Return to Transcripts main page


Two More Campaign Staffers Test Positive For Virus After Rally; WH Defends Trump's "Kung Flu" Comments; Press Secretary Claims Trump Comment Not Racist; Interview With Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA); Trump Says He Was "Not Involved" In Firing Of Prosecutor; Longtime Democratic Representative In Danger Of Losing Seat After Hot Mic Moment. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired June 22, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And may their memories be a blessing.

Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, two more Trump staffers testing positive for coronavirus after attending the President's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This as the President does not deny he asked officials to scale back testing for the deadly virus.

Plus, the White House defending the indefensible, the President calls coronavirus the kung flu. His Press Secretary says it's not racist.

And a New York police officer suspended after apparently putting a black man in a chokehold. The incident was caught on tape. We're going to show it to you. Will he be charged?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, two more staffers on the President's advanced team have now tested positive for coronavirus, both attending Trump's rally in Tulsa on Saturday, which brings the total number of staff in Trump's circle to test positive for Coronavirus. In just over 48 hours to 10: eight campaign staffers and two Secret Service agents.

Now, despite these cases and despite the warnings from one health official after another about even holding the Tulsa rally, the President shows no signs of slowing down. Tomorrow he heads to Phoenix and Arizona for an event at a church that can hold 3,000 people. This is a state where hospitalizations are on the rise 84 percent of the ICU beds in the state filled and yet masks not even mandatory at Trump's campaign event in that church, even though the City of Phoenix has actually made them mandatory.

Now, the President flaunting the rules that apply to everyone else in the city he's visiting. It all comes as Trump is under fire for saying that he asked officials to slow down testing to basically have fewer cases reported. And when asked about those comments today, Trump didn't deny it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ask to slow it down?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If it did slow down, frankly, I think we're way ahead of ourselves if you want to know the truth. We've done too good a job.


BURNETT: The President asked point blank if he asked to slow it down and he didn't say no, which is it's a pretty big admission to come from the President of the United States since testing is the key to allowing states to control the disease' spread. The facts here that increased testing doesn't even mean more cases.

In New York State tests are way up, cases are actually down and when it comes to people actually being really sick and dying, well, that's hospitalizations, and they are up in about 14 states. Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina, in fact, are all seeing record hospitalizations. But Trump doesn't want people to think that more cases doesn't mean more cases and so now the Trump administration and campaign are trying to blow Trump's comments and blow them off as a joke.



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Did the President ...

NAVARRO: Come on now. Come on now, that was tongue in cheek, please.

TIM MARTAUGH, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: The President was joking. The President had a tongue in cheek remark there.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was a comment that he made in jest. It's a comment that he made in passing.


BURNETT: Well, on the basic level here, more than 120,000 dead people isn't a joke and the truth is, is that Trump was not joking about what he meant, because it's consistent with what he said before. I mean, just last month, he said it could be testing is overrated. Maybe it's overrated. It's what we've heard from him time and time again. It's not a joke. It's what he thinks.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live outside the White House.

And Kaitlan, what more are you learning tonight about those staffers who have now found out have tested positive after the rally? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. These are

advanced staffers, meaning that they go to a site that the President or vice president are going to go to. They prepare it, make sure everything is in order for their arrival. But what's different about these two that we've learned now, Erin, that have tested positive is they actually attended the rally on Saturday night.

On Saturday, we learned those six staffers who had tested positive, they then obviously quarantine it did not go into the rally, but these two staffers did and the campaign says they were wearing masks, but it's not immediately clear who they were around, whether it was the President or the Vice President or other top officials because there were a ton of surrogates there including several lawmakers there for the President attending that rally because he wanted to have a lot of surrogates there.

And so that's the question now is and the alarm that's happening inside the campaign is whether or not this outbreak is spreading further, because it's not just these eight campaign staffers. It's also those two Secret Service agents who tested positive on Saturday in addition to those, that first batch of staffers as well. So that's the question here and, of course, this comes as they're preparing more events for the President as he's hitting the road there.

They're trying to figure out how they're going to do that though with the capacity because you know that 3,000 people are supposed to attend that event tomorrow. The question is whether or not it's going to actually be 3,000 people given what we saw happen in Tulsa on Saturday night.


COLLINS: But it also comes as they're easing restrictions here at the White House. You no longer have to get your temperature checked to come into the grounds as has been required for reporters and staffers for the last several months, Erin.

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

And as that's happening, those details here of the staffers in the rally, coronavirus is continuing to spread across this country. I mentioned the 14 states with hospitalization increases when it comes to cases, 23 states all right seeing an increase over the prior week. Nick Watt is OUTFRONT in Los Angeles tonight.



NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Florida reopened early, now paying the price, fewer than a thousand cases reported the day they began. Saturday, a new record, more than 4,000.


MAYOR DAN GELBER (D) MIAMI BEACH: Right now we know exactly what's happening. Young people are going out, because they do think they're invisible. They're getting the virus and they're spreading it into the community.


WATT(voice over): Meanwhile in New York which waited until today to reopen restaurants and retail in the city ...


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: We went from the highest transmission rate in the United States to the lowest. Three other places, basically, did reopening as a political exercise. It was politicized by the White House.


WATT(voice over): Nationally, we had largely flatten the curve of new cases, but they're now rising again, fueled by those early openers in the south and the west. Record high hospitalizations right now in Arizona, the Carolinas and Texas.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R) TEXAS: COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas and it must be corralled.


WATT(voice over): Oklahoma where the President just was set a new record Sunday nearly 500 new cases.


TRUMP: I said to my people slow the testing down please.


WATT(voice over): In Arizona, where the President will be tomorrow, the average new case count has quadrupled in just three weeks.


DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, it's the lack of global solidarity and global leadership.


WATT(voice over): The U.S. is the global superpower in the largest economy on Earth, a natural leader yet this country can't even manage its own crisis, makes up around 4 percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of global COVID-19 cases and deaths. The White House now prepping for the second wave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NAVARRO: We are filling the stockpile in anticipation of a possible

problem in the fall.


WATT(voice over): And the CDC expected to publish new guidance on masks any moment.


GELBER: The CDC has been late and hasn't given us a great playbook if one at all, frankly.


WATT(voice over): New Jersey chose a cautious path, only start some indoors; barbers, tanning salons and such today and the Governor is still preaching caution.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D) NEW JERSEY: We're now going inside, folks are going to have to be careful. Obey the rules and this is a big step for us today.



WATT: And, Erin, here at the International Terminal at LAX, they are trialing now thermal imaging cameras that would scan everybody coming into the terminal from outside or off planes and if your temperature is 100.4 or above, boom, you are flagged. The Mayor of Miami has also just made masks mandatory today.

So our leaders are clearly now planning for the future and it's looking like a long haul, Erin.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you very much, pretty amazing that temperature how it showed up on Nick's face.

OUTFRONT now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Jonathan Reiner who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush and currently directs the cardiac cath Lab at GW.

So Sanjay, the start here with what the context here within the White House team; eight staffers, two Secret Service agents have the virus after the event. Obviously, some of those run the advanced team but now we found out about the Secret Service agents, are you at all surprised?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm not surprised in the sense that we clearly not been doing enough testing in this country. So some of these folks if they're getting tested for the first time and they find out that they have it and they may not have symptoms, that part of it doesn't surprise me. I guess the part that surprises me a little bit and I don't know

enough about who the staffers were exactly, what sort of proximity they have to the President or they're working in the White House because the understanding was that people there were getting tested pretty frequently. So to suddenly have people show up having the infection now at this rally is obviously concerning.

And then we did calculations saying that there'd be about a hundred people just on our modeling that would show up at this - what was supposed to be a 20,000 person rally, so if eight of them were from the White House staff and Secret Service alone, that's quite a high number.

BURNETT: I mean, Dr. Reiner, despite this, the President is going ahead with that event for young voters in Arizona so masks are not required. It's kind of amazing, because now in Phoenix, you have to wear a mask. The Democratic Mayor is now going to enforce it, but that's the example that's being set, the President just won't do it even though that's the rule of the city.

Number of new cases in Arizona has doubled in the past seven days, just shy of doubling. What's the risk here?

JONATHAN REINER, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION LABORATORY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: The risk here is accelerating this pandemic. People are worrying about a second wave but we're squarely in the first wave in the south.


Arizona over the weekend recorded essentially record new cases, about 10 percent of all the cases in the United States were recorded in Arizona. So why would we have a public gathering particularly one that doesn't enforce basic social distancing or masks during the high point for the virus?

Look at the President's advanced people that Sanjay just spoke about, they probably were at that event for about a week and just being in Tulsa for a week in a hot zone, eight of them contracted the virus. Same thing will happen in Arizona and now think about the consequences for the attendees. It really boggles the mind.

BURNETT: Right. And Sanjay, of course, to point out a lot of these people are young, so they're not worried but they spread it and they spread it to people who are vulnerable, who could get sick and some of them die. I mean, you heard the President not deny whether he told officials to slow down testing. I'll play just a little bit more of his answer, again, for you, Sanjay.


TRUMP: If it did slow down, frankly, I think we're way ahead of ourselves, if you want to know the truth. We've done too good a job.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: I guess first is that possible to do too good a job on

testing and I pick something you said in your first answer too, which is we're still not even doing enough of a job on testing.

GUPTA: Yes, right. I don't think that too good of a job is even something that we're close to and I'm not sure that you can do too good of job here. One thing to keep in mind because people get really hung up on this idea. We've done 25 million tests here, what about these other countries?

It's not just a question of how many tests you do, it's also a question of when you do them. You got to remember, we got a slow start in this country and as a result, the infection price spread much more widely than I think we even realize. New study just came out today saying that in the month of March alone, there were probably some 8.5 million And people who became infected just in that one month, what was the official count in that one month? A hundred thousand.

So it just gives you an idea of just how far off base we are and by the way after you test, you also got a contact trace. The whole point of testing is to isolate people who have the virus, be able to trace their context, quarantine as necessary to try and slow down the spread. I'm not sure we have the second part of the equation either.

We don't have enough testing right now, do we have enough contact tracing to backup that testing, we're sort of really behind here, Erin.

BURNETT: And Dr. Reiner, this as the President says it's a joke, the comment he made on testing and all, I'm sorry, all his team are saying it's a joke. It's pretty clear to me it's not a joke, because he said the same thing dead seriously in different ways six Other times, but do you think in any way that he was just trying to be funny?

REINER: No. No, not at all. A week ago in The Wall Street Journal the President was quoted as calling testing quote 'overrated'. One of the original sins of our pandemic response has been our very slow march to ramp up testing and many of us wondered whether all of our difficulties could simply be attributed to incompetence and now we hear the President, basically state that he has instructed his people to slow testing.

First patient in the United States tested positive on January 20th. On March 1st, the day the first patient tested positive in New York, the U.S. had only done a total of 8,000 tests and during that time, the virus was multiplying everywhere. So to hear that the President has perhaps slowed testing is mind-boggling. It's a dereliction of duty.

And I'd like to know from people like Tony Fauci, and Deborah Birx, and Secretary Azar and FDA Commissioner Hahn whether they ever were told to slow walk testing in the United States. This is really a breach of trust.

BURNETT: Well, and I thank you both and I will say this in the context of what Sanjay said. If that really happened in March and you have - when Sanjay is saying you had eight plus million cases out there, some of those people died, OK?


BURNETT: Some of those people died. They're not here. And if testing was slowed down and we didn't intervene earlier, some of those people may not be dead and I hope people understand how significant knowing what happened, it's not an academic exercise. Thank you both.

GUPTA: Yes. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the White House tonight trying to defend this.


WEIJIA JIANG, CORRESPONDENT, CBS: That's what he's saying by using the racist phrase 'kung flu?

MCENANY: He is linking it to its place of origin.


BURNETT: Plus, the President says he wasn't involved in the Friday night firing of a U.S. attorney. The White House tells a different story.

And a longtime congressman now fighting for his political life after being caught on a hot mic.


REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care.





BURNETT: Tonight, the White House defending the President's use of a racist term to describe coronavirus.


TRUMP: It's a disease without question has more names than any disease in history. I can name kung flu ...


BURNETT: Here's how the White House explains that.


JIANG: Why does he use racist phrases like the kung flu? MCENANY: The President doesn't, but what the President does do is

point to the fact that the origin of the virus is China. It's a fair thing to point out as China tries to ridiculously rewrite history, ridiculously blame the coronavirus on American soldiers. This is what China is trying to do and what President Trump is saying, no China, I will label this virus for its place of origin.

JIANG: That's what he's saying by using the racist phrase kung flu?

MCENANY: He is linking it to its place of origin.

JIANG: What if we have many Asian-Americans who are deeply offended and worried that his use will lead to further attacks and discrimination?

MCENANY: So the President has said very clearly, it's important that we totally protect our Asian community in the U.S. and all around the world. There are amazing people and the spreading of the virus is not their fault in any way, shape or form.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, the Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California. As you hear that exchange, Congressman, kung flu, is that a racist thing for President Trump to say?

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Yes. And thank you, Erin, for that question.


I see served on active duty in the United States Military to defend the right of any American to say stupid racist stuff. I just never imagined it would be the President of the United States saying it. And this is not the first time he's made a number of racist comments in three and a half years and even now, instead of trying to unify our country, he's trying to divide us and that's sad.

BURNETT: So you're very clear that it's a racist term. Is he a racist to use it? I mean, the one step further here, is it fair to say he's a racist?

LIEU: So there's a difference between saying this virus came from China and we certainly can't defend China's actions with this virus. They did suppress information about it. That's different than using terms like kung flu or using terms like Chinese virus, I'm not a virus. And we know that there have been an increased number of hate crimes against Asian-Americans across America, the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council has been tracking this, we're now at about 1,900 hate Crimes across the country since the pandemic began.

And we're talking about not just harassment, but people being stabbed in Texas, an Asian-American 1920 [00:01:13] is stabbed because their perpetrator thought they were spreading this virus. So fueling this kind of hatred is something the President could not be doing.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean, there's been so many incidents, I know of people who've been spat at yelled at, I mean, really disturbing things. The White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who you heard there, she's trying to defend the President's use of the term and she did so in part by blaming the media. So let me play that exchange for you, Congressman, here it is.


COLLINS: The media has never called it the kung flu, calling it Chinese coronavirus and calling it a kung flu are very different things.

MCENANY: The media and your network specifically ...

COLLINS: CNN called it the kung flu?

MCENANY: The media and your network have repeatedly used the term 'China virus' and 'Wuhan virus' ...


BURNETT: So why doesn't that explanation add up? I mean, I know it sounds almost ridiculous to have to ask you this, but could you just explain why it is different to say kung flu than Wuhan virus or, as you said, they've also called it Chinese virus, which is also different?

LIEU: Sure. This virus has an official name, COVID-19, it has an unofficial name, coronavirus. So when you insert an ethnic identifier, it causes people to then increase their harassment and discrimination against Asian-Americans. But you don't just have to listen to what I think of it, you can listen to Kellyanne Conway, Trump's Senior White House Adviser who said that the term kung flu was wrong and highly offensive.

Now, the other thing I want to note is that Asian-Americans according to U.S. census with the fastest rising ethnic group in the last decade and there's enough Asian-Americans in swing votes across America, including 11 percent in Nevada, 5.5 percent in Texas and 4.7 percent new record in Georgia to be the margin of victory this November.

So Donald Trump wants to keep offending Asian-Americans with his racist rhetoric, you can go right ahead and then November is going to come.

BURNETT: So this is not the first time, I mean, obviously he's been using - talking about the virus like this. He also had this exchange with an American, CBS News reporter of Chinese descent last month, let me play that for you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is this a global competition to you if everyday Americans are still losing their lives and we're still seeing more cases every day?

TRUMP: Well, they're losing their lives everywhere in the world and maybe that's a question you should ask China. Don't ask me, ask China that question, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, why are you saying that to me specifically, that I should ask China?

TRUMP: I'm telling you, I'm not saying it specifically to anybody.


BURNETT: So Congressman, do you see a pattern with this president? I mean, is this purposeful?

LIEU: Absolutely. Donald Trump has been dividing this country since he was elected and it's also something that's not just Donald Trump. If you look at our nation's history, there has been racism against minorities and then Asian-Americans have had a particular kind of racism. We had the whole yellow peril hysteria. We had the Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment of Japanese-Americans at the murder of Vincent Chin, who folks thoughts he's taking away jobs.

And then what we see now is this blaming of Asian-Americans before a virus that knows a no race or geography or party registration puts everyone at risk. And I also note that the term kung flu by the way is also making fun of the situation and we shouldn't be making fun of pandemic that's killed over 120,000 Americans in four months.

BURNETT: Yes. No, and the other thing they turn to as we're just talking about before is to say something as a joke. All right, Congressman Lieu, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.

LIEU: Thank you, Erin.


BURNETT: Next, conflicting stories about whether the President was involved in firing the prosecutor who was investigating people close to Trump.


COLLINS: So he was involved in it then?

MCENANY: He was involved in the sign off capacity.

TRUMP: I'm not involved.


BURNETT: So which is it?

And the full report from the medical examiner in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks is out tonight as family and friends say goodbye today.


[19:29:20] BURNETT: Breaking news, Republican Senator Mitt Romney saying the

sudden firing of a top prosecutor who led probes into President Trump's allies 'looks pretty swampy' that it does as the White House struggles to explain who and what was behind the removal of Geoffrey Berman as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was Mr. Berman being dismissed in the first place?

MCENANY: Because Mr. Clayton wanted to go back to New York City. We wanted to keep him in government and therefore he was given the position at SDNY.

COLLINS: But why did the President say he wasn't involved in the firing of Geoffrey Berman when the Attorney General said the President was the one who fired him?

MCENANY: Because the Attorney General was taking the lead on this matter. He did come to the President and report to him when Mr. Berman decided not to leave.


And at that point is when the president agreed with the decision of the attorney general to fire Mr. Berman and to promote Mr. Clayton.

COLLINS: So he was involved in it then.

MCENANY: He was involved in the sign-off capacity. He was not -- A.G. Barr was leading the way. But in a sign-off capacity, yes, the president was.


BURNETT: Which means President Trump wasn't telling the truth to this question about why he fired the U.S. attorney.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Attorney General Barr is working on that. That's his department not mine. So that is really up to him. I'm not involved.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Daniel Goldman, who was also the lead counsel to the House Democrats during President Trump's impeachment inquiry. So, of course, you know his face.

All right. Thank you very much, Dan.

So, you know, what do you -- what do you make of this? You know, sort of -- he was involved or he wasn't involved. Clearly, he was involved. It's a pretty easy thing to check and yet they aren't giving a straight story. Why is that so hard to do, do you think?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it's hard to do because of a quirk in the law which actually because Geoffrey Berman was actually appointed by the district court in the Southern District and not confirmed by the Senate, he can only be fired by the president not by Bill Barr.

And so that is why Bill Barr wrote the letter on Saturday saying the president has fired you and I'm relaying that message. The president, of course, wants to keep some remove from the termination of a U.S. attorney who is we know conducting investigations into associates of the president, including his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

But he was unable to keep that remove and he clearly didn't understand the legal ramifications of what was going on when he said on Saturday that he has nothing to do with it. Politically it will look very bad if it comes out the reason Geoff Berman was fired was because he was conducting investigations into the president or anyone around the president.

BLITZER: Is there -- how much of a question is there, I mean, that that isn't the motive? I mean, it seems hard to imagine anything else at this point. Why would you go in and fire a guy like that, and they are denying that it's because of those investigations. They're denying it, but does that add up at all?

GOLDMAN: Well, their proffered reasons do not add up. The nation that Jay Clayton during a pandemic needs to get back to New York right now makes no sense when everyone is teleworking to begin with. It's also destabilizing to both the SEC and the Southern District of New York. It occurred late on a Friday night. Bill Barr lied about Geoffrey Berman stepping down. And then he changed course and put the deputy U.S. attorney in the southern district in charge rather than the U.S. attorney in New Jersey.

There are so many reasons why this smells really bad. But we don't know what actually the conflict was or the reason was why Bill Barr wanted Geoffrey Berman gone and why Trump wanted Geoffrey Berman gone. That is why we really do need congressional hearings with Geoffrey Berman there, with his former deputy U.S. attorney Robert Khuzami testifying, with other people in the Department of Justice perhaps on Mueller's team.

We need to understand how politicized the Department of Justice has gotten under Trump and Bill Barr.

BURNETT: So, you know, I want to ask you about the former national security adviser John Bolton, because, obviously, as you know, you were in the middle of this, right? He resisted House Democrats' efforts to get him to testify during the impeachment inquiry and this morning, he came out this morning and yet again and slammed how Democrats conducted the impeachment inquiry. Here he is.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think there were a lot of Republicans in the House that might have been open to a more reasoned, nonpartisan effort. They made it a partisan fight in the House. That guaranteed it would be a partisan fight in the Senate. And they lost. That is not a very good strategy.


BURNETT: Of course you were sitting there day after day making the legal arguments in this case. What do you say to John Bolton?

GOLDMAN: I say he's got very good talking points but not very good facts. The fact was this always was a nonpartisan, bipartisan investigation. It was, of course, led by the majority, which were the Democrats. But the Republicans had every right to ask as many questions and they did. They had the right to call witnesses.

This was only partisan because the Republicans rallied around president Trump regardless of what his conduct was.

So, to the extent it was partisan and that was problematic it was not because we ran a partisan investigation. We called nonpartisan witnesses and we asked them questions under oath and they gave answers under oath. If the facts were unfavorable to President Trump, and the Republicans wanted to defend President Trump, that is not because we ran a bipartisan or a partisan investigation. That is because they were partisan (ph).


BURNETT: So, why do you think John Bolton didn't testify? I mean, you know, he was subpoenaed and then, you know, said I want to wait for a court ruling. But he's come out and said all the damning things he would have said under oath, you know, to you in Congress there in a book. Why do you think he didn't do it then?

GOLDMAN: I think there are a couple possible reasons. One is he saw dollar signs and he wanted to wait and make money off of the information that he had. And I also think John Bolton is part of the Republican establishment and he may have been a little reticent to come in and testify before a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

But that's all speculation. The fact of the matter is John Bolton had no good faith basis, no reason not to testify as was ultimately borne out by the fact that he was willing to testify in the Senate. There is no difference between the House and the Senate in terms of a congressional subpoena.

Yet John Bolton's attorney told me directly that they would file a lawsuit in court if he were subpoenaed and we'd still be in court today waiting for a ruling on that lawsuit.

BURNETT: Even as the book came out. It's hard to understand.

All right. Daniel Goldman, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

GOLDMAN: Thanks very much, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the D.A. in the Rayshard Brooks case facing pressure to step aside after charging two Atlanta officers in his death. Why?

And a New York officer suspended without pay after this video surfaced showing him using an apparent chokehold which has been banned. The attorney for the man you see in this video is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, attorneys for the former Atlanta police officer charged with killing Rayshard Brooks are disputing statements made by the district attorney. This as family and friends have been gathering to say their final good-byes.

Natasha Chen is OUTFRONT.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some of the people who paid their respects to Rayshard Brooks today may not have known him personally but they say they're all too familiar with his experience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like the soul of America is really sick, that they have desensitized when it comes to crimes against people of color.

CHEN: Outside the church today, not one police officer in sight. A spokesperson for the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church said the Brooks family asked Atlanta police not to be involved in the security for the event. Streets the city planned to shut down to traffic were opened and a private security team escorted the hearse carrying brooks to the church followed by his family.

A few hours earlier a full report from the Fulton County medical examiner officially determined his cause of death as homicide. It described two gunshot wounds to the back and said toxicology results are still pending.

Also pending is the Georgia Bureau of Investigation report on what happened the night he was shot to death even as the Fulton County District Attorney's Office has done its own investigation and charged the two officers he encountered last week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are being attacked. These guys are our brothers. We're being attacked by Paul Howard. We do the job to protect. We expect to be protected by our leaders and they've all failed us, all of them.

CHEN: Critics including Congressman Doug Collins questioned the felony charge against former officer Garrett Rolfe seen on surveillance video shooting Brooks after Brooks aimed a Taser over his shoulder when he ran away. GOV. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): What has happened over the past couple of

weeks has been wrong. It is time for the district attorney of Fulton County to step aside and have someone -- and to allow the attorney general to appoint an independent prosecutor. You cannot prosecute cases until the investigation is over. You don't do it for politics.

PAUL HOWARD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I think what those protesters and all over the country, they're not demonstrating because they thought Paul Howard did something political. They're demonstrating because citizens in our country continue to die and a high number of those citizens are African-Americans.

CHEN: But attorneys for Rolfe insist that not only were his actions justified under Georgia law because he was acting in self-defense but that the D.A.'s, quote, choice to charge him is justified only by his hopes to improve his performance in the upcoming run-off election.


CHEN: There is a private funeral planned here tomorrow starting at 1:00. Invite only. Atlanta police have been asked not to be involved with the security of that event. On the guest list of the Atlanta mayor, the D.A., and during the service we expect to hear from Reverend Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Reverend Raphael Warnock, a Senate candidate here in Georgia -- Erin.

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

And next, a New York police officer suspended following an apparent chokehold incident that is on tape puts a long time congressman now in a fierce primary fight after among other things being caught on open mic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care.




BURNETT: Tonight, a New York City police officer suspended without pay for detaining a man by using an apparent chokehold banned by the city council just last week and a warning that some of you may find this video disturbing.

Let me play the part.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop choking him, bro! Yo! Stop choking him! Yo, he's choking him. Let him go, bro. Let him go!







BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Lori Zeno. She's the attorney for the man who is detained in that video.

So, Lauren, let me just ask you the NYPD now says they are conducting a full investigation into exactly what happened. What do you think should happen to the officer?

LORI ZENO, ATTORNEY FOR MAN OUT IN APPARENT CHOKEHOLD BY NYPD: Oh, he should definitely be fired and he should have charges brought against him. You know, just last week, the governor signed into law that it is a felony for anyone to use a chokehold. And this officer decided that the law doesn't apply to him and I might add for the -- I think ninth time in his career, he decided that he could again abuse somebody.

And he used a chokehold and he choked my client until he was unconscious and, thank God, there was an officer on the scene who pulled him off of my client when people were screaming he was choking him because at that point he was already unconscious.

BURNETT: So your client was completely unconscious, you are saying was saved by another officer on the scene?

ZENO: Absolutely. Yes, he was.


ZENO: Sorry, go ahead.

BURNETT: OK, sorry, I know there is a little delay here with the technology.

So, what's the reason if any that they're giving as to why he would use a chokehold after it had been banned by the New York City Council as you just mentioned?


ZENO: They're not giving a reason, you know, as to why. Personally, I think it's about what kind of officer you are, right, and how do you -- how do you do your job, right?

So, obviously, this man, you know, resorts to violence quite often, and that's just the way he does it, you know? So, instinctively, when he's going to take somebody down or he's going to do something, he's going to be violent and he's either going to do a chokehold or, you know, punch somebody or, you know, something violent. It's going to hurt someone. That just seems to be what it does.

BURNETT: So, the body cam footage that we have shows officers being taunted, you know, sort of verbal taunts before they actually detain your client. I want to just play some of that for you, Lori. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead. Go ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You the only one (INAUDIBLE) -- stoner, go ahead. I ain't driving --




BURNETT: So, Lori, what led to this whole altercation that we just saw play out, as far as you understand it?

ZENO: Well, what I was originally told was the officers received a call from somebody complaining that some guys were throwing empty cans at them. That's what they claimed but then when we asked to hear the 911 call, there was no 911 call so then they changed their story.

And then eventually, it just sort of came out that they saw them on the beach. They recognized all three of them. In fact, one of the officers said how they recognized my client as the bipolar guy that was from the other day. I don't know what that means.

But -- and so you can see on the video cam or the body cam where it's the officers who start the physical contact. Clearly, these guys are intoxicated and then my client, you know, has potentially has some sort of mental disorder and so the officers should not have been exaggerating everything. They should have been trying to deescalate but instead, you see at one point, one of the officers shoves a guy who is taking the video on his camera and around his phone.

So, you know, and then when the guy comes back, you can see that officer is smirking and, you know, just kind of agitating them, you know, instead of just letting them walk away, you know, and I don't think they needed to have three officers pounce on my client who weighs about 100 pounds soaking wet but --

BURNETT: Yes. All right. I appreciate your time. I mean, it's of usually these are going to be serious questions and this is the accountability that we're now all going to see more of. Appreciate your time. Lori, thank you.

ZENO: You're very welcome. Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, a long-time Democratic congressman facing his toughest primary challenge after an embarrassing hot mic incident. Will it matter?



BURNETT: Tonight, one of the top Democrats in the House in danger of losing the seat he held since 1989.



M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel under fire for this hot mic moment.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care.

LEE: At a New York press conference addressing protests following the death of George Floyd.

The 16-term congressman in danger of losing his seat --

ENGEL: When I go back to Washington, I'm going to fight for justice.

LEE: -- to Jamaal Bowman, an insurgent challenger from the left.

JAMAAL BOWMAN (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Hello, hello. How are you doing? How are you doing?

LEE: The New York primary race exposing a larger rift dividing the Democratic Party with establishment heavyweights like Hillary Clinton, Jim Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi publicly taking sides against big name progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The matchup reminding some New Yorkers of a 2018 primary race next door when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered had a defeat to long-time Congressman Joe Crowley.

Bowman, a first-time political candidate, trying to sway voters in New York 16th congressional district which spans parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.

BOWMAN: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got my vote.

BOWMAN: I got your vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely. Time for a change.

BOWMAN: Time for a change. Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty-one years! He got go to.

BOWMAN: Thirty-one -- you got to go.

LEE: The middle school principal accusing Congressman Engel of being out of touch with his home district.

BOWMAN: Congressman Engel has been absent, I've been here fighting for our communities for the last 20 years.

LEE: Engel first elected to the House in 1988 and currently the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying his decade's long record speaks for itself.

ENGEL: The voters aren't stupid. They vote for me every two years because they know I care about them. I work hard for them. I produce for them, and I vote the way they would like me to vote.

LEE: The congressman also facing questions about why he was hunkered down in his D.C. area Maryland home instead of being in his New York district during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Engel saying he was simply following doctor's orders.

ENGEL: They are trying to make a phony issue out of nothing. I was quarantining myself because the place near Washington is bigger and my wife and I and our apartment in New York could not both quarantine at the same time.

LEE: Bowman saying Engel's hot mic moment speaks volumes.

BOWMAN: When the people see you and feel your presence and know you've been here for decades doing the work, you don't have to scramble for the microphone.


LEE: When he asked Congressman Engel about that hot mic moment, he said he feels very, very strongly about Black Lives Matter. Bowman said this is deeply personal for him. He told CNN as a black man, he has been dealing with police brutality his entire life and his first run in with the police he said happened just when he was 11 years old -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, MJ.

All eyes are going to be on that primary.

And now, Anderson.