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Erin Burnett Outfront

COVID Relief Bill on Hold as Manchin Balks on Key Issue; Biden's 1st Major Piece of Legislation on Hold as Manchin Balks; Former State Dept. Aide Appointed by Trump Charged with Attacking Police During Capitol Insurrection; Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) Discusses About His Take on Trump Appointee Involved in the Capitol Deadly Insurrection; Cuomo Sexual Harassment Accuser: He Should Step Down. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 05, 2021 - 19:00   ET



PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I'll give you another example of something that the Governor said this week.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Very quickly, we only have a few seconds.

BHARARA: He was asked if he took the same sexual harassment training that other people did. He said yes. That should be readily provable and goes to his state of mind.

BLITZER: All right. Preet Bharara, we're going to continue this conversation. Thanks very much. And to our viewers, thanks for watching.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, a furious effort underway to lock down support for Biden's COVID relief bill and it's a Democrat who's causing the standstill tonight. What is the holdup?

Plus, a Trump appointee charged for his role in the deadly insurrection. But the FBI is accusing this former State Department official of doing during the riot.

And a CNN analysis reveals the U.S. could reach herd immunity by late summer. Is that when life finally gets back to normal? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight we have breaking news, Democrats desperately scrambling to make a deal tonight. That's because President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill is at this moment at a standstill and not all because of Republicans, right now it's all about Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia.

As we speak, Democratic leaders are racing to keep Manchin from defecting overextending unemployment benefits. Democrats thought they had a deal that would extend benefits through the end of September. But Manchin's balking at that proposal and has been balking now for hours.

The fear tonight is that the moderate West Virginia senator will side with Republicans. That could put Biden's first major piece of legislation in jeopardy. And let's be clear, there is no room for error on either side, given the 50-50 split in the Senate. And adding to the nail biter that this already his Republicans are now down one senator, Sen. Dan Sullivan.

He's flying home to Alaska tonight after his father-in-law passed away. There's so much going on. Let's get straight over to Manu Raju. He is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill for us this evening. Manu, is there any sign where this is headed tonight?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, things are stuck right now. In fact, that is the words of one Democratic senator who's involved in these negotiations, telling another Republican, telling a Republican Senator, John Cornyn, who just told me moments ago that he has been told they're 'stuck'.

And behind the scenes, there is a furious effort to win over Joe Manchin to get him behind this proposal that was reached. This last- minute deal that was reached between the White House and Democratic leaders to extend jobless benefits at $300 a week through September. That also would include tax-deductible provisions to ensure that the first $10,200 of someone's jobless benefits can't be taxed.

That specific piece has prompted concerns from Joe Manchin who never signed off on that as these negotiations were happening behind the scenes and even as the White House came out and said it publicly supported that plan. Now, the concern among the Democrats is that Joe Manchin may break ranks and vote instead for a Republican alternative that would just extend benefits at $300 a week through July.

And if he were to break ranks, that is enough to amend the bill, assuming all Republican senators are united. And behind the scenes, Republicans have been pressing upon their members to get behind that alternative plan, believing that it could undercut the Democratic effort to keep their coalition together and narrowly passed the overall $1.9 trillion proposal that is being backed by just Democrats at the moment, progressives and moderates.

But any change as significant as this could upset that balance. So that is why Joe Biden has been on the phone, I'm told, with Joe Manchin trying to get him onboard. But at the moment that has not worked, Kate, as Democrats fear that they could lose on this key vote and it could slow things down dramatically, given that they're going to have to pass this on their own as Republicans overall oppose this plan.

So, a lot of concern, there's negotiations behind the scene. And Kate, today was supposed to be a day of a flurry of amendments they were going to be voting on one after the other. Most of them would fail if not all of them would fail, maybe except for a couple, but they have not voted for hours. The Senate has opened up a vote at 11 am Eastern Time. Right now, it's seven o'clock in the East, that vote is still open because they're trying to figure out how to deal with Joe Manchin as Democrats are concerned about what's next, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. In summary, a total mess right now. Manu, thank you very much. OUTFRONT now is Abby Phillip, CNN Senior Political Correspondent, Anchor of INSIDE POLITICS Sunday and Van Jones, CNN Political Commentator and former Special Adviser to President Obama.

Abby, a GOP amendment on minimum wage is definitely not the thought of bipartisanship added to this bill that Democrats, especially Joe Biden, were thinking about on their way into this. I mean, is this thing falling apart before our eyes and not because of Republicans?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it may very well be. I mean, what's happening now is fascinating.


The question is, what does Joe Manchin want exactly, and I think that is what the White House and Democrats on the Hill are trying to desperately to figure out. Manchin is unlikely to want to be the person who kills this effort all together. I mean, look, he doesn't like the size of the bill. He believes that it is not targeted enough, but the idea that the debt of $1.9 trillion in COVID-related aid would fall on his shoulders seems to be a bridge too far. But he wants to get something, and the question is what is that thing.

I think, if they can get that without losing the progressives, they might be in business but Joe Manchin right now, I think, is trying to show by slowing this down so much. We're talking eight hours now of this amendment being open. He is trying to signal to them that they need to come to the table with something that's fairly significant for him.

BOLDUAN: And look, I'm going to venture to guess that one phone call to Joe Manchin and that asking the question that Abby is asking, Van, of what do you want, that should have been able to be answered in 30 minutes, not in eight hours. So there really is something going on.

I mean, what does the show about the power that Sen. Joe Manchin holds right now? And also, honestly, Van, what a mess, knowing that Manchin signed on to this deal amongst Democrats before going ahead with it?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, this is a big chunk of the Biden presidency is hanging by a thread and that thread is in the hands of one senator. And he needs two things, I would imagine Manchin on the one hand, he does want to flex some muscle, he wants to show that he's a different kind of Democrat. He does have a very different electorate to answer to back in West Virginia. But I hope he also is trying to get something deliverable for his own constituents so we can move forward.

It is very hard to understand how a Joe Biden who is such a good deal maker, who is such a good relationship manager could find himself in this position. Something went wrong and it went wrong very badly. But this is something you should be able to work out. There should be a deal here. Certainly, Manchin has made his point that he can be taken for

granted, that he thinks about these things differently than other Democrats. I think the people at home know that. Now we need to get moving with some kind of deal to help people, otherwise he can go from being a somebody who might be seen as a grand standard to being the skunk at the garden party that undermine the Biden presidency. I don't think he wants that.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And look, you hit the nail on the head, Van, which is Joe Biden is known for being the guy they bring in at the end to strike a deal when it comes to the Senate. I remember being on Capitol Hill, chasing folks around and when you saw then Vice President Biden coming on the Hill, walking and be like going behind closed doors, that's when the deal was struck.

JONES: Yes, every time.

BOLDUAN: Every time. And so, it's really amazing to see this playing out right now. I mean, there is already, as we are at a standstill, there's already though video, Abby, from this vote-a-rama that's getting quite a lot of attention. And it's another senator who has been yielding quite a bit of power, which is Sen. Sinema from Arizona when she voted no on the $15 minimum wage brought forward by Bernie Sanders. Just watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ms. Sinema. Ms. Sinema, no.


BOLDUAN: Those like four seconds and what you saw lit up the internet, people calling this like a Marie Antoinette moment even. But that aside, I mean, how smart politically is it for a Democratic senator voting against a minimum wage increase and in this way?

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, first of all, I'm not sure it's entirely fair to assume that she was being flippant by doing that. I mean, if you know Sen. Sinema, she's a colorful personality, so that's kind of how she operates. But beyond that, look, the moderate Democrats are making a calculation that they can engage on this issue down the road separately and perhaps for a lower degree, a lower level, less than $15 and so they don't want to deal with this in the COVID Bill.

And I kind of take them at their word on that. I think it's not just of moderate Democratic position. There are a lot of moderate Republicans who are willing to do that, so that's certainly the case. I get that progressives, however, feel like this is the train that is moving out of the station.

It should be in it right now and that is why you're going to see a lot of anger directed at Sinema and Manchin, and those others, the six other Democrats who voted against this amendment today. Because from a principle perspective, this is the train that's leaving the station and progressives think that the minimum wage should be on it.


BOLDUAN: And that is an excellent point, Abby. It's not just these two senators we're talking about. There were, what is it, eight altogether, seven or eight that voted against this minimum wage increase, Bernie Sanders is the one who brought it forward.

And I'm going to put it this way and you can disagree with me, Van. Bernie Sanders is the one that forced this vote and I'm wondering what's more of a problem here. Sanders forcing a vote, forcing his Democratic friends on the record on this when he could have guessed it might turn out this way. When they knew it wasn't going to be included in this bill or you've got seven Democrats and an Independent voting against it.

JONES: Look, you got to give Bernie Sanders a lot of credit. He has a progressive base and the progressive base is a big part of this party. You have the young Turks and a bunch of other progressive forces saying if we're not going to fight now, this is the one chance, this is a must pass bill, you've got to pass it. This is the time to fight for our values. If we're not going to fight now and if we're going to preemptively surrender, don't even take the vote, why did we just kill ourselves in November and then in January to get the majority and to put that gavel in the hands of Democrats.

So, I think you can have sympathy for everybody in this thing. But Bernie Sanders, you know who he is. You know what he stands for. When he was given that gavel, you should expect him to use it for progressive causes and he did. The big problem that I think we have is this is suicide for Democratic Party to try to go into a midterm election here in about 20 minutes, not in danger of not delivering on stuff that people went out and voted for in terms of a big COVID relief bill, in terms of a minimum wage increase.

And so listen, we have a big party. It goes from Bernie to Manchin, both of them have challenges, but Manchin is the one who has the opportunity to do a reasonable deal and get this thing done.

BOLDUAN: It's really amazing what we're watching tonight. It's great to see you guys. Thanks.

OUTFRONT for us next, serious charges tonight against a Trump appointee. The former State Department official who had top secret level security clearance accused of storming the Capitol and assaulting police officers.

Plus, the White House is weighing in on why the Detroit Mayor would turn down thousands of Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

And we have more breaking developments, also a major sign that the investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is heating up.



BOLDUAN: New tonight, the first member of the Trump administration to be charged in connection to the deadly insurrection. Federico Klein was arrested yesterday and charged for his alleged role on siege. Authority say he stormed the Capitol and assaulted a police officer.

He was a Trump appointee in the State Department who also worked for the Trump campaign in 2016. He even held a top-secret level security clearance at the time of the riot. According to the FBI, Klein, who can be seen in photos is accused of using a police riot shield to pry open a door as well as attack a police line for several minutes.

This man was working for the federal government at the time he attacked the federal government, according to authorities. He was wearing MAGA hat during the riot and when it fell out, you can see it's highlighted there, when it fell off he started looking, searching for it on the ground only to put on another hat that turned out not to be his own.

In court today, Klein didn't apologize for what he's accused of. Rather he complains to the judge about the conditions of the jail where he's being held. Let me read this.

He says, "I wonder if there's a place I can stay in detention where there's not cockroaches crawling over me everywhere while I'm trying to sleep. I haven't really slept at all, Your Honor."

A reminder, five people died because of the insurrection and this guy is complaining about cockroaches.

Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez is OUTFRONT with me right now. Evan, what else do we know about Klein?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Apparently, Kate, he stood out among his colleagues at the State Department for his fervor, for the Trump MAGA movement. And it turns out, at least one of those people that worked with him turned him in to the FBI. He's one of several people who tipped the FBI off as to who he was.

And keep in mind after he participated, allegedly participated in the riot, he went back to work at the State Department. He didn't resign until January 21st. And according to prosecutors, as you pointed out, he participated in the riot. He somehow got a hold of a police shield, which he used to hold open an entrance in order for the mob to be able to get into the building. He was seen in some of those photographs that you're showing right now, engaging with the police line.

According to prosecutors, he was assaulting these officers. He's charged with six counts. And one of the things that's interesting is that he worked not only in the campaign, he worked in the transition and then worked in the Freedom of Information Act area in the Western Hemisphere section of the State Department. And apparently those are the folks who - somebody who worked with him, called the FBI and told them who he was after the FBI circulated some of the pictures that you're seeing.

BOLDUAN: Wow. Evan, thank you.

OUTFRONT now Democratic Congressman from Michigan, Dan Kildee. Congressman, this is the first known Trump appointee to be arrested in connection to the deadly insurrection. He served in the State Department. I mean, what is your reaction to this?

REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): Well, it's sad and I wish I could be more surprised by it. But Donald Trump brought a lot of people into government that felt about the United States the way he does. He doesn't believe in the principles of democracy. Apparently, this person went along with that. And it's sad and kind of depressing to think that there still may be people working in the United States government that Donald Trump brought into government that share these same views. It's a frightening thing.

BOLDUAN: Now, CNN reported just yesterday that federal investigators are looking at communication records between people who are in the pro-Trump mob and members of Congress. And Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, she posted nearly a 2,000-page report on the social media posts by House Republicans who had voted to overturn the election. Paul Gosar is one of them.

And he tweeted, she just used this one example and I want to read you what he tweeted in just the days before the riot.


He tweeted out, "Patriots: The time is now. HOLD THE LINE. Join me in D.C. January 6th. #FIGHTFORTRUMP."

And in another he tweeted, "Sedition and treason for stealing votes is appropriate." We don't know what's going to come from this look by federal investigators, that's for sure. But do you think that it's likely that they will find more connections between lawmakers and rioters?

KILDEE: I think it's very likely. There are so many members of Congress, some of them that are more obvious like Paul Gosar and a few others that sort of share these really bizarre views. But there's a certain amount of responsibility that goes with those members of Congress who kind of went along for the ride, because it was good for their politics. They try to separate themselves from the Louie Gohmerts, and the Paul Gosars, and the Marjorie Taylor Greenes and the Lauren Boeberts.

But they still vote the same way. They still validated that ridiculous claim of a stolen election. So I think it's important that those who were actively involved are held to account and potentially face liability, legal responsibility for what they did.

But let's not forget that those who are sort of wringing their hands trying to separate themselves from these really kind of weird and bizarre members of Congress, they have responsibility for what took place as well, because they confirmed that lie in much softer terms.

BOLDUAN: I have to say you've spoken to me very candidly since the insurrection about how you've said that you're going to carry the trauma of January 6th with you for the rest of your life. And I know folks will remember that during the impeachment trial, video that you recorded during the riot, during the attempted insurrection was actually used as evidence. I just want to show folks.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your pins off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take your pins off.



BOLDUAN: It hits me every time I have to hear, because you can hear it in your voice, Congressman, and you've said that you've struggled since then really interacting with these members that we're talking about here, who voted to overturn the election results, even after all that you all live through. If there's communication between any members and anyone who stormed that building, how do you work with them?

KILDEE: It's hard. It's really difficult. We have to work in the same place. We have to address many of the same issues. And in some ways, I'll have to work side by side with them. But I think of those members differently than I do those Republicans who had the courage and basically the steel in their spine, knowing that they would face repercussions from their constituents who are as deranged as some of these members are. I treat them differently. I think of them differently and there's no way for me to erase that.

And I hope that as this goes forward, that the history of this moment will not be rewritten by some of these members to try to sanitize what was really an ugly role that they played in this whole insurrection.

BOLDUAN: I'll tell you, one person who's already trying to sanitize and rewrite history here is some of the people who are in jail right now. Let me play for you what one of these rioters, the so-called Q shaman told Laurie Segall for CBS News. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My actions were not an attack on this country. I sang a song and that's a part of shamanism. It's about creating positive vibrations in a sacred chamber. I also stopped people from stealing and vandalizing that sacred space, the Senate. OK. I actually stopped somebody from stealing muffins out of the break room.


BOLDUAN: After all of this, what's your reaction to hearing that?

KILDEE: I mean, it's always somebody else's fault in the minds of these folks. This is a classic Trumpism. It's always somebody else's fault, trying to paint themselves as some sort of a victim or hero when in truth that very same person broke windows to get into the United States Capitol with a mob who intended to hang Mike Pence and kill as many of us as they could get their hands on. There's no escaping that and there's no erasing that.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thank you for coming on.

KILDEE: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, we have breaking news. A new CNN analysis predicts that the U.S. could reach herd immunity by late summer, but what will it take to get there?

And we have more breaking news, New York's Attorney General making a major move when it comes to her investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, the U.S. could reach herd immunity by late summer just through vaccines. That's according to a new CNN analysis which found that at the current pace of about 2 million doses administered per day and when you factor in the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 70 percent of the U.S. population will be fully vaccinated around the end of July and 85 percent by mid-September. Yet there are still real issues with vaccine hesitancy in this country. Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The city of Detroit just declined a shipment of Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine, more than 6,000 doses. The Mayor claims he has enough of the other vaccines to meet demand.


MAYOR MIKE DUGGAN (D-MI), DETROIT: Moderna and Pfizer are the best and I am going to do everything I can to make sure the residents of the City of Detroit get the best.

ANDY SLAVITT, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: We've been in constant dialogue with Mayor Duggan who said, in fact, that was not what he said.


WATT (voice-over): Well, it is what he said. Maybe he misspoke. Either way, it's wrong. All three vaccines are ...


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Extraordinarily effective in preventing severe disease and we don't compare one to the other. The only way that you can effectively do that is by having head-to-head comparisons in a clinical trial, which was not done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.


WATT (voice-over): More than 10 percent of American adults are now fully vaccinated, but still no CDC guidance on how they should behave.



DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: These are complex issues, and the science is rapidly evolving. We're making sure and taking the time to get this right. And we will be releasing this guidance soon.

WATT: Meantime, vaccine optimism is fueling the rollback of restrictions. Today, Michigan upped indoor dining capacity. No more mask mandate in Mississippi.

Today, the governor of Texas doubling down on his controversial decision to end the mask mandate and open businesses.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): We are in a situation where it is safe to open up 100 percent. And every Texan here, and every Texan across the state, they have learned for the past year the safe strategies to use.

WATT: Also, today, more data published showing mask mandates do reduce COVID-19 case counts and deaths. And when restaurants reopen in person, cases and deaths do go up.

ANDY SLAVITT, SENIOR ADVISER TO WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM: Wear a mask now so we can get to a place where you don't have to.

WATT: Case counts were heading there but plateaued about ten days ago. Could be fatigue, complacency, and those more contagious variants kicking in.


WATT (on camera): So lots of movement today on states reopening. Here in California, they just announced amusement parks, Disneyland, can reopen April 1st. Everyone is going to wear a mask. South Carolina just said you no longer need to wear a mask in government building and restaurants.

And it's interesting what's happening in Arizona and West Virginia. Both states are opening bars, restaurants, gyms, 100 percent, but keeping their mask restrictions. There is some thought that the best way to get back to any kind of normalcy is to keep the masks -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's right. Thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

OUTFRONT for us now is Dr. Jonathan Reiner, cardiologist who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush.

So, herd immunity, Dr. Reiner, by late July, this according to a new CNN analysis. How significant is this, if we could really hit that this summer? And in practical terms, what does this mean, that we'll be able to do? DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, this is what we --

this is what we've been working for, is to vaccinate enough people that the virus essentially is suppressed and doesn't transmit efficiently in the community. Right now, we're giving about 2 million doses of vaccine per day. It's an enormous achievement. And I think we need to up our game and go to 3 million.

Right now, we've done a good job at vaccinating the elderly and those in nursing homes. We're working our way through risk groups. But it's time to start consideration of vaccinating the people who are spreading the virus. Those are people between the ages to 20 and 49.

Right now, they're last in line to get the vaccine. But those are the people that are spreading about two-thirds of the infections in the country. We have almost 30 million doses of vaccine on the shelf. And as we start to vaccinate more people, we need to open this up to the younger folks in this country who are spreading the virus.

As we move towards herd immunity, we'll be able to do things we haven't been able to do for a year. We'll be able to sit in restaurants, we'll be able to congregate in ballparks, go to concerts again. I think we're going to have masks with us for an extended period of time. But this will open us up to a much more normal life. And I think when the holidays and the fall come about, we're going to be meeting with family again.

So, the skies are really blue ahead, but we have a lot to do. And we need to vaccinate as many people as we can, as quickly as we can.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. And to that point, I mean, you have the mayor of Detroit, he rejected 6,200 doses of vaccine because of the misinformed view on the J&J vaccine. And I'm just wondering, what are people missing about this? Even leaders of big cities who should know better, they're having a hard time.

REINER: Well, that was a sadly ignorant comment by the Detroit mayor. Look, the only number that people need to know about the J&J vaccine is 100. It's 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalization and death. That's all we want from a vaccine, it's a fabulous vaccine.

Look, Detroit has one of the largest African American populations in the United States. And sadly, this population of Americans has the most vaccine hesitancy. Thirty-one percent of African Americans say they won't get the vaccine. Another 20 percent say they're unsure.

So over 50 percent of the African American population is either unsure or is not going to get the shot. I talk to my patients every week about this.


Every patient, I ask, tell me your concerns. So, to have the mayor throw shade on the vaccine is really very unproductive at best. It's a great vaccine. It's a one-shot vaccine. And in fact, it's the only vaccine that in clinical trials has been studied against the variants and is very effective in preventing severe illness in the highly contagious variant population.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, vaccine hesitancy is already a problem. Dealing with even more misinformation from the people you trust makes it even tougher.

It's good to see you, Doctor. Thank you.

REINER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, one of Governor Cuomo's accusers revealing who she reported her allegations to and what the response from his office.


CHARLOTTE BENNETT, FORMER AIDE TO GOV. ANDREW CUOMO: It felt like to me, I had a new job, we didn't have to investigate this.


BOLDUAN: Plus, former President Trump slamming Joe Biden on immigration. The White House responds.


BOLDUAN: And breaking news, a major sign the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is heating up. A spokesperson for the New York attorney general confirming it has asked the governor's office to preserve evidence related to the allegations now. This comes as one of the accusers, Charlotte Bennett, shares more her story.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT with this.

Jason, what is Bennett saying?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're hearing a lot more from Charlotte Bennett. She talked about the prospects of an investigation, and she also says it is now time for the governor to tell the truth.


BENNETT: He is a textbook abuser.

CARROLL (voice-over): Tonight, Charlotte Bennett providing more details surrounding allegations New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed her in what she says happened after she reported it.

BENNETT: It felt like if I got to new job, we didn't have to investigate this. And I really did not want it to be investigated. I was terrified.

CARROLL: Bennett is Cuomo's former executive assistant. The 25-year- old detailed private conversations she says she had with the governor, June 5th, in his office. BENNETT: He wanted a girlfriend. When he said he was lonely, I

mentioned that his daughters had been around. And he also rejected that. And said, yeah. I love my daughters. But that's -- I want a girlfriend.

CARROLL: Bennett says she felt the governor was trying to groom her through his line of questioning. And said she was called back the next day.

BENNETT: I was terrified. I was shaking. I thought any moment, something can happen. And I have no power here.

CARROLL: Days after the alleged incident, Bennett says she reported it to the governor's chief of staff, and was moved to a different position, not working directly with Cuomo. She described a follow-up meeting with the governor's chief of staff and general counsel.

NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS ANCHOR: What do you think should happen to Andrew Cuomo?

CARROLL: I think he should start telling the truth. I'm really confident in this investigation. But if this investigation finds that he has conducted himself this way, which he absolutely has, because I have contemporaneous evidence, he should step down.

CARROLL: When asked to comment, a spokesperson for the governor referred CNN to his Wednesday press conference.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I'm sorry. I'm sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone. I never intended it. And I will be the better for this experience.

CARROLL: All this, as "The Wall Street Journal" and "The New York Times" both publishing reports alleging that governor's aides changed the state health department report in June of 2020, to hide higher death tolls among nursing home residents.

The initial report not made public at the, time listed deaths at long term care facilities in this day and nearly 10,000. A stark contrast to what the Cuomo administration was publicly saying about those deaths, putting the count at about half that number.

The administration's public count only included residents who died a long-term care facilities, not residents who got sick in later died of hospitals.

Special counsel to Governor Cuomo saying the administration, consistently followed federal guidelines. Seeing the facility David was omitted after DOH, the Department of Health could not confirm it had been adequately verified. This did not change the conclusion of the report.

When it comes to those additional comments, from Charlotte Bennett, CNN did reach out to the governor's office, the governor's special counsel gave us a statement, which reads in part, we continue to believe that the matter was handled appropriately. And we look forward to cooperating fully with the attorney generals review -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Jason, thank you.

OUTFRONT for us next, Joe Biden caught between Republicans and progressive Democrats over what to do with the surge of migrants at the southern border.

Plus, getting vaccines to those who are hardest to reach.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a blessing it's great. I hope everybody that takes it, they'll be well.




BOLDUAN: New tonight, former President Trump slamming President Biden on immigration, as this administration looks to open more tent facilities across the country, amid a surge of migrants at the southern border. Biden officials also are telling facilities caring for migrant children to reopen to pre-pandemic levels.

So, Donald Trump is saying this, in part, quote, our border is not totally out of control, thanks to the disastrous leadership of Joe Biden. A mass incursion into the country by people who should not be here is happening on an hourly basis, getting worse by the minute. The Biden administration must act immediately to end the border nightmare that they have unleashed on to our nation.

Trump is stretching the truth as usual, but the truth is, there is an influx of migrants coming across the border.

Senior White House correspondent, Phil Mattingly, live with us now.

Phil, the White House is responding to Trump today, but not denying that its policies are a reason for the surge.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's certainly a piece, and probably a significant piece, of a confluence of factors that, without question, led to an influx of unaccompanied minors. Look, the Biden administration has made it quite clear, from day one, from the president on down, they're taking a different approach from President Trump, and the Trump administration.

Jen Psaki today asked about the Trump statement made clear, the White House is happy to take different counsel and advice than that from President Trump. However, one of the policies they have implemented, that is a shift from the White House, is that they have not turned away unaccompanied minors. And that has led in part to the surge of the border.

This is how Jane Psaki framed it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We believe that children who are under the age of 18 should be treated with humanity, and provided safety, while we consider with the process moving forward. So, we certainly have a different approach. We understand the outcome and the impact of that.


MATTINGLY: And that has led, Kate, as you noted, to an influx of migrants. And because of that, the need to open facilities to try and address that influx. One of the biggest issues that the administration is having at this moment is trying to, basically, undo everything the President Trump put in place, not just through laws, not just through executive orders, but through regulations across the immigration system, also trying to address this crisis at the same time.


And I would note, they're trying to go to call it a crisis, but when you talk to officials who are dealing with it right now, this right now, they recognize that not only to getting bad right now, it's expected to get worse.

BOLDUAN: And Biden is getting pressure from both sides on this, not just Republicans, and Trump, but progressive Democrats who are also telling Biden that he needs to do more to protect immigrants. Is it clear how they're going to thread this needle?

MATTINGLY: The short answer is, no. And I think when you talk to officials, when you talk to White House officials, they acknowledge that this is a problem, think knowledge they will need time to solve this problem. Again, going back to the fact they are trying to basically, undue, or recreate, U.S. immigration policy. Now, the president is sending his team, senior officials of his team down to the border this weekend.

They're expected to come and report back. They're also trying through man power, through technology, to address the influx of migrant children, and the ability to address those issues, basically, to turn them over, over a course of a shorter period of time, so they are not held in these facilities for a long period as well, Kate.

But, the reality is, they need time, they need another piece of this that so important, and they don't have time, given how fast this is moving at this point. I think there is a recognition, they have brought goals when it comes to the administration, leading to executive orders, but legislation as well. And as long as they cannot address this, as long as they cannot fix what's happening right now at the border, when you talk to administration officials, they acknowledged a broader agenda items when it comes to administration is all the more difficult.

Not just because you're hearing from President Trump, but because you are hearing from progressive as well that are very wary of the facilities being set up to address the influx of these migrants, to house or home will agree with you health, or home, this being put together. Particularly at this early stage, particularly as the administration is just trying to get its feet under them, when it comes to this policy, and when it comes to these issues. It just creates major complications for a new administration, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Then, reality comes knocking. Thanks, Phil.

Coming up next, see the great length some doctors are growing in order to vaccinate some of the hardest hit communities.


BOLDUAN: Tonight, 82 million jabs. The U.S. administering more coronavirus shots than any other country in the world. That is according to the White House.

Some of the most vulnerable, still struggling to get access. The Rural Policy Research Institute is finding that on 111 million counties, they don't even have a pharmacy that can give the shots.

Adrienne Broaddus is OUTFRONT with an idea that could change that. .



ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jackie Bloominberg (ph) just got vaccinated in her own home. Now, it's her mother's turn.

Jackie and her mom, 90-year-old Hattie, getting a vaccine due to a mobile program from the Rush University Medical Center. They have limited transportation, and Hattie can only get out of the house, if someone carries her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a blessing, and it is great. I hope everybody the ticket that today.

BROADDUS: A few miles away --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell her she will feel just a little pinch.

BROADDUS: A vaccination team is at the Flores home. They are also among 120 people in the program, targeting those hardest hit by COVID. Seventy-one people have received the vaccine.

CARMEN FLORES-RANCE, MOTHER VACCINATED AT HOME: This is like a blessing to have someone come to the house, especially when you have a Latina, 92-year-old, beautiful mother, who has dementia, and cannot do anything for herself.

BROADDUS: But, there is a problem. Not everyone who needs the shot gets it. It falls along racial lines.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, tracking vaccination rates in 27 states, by race, and ethnicity. According to their data, the overall vaccination rate among white people is around 3 times higher than the rate for Latinos. It is twice as high as the rate for blacks.

The challenge in Chicago, and cities all over the country, as many of the most vulnerable residents are going unvaccinated.

DR. ELIZABETH DAVIS, RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: There is structural racism that underlies all of the structural racism in our city, and we know that there's structural racism in the health sector as well.

BROADDUS: In this case, many on Chicago's West Side live in a pharmacy desert and can't get themselves to a vaccine.

The effect is clear in the numbers, as of mid-February, in Illinois. Latinos make up 26 percent of COVID cases, but only 9 percent of vaccinations. In Maryland, blacks make up 32 percent of cases, but only 16 percent of vaccinations.

And in California, the numbers are staggering. Latinos accounting for 55 percent of COVID cases, but only 18 percent of vaccinations.

It's a problem President Biden says he is trying to fix.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact is, if you are 70 years old, do not have a vehicle, and you live in a tough neighborhood, meaning there is a high concentration of COVID, you are unlikely to be able to walk 5 miles to get a vaccine.

BROADDUS: The president's COVID package, including funding for mobile vaccinations, which had begun in states like Texas, California, and Massachusetts. Texas is starting a door to door program. Jackie and her mom say this program may have saved them, not only from the virus, but from an unequal system that nearly left them behind.

JACKIE BLUMENBERG, VACCINATED AT HOME: there is nobody above no one. Every nationality, every race is the same way. We bleed the same. We die the same.


BOLDUAN: And Adrienne is joining us now.

Adrienne, what challenges are they face -- are they facing taking the vaccine to people's homes?

BROADDUS: Well, one of the challenges, Kate, taking the vaccine from the clinic here at rush to people's homes is labor intensive.

For example, when we traveled with the team from Rush, there was a slight moment of panic. Someone who was scheduled to receive the vaccine had a scheduling conflict, so the team had to make a decision. Give the vaccine to someone on its backup list or toss the extra dose. Thankfully, that day, they found someone. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Adrienne, great report, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Kate Bolduan.

"AC360" starts right now.