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Erin Burnett Outfront

Police In Riot Gear Arrest Students In Texas, Columbia In Chaos; Pro-Trump Network Retracts False Story On Cohen, Stormy Daniels; MTG Not Backing Down From Ousting Johnson As She Returns To DC. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 29, 2024 - 19:00   ET




The breaking news: police and protesters facing off tonight. Dozens arrested in Austin, Texas. Columbia University in chaos, hundreds right now defying a deadline to vacate the encampment.

Plus, Trump's favorite network back-tracking, now pulling a salacious story about two major witnesses in Trump's hush money trial. Could the false story impact the case?

And she's back. Marjorie Taylor-Greene returning to the Capitol, tonight, promising to kick out Mike Johnson as speaker. Is she bluffing?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. Protesters and police facing off as tensions are running high, at universities across the United States tonight, colleges and universities are now cracking down on pro- Palestinian protesters who have taken over some of the campuses.

Let me just show you some of the dramatic live pictures of what you're looking at here. This massive crowd is in Texas. Police in riot gear can be seen moving in earlier, tearing down barriers and forcefully arresting students. This was the University of Texas at Austin, those students have been camped out on campus and at least 40 students we understand at UT-Austin were reportedly taken into custody.

Meantime, in New York, protesters are defying a mandatory deadline to tear down their encampment in Columbia University. It gave the students until 2:00 this afternoon to pack it in, and they did not. They defied that order.

So now we are learning at this hour, unclear what the security situation is, and a lot of questions about that at this moment, but we are learning meaning that the university is actively suspending students, as I speak.

This situation is a tinderbox. I mean, moments ago was student was flying a massive Israeli flag over pro-Palestinian protesters. The man holding the flag telling CNN he's been harassed and assaulted on campus. And as I mentioned, these protests have been spreading. It is now coast-to-coast, California to Boston at the White House, the administration is now watching very closely.

So far, those still refusing to weigh in on whether the students should be disciplined for disrupting schedules, classes, and graduation plans.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So got to be super, super mindful. These are institutions, some of them are private, some of them are public. And it is up to their leadership. University leadership and colleges to make that decision. Not going to weigh in on that from here.


BURNETT: Meanwhile, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now asking President Biden to come to his rescue.

According to reporting in "Axios" right now and then yahoo asked Biden to stop the International Criminal Court from issuing arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials, including possibly Netanyahu himself, who have played a role in the war in Gaza. The ICC has been investigating possible war crimes by both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants.

Now, if the ICC were to issue an arrest warrant, for example, for Prime Minister Netanyahu -- well, more than 120 countries have signed on to the ICC, which would place travel restrictions on Netanyahu so that would be incredibly significant.

We have a team of reporters standing by to begin our breaking coverage this hour. Omar Jimenez is at Columbia in New York.

Ed Lavandera is at the University of Texas at Austin, where we were showing you some of those dramatic pictures -- where you are at, Ed. You witnessed it, that situation where you are appears to be growing increasingly tense.

Can you tell us what's happening?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, now, we're kind of a standoff where the crowd that you see behind me is basically just a confronting a number of offices and now they're shooting pepper spray into the crowd.

Sit tight here for a second. They're trying to get people to disperse.

So that just happened, those officers firing pepper spray, it appears or some sort of spray protesters gather here.

Just moments ago, Erin, in this area, there had been a bus that was taken some of the people who had been arrested earlier. This is one of the protesters hit by the pepper spray.


They're calling for medics.

So trying to keep an eye, excuse me, Erin, we're trying to keep an eye on exactly what's going on behind me. But this is an area where the bus that were sort of taken away several of the protesters was -- a number of these protesters were blocking these people or trying to block -- excuse me, the bus from leaving the area, but we saw more than a dozen protesters that were arrested and taken away on that bus. We are told that they're probably being taken downtown process.

And we have also seen this group of protesters also essentially trying to push law enforcement off of campus, chants of "good off of our campus" have been extensive for some time.

However, those buses are now gone. So exactly what's going to unfold here is unclear how we are willing to almost six hours of this protest that has been going on for quite some time. And here just in the last few seconds, we've tried to like peek back in, figure out exactly why they're -- what they're trying to say.

The question is, Erin, is what exactly they're going to do with this crowd at this point. The protesters were essentially champion trying to get officers to go to leave the campus but the officers have formed a line, essentially, if he walked back this way, who end up back generally in the area where this protests started earlier today. So a standoff here as officers essentially, at this point I don't know if they're trying to figure out an extra strategy, how to get out of it -- out of the campus and away from these protesters or how to diffuse the situation, but we will continue to monitor here as the minutes and hours progress.

BURNETT: So, Ed, I know we just saw that young man behind you who appeared to have been hit by the pepper spray or whatever sort of chemical agent it was that they were they were spraying that law enforcement. But when you look behind you, when you talk about a standoff, can you describe for us -- I mean how many people are there and how many police officers and what I mean, I guess, you know where they in riot gear.

Can you describe exactly what this face off looks like?

LAVANDERA: Actually, the officers that are just on the other side of that crowd from what I could tell him last time was able to get it better vantage point.

It was officers on bicycles and those are the officers there have actually been used to kind of create barriers to keep people away from the other officers, either taking people into custody or moving people around the campus so those officers are not object out in helmets and protective gear, like we have seen from the state troopers, that were here earlier.

In fact, a large bus full of state troopers that were wearing the right gear, if you will, left about an hour ago on a city -- a city bus that was used to bring them onto the campus grounds here. So these are not those officers. In fact, I believe these are UT police department officers. So these are officers that this is their jurisdiction.

BURNETT: This is their beat.

LAVANDERA: This is where they went patrol and yes, this is their beat, essentially. So can imagine that those officers are going are going anywhere.

Now there are also Austin police officers over here in the distance. It's been awhile since I've seen any state troopers, but they still might be around here as well. But it's a rather large crowd and they really haven't figured out a way to get them dispersed at this time.

BURNETT: Yeah. So, Ed, you have any to any way you could tell us or the scale of how many people are there. And I'm also curious because there was that sort of people sort of running away are moving quickly when you first came up, right? And they were sprayed with some sort of pepper spray as you described her, something similar to appeared. Any sense as to what caused that and but obviously because it now seems to meet everyone's back to chanting and back to their positions.

LAVANDERA: Right. So there was a car -- a police car that made its way out this way. So my guess at this point is that the officers were pushing people back to be able to allow one of the police vehicles to exit a few of these roads over here. They were trying to push the crowd back.

Clearly, we saw that that spray that was fireball that was very close perimeter spray that was used. It was it like a volley of tear gas or anything like that? So the people who were hit one in the immediate vicinity of those officers. So there's just a matter of inches that are separating those protesters who have been chanting for hours now at the -- at these officers were probably about 10, 15 yards behind that.

BURNETT: All right. Ed, we're going to keep checking in with you, as that situation develops, obviously, you know, minute by minute there at the University of Texas at Austin.

But you can just get a sense of the crowds there where Ed is and how difficult it was even for those police officers to move that they were spraying pepper spray to be able to move that car as it describes it. We'll get back to Ed in a moment as that develops.

I want to go now to Omar Jimenez because he's at Columbia in upper New York and Omar Columbia has laid down the law. Everyone had to get out, get out of that tent encampment, which is in one corner of the quad is I saw it the other day. But protesters, at least from what we understand, if not moved.

What are you seeing right now?

[19:10:10] OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So were seeing a combination of things just for the viewers watching, overseeing behind this is a very small handful of protesters outside of Columbia's campus. So these protesters are separate from the encampment led protests that we've been seeing on campus.

And yes, as you mentioned, there was a 2:00 p.m. deadline today for those -- for those students to voluntarily leave that encampment or face suspension, many did not leave. In fact, many of them chose to take part in a separate protest encircling that encampment, as one student told me to stop university officials from coming in, even university professors and faculty linked arms at the entrance to the encampment in support of some of those students.

All of that said the campus is now levying suspensions as they told us. They're starting to hand those out. They also said there's a further disciplinary process for others that they're reviewing. But those suspensions are coming. We are in there just -- just about an hour or so ago, a little bit more than that ago as suspensions were first being handed out and there were still protesters inside of there.

So it remains to be seen from a university perspective, what happens if, even if suspensions are coming through, if they choose to still not leave, because as a university said this morning, they do not believe calling in NYPD again is productive. But the question is, for how long would that last?

BURNETT: All right? Well, we'll check in with you as well. Omar, is the situation develops there. I mean, universities to make a decision what they're going to do, let them stay, or calling police. I mean, you're again a standoff.

All right. Thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Achinthya Sivalingam. She's a Princeton University graduate student who was arrested at a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus at Princeton and as we just been talking about those Columbia students now being suspended, Cynthia is now barred from Princeton pending a disciplinary review.

So, Achinthya, thank you for coming in.

So I want to just -- just start here. You're seeing what was happening tonight. The pepper spray UT-Austin. You're telling me, as I understand, there's been more arrest at Princeton in the past few moments.


BURNETT: We've got video of your arrest. Your hands are zip-tied it from what it appears. I want to show everybody. This is you at the encampment in Princeton, when you arrested. The university says you were getting repeated warnings to exit the area. You chose not to do so. That's why they arrested you.

What happened in that moment and what do you understand is happening right now?

SIVALINGAM: In that moment, what happened was a group of autonomous students decided that Princeton University's investments in the apartheid state of Israel, which is now conducting a genocide and with that money shouldn't remain. So we shouldn't profit off of a genocide. And so, we came together and we decided to protest peacefully in consultation with other universities across the United States, and we wanted to make a stance that what Princeton University and the institutions here, higher education institutions and the U.S. government or investments in the way that were looking at Israel and the genocide that we're committing isn't right.

BURNETT: All right. So the night before you arrested, Princeton released a statement.


BURNETT: All right. And it reads in part, I know you've seen it, but let me just write everyone to hear, Achinthya. Some types of protest actions, including occupying or blocking access to buildings and outdoor and establishing outcome encampments are inherently unsafe for both those involved and for bystanders. They increase the potential for escalation and confrontation. There also inconsistent with the university's mission and legal obligation to provide a safe environment for all.

For those reasons, among others, our policies explicitly prohibit such conduct. They're trying to say you can protest, but you can't camp out, you can't block buildings, you can't -- you can't do the encampment the way you were doing. So why was it so important for you to defy those rules as opposed to protesting in another way that they would have said, okay, you have a point of view, you can -- you can make that known, you just can't camp out?

SIVALINGAM: I think what's important to remember in this context is that we were protesting peacefully. We were not causing harm, harm to anyone. We were out there setting up tents so that we could bring light to the university's investments in a genocide. There's a massive violent campaign happening against the Gazans just last week, there was a large mass grave that was discovered outside of a hospital where people admitted --

BURNETT: Al-Shifa.

SIVALINGAM: Outside of al-Shifa, where people who are admitted were killed and then thrown into this mass grave and we were out there protesting this deep violence by peaceful measures. And the university decided to enact violence on me personally by arresting me and having people take down their tents.

And I don't necessarily understand the double standard there.

BURNETT: So -- but just when they say, okay, you could have done this another way --

SIVALINGAM: Yeah. BURNETT: -- do you feel that nobody would be paying attention unless

you did it this way, unless you divide the rules?

SIVALINGAM: I don't want to say that we defy the rules. That came out a week or a day before this happened.


There were encampments that were happening across the country, and I think it was important for us to show solidarity with the students of Columbia University who are being brutalized. The students from University of Texas Austin were clearly being brutalized and having pepper-sprayed against them.

And yeah, it's just important to -- it's important to clarify what our universities are doing together, because this is a national issue, this is an issue across the United States.

BURNETT: So one student protester there at Columbia has gotten a national attention and I'm sure you've heard about this. Video of him surfaced, video that he himself had posted before the actual protests, so its not as if it was caught on candid camera. He posted this and I just want to play the operative part of the clip which you've heard.

But for anyone who hasn't seen it on social media in the past couple of days. Here's Khymani James.


KHYMANI JAMES, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Zionists, they don't deserve to live comfortably. Let alone Zionists don't deserve to live.


BURNETT: Okay. That post is getting a lot of attention. He's one of the leaders at the protest in Columbia.

How do you react to that?

SIVALINGAM: I think it's abhorrent to say that anyone shouldn't live when were out here protesting a genocide, advocating for the rights of Palestinians to live, dignified in their home country. Yeah, that's all I have to say to that.

BURNETT: So when people say that the protest itself in what you're calling for is antisemitic. How do you respond to that?

SIVALINGAM: What we're talking about here is the genocide. And I know I keep coming back to that, but I would like for everyone to know that the focus of this protests is to stop killing Palestinian people and to get our institutions to take accountability for our investments that are profiting off of the genocide of Palestinian people. Antisemitism is not anything that we condone. It is a abhorrent.

I know that it's a very real threat, but that's not a part of what were advocating for. In fact, one of my classmates who just got arrested today is a Jewish Voice for Peace member. And he was brutalized by the administration for protesting.

So I think it's important to consider what are institutions are doing in this moment.

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

SIVALINGAM: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Trump's favorite channel tonight, force to pull a salacious story about two key potential witnesses in Trumps trial, Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels. But has this story already impacted the jury sitting in that room?

Plus, Marjorie Taylor Greene expected back at the Capitol tonight, as she's threatening to oust Speaker Mike Johnson at any moment. Is she bluffing or is it real now they're back in session?

And Trump's future daughter-in-law and Hillary Clinton on the same side tonight, as they appear to take on the South Dakota Republican governor for killing her puppy.



BURNETT: Tonight, a major mea culpa from Trump's favorite channel. The right-wing network, One America News forced to backtrack on a salacious story involving two of the biggest players in Trumps hush money trial, Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen.

So for weeks, OAN has been spreading this bogus story that Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen, had a sexual relationship with Stormy Daniels and then secretly use that to extort the Trump Organization. So I guess this is their whole way of explaining the payments.

OAN is now retracting the story after Cohen hired an attorney, the network says it, quote/unquote, regrets public publishing the false allegations but since the start of the trial, OAN has been saying things supportive of Trump.

Just listened to what they put on the air.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm almost just running out of steam. Every day, I have to bring up these six, seven different trials and the B.S. that's being thrown at Trump from all of these nefarious actors. We have a corrupt judge, a corrupt D.A., and a corrupt jury panel.


BURNETT: Corrupt jury panel.

I mean, our experts are all here with me. So, Ryan, let me just start with you though on this story that they

have been running about saying Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, that was the whole sordid affair. That's why Cohen would have, I guess, taken out a home equity. The he locked and the whole thing, right? This is -- it's false. They've now retracted it.

How could the story affect the jury?

RYAN GOODMAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it could get to the jurors one way or another, either directly the jurors are exposed to the story, that they're friends, colleagues, family members are exposed to it, then they say, oh, do you hear about this? And then maybe over here the story in directly.

And I think that's really awful because it really would be indicting and a certain sense, the credibility of two of the star witnesses in the trial under completely bogus conspiracy theory that has no -- it's not like it's just bogus. It has no connection. As far as we understand it to any facts. So that's what's really bad about it in its timing.

BURNETT: No. I mean, it's like it's completely made up. I mean, if that sort of thing that anyone could find a connection to, they would've done so a long time ago, Joe, I mean, right? This is they're not retracting because it's false.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So without question, so the law and then the practicality on, right? The law is the judge obviously instructs the jury repeatedly, right. You're not to talk about it. You're not the listened to any news reports. You're to disregard anything and everything until or unless you commented the courtroom and its out of the mouths of witnesses.

And so, the essence of any trial is to focus on the merits of testimony. That's the legal reality, the practical reality is you cant un-ring a wrong bell. The reality is people , right? I mean, they hear things and no matter what the judge says, you should disregard.

And then there's the other problem, Erin. And if you then pull the jury and say, hey, did you hear about the story? Now you're infecting them with information they may not be cognizant of.

So they -- the judge has to be very careful it's brought up of how to resolve the issue. But at the end of the day, the case should be about what happens in the courtroom and nothing.

BURNETT: All right. So, Barbara, former Trump Organization executive, right? You worked with Trump for decades, author of "Tower of Lies", of which you wrote about your time working with Trump.

So this story comes out at this moment. Trump's been told by the judge she cannot go after jurors or an -- or witnesses, right. These gag order alleged violations are mounting up day by day.

So you take all of that. And what's happening here at OAN and you come up with what? BARBARA RES, FORMER EXECUTIVE VICE PREIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Trump

came up with that idea, and he told them to write it and they did. I mean, I've seen him to the so many times.


He got mad at somebody for saying one thing or another, and he created a story. One in particular stands out in my mind, about a famous developer who Trump said his wife was calling him and chasing him. And they got printed in newspapers. I mean, it was just -- that's the kind of control he had.

BURNETT: So you think this is something he would have just --

RES: Yes.

BURNETT: -- via someone who got with that.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, this is, you know, it's the kind of dirty stuff that he does. I mean, I really think that we're getting used to stuff that is awful to get used to it. It's kind of like mafioso kind of tactics. I mean, it's like John Gotti's running for president and whatever. He's dirtied up this witness, tampered with -- this is the kind of stuff that to me makes him -- should make him ineligible to be president.

But a lot of people, by the way, do listen to OAN because they think Fox is too liberal. He's drugged country so far into the ditch, there are people who think that Fox is too liberal because they have acknowledged that -- at least some of the people on the air have acknowledged that Trump lost the election. So, that's too liberal. So, they go into the, into the ditch here with OAN.

BURNETT: So, Barbara, this comes ahead of back in court tomorrow, so everyone's going back in the jury, Michael Cohen's banker is going to be back on the stand. So this is the person who set up the LLCs to create all these payments and can talk to the exact days that it happened, leading into the election and the timing in terms of influencing the election.

So Trump was straight ahead with his eyes closed on Friday late in the day when this banker was started his testimony. So what do you anticipate the impact of this testimony is on Trump?

RES: You know, how Trump taking all of this? That is a very, very good question. People are saying now, for the first time in his life, he is actually afraid. I'm not so sure about that. I think he's actually just more angry than he ever was that people set him to let this happen.

But I -- Trump always got away with everything. I don't -- I'm not sure that there's any reason that he would change his total belief in his ability to do that. So I don't think -- I think he's angry as hell, but I think that he will -- BURNETT: You don't buy the fear?

RES: No, and I don't think he'll hold back. It's, you know, he'll be on the borderline of breaking the rules and let him get away with it.

BURNETT: So another legal case right in the center of politics and networks, Hunter Biden's lawyers now say that they're threatening to sue Fox News. A 14-page letter that we've gotten, they're demanding that the network Fox News remove the sexually explicit images of Hunter Biden. They're saying that it violates revenge porn laws in many states. And that they say Fox knows these private images were hacked, stolen, and/or manipulated.

Is that a good legal case?

GOODMAN: So think they might have a strong legal case in that part of the letter, and if you look at Delaware law, for example, it seems to match the allegations here, which is that Fox is knowingly reproducing sexual images that are private and that they should know were not able to be distributed with the person's consent. So that's the problem for Fox News. And that's Delaware. That's the state in which they're incorporated. That's the state in which they were sued by Dominion, and successfully so.

BURNETT: Right, and massively so.

GOODMAN: Massively so. Nearly over $700 million, and Delaware is probably a favorable state to the Biden family in some regards.

So I think that that's -- I think they'd have to calculate all of that and maybe they need to issue a retraction, at least pull down those images.

BURNETT: What do you think Fox will do?

JACKSON: Yeah. I mean, they better do something unless you want to shell out and not another significant judgment. The reality is, is you have to be careful. You just can't say anything you want.

I know that politician sometimes do that, but you have a special obligation. And when you spout falsehoods or you have materials that were not consented to, it could constitute revenge porn.

And the other issue is it's not only a civil issue. It's a criminal issue. There are criminal statutes throughout this country that speaks to the issue of revenge porn. So if you have these images, they're altered in some way. They're exposing certain body parts and you're doing it -- I mean, why?

And so yes, in the event that there's a lawsuit, I think it has merit and I think it could result if it goes to a lawsuit, a significant judgment.

BURNETT: And, Van, you know, there also asking for certain actions be taken against anchors at the network who have talked about but the issue with Hunter Biden, the bribery charges. Even if Hunter Biden succeeds in some way of getting Fox to retract or change or anything that they've said, does that do anything for President Biden, Joe Biden politically in this election?

JONES: Well, I think not much because to be honest, that people who care about Hunter Biden and know who he is, and bottom (ph) of this are already going to vote against Joe Biden anyway. So even if a Hunter Biden is able to redeem himself somehow, it's not like, well, people are going to say, oh, never mind now, I'm going go vote for Joe Biden.


If you were deep down the rabbit hole on Hunter Biden at all, you are already voting for Donald Trump. So I don't -- but I do think it's important though for Fox to keep getting dinged and for other of these propaganda outfits to keep getting dinged in the courts and having to pay for it reputationally and otherwise, because it's not fair for this cult around Donald Trump, that consume half Americas media and have people good, just getting attacked and you're siccing massive media on people who have no recourse except to the courts.

I'm glad that he's fighting back, but it won't affect the election.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all.

And next, breaking news, House Speaker Mike Johnson just responding now to Marjorie Taylor Greene's threats to oust him as speaker. Now Congress is back tonight in Washington. And everyone from Hillary Clinton to Kimberly Guilfoyle is appearing to troll the South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for admitting that she killed a puppy. So how did such a thing happen? Was she trying to impress Trump? We'll tell you.


BURNETT: Breaking news, student protesters on the move right now, the University of Texas at Austin, they have been squaring off with police in riot gear.


Dozens now reportedly arrested and our Ed Lavandera has been in the middle of it at UT Austin.

So, Ed, what are you seeing behind you now?

LAVANDER: Well, this is a protest that's lasted well into six hours now, and that standoff that we were showing you earlier, Erin, that resulted in a little bit of pepper spray being fired, those officers have kind of left that area, gone inside the main tower building here, but we can kind of turn around and show you this is the area where the officers have gone back inside. So, there's a handful of them kind of standing guard outside of the school.

But now, these protests are saying that they're going to go back to the south side of the campus and the campus square area. And this is where the protests started this afternoon. And that is an area where we saw and we were reported live this afternoon as state troopers and Austin police, and as well as University of Texas police department, were we witnessed taking several dozen people into custody and arrested. They were warned that if they did not disperse here this afternoon, that they would be arrested for disorderly conduct.

And we saw those arrests as the officers went to the encampment area, which is relatively small there on the south mall and started plucking people out of their one-by-one. It took several hours to do all of that.

But university officials said the reason they did that, Erin, is because they were not going to allow any kind of signs of tents or any kind of a scene where it would be taken as an occupation of any portion of the campus grounds here.

And that's why -- that's why university officials say the officers in the state troopers were brought in. They were decked out in riot gear. Now, these protesters are going back to the same area where all of this started. I mean, it's not exactly clear what their intention will be, but what university officials really latched onto earlier is that when there was a sign that it was going to be some sort of occupation with tents and that sort of thing, that that was something that they're not going to allow.

University officials have been seen what has happened in other campuses across the country. And you get the clear indication that they do not want to see that scene unfold here on this campus. So they are going to prevent it as quickly as possible.

These protesters will obviously tell you that they are protesting peacefully. That they're not doing anything wrong, that should be allowed to express themselves. But now, as you can see here, trying to move a little bit faster as you can see exactly trying to get a sense, Erin, of what the intention will be here on the south mall of the UT campus.

And in a second, you'll be able to see the state capital building there in the distance and the question will become just how long these students so her protesters will be staying here in this portion of the campus. Exactly how long they will be allowed to stay here.

Earlier, they had -- officers had cleared a lot out of people, out of this grass area, this grassy area, but I do not see a heavy law enforcement presence at all at this point. So they might be just kind of waiting to see exactly how this unfolds over the next couple of hours -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Ed. Well, we're going to keep checking back in with you. Obviously, the volume here, students, at least from images that Ed is showing us is significant, and not so much the volume of law enforcement, at least in these images that we have -- that we're seeing here from the vantage point that Ed has.

All right. Ed, we're going to check back in with you as the situation develops at UT Austin this hour. Meanwhile, we do have more breaking news. The House just back in

session. Speaker Mike Johnson, trying to avoid questions about Marjorie Taylor Greene.


REPORTER: Speaker Johnson, have you talked to Marjorie Taylor Greene about motion to vacate threats?

Speaker Johnson, have you spoken to Marjorie Taylor Greene about motions to oust?



BURNETT: Took 22 seconds there for him to eventually decided he would answer the question, no.

So far, the Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has not forced to vote, but one of her top aides vows that it is only a matter of time, telling "Politico", quote: Anyone who is saying she is backing down or high, drunk or simply out of their mind -- is high, drunk or simply out of their mind. I'm sorry.

And Greene herself warning just yesterday, quote, his days as speaker are numbered.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.

And, Manu, so they're back and as they returned, Marjorie Taylor Greene returns with this threat. Now you have just had a chance as everyone's coming back in to speak to a number of Republicans, what do they think Greene is going to do?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's actually unclear. And of course, she can call for this vote essentially at anytime because any one member of the House can do just that.

And right now, she has three Republicans who are voting -- supporting her effort.


And one of those Republicans, I just caught up with, Thomas Massie, who wants Mike Johnson out of the job. I asked him, have you decided when you're going to move forward with as vote? He said, quote, undecided. And so that's means that this threat continues to hover over Mike Johnson.

Also the question, how many Republicans will ultimately support this, is whether they've gotten backlash back home or whether people are calling for his ouster in the aftermath of the vote to fund Ukraine as part of a larger foreign aid package. And after the members have been back home for a week, talking to their constituents. But I just talked to several Republican hardliners in particular, who made clear that they oppose the effort to push out the speaker.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'll try (ph). It weakens the party. It weakens Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're pissed off. They feel like they don't get represented up here.

RAJU: Are you ready to throw out the speaker?


RAJU: Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a bunch of different reasons, yeah.

RAJU: Because not a good time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, the timing.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): There's obviously frustration of what happened.

RAJU: You oppose the motion to vacate.

ROY: How in the world -- again, we -- I opposed it with Kevin. I think right now, we need to just do our job.


RAJU: And those last two comments coming for some of the loudest critics of some of Mike Johnson's deal-making with Democrats to keep the government open and to fund the war in Ukraine. Chip Roy, the last one, Eli Crane, one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy in the fall, the historic vote to kick out the House speaker, making clear very much they do not agree with Marjorie Taylor Greene's effort going ahead.

But the big question, Erin, still remains. What do Democrats do? Because ultimately, if Marjorie Taylor Greene does move forward, it would require Democrats essentially to keep them in the speakership. And if they do that, how long will we be able to sustain the speakership with the support of Democrats? All huge questions for the speaker at this moment -- Erin.

BURNETT: Absolutely. And if he thought that absence would make the heart grow fonder, certainly not.

All right. Thank you very much, Manu.

OUTFRONT now, former Republican Congressman Ken Buck.

I will remind all of you, he was one of the eight Republicans who voted to remove then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, but he opposes these efforts to oust Speaker Johnson. So Congressman, you and I were talking the other day and at the hi, you said you were confident that Greene's bid to get rid of Johnson would fail now, you just, they're all coming back in, right?

Your heard Speaker Johnson finally say he has not spoken to her and you hear three of your former Republican colleagues say now is not the time to remove him, right? But her office just says it's a matter of time. She's going to do it. She's vowing to do it.

You know, what do you say to her at this point?

FORMER REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Well, the reason that she is vowing to do it is she gets a lot of attention. She's had this motion now, I believe for six weeks and has not made it a privileged motion which should we require a vote.

So as long as she continues to get the attention, she's going to continue to threaten this motion. As soon as she makes the motion privilege and the House votes on the motion, she will no longer be getting the attention because Mike Johnson will be in the speakership and her threat is an empty threat.

BURNETT: You know, your views of Green, obviously, you have not minced words about it. You know, seeing her as deeply unserious. You called her Moscow M,arjorie, of course, that went viral -- in Russia as well. But one of your former Democratic colleagues, Jared Moskowitz, is promising that Democrats will do whatever it takes to make sure Greene loses this fight.

So Democrats are the ones to come in and save Johnson. Here's Moskowitz.


REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): The idea of letting her sit in the people's house, in the well of Congress giving a speech removing any speaker, and having that powerful moment, there was just no way Democrats are going to let her do that. I'm not going to let her do that. We won't even let her name a post office. We're not going to let her -- we're not going to let her take out the speaker.


BURNETT: So knowing that Democrats, may be the ones to save Johnson, you know, what is -- what does that do to this scenario, right? If it's Democrats who have to save him?

BUCK: Well at a time when there's country is highly polarized, when one side is un -- it feels threatened by the other's presidential candidate and vice versa, when -- when we are looking at a divided country, Mike Johnson did the right thing. He did the right thing for history. He brought the Ukraine bill to the floor, overwhelming Democrats supported, almost a majority of Republicans supported it.

I don't think the American people want to punish Mike Johnson. I think that politics is downstream from public opinion, and I think he will be saved by the Democrats, but I don't think there will be a backlash with Republicans as a result. BURNETT: So, the former President Trump has praised Johnson. He's also

praised Marjorie Taylor Greene. Do you think he's enjoying this, this fight and sort of embarrassment playing out, or do you think he'll eventually be clear on where he stands?

BUCK: I think the president doesn't want this to happen, but he doesn't want to be the one to make the call for it not to happen. If he takes Marjorie's side and it fails, he looks bad. If he takes Mike Johnson's side, and there's a backlash, he looks bad.

He has a lot of things on his mind right now, and I don't think he's going to focus on this, but any distraction that happens if there's a three-week effort to name another speaker. It takes away from his message regarding President Biden. So I don't think he wants this to happen.

BURNETT: All right. Congressman Buck, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

And next, Hillary Clinton and Kimberly Guilfoyle, you would think they have absolutely nothing in common, except for they do. We have found one thing that they could actually agree on -- shooting your puppy is a bad thing. They both are taking on the South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and both trolling her tonight.

And the breaking news, students and police in riot gear facing off tonight as we have a special report from Iran on how Tehran is now exploiting the chaos on America's college campuses.



BURNETT: Tonight, Kimberly Guilfoyle, former President Trump's future daughter-in-law, seemingly trolling South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, capitalizing on Noem's story about killing a puppy, announcing this new children's book today called "The Princess and her Pup".

Hillary Clinton definitely trolling Noem, repurposing of 2021 post, quote, don't vote for anyone you wouldn't trust with your dog. Writing today: Still true.

Noem continuing to defend herself tonight, doubling down on the killing.

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Facing intense backlash, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, defending herself after bragging that two decades ago, she shot her puppy named Cricket dead.

Given that Cricket has shown aggressive behavior toward people by biting them, I decided what I did. Noem's newest statement about the incident, her second explanation in three days coming after bipartisan uproar and horror, mocking her for what many see as animal cruelty.

Noem's scrambling to reframe it in good political light, quote, whether running the ranch or in politics, I have never passed on my responsibilities to anyone else to handle, even if it's hard and painful.

In her forthcoming memoir, Noem describes her 14 month-old white haired, pointed puppy that she tried to use for pheasant hunting, a hobby that she has talked about in the past.

GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: You know, I loved it from the time I was little and we ran a hunting lodge for many years. We started a hunting lodge, so I spent years guiding hunters.

SERFATY: Noem says her puppy Cricket was untrainable, dangerous, and worthless as a hunting dog according to excerpts obtained by "The Guardian". I hated that dog, she writes. After Cricket attacked her neighbors' chickens, Noem says she got her gun, took Cricket to a gravel pit and shot him. It was not a pleasant job, but it had to be done.

In that same incident, Noem then went on to kill a goat shield because he was nasty and mean, that the goat smell disgusting, musky, rancid, and had knocked over her children in the past.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a very special woman who's hot as a politician. She's -- she's doing in an incredible job in South Dakota, she's the governor, Kristi Noem.

SERFATY: All this comes as Noem is being considered as a vice presidential candidate for Donald Trump.

Seth Tupper has been covering Kristi Noem since she first ran for Congress over a decade ago.

SETH TUPPER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SOUTH DAKOTA SEARCHLIGHT: Probably, the thought before it came out was that this would help her with Trump what makes her look like this sort of gun-toting, you know, strong Western figure whose unafraid to shock people.

SERFATY: Noem has been positioning herself for years.


DANA BASH, CNN CO-HOST, STATE OF THE UNION: If Donald Trump is convicted in this trial, will you still support him in November?

NOEM: If my choice is between Joe Biden and Donald Trump every single day of the week? Yes, I will support Donald Trump. I have from the very beginning.

SERFATY: Transforming her image.

NOEM: The team here was remarkable and finally gave me a smile that I can be proud of and confident. SERFATY: And her approach.

TUPPER: The transformation that we've watched with Kristi Noem over the last four years as somebody who has transformed into this sort of mini Trump-like figure who just has this insatiable craving it seemed like to be in the headlines all the time for one outrageous thing after the other and seems to thrive on that.

SERFATY: To get Trump's nod as vice president.

TRUMP: And you're not allowed to say it. So I will not. You know, you're not allowed to say she's beautiful, so I'm not going to say that.


SERFATY: And sources tell CNN's Kristen Holmes at Trump world is very aware of how bad this story is for Noem. The question now is, of course, how does this hurt her prospects of potentially being Trump's VP pick? And if this story, that, of course, has appalled so many was a serious miscalculation or her this year -- Erin.

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

And also tonight, Trump on a tear, taking aim at RFK, Jr., as a, quote, a Democrat plant to help Biden and the, quote, radical left lunatic. It comes as we're getting aware of behind the scenes look at President Biden's reelection machine.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.



JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden has a new stop on the campaign trail. He's visiting Democratic field offices that didn't exist four years ago after his campaign went virtual in the wake of the pandemic.


ZELENY: This time around, he surveyed his political troops from New Hampshire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone in this room is going to work our butts off for you every day between now and November.

ZELENY: To Wisconsin.

BIDEN: Good to be here.

ZELENY: To Nevada.

BIDEN: We're going to beat him again.

ZELENY: Exuding confidence at the sprawling operation that bears his name.

Four years after this --

BIDEN: We're operating out of my home in Wilmington, Delaware.

ZELENY: A Biden basement campaign this is not. The size of the organization is emerging as a bright spot in his re-match with Donald Trump, fueled by the president's fundraising advantage.

DAN KANNINEN, BATTLEGROUND DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN 2024: Our job at this point is to build infrastructure in all of our pathways to victory. We have a bunch of them.

ZELENY: Inside Biden headquarters in Wilmington, Dan Kanninen oversees the battleground operation in an election that could be decided by thousands of votes in a handful of states.

KANNINEN: Razor-thin margins and lots of these states. And I want to press the advantage against Donald Trump in that campaign. They have not built field in the structure. You're talking about places with a half a point, maybe a point, sometimes a quarter-point of a difference between two candidates. I see that this infrastructure as potentially decisive in all those places.

ZELENY: The Trump campaign says it will have the message operation, and money to win. The GOP officials in several swing states tells CNN, the former president is far behind what Biden is building.

BIDEN: I'm confident we're all going to get through this.

ZELENY: While Zoom calls and drive in rallies were enough for Biden to win last time --

BIDEN: Thank you, thank you.

ZELENY: -- the traditional mold of campaigning is back, 133 field officers in counting, most all in top battleground states.

KANNINEN: 2024 is the first campaign after the pandemic, right? We have to both do some things in 2020, but not everything, and then go back to some things we did in 2012 or 2016 and have a hybrid approach.

ZELENY: Ann Glass, a volunteer who came to an office opening and Philadelphia is happy COVID campaigning is long over.

ANN GLASS, BIDEN CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER: Knocking on doors, running back six and now it's nice to know will be able to have really face-to-face contact, who did a good job four years ago, we can do a better job this time.

ZELENY: The growing Biden operation is preparing for another exceedingly tight race.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every voter you talked to, every door that you knock truly does make a difference.

ZELENY: By trying to bring down Trump's margins in Republican territory.

So you're not building offices in just blue areas.

KANNINEN: Now, we want to be wherever you can win a voter, the point is you have to go compete in places that you otherwise not might not win, but you want to lose, you know, 60/40 instead of 70/30. That makes a big difference.

ZELENY: For all of the challenges facing the president, building an organization in the mold of the old Obama Biden campaign in is designed to help overcome any deficits with Trump.

KANNINEN: That advantage that we have both on time, we're not sitting in court, infrastructure. And then, of course, the cash advantage is something that we want to push everywhere.


ZELENY (on camera): So the Biden campaign is preparing for a very close election, Erin, and we know that of course, just a few states and tens of thousands of votes.

But that happened in 2020. The difference here, this time is they are building a real organization and being inside the campaign headquarters and Wilmington, Delaware, that was clear. They're building offices across the country.

But, Erin, one thing will be tested in November. Those traditional campaigning and the brick-and-mortar way still matter. The Biden campaign believes it does -- Erin.

BURNETT: We shall see. Thank you, Jeff.


And next, we've got breaking news. Police in riot gear squaring off with students in Texas. The situation developing there as you look at these images and we'll take you to Iran where the government now is trying to exploit the protests in the U.S.


BURNETT: And we're back with our top story. Look at these pictures out of Texas. Protesters at the University of Texas, Austin, have been squaring off with police in riot gear. And in Iran tonight, leaders closely following all of this in the hopes for exploiting it.

Senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen is on the ground in Tehran and he's OUTFRONT tonight with more on exactly how Iran is taking advantage of this moment in America.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Pro-Palestinian protesters at U.S. colleges getting vocal support from Iran, conservative students and faculty at Tehran University staging a demo this weekend, chanting "death to America" and "death to Israel", saying they stand with those occupying U.S. universities.

We not only support them, we are one united voice, this woman says. We are like organs of the same body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American citizens also came out. It's great. We didn't -- we didn't that they would come out, but the fact that they came out shows that, you know, we're fighting for the same thing.

PLEITGEN: This movement by American students shows that freedom seeking and support of the oppressed has expanded all over the world this map says.

The Biden administration ripped into Iran over its crackdown of protests that swept the country in the fall of 2022 after the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini who was accused of breaking the country's strict hijab rules.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The international community has come together to condemn and confront Iran's brutal crackdown, and we'll continue to act in support of the right of the Iranian people to speak out for their fundamental freedoms.

PLEITGEN: But now, Iran says the U.S.'s support of Israel's operation in Gaza, killing tens of thousands of Palestinians and police action against some of those occupying campuses is tarnishing Americas own reputation.

Iran's leadership has been extremely vocal about the pro-Palestinian protests going on, on some U.S. campuses. They say the arrests that have been seen undermine America's role as a leading supporter both of civil rights and a free speech.

For decades, Iran has been the U.S. and Israel's strongest adversary in the Middle East. Iran and Israel recently trading direct military blows for the first time.

I went to a press conference of the Iranian foreign ministry, the spokesman saying, Tehran believes global opinion is now shifting their way.

Public opinion of the world and free thinkers of the world will not tolerate this genocide and their loud voice won't be silenced, he said, and through police actions and violent crackdown policies, they cannot silence the voice of those that protest against this crime and genocide.

Tehran ripping into the U.S. as the protesters on American campuses demand schools divest from Israel and want the Biden administration to pressure Israel to stop its attacks.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tehran.


BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" begins now.