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Erin Burnett Outfront
KFILE: Close Ally Of Rep. Greene Among Those In Capitol Mob; Sen. Johnson Doubles Down On Pushing Debunked Claims "Fake" Trump Supporters, Left-Wing Agitators Were Behind Capitol Riot; Interview With Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA); Sources: Biden WH Concedes OMB Nomination May Fail; Researchers Find Worrying New COVID Variant In NYC; Sheriff: Tiger Woods' Crash Was "Purely An Accident". Aired 7-8p ET
Aired February 24, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: 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 breaking news, CNN's KFILE reporting tonight that an ally of QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene was among those in the Capitol mob declared on video that the rioters were Trump supporters. That, of course, is a fact. Yet Republican Senator Ron Johnson is doubling down, pushing a conspiracy theory that they were fake supporters.
Also breaking tonight, a sweeping rebuke of Trump's agenda. Biden just revoking a number of Trump's executive actions. The details ahead.
As we're learning more about the horrific car crash that sent Tiger Woods to the hospital with serious leg injuries and surgeries. The L.A. County Sheriff is OUTFRONT. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, our KFILE reporting tonight that a close ally of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene took part in the January 6th insurrection. The conservative livestreamer, Anthony Aguero, who calls Greene 'one of my close friends' and who has in fact worked closely with her on causes like immigration in the border who she has spoken very highly of, who has attended Trump rallies with Greene, all of those links when he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY AGUERO, CONSERVATIVE LIVESTREAMER & ALLY OF REP. GREENE: We were all there. It was not Antifa. It was not BLM. It was Trump
supporters that did that yesterday. I'm the first to admit it, being one myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. Stating the fact it was Trump's supporters that did that. I mean, we all know this. We know this. This happens to be a fact. The reality of it is though it flies in the face of a fringe conspiracy theory still being pushed by Republican Senator Ron Johnson that he's doubling down on tonight. This is what he read during yesterday's hearing on the deadly insurrection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Although the crowd represented a broad cross- section of Americans, mostly working-class by their appearance and manner of speech, some people stood out. A very few didn't share the jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor of the great majority. Some obviously didn't fit in.
And he describes four different types of people; plainclothes militants, agents provocateurs, fake Trump protesters, and then a disciplined uniform column of attackers. I think these are the people that probably planned this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. That's not true. It's a lie that the United States senator continues to put out there. I mean, it's pretty incredible. Mitch McConnell has taken this down. Kevin McCarthy has taken this down. It's false. The FBI has taken it down.
And yet today, Sen. Johnson said to our Manu Raju that he would go out and say that and push that stuff out there again if he had the chance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you regret putting that article in?
JOHNSON: Absolutely not.
RAJU: Why not?
JOHNSON: It's an eyewitness account from pretty knowledgeable trained observer. It's no conspiracy theory. Have you read it?
RAJU: I mean, are you trying to ...
JOHNSON: Have you read it?
RAJU: I saw what - yes, I watched your comment.
JOHNSON: Have you read it? Read the article and then ask me questions about it.
RAJU: I mean, you'd do it again?
JOHNSON: Absolutely. We need the full perspective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: We need the full perspective. We have the full perspective on who was there during the attack. Is that full perspective now what Johnson is calling lying to the American people? Some of Johnson's fellow Republicans, though, seem to have no problem with what Johnson is saying about what happened on January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): I mean, having all the information on the table I think is a good thing. Obviously, that was a dramatically different view of the day than we heard from the captain who was testifying or Chief Sund or others. I don't think it hurts to have that information out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. This is not putting information out there as if it gives a clearer and more complete picture. This is inaccurate information. This is putting known lies out there. Let me say this again, known lies. That is wrong.
And by the way, it does hurt, five people are dead. Because rioters believed the lies that former President Trump had been telling for months. And putting those lies out now is still hurting, because Trump supporters, some of them continue to believe it, even after the insurrection. Days before Biden was sworn in as president, this is what Trump's supporters said our Ed Lavandera.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my President Trump standing up there being inaugurated as the next - as an extended President of the United States. All I can say is that Biden and that Kamala will never be my president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Manu Raju is OUTFRONT now on Capitol Hill. Manu, a pretty incredible exchange there between yourself and Sen. Johnson. We know the facts here and as Mitch McConnell said, these were people wrapped in Trump flags chanting in his name, as Kevin McCarthy told Trump on that heated call that day, these are your people, your supporters. And yet, Sen. Johnson is continuing to put this out there and other Republicans are still saying it's information.
RAJU: Yes. And Ron Johnson has actually been making that case publicly since January 6th, essentially. He has told me repeatedly that he does not think the people that came into this building are the same Trump supporters that he knows, suggesting at yesterday's hearing that perhaps according to this eyewitness account that he referenced, that it was not Trump supporters who were leading the charge, despite the testimony, despite what law enforcement officials say that in fact it was very much Trump supporters who are in this building, including with the videos that everybody has seen for weeks and weeks and weeks of pro-Trump demonstrators in this very building.
But I tried to ask him about what happened there. He's facing criticism from Democrats, some Republicans, too, about his remarks. And he said that he would not do anything differently. In fact, he said he would do exactly the same, again, suggesting that we need the 'full perspective' of what's going on.
But there has been some Republicans like Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois who called Sen. Johnson's comments disgraceful. But there are a sizable number of Republicans in the House in particular, some in the Senate to who do align themselves with Sen. Johnson and one Republican who also does, Erin, of course, is the former President Donald Trump who has spoken to Johnson in recent days as well.
Johnson too, Erin, a big question will be what he decides to do come next year. He's up for reelection. He has not decided whether or not to run but clearly believes that he can court the Trump base as an effort to try to win back his Senate seat in that very pivotal swing state that Joe Biden narrowly won in Wisconsin last year, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes. It's pretty incredible. Obviously, if he does run, he's made his bet. We know which way he's going in terms of courting that base. Manu, thank you very much.
All right. So that lie being put out there, this all didn't stop on the Senate side today. I want to play to you this stunning exchange during today's House hearing on the U.S. Postal Service. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): Democrats spread false information and really blamed Republicans and the previous administration and the Post Office for an attempt to co-op the 2020 elections.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): It was all a charade. All under the guise of creating this crazy chaos that they wanted around the election relative to mail-in balloting.
REP. GERALD CONNOLLY (D-VA): All the gaslighting that we just heard does not change facts. It was Donald Trump. The Republican nominee who was planting the idea aided and abetted by disruptive changes proposed by a new Postmaster General and a compliant Board of Governors that actually eroded the public confidence in the ability to vote by mail.
That wasn't a Democratic narrative that was a Republican narrative by the President of the United States and his enablers. I didn't vote to overturn an election and I will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship. But facts are stubborn things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, facts are stubborn things. And on this, Congressman Connolly is correct. Here's President Trump in August 2020.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They need that
money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. If they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting because they're not equipped to have it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, one of the lawmakers you just heard from, Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly from Virginia. So Congressman, I want to get to your hearing that exchange in just a moment.
First though the breaking news we began at the top of the program and I don't know if you were hooked up and heard this yet, but our KFILE is reporting that Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is a close ally of someone who was in the Capitol mob, someone who says he was there. Very open about it. Said he was part of the group that made it inside the Capitol.
KFILE has looked back at all the records here, Greene has called this man 'amazing', 'a friend' in now deleted videos. She attended pro- Trump rallies with him. What's your reaction?
REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): I find the words and behavior of Marjorie Taylor Greene repugnant. I believe she has no place in the United States Congress and I have called for her expulsion. Her association, by the way, contradicting Ron Johnson, with somebody admitting that he's an avid Trump fan and participated in the insurrection only furthers the sense of repugnance about this individual.
BURNETT: And look, as I said, Mitch McConnell's made it clear who these people were. Kevin McCarthy made it clear in his phone call with the President. The FBI has said there's no evidence that this is anything other than exactly what it was, Trump supporters. And yet, as you say, Republican Senator Ron Johnson is saying that it's fake Trump supporters. Obviously, you got Marjorie Taylor Greene's friend telling you that that's not the case.
But how dangerous is it right now to still have sitting senator out there pushing that lie?
CONNOLLY: This is more gaslighting by Republicans and it's very disturbing. Don't believe what you see and what you know. Believe what I tell you. And we saw that today in the postal hearings we had before our committee, but it is an alarming pattern from all too many prominent Republican figures starting with Donald Trump and being perpetuated by the likes of Ron Johnson and Jim Jordan, and frankly, from Jody Hice today.
BURNETT: So we just heard in that exchange with you, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Hice and - look, I've talked to you many times over the years. This was a stunning moment. You were clearly very passionate. Obviously, the facts are that the President of the United States told people that mail-in balloting was the source of corruption and fraud all the way through. That was his entire narrative.
But what you came out and said is I didn't vote to overturn an election and I won't be lectured by people who did about partisanship. Facts are stubborn things. What made you speak out so forcefully at your colleagues? It seemed to me that that was something that really came to you at that moment that you felt that way at that moment was spontaneous.
CONNOLLY: Mr. Hice who voted to overturn the legitimate valid election results of two states. And by the way, joined in a lawsuit to try to overturn his own home state, Georgia, nonetheless decided to lecture Democrats for daring to exercise their 1st Amendment rights and criticize the Postmaster General of the Postal Service. And I thought that was really a bit much.
And then to make it all special, Mr. Jordan comes along and declares that the narrative that the Postal Service changes inaugurated by DeJoy, the new Postmaster General in the summer, were designed to have a negative political effect on the election in November was all charade. And I pointed out that actually there are federal judges who specifically enjoying those changes and said they were designed to have a political impact on the election.
BURNETT: Before we go, I want to ask you one more quick question. You talk about partisanship. There's a 9/11-style commission that may happen here in Congress to investigate what happened on January 6th. Speaker Pelosi has a proposal, seven Democrats would be on the group, the commission and four Republicans. Republicans say it should be even and 9/11 commission, people who were on that also say it should be even. Do you think it should be even if this is truly going to be a bipartisan investigation?
CONNOLLY: You know, Ceteris Paribus, all other things being equal, that would be a desirable thing. But we don't live in the world of 9/11 anymore. We live in the world of Ron Johnson, and Jim Jordan and Jody Hice who want to fabricate reality and deny things that happened.
And so giving them a platform, I think, is a terribly destructive and risky thing. And so I support the ratio being proposed by the Speaker to take cognizance of the environment we now live in, sadly.
BURNETT: Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
CONNOLLY: My pleasure. Anytime.
BURNETT: All right. And next, the breaking news, Biden taking a big step tonight to rollback Trump's executive actions. This as we are getting you reporting about a big miscalculation in the Biden White House about the President's most endangered nominee.
Plus, the FDA facing an urgent decision about a single dose vaccine that could get to millions of Americans as soon as next week.
And I'm going to talk to the sheriff of Los Angeles County. Did Tiger Woods tell authorities anything that could answer what caused the crash? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: Breaking news, a significant miscalculation by the Biden White House. Multiple aides telling CNN that Biden's team was so confident that the party would get behind his nomination of Neera Tanden to have the Office of Management and Budget that they barely reached out to Republicans. And now not all Democrats are even getting in line. Now, some White House officials are conceding that the nomination may in fact fail.
Kaitlan Collins broke the story and she's OUTFRONT at the White House tonight. So Kaitlan, what more are you learning?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there certainly is a chance that Neera Tanden's nomination to run the Budget Office may not survive the week. That's the big question and we should note that the Senate Committees that were supposed to advance that nomination were supposed to vote at 10 am this morning.
But Erin, they abruptly scheduled those or postpone those, I should say, because what we heard from Sen. Bernie Sanders who leaves the budget panels said earlier tonight they did not have the votes to get Neera Tanden through that committee vote, to move her on to a wider Senate vote. We're still not clear she has the votes.
And we should note that the White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain was just next door to me doing an interview. He said they are still searching for a Republican to vote for her, given the fact that we've heard from Sen. Joe Manchin say he's not voting for her.
And so it's raising a lot of questions because, of course, there are so many concerns that we're hearing from Democrats and Republicans alike about her past tweets. That's a big holdup in part of her nomination process that's happening.
But also the question about the outreach that's happened to Republicans, because we heard from people like Bernie Sanders who say he did not get a heads up from the White House before they said they were going to nominate her to this position. But also some critical votes that could have helped pull her across the line saying they did not get a lot of outreach from the White House either.
But what we are hearing from the White House is they are doing that outreach tonight.
They are trying to get a Republican to vote for her.
Whether or not it's going to be Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is still a big question. She was unaware. Tonight, she told some of our colleagues up on the Hill of some tweets that Neera Tanden had sent about her. And so she said she felt like she still needed to look into her before she can make a final decision on what she was going to do with her.
And so we should note that's what's happening here at the White House. There is a real chance that nomination could fail. The White House is standing by it for now.
And we should also note that tonight President Biden did sign an executive order rolling back some more of his predecessor's moves, including that executive order that President Trump signed that said that they were going to review funding for cities that allowed anarchy and chaos to happen. Of course, that was targeting some of these cities like New York, like Portland that the President was unhappy with.
It also rolls back his memorandum that he wanted all federal government buildings to be made in a certain style, built in a certain style of a certain architecture. It's just seeing another step from President Biden tonight trying to roll back what former President Trump had done.
BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now Bill Kristol, Editor-at-Large at the Bulwark and Gloria Borger.
All right. Gloria, first, how did the White House miscalculate so badly on this? At the very beginning, this issue came out, a lot of these tweets, which were offensive, and personal and partisan. They came out really, early and they don't seem to have seen this coming.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they weren't a secret first of all.
BURNETT: Yes, right. They were tweets.
BORGER: I think everybody in Washington knew about that. But I think the White House's feeling was and remains to a certain degree that Neera Tanden was somebody who could possibly get some Republican support. She was, after all, endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, even Mitch Daniels, the former Republican Head of the Office of Management and Budget, former Governor of Indiana had said she'd be fine at the job.
And so they didn't do as much outreach, perhaps, as they should have, because they also thought once they got control of the Senate, well, sure they were going to get all the Democrats. Well, it isn't working out that way. Once the Joe Manchin of West Virginia said, not so fast, I'm not going to support her. I think they've realized they were in a lot of trouble.
BURNETT: And Bill to this point, though, and it is interesting, you had had criticism of her from the likes of Bernie Sanders at the beginning and they thought they could get Republican support. And yet no, not yet. And Republican Senator John Thune today says, oh, well, this actually isn't about Neera Tanden's tweets. But he did say and I quote him, "But I do think that your digital footprint now should be a reminder that stuff that's all going to come back to bite you at some point."
And then here's what Sen. John Kennedy said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I'm not saying she's a smoked turkey, but the smoker is warming up. I don't think that it's just her tweets. I think her tweets are the manifestation of an attitude that concerns both Democrats and Republicans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: As I've said, Bill, multiple wrongs don't make a right, but Kennedy stood there and defended tweets that I think of an attitude should concern every person on this planet from the president, the former president and no problem with those.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE BULWARK: It's all, in my view, ridiculous. And it's kind of ridiculous to blame the White House. I mean, maybe Joe Biden having served in the Senate for so long should have realize that so many of his former colleagues were just babies and that the one thing they couldn't stand - if Trump's tweets were fine attacking everyone else, all kinds of other vitriol.
I mean, Mike Pompeo was confirmed 66 to 32 for the CIA in 2017. That is a traditionally really nonpartisan job, much more than OMB. Pompeo would have been a tough partisan Congressman. He was not unqualified either and I'm not sure how I would have voted on that myself. But he got 66 votes, all of the Republicans and a bunch of Democrats.
Neera Tanden who ran a major think tank was a tough-minded policy expert, but who was involved in politics and criticized a few senators, and now they're going to defeat her. And also, I mean, who knew about Manchin. He had his own issues with the Biden administration. He's going to vote for the stimulus package, the relief package. He wants to show independence, so he's taking it out on Neera.
I mean, I'm a friend of her, so I'm a little biased. But I find this all taking its - as if the tweets is really the issue. It's so ridiculous. And Sen. Kennedy gave it away. It was not the tweets, but actually it is the tweets which shows an attitude. Well, what attitude? What attitude? (Inaudible) ...
BURNETT: By the way, he went on television in 2019 ...
KRISTOL: ... compared to all of the people they confirmed, Neera Tanden is the one that goes down, you don't think ...
BORGER: It's ridiculous.
BURNETT: And he defended, Gloria, Sen. Kennedy did a racist tweet that Trump sent in 2019. I mean, the guy didn't just ignore Trump tweets, he defended them when he has a problem with Moscow Mitch. Again, I'm not saying it's good to do Moscow Mitch either but this is really choice. BORGER: Well, first of all, if you have a problem with Neera Tanden's
policies and Bernie Sanders might, for example, then take her on, on that, if that's what you want to do. But it is absurd.
It is beyond absurd for these Republicans who pretended by the way that they never read Donald Trump's tweets whenever they were controversial.
BURNETT: All right. Yes, it'd be like, oh, I haven't had the chance to see that today.
BORGER: Yes. Oh, wait a minute. I have. I've been too busy. Suddenly, they had been cataloging every tweet Neera Tanden ever sent. I mean, it is it is absurd.
BURNETT: I'm sorry. Yes.
BORGER: I mean, it is absurd if you don't want to confirm her, if you don't want to give Joe Biden his pick, just say it and tell people why. But hiding behind this is beyond ridiculous.
BURNETT: So Bill, Republicans are though very divided on the path forward for the party and maybe Neera Tanden is something they all can get on one side of. But it was abundantly clear today from House leadership that they have hit a fork in the road and there's no like reconvergence happening here.
I want to play what happened when a reporter asked House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney whether Trump should be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, this weekend. Here are the two responses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Yes, he should.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congresswoman Cheney?
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Yes. That's up to CPAC. I've been clear about my views about President Trump and the extent to which following January 6th - I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.
MCCARTHY: On that high note, thank you all very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And then they literally both go the opposite direction, Bill. Look, you can't have a deep divide like that continue for long.
KRISTOL: Well, you can partly because so many more people are on Kevin McCarthy's side, unfortunately, from my point of view. But it was very indicative that Kevin McCarthy went off one way with his huge retinue of aides and following him and Liz Cheney went off alone in the other direction. A fair number of House members may agree with Liz Cheney, how many would say it? How many would say it, Erin?
Ask yourself that, 10, 15 would actually have the nerve to say that maybe it's not great to have Donald Trump out there front and center. They're all cowed. They're intimidated and so the huge majority of the party right now is with Kevin McCarthy.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And next, a former member Biden's Coronavirus Task Force warning of a potentially catastrophic new surge that could be just weeks away, why? Michael Osterholm is my guest.
Plus, the Los Angeles County Sheriff OUTFRONT with the latest on the Tiger Woods' crash. We have new developments that we're learning this hour.
BURNETT: Tonight, a worrying new coronavirus strain in New York City. Two separate teams of researchers say they found a new variant in New York and in the Northeast that could evade a vaccine benefit. The team at Columbia University says the variant is, quote, surging alarmingly.
It comes as a former member of President Biden's coronavirus task force that is warning of a potentially catastrophic new surge that's just weeks away, and he's OUTFRONT now.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Infectious Disease Research and Policy Center at the University of Minnesota.
So, let me ask you, Professor, obviously, you know, you worked on President Biden's transition Coronavirus Task Force.
You're warning about what could potentially be the worst surge yet with the new variants and now, we've just got this reporting on a new virus strain circulating in New York City in the Northeast with a mutation that two teams of researchers say could weaken vaccine effectiveness. What's your reaction?
MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA'S CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH & POLICY: Well, first of all, we have to keep our eye on the ball, and the ball is right now one particular variant that is very rapidly rising in number here in the United States, what's called B.1.1.7 or the U.K. variant.
This is one that is much more transmissible, 30 percent to 70 percent more than previous strains of the virus, as well as it causes more serious illness. Now, fortunately, it does not evade the protection of vaccine or people previously infected and recovered. And so, I think this is what we need to keep our mind on. If you look at what's happening in Europe, in the Middle East right now, this continues to be a very serious challenge. Many of the countries there have been in lockdown for literally since the holiday season and still now, only now controlling the virus. BURNETT: Obviously, all right. So, I know the one you're talking
about, this is B.1.256. I'm not trying to emphasize the numbers. The point that I'm making, though, is obviously that there's a lot we still don't know here and there are mutations that are happening that are obviously just slightly different than each other in possibly significant ways.
OSTERHOLM: That's right. The third category, as I pointed out, is the one that evades human immunity from either vaccine or from natural infection. Fortunately, outside of South Africa and Brazil, we have not seen these strains spread very well. That's the point right now. We have to keep them surely front and center, but the ones we're really worried about are the ones spreading very quickly across the U.S.
BURNETT: So, you know, I know you've delayed getting your second vaccine dose. You're saying the U.S. government should delay second doses to try to protect against this surge. You laid out the a report to avoid what you say could be a catastrophic situation in the U.S. with the surge.
What is -- what are the most significant things we could do?
OSTERHOLM: Right now, we have to understand protecting those 65 years of age and older is going to provide us with the most impact in terms of reducing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Eighty percent of the deaths in this country have occurred in those 65 of age and older. They also have occupied the most hospital beds, have taken most of the medical care resources.
If we're anywhere like you see in Europe, for example, the Czech Republic today announced they may be running out of intensive care unit beds because of this particular strain of virus, B.1.1.7. Well, we don't want our health care systems in a sense overrun so we can't provide that care.
So focusing a vaccine on that older age group, which may not be popular with some, but right now as it stands, over 30 million Americans who are 65 years of age and older will not have a single drop of vaccine before the end of March.
BURNETT: Wow. Certainly pretty sobering given this headline just crossing from these two research teams this hour.
Thank you so much, professor, as always.
OSTERHOLM: Thank you.
BURNETT: And two crises colliding in the state of Texas, the pandemic and no electricity and water.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT in Houston.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tanya Delacruz's oxygen level dropped and her temperature shot up on the coldest night in south Texas.
How much more complicated was it to deal with that, given you had no electricity or water and all that stuff?
TANIA DELACRUZ, DEVELOPED COVI-19 SYMPTOMS DURING THE STORM: It was pretty bad because even though you would try to cover up with all the blankets I could find, I was still feeling cold.
MARQUEZ: So, you had chills?
DELACRUZ: Yes. And then the cough. The colder it is, the more prone the attacks come.
MARQUEZ: Graziano Lopez was on oxygen recuperating from COVID-19 at home. Then his electricity went out and the batteries on his oxygen machine died.
When I don't get oxygen, he says, to the floor I go.
Sandra Aguirre is on the mend. Now she's worried about three other family members who had COVID-19. For two days, my family had to rent a hotel just to stay warm, she says and I was here, and all I could do was worry about my kids.
Houston's United Memorial Medical Center, a hospital CNN has twice visited as the pandemic raged, is seeing fewer patients today. One concern, the storm may produce another spike in cases.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't care about COVID. We had a bunch of shelters open to keep people warm. You know the shelter is a giant Petri dish. So, I do expect that in the next few days, we're going to have a small spike in a number of cases.
MARQUEZ: Like many hospitals, UMCC pipes burst but staff worked right through the worst of it.
Anita Pandey's home is still unlivable. Her family now with relatives.
ANITA PANDEY, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, UNITED MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER: Looking for the patients looking to us to make sure we take care of them even though they knew we had an emergency, make sure we support 100 percent and provide both medical and emotional care was above my own personal concern.
MARQUEZ: Alethea Juarez's husband just got over COVID-19.
ALETHEA JUAREZ, HOME SUFFERED WATER DAMAGE FROM BURST PIPES: This was our master bedroom, our master bathroom, and our two walk-in closets.
MARQUEZ: Like so many Texans, now this.
JUAREZ: When we came home, we discovered a waterfall right here, and it also had collapsed in my closet. The light ballast was hanging down, sheet rock was down. Everything in my closet was destroyed.
MARQUEZ: Home after home across nearly the entire state damaged by frozen and burst pipes. We met Mike Phillips four years ago on a boat in flooded Houston neighborhoods after Hurricane Harvey. He says this is worse.
MIKE PHILLIPS: It's widespread across Texas. And no one was spared. These busted pipes, whether you lived in Lubbock, Texas, or you lived here in Houston, Texas, we all experienced the same problems.
MARQUEZ (on camera): Now, before this latest storm, the most costly disaster in the Lone Star State was Hurricane Harvey four years ago. That cost, in today's dollars, $20 billion. That's billion with a B. This storm hit all 254 counties across the Lone Star State. They expect when it's all totaled up, it's going to cost even more -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Miguel.
And next, we are learning new details tonight about just how many current and former members of the military were involved in the deadly insurrection. Plus, authorities say there's no indication Tiger Woods was impaired before his crash. Could he have been distracted? We don't know.
The Los Angeles County sheriff will be OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Breaking news, the acting U.S. Capitol Police chief is prepared to testify tomorrow that the Secret Service may not have brought former Vice President Pence to Congress to oversee the Electoral College certification if there was better intelligence about the insurrection. This, as we learn more tonight about who was allegedly behind the deadly riot.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The radical right wing Oath Keepers celebrated on social media the violent attack against what they falsely called a stolen election.
If that was a big day for Jessica Watkins from Ohio, so was her day in court, asking to be set free while awaiting trial. CNN has now confirmed 27 current or former members of the military are facing charges. An Army veteran, Watkins is accused of conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, destroying property and more.
She denies it all that she believed she was answering the call of President Trump and providing security for VIPs. But the main argument from her lawyer, she fell prey to the false and inflammatory claims of the former president, his supporters and the right wing media.
However misguided, her intentions were not in any way related to an intention to overthrow the government but to support what she believed to be the lawful government. Those claims have not yet been fully argued in court. Another hearing is set for later this week.
They're essentially arguing she was in an alternate reality. Is that a reasonable defense?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In my judgment, it will not be persuasive. Not only was it insurrection, but it also was violence in pursuit of a political objective which is domestic terrorism.
FOREMAN: Others are showing up in court, too. Among them, Douglas Jensen of Iowa, the man with a QAnon shirt seen chasing down Officer Eugene Goodman.
William Chrestman, associated with the Proud Boys and implicated in alleged conspiracy. Houston cop Tampham who resigned from the force and says he went to the Trump rally to see history. And Pennsylvania Policeman Joseph Fischer who has been suspended, accused of fighting Capitol police officer. He allegedly told his boss, no regrets.
FOREMAN (on camera): So far, the courts don't appear to be applying a consistent standard in terms of who goes free and who stays locked up. And some decisions that are made are being turned over in a matter of days. All that suggests that the prosecution of all these folks is already messy and, as you move to full trials, it could get a lot messier -- Erin.
BURNETT: Tom, thank you.
And next, authorities say Tiger Woods was alert after he lost control of his SUV. So, what did he tell authorities? The Los Angeles County sheriff is next.
Plus, CNN learning an unclassified report about the murder of journal Jamal Khashoggi could be released as soon as tomorrow. What we're learning right now about that report.
BURNETT: Tonight, purely an accident. That is exactly how the Los Angeles County sheriff, who you will hear from in a moment, is describing the horrific car crash that has golfer Tiger Woods in the hospital now for a second day. He suffered serious leg injuries that required surgeries including inserting a rod into one of his leg bones.
Nick Watt is OUTFRONT with the latest we know.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the road Tiger Woods was driving alone early Tuesday morning.
He hit that median, then the curb, flipped and rolled hundreds of feet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Woods wasn't initially reacting to any pain. Unfortunately, I'm sure he's in horrible pain today.
WATT: He suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right leg.
DR. SCOTT BODEN, PROFESSOR OF ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: We're assuming he broke both of those bones somewhere below the knee.
WATT: Open fractures. He underwent a long surgical procedure.
BODEN: One of the reasons he probably had emergency surgery was because it was a compound fracture, meaning there was a break in the skin and that means that there's an increased risk of infection.
WATT: His leg was stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia. Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.
BODEN: For an elite athlete like Tiger, you know, he's got as good a chance of coming back from this as anybody does. We know never to count Tiger out from a recovery.
WATT: By the end of the day, Woods was awake, responsive and recovering.
Woods was supposed to be filming more content for Golf TV and "Golf Digest" teaching celebrities how to play. It was Dwyane Wade Monday.
DWYANE WADE, FORMER NBA STAR: I say the golf. He's not comfortable with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No skid marks, no braking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was wearing a speed limit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weather is not a factor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The speed limit is 45 miles per hour. When I'm doing speed enforcement. I will sometimes catch people going 80 miles per hour.
WATT: No signs of impairment.
SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY CALIFORNIA: He was lucid. No odor of alcohol, no evidence of medication, narcotics or anything like that.
WATT: It's unknown if Woods was on the phone. VILLANUEVA: We'll find out on that. I'm sure his phone records might
be relevant to that itself. That's going to be up to the investigators. And they'll require a search warrant for that.
WATT: The hill, the turns, this is a no-accident black spot.
WATT (on camera): There have been 13 accidents here in just the past year and this afternoon county officials ordered a safety review of this treachery road. Now, the only saving grace is that after Woods jumped the median, there was nobody driving up the hill. He didn't hit anybody else before he got to the curb, flipped and rolled through this brush -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Nick. Thank you very much.
And as I said, I want to go now to the Los Angeles County sheriff, Alex Villanueva.
Sheriff, I appreciate your time.
You obviously have said this was, quote, purely an accident. We heard you there saying no indications that Woods was impaired. Have you seen a toxicology report or -- at this point?
SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: No, we have not seen any report like that. And again, to get to those types of reports, we have to prepare it, a search warrant and establish probable cause. But there is no evidence of impairment or type of intoxication will get us to that point.
BURNETT: So, you're not even -- there won't be a toxicology report, basically, at this point, you're saying?
VILLANUEVA: Not for our purposes, for the traffic investigation.
BURNETT: So he was alert at the scene as your officers have said. Did he say anything that could have indicated a cause of the crash?
VILLANUEVA: Yeah. He actually at the scene, he made no comments regarding that. He wasn't questioned. At the hospital he was asked by the investigators and had no recollection of the crash itself.
BURNETT: Wow, so no recollection of it at all.
You know, one of the things we just saw there in our reporter's piece, right, was the speed limit here is posted at 45. I know it's a hill. He was saying they regularly clock people going at 80-plus.
You've said no skid marks, no evidence that he even hit the brakes. Do you have any determination yet of how fast he was going?
VILLANUEVA: That's going to be tough to figure out. I mean, if we can get the vehicle itself, from the black box perhaps, it will give us a cause of the accident. There is a variety of factors. It could be inattention, could be speed. We don't know yet.
But this will be treated strictly as an accident.
BURNETT: Have you subpoenaed phone records to see if he was possibly distracted while driving?
VILLANUEVA: Again, to get to the point of issuing a subpoena, we'd have some sort of probable cause to ask for it. We'd have no elements that would give us a probable cause to get to that.
BURNETT: So let me ask you because, you know, you're saying that investigators did have a chance to speak to him at the hospital. I know you said he didn't have any recollection of the actual crash itself. Was there anything else that he told you that was useful?
VILLANUEVA: Not for the purposes of investigators, no.
BURNETT: No. So where do you go from here then, Sheriff?
VILLANUEVA: Well, they're going to do their analysis with other physical stuff they have in their possession. What do they get out of the vehicle, we'll do an estimation of what the speeds were, the different factors, and they'll arrive at a conclusion what the cause of the accident was, and that's where it will end.
There will be no citations. Obviously, there is no crime involved, and it will be an issue of, obviously, insurance.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Sheriff Villanueva, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much, sir.
VILLANUEVA: You got it.
BURNETT: All right. Sheriff Villanueva there from L.A. County.
And next, the U.S. Intelligence Committee set to release a long awaited report about the death of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden says he has read an intelligence report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but he will be talking to Saudi King Salman, a conversation the White House says will happen soon.
So, this comes as multiple sources tell CNN that an unclassified report on Khashoggi's murder could be released as soon as tomorrow.
It was obviously a horrific, horrific, brutal murder.
The report is expected to include new details about those who were behind Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, right? Went in to get that visa, and then never came out.
Shortly after Khashoggi's death, the CIA assessed with high confidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the killing. President Trump, though, defended the crown prince and never took action -- never took any action whatsoever.
Now, ahead of this major intelligence report, tonight, we are learning and this is very interesting new detail here, that two private jets used by a Saudi Arabian assassination squad that killed Khashoggi were owned by a company that less than a year before had been seized by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Now, just hold on it for a moment, because those two private planes they tracked them, right, from Riyadh, through other places in the Middle East, all the way up to Istanbul and now, finding this link to a company from the crown prince, this comes, according to recently filed documents as part of a Canadian civil lawsuit labeled "top secret" and signed by a Saudi minister who relayed the orders of the crown prince, the young de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.
Here is the quote. According to his instruction, his highness, the crown prince, the minister wrote according to a translation, immediately approved the completion of the necessary procedures for this.
Obviously, a very big story here. Any information that they give here obviously maybe worldwide top story. We'll be bringing it to you tomorrow.
Thanks so much for joining us and don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime anywhere. You just have to go to CNNgo.
"AC360" starts right now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: So is it the party of Lincoln or the party of Trump?
John Berman here in for Anderson, and that's the question today again after a number of Republicans twisted themselves into pretzels to show their fealty to the one-time, one-term, twice impeached president. It's coming in the run-up to a speech this weekend at the CPAC conference in Florida.