Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

House Passes Historic $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill After Republicans Opposed Bill, Tried To Delay The Inevitable; Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) Discusses About The House And Senate Republicans Not Voting To COVID Relief Bill; Texas AG To Austin: End Mask Mandate At 7 P.M. ET Or Be Sued; New Audio Of Trump's Call With Georgia Elections Investigator; Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) Is Interviewed About Trump's Call With Georgia Election Officials. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 10, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: May they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing. To our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Biden scores a major win, the House passing his massive COVID relief bill. He says help is on the way as Republicans double down on their opposition.

Plus, breaking news, the Attorney General of Texas threatening to sue Travis County, home of Austin, unless it goes along with the Governor's order to lift the mask mandate. The deadline is right now, seven o'clock Eastern. Travis County Judge is my guest.

And more breaking news, new audio just released of Trump's phone call with a Georgia official asking her to help overturn that State's election. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, help is here. Those are the words, exactly, of President Biden who today marks his 50th day in office with a major legislative victory. His massive $1.9 billion COVID relief bill is now heading to his desk for his signature after passing the House today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This bill represents historic, historic victory for the American people. I look forward to signing later this week. Everything in the American rescue plan addresses a real need, including investments to fund our entire vaccination effort.


BURNETT: I cannot overstate the size and significance of this. By the way I said billion, I meant trillion, because $1.9 trillion is the price tag here and it is the second most expensive relief bill with that price tag in American history. Just behind the $2 trillion bill signed one year ago under President Trump.

If you add up how much the United States has earmarked for COVID relief since the start of the pandemic a year ago, it's roughly $5 trillion. To put that into perspective, we've upped the national debt by 33 percent in one year, borrowing a total amount of money almost equivalent to the GDP of Japan, the third largest economy in the world.

But here's what doesn't add up. Last year, Republicans overwhelmingly voted for what was and is the most expensive bill in history. No problem with it then. It is only now when it is Joe Biden's bill that every Republican decided to balk over the price tag. Today, every Democrat but one though voted yes and every Republican voted no.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene calling today for a motion to adjourn before the vote, a move that she's been using repeatedly since she was stripped of her committee assignments.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Mr. Speaker, I ask for a motion to adjourn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is on the motion, those in favor say aye. Those in favor say no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nos have it.

GREENE: Mr. Speaker, I ask for a roll call vote.


BURNETT: That motion failed, but it was a stunt just like the one Sen. Ron Johnson pulled last week when he forced a 10-hour reading of the entire bill to an empty Senate chamber. That didn't change a single mind or nor was it intended to. And some Republicans are trying to change the subject altogether, given that the bill is so overwhelmingly popular with voters.

Let me read from Congressman Jim Jordan's email to supporters which doesn't mention COVID relief in any way. He writes, "We conservatives are putting the pressure on Democrats to do their part to put an end to Cancel Culture and the growing threat to free speech in our country."

And of course, in his list of examples, he accuses the left of trying to cancel Dr. Seuss. All of this has some Democrats, including Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio fed up. Here he is when he lost patience on the House floor.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): But if we're passing a tax cut here, you'd be all getting in line to vote yes for it. Now stop talking about Dr. Seuss and start working with us on behalf of the American workers.


BURNETT: And he's absolutely right about that. They don't have any problem with throwing on the debt and borrowing money. That is very clear.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. So Kaitlan, how is the Biden administration planning to manage this bill now?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think managing it is going to be the next big challenge, because this is a huge bill. That's what the White House has been touting saying it's the biggest cash infusion they're going to see going to the American people, especially during this pandemic. But actually implementing it is also going to be a challenge for them.

They fought this legislative battle. Now, it's going to be this in the political battle that's facing them, because this is coming during tax season. Of course, the IRS already has a lot to deal with. They've also got to focus on sending out these $1,400 stimulus checks to those Americans who are eligible for them, but also how they're going to work with the child tax credit. That's expected later this summer.

And this is something that the White House Press Secretary was talking about earlier today that it's not going to happen in the next week, the actual implementation of this bill. And so what we're likely to see in the next few days is President Biden picking someone who's going to actually oversee the implementation of this and what that's going to look like making sure it goes on behalf of the administration.


So look for that over the next few days as Americans are trying to figure out which benefits they're going to qualify for, how this is going to help them, especially the lower and middle income Americans that you're going to see from this.

But Erin, I think the next big thing for President Biden is selling it. And so over the next two weeks, starting on Tuesday, when he goes to Pennsylvania, he is going to be pitching this voter or this bill to voters to make sure that it has that popularity that we saw come out in the CNN poll today. It said about 61 percent of Americans actually favor this bill. That's what they're using to say.

They can't believe any Republicans did not vote for it as you were just pointing to at what Tim Ryan was saying there. They're going to try to make sure it stays popular. So look for that but then, of course, tomorrow night when President Biden does address the nation in primetime, for the first time we are expecting him to taut this bill but also talk about what he thinks they're going to do next when it comes to the federal government and this pandemic response.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you very much. And I want to go now to Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, you just saw

him obviously there in the video moments ago speaking so passionately to his Republican colleagues about not working with Democrats. And obviously Congress you sit on the House Appropriations Committee.

So not a single Republican voted for the bill and either the House or the Senate. And the point that I made is they can't say that this is a problem with the price tag or running up the debt, because they had no problem voting for this even bigger bill a year ago. So that doesn't add up in any way, shape or form. But yet this time, not a single one voted yes in the House or the Senate. Does that surprise you?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Not with the modern Republican Party, unfortunately. This is the same group that voted for $2.3 trillion tax cut that went prime 83 percent of that went to the top 1 percent, but this is how it goes. Then you turn around and you say we want to help people who are unemployed, the middle class, we want to raise the minimum wage, we want to increase the right to organize, we want to take care of your pension, all of a sudden this modern Republican Party has bailed on them and bailed on the middle class.

So I'm not really surprised and then the whole pivot to the culture wars. I mean, I really feel like they're fighting the last battle. They're trying to inject culture wars when the vast majority of the American people want public help and they want help around their economic situation and the current Republican Party is missing in action.

BURNETT: So there was one of your fellow Democrats who didn't support the bill, as I mentioned, and he is Congressman Jared Golden. His statement about why he says, "When combined with the over $4 trillion we have already spent battling the coronavirus, borrowing and spending hundreds of billions more in excess of meeting the most urgent needs poses a risk to both our economic recovery and the priorities I would like to work with the Biden ministration to achieve."

Now, I quoted that in full because I wanted to ask you about a specific point he makes there. He talks about in excess of the need. The bill is five to six times bigger than it would need to be simply to replace lost COVID income, so there's other stuff in there. I understand you think that this is important, but are you concerned about it that it is just simply going to end up being way too big?

RYAN: No, not at all. Not at all. Because the mistake we made, Erin, in 2009 and '10 is we passed a bill that was not big enough. And I said it at the time and so did some others that we needed to inject more money in the economy, because it's not just about meeting the level of need. It's about going beyond that so that we can jumpstart the economy once we get everybody vaccinated and we're ready to move and that if the virus subsides.

We want to jumpstart the economy and that's exactly what this is going to do. And what else it's going to do, Erin, is because of the investments in the local communities like Youngstown, and Akron and Warren, little communities in my congressional district and others across the country is that it is going to jumpstart and plug those communities back in. The money they're getting they can use for infrastructure, they can use for broadband, so water and sewer.

They can invest into their community so that when the economy starts growing, these communities are plugged in to tap into the growth and that's how you build a middle class. That's how you plug these forgotten communities back in. And again, the Republican Party's MIA, they don't see these kind of public investments as helpful. We find them essential to plug in the forgotten communities in America the last 30, 40 or 50 years and they're going to be on the menu for growth.

BURNETT: So you just mentioned obviously the culture wars and I played you there talking to your Republican colleagues when you said stop talking about Dr. Seuss and start working with us. Conservative commentator and writer Erick Erickson tweeted, "I know a lot of smart people are out there saying the GOP was so focused on Dr. Seuss that they couldn't mount effective opposition to the COVID plan. I think they need to learn what I've started learning - more voters will remember Seuss when they vote than the COVID plan." What do you think?


RYAN: I think he's wrong. People vote their pocketbook, period, end of story. You can go back historically through almost any election unless there was some kind of terrorist attack or something like that. People vote for the party and the leaders that have helped them increase their wealth and their economic security and that's what we did.

We saved millions of people who were going to lose their pension. We made sure people could make their rent payments, their utility payments, their car payments that they didn't destroy their credit. So the $1,400 check, I mean, this bill is this popular already and no one's gotten a nickel from it.

Wait till they get those checks, wait till they get that economic security until September, they're really going to like this bill and they're going to be stuck with the party of Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss and we're going to be talking about getting people health care and being able to visit their doctor and put meat and potatoes on their table, because they got a good paying jobs.

And I think we're on the right side of this and I don't know what the modern Republican Party is going to do at this point, because they're going off a cliff like Wile E. Coyote.

BURNETT: Thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Congressman.

RYAN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And I want to go straight to Catherine Rampell, Washington Post Columnist and our Economics Commentator along with Tim Naftali, former Director of the Nixon Presidential Library.

So Tim, when I put numbers out there about the increase in debt over the past year and the size of these bills. This is the second biggest bill in American history, the first being last year. But this one, when I say it's five to six times bigger than it would need to be to replace lost income, that is because it has other things in it that are extremely significant in terms of what they're going to do to the country and how things are done and how government operates. How consequential is it in terms of its expansion of aid?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It's consequential, because Americans are going to be asked in 2022, are you better off than you were in 2020. There is no question that cultural issues matter, but the bet that the Republicans are making is that in the end when people have more money in their bank accounts, when people are more fully employed in a year and a half, that they will remember that the Republicans on the side of their culture as opposed to the fact that they will be happy that they're in a better economic and in terms of public health, better space.

So I think that the other elements of the Christmas tree, all the other elements of this package that may not have been as essential if they further the development of our economy and make people feel better by 2022, Democrats will benefit more than Republicans.

BURNETT: Also, Catherine, on this point, Congressman Ryan made the argument on the size in excess of 'need'. He said this bill was about going beyond need. He very strongly feels that that's important. So when you look at it and I know you've been through it, one of the few people who has in full, was the bill focused enough or is there too much in it with too much no strings attached to the spending?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR: I think in general this is a good bill. This is unnecessary bill. The thing that we learned from the response to the Great Recession was that the government went too small and too slow and this is the opposite direction. So in that sense, it's a very good thing.

Now, is it a perfect bill? I would say no, obviously. I think that there are some things in it that maybe should not have been priorities this time around including, for example, funding pensions. That may be an important thing to do, but I don't know that it was important to put in this bill unfunded and that may ultimately hamstring some of the other ambitions that Biden has for his agenda later on.

Things like spending a lot of money on infrastructure, for example. You might have to find more pay force for that, given how much the debt has already run up. It depends on sort of what the political constraints are amongst other things. But in general, I think this was a totally reasonable response.

There's a lot of suffering out there right now. Much of it predates the pandemic recession, but a lot of it is related to the recession and there are these other big priorities hugely transformative priorities, like the child tax credit. That's only in place for one year, but it's something that Democrats have wanted to put in place for years now, because it could cut child poverty in half, not just during the pandemic, of course, but going forward. And those are the kinds of investments that Democrats want to make.

BURNETT: And of course, as you point out, we all - I mean, you're not saying it explicitly, but implicitly. Once something is in for a year or a couple of years, it's very hard to take it back. It can happen, but these price tags do become that over a longer period of time and the good and bad that comes with it.

Tim, though, Biden has said that he's all about bipartisanship. So we're calling out the hypocrisy of Republicans who were fine to vote for something bigger a year ago and now aren't fine with this. OK. But the bottom line is this was incredibly partisan and he has really big stuff he wants to do, right? Infrastructure being an example of something desperately needed, but doesn't have immediate payback for people that they can see. How hurtful is this that they push this through with no Republican support?


NAFTALI: Well, if he had pushed it through without talking to Republicans, that would have been difficult but he did try.

BURNETT: He did, yes.

NAFTALI: He did try. And in fact, the bill is a little different from what was before. There's no minimum wage. Now, we know how that got removed, but I don't think that Biden was that unhappy about minimum wage not being in this particular package much better politically to vote on that separately, so it does reflect consultation.

Keep in mind that what matters is that you're seeking to help the American people. When you have a partisan bill that is sectarian, which we saw in the Trump era, that's a problem. When you have a partisan bill that 61 percent of the American people like, then the American people who voted for Republicans also like it.


NAFTALI: So in a national sense, it's bipartisan. I think the Republicans have made a mistake. They did not support a bill this time that they would have supported if the President was Trump and that I think is a flaw. In terms of future bills, the president should once again go to the Republicans and try to find support. But if he has a governing majority and most Americans support the initiative, why not go for it?

BURNETT: Yes. Sounds like Mitch McConnell talking. All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

And next, the breaking news, the deadline just passed for Travis County in Texas to stand down on its mask mandate or be sued by the State Attorney General. A Travis County official responds next.

Also breaking, a stunning new audio tonight of Trump asking a top Georgia official to help overturn the election.



Whatever you can do Frances it would be - it's a great thing.


BURNETT: And mental health is one of the signature issues for Prince William and Kate, but after the interview with Meghan and Harry, they are still so far, silent.



BURNETT: Breaking news on the mask wars, Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton's deadline for Travis County and the City of Austin to stop requiring its residents to wear facemasks in public just passed at the top of the hour. So Paxton is now expected to file a lawsuit against Travis County and Austin for ignoring Governor Greg Abbott's order, which, of course, I should note is issued against CDC guidelines. The order is to lift the State's mask mandate.

Paxton threatening earlier via tweet, "City/County leaders must not be thinking clearly. Maybe it's the oxygen deprivation from quintuple- masking. Whatever the case, they've tried this before. They lost. Travis County and Austin have a few hours to comply with state law or I'll sue them. And they'll lose again."

OUTFRONT now, Travis County Judge Andy Brown has been a vocal opponent of Gov. Abbott's mask order. So Judge Brown, he says within a few hours, you have a few hours to comply or he's going to sue you all. Does this threat do anything to deter you?

ANDY BROWN (D), TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS JUDGE: It really doesn't and it was pretty meaningless to start with. He's the one who's supposed to know what the Open Meetings Act is and therefore should know that there honestly was no way that we could comply with this today. We passed this in a meeting on Tuesday and to have another meeting like that with our commissioners court would take at least four days. We have to post notice.

So before he started tweeting about this lawsuit, he knew we weren't going to respond today before six.

BURNETT: OK. So then he says he's going to beat you in court. Where does this go then? You guys just go ahead and fight it? I mean, I should note the Texas Supreme Court in December did back the Attorney General's challenge to curfew orders that at the time, Travis County and Austin County had on restaurant orders. Restaurant, I'm sorry, on restaurants because they went beyond the Governor's orders. So they're going to try to say this is the same thing, you're going beyond the Governor's orders because he says you don't have to wear masks and you guys are telling people they have to do it.

BROWN: And that's the thing. Our Attorney General is also, apparently, confused about the law because this is not the same thing. So in times of emergency, the Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, obviously has emergency powers and me as the Travis County Judge, I also do. Abbott's are bigger and statewide and so he ordered for this thing we're talking about now, he said that I could not order our people to wear masks.

That is not what has happened. Our public health authority, Dr. Mark Escott, who the city and the county both have hired to be the person who says, you know what, there's a pandemic or there's an outbreak of gonorrhea or there's an outbreak of malaria here, this is what you have to do. And Ken Paxton is trying to tell us that at the local level, we can't do that. Where we're most nimble and can respond most quickly to outbreaks, he's trying to say that our local health authority can't tell us what to do.

BURNETT: So you are going to stick with what you're doing, people have to wear masks. And many companies in Texas are also still doing that. The people have to wear masks in their businesses, national chains, Home Depot, places like that. So where do you see this headed? Does it end up actually, ironically, making the Governor look like he's right, because people are still wearing them anyway and he can say they didn't have to wear them and cases didn't go up. I mean, you get where I'm going with this, is that a concern?

BROWN: Yes. I mean, my biggest concern right now is we've only vaccinated 9 percent of our population here in Travis County. And I've got to say that we actually are working really well with the governor and his person Chief Nim Kidd with Texas Department of Emergency Management.

Me and another Democratic county judge and then two Republican county judges in nearby counties, we all partnered up and said, hey, Chief Kidd, will you give us vaccines to give out at the formula one track here at Circuit of the Americas. And he said, OK, let's do it.

And so honestly, we're all working as hard as we can to get people vaccinated in a bipartisan manner. We're trying to get to where we're doing 50,000 a week at the Circuit of the Americas track. And Ken Paxton is over here tweeting about lawsuits. I mean, if he wanted to do something to help us get through this pandemic, he could come this weekend and we put him to work as a volunteer.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Judge, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: And next, we have breaking news, never before heard audio. I've never heard this before. This is President Trump asking another top Georgia official to try to overturn the election.


TRUMP: That's what it's about. The ability to check it, to make it right. Because everyone knows it's wrong.


BURNETT: One of the star impeachment managers delegate, Stacey Plaskett, is next.

Plus, Meghan Markle takes on a popular TV host after he questioned her claims about mental health.



BURNETT: Breaking news, for the first time we are hearing audio of former President Trump's call with the top election's investigator for the State of Georgia. A call where the President tried to pressure her to overturn the will of the people by pushing baseless claims of voter fraud. Here's part of the call which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal.


TRUMP: I won Florida in a record number. Ohio in a record. Texas in a record. Alabama by 40 points. And I won everything but Georgia. And I won Georgia I know that - by a lot. And the people know it. But something happened, I mean, something bad happened.

Hopefully, when the right answer comes out you will be praised. I mean, I don't know why they made it so hard. They will be praised. People will say great. Because that's what it's about. The ability to check it and to make it right. Because everyone knows it's wrong. There's just no way.

But whatever you can do Frances it would be - it's a great thing, it's an important thing for the country is. So important, you have no idea it's so important. And I very much appreciate it.



BURNETT: Now, to be clear, Trump did not win everything but Georgia, and something bad did happen, although not what he said, right? What bad happened was him peddling a lie about the election, which led to a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

OUTFRONT now, Congressman Stacey Plaskett. She was also one of the House impeachment managers for Trump's second impeachment trial. She's also a former prosecutor.

So, Congresswoman, I really appreciate your time.

Obviously, we all saw you during the impeachment trial make the case. You know, put on that impeachment manager prosecutorial hat for us, when you hear this phone call, he says the right answer comes out, you will be praised. Whatever you can do, Frances, it would be -- it's a great thing.

How damning is it?

STACEY PLASKETT (D), U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS DELEGATE: I think it's just another stone in the already very heavy evidence against the president for, you know, impinging -- just infringing on our -- on our democracy. One of the elements that we made was the big lie and his actual attempt to go after election officials, to go after elected individuals, to try and change the election.

And then when he ran out of those options, whether it was being in the courts, trying to intimidate individuals, he then moved to what he did on January 6th, and I think this is just further corroboration of what we showed in the trial.

And I think there's going to be more, Erin. I think that as time goes by, we're going to see more and more. That what we showed in that trial was in fact the truth.

BURNETT: So, you know it's interesting that you say there's going to be more and more. It's amazing that something like this is actually only come to light now, on one hand, right? Even though it's, of course, consistent with what we heard, it does come on top of the call we heard already between Trump and the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger.

Here's part of that call.


TRUMP: And you can't let it happen, you are letting it happen. You know, I mean, I'm notifying you that you're letting it happen. So, look, all I want to do is this -- I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.

So, tell me, Brad, whatever going to do? We won the election and it's not fair to take it away from us like this.


BURNETT: I mean, it's -- the word echo is eerie and disturbing. It's a pattern of pressure. There's now two investigations into Trump's efforts in Georgia, one of those investigations is criminal.

So, Congresswoman, how much legal jeopardy is the former president in?

PLASKETT: Right, I think we're going to see many of these cases, not just a once in Georgia and just listen to his language. I'm putting you on notice, as if he has authority over states elections, over that process. It's just outrageous.

But we're going to see different states I think -- what happen in Pennsylvania as well, talking to the entire members of the legislature there, and other states I think are going to come out also. We'll see information trickling in about what the president did, because if he did it in Pennsylvania, if he did it in Georgia, there were other swing states that I'm sure this went on as well. I wouldn't be surprised if we see in Arizona, Wisconsin, Ohio, other places as well.

But remember, let's not forget the other cases that he has -- I think very strong cases against him, that being in New York for tax issues. There still is looming the emoluments, that the money that he made, which is a direct constitutional violation, as well as the District of Columbia, bringing charges against the former president for the insurrection itself. BURNETT: Yeah, I mean, it's pretty stunning. You know, our Kara

Scannell is reporting the other day that, you know, if found guilty of some of these allegations in New York even on the tax front, right, those carry prison terms. I mean, that's just one piece as you laid out congresswoman of the possible pie here.

I want to ask you one more thing, though, before you go tonight. This was a heated back and forth you had with Republican Congressman Glenn Grothman after he made these comments about the COVID relief bill today.

Let me play it so everyone else can see.


REP. GLENN GROTHMAN (R-WI): One of things that has been mentioned here, the increase to your income tax credit for single people has a marriage penalty in it. I bring it up because I know the strength that Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it's a group that it doesn't like the old fashioned family.

PLASKETT: I hope my colleague from Wisconsin will not leave at this time as he's talked about Black Lives Matter. How dare you, how dare you say that Black Lives Matter, black people do not understand old- fashioned families?

Despite some of the issues, some of the things that you have put forward that I've heard out of your mouth in the Oversight Committee, in your own district, we have been able to keep our families alive for over 400 years, and the assault on our families do not have black lives or not even have black families.


How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the black community? That is outrageous, that should be stricken down.


BURNETT: I mean, Congresswoman, he said, I quote him, I know the strength of Black Lives Matter have in this last election, it's a group that doesn't like the old-fashioned family.

What words are there to describe his saying such a thing?

PLASKETT: You know, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. And if you make racist statements and continue to say them, then that's probably what you are as well.

I did not go on the floor to have a back and forth with Congressman Grothman. I went on the floor to discuss the bill, the rescue plan, which is going to lift millions of children out of poverty, which are going to provide assistance to my own through the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit. They want to do tremendous support to black farmers, underserved communities, to small businesses. That was my intention. But as an African-American, as a Caribbean person, as a person of African descent, I cannot continue to let individuals like Mr. Grothman's words stay on the record without being rebuked, without being rebuffed.

It appears now that, you know, some of the members of the Republican Party are very comfortable, are almost too comfortable making these kinds of statements, and we've got to call them when we have to.

BURNETT: It's pretty incredible.

All right. I appreciate your time, Congressman, thank you.

PLASKETT: Thank you.

BURNETT: And, next, Prince William and Kate have made mental health a priority.


PRINCE WILLIAM: You have to prioritize your mental health.


BURNETT: So why have they remained silent when it comes to what Meghan said the other day?

Plus, how did Trump loyalist feel about Republicans voting against Biden's COVID relief bill. One longtime Republican says, shame on them.



BURNETT: Tonight, the royal family silent, refusing to specifically address Meghan Markle's claim that the palace ignored her pleas for help over suicide thoughts. It comes as CNN learns that Markle made a formal complaint to a British broadcaster after one host, Piers Morgan, questioned her mental health struggles.

Scott McLean is OUTFRONT.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three days after her landmark interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan's brutally honest revelations about her own mental health are still making waves.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: But I knew if I didn't say it, that I would do it, and I just didn't -- I just didn't want to be alive anymore.

MCLEAN: We now know the duchess of Sussex filed a formal complaint to a British network after host Piers Morgan question the seriousness of mental health concerns. PIERS MORGAN, TV HOST: I'm sorry, I don't believe it where she says.

MCLEAN: Morgan is now gone from his TV presenter chair. That network ITV not the only institution that as it takes a mental health seriously.

PRINCE WILLIAM: What's happened with us, what's happened with others as well as you have to prioritize mental health.

MCLEAN: The royal family, especially William and Kate, who have so far been silent on the interview, have made mental health a priority. They even have a brand campaign called Heads Together, which encourages Brits to speak up when they're struggling.

PRINCESS KATE: No, sometimes some people are as lucky as you guys have been able.

PRINCE WILLIAM: We have been brought closer because the circumstances as well.

MCLEAN: The parallels between their mother Prince Diana and Meghan are long. Mental health was also a focus of Diana's own landmark interview after leaving the family in 1995

PRINCESS DIANA: When no one listens, you where you feel no one's listen to you all sorts of things start to happen. For instance, you have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside, because you want help. But it's the wrong help you're asking for people say it's a crime or attention seeking.

MARKLE: Begging for, help saying very specifically I am concerned for mental health and my welfare, and people go, yes, yes, it's disproportionally terrible to anything we see about there with anyone else, but nothing was ever done.

MCLEAN: The Queen, in her own statement so far after the interview, says the whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.

But British tabloids have run wild with her addition. Some recollections may vary. It's unclear what the palace means by that but it is clear that the place will deal with this quietly as a family matter.

HARRY: When you think, if everyone else's life is perfect, there must be something wrong with me. When you have a family can talk to you issues, that makes for a better family, probably working a better job, doing better at school.


MCLEAN (on camera): Now Meghan's complaint against TV host Piers Morgan was not the only one. The British broadcast regular got more than 40,000 of them from the public. It is important to understand, though, that while the British press can be just as sensational as American tablets, broadcasters in this country are all too much higher standards of impartiality and fairness. So complaints generally are not that uncommon -- Erin.

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

So, I want to go now to Richard quest, host of CNN's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS".

So, as Scott just laid out, Richard, William and Kate run an initiative that aims to erase the stigma about mental health, and they have done a lot of good, okay? Just days before the interview aired with Meghan and Harry, Kate and William posted a video where they spoke to the parents of a 12-year-old boy who tried to commit suicide. I'll just play a clip from that because it's just from the other day.


KATE: I can't imagine as parents ourselves, I can't imagine what it's been like for you and it's every parent's worst nightmare receiving the call you did on that night.

WILLIAM: Shout has effectively bridge that gap between a point of crisis and despair and brought it back to peace and calm for a time to just work things out and find that support.



BOLDUAN: So they haven't said anything yet about Meghan and, of course, we don't know whether they will or why they haven't or whether their version of things is different or what's going to happen here. I mean, there's a lot of possible reasons, right, Richard?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: Well, they're not going to anything outright. I don't believe, certainly not in the short term. That's not the way they do it.

They will be pointing out it's not a reality program, it's not Big Brother, it's not the Kardashians. You don't live out your life on television. That is how they will be seeing it hence the statement by the Queen and hence the fact that they will be looking at it internally.

But there's no question, Erin, that this is exceptionally embarrassing. Besides everything else, besides the dreadfulness of the situation, it's incredibly embarrassing. All it requires now as I said before is somebody next time they are doing something for mental health charities or foundations to shout at them, what about your ex- sister-in-law? And to your own house?

I mean, whatever they say, bearing in mind what Meghan has said, that calls were made, cries for help were given, she was ignored. Harry even said to them this will not end well and then it ends up like this. So I think that I don't expect them to come out and do a mea culpa

which may be satisfying for the TV audience but that's not the way they work.

BURNETT: And what about what the queen said when she does have that line, recollections may differ. What she's referring to could be many things.

QUEST: I'm guessing it's the interpretation put on this idea about asking. You say that, Erin, but I'm getting that this is a case of the royal family not just wanting -- whoever was asking was wanting to know the situation. Now, in the cold light of day, it looks appallingly distasteful, it looks crass, it looks arguably racist, but in the way -- I'm not defending, please, let me make that clear.

What I'm saying is the way they will have looked at it, it would have been something different is going to happen. We need to know what it's likely to be so we can be ready when somebody asks us a question about it. That may not be how you, me and 99 percent of the viewing populations look upon it, but that's how the royals will have viewed it.

BURNETT: Yeah, yeah. All right, Richard, thank you very much.

And next, Republican lawmakers are united in opposing Biden's COVID relief bill but what do Republican voters actually think?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether it be Biden or Trump, I think the country needs that stimulus.


BURNETT: You are going to hear a lot of those voters talk.

And the former first lady Michelle Obama in a revealing new interview talking about her struggles during the pandemic.



BURNETT: Tonight, shame on them. That's what one lifelong Republican is saying about the GOP for not supporting President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID plan.

Vanessa Yurkevich is OUTFRONT.


ALEXO BELL, REPUBLICAN VOTER: We are definitely feeling the crunch like most people.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Alexo Bell is a Donald Trump loyalist but he is willing to put party affiliation aside to support President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

BELL: Whether it be Biden or Trump, I think the country needs that stimulus.

YURKEVICH: He's not alone. Sixty-one percent of Americans supported. One of the largest aid packages in history.

Bell's work as a promoter dried up during the pandemic.

BELL: I'm mostly a stay at home town right now watching my little guys, and my wife is the primary breadwinner right now.

YURKEVICH: Just 26 percent of Republicans support the overall bill according to a CNN poll but a majority approve of the family tax credit. One of those, an extra $1,000 per child for families who qualify.

That's significant, you have two kids. That's an extra $2,000.

BELL: It is. And I think that people who have more than two children would be getting that much more of a break.

YURKEVICH: In the suburbs outside of Philadelphia, Frank Herron says his restaurant survived because of two PPP loans. This bill calls for $7 billion dollars in additional PPP money and $25 billion in grants for restaurants and bars.

FRANK HERRON, VOTED FOR TRUMP TWICE: Actually gave us a lot of confidence that we would be able to make it through.

YURKEVICH: Heron voted for Trump twice and says while this bill is needed, he is concerned the massive price tag could boost inflation.

HERRON: I think it's very scary and the value of our money is going to decline significantly because of this.

YURKEVICH: Barbara Jankowski was a Republican for 40 years but this past November it disappointed with Trump and the GOP, she voted for Biden and changed her party registration. She is all in on the stimulus bill.

BARBARA JANKOWSKI, SWITCHED TO DEMOCRAT: I think it's great because people are hurting.

YURKEVICH: She and her husband both retired say the previous $600 stimulus checks did little to help with bills. This time, she says, they can save some of their $1,400 checks.

JANKOWSKI: We also keep that money in case our children and need help. If they would run into problems, that stimulus money would go to them.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The motion is adopted.

YURKEVICH: Zero Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

JANKOWSKI: Shame on them. YURKEVICH: What does it say about the future of helping Americans?

JANKOWSKI: Them voting along party lines was wrong because it was not right for America. It was not right for you, it was not right for me, it was not right for my children.


YURKEVICH: One of the reasons that Republican voters like President Trump is because they believe he is pro-business and he created policies that help support a strong economy. So I asked the Republican voters that we spoke with how they think Biden is handling the economy. They said it's not a fair question, it's simply too soon to tell in order to give him a grade, Erin. But they did say they are willing to give him a chance -- Erin.

BURNETT: Significant in and of itself. Vanessa, thank you so much.

And next, former First Lady Michelle Obama opening up about her mental health struggles during the pandemic.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Depression is understandable in these circumstances during these times.




BURNETT: Tonight, former First Lady Michelle Obama opening up a new interview with "People" about the mental health struggle that she's faced during the pandemic. She revealed that last year, she suffered from what she has called low grade depression.


OBAMA: Depression is understandable in these circumstances during these times, you know, and to think that somehow we could just continue to rise above all of the shock and the trauma and the upheaval that we have been experiencing without feeling it in that way is just unrealistic.

What I have said to my children, to my daughters is that I think one of the things that is getting me through is that I'm old enough to have perspective.


BURNETT: One in three Americans say they experienced anxiety or depression during the pandemic, according to a CDC report in August. If you do need help, don't suffer silently. You aren't alone. So many other people are going through it right now. So for more information about mental health resources, we have a

place, please go., I hope that you will take advantage of that.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.