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Erin Burnett Outfront

More States Lift Mask Mandates As CDC Warns Next Two Months Crucial; New CDC Guidelines Says Fully Vaccinated People Can Gather Without Masks, But Should Avoid Travel; Interview With Mayor Lauren McLean (D), Boise, ID; Fauci: U.S. Needs To Get Cases Below 10,000; Interview With Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); Prince Harry & Meghan Praised In U.S., Slammed In U.K. Over Interview; Manhattan D.A. Expands Probe Into Trump's Finances. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 08, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: That's such an important message on this day and indeed on every day.

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, fears of a new surge as the CDC warns the next few weeks are crucial. So why are more states choosing right now to go against the science?

And breaking news, New York prosecutors expanding their investigation into Trump's finances now subpoenaing loan documents related to Trump's skyscraper in Chicago.

Plus, why are Americans and Britons reacting so differently to the same interview with Harry and Meghan? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, sabotaging a return to normal. Another state going against the science tonight. Tonight the State of Wyoming announcing it will repeal its mask mandate. Meaning that as of this hour, 15 states now do not have a masking mandate and three more states, including Wyoming are planning to end theirs in just the next coming days. Dropping masks despite coming a plateau in the number of cases in the United States.

So right now the United States is averaging about 60,000 cases. It had come down, and come down, and come down and now it's just hovering there. It's plateauing. And by the way, it's exactly where we were in the summer when many of those states including Texas had mask mandates.

So here's the problem with this. If we get it right, right now, this could be a turning point.


ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: There is so much that's critical that's riding on the next two months. How quickly we vaccinate versus whether we have another surge really relies on March, what happens in March and April.


BURNETT: So it's crucial right now. So on that front, let's take a look at what's happening in Boise, Idaho. There's a burn the mask rally. People brought their kids there, tossing masks into a burn barrel outside the capitol of Idaho. And in a moment, I'm going to talk to the Mayor of Boise about this.

In Mississippi, the State's Governor defending his decision to remove the State's mask mandate, even though he admits it will cost lives.


GOV. TATE REEVES (R) MISSISSIPPI: If you have not received the vaccination and you are going into a large crowd or if you're going out to dinner, I strongly encourage to Mississippians and people across the country to wear a mask because I believe that it does, in fact, reduce the ability of individuals to spread the virus.


BURNETT: So he believes a mask can save lives and yet he's repealing the rule requiring people to wear them in his state and he goes on CNN to defend that, to defend lifting his State's mask mandate.


REEVES: Statewide mask mandates have not been in effect in our state over the last six months and we're not going back to that.


BURNETT: So the experts say this policy is counter to science. The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci saying this is what he would like to see, before we start lifting restrictions.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I would like to see as we get the level of virus in the community to a very low level, well, well below the 60,000 to 70,000 new infections. I would say less than 10,000 and maybe even considerably less than that.


BURNETT: Ten thousand. OK. We're six times over that threshold. And by the way, he said he would like considerably lower than that. But even at 10,000 right now we are 10 times higher than that every single day.

So we have a choice, we can ignore the science that has successfully gotten us to 31.2 million fully vaccinated people or we can embrace the progress we've made. Over a year ago, CNN was out front on both the WHO and the CDC when Dr. Sanjay Gupta called this what it is, a pandemic. And he did it before either of those organizations actually stepped up and did it.

So one year from now, the world that we live in is going to be a direct result of the choices that we make right now.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. So Kaitlan, just how much is the White House banking on this moment and new CDC guidelines that they're putting out to be a key turning point in the pandemic?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think that they're really hoping that it is and so that's why you're seeing those new guidelines come out. You're going to see President Biden give his first primetime address since being president on Thursday night, specifically about coronavirus. And, of course, that comes one year to the date exactly since we saw former President Trump make a similar Oval Office address.

Of course, that's where he downplayed coronavirus early on before we realized what it was going to look like, but also announced those sweeping changes that changed day-to-day life for so many Americans. A lot of those changes and restrictions, Erin, that are still in place today.

And so when you talk to the White House now about what they want Thursday to look like, they're obviously going to be assessing the situation.


What's going to happen next, it's certainly going to be an opportunity for President Biden to tout that massive coronavirus relief bill which they have directly tied to the way their response is going to look like. They've put so many things, including school openings on the success of this bill actually being passed. He's expecting to sign it into law by later this week. So look for that as well.

But they don't want to take a victory lap just yet is what officials have told us. And instead, they do want to look at what's going to be going forward and the new normal and how to return to normal. And I think those new CDC guidelines that we got today are part of that because it's what can fully vaccinated people do.

But they still raise a lot of questions given they're not changing the travel restrictions for even people who are fully vaccinated have gotten two shots of the vaccine. So there's still a lot of questions facing this administration, but you should expect them to focus on their relief bill and then, of course, what we heard from President Biden today, he does think they're getting close to that 100 million mark of vaccinated Americans and our coronavirus vaccine shots. And so that's something else that we should expect them to reference also on Thursday night.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. And I want to go OUTFRONT now, as I promised, to the Mayor of Boise, Lauren McLean. And Mayor, I appreciate your time. I want to show you those images again. As a mother of young kids, I found them pretty upsetting having children burn masks, two dozen people burning the mask rallies held in Idaho over the weekends. There were two-dozen gatherings just like that.

Parents encouraging their children to be there. What do you think when you first saw this?

MAYOR LAUREN MCLEAN (D) BOISE, IDAHO: Sure. Well, when I first saw this I reminded myself as most Boiseans did, that the people of this community and city value the mask mandate that we have. Recognize that listening to the science and protecting our people is the best way to ensure that our economy recovers and that we can come back together as a community.

BURNETT: Here is what two lawmakers who supported those burn the mask protest said in the video when they were urging people to attend, Mayor. Here they are.


STATE REP. HEATHER SCOTT (R-ID): All throughout my district, people will be showing up on Saturday and I think it'll be pretty fun.

STATE REP. DOROTHY MOON (R-ID): So far, I think, there's about 50 burn barrels set up around the state for people to get involved. And even if you don't have a mask because in my district, a lot of people don't wear masks, it's still symbolic. So it's going to be a great event, so we support it.


BURNETT: OK. What do you say to that, great event, fun?

MCLEAN: Well, we have partnered hand in hand with our public health districts all along and since July have had a mask mandate, because we know that wearing a mask saves lives. And we're committed to doing that if we want to see our businesses continue to stay open and our economy recovered.

And more and more around this community, it's become clear that the people of Boise value the steps that we've taken and businesses value the steps that we've taken and they've demonstrated that by working in partnership with us to ensure that mask are worn to protect public health. Because we know that's how we can keep our businesses open and we can recover more quickly.

BURNETT: So Mayor McLean, you happen to be a Democrat, your governor is a Republican. He said the mask burning is wrong but then here's the context around it, let me play it.


GOV. BRAD LITTLE (R) IDAHO: It's not helpful for people to be burning masks. We want people to choose to make the right decision to wear a mask. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So obviously the key words here are choose. He doesn't have a statewide mask mandate. Obviously, you do in the city but he doesn't have the state and then his words, "It's not helpful." Not exactly a strong language. Were his words helpful?

MCLEAN: The most helpful thing is for our residents to continue wearing masks and all through Boise this weekend and what wasn't captured on film were kids and adults and families skiing up at bogus basin, masked as the resort asks. People frequenting our businesses masked to protect the health of others around them. And our trails and open space and green belts filled with people enjoying the weather, but protecting public health by masking up.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

MCLEAN: Thanks so much.

BURNETT: And I want to go now to Dr. Jonathan Reiner, who is a medical adviser for eight years to the George W. Bush White House. So Dr. Reiner, we know the science on this, of course, mask work as even the Governor Mississippi makes clear, as he says he won't have a mandate anymore.

A year later, though, it is still a divisive political issue. And the fact that you would have parents wanting to send their kids to burn masks is pretty heartbreaking, frankly, in terms of the decisions of what they're teaching those kids and how they're choosing to raise them. How disappointing are these images?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's really an infuriating slap in the face to the families and friends of the 525,000 Americans who have died in this pandemic.


And also to the millions of health care workers who have tried to put this fire out and the thousands of health care workers who have also died in the effort. It's really sad legacy of the former administration's policy of politicizing masks and turning it into some form of weapon in the culture wars.

And when I see children at those burn barrels, I think it really veers very close to child abuse. And it's just a really very short step away from watching children burn books that somehow may be offensive to the community or burning crosses. It's really a shocking imagery to me.

BURNETT: I want to ask you about the CDC guidelines as well, the new ones that just came out for people fully vaccinated. So on the good, they can visit other vaccinated people indoors without mask or social distancing. They could avoid quarantine if they're exposed to COVID and they're not sick. But they're still being told to wear a mask and social distance around unvaccinated people from other households and told to still avoid travel. So there's some good in there, but enough of the same life we've now

had for the past year that it's understandable. Some people would say, well, then why bother, what do you say to the CDC guidelines?

REINER: Well, I think they really haven't gone far enough. The CDC has sort of painted themselves into a little bit of a corner. This administration has said that science is going to drive policy. And if you look at the science, the science says that if you're fully vaccinated, you're very, very unlikely to contract the virus.

And we have emerging data coming out of places like Israel that say that if you're fully vaccinated, you're very unlikely to transmit the virus, so why not let people travel? And I think the answer is that the CDC even though the science supports it, the CDC is afraid of somehow giving non-vaccinated people a cue to travel also. So they're really walking in this tightrope.

I think they'll get it right eventually, but I don't think they're moving quite fast enough, frankly.

BURNETT: Yes. Right. I mean, you got to give people something, especially, as you point out, it's not a gift for nothing. I mean, the science would support that they could travel. All right. Thank you so much, Dr. Reiner. I appreciate your time.

And next, Biden on track to sign his first piece of legislation. It is a major bill. It is a massive bill and it affects all of us, every American. But no Republicans backed it, not a single one. Why?

Plus, he's unwelcome in Trump's Republican Party and his own family, but Congressman Adam Kinzinger is not backing down.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Yes. It could be a kamikaze mission.


BURNETT: Plus, one British leader calling for an investigation into the royal family after Meghan's claims of racism in the family.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Joe Biden preparing to sign his first major piece of legislation, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When are you going to sign the bill?


(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: The House is set to vote on the bill Wednesday, the massive

relief bill passed in the Senate over the weekend without a single Republican vote. OUTFRONT now, Democratic Senator Cory Booker. And Senator, I really appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

So let me ask you, the bill or at least obviously parts of it like the $1,400 checks to lower middle income Americans is very popular across the board, no surprise there. But still, no Republicans supported it. Why do you think that is, Senator?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Well, I think we need to be really clear about when we say no Republican. Remember, the Governors Association representing Republican and Democratic governors unanimously wanted this bill.

You had local leaders, mayors of towns, I represent a state of over 500 towns led by lots of Republicans urgently wanted these resources for their communities. You had business groups, no great friends of often Democrats coming out and saying that this is good for the economy. It's really needed.

So I actually just generally pull the bill, it's wildly popular, as you said. So I was very frustrated that Republicans in the Senate weren't supporting it, but I know Republicans around the country do. And I will add, it's a bill that is far more directed towards working people. Remember that Trump tax cut, the top 20 of earners, got 63 percent of the benefits, the bottom 20 percent got 1 percent.

This is a bill that's actually targeting working Americans. The majority of Americans will see significant benefits from it.

BURNETT: So I understand the point you're making. I think it's significant. You talked about the business groups, Republican governors and that's all fair and important. Because President Biden staked his candidacy and his presidency on bipartisanship, so you're making the case that there is some. But, of course, when it came to the vote itself in the Senate, there wasn't any and he has made this such a core part of what he says he's going to do as President. Here's how he framed it both as a candidate and as President.


BIDEN: We need to revive a spirit of bipartisanship in this country, a spirit of being able to work with one another.

I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans.

I've been talking to a lot of my Republican friends in the House and the Senate, continue to do that.


BURNETT: And yet his first piece of legislation, not a single Republican vote. I mean, on a personal level, this has to be really, I don't know, maybe unsettling for him. I mean, just because he does know a lot of these people. He knows them. He trusts him. He has relationships with them and not a single one was there for him at this moment. But does this hurt him, Sen. Booker, going forward?

BOOKER: I actually think it helps him. Look, I believe that Joe Biden does, that we desperately as a country we could do big things again. We've got to be able to put more unity in our country, more indivisible back into this one nation under God.

And so here he stood up behind for the American people and said, I'm going to get a bill that is wildly popular amongst the residents of our nation, because I believe that the issues is what matters. The partisanship is not. The partisanship in Washington belies the unity of American people.

You know this, Erin, that majority of Americans support common sense background checks. You can't find that bipartisan work in the Senate right now. The majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage. You're not seeing that common effort.


Florida passed the $15 minimum wage, state of both Donald Trump. So he knows that there's unity in this country that's why I think he's enjoying over a 16 percent approval rating, something that Donald Trump never saw and his approval rating for dealing with the pandemic is about 70 percent. So I think he's doing well and I think he's going to continue to go to the American people, not the broken Washington.

BURNETT: So let me ask you one point about the bill, though, when you look at $1.9 trillion and you point out a lot of people wanted this, but it is borrowed money. It is adding to that risk that this nation takes on and the Wall Street Journal editorial board is highly critical of the bill.

That, of course, doesn't surprise you, I'm sure but their op-ed was the COVID welfare state, the $1.9 trillion Democratic bill provides a guaranteed income unlinked to work and they actually go forth to say, "Only a small part of what Democrats passed is for pandemic or economic relief. It's mainly a way station on their high-speed train to a cradle-to-grave welfare-entitlement state."

Now, if you look at the map and I went through this with someone today who didn't even support what The Wall Street Journal said, but just the math, the bill is five to six times greater in size than it would need to be if it simply replaced COVID lost income for individual Americans. So you've got five to six times more in their various projects. Do you have any concerns that some of that will be poorly spent?

BOOKER: Well, let me make two points, one is this is a Wall Street Journal and a lot of my Republican colleagues when they passed that Trump tax cut that went overwhelmingly 65 percent of the benefits to the wealthiest Americans, it was profligate spending. In other words, it blew a trillion-dollar annual hole. This is just a one-time bill. They're spending, racked up the biggest deficits we have seen in generations and (inaudible) crickets over there.

Now what we're doing is investing in people. Let me give you an example. Cutting child poverty in half, which is this virtually does. We know that every dollar spent on raising a child above the poverty line as Columbia University said returns $8 because kids out of poverty have less healthcare costs. They have less involvement with the criminal justice system and they actually earn more over their lifetime.

So this is a bill that believes in investing in the American people, the most valuable resource a nation has (inaudible) knowledge-based economies, the genius of its children and this is the greatest drop in child poverty. Through this - I'm trying to make it permanent, me and some other of my colleagues.

But in this year, this drop in poverty, child poverty will be not since the great society or the new deal, this will be the greatest single year drop in child poverty in our country's history because of what this bill does. And what Canada and other countries have shown is by doing a tax credit, it does not in any way undermine workforce participation. Actually, women's workforce participation goes up, according to even consider a study by conservative think tank.

BURNETT: All right. Well, you know what, I'm glad you mentioned because we're going to talk about that later today. It is International Women's Day and what we've seen with women in the workforce over the past year has been pretty stunning and terrific.

All right. Sen. Booker, I appreciate your time. Thanks.

BOOKER: Thank you very much for having me, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, he is one of the few Republicans to take on Trump and he knows it could cost.


KINZINGER: When you're willing to put your job online then you're free.


BURNETT: Plus, the Royals interview just airing in the U.K. Then what is the reaction there to Meghan and Harry's stunning claims?


OPRAH WINFREY, AMERICAN HOST: So there's a conversation with you ...


WINFREY: ... about how dark your baby is going to be?

MARKLE: Potentially and what that would mean or look like.




BURNETT: Tonight, one of the few elected Republicans not afraid of former President Trump. He has voted to impeach him. He started a political action committee to challenge the Trump wing of the GOP and he's willing to lose his job over it. Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.



KINZINGER: Yes. It could be a kamikaze mission. It also could be the thing that saves the Republican Party.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORREPONDENT (voice over): Congressman Adam Kinzinger believes the first step to saving the Republican Party is extracting it from the grips of Donald Trump.


KINZINGER: Anytime in the history of the party, there have been competing visions, except for now. It's just been Donald Trump's vision and nobody else has said anything else. We have a right and a responsibility to offer competing visions to Republican.


ZELENY (voice over): The Republican Party is at a crossroads. Yet it's still Trump country in this stretch of Illinois, where flags wave for the former president and the science make clear not all Republicans are searching for a new vision. Elected to Congress a decade ago with the rise of the Tea Party.


KINZINGER: It is time to grow up to be adults here ...


ZELENY (voice over): Kinzinger is now one of the most outspoken Republican Trump critics. A lonely mission fraught with political risk.


KINZINGER: And I mean even if I don't survive long in this job, the reality is I will have been part of history. I hope to be a good part of history.

ZELENY (on camera): You said even if I don't survive, that's a very real possibility.

KINZINGER: It is. It is. And I think until you're willing to put your job on the line, like in warfare, until you're willing to put your life on the line, when you're willing to put your job on the line, then you're free.


ZELENY (voice over): Kinzinger joined the Air Force after 9/11 and still flies as a national guard pilot. His escalating battle with Trump offers an early test for whether more Republicans will join his confrontation or retreat.


KINZINGER: I probably been the most outspoken member of Congress. It's not saying a ton because people weren't speaking out a lot.

ZELENY (on camera): But you voted for Donald Trump in November.

KINZINGER: Yes. I think there were two defining areas in this. Number one was the night of the election saying that it was stolen and, of course, January 6th was the other huge thing.


ZELENY (voice over): That day was a turning point.


KINZINGER: Shouldn't we be willing to give up our jobs to uphold that constitution?


ZELENY (voice over): Of the 17 Republicans who supported impeachment, Kinzinger stands alone as trying to use it as a rallying cry to turn the page and promote himself.


KINZINGER: Join the movement at


ZELENY (voice over): Kinzinger outperformed Trump by eight points in Illinois' 16th congressional district which stretches from the Wisconsin border beyond the far western Chicago suburbs and back toward the Indiana line.


It includes the town of Dixon, the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan who inspired a young Kinzinger.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): The kind of optimistic, powerful moral clarity that he had. It's that kind of stuff that I think Americans are desperate for.

ZELENY: Across his district, a congressman is making a name for himself -- in ways good and bad. DICK TYLER, ILLINOIS VOTER: I'm glad there's somebody like an Adam

Kinzinger that's got the courage to speak out.

ZELENY: But some people are angry and when he did? I mean, you probably hear --

TYLER: No question, no question.

ZELENY: Jeff and Angie Phelps are among them.

JEFF PHELPS, ILLINOIS VOTER: I was a little surprised with Kinzinger, and in the future, I probably will not vote for him.

ANGIE PHELPS, ILLINOIS VOTER: He's looking out for himself.

ZELENY: A divide has emerged among Republican officials too. LaSalle County GOP chairman Larry Smith led a censure vote against Kinzinger.

LARRY SMITH, LASALLE COUNTY REPUBLICAN CHAIR: If I don't want severe public in the act and talk like one, be a team player. Don't be out there trying to split the party and separate one of the most effective presidents that we've had at least in my lifetime.

ZELENY: In neighboring Grundy County, party chairman Aren Hansen in his committee, rejected an attempt to rebuke the congressman.

AREN HANSEN, GRUNDY COUNTY REPUBLICAN CHAIR: We are not to get anywhere as a party in Illinois, if we have a party purity test every turn. It's okay to disagree. I don't agree with this impeachment vote, no, but I'll get over.

ZELENY: Yet Trump loyalties here and in red states across the Americas, run deep. And many Republicans don't believe their parties broken at all.

What if it doesn't need saving? What if it doesn't want to be saved?

KINZINGER: And that I think is the question. If it doesn't want to be changed, that's the decision the Republicans get to make. If that's the case long term, I think we will lose elections, I think will be a regional party that won't compete on the national stage. Then you might see other options rise up.

ZELENY: So would you leave the party and run as an independent?

KINZINGER: There's a lot of what ifs, and it's certainly not my intention. My tension is to, I've always been a Republican, to stay Republican. But to have a Republican Party that at least accepts and tolerates different views than loyalty and swearing allegiance to one man.

ZELENY: Have you ever wondered, this kind of sanctimonious what I'm doing?

KINZINGER: Yeah, and it wasn't because I want to be out front or I somehow think I'm smarter than everybody. It's just that nobody else is saying it.


ZELENY (on camera): Now, Kinzinger is among Republicans on Capitol Hill who former President Trump has singled out, vowing to run campaigns against all of them.

But all House districts are going to be redrawn later this fall, so it's uncertain what his district is even when you look like. But the congressman tells me, that would be worth the price to pay, if it changes the Republican Party.

Erin, it is very much an open question though. For now, his mission is a lonely one, but he does tell me, he hears from any top Republicans, privately, who are just right now, afraid to speak out.

BURNETT: Right, privately.

All right. Thank you very much, Jeff.

So I want to go straight to Dana Bash, of course, our chief political correspondent.

So, Dana, Congressman Kinzinger, look, he's willing to walk, and that's because it gives them the power to do what he's going to do, right? He's willing to lose. But he is betting there is a place in the party for an anti-Trump voice?

But there is a reason that everybody is like Jeff said, speaking to him and private, then Republicans, because he may not survive this.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, he knows that. Like Jeff said at the end of his piece there, you know, one of the things is that there is redistricting going on in Illinois. So he might not even have a seat. So, that is no question, part of the political reality he's facing.

But it obviously goes well beyond that. He is hoping that the Republican Party is movable, and changeable.

But, you know what? It's not really entirely clear that that is the case given how strongly held, the views are, among so many Republicans. Even in his own district, that he is wrong and that all Trump is right.

BURNETT: So, no Republican voted for the COVID relief bill, even though it was obviously very popular with the American people. But what I find interesting about this, Dana, is they did not come out with nuanced and thoughtful points about the debt, or how to best spend borrowed money, right? There was not what we heard, right?

What we heard actually, while the bill was struggling through the sun and there are these opportunities to make these points, was none of that. We heard about Dr. Seuss, here is exactly what we heard from the Senate floor.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): First, they outlawed Dr. Seuss, and now they want to tell us what to say.

REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): The actual priorities of the Democrats is renaming a post office and now canceling Dr. Seuss?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should all respect and honor Dr. Seuss, forget this cancel culture nonsense.

MCCARTHY: I would not eat green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am.


BURNETT: So is that what is about now, Dana? No matter what the issue is, they're just going to deflect over there and pick whatever culture war happen to be Dr. Seuss at the time, to fire up their base, policy be damned?


BASH: Right, it's not what it's about. It's the easy political move, in this game, of politics that they're playing here. When it's obviously not a game, when the Congress was working on something that was -- was and is very real to so many people's lives. And, you know, a lot of Republicans including those who you showed, may end I believe do have real policy differences with a lot of the pieces of the very large legislation. That is likely to be signed by President Biden this week.

But they chose not to do it. You know, there are lots of reasons for, that one might be that one of the main components of that bill is direct payments -- the kind of direct payments that they'll support. In fact it's even lower than with the president that they all still pledge fealty to, wanted when he was still in office. You know, it's $1,400, he wanted $2,000.

So look, the culture war approach is tried and true for specifically, for Republicans in general in primaries. But specifically, for house Republicans as they try to pick away and enough seats in this narrow majority, that Democrats have in order to get it back, because they need their base to get out and vote. This is easy, easy energizing.

BURNETT: Sam I am.

All right. Thank you very much, Dana. I appreciate it.

BASH: Thanks, Erin. Good to see you.

BURNETT: And next, global reaction to Harry and Meghan's bombshell interview claims pouring in, and it is all over the map.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST, GOOD MORNING BRITAIN: They're basically make out the entire royal family is a bunch of white supremacist.

MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, JOURNALIST AND HOST: It shows you what the palace was really thinking about.


BURNETT: Plus, breaking news. New signs the Manhattan D.A.'s investigation into Trump's finances are heating up. Prosecutors are now specifically looking at a loan that Trump received for a skyscraper in Chicago.



BURNETT: Tonight, the royal family in crisis as Harry and Meghan's bombshell interview airs for the first time in the U.K. The interview has dominated headlines worldwide, and it has received vastly different reactions in the U.K. and the U.S.


MORGAN: This is a two-hour trash-a-thon, of our royal family, of the monarchy, of everything the queen has worked so hard for. And it's all being done as Prince Philip lies in hospital. They trash everybody. They basically make out the entire royal family a bunch of white supremacists.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: It shows you what the palace was really thinking about. They could have used Meghan Markle and her son as this amazing bridge to many parts of the world to embrace diversity. And they were thinking about how dark the baby was going to be.


BURNETT: So here's some of the tabloid covers in the U.K.

"The Daily Express" says, quote, Queen: duty and family unite us. That's public service for you, Harry and Meghan. Not a self serving TV chat with Oprah.

"The Daily Mirror" focusing its front cover on, quote, Charles and Williams' immense sadness over the interview.

All of this comes after Meghan and Harry's many shocking claims, including this one of course, the one that you cannot miss, of racism within the royal family.


MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: In those months when I was pregnant, all around the same time so we had in tandem in the conversation of, he won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title. And also, concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: What? And who is having that conversation with you? What?


WINFREY: There is a conver -- hold on, hold up.


MARKLE: There are several conversations about it.

WINFREY: There's a conversation with you --

MARKLE: With Harry.

WINFREY: -- about how dark your baby is going to be?

MARKLE: Potentially and what that would mean or look like.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Richard Quest, host of CNN's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS", and Renee Graham, columnist and associate editor for "The Boston Globe".

I appreciate both of you.

So, Richard, you know. You watch this here, then in your country of birth you see there today. Totally different in terms of how it's being received in the U.S. and the U.K., much more sympathetic toward the royal family in the U.K., than obviously the coverage here in the U.S. Why?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: Well, I think what's happened in the U.K. is divulged the truly awfulness at the racist comments, and they focus instead on what Harry has been claiming about the way they were treated, and what they were given and what they were not.

Remember yesterday in the interview, Meghan said right at the beginning when she first met the queen, she thought of them as being a like celebrities, AA-list celebrities. But it was only when she became part of the family, she realized this was an institution. It was, if you're like, an equivalent of the constitution. They were at the center of everything to do with officialdom in Britain.

And I think what's happened in Britain tonight, is that the U.K. is thinking whoa, this is shaking the foundations of the monarchy. This is not about tittle-tattle. It's not about celebrity journalism or however it may be viewed.

They have managed to divorce the racist parts, or the -- what's might be seen, what they are seeing and seeing instead as being this is about the queen, this is attacking the queen.

BURNETT: So they're divorcing those things.

QUEST: Yeah. BURNETT: And yet, Renee, you write in your column today, let me just quote a bit from it. You wrote in their bones, every black woman who has entered a hostile white environment felt Meghan's words as she spoke of what it it's meant to have her existence threatened and her life turned inside out by racism.

How much do you think the difference in reaction that we're seeing here, has to do with this crucial issue of race and racism?


RENEE GRAHAM, COLUMNIST & ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE BOSTON GLOBE: I think that the duchess made a mistake, and that was telling the truth about the monarchy. I think it is absurd for people to think that the monarchy is not racist. We know what happened when Meghan first began dating Harry. You saw the headlines in the British press. We saw things said like, straight out of Compton. What do we think is behind that?

We saw that Princess Michael of Kent, the first time she met Meghan, wore this blackamoor brooch that depicts a dark skinned African and then claimed, I didn't mean anything by it. Of course she meant something by it.

Meghan has never been welcome because she is part of, essentially, a monarchy built on white supremacy. There is no more white institution on the face of the earth and the monarchy. Meghan was never going to belong, and they made her know that she didn't belong.

BURNETT: So, Richard, on the issue of Harry, you know, admitting, Meghan is the one who told the story but he corroborated. He said, a person express concerns about Archie's skin color to him, and that was a disturbing conversation, OK? He said, later, to Oprah, he really clear that person was not the queen, and that person was not Prince Philip.

QUEST: Right.

BURNETT: But refused to specify who said that. He said it wasn't Prince Philip, and it wasn't someone in close proximity to have such a conversation, it doesn't leave many other office.

QUEST: No, I tell you who it leaves. It leaves Prince Charles. It leaves the duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, it leaves, probably, William, and probably, Kate, essentially.

It's not going to be -- look, I promise you this, it is a unlikely to be Princess Ann, Prince Andrew, or Prince Edward, and other royals were certainly not having that conversation.


QUEST: But anybody -- so, look, the smart money is on Charles. The smart money is on Charles or William having that. I think, though, that anyone who has looked at the royal family, and looked at what they (ph) have said, I can see exactly how they got into this mess. Because, the nature of the family is so tight, the nature of royalty is so buttoned up that they will have twisted themselves, time and again, as they are doing tonight into how to handle this.

Remember, this is a family that couldn't bring down the flag when Diana died. Why? Because protocol didn't allow for it.

This is the family that was having turmoil about whether Archie was to get a princehood and to get a title or not after he was born.

These were discussions, because they would have tied themselves in knots over it. In doing so, they have created the worst crisis for the monarchy, possibly, since Diana but, probably, since the abdication.

BURNETT: Which is a pretty stunning and incredible thing to say.

Renee, I want to give you the final word.

GRAHAM: You know, I think this should be a lesson to the monarchy to understand, this is the 21st century, and to be fretting about the skin tone of a grandchild is appalling. You know, there's really no way around that.

The funny thing about this is I just was thinking about this last night when Meghan was talking, it reminded me when LeBron James became quite outspoken about racism in this country, and was told to stay shut up, and dribble.

What people wanted for Meghan was to just shut up and curtsy. She refused to do that. You know, she had feelings, she had emotions, and she wanted to express them. She wanted to be treated like a human being. She wanted to be treated like a member of the family.

Instead, she has to take all of this guff from people who are supposed to be protecting her, and she pushed against it. I don't blame her. I think she did what she needed to do, and that's why, I think, a lot of black women in this country and, probably, and Britain, understood exactly where she's coming from, and why she felt the need to say the things she said.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Renee, Richard. Appreciate it.

And next, breaking news, new signs that the Manhattan district attorney's investigation into the former President Trump is growing. Prosecutors now subpoenaed documents related to $130 million loan.

And on National Women's Day, we look at how the pandemic has affected women, and their careers to force the world to rethink the work life balance.



BURNETT: Breaking tonight, new signs of the Manhattan district attorney's office is expanding its investigation into former President Donald Trump. We're learning that prosecutors have subpoenaed documents related to a $130 million loan that the Trump Organization received for its skyscraper, I'm sorry, in Chicago.

Kara Scannell broke this reporting tonight and she's OUTFRONT.

So, Kara, tell me what you know. Obviously, there are so many questions here about the legal issues that Trump could face. What is the Manhattan D.A. looking at regarding this loan?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Erin. So, sources tell me that Manhattan prosecutors have subpoena records from the lender of this loan. That's Fortress Investment Group, late last year. The back story is that Fortress had loaned $130 million to the Trump Organization to fund the building of the skyscraper in Chicago.

And then after the financial crisis hit, in the real estate market took a hit, Fortress agreed to a partial repayment. But as part of that, they forgave about $100 million of this debt. Now, sources tell me that prosecutors are looking to see whether the Trump Organization had paid the appropriate taxes on that forgiven loan.

There were representatives for the D.A.'s office, and for Fortress, have declined to comment. Alan Garten, general counsel for the Trump Organization, also declined to comment. But he previously said that they properly accounted for, and paid all taxes on forgiven loans.

But, Erin, this is another indication of just how expansive this criminal investigation is.

BURENTT: Right, which is -- I mean, that, in and of itself, it's stunning, right? You are talking about -- you know, you're shining a light, a microscope, on one specific, important part, among so many.

So, Kara, from your reporting, what could Trump, or his children face if the D.A. finds non doing?

SCANNELL: Well, so, Erin -- I mean, sources tell us that prosecutors have asked questions about Donald Trump, about his sons, Don Jr., and Eric Trump.


They ran the business on a day-to-day basis, as well, a chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. Now, these are complicated, financial investigations. And, you know, one of the big challenges is that, oftentimes, people reply upon the advice of lawyers, and accountants.

But, if, for example, prosecutors were able to determine there was some wrongdoing, say, for example, they thought they had committed a tax fraud that exceeded $1 million, the individuals that are charged, and if convicted, could face years in a New York state prison.

BURNETT: Well, years in prison. I mean, that's just something -- let's just all remember that, everybody, as this continues.

Well, thank you so much, Kara. I appreciate your time.

And Kara's exclusive reporting there.

And next, COVID has taken a toll on so many women. Millions have left the workforce. But, this pandemic is, now, providing a once and, maybe a century, opportunity.


BURNETT: Today is International Women's Day. It's about celebrating achievement, and raising awareness. And this women's day is a once-in- a-century wake up call, and opportunity.

COVID has been crushing women, millions of women have left the workforce, because of the pandemic. In January of this year alone, 275,000 women left the workforce, compared to only 71,000 men. That's a massive disparity, and women have been leaving their jobs, in many cases, to stay home with children who needed schooling, or care.

It's a travesty, but also, an opportunity. It's a once in a mini lifetime chance, and a wake up call to the waking world to rethink the work life balance, and how we have all just traditionally accepted that work should be.

Some women and, yes, it is some, but just because it is some, doesn't mean it is not important to say, these women, if possible, should have the chance to be there for their children, and to work. It should not be just be definitionally, and either or thing.

We now know that working from home works, and we need to make it is part of people's work lives as we can. Not just an option where anyone who's work from home is seen as less committed. We know that's not true. We have the technology. We have the talent.

Not since the creation of the two-day weekend has been their chance. By the way, that was Henry Ford in 1926, OK? That's the last time the world changed the seismically. There may not be in opportunity like this again for women and men, for all workers out there.

So, on International Women's Day, let's commit to making changes at the end of this pandemic that will make many millions of women, and men, and children, more successful, more fulfilled, and more productive. It's on us.

"AC360" starts now.