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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Spreading Lies That FBI Tried To Assassinates Him; NYT: Second January 6-Linked Flag Spotted Outside Alito Property; Nikki Haley: "I Will Be Voting For Trump"; Iranian President Official: Raisi's Helicopter "Suddenly" Disappeared. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 22, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Trump tonight spreading a lie that the FBI tried to kill him, even though it's been widely debunked. This as a hearing on Trump's classified documents case devolves into a shouting match tonight.

Plus, breaking news, Justice Samuel Alito under fire for a second flag outside his home, this one carried by rioters on January 6. Will he use the "Mrs. Alito did it" excuse again?

And on the ground in Tehran tonight, as mourners flocked to the president's funeral and a top official reveals what happened on that president's helicopter, that someone had survived for hours.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, Trump claims deadly force authorized -- the quotes. The former president and his allies absurdly accusing President Biden of trying to assassinate Trump.

And moments ago, Trump's team sent up this newsletter, just got came into my email. They call it the Palm Beach playbook, but it comes from The very first line under top news, falsely claims that deadly force was authorized against Trump during an FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago that, you know, the intent of that being possible assassination.

The newsletter coming just an hour after Trump gave this radio interview.


RITA COSBY, WABC RADIO: Newly released court filings show that the FBI was authorized to use deadly force if needed during the raid of your private home in August 2022. It's stunning. You know, you're a former president of United States.

What was your reaction that it was authorized by Biden's DOJ?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, these are vicious people. These are fascists, communists.


BURNETT: Let me go to the wording here very carefully in just a moment.

First, I want you to know how much this claim of an assassination has been steamrolling in the MAGA world. Trump claiming on social media that there are, quote, reports, that crooked Joe Biden's DOJ, and their illegal and unconstitutional raid of Mar-a-Lago, all caps, authorized the FBI to use deadly lethal force.

And Trump's allies are running with that narrative.



They had a medic. They had a plan to triage the wounded. They had a trauma center 18 miles away in a map. This was an attempted assassination attempt on Donald John Trump, or people associated with him.

JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: Biden unleashed armed agents into Trump's house authorizing them to use deadly force.


BURNETT: All right. And, again, I'm going to get to this authorizing deadly force in a moment, but more MAGA, Marjorie Taylor Greene on social media, quote, the Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate President Trump and gave the green light.

Congressman Paul Gosar: Biden ordered the hit on Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

A hit, an assassination, these are sitting congresspeople, of course, that I just quoted there, accusing the sitting president and the FBI of trying to assassinate a former president. Now, they're basing this on newly unsealed documents related to the 2022 search of Mar-a-Lago. Now, among those documents with something called a law enforcement operations order, which explains what agents are allowed to do and what they're allowed to bring with them, in this case where they searched Mar-a-Lago.

So what's in there is boilerplate language from the Justice Department manual about the use of force. It's boilerplate. It's everywhere. When the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.

The language is standard and it is directly from the department's manual. By the way, they also knew that Trump was 1,000 miles away when they went in. So they knew he wasn't even there.

But the former FBI deputy operations chief, Rob D'Amico, tells OUTFRONT that the language included here is, quote, standard language for every single operation bar none. Boilerplate, every single situation.

What Trump is saying is just a disinformation campaign highlighting it for people who don't know.

Now, a disinformation campaign about a case that Trump is trying to stop from ever coming to trial, today at the first hearing, Judge Aileen Cannon has actually held since she indefinitely postponed the documents case, the proceedings quickly devolved into a shouting match between the defense and the prosecution. The judge schooled the prosecutor telling him to, quote, calm down.


Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

And, Evan, I want to start with those hearings here because this was the first time we had heard from Judge Aileen Cannon on this matter since basically the case was sent to purgatory. Any understanding here of where this case vis-a-vis a trial?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, today really gives you an example of why this case is moving so slowly, so ploddingly because over the course of five hours, these were two separate hearings there were accusations. There was shouting as you pointed out. In the end, the judge didn't rule on any of the motions, the motions that were made by the defendants to dismiss some of these charges.

The shouting happened because Stan Woodward, one of the attorneys, is an attorney representing Walt Nauta. He claimed that this is there is that there's evidence of a selective and vindictive prosecution of his client and he said that during a meeting with prosecutors, they mentioned the fact that he was recommended for a judgeship and he implicated -- he said, the insinuation was that this -- that he should try to get Nauta to cooperate with this investigation.

This is something, of course, that got a very sharp reply from prosecutors. They said that this was pure fantasy. Now, the judge did not seem like she was going to grant these motions to dismiss but she did seem a lot more sympathetic to the idea that this is a complicated case and the jurors may have a hard time understanding it.

Now, ahead of the hearing, Erin, we saw those hundreds of pages of new documents or documents we had not seen before, including those images of Walt Nauta moving boxes at Mar-a-Lago, according to prosecutors, this is in June of 2022, after the Trump team had received a subpoena for those documents to be turned -- to be turned over to the to the government.


PEREZ: And so, what we heard today was a lot of argument about what this obstruction case and whether the government had enough proof for this case to even go to trial. At the end, Erin, we did not hear a new trial date from Judge Aileen


BURNETT: And there, of course, the bottom line.

Evan, thank you very much, outside of that courthouse in Florida.

The former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb is OUTFRONT with me now.

And, Ty, I just wanted to start here, a couple of things here. Judge Cannon unsealed a large backup batch of documents at Trump's request, and among them, of course, the boilerplate search warrant that Trump now claims was an assassination attempt.

You heard Steve Bannon. Everybody's saying it was assassination attempt. It was a hit for Biden to kill Trump.

That's false. It's in -- as Rob D'Amico said and will say in a moment, it's in every single one of these orders.

But what was your reaction, Ty, when you hear Trump coming out and pushing this assassination claim?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Things get crazier every day, Erin. Always nice to be with you.

Trump as consistent record of lying about the judicial process and his perception of that process is really odd. For example, you're correct that these pleadings were on earth that his insistence and, you know, not -- there are no longer sealed are available to the public.

There's -- there's one sentence maybe two sentences in the 87-page opinion by Judge Howell who was I believe chief judge at the time in D.C. when she ruled on the issue of the attorney-client privilege and crime-fraud exception that is favorable to Trump, where she cautions the government with regard to a question that they asked one of Trump's lawyers.


COBB: But the rest of that 87-page opinion is -- eviscerates Trump. And frankly, if Judge Cannon's having a hard time understanding this case, which she clearly is, she should read that opinion because it takes it from soup to nuts and makes it very clear how guilty the president is.

BURNETT: And, you know, in this case, which has been laid out so clearly, were you surprised Evan was just saying what Judge Cannon said today that she thought that it would be hard for a jury to understand this case. Do you think there's anything to that?

COBB: I think most jurors will have a triple digit IQ, and that's probably not familiar territory for Judge Cannon, but I don't -- I don't think they'll have the difficulty that she perceives. And frankly, anybody who struggles to understand this should read Judge Howell's 87-page opinion with regard to the crime-fraud exception, where she makes it very clear that the evidence is really overwhelming.

And so, the commission of crimes and Trump's attempt to use his own lawyer as an instrumentality of the crimes by hiding documents from him and moving documents out of the storage facility, so that when he searched it, he would not find the classified documents.


BURNETT: So, Ty, this was the first time we heard from Judge Cannon since she indefinitely postponed the trial. First hearing devolved into a shouting match as we were just saying. What -- do you think there's any possibility that this case moves at all? I mean, there's no trial date now. She's made that formal.

COBB: No, I don't think this case will move at all, and I think the fact that she's scheduling hearings, multiple hearings, yeah, sort of one or two motions at a time is compelling evidence of that. Most -- most federal judges would have long ago ruled on all the pending motions, and frankly, this is a case that should have started trial yesterday when -- or two days ago when the original trial date was set?

This case could have easily gotten to trial. Only her incompetence and perceived bias has prevented that.

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

COBB: My pleasure. Nice to be with you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. You, too.

And now, on this -- you know, the echo chamber that is getting louder and louder about this assassination attempt as Trump and his allies are describing it, Rob D'Amico is a former FBI supervisory special agent.

So, Rob, you know, you explain to us and others also saying and Ty's explaining that it is standard procedure in every FBI operation to authorize the use of force and the conditions that were laid out.

So what do you say to Trump and those who are calling this an assassination attempt, even just an hour ago?

ROB D'AMICO, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: I actually find -- if people weren't taking a serious, I'd find it humorous because it's so outrageous. It's so, so over the top that the FBI would assassinate anyone. It's one of those things that every op has this in it. Every op has a triage plan. Every op has a map to the trauma center.

If you look at every single operation FBI's done, you\re going to find the exact same thing in each one of them.

It goes back to -- there was some during Ruby Ridge, there was a conversation about changing the rules of force and FBI got prosecuted for trying to cover that up because it wasn't legal. But you go back to this one, it's one of those cases that if Trump was

there and they knew he's going to be 1,000 miles away. They knew he's going to be in New York anyhow.

But even if he was there, he probably be the safest person in the planet if the FBI came in and did a search warrant there because they're not going allow anything to happen to him in their presence.

It's one of those, like I arrested a Somali pirate in Africa and literally when were on a blacked out tarmac with a disclosed jet and he looked at me when I told him he was under arrest and he looked at me and said, are you going to kill me? And I said, you're actually the safest person on the planet because you're under FBI custody now.

It goes back to the same thing to accuse and you can talk about politics of DOJ and FBI and a prosecution. But to go to the fact that they're going to assassinate a former president is just so outlandish that it just hurts that anyone in this country would believe FBI to do that.

BURNETT: Well, and that I think is what's scary is that people can believe things like this and people will believe things like this. And just to make the point and you shouldn't even have to make the point because your make -- as you're laying out, it's in every case that you're all of it is in every single situation and the point is that you would be completely safe. But then there is on top of this, again, shouldn't have to make this point, but that the FBI knew Trump was 1,000 miles away when they did the raid. He knew he was not there and he was given other accommodations, right, as the former president.

D'AMICO: They're coordinated with the Secret Service, so they knew where its location was going to be. And then they did go into some things that were not on normal search warrants where they talked about not wearing a raid jacket, that it'd be a polo that you want wanted to keep your weapon hidden from plain sight and things.

So the sensitivities of what they were doing was actually put into the search warrant, telling the agents like, hey, this isn't a normal one. It's we want to be a little bit lower key. We want to be a little bit more discreet on certain things. So the sensitivities of who we were, who -- who he is, were taken into account.

BURNETT: All right. Rob, thank you very much. I appreciate your explaining it and I hope it will also have an echo chamber. So thank you.

D'AMICO: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next breaking news, another January 6 flags spotted over a different home belonging to Justice Samuel Alito, according to "The New York Times". Will Alito recuse himself from the Trump cases?

And new details about the helicopter crash that killed Iran's president and foreign minister, play-by-play eyewitness account of what happened in those moments.

Plus, they claim to be Russians embracing China. But their AI- generated fakes blessed by the communist government.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am really envious of you Chinese.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China is the safest county in the world.




BURNETT: Breaking news, a second flag showing support for the January 6 insurrection has been spotted over a second of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's homes. "The New York Times" again, they did the first flag, now they found the second, uncovering photos of the "appeal to heaven" flag. This is the one with an image of a pine tree and it is at Justice Alito's New Jersey beach house. They found at this past summer, it's the same flag that was carried by Capitol rioters on January 6th. And you can see it on images taken that day.

As we said, this is the second instance "The New York Times" had uncovered this photo taken just days after January 6 of the American flag flown upside down outside of Alito's primary residence in Virginia, it is a node symbol of solidarity among Trump's supporters who think the election was stolen.

That time, Alito blamed his wife. He said, quote, it was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito, in response to a neighbor's use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.


But it comes in the context of the Supreme Court at this moment deciding to crucial cases involving Trump's efforts to overturn the election.

OUTFRONT now, Joan Biskupic, she is CNN's senior Supreme Court analyst.

And, Joan, obviously, no one knows more or about what you're allowed to do or not or what would cause a situation on the Supreme Court than you. Tonight, mounting pressure on Justice Alito to recuse himself from Trump's cases, the second instance of flag now uncovered by "The New York Times". Do you expect that he will stay defiant in the face of these calls for him to recuse?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Well, it's good to see you, Erin. And I think we're going to just see those calls from Democrats and activists really ramp up. But we have seen no signs from Justice Alito that he will heed any calls to take himself out of the case.

Now, just last November, you remember the justices put in place a more formal code of conduct that was after reports of wealthy conservative interests paying for lavish trips for Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito himself.


BISKUPIC: And what the code set out were some rules to try to inspire confidence in the judiciary and the code specifically says that a justice should disk qualify himself or herself in a case when the justice's impartiality might reasonably be questioned. That is, where an unbiased and reasonable person who is aware of all the relevant circumstances would doubt that the justice could be -- could fairly discharge his or her duties.

But here's the key thing, Erin --


BISKUPIC: -- and all nine of them signed that, but all nine of them are the ones who would be the arbiters of whether there's any conflict. The justices are judges, so to speak, of their own cases, and there is no way to bring a complaint in any formal way that it would be aired.

And these are all lifetime appointees. The only way to really have a punishment is through impeachment.

BURNETT: A new, a new way to use judge and jury.

So, Joan, this report itself, though, you know, finding a second flag at this time, the timing is very interesting. Do you read anything into it?

BISKUPIC: Well, I have to say, beginning tomorrow morning, Erin, the justices will begin handing down the most closely watched cases of their session, and it will begin tomorrow and run through the end of June. And as you mentioned earlier, two of the most important cases involve Donald -- former President Donald Trump's efforts that culminated on January 6, to the Capitol. All part of the Stop the Steal campaign.

One of those cases goes to whether former President Trump should be put to a criminal trial for four counts of election subversion. That special counsel Jack Smith on behalf of the Justice Department, the American people has brought, that's one really important case involving potential immunity, and the other is more direct to January 6, and it involves defendants who do not want to be subject to obstruction charges of official proceeding.

So, Erin, big cases to be decided in this realm.

BURNETT: Big cases and this on the eve of that potentially happening.

Joan, thank you so much.

BISKUPIC: Yes. Thank you.

And we do have more breaking news and this quote from Nikki Haley, she said, quote, I will be voting for Trump. Those are the words of the former Republican presidential candidate.

She broke her silence today, speaking out nearly 80 days after dropping out of the presidential race.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.



JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: With those words today, Nikki Haley became the biggest Republican rival to fall into line behind Donald Trump.

HALEY: Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I've made that clear many, many times, but Biden has been a catastrophe.

ZELENY: Haley returned to the public stage for the first time since suspending her presidential campaign to deliver a foreign policy address.

HALEY: A dangerous worldview has risen on both sides of the aisle. Once again, it threatens our prosperity and security. We need to take this one seriously.

ZELENY: But her remarks about the threats facing the U.S. were overshadowed by a remarkable political 180 of her own, pivoting away from being Trump's nemesis --

HALEY: How much more losing do we have to do before we realize maybe Donald Trump is the problem?

ZELENY: -- to becoming his supporter.

HALEY: I will be voting for Trump. Having said that, I stand by what I said in my suspension speech. Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continued to support me, and not assume that they're just going to be with him and I genuinely hope he does that.

ZELENY: Since leaving the race in March, the former South Carolina governor has stayed out of the public eye, reconnecting with her family, aide said, including putting her husband, Michael, who returned from a year-long overseas deployment.


But even in her absence, she's been winning votes and won Republican primary after another --

HALEY: This is a wake-up call.

ZELENY: -- exposing a potential challenge facing Trump in unifying the party, particularly in suburban areas of swing states, like outside Philadelphia, where Haley received nearly 25 percent of the vote in both Chester and Montgomery counties.

While Trump has not extended an olive branch to Haley or her supporters, the Biden campaign has targeted them through digital ads like this.

TRUMP: Nikki Haley has made an unholy alliance with RINOs, Never Trumpers.

ZELENY: Hoping to remind her supporters of those insults and trying to win over voters eager to keep Trump from returning to the White House.

The Biden campaign is closely studied Republican primary results, CNN has learned, even in deep-red states like Indiana, where Haley received more than 21 percent of the vote earlier this month. It's an open question. How many of those voters are lodging a temporary protest against Trump or actually open to supporting Biden.

Haley did not say whether she would campaign for Trump or if she's still believed the argument she made against him for more than a year.

HALEY: You got to acknowledge the fact he can't win a general election.

ZELENY: But she made clear she was back in the Republican fold for whatever the future may hold.

HALEY: We have to face the hard truths and do harder work, but I have faith that we'll rise to meet the challenge before us. If any country can still make it happen, it's ours.


ZELENY (on camera): Haley's comments were hardly a full-throated endorsement of Donald Trump. She did not mention his name once during this speech she gave, but the point is, she said she would choose Trump over Biden.

The question is, what will hurt supporters do? The Biden campaigns still believes there are many voters out there who simply we do not want Trump to return to the White House. For Haley's part, will she campaign for Donald Trump or focus on her own future? Erin?

BURNETT: Jeff, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, former Trump White House insider and communications director, Alyssa Farah Griffin, also, of course, on "The View".

So, Alyssa, I mean, you know, there's could be any day, right? Any day that had happened, but it happened today. Haley comes out major speech saying she'll vote for Trump. Did you see it coming?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So it was disappointing, but not surprising. I mean, she joins a long list of people who are deeply critical of Trump who have said he was unfit for office, who have launched every attack against him that they could. She, of course, was also the first prominent Republican after January 6 to speak to the Republican Party and say, you know, we need to move on. But then ultimately come back into the fold because at the end of the day careerism, ambition and being able to have a longstanding and the GOP is more important to most politicians.

What's interesting to me is this. She continues to put points on the board, this Pennsylvania primary that Jeff mentioned. I am not convinced that her voters necessarily go with her. What I say, why I say that is I think she was an avatar for Never Trump, for someone other than Trump. She was the person going the hardest after him. The best alternative, but I'm not convinced that even half of those end up going with her simply because she's backing Trump.

BURNETT: Well, that -- and that's significant because obviously some of these states that could make all the difference, right and as Jeff points out, it wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but nonetheless, she did it. She went and did it. So it didn't have to be ringing.

But she has been vicious in her attacks against Trump. I mean, just -- here's a few of the examples.


HALEY: We can't have someone who sits there and mocks our men and women who are trying to protect America.

There is no way that the American people are going to vote for convicted criminal. They're not.

Donald Trump got out there and just through a temper tantrum. Bring it, Donald. Show me what you got.


BURNETT: And, you know, she -- remember there was a time, you know, Chris Christie, maybe -- maybe Chris Christie is going to be the one to harken back and say, I was right, right? Remember when he wouldn't -- I mean, but isn't this why people disliked politics so much?

GRIFFIN: Oh, completely, because I mean, Donald Trump went after her family, her husband, who was serving in the military abroad, in Africa at the time, and she still comes around to kiss the ring. I mean, it is -- it's shameful. It's embarrassing, it's pathetic, and I, by the way, supported Nikki Haley.

But this just goes to show people that there's not going to be somebody who emerges from the old school of politics to save the Republican Party from where it's going. It's going to have to be somebody outside who is not beholden to wanting to have a longstanding future in the party who's trying to know angle for their next cabinet position. And I think that must be what Nikki Haley's doing.

But what I would say is this, note, the one most prominent Republican who is not supporting Donald Trump this election, Vice President Mike Pence, his own vice president, who was much closer to Trump, was just steps from the Oval Office, much closer than the U.N. ambassador was, because he cannot in good conscience say he's backing someone who tried to overturn our election and is just fundamentally a threat to democracy.

These other people know that, but Mike Pence knows the stakes are too high.

BURNETT: That's a fascinating point. But the bottom line here is, you actually don't think her voters necessarily go with her.

GRIFFIN: I don't think so because I would consistently see what some of these Nikki Haley voters that they would go further than her in focus groups when they were interviewed in their criticisms of Trump.


They were actually often encouraging her to kind of lean the directions she did at the end. So I think that many of them are going to be on the fence watching to see where Biden goes, but where it gets interesting for Biden, the dynamics of the Israel-Hamas war. If he starts to seem like he's caving too much to the left, that's where these swing moderate Republicans but ultimately hold their nose I think and be with Donald Trump.

So, I mean, both sides are going to have to work for them, but it's not a given that they're with Nikki.

BURNETT: All right. Alyssa, it is great to see you. Thank you. Burning at both ends of the -- of the candle as they say.

All right. OUTFRONT next, CNN on the ground in Tehran. Why did the pilot of the helicopter carrying the president of Iran tell the other two helicopters in a convoy to dodge a cloud ahead and then he didn't? And the helicopter disappear.

And new details and the investigation of Singapore Airlines flight that turned deadly as more passengers asked whether climate change is behind growing incidents of severe turbulence. Bill Nye is OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Tonight, new details of the moments just before the helicopter crash that killed Iran's president and foreign minister. The former president, chief of staff, was nearby and other helicopter said the weather was perfect that the start of the flight. Forty-five minutes later, though, the president's pilot ordered the other helicopters to increase altitude to avoid a cloud. Then the president's helicopter, quote, suddenly disappeared.

Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT in Tehran.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Hundreds of thousands lining the streets as the caskets made their way through Tehran, chanting, marching along, paid their final respects.

Ever since that helicopter crash that killed Iran's president, Ebrahim Raisi, as well as, of course, the foreign minister, Hossein Amir- Abdollahian, and several others, which seems displays of public mourning here around the country in Iran, that was especially here in Tehran, where this massive procession was one that is part of the funeral processions to lay to rest the people who were killed in that helicopter crash.


I am here for my president, she says. He did a lot for Iran to prove that we loved him very much.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, himself, leading the funeral prayers low with foreign dignitaries, but also senior leaders of Hamas in attendance.

While Iran's investigation into the crash is ongoing, the president's chief of staff was traveling in a different chopper in the convoy saying one of those aboard the doom chopper was alive and communicating for at least three hours after the crash.

The chief of staff, also getting more details on the incident itself.

CHIEF OF STAFF (through translator): Captain Mostafavi who was the pilot of the helicopter carrying the president and the commander of the helicopter convoy ordered the other helicopters to gain altitude and go above the clouds. When we reached above the clouds, and after about 30 seconds, we realized the president's helicopter wasn't with us.

PLEITGEN: But on the streets of Tehran, many hold Iran's adversaries, the U.S. and Israel, responsible.

We have all come here to prove that we will support this revolution and we won't back away, this woman says, and then chant death to Israel.

And he says, I will support my revolution until the last drop of my blood.

Mourning, sorrow and anger in the massive crowd as Iran's leaders vowed to maintain stability.


BURNETT: And, Fred, there is still some intrigue as to what exactly happened to the presidents helicopter. What more have you learned?

PLEITGEN: Hey, Erin, will the Iranians, of course, following all sorts of leads right now in their investigation about whether or not this may have been an accident caused by bad weather, or whether or not there was something else at play, like, for instance, a technical fault or something completely different, a little bit intrigue was, of course, added by the fact that that chief of staff said that it was actually the presidential helicopter that ordered that convoy have choppers to fly above the clouds. But it was the only one that then never made it above the clouds. The other thing where there's new questions is how exactly the crash

site was found. Of course, initially we had heard that it was a Turkey surveillance drone that found it, but now the Iranians are coming out and saying that, yes, the Turkey surveillance drone was there, but it actually failed to detect the crash site of the chopper. The Iranians themselves, of course, also the substantial team on the ground searching for the wreckage -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Fred. Thank you.

And OUTFRONT next, anxiety and the sky is after the deadly turbulence on the Singapore Airlines flight, as more and more people are asking if climate change is really playing a role in the growing number of incidents.

Bill Nye, the science guy, is OUTFRONT next.

And videos popping all over social media of supposedly Russian women professing their love for China.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love this land. I love China.


BURNETT: These women are generated by A.I. They're not real, but they're A.I. and sanctioned by the Chinese government. We'll tell you why.



BURNETT: Tonight, about 20 passengers are still in intensive care after the Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence on the way from London to Singapore, leaving one person dead and many more critically injured, fighting for their lives. One lucky passenger is now speaking out after just leaving the hospital.


JOSH SILVERSTONE, PASSENGER INJURED ON SINGAPORE AIRLINES FLIGHT: There were lots of people in worse positions than me, people laying on the floor and they can't move. They were clearly paralyzed. I'm lucky. A lot of people have got some spinal issues from hitting their head and then connect back down so that have quietly (INAUDIBLE). A lot people can barely move that back.


BURENTT: All right. Well, this comes as growing evidence is pointing to rapidly developing thunderstorms causing the severe turbulence.

OUTFRONT now, one of the world's top and most famous science experts, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, of course, known to all watching. And, Bill, so thank you.

All right. Look, this is a terrifying thing and anybody can imagine, you know, being on a plane and you've been flying along and everything's fine and then, all of a sudden, this horrific thing happens.

What do you think is behind the growing number of cases of severe turbulence we're hearing about?

BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: Well, severe turbulence in this case almost certainly is from a so-called severe thunderstorm. And this is its not arbitrary, it just means where the wind speed along the ground is over 50 knots, 60 miles an hour, 100 kilometers an hour almost.

And so, what happens, everybody, is this business of wind shear. And you may have heard this word, but I brought a pair of shears just so we all understand. We're talking about one thing going up and the other thing coming down.

And so in a thunderstorm -- we spare no expense here, Erin -- in an a thunderstorm, you have rising air and the air is rising because cold air is squeezing warm air up and the reason the error is warm is because sunlight sitting your surface being re-radiated as heat. And the atmosphere nowadays is holding in more heat than it used to.

And I'm just want to give people an idea of the scale of the thing. You have a tiny airplane next to a huge column of rising air. And if the airplane passes through, the area where for the air is going up and coming down at the same time, the plane can suffer in this case catastrophic changes in altitude.

And everybody, it sounds like it was a lot of Gs, a lot of G-force. But it sounds like the people who got injured were not wearing their seat belts.


These flight attendants were up there working for a living, and people who might have been out of their seats. And so, they hit their heads. That's a really unexpected thing. And so everybody, know, you may have heard this where your seat belt, but it's a real thing.

BURNETT: Well, I know certainly and Andrew Davies, he was on the plane. He was actually sitting in front of the gentleman who we know tragically died and the man's wife literally widowed on that plane. And he was talking about what happened beforehand and it was a normal flight, 10 hours, 37,000 feet. Nothing he said, in fact, no turbulence. And then this --


ANDREW DAVIES, SINGAPORE AIRLINES PASSENGER: All hell broke loose. The plane just felt like drops, it probably only lasted a few seconds, but I remember vividly seeing shoes and iPads and iPhones and cushions and blankets and cutlery and plates and cups, flying through the air and crashing to the ceiling. The gentleman next to me had a cup of coffee which went straight all over me and up to the ceiling.


BURNETT: And then ,of course, he's like with the gash is that he saw the blood. I mean, just horrific.

You talk about G-forces. Aerospace engineer told "The Wall Street Journal" a little bit ago, that the force of the turbulence could have been what an astronaut experiences during a rocket launch, even more than that, which is it really impossible but is this when you --


BURNETT: Yeah, go ahead.

NYE: Sure, well, just astronauts might feel three, three-and-a-half Gs. It sounds like these people are into nine or ten Gs for a few moments.

You know, I -- fighter pilots go through 7.5 and so on. The problem is when you're not ready for it, when you're up walking around and then this change in altitude happens so fast. Compare what happens to people in car crashes who are wearing seat belts with those people who might not be wearing seat belts?


NYE: It's when you hit stuff, that's when you get into trouble, but --

BURNETT: Bill, can I ask -- I just want to ask you one thing because you had mentioned that the air is warmer, that's part of the reason you're seeing the clear-air turbulence we've heard is now partially because of climate change. But even this, a thunderstorm-driven incident it sounds like you're also connecting possibly to what's happening in the climate?

NYE: Oh, yes. So as the world gets warmer, we expect more energy to be in the atmosphere. And this would be a term that includes two big ideas more heat energy, which leads to more differences in temperature, which leads to more motion of the air up and down. So you might have a thunderstorm way off in the atmospheric distance that causes disturbances way over where the airplane is flying.

And the trouble is, it happens very fast. And you know, when the scale of things the airplane might be at 37,000 feet. It lost 1,000 feet, had gained 400 feet. In percentage, that's very small. It's the rate --


NYE: -- the speed at which it happened. So everybody -- what do you do about it? First of all, we stopped putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as fast as we're putting him in right now. And then in the coming decades, we develop ways to take these greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. We need big, big ideas. Let's go. Let's get er done.

BURNETT: Let's go. Big, big ideas. It's an optimistic way of looking at it, but those ideas can be -- can be conceived of and achieved.

Thank you very much, Bill.

NYE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, men on Chinese social media ogling over videos of supposedly, supposedly Russian women, but they are not real women.

Why the strict Chinese sensors want all of this to slip by.

And the Internet thinks this is the 14-month-old puppy that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem shot and killed. But this dog is very much alive, and we'll explain.



BURNETT: Tonight, targeting China. The House moving closer to passing a law that severely restrict China's use of A.I. technology. This as the communist party strict Internet sensors are allowing A.I.- manipulated videos of young women who are pretending to be Russians to be viewed across China. How come?

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT to explain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am really envious of you Chinese.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China is the safest county in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only in China can you sleep soundly.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Chinese social media, what you see --


RIPLEY: -- may not be what you get.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Single men in China, I have good news.

RIPLEY: The women in these videos supposedly Russian, with messages appealing to the romantic fantasies and nationalist pride of some Chinese men.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love this land. I love China.

RIPLEY: A lot of the videos, comments like this: welcome to China, Russia beauty.

OLGA LOLEK, YOUTUBER: This is so creepy.

RIPLEY: Olga Lolek is a student at the University of Pennsylvania. She claims in this video on her YouTube channel, someone cloned her

image in China and is peddling products and propaganda with A.I. generated deepfakes of her.

LOLEK: The narratives my clones are voicing sounded like blatant propaganda.

RIPLEY: Deepfakes designed to build a narrative of alliance and admiration between China and Russia, largely untouched by the governments heavy handed sensors.

CNN cannot independently verify the videos which have now been taken down, but not before Lolek says they racked up thousands of views.

LOLEK: She already has 140,000 fans and she has a ton of videos with my face where she likes saying how much she likes Russia, and how much Russia needs Chinese economic support.

As Ukrainian, this has obviously been infuriating for me.

RIPLEY: How this happened? Lolek says she has no idea.

CNN showed Lolek's real and fake videos to people in Taipei.

Couldn't tell the difference.

How's her Chinese?




RIPLEY: You can tell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea.

RIPLEY: You can't tell which one is A.I.


RIPLEY: Artificial intelligence is advancing so quickly, experts say, you need A.I. detection software just to identify some deepfakes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A general kind of undermining of a source of truth.

RIPLEY: Amplifying the power of dissonance formation and not just in Chinese.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Staged by the Filipino side.

RIPLEY: Chinese state media is using A.I. enhanced videos on TikTok, altering the reporters voice and face, a disclosure on screen for just a few seconds, easy to miss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China's jurisdiction.

RIPLEY: The videos pushing Beijing's narrative on the South China Sea.

Is this a threat to democracy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most definitely, I think China has found a more cost-effective way to get its message across.

RIPLEY: Turning today's digital landscape into a battleground for truth, where seeing is no longer believing.


RIPLEY (on camera): Interesting that this broadcast is not being censored inside of China right now, just like the majority's videos are not being censored on the Chinese Internet, Erin.

You know, I've done a lot of stories about deepfakes and every time it strikes me just how the quality keeps improving, our researcher Young (ph) had to spend hours putting these videos through these algorithms to determine with 99 percent accuracy whether the video is real or fake, who on social media has time to do that is going to take the time to do that. And that's --


RIPLEY: -- democracy when people are watching these videos and then making decisions about how to vote.

BURNETT: Sorry, sorry, I think the shot was frozen, but, Will, thank you. And it is -- it is unbelievable. Just how realistic it is, even separate from all the crucial points that it makes about the Chinese government.

Well, OUTFRONT next, barking up the wrong tree. The South Dakota governor did kill her dog, but it was not this dog. So why is this photo spreading like wildfire online?


BURNETT: Tonight, it's been shared millions of times on social media, a photo claiming to be Cricket, the 14 month-old dog that was shot and killed by the South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.

The only problem is this dog is not Cricket. It is a dog named Blue, very much alive. But how did Blue end up as the face of political scandal?

Well, our Donie O'Sullivan looked into it and found the picture came from a Reddit user. It was posted more than a year ago, but then it was picked up on Twitter when the Kristi Noem story went viral, and the dog then was identified as Cricket. It spread like wildfire, even published by one of the U.K.'s biggest newspapers. Even though it's been debunked, it still popped up today as Cricket. Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.