Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

Judge Clashes With Trump Team Witness; Pentagon: "U.S. Had No Part To Play" In Iran Chopper Crash; Trump Ally Bannon Asks To Stay Out Of Prison Pending Appeal. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 20, 2024 - 19:00   ET




We begin with breaking news, the face off and drama and the Trump trial as the judge scolds the defense witness and clears the courtroom. This as Michael Cohen makes a major admission. Did he recover?

And he's one of the only American doctors left in Gaza. Hear why the doctor who is credited with saving Senator Tammy Duckworth's life in Iraq says this conflict is worse than anything he has ever seen.

Plus, breaking news, Bannon just responding to the DOJ's request that he starts his prison sentence. Is Trump's onetime right-hand man about to go to jail?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, are you staring me down right now?

An explosive clash between the judge in Trump's hush money trial and one of the only defense witnesses. The judge even at one moment yelling, "Clear the courtroom". Tensions had been building as Robert Costello, a lawyer who once advised Michael Cohen, started making remarks like, "jeez" and "ridiculous" when an objection was raised.

At one point, expressing his disdain and exasperation by making a blowing raspberries sound after a series of sustained objections, and it got so out of hand that the judge reprimanded Costello. Judge Merchan saying, quote, Mr. Costello, I'd like to discuss proper decorum in my courtroom. As a witness on the stand, if you don't like my ruling, you don't say, "Jeez". And then you don't say strike it because I'm the only one who can strike testimony in the court. If you don't like my ruling, you don't give me side or roll your eyes.

Well, Costello said he understood. And at that point, people in the room say Costello was staring at Merchan, causing the judge to erupt. Are you staring me down? Get out of the courtroom.

And the room quickly cleared so that Merchan could dress down Costello. Now, Trump, after leaving later, spoke about it after the court.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: So what happened to a highly respected lawyer Bob Costello, wow, I've never seen anything like that. I don't understand it.


BURNETT: It was a stunning moment in an historic trial that is quickly winding down. The prosecution has rested. The defense is expected to wrap up tomorrow, but not before scoring what might have been a major win today. Michael Cohen admitting while on the stand that he stole at least $30,000 from the Trump Org, money that we supposed to go to a tech company called Red Finch.

So let me just share the exchange with you because Trump's attorney Todd Blanche asks Cohen, you are shorted $100,000 on your bonus that year. Cohen responds, that's correct. And then Blanche says, so the $50,000 that you got to pay Red Finch, you only paid the Red Finch owner $20,000, right? Cohen: Yes, sir.

Blanche: So you stole from the Trump Organization? Cohen: Yes, sir.

And as the trial nears its end, Trump making, most of that moment and today making the most of every moment he still has left in that courtroom, he was surrounded by a group of people who have been charged or convicted of crimes, including Chuck Zito, a former leader the House Angels Motorcycle Gang, who did time for drug charges, Trump legal advisor Boris Epshteyn, who's been indicted in Arizona for trying to overturn the election, and been omnipresent in that courtroom, and former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik who spent time in prison for tax-related charges.

Paula Reid is OUTFRONT live outside the New York courthouse to begin our coverage tonight.

And, Paula, I know you reached out to Costello for response to his testimony today because it was so heated inside that room. What did you get?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, he declined to comment to CNN, Erin. Now, of course, the judge asked him specifically not to talk about the case. So even after that raucous testimony, he is at least following up and following through on that directive from the judge.


But as we've reported, look, there has been some disagreement within Trump's legal team about whether it was a good idea to put Costello on the stand, and after what we saw today, it's not clear if he did much to help the defendant's case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) REID (voice-over): The prosecution rests on day 19 of the Trump hush money trial, ending four days of dramatic testimony from star witness, Michael Cohen. Trump attorney Todd Blanche last week painted Cohen as a liar out for revenge. Under further cross-examination Monday, he got Trump's former fixer to admit to stealing from the Trump Organization. Blanche focused on a payment Cohen organized to tech company Red Finch to help create an algorithm that would boost Trump in a CNBC poll, handwritten notes show Cohen was reimbursed $50,000 for that work. But Cohen testified he only paid the company $20,000 in a brown paper bag.

You only paid the Red Finch owner $20,000, right? Blanche asked, yes, sir. Cohen replied. So you stole from the Trump Organization, Blanche asked. Yes, sir, Cohen confirmed.

Prosecutors then got a chance to clean up their case with Cohen on redirect: I know it may feel like you're on trial here after cross- examination, but are you actually on trial, prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked. No, ma'am. Cohen replied.

Cohen was the only witness called by the prosecution who directly implicated Trump for allegedly falsifying business records. Over 17 hours of testimony, Cohen provided some helpful evidence for prosecutors, including testifying last week that he spoke with Trump twice to get his sign off before making the payment to Stormy Daniels.

On May 13th, he testified everything required Mr. Trump's sign-off. On top of that, I wanted the money back. On May 16th, Trump attorneys later called into question a key phone call Cohen had said he had with Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller, who then pass the phone to Trump, where Cohen had testified that he told Trump how he planned to pay Daniels.

On May 16th, Blanche pressed Cohen saying that was a lie. You did not talk to president Trump. You talked to Keith Schiller. You can admit it.

No, sir. I don't know that it's accurate, Cohen responded. I believe I also spoke to Mr. Trump and told him everything regarding the Stormy Daniels matter. We are not asking for your belief. The jury does not want to hear what you think happened, Blanche shot back.

That exchange, one of the most successful moments for the Trump defense. Today on redirect, prosecutors tried to shore up Cohen's account, entering into evidence a screenshot of this video captured minutes before the 2016 phone call showing Schiller and Trump together. Prosecutors concluded their redirect of Michael Cohen by asking, would you have paid Stormy Daniels the $130,000 had Mr. Trump not signed off? No, ma'am, Cohen replied.


REID: Costello will be back on the stand tomorrow morning, and then both sides has said they will be down with their case, which suggests the former president does not intend to take the stand then the jury will be dismissed for a whole week before coming back to here closings and then begin these historic deliberations -- Erin. BURNETT: All right, Paula, thank you very much.

And our experts were all here with me now.

All right. So I want to talk about a couple of crucial moments in the court. But first, just the drama, Terri, the defense, they only have one I'm very quick witness, and then Costello.

And were -- what was it like? How did he act?

TERRI AUSTIN, TRIAL ATTORNEY: In all my years of practice, over 30- plus, I've never seen a moment like this. And the witness said, jeez, and ridiculous and response to some of the objections that were being sustained.

And the first thing that judge said this was in front of the jury was, excused me, excuse me, and everybody fell quiet because I've never heard the judge say anything like that. That's when he excused the jury. That's when he said to Costello, I want to talk to about decorum in my courtroom. You don't say "jeez", you don't give me the side eye.

And we were sitting there and that's when the judge said, "Are you staring me down?" And he cleared the courtroom. There was so much confusion, Erin, we didn't know what to do. And the security guards were saying get up, get out, and some of us sat there.

BURNETT: Clear the courtroom meant --

AUSTIN: Everybody.

BURNETT: -- all the journalists as well.

AUSTIN: Correct.

BURNETT: I mean, is this an unprecedented sort of thing lawyer to see?

RYAN GOODMAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's an unprecedented thing for a lawyer to see and it's an unprecedented thing for a lawyer to behave. I mean, this man's a lawyer.

BURNETT: He's a lawyer, a former prosecutor.



GOODMAN: So for him to do that in such a high stakes trial in which he's basically it for the defense witnesses.


We don't know of any others coming. It's absolutely remarkable and it's also remarkable because he needs credibility and if anything, I think he actually paints a pretty positive picture from Michael Cohen because Michael Cohen's testimony is, I didn't trust this person. I didn't like this person and I certainly wasn't going to tell this person, Mr. Costello the secrets that I had about Trump and that seems pretty consistent with who we now see, at least in this moment, Costello is.

BURNETT: So, Arlo, I mean, you know, Todd Blanche, and obviously he's -- obviously Trump's intimately involved, but Todd Blanche is the one making the decision, you know, who's on the going to be on the stand. He had options of who we could put du a defense. Was Costello the right choice?

ARLO DEVLIN-BROWN, WORKED WITH TRUMP ATTY. BLANCHE: I mean, so far id have to say putting on defense case at all seems like a mistake because this is the end, and a lot of times defense lawyers don't do that, right? And they don't do it because they then get to go to summation and they say, it's not our job to put on a case. They have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt and they haven't.

And the judge backs them up. The judge says, ladies and gentlemen.

BURNETT: That's the systems.

DEVLIN-BROWN: Right. But if you do put on a defense case, you get the same instruction from the judge, but there's just something the jury's now heard the defense case. There are sizing the defense up.

BURNETT: And then they go, wait, this one was this big and this one was this big.



DEVLIN-BROWN: And so you have to have something and this one didn't seem to have enough and maybe even hurt them.

BURNETT: So how did Costello go over with the jury?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, that's the open question, Erin. It is, but I would not believe he went over well, right? Trials are about human interactions. They're about narratives. They're about telling your story.

And you have to pick the vehicles to tell that story and having a person like this who apparently had an accident the grind, whose glaring who's engaged in completely inappropriate decorum --

BURNETT: Right, eye rolling and making noises of disgust.

JACKSON: Absolutely. Stick to the merits of the case. If your issue is listen, Cohen said to me the Trump absolutely didn't make any type or was aware of any type of payments, certainly didn't make a know anything about it. You know, I had nothing on Trump.

Stick to that. Do it in a way that's courteous. Do it in a way that's professional, do it in a way that's relatable.

To the extent you don't do that, it really cost your client. BURNETT: I mean, and he was trying to say basically that he had kind

of Cohen and asked you have anything on Trump, do have anything on Trump, and Cohen said laughter, right, and center, I have nothing. And that was the point Costello was trying to make.

When you watch the totality of it today though, you watch when you're looking at the jury, did they -- I mean, I know they said that they pay such careful attention. They don't generally show emotion. Did they show their hand on this when I watched it?

AUSTIN: I think they were more alert and into because Costello is a character just like Cohen is a character, and just like Stormy was a character. They were definitely on the end of their seat.

Now, I think that the point was Cohen told me Costello said, that Trump had nothing to do with this, that he wasn't involved in the payment. I believe the jury understands that that was what Cohen said then because he was still defending Trump. That doesn't mean that's what feels now and he has basically said he has a change of tune.

BURNETT: All right. So, a couple other things. One thing this is being treated as the big admission as I laid out that Michael Cohen admitted to stealing money from the Trump organization, that he was supposed to repay this tech company $50,000. You only repaid 20 and he admits to sealing the 30,000.

Todd Blanche gets him to do that, very clearly today. But it's interesting, Ryan, I'm pulling it up because May 13th, week ago, he admits to doing this in a different way. It was under direct, so its sort of did you why did you do it? Because that's what was owed and I didn't feel Mr. Trump deserve the benefit of the difference, right.

So it was sort of a motive, but it was -- it was presented differently today. Was it a bombshell as some are saying it or not?

GOODMAN: I don't think there's big of a bunch apart because the prosecutors did draw it out initially, so it's not like oh, the prosecutors were hiding this from you and now you're hearing something new to the jurors.


GOODMAN: Rather, the prosecutors already had, Michael Cohen admitted that he stole this money that exactly the mound from the exact company and the exact relationships. So that's one part of it.


GOODMAN: Second is also kind of consistent with who we know Michael Cohen to be at this point, what Hope Hicks said. He's not the kind of guy that would spend 130,000 of his own dollars and not tell the boss he would only do that if he was going to be reimbursed. So that's the same kind of character that's stealing $10,000 in this exchange.

At the same time, I do think the defense can make something, I've been in the surely will in their closing submission, they will say, look at this person. He is not a loyal person who's only getting authority from Trump. He's stealing from Trump. He's doing things behind his back. He's rogue, and Trump doesn't even know about it at the time. That's their theory of the case.

BURNETT: And there's now, Arlo, a week and they're going to be in tomorrow.


BURNETT: Now, if they wanted, right, they could have done their closing arguments and deliberated a couple of days as we can maybe been done, but that's not how its going to go because they have Wednesdays off and so it's going to be a full week where they hear all this and the peace out for a week and then they come back and get closing. Who benefits from that?

DEVLIN-BROWN: I mean, I generally think the party that benefits is the one that has the stronger story to tell, because all the sort of trees and chaos of the last few days, they become a forest as the jury gets a little moment in time.


And ultimately okay. I think the prosecution will spend its time trying to put together the best pieces of evidence and testimony to match their story. And they have I think a story that's pretty plausible that whether the jury accepts are true. I don't know, but that Trump was worried about the election. Michael Cohen was the kind of guy who would fix these things and I'm not sure the defense has -- they have reasonable doubt arguments, but I'm not sure they've really offered.

BURNETT: So how much pressure is on then tomorrow for, you've got to finish Costello, you've got redirect -- you've got things to happen, but then you have this week off. So how important is it?

JACKSON: Yeah, you know, it's very important, Erin, just to sort of crystallized the arguments to get them organized for closing and to deliver what is your narrative?

And I think the prosecution will spend a lot of time on the defense wants to talk about this one phone call. They want to talk about that.

Let me focus you on all the things which would suggest that the president knew exactly what this was all about, and here they all, ka- boom. And so I think the prosecutors will lay out in pretty organized fashion all of the reason and the basis that Donald Trump was aware of the reimbursement orchestrator, the reimbursement was in on everything involving that and you don't only have to credit Cohen for that, disregard him.

But look at all the other things which would suggest last point, Erin, and that is the jury will be instructed that they can make reasonable inferences, right? That is using your common sense good judgment.

May be Cohen is the one that directly ties Trump. Lets talk about ladies and gentlemen, all the things that indirectly tie him, right? So I think they'll focus on that big week ahead in terms of organization preparation and planning. And well see how they laid out come Tuesday.

BURNETT: Right, see if there's beyond a reasonable doubt.

All right. Thank you all.

And next, Iran pointing the finger at the United States after that helicopter crash kills the Iranian president and foreign minister that I spoke with in an exclusive interview just a month ago. Plus, a special report from inside Gaza. I speak to one of the few American doctors who is refusing to leave he is working in a hospital bordering Rafah, as Israeli troops are moving in.

And breaking news, Trump allies, Steve Bannon, just responding to the justice departments request that he report to prison immediately. Is Bannon about to be behind bars?



BURNETT: Breaking news, the Biden administration with an angry response to accusations that the U.S. was responsible for the helicopter crash that killed Iran's president.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The United States had no part to play in that crash. And so -- and that's -- that's a fact, plain and simple.


BURNETT: That's after our four top Iranian official blamed U.S. sanctions for preventing the country from modernizing its helicopters and planes. Iran sending a team of investigators to the crash site to determine what caused the helicopter to go down, killing all nine people on board, including Iran's foreign minister, whom I spoke to in an exclusive interview, almost exactly a month ago today, the night that Israel had attacked Iran in response to the Iranian massive attack on Israeli soil.

Fred Pleitgen, who was reported extensively from Iran, is OUTFRONT tonight.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Iran's presidential helicopter completely destroyed after crashing into a mountain in the remote north of the country. Dense fog, frigid conditions, making the recovery efforts even harder.

President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir- Abdollahian and seven others were killed in the crash. Rescuers having to carry the bodies away through the rugged terrain.

A CNN Turk journalists showing how challenging the conditions are.

FULYA OOZTURK, CNN TURK CORRESPONDEN (through translator): This place is a very difficult terrain with dense trees, deep valleys, and steep mountains. We can say that this is the most challenging terrain of Iran.

PLEITGEN: Raisi inaugurated a dam with the president of Azerbaijan and was traveling to nearby Tabriz. The chopper, a decades-old American made Bell 212, a model developed for the Canadian military in the 1960s.

The chopper crashed in poor visibility. Iran, under heavy sanctions, has been unable to acquire more modern helicopters.

President Ebrahim Raisi was rumored to be a possible successor to Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who's 84 years old.

As the chopper went missing, the supreme leader of taking the reins, chairing a meeting of Iran Security Council, and vowing the country's government will continue to work.

AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, IRAN SUPREME LEADER (through translator): Be assured that there will be no disruption in the country's affairs.

PLEITGEN: Black flags have been hoisted across Iran as the country's leadership has ordered five days of mourning, canceling most public events. Also deeply mourning the country's foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who was instrumental in the past months as Iran and Israel came to the brink of full-on war and traded missile strikes.

Abdollahian also challenging the U.S. in a recent interview on CNN's "OutFront" with Erin Burnett.

HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN, IRAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): I do think that America must pay closer attention and focus on the adventure seeking regime in Israel, so that such a crisis will not happen in Gaza because Netanyahu showed he will not respect any of the red lines.

PLEITGEN: Tehran has launched an investigation into the crash that killed two key figures of the Islamic republic's leadership, while vowing that the nation will carry on.


BURNETT: That was our Fred Pleitgen reporting.

OUTFRONT now, Karim Sadjadpour, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

And, Karim, when I spoke to the foreign minister, almost exactly a month ago in that exclusive interview, he called the Iranian attack inside Israel a, quote, clear message to the Zionist regime. And then he went on to say this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMIR ABDOLLAHIAN: In case that the Israeli regime for it, but embarks on adventurism, again, and takes action against the interests of Iran, the next response from us will be immediate, hostile and at a maximum level, it will be decisive.



BURNETT: Hard line view, but does his death and the death of the president of Iran, what does it mean, Karim? Do the hard liners become even more emboldened now?

KARIM SADJADPOUR, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: You know, Erin, I don't think the foreign minister's death is that consequential. President Raisi's death is not consequential in the immediate term, and that he wasn't Iran's most powerful man. He didn't really have much say over Iran's regional conduct, its nuclear ambitions.

But Raisi's death is very consequential for Iran's future because he was thought to be one of only two serious contenders to replace the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and Ayatollah Khamenei is 85 years old. The other person thought to be serious contender is Khamenei's son, Mojtaba Khamenei.

So this really calls into question how easily the regime is going to be able to transition, politically transition in a post-Khamenei Iran.

BURNETT: Well, when you talk about the supreme leader, that there -- there were, as you see it, perhaps two serious contenders, one of whom died on that helicopter crash, the other is the son of the current supreme leader. It does raise questions and Iranian officials, they've said it was a hard landing. They called it a crash landing, hard landing at first, bad weather, foggy conditions, but I know you say few in Iran are likely to believe it was an accident.

SADJADPOUR: You know, Erin, in philosophy, there's the concept of Occam's razor, which is that usually the simplest explanation is the most plausible one. In this case, you had an old helicopter flying through very difficult terrain and very difficult weather but I think few Iranians will problem believe that official story when you're living under a dictatorship, you come to question everything that, that dictatorship tells you.

So there's a lot of, I'm sure theories out there, whether it was the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards who may have engineer this or whether Israel had a role in it. But I doubt that many Iranians will are going to believe that explanation.

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

SADJADPOUR: Thank you. BURNETT: Karim Sadjadpour as I said.

And next, a special report from inside Gaza. I'm going to talk to one of the few remaining American doctors still there, a doctor who actually saved her life, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth when she was in Iraq. Tonight, he says Gaza is worse.

And breaking news, we now know why Sean "Diddy" Combs did not mention his former girlfriend's name when he apologized publicly for assaulting her in that horrific video. Combs' former assistant is OUTFRONT tonight.



BURNETT: Breaking news, President Biden moments ago slamming the International Criminal Court's decision to seek an arrest warrant for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in addition to the Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me be clear: we reject the ICC's application of arrest warrants against the Israeli leader. Whatever these warrants may imply, there's no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. And it's clear there, Israel wants to all do all it can to ensure civilian protection.


BURNETT: This after the top ICC's prosecutor told Christiane Amanpour that he plans to seek charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against both the leaders, along with other top Israeli and Hamas figures. All of this as Israel's defense minister also is targeted for an arrest warrant by the ICC, says that they will go ahead nonetheless and further expand the Israeli ground operation in Rafah.

OUTFRONT now, Dr. Adam Hamawy. He is one of the few American doctors remaining inside Gaza. He's also a former U.S. Army combat trauma surgeon, who worked in Iraq.

And, Dr. Hamawy, I so much appreciate your taking the time. I know the power situation is obviously very volatile where you are. You're in Khan Younis, working at a hospital there bordering Rafah. I know you've been in Gaza now for nearly three weeks.

What are you seeing?

DR. ADAM HAMAWY, U.S. DOCTOR AND FORMER ARMY COMBAT SURGEON TREATING PATIENTS IN GAZA: I seeing the patients at this point are getting a little bit less because they're moving farther and farther away from us. We're still getting trauma from the people that are getting hurt where were at. So like location close to the hospital, which there's still bombings, there's one that just happened right when we started talking. And besides that, like the people in Rafah themselves primarily moved to the shore. They're trying to get away and it's difficult for them to get to us because of the roads and the danger zones they had to travel through. So, we're taking your trauma, but people are shifting away.

BURNETT: And the trauma patients that you see, what can you tell us about them? I mean, are you seeing children? Who is coming in?

HAMAWY: So it is primarily children, is still the majority. I would say more than half. We are seeing really people, people that are coming in that are regular folks that our either a sleeping in her home, or were playing outside is a bunch of kids or were just going about their day and they get hit with an airstrike that comes out of nowhere.


They usually say they didn't know it was coming. They usually say if you hear it coming, that it's not for you. I mean, that's something that's been said multiple times since I've been here is because you could -- you know, I've been close enough now here and I've heard in the past when you can, can you hear the whistling sound as it comes down nearby? But when it comes for you, apparently, you don't hear it. And yeah.

BURNETT: I know, Doctor, that you've worked in other combat zones. You understand the horror and the trauma.

And Senator Duckworth, she's credited with saving her life when she lost both of her legs and a helicopter crash in Iraq. I wanted just to play for you, Doctor, what she said about you.


SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): I'm alive because of Dr. Hamawy and their doctors and health medical full to safely in Iraq if he was there. He took care of him. I couldn't take care of myself. He certainly is very near and dear to my heart because he saved my life 20 years ago.


BURNETT: Doctor, where you're sitting right now and you -- Gaza that you've seen horror before.

How does Gaza compare to other war zones like Iraq that you've been in?

HAMAWY: Warzones, there's usually people fighting each other. There's, you know, there's certain I guess rules for that I've experienced in the past. But what I'm seeing here is really destruction at a level that I haven't experienced before, where there doesn't seem to be a target or the target is just everything. It doesn't seem to be discerning combatants versus noncombatants.

I think the level of acceptance of and I hate this term, quote, collateral damage is, is completely you know, without limitations they -- there appears to be like destructions of homes, of businesses, of people I've traveled in the area around the hospital and senior destruction of Khan Younis. It looks like a nuclear bomb hit it. There's nothing standing at all. There's no building left on touched and that's not what I'm used to or what I've experienced in the past.

BURNETT: You have called Dr. Hamawy for a ceasefire. You've urged the U.S. to stop arm sales in Israel, because of what you've seen.

I interviewed President Biden recently and he said the United States will not send weapons to Israel, offensive weapons if they launch an all-out offensive in Rafah. I wanted to play for you doctor exactly what he said.


BIDEN: If they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, to deal with that problem. It's just wrong. We're not going to -- we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells use that have been used.

BURNETT: Artillery shells as well.

BIDEN: Yeah, artillery shells.


BURNETT: Dr. Hamawy, so we understand the U.S. has only halted those 3,500 unguided bombs, that's it at this point. Do you think that the Biden administration is doing enough?

HAMAWY: I can only say what I'm seeing as a physician, as a surgeon here and I see people coming in every day. And weapons of war are being used against the civilian populations here.

Now, like the details of what weapons, I mean, I think when it comes down to it, the bullet of an M16 is going to kill someone just, like a bomb and a 500-pound bomb kills just as much the 2,000-pound bomb. It's more about the way you wage war rather than what specific weapons you're going to use or not.

And if this is not an all out attack on Rafah then, you know, I don't know what we're using to define these things.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Hamawy, thank you very much for taking the time and for sharing this with me and all of us. Thanks.

HAMAWY: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: And next, we are just getting some new reporting into OUTFRONT about why Sean "Diddy" Combs did not use his former girlfriend's name in the video that he put out -- that horrific -- in response to that horrific assault video.


SEAN "DIDDY" COMBS, MUSIC MOGUL: I'm committed to be a better man each and every day. Not asking for forgiveness. I'm truly sorry.


BURNETT: Plus, breaking news, Trump ally Steve Bannon just responding to the DOJ's requests for him to report to prison.


Is he about to be behind bars?


BURNETT: And breaking news, we are learning why Sean "Diddy" Combs did not mention the name of his former girlfriend in the apology video that he put out. The video in response, of course, to the video from 2016, which was obtained by CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister of Comb's attacking his then-girlfriend Cassie Ventura.

Here's part of that apology.


COMBS: My behavior on that video is inexcusable. I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I'm disgusted.


I was disgusted then when I did it, I'm disgusted now.


BURNETT: Now, Elizabeth Wagmeister is reporting now that Combs is not allowed to say Cassie Ventura's name based on a settlement agreement that the two signed.

OUTFRONT now is Suzi Siegel. She is Combs' former assistant.

So, OK, you know, when Elizabeth obtained this horrific video that the world is now seen and, you know, in a world of fake news and all kinds of things, people throw around, this was just the -- you cannot contest it. The truth and he came out, he responded in an apology video.

So, you know, and well, when you watch that video, do you believe him?

SUZI SIEGEL, SEAN "DIDDY" COMBS' FORMER ASSISTANT: Nope, I didn't believe him when he denied the allegations and I don't believe that there's real contrition there. Obviously, I'm not in the man's head, but knowing him and knowing her and having worked for him, my feeling was that it was just all about him. It was his worst days, he was, I'm like --

BURNETT: And he said the lowest point --

SIEGEL: The lowest point. You know what? I think she reached a much lower point being beat by him, right? So it just was about him and I think that's probably emblematic of a larger problem.

BURNETT: So let me play a little bit more from the apology and one part, one thing that he said, so here it is, Suzi.


COMBS: I'm committed to be a better man each and every day. I'm not asking for forgiveness. Truly sorry.


BURNETT: So here's what I'm -- I am trying to understand when you hear that and wonder what you hear. You know, Elizabeth's reporting, right, that he had -- he had the tapes. They were -- it appears they were in his house and likely were seized when agents came in to see. So in other words, he bought the tape from the hotel.

SIEGEL: Right.

BURNETT: For $50,000.

So he knew that this existed, but he didn't apologize until somehow it came out.

SIEGEL: Yeah, shocking, right? It's like you didn't apologize. You actually did the opposite of apologize, which is that he disparaged her, besmirch her name and called her a liar and said she was out for a payday, right?

So what I think happening having worked in the inner circle and worked for other powerful people, I think that he is surrounded by a lot of people who say yes, a lot of yes, men. And I think it shows in the bad decisions that he's made from disparaging or lying on her right. I think it's a pretty bad look --

BURNETT: And it would seem there are people who are in evolved in acquiring the tapes, other people around him who would have known his behavior, right? I mean, you're saying you did not know obviously at the time, but there -- it would seem there were people who did.

SIEGEL: I mean, it would seem because that man did not travel alone, right? I did logistics for him. I booked his stylists and I booked his -- you know, everybody for him and he ran with a really large squad. So certainly, there were people around. This didn't happen alone, and that goes back to what I was saying of like you're surrounded by a bunch of people and I don't think he appreciated people stating their opinions, and I think this is you end up in an echo chamber.

BURNETT: So you spent a lot of time both with him, but also as you mentioned, you knew Cassie Ventura. You know, parties, riding and limos, right? I mean, you saw them together. Now, obviously, you didn't witness the abuse yourself, but then when the video came out, I know you said you weren't surprised and that certain things started to fit together in your head.

SIEGEL: Right. BURNETT: Do you expect now when you look back on things that you saw with the knowledge of this video, do expect more to come out?

SIEGEL: It's a good question. I don't know what else we would need to come out to finally, have --

BURNETT: We certainly know what happened in this case, but I guess what I'm asking is, do you think that more women suffered at his hands?

SIEGEL: Of course, I do. I do. I don't have any direct knowledge of that, of course, but there's been lawsuits. And by the way, its not just women from what were hearing and reading as well. It seems that maybe there were other victims as well. So I do expect probably more to come out.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Suzi, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. And it's going to be incredibly sobering when you work for someone and you know them and then you realize what you didn't know.

So thanks very much.

SIEGEL: Thank you.

BURNETT: And we want to know -- our viewers, we want you all to know that if anyone you know is struggling with domestic violence, the national domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE.

And OUTFRONT next, breaking news, Steve Bannon just responding to the Justice Department's request that he court to prison immediately. So, is he about to imminently find himself behind bars?

And also breaking, we're just learning what we said behind closed doors after the job in Trump's criminal trial cleared the courtroom to school one of Trump's crucial defense witnesses.



BURNETT: Breaking news, we are just learning what happened in the Trump trial after the judge cleared the courtroom to reprimanded defense witness.

Judge Merchan yelled, clear the courtroom after Robert Costello, a lawyer who advised Michael Cohen, said, jeez and ridiculous during objections and was staring down the judge. But according to a transcript just released, here's what Judge Merchan told Costello once the reporters were removed from the room.

Merchan said, quote, your conduct is contemptuous right now. I'm putting you on notice that your conduct is contemptuous. If you tried to stare me down one more time, I will remove you from the stand. I will strike his entire testimony. Do you understand me?

Trump's lawyer? Emil Bove, responds. Yes, judge. I understand. [19:55:02]

Reporters in the jury then were allowed back in the courtroom and Costello's testimony continued. Costello will return to the stand tomorrow morning. He is set to be the last witness before the defense rests.

And we do have more breaking news right now. That is Steve Bannon responding to the Justice Department's requests. They had requested him to report to prison for his contempt of Congress conviction immediately.

His filing in response coming in now, just before midnight deadline. Bannon's lawyers claiming he would face irreparable harm if he goes to prison before his appeal is heard. So is Bannon about to go behind bars and start serving that time or not?

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.



SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Far-right firebrand Steve Bannon could soon end up in prison during the run-up to the presidential election.

BANNON: You have to take on the deep state. You have to do it. You have to be prepared to go to prison. I get prison sentences all over.

MURRAY: The Justice Department asking a federal judge to force ban into report to prison for his four months sentence, after an appeals court upheld Bannon's contempt of Congress conviction, the sentence coming after Bannon was arrested.

BANNON: They will never shut me up. They'd have to kill me first. I have not yet done --

MURRAY: And convicted by a jury in July 2022 for defining a subpoena from the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

FORMER REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Those who planned to overturn our election and brought us to the point of violence must also be accountable.

MURRAY: The committee wanted to know about Bannon's contact with Trump and comments ahead of the Capitol attack like this one.

BANNON: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.

MURRAY: A defiant Bannon --

BANNON: If you do not believe the 2020 election was stolen, you're not at the rail head of this movement. MURRAY: -- spending his time post-conviction continuing to spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, to fire up the Trump base ahead of November.

BANNON: They're going to do everything to steal this election. That's why you have to be on the ramparts and you have to be on the ramparts 24/7.

MURRAY: The goal for team Bannon, keep up the fight and keep Bannon out of jail.

BANNON: This thing about I'm above the law is an absolute and total lie.

MURRAY: Bannon has long argued he followed advice of his attorney in refusing to comply with a subpoena. But that defense was not allowed to be presented in court. Now, Bannon's attorney plans to ask the full court of appeals to take up the issue, vowing to go to the Supreme Court if necessary.

This prosecution was unprecedented and has at all times been politically motivated, Bannon attorney, David Schoen, told CNN. The integrity of our system demands that the conviction be reversed.

If Bannon doesn't succeed, the former White House chief strategist could join the string of Trump loyalists who have found themselves serving time. One of them, Trump's former trade adviser, Peter Navarro --

PETER NAVARRO, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: Democrat appointed judges are systematically stripping away the full, fair and rightful defenses of Trump, as I ready myself for a prison cell.

MURRAY: Currently serving a four-month sentence for contempt of Congress.

Former Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen, served a three-year sentence in prison, and at home confinement.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort spent two years behind bars, followed by home confinement.

And former Trump Organization CFO, Allen Weisselberg, is currently serving time at Rikers.


BURNETT: And, Sara, you know, you just read through this new filing from Bannon, so what do you think going through it? Will his arguments hold sway with the judge?

MURRAY: Well, it might. I mean, Trump or Bannon's attorney, David Schoen, is essentially arguing that if you make Bannon serve his sentence now, it's only four months by the time any appeal could play out before either the full court of appeals or if necessary, the Supreme Court, Bannon would have already served his sentence. It might be a moral victory, but you would have done this injustice lets to him, if one of these other courts decides to overturn it.

And again, they're making this argument to the judge who originally stayed Bannon's sentence, so we'll see what the judge decides.

BURNETT: Right, interesting, and I guess, you know, you have an interesting point there that it would last few served it and it was overruled. Then, we wouldn't need to serve at all.

All right. Sara, thank you very much.

And before we go tonight, I want to take a moment to remember a wonderful presence on this program, Alice Stewart.

Alice was a CNN political commentator who worked on four Republican presidential campaigns, and she passed away suddenly this weekend. She was outside when she suffered a medical emergency and it is a shocking loss. Alice was only 58 years old. She was a regular voice, of course, across CNN programs. And on this show for many years.

Alice was wise, witty, and she never lost her cool, as an analyst. She navigated contentious debates with authority and class and even as the political discourse became more and more enraged and pejorative, Alice never wavered and being who she was a person of decency.


ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not reality. And I've said from the moment the election was called on November 3rd, the election was valid. We need to accept that. We need to congratulate Joe Biden and the Democrats and all those who won, and we need to stop spreading misinformation. We need to restore the integrity in our election process.


BURNETT: Alice had such incredible integrity and she was also personally deeply kind to all of us, always remembering things about everybody's personal lives, and incredibly kind person and she will be deeply missed by everyone at CNN. And, of course, viewers, too, and we are sending our care to her family tonight.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.