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Armed Felon On The Run After Gun Goes Off At Atlanta Airport; FOX News Says It Did Not Pay For Rittenhouse Film And Interview; IOC President Says Chinese Tennis Star Is Safe; Defense Attorney Likens Atmosphere Around Trial To Public Lynching; VP Harris Downplays Rivalry Rumor And West Wing Tensions Over Her Role. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 21, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in New York.

Right now a convicted felon is still on the run more than 24 hours after a gun he brought into the nation's busiest airport went off and sparked an enormous panic. Officials say the gun was in a bag belonging to 42-year-old Kenny Wells who lunged for it after it was a spotted by a TSA officer at the Atlanta Airport security checkpoint. That's when the gun fired.

Well reportedly managed to grab his gun and escape in all of the chaos as travelers ran, hid, dropped to the ground, even spilled onto the tarmac believing they were in a nightmare active shooter situation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the security line. We heard gunshots and got down. And then we ran out.

IVAN STOBERT, WITNESSED ATLANTA AIRPORT CHAOS: We heard that somebody say, active shooter, get out. And that's when everyone start running away really hard.

JUDITH FOUTS, WITNESSED ATLANTA AIRPORT CHAOS: People just came flying through and just were, like, run, run, run. And then people were just running and we all just ran outside this door right here.

KEVIN HELGREN, WITNESSED ATLANTA AIRPORT CHAOS: Everyone was dropping their suitcases. Folks were running in any possible direction away from what we thought was the center of action. People were sliding under rails and jumping over barricades.


ACOSTA: Three adults were injured as people scrambled to evacuate the airport turning it into a temporary ghost town. A terrifying start to this week of Thanksgiving travel.

CNN's Nadia Romero joins me now from the Atlanta Airport. Nadia, you've been covering this for about 24 hours now. The

developments are just unbelievable to find out that this suspect was a felon and took off. Kenny Wells, what do we know about this suspect?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, it's so hard to believe because we're talking about the busiest airport in our country and had long since been the busiest airport in the world up until recently. And so to think that a man was able to come through a TSA checkpoint with a gun and then in the confusion after discharging that firearm was able to run off. And now there's this manhunt looking, searching for him.

So there are search warrants out for his arrest because he brought that gun into a commercial airport, because he discharged that firearm, because police say that he is a convicted felon so he wasn't supposed to have a gun at all anyway, let alone in an airport trying to get through TSA checkpoint. And also just for all-around reckless conduct.

So they're looking for 42-year-old Kenny Wells. And unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. So there are security cameras all throughout this airport. A spokesperson for the Atlanta Airport tells us there's about 3,000 that are being monitored 24/7 not only by the airport's emergency operations but also by the TSA. So you'd think that they were able to get eyes on him.

Now, initially, he was able to scramble and run away during that chaos and confusion that ensued, and he was able to get out of the way with the gun, we're told. And that's why there's this manhunt looking for 42-year-old Kenny Wells.

Now I mentioned this is not an isolated incident having a gun in an airport. Believe it or not the TSA has been sounding the sirens, the warning for this for many years now because so far in the first 10 months of this year they've confiscated 4,650 firearms through TSA checkpoints.

Now you can't bring a gun into a checked bag if it were talking about you and your carry-on bag going in and getting past security checkpoint because you could potentially have that firearm with you on a plane, and you can imagine the trouble that that could cause. So it's a good sign that the TSA is catching these firearms. But it's also terrible in the other side that people are either forgetting them or intentionally trying to bring them in.

This year so far the first 10 months we have now surpassed the full year record before the pandemic in 2019 of more than 4400 firearms confiscated. It's a big problem, and Atlanta, unfortunately, is leading the way with more than 450 or so firearms being confiscated so far this year during a pandemic.

This is something that people are talking about, this is on the minds of people as they make their way through. But we have the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner. So people are back at the airport. It feels like it's back to normal. But you still see all of the emergency vehicles that are normally here. You got an extra eye on them today, Jim, knowing what happened just yesterday.

ACOSTA: Yes. I mean, just such a scary situation, and everybody's lucky that this just didn't turn out much, much worse.

Nadia Romero, thanks so much for that report. We appreciate it.

Meanwhile, FOX News says it did not pay for a Tucker Carlson-produced documentary that involved a film crew being embedded with Kyle Rittenhouse throughout his high-profile trial. A trailer of the documentary was released on Carlson's show ahead of a separate interview with Rittenhouse that airs tomorrow.



KYLE RITTENHOUSE, ACQUITTED OF SHOOTING THREE MEN DURING A PROTEST: It's the stuff that keeps you up at night. Like, once you finally do get to sleep, your dreams are about what happened and you're waking up in a dark, cold sweat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. You've had dreams about what happened?

RITTENHOUSE: Every single night. It's quite scary actually because the dreams feel so real, and they're not the same at all. They're all different. They're the different scenarios that run through your head during the day, like what could have happened.


ACOSTA: And joining me now, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former FOX News politics editor, Chris Stirewalt, and CNN senior political analyst and "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers.

Chris and Kirsten, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

Chris, we all know you used to work at FOX. The idea that Tucker Carlson secretly had a film crew embedded with Rittenhouse during this trial making, you know, what looks to be, you know, a right-wing propaganda documentary, and then, you know, they are all on TV on FOX slamming other media outlets for their coverage of the trial.

What is your reaction to all of this? I mean, just from the standpoint of, you know, we all watch these cases from time to time to think that there was a documentary crew from whatever outlet behind the scenes with a defendant in this kind of case? I mean, this is sure to just ignite more controversy.

CHRIS STIREWALT, SENIOR FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Well, certainly that will be what FOX and Tucker Carlson hope. That controversy even us talking about it now is what they want, what they need in order to keep people upset, keep people engaged, keep fighting, fighting, fighting.

ACOSTA: Right. The conflict is part of what sells it and whether it has been this

case. I've been thinking an awful lot about the story of George Zimmerman who shot Trayvon Martin, and how he was lionized, and how he was turned into a hero by some on the right only to find out later that well, not so much because the goal often is to impose a narrative from the outside on events that don't line up with what people want. But they want the avatars anyway.

ACOSTA: Right. And Kirsten, at least three House Republicans have now offered Rittenhouse an internship. I mean, just to play off of what Chris was saying a few moments ago. He's being celebrated by some Republicans as a hero. It is just so strange, but let's watch just an example of that.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: It was a great decision. I was surprised it had to go this far. Somebody should've ended it earlier.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): It was a good day for freedom, a good day for the process, a good kay for America.

REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty, my friends. Be armed, be dangerous, and be moral.


ACOSTA: I mean, Kirsten, "be armed, be dangerous"? I don't understand.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's so irresponsible. It's so irresponsible to be encouraging this kind of behavior. The reality is setting the legal analysis aside, what happened here is a tragedy, right? On every level it's a tragedy. It's a tragedy for every person involved. It's a tragedy that a 17-year-old thought that it was smart to go and get an illegal weapon and go into a situation that was very chaotic and was encouraged, you know, no one was discouraging him from doing this.

And two people are dead and one person is injured. And now this 17- year-old is being treated like a hero, but he's being used by the right. I mean that's what's going on.


POWERS: And the idea that -- like I said, even if you set aside the legal analysis where a lot of legal analysts say because of how terrible the laws are around gun rights that he was, and around the idea of being able to put yourself in a horrible situation and then claim self-defense, the idea that anyone would celebrate people going into a situation basically looking for trouble, which is exactly as Chris raised the Trayvon Martin situation is exactly what happened. Call the police, let the police do their job. Do not go out and try to enforce the law on your own because this is what happens and innocent people die.

ACOSTA: Yes. I want to turn to another subject. But, Chris, the glorification of violence, it just seems to be a glorification of violence, and they're seizing on this Rittenhouse case to do that. And that, you know, whether people say there's a legal precedent that's been set in all of this. I mean, putting that to the side, the way that the far-right has seized on this case to glorify violence and vigilante violence, I think it's worrisome. It's a worrisome sign.

STIREWALT: Well, while Rittenhouse will now be used by that same echo chamber, he is also a product of it because if you take the hysterical over-catastrophize coverage that a lot of Americans on the right were treated to throughout the summer of 2020, it would be maybe reasonable for an impressionable young man to believe that the American republic was about to fall and that anarchy had descended upon the country, and that maybe his moment to be a video game kind of hero had arrived.


So he will be used by it now. But he is also a product of it.

ACOSTA: Kirsten, let's talk about the future of the Republican Party, which I suppose we have been doing to some extent. But today Texas Senator Ted Cruz declined to say whether he's running for president in 2024. Let's watch.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Look, I have no idea what's going to happen in 2024. Donald Trump is going to have to make a choice first of all whether he's going to run or not. I think if he chose to run, he would be very, very formidable. I can tell you that when I ran in 2016, we came incredibly close. I came in second. There's a long history of runner-ups becoming the next nominee, and it was the most fun I've ever had in my life. But there's a lot of time between now and 2024.


ACOSTA: What do you think, Kirsten?

POWERS: Well, I think there is a looming question about whether Donald Trump is going to run. So if Donald Trump is going to run, then of course Ted Cruz is not running. That goes without saying. He's been there, done that, didn't go so well. So I think that once he sees what's going to happen on that front, I'd be very surprised if Ted Cruz didn't run for president in 2024.

ACOSTA: Yes, Chris, I mean, he almost sounds like he's on bended knee, to some extent.

STIREWALT: Do you believe him when he said it was the most fun he ever had running for president in 2016?



STIREWALT: Didn't sound like it.


STIREWALT: Didn't sound like it was a thrill ride, as Donald Trump said his wife was ugly and his dad killed Kennedy. So I feel bad for Ted Cruz in a way because he's raised all this money, he has all these backers, so he's almost obliged to run. But the dogs don't like the dog food with Ted Cruz. He's not been popular among Republicans even though he has tried to articulate whatever view they want at any given moment. So I think he's sort of in a jam.

ACOSTA: Yes. And I'll leave that analogy right where you left it there.


ACOSTA: Kirsten, we saw Florida Governor Ron DeSantis try and troll Democrats by signing an anti-vaccine mandate bill in Brandon, Florida, where he was greeted with cheers of "Let's Go, Brandon," which as know right-wingers that think that's like a slam on Joe Biden or whatever. The Democrats have been turning that around in the last week or so and saying, "Let's Go, Brandon" after the Democrats got all that stuff passed in the House.

But you also had CPAC putting out a tweet banning Big Bird and -- I wish we were making this up. This is not "The Onion." It says they are going to ban Big Bird, Bert and Ernie because they endorsed vaccinations.

Help me out here, Kirsten. You know, when I went to CPAC, it didn't go well either, so -- and I'm not a "Sesame Street" character, despite what some people might think. But --

POWERS: I'm honestly speechless. Like banning Big Bird, this is, you know, this is what excites voters that you have to be -- have such purity test that you use it for puppets is just -- it's just taking it to a new level. And, unfortunately, it's a very serious issue. Right? So it can seem funny except for the fact that people die because they listen to this kind of stuff, that people believe that getting a vaccine is not good for them and are not necessary.

And our hospitals are filled with people who are dying, dying of COVID who could be alive and also taking hospital beds from other people who are sick. So, yes, it has a very deadly consequences.

ACOSTA: Yes, and, Chris, I mean -- but it's just absurd. You've been to these CPACs. I mean, it used to be -- I mean, I know there was a certain level of trolling that always existed at CPACs, but this is so bizarre. It's like a different universe compared to the CPAC that we used to, you know, attend as reporters like five years ago.

STIREWALT: Well, it used to be a lot of fun. It used to be interesting because you had different kinds of conservatives. There was an interplay. It was a good microcosm of the American right with the different points of view represented. But here's the problem with that, it's not a very good business model. It doesn't work as well. And now they're trying -- they've shipped it overseas. They've had CPAC Brazil which apparently was with the authoritarian regime down there backing them.

So the CPAC model is it's right-wing populist nationalism that relies on rage and outrage, and the constant spin cycle of umbrage.


So it's not a place for ideas anymore. And that's by design. So we'll just have to go look someplace else.

ACOSTA: All right. Well, it's very Oscar the Grouch of them to ban Big Bird. But anyway, I had to put that out there.


ACOSTA: All right, Kirsten Powers, Chris Stirewalt, thanks so much, guys. Appreciate it. Great to see you. Thanks so much.


ACOSTA: Coming up, the Chinese tennis star missing since making a sexual assault claim resurfaces in a video call. Peng Shuai's message to the world about her safety.

Plus, months after a devastating car accident, legendary golfer Tiger Woods posts a new video to show fans he is making progress.


ACOSTA: A new twist in the case of a Chinese tennis star who hadn't been seen in public for weeks after accusing a former top Chinese government official of sexual assault. Today the International Olympic Committee announced its president held a 30-minute video call with Peng Shuai and issued a statement that she, quote, "explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing but would like to have her privacy respected at this time.


"That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much."

This comes shortly after Chinese state media released videos showing the tennis star sitting at a restaurant in Beijing and of her at a tennis event for teenagers. CNN has been unable to independently verify these videos or confirm when they were even filmed.

Let me get straight to Christine Brennan here. She's a CNN sports analyst and she also writes a "USA Today" sports column.

Christine, always grateful to have you on. Thanks so much for being with us. This case is just so totally bizarre. You know, you talk to people. People are talking about this just everywhere, I think. But people have been asking for weeks, where is this tennis star, what has happened to her? Is she under house arrest or something? I guess we just don't know. What do you think? CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: That's right, Jim. There is

still so much we don't know. And you mentioned the International Olympic Committee conference call today with Peng Shuai. That's nice. It's nice to actually see confirmation, apparently, that they had this call, which means she was on the call and that's the first kind of timestamp we've been able to have on any of these various Chinese attempts, the government's attempts to tell us something that, again, we couldn't prove.

But here's the thing. The International Olympic Committee, 30 minutes with the IOC, not the WTA. The WTA, Women's Tennis Association, is the one that's been pushing and basically holding a master class on how to handle -- on leadership.


BRENNAN: On great leadership, on humanitarian leadership. The IOC, there's no mention, of course, of the reason this started, which is a very serious allegation of sexual assault that Peng Shuai has leveled against a former top Chinese official. And that is a huge mistake by the International Olympic Committee for not getting answers and for not putting that answer out there. And you wonder why they did this versus the Women's Tennis Association which should be the one that is talking to Peng Shuai.

ACOSTA: Right. I mean, they should be pushing for her well-being. I mean, that's what they should be doing, driving that message home. And you're right, the World Tennis Association has been terrific in all of this.

The Winter Olympics are just month as way in Beijing. Help people understand how much China has at stake here. I suppose that may have something to do with how they're handling this.

BRENNAN: Jim, so much of this we hear about the leverage, that China has all the leverage, right? China has, you know, 1.3, 1.4 billion people, all of these leagues and organizations, companies want to have a foothold in China. Well, China also cares very much about being a major player on the world stage. And so the International Olympic Committee failed miserably before the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics to put any pressure on China, and its awful human rights abuses.

Same thing here. The Olympics, the Winter Games, are going to be in China in 10 weeks starting February 4th. And -- but once again the IOC seems to be so meek, taking an incredibly meek and frankly pathetic path to dealing with China when of course the IOC holds this great gift, Jim. It's the Olympic Games. And they have power. There is leverage in the IOC. And we have seen the WTA show the IOC, basically take them to school on this and say look at what happens when you punch the bully in the mouth, punch them in the face, and in this case China has been blinking, obviously, a different metaphor.

But that's what the WTA did, and that shows, I think it really shows the failure of the International Olympic Committee not only going into the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing but now the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. ACOSTA: And Christine, help me out, I mean, because you make such a

great point, and this is your area of expertise, not mine. Why is the IOC behaving in this way? You know, should one assume at home that there is something untoward going on here, that there are so many conflicts of interest that they just won't muster up the courage to go after China on this kind of stuff? Are they worried about their fancy hotel rooms and restaurants and whatnot being -- I mean, you know, you tell me.

BRENNAN: Sure. Well, you nailed it. Certainly part of it is that. The IOC, the International Olympic Committee, is the oldest of the old boys network. Eurocentric, they think they're royalty, sometimes they are royalty, but some of them are, kings and queens and princes, but they all think that they are royalty. And the fact that they are not talking about the allegation of sexual assault -- by the way, Peng Shuai is not only a great tennis player and number one ranked at one time in doubles, a three-time Olympian.


BRENNAN: So she's one of theirs. And the IOC just literally, I don't think they want to have controversy. They say they're working behind the scenes. I've covered them for 35 years, Jim. I don't believe it. And, as I said, they think they can do business as usual with China. The Women's Tennis Association has shown them that's not the case.


And I think when the history books look back at this time they will say the WTA, what an incredible master class in humanitarian leadership, the right way to do it, to call China on its abuses and the International Olympic Committee sitting there, as they always do, basically doing nothing.

ACOSTA: Yes. And even before Peng spoke out about sexual assault, we saw how Naomi Osaka was willing to speak out about what she was going through with mental health issues and how gymnastics star Simone Biles did the same. Do you think we're seeing a tide turning in the sports world where female athletes are willing to come forward and speak about their private lives and what they're dealing with?

I mean, this to me seems to be just enormously helpful. Peng is just so -- you know, people really need to know more about her story because she has been just so courageous to take on the Chinese. It's just unbelievable.

BRENNAN: It is. It's absolutely profound courage.


BRENNAN: And extraordinary, and she should be celebrated for forever, for bringing this to light, and the mostly male leadership of the International Olympic Committee and others, you know, should be chastised for not helping her out. But, yes, the voices of these women, especially this summer, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, obviously Serena Williams speaks out all the time on issues. We are really seeing it.

Those voices are amplified, Jim, and I think of course the reason is social media. They have a platform now. So if the mainstream media over the years ignored them, didn't do enough covering women's sports, which certainly we have seen over the last 20, 30, 40 years, these women and men, too, but in this case what we're talking about these top female athletes around the world are taking matters into their own hands, saying enough is enough, we're going to put these issues out there.

And look at the reaction, the public reaction is extraordinary. They are so popular. The world is with them. As you said, Peng Shuai, it seems to be everyone's talking about this everywhere. It shows the power that these athletes have, these young women are such great role models for so many, and that's why the International Olympic Committee has tied itself into pretzels trying to figure out what to do and they have no idea. And it's really showing the failure of their leadership. You've got one athlete who's done that now to the entire International Olympic Committee.

ACOSTA: You are so right. All right, Christine Brennan, thanks so much. Great to see you as always. We appreciate it.

BRENNAN: Jim, thank you.

ACOSTA: All right. Take care.

Tiger Woods is back at it in the meantime nine months after a horrific car crash. The golf legend posted new video on social media today showing himself taking a practice shot out on the golf course with the caption, "Making progress." There he is right there. Good for him.

Back in February, as we all know, the 15-time major champion survived a rollover accident in Los Angeles where he suffered injuries to his leg and foot. Woods has not played in a golf tournament since that accident, but in recent months he was seen at his son's golf tournament standing with crutches.

Coming up, a defense attorney in the trial of three white men accused of killing black jogger Ahmaud Arbery asked again for a mistrial. Why he claims rallies in support of the Arbery family on the courthouse steps amount to a public lynching. That story is coming up.



ACOSTA: Closing arguments in the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery are set to begin tomorrow. On Friday the judge denied another motion for a mistrial. The request was made by the attorney for one of the three defendants a day after hundreds of black clergy members led a prayer vigil outside the courthouse. The attorney who had earlier called for black pastors to be kept out of the courtroom likened the atmosphere surrounding the trial to a public lynching.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEVIN GOUGH, ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT WILLIAM BRYAN, JR.: This is not 1915. This is not 1923. There are not thousands of people outside with pitchforks and baseball bats. But I would respectfully submit to the court that this is the 21st century equivalent. This case has been infected by things that have nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of these defendants. Third parties, or influence in this case, they've been doing it from the gallery of this courtroom. They've been doing it outside.

This is what a public lynching looks like in the 21st century, with all due respect. They don't have to have 10,000 people outside. They don't have to have 100,000 people outside. Perception is reality. Just because they haven't put a gallows up, they haven't put a podium up outside with a hangman's noose on it doesn't mean that this isn't a trial despite the best efforts of this court. This is a trial that's been infected by mob violence of a woke left mob.


ACOSTA: Joining me now is criminal defense attorney Mark O'Mara. He was the defense attorney for George Zimmerman who was acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Mark, we just heard defendant William Bryan's lawyer invoking lynching in a case where the defendant's three white men chased down, ambushed and fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed young black man who was jogging down the street. Arbery's father has called the death of his son a lynching.

What do you make of those kinds of comments made by the defense attorney? I mean, they sound ridiculous, honestly.

MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it sounds like a dog whistle put through a bullhorn. I mean, that people that he is reaching out to, both with the Sharpton question, the Reverend Jackson question, and now calling this a lynching against his client. It's frustrating.

Look, we as defense attorneys get the rights that we have for our clients through the Constitution, the right to remain silent, the right to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the right to have witnesses come for you.


All of those rights that we're given also come with the First Amendment right to whoever has grievances to present them. Now I understand his concern, I've been in his shoes when there seems to be outside influences. But to add fuel to that fire by suggesting, without question, racial overtones to what he's suggesting is really damaging not only to the constitutional rights that his own client has and the rest of us have to believe in.

But there is going to be a verdict, whatever that verdict might be. And now it seems as though that fuel to the fire may add quite a bit to it if we have to deal with convictions, for example, just like we may have to deal with acquittals.

ACOSTA: Yes. And that attorney Kevin Gough has made numerous requests for a mistrial. I mean, is there a limit to how many times you can ask for one?

O'MARA: No, there's really not, Jim. You know, I can say one statement as a prosecutor and that can lead your request for a mistrial. Granted soon they will fall on deaf ears and I think this most recent one did. But, you know, we as defense attorneys, do have to -- if there is something out there that we think is a concern, raise it to the court. And even this issue could've been raised to the court but not using terms like black pastors or 21st century lynching or putting up gallows. Using those terms, so I would like to say they were just insensitive, but it really seems they're intentional, and that's even worse.

ACOSTA: Right. Like he's trying to provoke the jury.

O'MARA: It would seem that whatever influence he wants to have to those people out there who he is talking directly to, we must not forget that this jury is already questionably racially insensitive. And by that I mean this, the judge has said I've got a concern about the makeup of this jury, 11 whites, one black. We against the defense bar know that's a concern. And now for it to have one of the defense attorneys sort of, again, focusing those issues, focusing those racial overtones, yes, he could very well be talking to a jury and may be, in effect, trying to steal them against this outside influence. Again, a good principle horribly delivered. Horribly delivered.

ACOSTA: And Travis McMichael, the defendant who ultimately shot and killed Arbery, took the stand last week. Let's revisit a key moment from the cross-examination about whether Arbery presented as a threat. Let's listen to that.


LINDA DUNIKOSKI, LEAD PROSECUTOR: He never yelled at you guys.


DUNIKOSKI: Never threatened you at all?

MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.

DUNIKOSKI: Didn't brandish any weapons?

MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.

DUNIKOSKI: Didn't pull out any guns?

MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.

DUNIKOSKI: Didn't pull out any knife?

MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.

DUNIKOSKI: Never reached for anything, did he?


DUNIKOSKI: He just ran?

MCMICHAEL: Yes, he was just running.


ACOSTA: Isn't this why it's usually so risky to have the defendant take the stand? Why do you think the attorney took this step?

O'MARA: Well, the problem with it, Jim, is if you're going to argue self-defense, which is what they're arguing, they're arguing that once Ahmaud Arbery turned towards McMichael and put the gun in play, that he had to defend himself, that has to come from the defendant. We heard it in the Rittenhouse case. But it has to come. It's the defendant who has to say, I was in fear of imminent great bodily injury at this person who I shot at his hands. Right?

So it almost has to, but certainly he exposed himself to exactly what you just played, which is that cross-examination. I thought it was well done by the state. I got to say I think I would have been more aggressive with McMichael if I was cross-examining him. But she got across the points that she needed to because this jury's got to figure out why there was this shooting and why McMichael thought that the gun was the appropriate response.

ACOSTA: All right, Mark O'Mara. Thank you so much for your time this afternoon, we appreciate it.

O'MARA: Sure. Be well.

ACOSTA: All right. You as well.

Up next, looting at Louis Vuitton. The wild scene as thieves ransack a store of more than $100,000 worth of merchandise.

Plus, police discover what they're calling an epic amount of illegal marijuana during a raid. Yes, that's what you're looking at right there. Just an enormous stash, I guess you could call it. Wait until you hear how much it's all worth.



ACOSTA: Wisconsin officials say a Starbucks employee may have exposed thousands of customers to hepatitis A after going to work despite testing positive. Local health officials are now urging unvaccinated people who frequent the Starbucks to receive a hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible and no later than two weeks after their last visit. So far 800 vaccines have been administered as a result. The hepatitis A vaccine is a routine immunization recommended by the CDC around age 1. And a shocking grab-and-run robbery caught on camera in Illinois. Take

a look at this. This is wild. Thieves made off with about $100,000 worth of merchandise. Yes, you heard that right, at a Louis Vuitton store.


Officials say once the suspects entered the store, they pulled out garbage bags from their coats and started filling them with merchandise. It looks like it was all over in a matter of seconds. 14 suspects then drove away from the scene in three different cars. And police are still searching for the people responsible.

And in Oregon, get this, police seized an absolutely unbelievable stash of hash. Look at these pictures, marijuana wrapped and stacked like hay bales. In all police found around 500,000 pounds of pot with a street value of a half billion dollars. While recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon and has been for six years now, it is illegal to manufacture the plant without a license. Police say they found the drugs in multiple warehouses along with migrant workers living in what they describe as subpar conditions.

Coming up, they were rivals on the campaign trail, but are they still rivals now? What Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg are saying about rumors of a rift between them. That's coming up.



ACOSTA: They're both rumored future presidential candidates and now Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is responding to reports of a rivalry with Vice President Kamala Harris.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: She and I are part of a team that is disciplined and doesn't focus on what's obsessing the commentators. We're too busy with a job to do. There's no room to get caught up in the parlor games. And I'm proud to be part of the Biden- Harris team.


ACOSTA: CNN's Arlette Saenz joins me now from the White House.

Arlette, do we have another team of rivals taking shape over here at the Biden White House? What do you think?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, even as President Biden has said he's going to run in 2024, that has not stopped the speculation about who will succeed him with many zeroing in on Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Now, Buttigieg, as you heard there, really tried to tamp down the idea of any type of rivalry. But this chatter really comes after reports including reporting from CNN where allies of the vice president have expressed some frustration with how she is being used in the administration and also the way that they see the administration defending Buttigieg over some of the instances where Harris, they felt, that they needed to come to her defense.

Now, take a listen to Vice President Harris kind of knocking down those ideas that there is any tension about her role in the White House.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're getting things done, and we're doing it together.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: So you don't feel misused or underused?

HARRIS: No, I don't. I am very, very excited about the work that we have accomplished. But I am also absolutely, absolutely clear-eyed that there is a lot more to do.


SAENZ: Now, Harris also says that she hasn't spoken with President Biden about his plans for 2024, but the president has said that he does plan on running in the coming years. But, of course, the speculation about Buttigieg and Harris, they both have high-profile positions in the administration, and they are people who once thought they could be president, of course, they ran back in 2020.

But for now, both sides are saying that there is no rivalry between the two, but certainly everyone will be keeping an eye on this heading into 2024.

ACOSTA: Ah, yes, we certainly will. All right, Arlette Saenz, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

SAENZ: Thanks.

ACOSTA: Decades of armed conflict have left Colombia with the largest number of internally displaced people in the people. Many live in a very remote areas off the power grid. And when this Top 10 CNN Hero realized so many communities were living the shadows, she started an organization that goes where few others travel and fill in the gaps.

Meet Jenifer Colpas.


JENIFER COLPAS, 2021 TOP 10 CNN HERO: The families that we are working with are living in extreme poverty. These areas are so remote that there is not even roads to get there. The communities use candles, gasoline lamps. They were spending a lot of money and the smoke of the lamps were negatively affecting their health. Our mission is to provide access to basic services. My biggest dream

for the people that I'm working with, that they wake up not just to survive, but they can take small steps to fulfill their dreams.


ACOSTA: And go to right now to vote for her for CNN Hero of the Year or any of your favorite Top 10 Heroes.



ACOSTA: Money, murder, in the Osage Nation. Lisa Ling investigates the murders of wealthy Native Americans during the 1920s in an all-new episode of "THIS IS LIFE." Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were being killed left and right. It was terrible. They never knew who was going to be next.

LISA LING, CNN HOST, THIS IS LIFE (voice-over): Meg and Sean tell me their grandparents feared for their lives. They even hired bodyguards.

(On-camera): Your family really felt that threat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my grandmother used to have flashbacks in her late 80s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would have nightmares.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That (INAUDIBLE) income, some say it was a blessing, some say it's a curse.


ACOSTA: Be sure to tune in, "THIS IS LIFE" with Lisa Ling airs tonight at 10:00 right here on CNN.

ACOSTA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in New York.