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Trump Thanks DOJ for Intervening In Roger Stone Sentencing; Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) Discusses About Trump and Justice Department Involvement in Roger Stone Sentencing; Bloomberg Addresses Outrage Over 2015 Stop-And-Frisk Speech; Mayor Muriel Bowser (D-WA) Discusses About Her Reasons On Backing Michael Bloomberg. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 12, 2020 - 19:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, justice not served. The President brazenly thanking the Justice Department for interfering in the sentencing of Trump's longtime friend Roger Stone.

Plus, Michael Bloomberg speaking out for the first time after a clip surfaced of him embracing New York's controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

And he doesn't hold back on the airwaves when he's interviewing the Democratic candidates. Now, Charlamagne tha God weighs in on who's going to win his home state of South Carolina. He's my guest.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump's rampage. The President tonight claiming that his longtime friend, Roger Stone, was treated very badly and the prosecutors ought to apologize to him.

This as Trump formally pull the nomination of the person who oversaw Roger Stone's prosecution. That former U.S. Attorney had been nominated for a top Treasury position but no more, Trump killed it.

Stone, of course, is convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress related to his work for Donald J. Trump. Today, publicly, the President proudly thanking his Attorney General, Bill Barr, for intervening in the sentencing of his longtime friend, that convicted felon Roger Stone.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank, if you look at what happened, I want to thank the Justice Department for seeing this horrible thing. And I didn't speak to them, by the way, just so you understand. They saw the horribleness of a nine-year sentence for doing nothing. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. Just to be clear, again, Stone is convicted of threatening a witness and lying to Congress.

Now, Trump claims that he had nothing to do with the Justice Department's decision to intervene, although of course he's so grateful for it, celebrating it how wonderful it is and the thing is his denials, well, the public timeline makes it clear that Bill Barr and the Justice Department knew full well what Trump wanted when they made their decision to intervene.

Trump tweeting this just hours before Barr stepped in. The quote, "This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice."

Again, this tweet from the President of the United States came just hours before Trump's Attorney General said, wait for it, the recommended seven to nine year sentence for Stone by prosecutors, prosecutors' and Barr's own justice department was unfair.

And by the way, all four of those prosecutors who have served in the Department of Justice under both Democrats and Republicans have taken a stand. All four of them have withdrawn from the case after Barr's Justice Department's shocking decision.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live outside the White House to begin our coverage. And Kaitlan, what more are you learning about this new revenge? Trump now withdrawing the nomination of the person who had oversee the Stone case, Jessie Liu.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's really notable, Erin, and it's one part of this larger story that we're seeing unfold in the week since the President has been acquitted. But we are now learning from sources that the reason you heard nomination was pulled is directly tied to the job she used to have.

Of course, she was the U.S. attorney here in Washington. She headed that office and that is the same office that prosecuted Roger Stone, though she was not there when you saw those prosecutors go forward on Monday, recommending this seven to nine years prison sentence that, of course, the DOJ later overrule. But she ran this office that inherited a lot of those major ongoing cases from the Mueller probe.

Those cases that stem from that, of course, starting with Roger Stone, also for the former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a case that is really languished and several others. And these are all things that the White House was aware of when they nominated her for this top job at the Treasury Department last month.

But it seems it would be something that has become an issue in recent days where essentially sources were telling us that they weren't happy with the way she handled these cases when she was at that position though. There are questions about just how much leeway she had over certain things like this. Of course, Roger Stone is found guilty of lying to Congress and

tampering with a witness. So it's not really clear how she could have gotten involved in that position any further. But then it was Trump, the President, I am told by sources who made the ultimate decision to withdraw her nomination from this job and it is really notable. And especially the timing here, Erin, just doing it two days before she was scheduled to go for her confirmation hearing.

I do want to point out one other thing, normally you would stay in that job until you were confirmed by the Senate. But in an unusual move, she stepped down from that position and instead, Bill Barr, the Attorney General put in a close associate, Tim Shea, to run the office in the meanwhile.

So, of course, now he's running that job overseeing these cases and she is not getting that top Treasury job because it was formerly withdrawn from the White House today.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. And I want to go OUTFRONT now to congressman Ted Lieu, a Democrat who sits on the House Judiciary Committee.


And I appreciate your time, sir, as always. Trump today said he didn't tell the Justice Department to get involved in Roger Stone sentencing. Of course, they saw his tweet and knew his sentiment before they got involved, but he says he didn't tell him to do it. Do you believe him?

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): I don't. And if we actually took Donald Trump's words to be true, it's even worse. Because normally when Donald Trump tells his enablers to jump, they say how high.

In this case, they jumped before he even told him to do so and that is very disturbing. Look, we call it the Department of Justice because they're supposed to base their actions on justice, not the whims of one man. And in this case, they did a favor for Donald Trump's friend, that's very definition of corruption.

BURNETT: And, of course, as we say these four prosecutors, they've all stepped aside now in unison, voting with their feet in terms of how unacceptable they see it. They, of course, work for the Department of Justice and now Bill Barr's department of justice is siding with the President.

What would you do about this? I mean, is this something you think is impeachable in and of itself or what?

LIEU: Because of their failure of Senate Republicans other than Mitt Romney to uphold their constitutional oath, it is now up to the American people to hold the President accountable in November. The House Judiciary Committee in which I sit, we are going to investigate, we are going to hold hearings, we're going to have Bill Barr come in and testify in March. We're going to continue to expose the misconduct of the Trump administration, so the American people can make a decision in November. BURNETT: So Congressman Lieu, the President said, obviously, he put

his tweet out, but then he said, you know what, so what if I spoke to the Justice Department, that's fine, too, even if, as he likes to do, I'm not saying I did, but if I did, it'd be fine. Let me play what he said.


TRUMP: No, I didn't speak to the judge. I'd be able to do it, if I wanted, I have the absolute right to do it. I stay out of things to a degree that people wouldn't believe that I didn't speak to him.


BURNETT: Your response?

LIEU: No ordinary American gets to escape the law or get favors from prosecutors. But somehow if you're Donald Trump's friend, you get to get a favor from the Department of Justice. That is exactly the swamp that Donald Trump promised to drain.

He has now become the very embodiment of their swap and I think the American people are going to take it out on him in November.

BURNETT: So obviously, the seven to nine-year sentence that the prosecutors, the four prosecutors involved, they recommended four years and, of course, Jessie Liu, the person who was overseeing this entire thing, the President has now pulled her nomination to Treasury, so he's made it clear. But the judge ultimately has full say, so the Justice Department can come in and say don't do it that Bill Barr is now doing.

Don't do it. That's way too aggressive of a sentence. But the judge does still have full say. Do you believe, you trust that Roger Stone will still receive a fair sentence from the American justice system?

LIEU: I do. Our judges and their federal judiciary have lifetime tenure. The judge will look at the facts and make decision based on the facts and the law. So I do trust this judge.

I think it's important, again, to note that bipartisan prosecutors in this case, as you said, not only left the case but entirely resigned from the Department of Justice. We have institutional rock happening right now at the Department of Justice. This needs to be fixed because it is very dangerous for our democracy and for America and Americans cannot trust its law enforcement system.

BURNETT: So Congressman, President Trump also talked about those four prosecutors, specifically, the ones who stepped aside, who have resigned because of his behavior. Here's what he said.


TRUMP: They ought to go back to school and learn because I'll tell you what, the way they treated people, nobody should be treated like that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Congressman Lieu, you're a former prosecutor. Does it concern you to hear this that these prosecutors are resigning from the case, even from the Department? And the President of the United States said they should go back to school and learn.

LIEU: Yes. I'm a former prosecutor. Donald Trump has no idea what he's talking about. If you look what happened with Roger Stone case, he was convicted fairly and squarely in a court of law. Their sentence recommendations by Department of Justice, initially, were well within the sentencing guidelines.

It was really upper management, whether it was Donald Trump or not, it was his enablers and maybe the President overruling these career prosecutors. That should not happen, because you're basically doing favors for friends of the President. Ordering Americans don't get these kinds of breaks, this is not going to sit well with most of America.

BURNETT: And Bill Barr, I know you want to appear before your Committee, do you understand that he will, is he going to appear and answer questions?

LIEU: He has agreed to appear in March. We expect him to honor his word and appear. And so far he has not come in for any oversight hearings whatsoever. He's been Attorney General for quite a long time. It is simply inexcusable. He has not yet been before the Judiciary Committee. We fully expect to see him in March.

BURNETT: All right. Let's see if he keeps his word.


Thank you very much. Congressman Lieu, I appreciate your time tonight, sir.

LIEU: Thank you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, could more U.S. attorneys now be on their way out? We have new details, new reporting ahead here as the heads continue to roll.

Plus, Michael Bloomberg doing damage control after a clip surfaced of the former mayor defending stop-and-frisk. So will this hurt him with black voters?

And I'll be following up with an American author, the one trapped on that cruise ship where more passengers have come down with a coronavirus. The biggest single group of people outside Mainland China with coronavirus. Tonight why she says her biggest fear has come true.


[19:14:08] BURNETT: Tonight more resignations expected at the Justice Department

after leadership overruled prosecutors in the Roger Stone case after President Trump weighed in.

Now, this is according to sources familiar with the Washington U.S. Attorney's office who say that Attorney General Bill Barr and his lieutenants have now frayed relationships with prosecutors because they got involved. They pulled in the heavy, they tried to overrule the prosecutors in both the Stone and Michael Flynn cases. So there's four prosecutors who all have resigned from their positions on this case and now apparently more to come.

OUTFRONT now, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Elie Honig and Greg Brower, who was an Assistant Director of the FBI and former Republican State Senator in Nevada.

Greg, let me start with you. So we got one of the prosecutors in the Roger Stone case who has left the entire Department of Justice, not just resigning from the case. So one of them just outright gone and the other three all resigning from the case.


So all four gone from this case in unison, trying to make a stand here for what they believe is right. Would you be surprised if there were more departures?

GREG BROWER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: I would not be surprised, Erin. This is a big deal and not only looks like a big deal with these resignations, but the fact that this is happening tells me it is a big deal internally. We don't know all of the answers yet.

There may be an innocent explanation for the dueling filings on consecutive days. But I tell you what, we haven't heard it yet and if the department is serious about restoring its integrity, and making sure that people understand that there was a good reason for this, we really need to hear from a senior official, probably the Acting U.S. Attorney in D.C., who ought to be able to explain why this happened if there's an explanation.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, because, Elie, let's just be clear here as a former Attorney for the Southern District of New York, you have four prosecutors on the case who are all for saying, we're taking a stand. This isn't one person. This is all four who say this is what we thought was right and we're making a point that this is politicized, that the President of the United States is forcing the Attorney General to tell us that we're wrong.

ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes. There's no question about it. These are protest resignations. There's no other way to read this. I've never seen anything like this, meaning, the resignations or the interference coming from Donald Trump to the Department of Justice. And apparently, the willingness of the leaders of the Department of Justice to carry out his will. Now, the President has said, well, I never directly intervene. But

let's recap, he tweeted, encouraging them to intervene. Today, he thanked them for intervening. I don't know how that adds up to not intervening. That is a bright line that should never be crossed, people who worked at the Department of Justice like me and Mr. Brower feels very strongly about that and that line is being challenged.

BURNETT: All right. And Elie, there's also a source that said that there's now concerns about interference in other cases.


BURNETT: Now, if you're the President of the United States, you're going to do this with stone and you're and you're going to do it with Flynn. Well, what about the SDNY's probe into the President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani? We're also hearing that that could also be impacted.

HONIG: I have serious doubts about that and I'm an SDNY alum. I have the highest faith in the SDNY. But the way the top of DOJ is running right now, I mean, you said it, what are the two cases out of the thousands of cases that are out there in DOJ that they've intervene directly, Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. What do they have in common?

President Trump's political and personal allies. Rudy Giuliani falls in the same bucket as much as it pains me to say I do not have faith that the SDNY will be permitted to run out this investigation in the true course.

BURNETT: Which is a pretty terrifying thing. I think every American should be terrified when they hear that. I don't care what you think the right outcome is. You shouldn't think that anybody should be putting their hand on the scales of justice, if you're the President of the United States.

I mean, and Greg, the problem is, there are people who are trying to defend this. Some Republicans, they've reacted to President Trump weighing in on the Roger Stone case on Twitter and his thank you and everything and criticizing the sentence and here is what they've said.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I got real concerns about overzealous prosecution, more than anything else. If I thought that he'd done something that changed the outcome inappropriately, I'd be the first to say.

FLOYD ABRAMS, ATTORNEY: The President has First Amendment rights too.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You really believe that the President did not - his view of this did not influence the Justice Department in any way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any reason not to believe that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Greg, what honestly do you think when you hear that? Those

are three Republican senators all saying what the President did is absolutely fine, overzealous prosecution is a bigger issue.

BROWER: Yes. Depending on the person saying it, it's some combination of having no clue about how the Department of Justice and federal prosecutions work. And going out of their way to simply support the President no matter what he does, which we have been obviously seeing a lot of lately.

Elie is right. This is unprecedented. I'm a three-time veteran of DOJ. I'm a former U.S. attorney. Not only have I never seen anything like this, I've never heard of anything like this happening. It makes absolutely no sense. Which, of course, again in the absence of an explanation by the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. Attorney for D.C., everyone in Washington and around the country is assuming the worst and I don't know that we have any alternative until there is a logical explanation.

HONIG: Those excuses that we just heard range from weak to flimsy. Could we just have one Republican senator stand up and say, hands off the Justice Department. Hands off.

The Justice Department is different from all of the other departments. That is the one department that has the power to take away somebody's liberty, to lock somebody up potentially to execute somebody. They cannot be trifled with politically.

Can somebody just say that? They don't know it, but they're afraid to say it. They don't want to be Mitt Romney'ed.

BURNETT: Oh, they're not saying it. In fact, they're saying the opposite.

HONIG: Exactly.

BURNETT: Not even a no comment. They're defending what he had to say. I mean, Greg, here's the other thing, the President said I didn't intervene. Now, of course, there's the tweet, there's the timeline and there's just the reality of how the President does things.

But there's also these other times when he says he doesn't do things.


Remember the whole call, the Gordon Sondland call, when he was on the call overheard by David Holmes talking about investigating the Bidens. So that call happened, we all know that happened. But before we knew it happened, here's what the President said about it happening.


TRUMP: I know nothing about that. First time I've heard it. The one thing I've seen that Sondland said was that he did speak to me for a brief moment and I said no quid pro quo under any circumstances and that's true. The other, I've never heard this. BILL O'REILLY, THE O'REILLY UPDATE: What was Rudy Giuliani doing in

Ukraine on your behalf?

TRUMP: Well, you have to ask that to Rudy.

O'REILLY: So, you didn't direct him to go there on your behalf?


I never told Don McGahn to fire Mueller.


BURNETT: And Greg, I play all of those because, of course, under oath McGahn said Trump did tell him to fire Mueller. We do understand from under oath testimony of many people that Rudy Giuliani did obviously go to Ukraine on Trump's behalf and, of course, we have the phone call that he knew nothing about which, of course, he did every single thing on that phone call as was alleged.

This is what he does. He just says what he wants to say and some people just believe him.

BROWER: Well, it does seem to be a pattern of conduct. And he has one tell that I've observed, which is typically when he says I didn't do X, but I could do X if I wanted to, but I didn't do X. And we saw him say that with respect to this recent DOJ action.

Yes. I guess that he feels especially emboldened now in light of the Senate acquittal to continue to engage in this pattern, because it's clear to him that at least the Congress, at least half of Congress, the Senate Majority won't do anything about it. And so why not if you think like he does and you have the same sort of MO that he has, why wouldn't you just continue doing that?

BURNETT: Right. Well, I guess you're right. He does often say, well, I mean, I could have, I could do everything I want, but I didn't. And generally, in each of those cases he did. Thank you both very much.

And OUTFRONT next, Michael Bloomberg under fire for past comments you made about crime fighting.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the way you get the guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.


BURNETT: The Mayor of Washington, D.C., she has endorsed Michael Bloomberg. She's OUTFRONT next.

And I'll follow up with an American author who is trapped on that cruise ship. More people overnight now infected on that ship with the coronavirus. Since we last talked to her 48 hours ago, 40 more people on that ship infected. How is she tonight? She'll be with us in a moment.



BURNETT: Tonight, Michael Bloomberg making his first public comments after a tape resurfaced yesterday from 2015. Now, on that tape, Bloomberg was defending the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic that he had supported while the mayor of the biggest city in this country New York in stark terms.

So here's what he said in 2015 that has caused this brouhaha. Here he is.


BLOOMBERG: And the way you get the guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.


BURNETT: OK. So that started a firestorm and then Bloomberg now just a little bit ago has addressed it, trying to put out the firestorm that erupted from those comments. Here he is today.


BLOOMBERG: I think people look at it and they say that those words don't reflect Michael Bloomberg the way he governed in New York City, the way he runs his company, the way his philanthropy works, I think we're going to do very well in the African-American community.


BURNETT: All right. So that's his addressing it. He, of course, is trying to execute a strategy of competing in Super Tuesday states, not competing in the first four and going all in on Super Tuesday.

So joining me now Cristina Alesci, who is OUTFRONT Nashville where Bloomberg is today. And Cristina, he has been trying to manage the fallout from those comments on stop-and-frisk today.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Trying to manage the fallout is a great way to put it, Erin. Unclear if the way that he's managing it is actually going to work. That's because in that press gaggle today, he didn't directly apologize for the comments and he didn't acknowledged that the words that he was using were callous and insensitive. Instead he said that the words didn't reflect his record running the city and the way that he runs his company.

And look, the Bloomberg team today and Bloomberg himself really tried to deflect and fight the narrative that this is going to be problematic for him going into Super Tuesday and winning over African- Americans and getting their vote. They've rolled out three endorsements from members of the Congressional Black Caucus today, including Lucy McBath from Georgia, who's a very prominent voice in the community of gun safety activists whose son was shot.

And then at the Chattanooga event that I was at early, the head of the local chapter of the NAACP endorsed Mike saying that she knows what racism looks like and that's not Mike. So clearly they're trying to fight this narrative, but still heading into Super Tuesday, when minorities are - that's when we're going to get, the real big the temperature check on how minorities and the rest of the country feel about candidates. This is not the narrative that the campaign wants heading into these critical states just three weeks from now, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Cristina. And I want to go OUTFRONT now to Muriel Bowser. She's the Democratic Mayor of Washington, D.C. and the National Co-Chair for the Bloomberg presidential campaign.

So mayor, let me just start off, you met Mayor Bloomberg in 2018, so not long ago, but I know he's done a lot of work with mayors across the country. So you've worked with him on some important issues to you ...


BURNETT: ... including health care.

BOWSER: Sure, but ...

BURNETT: Yes, go ahead.

BOWSER: ... actually I've known Mike since before I was mayor back to 2014.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I'm sorry about that.


BURNETT: So, tell me why. Why is it that you like him? Why is it that you believe in him? Why is it that you think that some of the stuff out there about him is misplaced?

BOWSER: Well, I think it won't be any surprise that I think that mayor in the Oval Office will be good for American cities. And I think that Mike has shown in 12 years he knows how to run America's biggest city and deliver what -- in all the ways that constituents need.

And that is different than what you will see in people who don't have that executive experience. And that is why. Now, the number one issue for Washingtonians is affordable housing. When I endorsed Mike here in Washington, he laid out a bold plan for affordable housing that's going to help cities and get funding directly to cities to build more affordable housing, to prevent homelessness and to combat homelessness.

BURNETT: So, when you knew endorsed him, you knew that this stop and frisk issue could be a big issue, right? BOWSER: Absolutely.

BURNETT: It's something that certainly anybody who's a mayor of a big city as you are, you're aware that this demon was going to be back.

So, this audio came back and this is going to be the only audio, OK, right, this is a policy the guy embraced passionately, OK, he was a big believer in it, but this is the audio that has resurfaced just yesterday. I want to play it again for you, Mayor.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NYC MAYOR: We put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that's true. Why do we do it? Because that's where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.


BURNETT: So when you heard those words, what -- what was your reaction, did you wince?

BOWSER: Well, this is what I'll say, Erin, is that in cities, in Washington, D.C., we support constitutional policing. And we want to make sure that our officers are in every community and treating people respectfully and only stopping people or certainly searching people when they have probable cause do so. I think what you heard from Mike loud and clear is that the policies that he inherited related to stop and frisk went on too long in New York City and they disproportionately impacted black and brown communities.

And Mike has expressed his mistake in not stopping it sooner.

BURNETT: Do you believe him? Because he not only supported the policy, he put it forward and even when left, he still defended it. So, it's relatively new just in the past couple of years, through the years, that he changed his mind. But you believe that he is genuine?

BOWSER: Well, I know that when before he left office, the practice was stopped in New York City. And 95 percent of those types of stops stopped before he left office.

And I know that he wished in leaving office that he expressed what he found before he left and how he fixed it. More than that, I know that the story about how he also invested in young men of color needs to be explained as well.

BURNETT: So he said also one other thing in that clip that resurfaced, let me play it again, this is about the young men who were targeted by stop and frisk. Here he is.


BLOOMBERG: Ninety-five percent of your murders, murderers, and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are made, minorities, sixteen to twenty-five.


BURNETT: I mean, again, just your reaction to that, right? You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to cops. They're male, minorities, 16 to 25.

BOWSER: We all agree that the practice of stop and frisk was overused in New York City and it stopped tend of Mike's term.

And what our focus is, how we can switch the conversation from talking about would-be crimes and people who might commit crimes to how we invest in those communities so that there are greater opportunities. And that is exactly what Mike has been talking to mayors around our country about.

That's why 100 mayors at this stage in the game have already endorsed Mike's candidacy because we have to put policies in place from the White House that speak to big city mayors and mayors of small towns all over America, about how we can have more black home ownership, how we can have more businesses in our communities that are hiring our young people, how we can make college more affordable for young people, and how we can make k through 12 education work for all of our residents.

And that is what is going to ensure that these young men who were targeted by these practices have a real fair shot in our nation.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, Mayor Bowser.


BOWSER: Thank you.

BURNETT: Thank you very much for being with me. As we said, co-chair for the Bloomberg presidential campaign.

And in the next hour, you will also hear from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, you don't want to miss those, with Anderson Cooper.

And next, radio host, Charlamagne Tha God, his show must stop for presidential candidates. So, does he think Biden really has the upper hand in his home state of South Carolina?

Plus, the coronavirus death toll spiking 242 more people died today, another case confirmed in the United States.


BURNETT: Tonight, Joe Biden reassuring supporters that his campaign is still on track after fourth and fifth place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden telling donors in a conference call today that his campaign will gain ground once black and Latino voters have had their say in Nevada and South Carolina. OUTFRONT now, Charlamagne Tha God, host of the radio show "The

Breakfast Club". It is a must stop for candidates on the campaign trail.

And also, you are a South Carolina native.


BURNETT: As you were saying, you're just there. You're going down again this weekend.


BURNETT: So Joe Biden is telling -- gets on the phone today with donors and says, look, don't worry, we're in a good position, we're going to turn things around once black voters have had their say in South Carolina, right?


He keeps talking about South Carolina.

Do you think he's right?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Possibly. I mean, old black people in South Carolina do love Joe Biden. But I mean, I would have to ask black voters the question, like, why do old white men who have the most racist legislation toward black people, why are they, you know, the top two front runners when it comes to black support, you know, Joe Biden and Bloomberg?

You know, I would ask that question especially now if I was a black voter, and nobody likes a loser, right? We saw what happened to him in Iowa, you know?

BURNETT: Well, that's -- people like -- right.


CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: What happened to him in New Hampshire. I don't know. Fourth and fifth place finishes? Eh.

BURNETT: So the question is how that will change the polls. I mean, obviously, the latest poll from Quinnipiac, he is leading overall with black voters by 27 percent.


BURNETT: Obviously, you're making it clear you are not supporting Biden at this point.

But what do you think it is about him as to why he is maintaining that hold, Charlamagne?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I think that it is the Barack Obama effect. I think it's the fact that he was, you know, Barack Obama's vice president. But I think that lot of younger voters have been -- a lot of younger black voters have been doing their due diligence, doing their research and they are aware of the '94 crime bill and they're aware of the '86 crack laws.


CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: And I think that is a big strike against him, and it's a strike that he hasn't really apologized for, you know? It's more of, well, the national crime bill didn't cause mass incarceration, you know? He still holds on to those things.

And we all know the best apology is changing behavior, but more importantly, best for Biden or Bloomberg is to me a black agenda. The same way that they sat around and they systemically created things to oppress and marginalize black people, they should sit around with some black folks and create a black agenda to up lift those same communities they once hurt.

BURNETT: So, you know, you have Biden doing well and then you got Pete Buttigieg. Now, he is ramping up in South Carolina. He has struggled with the African-American community. He has his first endorsement though from a black lawmaker in the state of South Carolina. You sat down with him in South Carolina and you pushed him on his record, you know?

You come from South Bend, 25 percent of your community is black. They have not been supporting you. How come?

I wanted to play part of your conversation with him. Here you are.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A lot of black folks have gotten the feeling that Democrats running for president take black folks for granted.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: You all feel that way? OK, make more noise. That is not -- y'all are kind of quiet. You feel that way and let's hear it.

BUTTIGIEG: Or they talk about the black vote like it's some guy, like it's a monolith, right? And everybody thinks the same.


BUTTIGIEG: And so what we're having right now I think is a conversation that is going to a deeper level.


BURNETT: So, you know, you and I have talked a lot through this election already. You had originally called him authentic and honest. That was even before you had obviously that chance to talk to him. He is getting 4 percent in the latest national poll among black voters, right? He is doing terribly.

Are they missing something?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I definitely think that they are missing something. I think that they need to check out the Douglass Plan, because Mayor Pete was one of the first people to step up, you know, and actually say, look, I have a black agenda and I think that is what you have to do when either you have done things to oppress and marginalize people, like Biden and Bloomberg, or you haven't done enough, like Mayor Pete has done.

You have to systematically sit down and come up with an agenda, come up with a plan to uplift those same people that you kept your foot on.

BURNETT: So I would give another look at him. And I have to ask you about Tom Steyer, OK, and I got to ask you about Tom Steyer, Charlamagne, because he is polling very well. The latest Fox News poll has him at 14 percent among black voters in South Carolina. There are other polls who have -- which have had him even higher. He talked about this, he brought up the issue of reparations on his own in the last debate.

Here is a couple things he said.


TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unless you can appeal to the diverse parts of the Democratic Party, including specifically the black community, and I am doing that right now with 25 percent of blacks down in South Carolina.

I am for reparations to African-Americans in this country.


BURNETT: You know, I was in that room, I was in the spin room next to that. It was an awkward moment. You have a bunch of white people up there talking about blacks.


BURNETT: What was your reaction when you hear what he is saying? And, obviously, you see how he's doing in South Carolina and the polls do show that he has resonated.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: So, guys like Tom Steyer, he's a billionaire, so he got a lot of money, so he is cutting a lot of checks, you know? And also --

BURNETT: Eighteen million bucks in South Carolina in advertising.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Yes. And I know that is also dream (INAUDIBLE) so people are telling us exactly what we want to hear. So, the conversation about reparations is great, but, you know, I would love to see him come up with, like I said, a tangible solution to the things that are affecting the black community.

You know, I'm not saying that reparations isn't a tangible solution because it is, but I mean, can they really get that passed through a Republican Senate, you know? So I would rather see something that I know can directly impact my community right now happen. I think reparations is just a good talking point for a lot of the Democrats.

BURNETT: Would you give Mayor Bloomberg another look? You just heard the mayor of Washington, she's talking about housing and things that he has done, that is sort -- his actions and his commitment post stop- and-frisk to her are what matter.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I mean, listen, once again, the best apology is change of behavior.


But in this case the best behavior is a black agenda. So a guy like Mayor Bloomberg who had a racist policy like stop-and-frisk, he has to sit around with some constituents and come up with an agenda that can uplift the black community the same way stop and frisk policy hurt the black community, you know?

Listen, I'm definitely going to vote, you know, this year. But I'm not -- you know, fear of Donald Trump is not enough for me to vote. I'm voting for the president who is doing something that's going to directly empower black people.

BURNETT: In a word, yes or no, have you decided?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: No, I haven't decided yet.

BURNETT: All right.


BURNETT: We'll talk to you again. All right.

And next, we recently spoke to an American trapped on a cruise ship, since then, 40 more people on that ship infected with the coronavirus, including the person going around taking people's temperature.

Plus, Pete Buttigieg falls short in his efforts to raise the roof.


BURNETT: Breaking news: the death toll rising, another 242 people have died of the coronavirus.


That brings the total death to at least 1,400 people and it comes as 40 more people on a quarantined cruise ship have been infected by the virus. Those infections in just the past 48 hours, one of them, a quarantine officer, who was circulating the ship doing temperature checks on the passengers. That ship currently has the largest outbreak of the coronavirus outside of mainland China.

There are 3,700 people onboard the Diamond Princess and 175 of them so far infected.

Gay Courter is OUTRONT now on the phone. She's an American quarantine on the Diamond Princess.

Gay, I am glad to talk to you. I'm glad you're still well. You and I spoke, obviously, 48 hours ago. You told me that number was going to go up and, indeed, it has. Since men more than 40 people on your ship have been infected.

What is it like onboard now?

GAY COURTER, AMERICAN QUARANTINED ON DIAMOND PRINCESS CRUISE (via telephone): Well, you know, we're quarantined in a room and don't really have much communication with other people except a few other traveling friends. But every time the numbers go up, our hearts sink. Our stomachs churn. And we get more and more upset. This is a terrible situation, and we just feel so out of control.

BURNETT: You know, Gay, look, I'm sorry, it must be -- it must be so scary. I know that the crew is doing everything they can to help you.

One of them told our reporter, though, that, you know, that they're working 12 and 1-3-hour days. But when they eat, they're eating in groups. They're taking off their masks. They're taking off their gloves.

You know, they're worried too, and yet, they're also trying to help you all, and serve you all food. I mean, all of that must be so frightening.

COURTER: Well, you know, I asked a quick couple of questions to crew in the hall, how are you feeling? We care about them, too.

BURNETT: Of course.

COURTER: We know they live in difficult conditions, closer quarters than we do, and are way more at risk than we are. And you can see by their wide-eyed expressions over their masks, they want out of here, too, but they do everything they can to make our lives comfortable.

But the point is, they, you know, they are already removing people who are symptom-free and are healthy just because they're elderly and because they may have pre-existing conditions. Well, that's the government here admitting that it's a failed quarantine. They're worried about the oldest people who are most at risk for death. So, actually, we're not in a total quarantine situation. We're in a triage situation.

BURNETT: Yes. So, Gay, you know, I know one of the people infected with the virus was a quarantine officer who was taking passenger temperatures. I mean, last time we spoke, you hadn't even had anyone take your temperature.

I mean, I guess at this point I'm sure you're hopeful that you didn't, given that, but what is your situation? Has someone -- people come through, have you felt like you're taken care of in that regard? COURTER: Well, nobody has come in. Not only that, a week ago, we were

given forms to say what emergency medications we've needed. We have not received ours. I take insulin.

And I've called -- the captain said yesterday everybody had their medications. That's not true. We don't. I called several times asking in them. But we also -- one of the things we learned is we have to act for yourself. So, one of our dear friends in Tampa has taken charge of the medicines and we are expecting a FedEx package today with my insulin, hopefully.

BURNETT: Oh, my gosh. Gay, I hope that you get it. I'm glad to talk to you again. I'm glad you're doing all right, you and your husband. I hope the next time you'll be off the ship. Thank you.

COURTER: I'd love to talk to you off the ship. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Good night.

And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos.



BURNETT: Tonight, the moment on the campaign trail when raising the roof came crashing down.

Here's Jeanne.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a presidential front-runner getting critiqued on your dance moves --


MOOS: -- is a right of passage, especially if you don't pass.

Pete Buttigieg tried to raise the roof but ended up raising eyebrows. That roof is going to collapse.

His movements were compared to a robot's, to the stars of "The Office."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My hump, my hump, my lovely lady lump, check it out

MOOS: Mayor Pete's roof raising partner has made this her signature move, after she did it at last year's State of the Union.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster was spoofed on "SNL."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Annie "Raise the Roof" Kuster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raise the roof and break that glass ceiling. MOOS: Now, she's outperforming Pete.

Check out the Elizabeth Warren supporter with her sign trying to butt into Buttigieg's shot.

No one expected the candidate to actually raise the roof.

Dancing is always hazardous to a politician's pride. But you're a stick in the mud if you don't groove to the music.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, she's really rocking an every chaperon at the eighth grade dance vibe.

MOOS (on camera): Instead of raising the roof, Mayor Pete raised a lot of questions. For instance, what does it really look like he's doing?

(voice-over): This is a stickup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're raising the roof, you aren't being held up at gunpoint.

MOOS: This is me when I'm not sure if I remembered to put deodorant on."

BUTTIGIEG: I think the less people see me dancing, the better.

MOOS: He's so adorkable, tweeted one fan.

If you're trying to win the dork demo, maybe it pays to shake your --


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Butti, Butti, Butti, Butti, rocking everywhere, rocking everywhere --

BUTTIGIEG: Rocking everywhere.

MOOS: New York.


BURNETT: And thanks for joining us. Don't forget you can watch OUTFRONT any time, anywhere, just go to CNN Go.

"AC360" starts now.