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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Sources: FBI Investigating If Inmates Were Part of Drug Ring; Captured Inmate Now Talking About Escape; Source: Sweat Says He Left Richard Matt Behind; NBC Dumps Trump Over Mexico "Rapists" Comments. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired June 29, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight. Convicted killer David Sweat speaking for the first time since he is captured revealing stunning new details about his three weeks on the run. What was the killer's true escape plan?
And more breaking news. The FBI tonight launching a major investigation. Were Richard Matt and David Sweat part of a heroin ring inside the prison?
And NBC dumps Trump cutting all ties to the controversial presidential candidate. Wait until you hear how Trump fires back.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with the breaking news. The FBI launching an investigation into whether convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat were part of a drug trafficking ring. Possibly a heroin ring inside the maximum security prison. And we will going to have much more in those breaking details in a moment. But David Sweat shot and captured by police yesterday. Tonight is in serious condition. Speaking though for the first time about his escape. And here is what he is telling investigators. He is talking about life on the run with Richard Matt. He also is telling them how they planned their getaway. Here is a picture of Sweat badly wounded. This is shortly after he was caught.
This location here on the ground, he had been shot in the torso less than two miles from the Canadian border. Now, as you can see, he is wearing camouflage clothing, not prison garb. He had a backpack which had Matt's tools, bag repellant and food, pop tarts included. Jay Cook is the trooper who spotted Sweat near a barn, chasing him through an open field and then shooting him twice in the torso. Sweat telling authorities that he and Matt were together but not the whole time. They split up five days ago. And Sweat says, it was he who made the choice to split up. He said, Matt could have been sick from eating spoiled food. But the bottom-line is, he was sick. Sweat felt he was slowing him down. So, it was Sweat who broke off on his own.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT tonight at the Albany Medical Center where Sweat is hospitalized. And Miguel, I mean, you know, he was in critical condition. I know, he is now in serious. How much is he actually even able to talk and communicate right now? MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not a ton. But enough
to tell investigators exactly what it was like out there with Richard Matt and why he broke up with him, because he was just slowing him down too much. I mean, keep in mind, they only got 32 miles in 22 days. It's just over a mile and a half a day. Not exactly a record- breaking pace if you are trying to get away from a large contingent of law enforcement after breaking out of a federal prison or a maximum security prison. He was able to tell them that their plan was indeed to go to Mexico. They hoped to be toasting margaritas in Mexico by the time investigators were on to them. But when Joyce did not show up to pick them up, that clearly now was their plan A. And she left them scrambling for a plan B -- Erin.
BURNETT: Which is incredible. Because I know people have given them credit. And so, she must have B, they had another plan, right? And it turns out, all the way along, she was the best idea that they had. Miguel, what is next for Sweat though? Obviously, he is still in the hospital under lock and key. But what happens to him next?
MARQUEZ: Well, he is going to get better. It sounds like the hospital believes he is improving and stabilizing here. And then he will be charged. He will be able to get an attorney amazingly enough. He will be charged with breaking out of the Clinton Correctional Facility. He will be charged with other things, whether it's burglary or theft along the way, because he clearly got other clothes and other belongings as they moved along. And then he will face charges for that. And then he will eventually be moved to another facility, probably not Clinton though it sounds like this time. I think it would be hard to believe that he would be moved back to that same facility -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Miguel. Thank you very much. And of course, the FBI investigating that facility now and David Sweat and Richard Matt in terms of a drug ring.
Also breaking tonight, we have new details about their final days. So, here is what we know. The New York coroner who inspected Richard Matt's body is telling CNN that his face was splattered with blood but intact. Now, remember, we have been told he was shot in the head. We also found out he was dressed to blend in with the woods just like David Sweat. In the case of Richard Matt, that meant dark brown pants and a dark green jacket. Clothing similar to what Sweat was seen wearing at the time of his arrest.
Alexandra Field is OUTFRONT with new details on Sweat's capture.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): David Sweat captured still close to clean shaven and seemingly in good shape before taking two bullets to the torso.
(on camera): Did he have any fight in him when he was taken down?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn't appear that way. And I can tell you, when they unloaded him from the ambulance, he was only semi-conscious.
FIELD (voice-over): Twenty two days after escaping from the Clinton County prison, the manhunt ends within striking distance of the Canadian border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come across a dirt run that runs basically along the border Stebbins Road. And once he gets to Stebbins Road, he is within a couple hundred yards of the Canadian border.
[19:05:06] FIELD: Five days earlier, the deadly duo parted ways. Sweat tells investigators from a hospital bed. Richard Matt may have been slowing him down. Forty nine-year-old Matt reeked of alcohol when he was shot dead by a tactical team Friday, according to sources who also tell CNN there's evidence Matt was sick, possibly from contaminated food or water. That evidence, part of a trail scattered throughout the Adirondack forest, ultimately leading to two convicted killers. The first big break, day 17. 23 miles east of Dannemora, confirmation that DNA evidence ties both men to a cabin in the town of Belmont. One of the cabin owner's reports a shotgun is missing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have since day one operated on the beliefs that these men are armed. They are extremely dangerous. They're cunning.
FIELD: Another break in the case comes days later. A break-in in a cabin in the town of Malone prompts a massive search of the area. By Friday, day 21, more evidence is found as police reveal new information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspects may be headed towards Canada.
FIELD: Sixteen miles south of the border, Matt blows his cover shooting at an RV and the driver calls police.
(on camera): What could have motivated that shooting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No idea. No idea. You know, obviously, it appears that Matt consumed some alcohol. If it was the alcohol or the fatigue or, you know, the starvation, he made a tremendous error.
FIELD (voice-over): Search teams head to the same area where someone inside this cabin also called 911.
(on camera): What was moved around? What did you noticed when you got --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not just moved around. Just the bottle of gin have moved from one counter to another.
FIELD (voice-over): It was Matt's final mistake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trooper walking along the side of the road right here and here is a cop. You know, I mean, those -- that's really what broke the case on Friday.
FIELD: Richard Matt refuses to drop his weapon when a border patrol team surrounds him in the woods. He is shot dead three times in the head. Two days later, two miles south of Canada, police and constable close the case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And all of a sudden, the streets were just full of law enforcement, cars all the way down.
FIELD: Sergeant Jay Cook on a roving patrol spots Sweat coming down this road. He singlehandedly captures the convicted killer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys got him? Cool.
FIELD: Investigators are now retracing both men's steps. Here on the ground, they tell us that in his last few days, Richard Matt was moving in very slow lane, maybe only a mile or two a day. But David Sweat had advanced well ahead of him covering a number of miles a day to end up here in this field where he was shot and captured just south of the Canadian border. We know Erin that investigators have tied one or both men to at least three different cabins. But they expected over the course of this investigation that they could find a number of cabins where these men sought either shelter or additional resources.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Alexandra Field. A
And I want to go straight now to Harry Houck, a law enforcement analyst who has done a lot of interrogations likes the one going on with David Sweat right now. So, he is saying that Joyce Mitchell was plan A, that was their plan, she was going to show up with the car.
HARRY HOUCK, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE FIRST GRADE: Right.
BURNETT: They were going to be in Mexico. Obviously, that's a lot longer than a seven-hour drive, which is the lead time they had with police. But that's what he is saying. They're not able to get everything out of him yet because he's still in serious condition. But should investigators believe his version of events?
HOUCK: Well, it depends. I mean, first of all, when you go out a guys like this, you have to go in a completely different way than you would somebody else you arrested. Here is a guy who doesn't care about what kind of time he's going to get added on for his escape --
BURNETT: He is now serving a life sentence.
HOUCK: Right. He is already serving a life sentence. So, you can't play good cop, bad cop with this guy. You can't lie to him because he is smart. This hardened criminals usually don't talk to the police at all. They usually just lawyer up right away. But he has already started talking. Which tells me they brought in an experienced interrogator. So, what happens is, you bring two guys in there. Now, you have to get to the personal level with them. You got to stroke his ego. He is talking already about --
BURNETT: How incredible you are that you pulled this off. Twenty two days on the run --
HOUCK: Right. The first thing I'd say, David, I got to give it to you. That was a great freaking escape.
HOUCK: You know, you guys are historic. If it wasn't for Matt, you would be in Canada right now.
BURNETT: Right. You're blaming the other --
HOUCK: So, I'm blaming Matt.
BURNETT: Yes, okay.
HOUCK: Now what happens is, you know, the doctors again say, you can talk for 20 minutes today. And I said so. You have the same guy going back day after day. You get on a personal level. You get on a first name basis. You start talking. You keep on stroking him and stroking him. And he is thinking he is a hero. He is already a big hero because he killed the cop in jail. That's one of the biggest thing that you can be as a hero if you kill a cop and you go to jail. He is going to be even the bigger hero. Now, and he knows it. He knows it. All right? He wants people to know what he did. He might be a little short and --
BURNETT: He wants his 15 minutes of fame.
HOUCK: Right. He wants his fame.
BURNETT: He wants them to know the plan. He wants to look smart.
HOUCK: Exactly. He might be playing the cops a little bit, I'm a little tough, and I'm not going to say nothing. But if you stroke his ego enough and you blame Matt for him not getting away --
HOUCK: -- you will be able to get information over a period of time.
BURNETT: So, what's the incentive from the talk? Will they do a deal where they say, okay, you know what? You can't get as much time in solitary. Because this seems like the only way to make this guy's life worse in jail is to put him in solitary for the rest of his life.
HOUCK: Right. And they say, you escaped for a reason, didn't you? You escaped because you were tired of -- and here, you know, he was a trusted inmate. Now he is looking at 23 hours in a cell for ten years.
BURNETT: Yes, never be a thrust inmate.
HOUCK: One hour walking out every day. So, that might be some incentive for him to be able to, listen, we will give you three hours a day or maybe you will go to solitary confinement for five years instead of ten. But, you know, I don't think he really cares. I think that all -- the only thing he cares about is his ego.
BURNETT: Well, I could imagine they have a suicide watch on him. Maybe to your point, maybe he doesn't care about that.
All right. Thanks very much to you, Harry.
HOUCK: You're welcome.
BURNETT: And one crucial piece of information investigators are trying to get from David Sweat is how he and Richard Matt were able to find that first secluded cabin where investigators discovered the men's DNA.
OUTFRONT now, Bill Farrington, he actually hiked to the cabin where the convicted killers stayed. Now, Bill, you saw this cabin. And that was a long hike, a 40-minute hike I know from the nearest even dirt road. When you got there, what made you realize people had been there recently?
WILLIAM FARRINGTON, FOUND CABIN WHERE RICHARD MATT AND DAVID SWEAT STAYED: I could see some shoe tracks, some ATV tracks. And that was probably what led me to go walk that far up the path is that other people had been there before me.
BURNETT: So you saw the tracks. Now, we're looking at your photos. These pictures, I mean, it's basically a shanty. You know, cabin might imply to some people, something more substantial than what we are looking at. When you went inside, what were the kinds of things you saw? What would they have been able to get from this cabin in terms of supplies?
FARRINGTON: Well, I didn't go inside. But what I saw was -- it looked like a pretty good place to spend some time if you were on the run. There was nice cooking gear. There was barbecue. There was beds. It looked pretty well equipped for a place that far out in the woods. It wasn't like just some, you know, shack.
BURNETT: Right. Now, Bill, you know, the other thing we're hearing, you know, David Sweat is now saying their plan was to go to Mexico if Joyce Mitchell showed up. She didn't. Then they went hiking in the woods. The cabin that you found is a 40-minute hike from the nearest dirt road. I mean, you don't -- it would seem you don't just stumble upon something like this if you are them. Do you think they could have found it if they didn't already know about where it was from somebody?
FARRINGTON: I guess they could have stumbled upon it. But I really wouldn't be surprised if they had some information about where to go. Because it was so far from the track that they must have used to get away from the prison that that was the power lines. And there was no direct line from the power lines to the cabins. So, you know, maybe they overheard something while they were in prison. That's what I was thinking. And I think some of the local people in the area were also saying some, you know, theories like that. So, it would have been a long way to go.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Bill, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. And of course, we should emphasize that authorities are still looking into whether other people could have been involved, help. Giving them information like this in anyway. But there could be more people who end up getting charged in this situation.
Next more on the breaking news from the FBI investigating tonight whether Matt and Sweat were part of a heroin ring.
Plus, NBC cutting all ties with Donald Trump after he double downs Mexican immigrants rapist. Trump's response coming up.
And breaking news, hundreds evacuated as a massive wildfires rage across Washington. Firefighters are battling the blaze. Triple digit temperatures, you know, giving the fire fuel to keep burning. A live report coming up.
[19:17:16] BURNETT: Breaking news. The FBI is investigating whether the two escaped murderers were part of a drug trafficking ring in prison. Officials are saying, investigators are focusing on whether Sweat and Matt received special privileges from guards because of their involvement in the ring. Now, this as the second prison worker charged with helping the inmates escape appeared in court late today. Gene Palmer, you see him there. He admits he gave the prisoners tools.
Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gene Palmer walked into a Plattsburg Justice court today hounded by the media.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have something to say?
CASAREZ: Palmer, a prison guard for more than 27 years, is facing up to seven years behind bars for bringing tools into the Clinton County Correctional Facility on four different occasions, giving them to Matt and David Sweat in the months before their escape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to schedule a hearing or --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we will waive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will waive the --
CASAREZ: With Matt shot dead by authorities on Friday and Sweat shot and captured alive on Sunday --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got one guy down.
CASAREZ: Local residents cheered that the three-week nightmare was finally over. (on camera): What answers would you like to know about?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know who else helped them in the jail.
CASAREZ: So far, just two people have been charged in connection with the escape. But now the FBI has launched an investigation into possible broader corruption at the Clinton County Correctional Facility looking into possible drug trafficking and other criminal behavior among prison employees and inmates. Palmer is facing three felonies. Prosecutor say, he smuggled a screwdriver and pliers into the prison. And gave them to Matt and Sweat's supposedly to fix electric breakers behind their cells. And Palmer is also accused of destroying several paintings he received from inmate Richard Matt who is believed to have traded them for favors before he escaped.
John Mulligan, a former inmate of Clinton County prison knew Matt and Sweat and says, he believes Palmer is being treated unfairly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty common practice for a lot of correctional staff to do stuff like that.
CASAREZ: His attorney tells CNN, Palmer will plead not guilty to all charges. Palmer was first identified as the prison guard who took frozen meat stuffed with hacksaw blades from prison employee Joyce Mitchell and gave it to the convicted killers. Mitchell is facing one felony promoting prison contraband and one misdemeanor, a facilitating a scape. Last Thursday, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wiley said, no other charges for other prison employees were on the horizon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point in time, as I stand here, I'm not aware of any other individuals being under investigation relative to the Matt and Sweat escape.
CASAREZ: But that all changed today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are working in a continued collaborative effort with the Department of Corrections, with the governor's office to conduct further investigations as to if any other individuals were involved in the escape process.
CASAREZ: When Gene Palmer gave his original statement to the New York state police on June 20th, he said that he never intentionally helped an escape plan at all. And today after court, D.A. Wiley said that today Sweat, in talking with authorities, talked about Palmer. And he said, he was not involved in the escape plan. It was only himself, Richard Matt and Joyce Mitchell. But Erin, nonetheless, these are very serious felony charges.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jean.
And I want to go to straight OUTFRONT now to Erik Jensen, former inmate at Clinton Correctional who knew both prison escapees. Also with me, our legal analyst Paul Callan, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. And retired U.S. Marshal Arthur Roderick. He used to work with the team who searched for the two fugitives and was the first to tell us about the shootings in both cases over the past three days.
Erik, let me start with you. The FBI investigating widespread corruption at this facility. You served time there and you know both of these inmates. Heroin use, drug trafficking, a drug ring essentially. Did you see that kind of thing? Would it surprise you if they were involved?
ERIK JENSEN, FORMER CLINTON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY INMATE: No, it wouldn't surprise me at all. Especially, they are doing a large amount of time. They're doing a heavy bid. And I don't think David had a visit the whole time I was there. And I don't know if Rich did. But if you don't have visitors, you don't have family sending you money, you do what you can to make money.
BURNETT: So, this is how they could have gotten money?
JENSEN: It's a possibility. Yes, it is. They could sell their artwork, trade for drugs and then use the drugs and trade that for money.
BURNETT: So, Arthur, when you hear that, I mean, that would mean -- the money could have been on them or to the point that the attorneys now are looking at there could be other people involved. Right?
ARTHUR RODERICK, FORMER U.S. MARSHAL: Absolutely, Erin. I think this is going to open up a lot of different issues going on in that particular facility. And for somebody to say that, you know, bringing in a screw driver or a pair of pliers is done on a regular basis, I mean, this has really got to be looked at in-depth. And I think they will going find a lot more issues involved. Maybe not with this particular escape. But with other things that are going on in the jail that are completely illegal.
[19:22:26] BURNETT: And Paul, you say this is the tip of iceberg?
PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it is the tip of the iceberg. Because my law firm has been handling a large number of these cases involving wrongfully convicted convicts. And I have to tell you, every time I speak to one who has been incarcerated in one of these maximum security prisons, I hear about drugs, I hear about weapons. I hear about violence. It seems to be a culture of these institutions. Erik and I were exchanging some stories back in the green room about Attica.
Prison guards with black babies tattooed on their arms with nooses around the neck. And they cover it up when they're in the prison facility, but the prisoners all know about it. I heard the story several times. Every prison has its own little culture going on. And there's a lot of corruption. So, whether you can cure it, is different thing though. This is a big problem. BURNETT: So, Arthur, are they going to be able to find out if
there were others involved? I mean, this is very crucial. As David Sweat, because we understand it's almost for certain but he's not going to go back to this facility. He's going to go serve his time somewhere else, his solitary somewhere else. In which case, he has nothing to lose by ratting out others who helped him, right?
RODERICK: Right. I mean, they're not going to take his word for everything he says.
RODERICK: Obviously, they will going to try to corroborate all the information he comes up with. But I think people, I mean, you have two people already looking at some heavy duty felony charges. And I think that's enough to have other people come forward and start talking to avoid any type of prison time. So, I think this is going to fall in line with a regular investigation. And you're going to have people coming forward, whether it be inmates or guards --
RODERICK: -- to try to avoid doing any more time in jail.
BURNETT: Erik, they're on the run for 22 days. They split up a few days ago. They spend time at a couple of cabins, at least. Right? There could be even more. But we know there were a couple of them. One of these cabins, we found it. So, what we don't know though is, could they have gotten that tip from someone else in the prison?
JENSEN: They could.
BURNETT: It was a 40-minute walks from the nearest dirt road.
JENSEN: They can get information like that from anybody. Just by having daily conversations with somebody. For instance --
BURNETT: So, it may not have been leaked on purpose.
JENSEN: Yes, it could be. Over the course of a year, you know, just having little conversations about their hunting trips, their fishing trips, things of that nature. Yes. Anything is possible. You could find out, like, not the exact location, but probably in the area of which it is in.
BURNETT: Paul, how deep do you think this goes?
CALLAN: Well, I think there's substantial corruption. I don't think that with respect to this escape, I suspect that Palmer is probably true, he didn't realize he was helping them. He formed a friendship with them. They're charming psychopaths. And they charmed him. He got information. I think their systematic corruption though in any major prison system in the country. And I think it's the nature of the beast. These by the way prisons are in isolated communities in Upstate New York. BURNETT: Yes.
CALLAN: Company towns. And I think it's hard to solve the problem.
BURNETT: Arthur, Paul, Erik, thanks.
RODERICK: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT, next. You're fired. NBC showing Donald Trump the door today. But he is not going quietly. You will not believe who he is dragging into this tonight. That's next.
And then look at this video. This is the fast-moving wildfire burning at this moment across thousands of acres out west. I mean, this is incredible pictures. It's moving so quickly. We will going to go there, live.
[19:29:49] BURNETT: Tonight, Trump dumped again. NBC announcing it is cutting business ties with the republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The reason, Trump standing by his comments that illegal immigrants from Mexico are rapists and drug dealers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My stance in immigration is correct. And some people may not think so but ultimately my stance is correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Donald stood up for that, doubled down on this program just a few days ago.
And now, NBC says it's no longer going to air the Miss USA pageant and Miss Universe, which are part-owned by Trump.
Trump's response, quote, "They will stand behind lying Brian Williams but won't stand behind people who tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be", calling out what he sees as a double standard.
Athena Jones is OUTFRONT from Chicago where Trump spoke today.
TRUMP: Somebody has to tell it like it is.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In front of a packed house in Chicago, Trump stood by his comments about Mexican immigrants, describing them as rapists, drug dealers, and criminals. He cited a report by Fusion, owned by Spanish language channel Univision and ABC. TRUMP: They think it's Mother Teresa is coming across the
border, OK? This one says, 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped crossing into the United States. Well, I said drug dealers. I said killers. And I said rapists.
JONES: The billionaire businessman has been doubling down on his inflammatory rhetoric, even telling OUTFRONT --
TRUMP: People run through Mexico. They go through our border like nothing. They don't want these people. So they send them to the United States because the United States is run by stupid people. We're like a dumping ground.
JONES: Asked if he would apologize he said --
TRUMP: There's no apology because what I said is right. I mean, what I said is 100 percent right.
JONES: NBC says it will no longer air the Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants, partly owned by Trump, following a similar step by Univision, which also dumped the event.
Trump is threatening to sue.
TRUMP: I'll be suing Univision. Maybe I'll be suing NBC, too.
JONES: NBC was facing growing pressure to respond. With more than 200,000 people signing on a petition on change.org, calling on the company to dump Trump -- and angry protesters denouncing him outside the Chicago event.
The reality star and now presidential candidate had already planned to give up his hit show, "The Apprentice." Amid the controversy, Trump has been surging in the Republican polls, up to second place in the first primary state of New Hampshire.
Oozing confidence in classic Trump style, he touted the latest CNN/WMUR poll.
TRUMP: This is CNN poll just came out. And they have interesting categories. Who is the best on terrorism? That's a pretty important subject. Trump right at the top. Who is the best on handling international trade like -- not even close. Trump is like almost double anything else. Right? That's incredible.
JONES: Trump was defiant today. He really sees himself as a truth teller, someone who will tell it like it is because he is beholden to no one.
But one correction, that poll that he talked about himself in the CNN poll, he said he the best able to handle terrorism. In fact, he comes in second on that category as well, second to Jeb Bush -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Athena, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT tonight, two Republicans, political contributor Tara
Setmayer, and political commentator Ben Ferguson.
All right, Ben. So, you know, you can have this whole brouhaha going on. It is going on, but let me just give you the statistic. The room where Donald Trump spoke today had space for just under 300 people, and 2,000 people were on the waiting list. That's what the club he spoke at said. They said 2,000 people on that list. That is a record.
There are plenty of people who seem to like Donald Trump a lot.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, there's two things. One, he is filling a void because there's no one out there really in the Republican side that's being this bold and blunt, and that's obviously what voters want.
But there's also the second side of this, and that, this is a reality TV show on a tour. That's what Donald Trump is. And so, you want to go see this reality show, because you don't know what's going to happen. You don't know what he's going to say.
So, I think if there's any takeaway for other GOP candidates, pay attention. Voters are wanting someone that is bold and blunt. I don't think it's going to be Trump at the end of the day. I think his unfavorability is incredibly high. But right now, he's filling a void.
BURNETT: And you talk about him being bold. I mean, Tara, here is why Trump may be resonating with a lot of people, right? You can't take it away from him. He is number two in New Hampshire.
Listen to him today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Somebody has to come out and tell it like it is. Politicians are all talk and no action. We have to be less politically correct. And we have to be strong. And, you know, you take beatings. You really take beatings when you tell the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A lot of people respond to that. That's a straight shooter. Sometimes ugly things need to be said. People are responding to it.
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I don't necessarily equate telling the truth with being ugly all the time, though. I think, you know, yes, people are refreshed by some of the more candid things that Donald Trump says.
[19:35:03] But you can't be -- you can cross the line and be obnoxious. I think Donald Trump has become inartful in a lot of things that he says, and it's borderline obnoxious, and it's going to catch up with him. Ben is absolutely right. This is a reality show. I say it's the
cult of personality that is thrusting Trump to the forefront. He has name recognition. Everybody knows him. Donald Trump is a household name and has been for 25 years.
So, you know, polls are a snapshot in time. He is popular now because he is getting attention, because he is saying these things. And it's garnering attention. But when it comes time to have serious conversations, I think you are going to see people distance themselves from -- other GOP candidates distance themselves from the more gregarious, egomaniacal ways of Donald Trump.
BURNETT: Certainly, the candidates will distance themselves. The questions, Ben, will the voters? Donald Trump went through the CNN poll in New Hampshire, and he -- as Athena points out, he was two on terror but one on several things, which, of course, he has no problem pointing out bombastically himself like did he today.
FERGUSON: Look, I --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Best on economy, best on trade -- like a lot of important things. The only thing I'm not so good on is like, who is a nice person? Trump is last. I'm last. And I said to myself, you know, it's like, that's really fair -- that's really unfair.
Who is the strongest leader? Let's see. Trump is the strongest leader. I look at this. I say, if I have all these things, why don't we call off the election today? Let's put the country back in shape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SETMAYER: God help us, no.
BURNETT: Ben, you know, yes, you have to laugh and smile at the way he presents it. But yet voters did go through all these categories and give him number one on a few of the key ones.
FERGUSON: Yes, this is a long time --
BURNETT: That's got to impact the Republican field, right?
FERGUSON: Here's a thing -- it's a long time until you actually have to back that up with going in and actually thinking, do I really want to vote for Donald Trump? That's the gut check moment I think for a lot of voters. Do I really want this guy in charge of nuclear weapons? Do I want him in charge of international trade? Do I really want him in charge of dealing with terrorism?
Those are issues I think that if at the end of the day, they're going to say, I don't trust him with that.
SETMAYER: That's right. In theory, it sounds great in theory. Yes, this guy is going to go get them. He's going to get the bad guys. When push comes to shove, then is he really the best person that we want representing the United States as president of the United States? I don't think the voters will do that.
The problem here though is that the way the debates are set up. So, it's the top ten, right, FOX debate, CNN debate, top 10 candidates. So, right now, he is in eighth place. So, his position could push out a Carly Fiorina, a Rick Perry, a John Kasich, people that have executive experience, that have more serious policies going on, that are pretty straight shooters.
If anybody listened to John Kasich, he is a pretty straight shooter, but without the reality show antics.
BURNETT: They will be interesting to watch, those debates. I can say that for sure, if Donald Trump is part of them.
SETMAYER: They won't be dull.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks so much to both of you.
And next, firefighters are battling huge wildfires. Strong winds are fuelling these pictures you are seeing. People are evacuating right now. We're live in Washington state as these move so quickly.
And Greece on the brink of disaster. Americans now also dealing with the panic. Right now, there's long lines in Greece even at the supermarket. People can't even get their money out of the ATM. We're on the streets of Athens.
[19:42:28] BURNETT: Breaking news, hundreds of residents forced to evacuate their homes. A massive wildfire raging in Washington state. The fire has burned through 3,000 acres in the past 24 hours.
The county's fire chief describing a firestorm ripping through homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF MIKE BURNETT, CHELAN COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: It was intense, large embers blowing everywhere, roofs catching on fire, vegetation around the house, just spreading from house to house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Joining me on the phone, Randy Dawson, a resident of Wenatchee, Washington. The fire started near his home.
And, Randy, it went through your backyard. What did you see?
RANDY DAWSON, RESIDENT OF WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON (via telephone): Basically what I saw was is the fire start down by -- down the road from us, about 200 yards and race up the hill just immediately up the hill and right up behind our house. BURNETT: And I know you took pictures which we're going to show
our viewers. But, I mean, when you talk about it racing up the hill, my understanding is this is some of the fastest moving fires that people have seen in quite some time. I mean, you must have been frightened.
DAWSON: Well, we're prepared here. We have a very large green belt around our house. And we have hand lines that we put out, sprinklers. So, we were in no danger at all.
BURNETT: Which is good for you, obviously. But hundreds of others have been forced to evacuate. How much more have you seen once it went through your backyard?
DAWSON: We took a drive into town. We saw the shed that caught on fire last night from the embers from this big fire. We saw homes that were burning as we drove through town last night.
BURNETT: All right. Randy, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
I want to go straight now to the mayor of Wenatchee, Frank Kuntz.
Mayor Kuntz, thank you for being with us. I know in the midst of this, you know, very frightening for you. You think this is spreading?
MAYOR FRANK KUNTZ, WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON (through telephone): It's currently up to 4,000 acres. We've got 28 structures that have been lost, probably eight of them are out buildings. But the saddest part is there 20 that are single-family residents that have been completely destroyed. So, it has been a tough 24 hours for our city.
BURNETT: I can only imagine. And I know you have been evacuating people. We also understand that there have been concern about ammonia leaking, obviously incredible flammable. What do you know about that?
KUNTZ: Yes. So, the fire, as the previous gentleman talked about, the embers actually jumped over a major thoroughfare into our commercial area and burnt two or three fruit packing facilities. In those fruit packing facilities, there's certain chemicals that are used that are very flammable.
[19:45:01] We have dangerous situation around noon today where we evacuated most of the downtown worried of an ammonia leak, which actually occurred, but then it dissipated into the sky. So, we come out of that lucky. But it was scary for a while.
BURNETT: I can only imagine. I mean, do you know how these fires started?
KUNTZ: They don't know for sure. They're working on trying to protect structures at this point. They haven't got a cause of origin yet. Started near a road and something flammable started something near a road. That's all we know at this point. BURNETT: And I understand not only do you think this is going to
spread, but part of the reason is there's no relief in sight, right, in terms of temperatures. You are talking about air temperatures separate from the fire in triple digits, right?
KUNTZ: Yes, it's 100 degrees right now. I'm looking outside my window. I see thunder clouds in the area which means if there's going to lightning, there will be more fires. It's not even July yet. So, we have a lot ways to go.
BURNETT: And do you anticipate overnight tonight? I mean, are you going to fight through the night? How many people do you have on the job?
KUNTZ: Yes, there's hundreds of firefighters. There's two teams from the state. They are working hard. Our firefighters are exhausted. But they will keep plugging away until we get this put out. But we're worried about what's going to happen next.
BURNETT: Mayor Kuntz, thanks very much for your time tonight. And good luck. We hope you are able to get that out. As you said, over 100 degrees right now in the air temperature.
Next, we have breaking news: the worst day of the year for stocks in the United States. Single worst day. I mean, stocks truly plunging.
The reason is what's happening on the streets of Greece. It's pretty terrifying. We have a special report from the ground.
And Jeanne Moos with the world's ugliest dog, which actually is kind of cute.
BURNETT: Breaking news: stocks plunging, posting their worst loss this year. The reason: fear and panic in Greece. The Dow plunging, 350 points. That's nearly 2 percent in a day, as Greece is hours from default. The situation is dire.
Just imagine this picture in America. Banks are closed for a week. People can't get their savings out of the ATM. People are panicking, frantically rushing to grocery stores to stock up on food, or even stocking up on gas, and some stations have run out of fuel.
Richard Quest in Athens tonight.
Richard, you have been on the streets. You have seen all this. What are people telling you? What have you seen?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSS CORRESPONDENT: What people are telling me they've had enough. They are anything angry. They are resentful. They are feeling very, very badly done to by the Europeans who they feel want to humiliate and they want to drive Greece further down. Now, whether that's right or wrong, I don't know. And the
Europeans say it's not true anyway. But the reality is -- though it was beautifully summed up, Erin by one newspaper seller who said to me, do we want, do we want a sudden death or do we want death by 1,000 cuts?
And that's the position that Greece is now facing. The Europeans have said, until now, yep, we'll lend you more money. But it is going to cost you. There will be more austerity. The Greek people will have a vote on Sunday about whether they want it or not.
BURNETT: And, Richard, this is reverberating around the world. I mean, those pictures in Greece are horrible to see. On a human level, you have to feel empathy, for people who are so terrified, who aren't able to get their money, aren't able to gas, or desperate, they're trying to get food.
But you are seeing this in markets around the world. The biggest one day drop this year for the Dow. How concerned should Americans be?
QUEST: Oh, I think they should be concerned, because what happens in Greece will happen in Europe. What happens in Europe will happen in the United States -- will affect it in the United States.
Greece may be a small economy, but remember, Erin, Greece is a small economy within the Eurozone, within the European Union. And everybody is terrified about what might happen. Yes, since 2008 and 2010 more measures have been put in place, so you don't get the domino effect as badly as you once were.
But make no bones about it. We are in unchartered territory. Greece is looking at whether or not it's going to stay in the euro. This was an arrangement, it was never meant to be unpegged. And now, there's the possibility in a very short time, Greece decides it wants to go and Europe put once more into turmoil. As the regard to the United States, all bets are off.
And that's why President Obama has spoken to Angela Merkel. That's why Jack Lew, the U.S. treasury secretary is very worried and continually reminds Europe, deal with this problem.
BURNETT: Richard Quest, heavy words, thank you.
And we'll be watching that as those hours count down.
OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with a cosmetically challenged canine, proving that it is what is on the inside that counts.
[19:57:37] BURNETT: The winner of this year's ugliest dog contest in California is on a nationwide press tour today. Her name its Quasi Modo, you'll see why.
And Jeanne Moos has her far from ugly story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She is the belle of the Big Apple, with the winner of the ugliest dog contest can still be called Belle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What? That is not the ugliest dog.
MOOS: Oh, yes she has the blue ribbon from the Sonoma Marin fair. One of the judges referred to her as --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Half a dog.
MOOS: Named after the hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasi Modo, the 10-year-old has a rare birth defect called Short Spine Syndrome.
But she is not in pain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, she's very healthy. She runs, jumps, plays. No problems whatsoever.
MOOS: Owner Virginia Sayer is a Florida vet who adopted Quasi Modo from a shelter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Precious. That's awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good dog. Oh, I love you.
MOOS: Quasi Modo spent the day looking bored at TV appearances and placidly posing for photos on the street. She took the marble hotel lobby in stride. Not to mention adoring public acting like paparazzi, even pedaling backwards into other pedestrians.
These two stopped to pet her on the way to city hall to get married.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She can be my maid of honor.
MOOS: Her owner shrugged off critics who think there is something mean about all this.
VIRGINIA SAYER, QUASI MODO'S OWNER: You've got to have a sense of humor to go to an ugly dog contest.
MOOS: Now, she joins the immortals.
Give me Winston Churchill.
SAYER: Winston Churchill, you got to make her sit.
MOOS: All Quasi Modo is missing is the cigar.
She is even scheduled to appear on Jimmy Kimmel.
SAYER: Do a makeover. I guess he's going to try to make an ugly dog into a beautiful dog. MOOS: She'll be styled by none other than Carson Kressley who
styled many a straight guy with similar issues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very, very hairy.
MOOS: Look, he's looking at herself?
Even the world's ugliest dog couldn't resist her reflection on 57th Street. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the ugliest dog of them all?
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Quasi, Quasi Modo.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Well, I think she is adorable. Just imagine if that had been a person how totally inappropriate this whole conversation would be.
Thank you so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch anytime. We appreciate you watching us always.
We'll see you back here tomorrow night.
"AC360" starts right now.