one is a little bit harder to say that can't possibly happen if Trump brings it to the Supreme Court or if his lawyers do, but I really tried to stay away from protections when it comes to anything regarding former President Trump, but I think the trials --

BURNETT: Going on Monday.

ROCAH: Yeah. Ryan, do you think that there's Supreme Court wildcard as Mimi describes it, is there any possibility that that comes in? Is that the final Hail Mary?

RYAN GOODMAN, JUST SECURITY CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: I think it is, but it's a real Hail Mary that's almost throwing the ball outside the stadium.

BURNETT: I like it. We're using all the religious and sports analogies, everything -- go ahead.

GOODMAN: And partly because the immunity question that he's raising is not the same as the Supreme Court is currently deciding that he is immune from actually being tried from prosecution. He's really trying to because of presidential immunity, some evidence can't be used against me. So, that's not the kind of case that the court would take a pretrial.

So, to have to be some things so bizarre for them to address it. And it's not even a ruling on the merits. The judge actually just said your motion is completely untimely. You had a time to do it, and then you waited until the last minute, even for me to suspect you have hello motives for doing it. So, they're actually have to be appealing like, oh, we should have been able to submit the motion not the question of immunity itself. So that just seems he should throw the ball, but it's very unlikely.

BURNETT: That it lands.

All right. So, Stephanie, the context of this, obviously, Trump's legal team knows these -- these don't, these aren't serious legal moves. They know that they're doing it obviously because he wants them to do it.

So at this last moment, there's this frenetic desire to have this case delayed. So why is Trump doing that, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOSUE PRESS SECRETARY: So this case, many people have said is probably the least damning against him. I don't disagree with that, however, this is very personal to him.

This is an embarrassment to him for -- with his family and more importantly, with his wife, Melania. And I spent a ton of time with her when the news was breaking about Stormy Daniels when we were in the White House. And then, of course, with Karen McDougal, who was the former Playboy playmate.

When those came out that he allegedly had these affairs and she didn't take it lightly at all. We went to the State of the Union separately. She refused to walk out to Marine One with him because she did not want to be like Hillary Clinton and standing by her man. She's a very independent and strong woman and I might add, there have been articles just recently that she's his secret weapon for this -- for this upcoming campaign.

And so, I would imagine that she is pushing him to make this stop.


I would imagine that she will push him to go on the stand and defend himself because this is -- this is very, very embarrassing for her. It's humiliating for her and I can guarantee you that she's not happy right now and that he's quite worried about that.

BURNETT: All right. So him going on the stand, Ryan, in this case -- obviously, he tries to make it about whether he did or did not sleep with Stormy Daniels. This case is actually about hush money payments, which were paid, as to whether they were done to influence the election, right? It's about something else, but nonetheless, he, because of what Stephanie said, is going to make it about that other thing, whether he did or didn't.

Does he go on a stand?

GOODMAN: I think he'd be in deep trouble. At one level, it actually doesn't matter whether or not they had an affair because its all about whether or not they were trying to silence her --

BURNETT: Yeah, it's almost that, yeah, that she did or didn't, right.

GOODMAN: Yeah. And then we've seen him operate kind of on the stand under pressure in a couple of situations in which it didn't go well for him. So the E. Jean Carroll deposition does not go well for him. He actually attacks the women lawyer who's representing E. Jean Carroll and he repeats the "Hollywood Access" tape in front of her in a way that's just very bad for him, very damaging for him.

And then in the civil fraud case, the judge actually says that when Trump was on the stand, he ended up being non-credible. He hurt his case. I think it'd be very bad for him for that reason. But for personal reasons, having to do with his wife, trying to try to win public attention or the public story or narrative. That's a different matter, but for legal matter had been deep trouble.

BURNETT: In deep trouble and that is ultimately what I mean, what ultimately matters when it comes to the outcome.

Mimi, there's also the issue of those, those social media posts and I mentioned one of them were Trump in complimenting the Stormy Daniels former lawyer Michael Avenatti, who has now gone full bore on team Trump slams Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen as what were the word sleaze bags and liars and things like that. There's a little bit more that happened here when I spoke to the director of the new document. We just saw Stormy Daniels speaking in that new documentary.

I want to play more from it in terms of what Stormy Daniels described as to what happened to her after Trump was indicted in this case and she was the name at the center of it. Here's what happened.


DANIELS: Back in 2018, that was stuff like liar, slut, gold digger. This time around is very different. It is direct threats. It is -- I'm going to come to your house and slit your throat. Your daughter should be euthanized. They're not even using bot accounts. They're using their real accounts.


BURNETT: So in that context, Mimi, today Trump comes out and, and, and that's what he says on social media. Is that a violation of the gag order? Is he putting Stormy Daniels, who's obviously going to be the witness at the center at one of the witnesses at the center of this in real danger?

ROCAH: So I think the short answer is yes. In my experience, when judges make orders, so specific as the judge did in this case, right? I mean, it wasn't just a -- you can't say anything about anyone which would be too broad. It was about the specific witnesses in the case and that you can't say things that will cause intimidation and that will prejudice the jury.

I mean, that's the other part of this. Yes, this can lead to increased threats which are horrible. The threat she's describing there against her, although I think those are going to happen regardless, but I'm sure there is the likely uptick in these after a post like this.

But it also, I mean, we are now days away from a trial starting. The judge is trying to protect the integrity of the trial with the order.


ROCAH: The witnesses need to be judged by the jury that is starting to be chosen already because the questionnaires have gone out. The jurors need to judge the witnesses by their testimony in court with instructions from the judge. I mean, there's a process for a reason. And so Trump coming out and calling them liars is about as stark a violation as you can get.

BURNETT: And so, Stephanie, Trump knows that. Is he taunting the judge? I mean, does he want to face possible jail and see if the judge will actually do it for violating these gag orders?

GRISHAM: He definitely does not want to face jail. I can guarantee you that, but as he taunting the judge? Absolutely. I mean, he's had how many gag orders already. I know we got fined like $10,000 for violating it one time, but it's almost like some of these judges are bending over backwards so that he's not looking persecuted where I believe I could be wrong. The legal experts might know better, but other people would have been thrown in jail by now for so defiantly going against these orders from a judge.

So he thinks he's not going get any consequences because he hasn't so far, which is how Trump lives. Think about his whole life. He hasn't had any consequences so far.

So he's going to keep doing it, absolutely, until there is, you know, an actual consequence like being put in jail for a day.

BURNETT: Stephanie, Mimi, Ryan, thank you all very much.


And next, running for cover. Speaker Mike Johnson heading to Mar-a- Lago after suffering a devastating blow to his leadership today at the hands of Marjorie Taylor Greene. Will it stop her crusade to take him down?

A special report, we've got new reporting on her plans next.

Plus, breaking news. CNN's KFILE uncovering a new robocall from Lara Trump, who is now in charge of the Republican National Committee.


LARA TRUMP, RNC CO-CHAIR: We all know the problem. No photo IDs, unsecure ballot drop boxes, mass mailing of ballot, and voter rolls, chock full of deceased people and non-citizens are just a few examples of the massive fraud that took place.


BURNETT: Obviously, that's totally false. She knows it.

And an OUTFRONT exclusive, for the first time ever, we take you on what of America's most powerful bombers for nonstop provocative 33 hour mission near Russia, China, and North Korea.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: As you can see, it's dark outside. The cockpit has red light once again for the night vision here.




BURNETT: Tonight, Speaker Mike Johnson suffering another major blow to his leadership at the hands of members of his own party. Nineteen House Republicans joining Democrats to tank a bill that Johnson had pushed, a bill that reauthorizes the U.S. government surveillance power. And Donald Trump was the one who put the nail in the coffin today, tweeting before the vote to kill the bill. This comes as Johnson is trying to already in the midst of a fight to keep his job, his speakership, as Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is leading an effort to oust him and a tense 70-minute meeting between Greene and Johnson, 70 minutes. Greene made no promises she said to stand down on her threat. Our Melanie Zanona is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill with new reporting tonight.

And, Melanie, another major defeat for Johnson today in the context of Marjorie Taylor Greene's effort to oust him. How weak is he right now?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a major setback for Mike Johnson and also for the legislation itself, especially with Johnson's leadership really under a microscope right now.

And Johnson did say that they were going to go back to the drawing board. House Republicans did meet in the Capitol earlier this evening. They have not come up with a resolution yet. One potential option is to just pass a clean extension with the support of Democrats.

But Johnson has got to tread very carefully here because he is already in hot water with hard-line conservatives. And making matters worse for Johnson is that this failed floor vote on that FISA bill you talked about has really only renewed the bitter infighting inside the House Republican conference.

In fact, I'm told that one Republican stood up during the meeting this evening and called for retribution for his GOP colleagues who vote against key procedural votes. It's unclear what that would look like, but certainly, GOP leaders share in the frustrations right now. And it's just another example of how Republicans have struggled to govern with their razor-thin majority.

BURNETT: All right. So, Melanie, it's also just the whole cloak and dagger that's going on here, right? Hours before that vote went down and Johnson had that massive failure, he said in a surprise announcement that he's going down to Mar-a-Lago to hold a news conference with Trump on Friday and the topics is going to election integrity, right?

So, you know, trying to check every single possible box he could with Trump, who was buying, killing the bill that hurt him, that hurt Johnson today, and we don't know whether Trump is behind Marjorie Taylor Greene's crusade to oust Johnson or not. We know she said she spoke to them, but we don't know more than that. What's going on here as you've learned?

ZANONA: Yeah, everyone wants to get in Trumps ear right now. My colleague, Kristen Holmes, and I actually the first to report that Johnson was going to head down to Florida on Friday to do this press conference on so-called election integrity with Donald Trump. We should point out that Johnson was one of those members who tried to help overturn the 2020 election by signing onto a lawsuit to throughout legitimate election results, which was ultimately rejected affected by the Supreme Court.

But clearly, Johnson is trying to stay in Trump's good graces, show unity with him and highlight an issue that the former president cares deeply about, especially no coincidence coming amid this threat to Johnson's speakership. And meanwhile, you have Marjorie Taylor Greene, who also said she

spoke to Donald Trump this week. She declined to say though how he feels about her effort to oust Johnson on the House floor, but I am told that a number of people have asked Trump to step in and support him, or at least say on the sidelines of this potential speakership fights. So, clearly, a recognition that down Trump could hold a lot of sway in this debate, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Melanie, thank you very much, and as this press conference is coming up between Mike Johnson and Donald Trump on election integrity. We do have breaking news tonight on that topic say in, quotes, massive fraud, because these are the words that actually went out in a robocall that was done on behalf of the Republican National Committee's new co-chair, Lara Trump.

Lara is, of course, former President Trump's daughter-in-law, and the call was uncovered by our own KFILE. Listen to what he found.


L. TRUMP: We all know the problems. No photo IDs, unsecured ballot drop boxes, mass mailing of ballots, and voter rolls, chock-full of deceased people and non-citizens are just a few examples both of the massive fraud that took place. If Democrats have their way, your vote could be canceled out by someone who isn't even an American citizen. I'm sure you agree with Co-chair Trump that we cannot allow the chaos and questions of the 2020 election to ever happen again.


BURNETT: Just to be clear, obviously, those things that she lifts off, not the case. Chock-full of noncitizens and we all know the debunking of the dead people on the roles and states like Georgia.

Well, this is all at the direction of Lara Trump. The RNC is now aggressively spreading massive fraud claims about the 2020 election, despite these claims consistently being debunked. It's a significant shift in messaging from the RNC tonight under new leadership.

CNN's KFILE senior editor Andrew Kaczynski is here to walk us through his new reporting.


So, Andrew, who exactly was the RNC targeting with this call and how widespread was its receipt.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: This call went out to 145,000 different phones and I think it's important to note that this is somebody Lara Trump who just two weeks ago was saying that vote by mail, Republicans should embrace vote by mail. They should embrace early voting. And now, we see this call where they are essentially feeding people lies about the 2020 election that dead people were voting, that undocumented immigrants were voting, that vote by mail is not safe. And Lara Trump, like her father-in-law, has a very, very long record of pushing these false election claims, that we went through four years of her podcast and campaign show, and we found time and again that she pushed these claims. I'm going to walk people through a few of them. She said, quote, the Democrats cheated in the 2020 election. She urged Congress not to certify the January 6 -- on January 6, 2021. She said she did not, quote, believe Biden got 81 million votes and then she made this rather odd claim in an episode where she said the odds of Biden winning and all of the swing states in 2020 as the votes were counted, overnight was, quote, one in 1 quadrillion to the fourth power, and she did not cite a statistical analysis for that.

So this was really a common refrain for her. Take a listen to one of those comments on her podcast.


L. TRUMP: We cannot leave this to chance. We got to make up so much for all the cheating we know the Democrats love to do that. We need to go into this thing with such a big lead that they're like, oh, my god, we can't do a 3:00 a.m. spike with this. We're never going to make it.

So, yeah, we're going to be out there hustling. We're going to be out there working hard, we're going to be out there trying to save this country.


BURNETT: Amazing when she says all that. And in fact, when you compare some of these comments and what the robocall, right with those false claims and totally focused on a stolen rigged election 15 days ago, she said the Republican Party is totally past disputing the 2020 presidential election. This wasn't going to be what it was about at all. And I know you found important sound bite here. Let me play that.


REPORTER: Is it going to be the position of the RNC in 2024 that the 2020 election was not fairly decided or that it was stolen somehow?

L. TRUMP: Well, I think we're past that. I think that's in the past. We learned a lot. Certainly, we took a lot of notes. Right now, we have 23 states that have 78 lawsuits in these states to ensure that it is harder to cheat and easier to vote. And every single person, whether you're a Republican or Democrat, should want that. We want fairness and transparency in our elections.


BURNETT: And as you pointed out, she was championing mail-in voting. She was doing all of those things in a few days later. She's saying mail-in voting was part of fraud and she's telling voters the election was stolen. So, not at all, saying we're going to move past it.

KACZYNSKI: Yeah, that's right. And it's not like Trump is backing down from his false election claims either. And why is she doing this? I want people to take a look at this poll, right here, 71 percent of

Republicans in our September CNN poll said that they think the election was not legitimate but then you look at this other number here for moderates and it's almost -- it's almost reversed, 70 percent do think the election was legitimate. So now they are stuck in this place where they've convinced their base that the election was stolen, they have to -- you know, they want to say face, they have to go with these claims, but they also want to have some sort of legitimate you see what the general public, which clearly does not believe this.

BURNETT: Right. All right. Well, thank you very much, Andrew Kaczynski of KFILE.

And OUTFRONT now, Andrew Yang, the former 2020 Democratic candidate for president, now the co-founder of the forward party. And as seen as has reported, he was on independent 2024 candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s shortlist for the VP slot.

So, Andrew, you know, sitting here and hearing Andrew Kaczynski, KFILE's exclusive reporting, robocall saying the election was stolen from the RNC, which now is headed by Trump's daughter-in-law.

How do you make sense of all that?

ANDREW YANG (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, well, you saw the numbers. The majority of Republican base voters believe the election stolen. So if you're trying to get energy and donations, this is one way to go. I obviously disagree with that depiction of the 2020 election because anyone who is investigated it has not found that those claims are true. But it's one reason why Trump wanted her as the new head of the RNC where we're seeing the early impact already.

BURNETT: And so, you know, part of the context here is you talk about they want to bring more, they're trying to get raise money, get their base energized, okay.


That makes sense, especially in the context of what we've seen with the money so far, that that Trump's campaign is dramatically lagging the Biden campaign in terms of fundraising. So, $93 million cash on hand for Trump, as I understand it, legal bells mounting every single day. Biden has $192 million in cash on hand.

YANG: Yeah.

BURNETT: I mean, that is -- that is an epic gap. Perhaps larger than anything anyone can imagine.

But you think that that lead is actually totally missing the point. How come?

YANG: You have to see how the money translates into votes, particularly in the six swing states among independents than genuine undecided, which is a relatively small sliver of the population and so the money can be spent on TV ads and we're seeing whether that's going to move the needle, the money can be spent on field offices, which they're starting to do in the swing states.

But really, the question in my mind is whether the money is going to be spent effectively targeting the actual swing voters which TV commercials are a broad brush like you're going to get a lot of people.

BURNETT: And that's where the Biden campaign spending money right now is on the broader brush.

YANG: Yes and I was with a major company tech CEO and we all remember around the Obama years, it seemed like the Democrats had an advantage in terms of technology, which now translates into the effective allocation of resources. And this tech CEO believes that Republicans maybe a head this cycle based on what he's seeing. He's actually gone to the Biden campaign, the Democrats and said, guys, let me help and he got a little bit of a brush off, honestly, which made him very, very anxious and nervous.

And one thing I'm here to say is like, look, Democrats, some of you have my info and number, just reach out to me. I'll connect you to this tech CEO because the money does not mean anything unless it actually translates into swing voters, in the swing states in November.

BURNETT: So walk me through how technology could decide if Biden wins or loses this November. I understand the point about television ads being an old school broad brush way, totally get it. But what is the technology do? I mean, I remember even hearing with the Trump campaign back when they were all those investigations into Cambridge Analytica and all of that, about the fact that they were effectively targeting.

YANG: Yeah. So, the way technology can home in on individuals and test out multiple messages and say, okay, we'll try this, we'll try this, we'll try this, and as soon as you find a message that works, then you expand it beyond --

BURNETT: I like whether people click on it or read or click on the donate button or something off of that then it goes an algorithm.

YANG: Yes. I mean, they can literally measure how long you're spending on the message. Certainly they can see whether you're taking an action. What they do is they take independence swing voters in Wisconsin, they try out five messaging is as soon as they find one that clicks and they expanded. If it works, they expanded more. And that -- this is the most effective way to actually use your resources because you can actually move someone off the fence into your column in a place that's going to matter.

And the Republicans seem to have an edge on this as far as --

BURNETT: Micro targeting.

YANG: Yeah, yeah. And by the way, this is the most efficient way you can spend the money. I mean, I love TV ads. I think field offices are great. But this could be the margin of victory or defeat in a close election. And we all know this is going to be close. BURNETT: Well, it is. I mean, 10,000 votes in Georgia, Arizona last

time, that RFK Jr. at play, too, razor-thin would seem to be an understatement.

All right. Andrew Yang, thank you very much.

And next, an OUTFRONT exclusive. We're going to take you aboard the most powerful U.S. bomber as it embarks on one of the longest military missions in the world.


LIEBERMANN: It's the middle of the day here in the Japan where we're overflying at the moment en route to the mission area where we'll meet up with fighters from several other countries here, and carry out an exercise.


BURNETT: Plus, an OUTFRONT update tonight. See how Trump's allies are now twisting arms, as they race against the clock to change a Nebraska law, a Nebraska law that could give Trump the presidency.



BURNETT: Tonight, never before seen access to U.S. bomber, the most powerful bomber in the U.S. fleet. Bomber now flying along the borders of Russia or North Korea, and China, and it comes as we're getting images of German fighter jets tonight facing off with a Russian spy plane near Sweden. That Russian plane flight nearer strategic island, often named by Russian state media as a potential target if Moscow invades the Baltics, an incidents like the one on your screen, or why the threat of wider war continues to rise, and why, what our Oren Liebermann saw and this exclusive report on board the U.S. flagship B52 bomber is so important.

Here's Oren report first OUTFRONT.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Under the shroud of pre-dawn darkness, Flight Mile R11 (ph) roars out of Louisiana's Barksdale Air Force Base. It's the start of one of the longest military missions in the world, non- stop 33 hour flight by this B52 strategic bomber group to the other side of the world, flying your Russia, China, North Korea and back.

As you can see, it's dark outside. The cockpit has red light once again for the night vision here.

CNN is the first news crew ever allowed on one of these extensive B52 missions.

CREW: Not only are we one of the most visible and flexible legs of the nuclear triad, we can have a B-52 where you need, when you need it, within 48 hours.

LIEBERMANN: These flights are intentionally high-profile. Two years into the war in Ukraine, as Russia challenges the U.S. and NATO, the Kremlin is meant to know about our bomber flight. So is China with Beijing pressuring Taiwan, Chinese coast guard vessels harassing ships of the Philippines, a U.S. ally.

MAJ. GEN. JASON ARMAGOST, COMMANDER, EIGHT AIR FORCE: Both the national leadership of Russia and the national leadership of China. What do they react to? We see that they publicly comment about our bomber task force missions, particularly when it involves others in very joint and public ways.

PILOT: Tanker 1, contact. Bomber 1, contact.

LIEBERMANN: Five hours into the flight, we hit our first of four aerial refueling off Alaska coast, taking on as much gas as we can.

PILOT: Keep track of your own fuel state. I'd like for you guys to be with us all the way to the Yankee Zulu Papa.

LIEBERMANN: After an hour of formation flying during this refuel, we arc out over the Pacific and towards Japan.


LT. REBECCA "VULCAN" MOORE, ELECTRONIC WARFARE OFFICER: It's important that we communicate to our partners that we mean what we say when we say that we're committed to our alliances. That's an example of what the B-52 does. We show up when we're asked.

LIEBERMANN: This 63-year-old Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, decades older than its crew, shows its age, but it remains the Air Force's primary bomber, taking part in every U.S. war since Vietnam, with planned upgrades to its antiquated systems, it'll see nearly a century of service.

This year, the U.S. began producing its next-generation B-21 bomber. China is close by behind, promising there H-20s strategic stealth bomber will be unveiled soon.

PILOT: Twenty seconds to the turn. Zero five zero.

LIEBERMANN: Onboard Mile R11, we passed by Russia's east coast, closer meeting up with U.S. and allied fighter jets. Our flight is unarmed. The mission is not to attack but to prevent attack, to deter. But this is a bomber, of course.

If we were carrying nuclear weapons, the Air Force would monitor the flight from the joint nuclear operation center back in Louisiana, seen here on news camera for the first time. It's a 24/7 operation tracking all ballistic missile silos and airborne nuclear weapons.

On the ground, crews trained to turn the aircraft into an offensive platform. Munitions teams or muns as they're known on base assemble weapons. Outside, loading teams married bombs to bomber.

B-52 can carry up to 70,000 pounds of bombs.

PILOT: You ready to fly?

PILOT: Ready to fly.

PILOT: Alright, your jet.

LIEBERMANN: It is a marathon of marathons, to put the B-52 and its crew virtually anywhere in the world.

At this point we passed the halfway point of the flight. We've been here more than 16 hours. It's the middle of the day here in Japan where were overflowing at the moment en route to the mission area where we'll meet up with fighters from several other countries here and carry out an exercise.

Here on the edge of the East China Sea, fighter jets from Japan and South Korea take up formation, four wings.

Hours earlier during our flight, North Korea test-fired a mid-range ballistic missile reminder of the threats in the Pacific.

You want to be seen by both allies and adversaries.

COL. MICHAEL MAGINNESS, COMMANDER, 2ND BOMB WING: We want to be seen by allies and adversaries.

LIEBERMANN: It is still a head turner. It is taken around the world.


LIEBERMANN: But it's China that the U.S. is watching most closely. In October, a Chinese fighter jet intercepted a B-52 flying over the South Chinas Sea at night, coming within 10 feet of the bomber.

By number of ships, China has the world's largest navy, and soon have the world's largest air force according to the commander of U.S. Indo- Pacific Command.

Beijing is rapidly modernizing its military, including its strategic forces. And they're not part of any non-proliferation treaty, obscuring their nuclear assets.

After 19 hours of flying and 14 more to go, a warning light signals trouble with one of the plane's main engines. The crew runs through the checklists.

CREW: Throttles, number five.

CREW: Confirmed, five.

CREW: Confirmed. LIEBERMANN: They make the decision to shut down the engine. There is no panic, just a management of risks. Nearing the 30-hour mark of the flight, we see our second sunrise over Washington state's Mr. Rainier.

And although the crew is tired, they all know there's still a critical task ahead and that is getting the B-52 back on the ground. And that is one of those difficult parts of the mission.

On final approach, the B-52, which has been in the air nearly 15 hours longer than the longest commercial flight in the world, has one final surprise.

CREW: One gear not down?

CREW: Affirm. Right main gear is not down.

CREW: Go head, and emergency extend it.

LIEBERMANN: Flight Mile R11 touches down at three in the afternoon after 33 hours in the air, a mission that showed the abilities and the age of a jet that remains critical to the Air Force.

CREW: Despite how many years the B-52 has been running, she is a tough girl.


LIEBERMANN (on camera): Air Force officials say there is now more of demand for these sorts of endurance missions, as countries like Japan, South Korea, and other nations in the region want to see the B52 in their skies, not only because what it symbolizes to them about Americas commitment, because also what it shows adversaries like China, Russia, and North Korea.

And, Erin, if I may quickly say, thank you to my flight crew that took me through this mission, Omaha, Nato (ph), Vulcan, Jet, Queen, Swabby (ph) and Jersey

BURNETT: It was really incredible on so many levels. What you saw, what you revealed.

Thank you so much, Oren, for sharing it with us and everybody watching. Thank you.

LIEBERMANN: Of course.

BURNETT: And next Trump and his allies are running out of time to change that election law in Nebraska that could cause Biden the election. An update there for you next.

And Trump calls this man a Trump-hating judge. But do Trumps attacks add up? We have a special report tonight in depth on the judge in the hush money case.



BURNETT: Tonight, the battle raging over one electoral vote that could decide the entire 2024 election. And the governor of Nebraska is under pressure from Trump allies now says he may call a special session to change the state's election laws before November. This is a change that they know could kill Biden's chances of winning the White House.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Omaha is a blue dot in a sea of Nebraska red. And that is precisely why former President Donald Trump and his allies are furiously trying to change state election law.

CHARLIE KIRK, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TURNING POINT USA: We are going to keep on pushing and keep on pushing and keep on pushing until Nebraska gets winner-take-all.

ZELENY: Tonight, time is running short on a pressure campaigns seeking to block President Joe Biden from winning one of Nebraska's five electoral votes as he did in 2020.

PRECIOUS MCKESSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEBRASKA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: That one electoral vote could possibly be the deciding factor who's president of the United States.

ZELENY: Precious McKesson was chosen to cast Nebraska's lone Electoral College vote for Biden four years ago.


Now, she's fighting to protect the state's unique system of dividing its electoral votes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've made able to give that historical vote twice. And so now I feel that they need held at that vote is very, very critical and for some reason, they want to switch the laws all of a sudden.

ZELENY: Many Nebraska Republican say changing the process one shared only by Maine is long overdue, given that 48 states award all of their electoral votes to the statewide winner.

BECKY RASMUSSEN, NEBRASKA VOTER: If you believe in the Electoral College, which I do then why does it make sense for Nebraska to not be following that same idea,

ZELENY: Becky Rasmussen stood in line Tuesday night at a rally to make Nebraska a winner take all state, which would keep Biden from claiming any electoral votes.

RASMUSSEN: We're like one of the most conservative states. And for him to win even a part of this state is just very disappointing. ZELENY: If the Biden Trump rematch is tight, both campaigns believed the race to 270 electoral votes could come down to Nebraska's sprawling second district. And here's why, if Biden carries Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and Trump wins Georgia Arizona, and Nevada, a single electoral vote in Omaha could tip the balance and keep the race from becoming a 269-269 tie, throwing the outcome to the House of Representatives.

KIRK: Unless Nebraska just goes and fixes it --

ZELENY: Conservative activists Charlie Kirk, a fierce Trump ally, is pressuring Republican Governor Jim Pillen to call a special legislative session after lawmakers declined to act in the final days of the regular term that ends next week.

Pillen backs the change, but said he would only call lawmakers back to Lincoln when there is sufficient support.

TONY VARGAS (D), NEBRASKA STATE SENATOR: It's not about, you know, the Biden or Trump campaign, it's about democracy and whether or not we're willing to protect it. And Nebraskans really care about this. It's why we've protected it for so long.

ZELENY: State Senator Tony Vargas said he and other Democrats will block any changes they say undermine democracy.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You'd better get me Omaha, you understand that?

ZELENY: In 2016, Trump carry the Omaha area district, but lost it four years later.

MCKESSON: We call Omaha, be college Omaha.

ZELENY: The Biden campaign is that a tie on Nebraska, sending second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, to open an office last month.

MCKESSON: He has got to continue to fight and let them understand that they can't have this blue dot, it's not yours.

ZELENY: It's not yours. It's not anyone's in the sense. I mean, this does not preclude former President Trump from campaigning for it.

MCKESSON: No, it doesn't. No, it's like you can campaign. You wanted to come work hard for it, you know, but we're going to fight to keep it.


ZELENY (on camera): And another wrinkle here as well, Erin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s campaign says he too will qualify for the Nebraska ballot. If those signatures are certified, that could make this race here in Nebraska, particularly in Omaha, and even more crowded one come November -- Erin.

BURNETT: It's incredible to see. Thank you very much, Jeff. And next, Trump calls him crooked and corrupt. But just who really is the judge overseeing Trumps hush-money case about to begin?



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump calls him crooked, corrupt, a partisan hack. But what is the truth about the man who is presiding over Trump's first criminal trial.

Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT.


TRUMP: I have a Trump-hating judge with the Trump-hating wife and family.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump has attacked the judge who will preside over his hush money trial beginning Monday from every angle.

TRUMP: Everything is politics in the city including, decisions and judges and everything else.

SCHNEIDER: Trump has called Judge Juan Marshawn, a certified Trump hater and has blasted his daughter, Lauren, for her work as a senior executive at a super liberal Democrat firm.

Lauren Marshawn has served as the president of Authentic Campaigns, a firm that handles online advertising and has brought in millions of dollars for work with Democrats, including the Biden and Harris campaigns in 2020 and outspoken Trump critic Congressman Adam Schiff. It is unclear if she still serves in that role.

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, FORMER MANHATTAN ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This is really seems to be like grasping at straws to say, because his daughter worked somewhere somehow that makes him biased.

SCHNEIDER: A small contributions from Judge Marshawn in July 2020, including $50 earmarked for the Biden campaign and two $10 donations to the groups Stop Republicans and the Progressive Turnout Project have also drawn scrutiny since he was assigned to the case over a year ago. Marshawn is registered Democrat, but was previously a Republican according to "The New York Times".

Karen Friedman Agnifilo, who appeared before Judge Marshawn for several years insists he is impartial.

AGNIFILO: Even if Donald Trump criticizes him, baits him, doesn't like what he's doing. He's going to be extra careful to make sure because of that that his rulings are extremely fair and follow the law.

SCHNEIDER: Monday will mark Judge Marshawn's highest profile court case so far, the first time a former president goes to trial for criminal charges, but Marshawn has overseen cases involving Trump before. Judge Marshawn sentenced Trump's close confident Allen Weisselberg to prison. He presided over the Trump Organization tax fraud trial --

STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: They will never shut me off. They'd have to kill me first.

SCHNEIDER: And oversaw Trump's former adviser, Steve Bannon's criminal fraud case. Marshawn, who is born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to the U.S. at age 6, launched his legal career in 1994 in the Manhattan D.A.'s office. He worked his way to the state attorney generals office and was first appointed to a judgeship by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then a Republican in 2006.

Marshawn has been working as a state Supreme Court judge, the state's trial court since 2009. He's credited by his peers for his compassion. Most notably, and his creation of the Manhattan Mental Health Court where he counsels down on their luck defendants and tries to give them second chances, even one of Trumps former lawyers has praised the longtime judge.

TIM PARLATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I know Judge Marshawn. I've tried a case in front of him before. He can be tough. I don't think that it's necessarily going to be something that's going to change his ability to evaluate the facts and the law in this case.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): And attorneys tell us that Judge Marshawn does not stand for disruptions or delays and is determined to keep control of his courtroom even when cases have drawn significant attention, which obviously this one has, Erin. Of course, Judge Marshawn has already dismissed Trump's attempts to delay this trial and has imposed that strict gag order -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. We shall see. Of course, it is scheduled to begin on Monday. Thank you so much, Jessica.

And thanks so much to all of you for being with us as always.

"AC360" begins right now.