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Erin Burnett Outfront

The 21-Year-Old Suspect In Supermarket Massacre Faces 10 Counts Of First-Degree Murder, Motive Unknown; Affidavit: 21-Year-Old Supermarket Shooting Suspect was Armed with Assault Rifle Or "Black AR-15," Wore "Tactical" Vest; White House Considering Executive Actions On Gun Control; Interview With Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Pro-Trump Attorney Sidney Powell Argues "No Reasonable" People Would Believe Her Election Fraud Claims; Memorial Honoring Victims Forming At Boulder Market. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 23, 2021 - 19:00   ET


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: We know the anger and grief over their deaths is still very fresh, especially in the Asian American community that was hit so hard. And we honor all of them tonight and offer our sympathy and comfort to their families. May they rest in peace.

I'm Pamela Brown. Thank you so much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, new details tonight about the suspected gunman in the Colorado massacre disturbing social media posts. His brother said he was paranoid. All as police tonight continue to search for motive.

Plus, we remember and honor the victims. One-woman morning her father saying my dad represents all things love.

And Trump lawyer and top purveyor of the big lies Sidney Powell says her lies about the election couldn't possibly be taken seriously. Really? She's aware, that's what she's saying now? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the terror in Colorado. A disturbing picture is emerging at this hour of the suspected gunman accused of opening fire and killing 10 people at a Boulder supermarket. While Police are still trying to determine a motive, here is what we are learning now.

The 21-year-old suspect was paranoid according to his brother and actually believe that his former high school had hacked his phone. He also had a history of making homophobic remarks on Facebook. That's what we know right now. And these developments in the investigation come as President Biden is calling for action on gun control.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hate to say it because we are saying so often, my heart goes out, our hearts go out for the survivors who had to flee for their lives and who hid, terrified, unsure if they would ever see their families again, their friends again. We can save lives. Increasing the background checks are supposed to occur and eliminate assault weapons and the size of magazines.


BURNETT: Well, we continue to say it year after year, day after day, shooting after shooting, the stories and the images are now horrifically familiar in the United States, so too is the anger and the grief. And tonight, we grieve again for people whose lives were lost and should not have been as they were just going about the business of daily life, going grocery shopping.

Not a single person watching this program, including those people who are now dead would have ever thought they would die in a shooting incident at a grocery store. Denny Strong was aged 20, Neven Stanisic aged 23, Rikki Olds aged 25, Tralona BartKowiak aged 49, Suzanne Fountain 59, Teri Leiker 51 and Officer Eric Talley also 51, father of seven, Kevin Mahoney 61, Lynn Murray 62, Jody Waters 65.

Every one of these name is a human being with a full-lived life. They're now dead and the lives of their friends and families are shattered. And this massacre in Boulder comes less than a week after the attacks on three spas in the Atlanta area, a mass shooting in which eight people senselessly lost their lives.

Now, President Biden ordered U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff for the Atlanta shooting. They were just raised to full-staff yesterday, 17 hours after that, not even a full day, once again half- staff. It shows this horrific grim ritual in this country that continues to take place. And yet today, this is what we're hearing from Washington.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Every time there's a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that will do nothing to stop these murders.


BURNETT: So then the solution is just to do nothing? Wait for the next shooting, which will inevitably come and say thoughts and prayers and grief for life senselessly lost. We're going to have more on Cruz's comments and the heated debate over gun control coming up.

But first, I want to get the latest on this mass shooting investigation. Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT live. She's at the scene of the shooting in Boulder. And Kyung, what is the latest that you're learning?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can see that the grim ritual that you were talking about, it is now here in Boulder. You can see a steady stream of people arriving here at the shooting scene dropping flowers, meanwhile, this investigation is increasingly focusing on why, who is this shooter. [19:05:03]

Family and friends painting a portrait of a young man who was struggling and had access to guns.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The entire building is surrounded.


LAH (voice over): As the officers first made their way in, they confronted the gunman, 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa. The arrest warrant says he was walking to SWAT officers to surrender. He'd been shot in the leg, removed a green tactical vest, all of his clothing except for shorts.

The affidavit says he had two weapons, an AR-style rifle and a handgun. One of them purchased just six days before the shooting. The affidavit says the suspect did not answer questions, though he asked to speak to his mother.


MICHAEL DOHERTY, BOULDER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I know that there's an extensive investigation just getting underway into his background. He's lived most of his life in the United States and beyond that we're still in the very early stages of the investigation.


LAH (voice over): The family emigrated from Syria in 2002. The gunman's brother says Alissa struggled with mental illness, growing increasingly paranoid. On his now removed Facebook account, Alissa wrote a year after graduating from high school, "I believe my old school was hacking my phone."

It was in high school that Alissa's brother says he was bullied for being Muslim.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People chose not to mess with him because of his temper. People chose not to really talk to him because of all how he acted and things like that. So yeah, he was very alone, I'd say. But when he was with you, he was approachable.


LAH (voice over): Alissa's brother says he never knew him to own guns. Law enforcement did recover additional weapons from the gunman's home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 136, we have multiple shots being fired at us.


LAH (voice over): Witnesses first heard shots in the parking lot around 2:30 in the afternoon. Anna Haynes (ph) lives across the street from King Soopers grocery store.


ANNA HAYNES (ph): I also saw the gunman himself holding a semi- automatic rifle. He was on the handicap rail to the entrance of the store.


LAH (voice over): Newly released arrest documents say witnesses saw the suspect fatally shoot at least two people in the parking lot. A man in a vehicle and an elderly man. Store employees say they watched through a window as a gunman walked up to the elderly man stood over him and shot him multiple additional times.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's armed with a rifle, our officers shot back and returned fire. We do not know where he is in store.


LAH (voice over): The first officer to confront the gunman was killed, shot in the head. As the shooter continue to roam the store busy with shoppers and people waiting to be vaccinated in the store.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's when at least one shooter came in and killed the woman at the front of the line in front of him. They ran upstairs to hide, hidden in coat closets standing up for 45 minutes.


LAH (voice over): As the gunman was led away, 10 lay dead at the store.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Officer Eric Talley 51 ...


LAH (voice over): One by one, the Police Chief spelled out all the names of the 10 victims, including her own officer, Eric Talley.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This officer had seven children, ages five to 18. I just had that officer's whole family in my office two weeks ago to give him an award and so it is personal. This is my community.



LAH (on camera): In just a couple of hours, all of this gathering that you're seeing here in front of the store will move to downtown Boulder, where this community will come together, Erin, to remember the people who they lost and bear the scars of being the latest city to be survivors of another mass shooting, Erin.

BURNETT: Kyung, thank you. And I want to go now to Boulder City Council Member, Aaron Brockett. And Aaron, I appreciate your time. There's a lot we don't know, but we are learning more details about what the suspect did, details about the past of this individual. What goes through your mind the more we learn about - I mean, all of it, how many guns the person had, people didn't realize it, the paranoia that he seemed to exhibit?

AARON BROCKETT, BOULDER CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, we're still learning all those details, as you mentioned. But my thoughts go to the victims today and the victims' families. The 10 people that were lost in our community. Our focus right now is on mourning those people and supporting them, their families and their loved ones however we can.

BURNETT: I spoke last night to someone who was inside the King Soopers when the shooting happened and I want to play for you, Aaron, some of what he told us.


RYAN BOROWSKI, WAS INSIDE KING SOOPERS SUPERMARKET: Boulder feels like a bubble. And a bubble burst and that's heartbreaking to think that people died in this today.


And it doesn't feel like there's anywhere safe anymore sometimes and this feels like the safest spot in America and I just nearly got killed for getting a soda and a bag of chips, so it doesn't feel good.


BURNETT: Do you feel like the bubble burst?

BROCKETT: I do. It's absolutely heartbreaking. You watch over the years in the decades the mass shootings all over our country and you hope and you pray that it doesn't come to your town, to your community, to your friends and family. And yesterday it did, it came to our city of Boulder. I wish we could say we were safe here, but we're not and it's tragic.

BURNETT: So according to the affidavit of what we know right now, Aaron, this suspect was armed with two guns. Those were semi-automatic handgun and either an assault rifle or a so-called Black AR-15. Now, I know that you helped pass an assault weapons ban in Boulder in 2018. But that ban was struck down 10 days before the shooting.

OK. So the ban was shot down 10 days before the shooting and we understand from the affidavit that the suspect's handgun was purchased on March 26th, which would obviously - I mean, March 16th, I apologize, which would obviously be within that 10-day window. It's unclear when the AR-15-style gun was purchased. Do you think this tragedy would have been prevented if your ban had been in place and not phased out 10 days ago?

BROCKETT: Well, I don't know where those guns were purchased. So I don't know if they were purchased in the City of Boulder. I mean, it's a tragic coincidence that our ban was struck down just before this incredibly awful tragedy happen.

And we passed that ban in 2018. We worked hard on that to try to prevent just tragedies like this from happening in our community. But the reality is that we need a ban at the federal level in order to prevent purchases like that from happening anywhere in our country and I hope we'll get that as soon as possible.

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

I want to go now to Tim Clemente, former FBI Special Agent who's been with us on this story and Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security.

So Tim, we don't know a motive yet. Police have not released one if they have a suspected motive. Yet, according to the suspect's brother, he never knew the suspect to have a gun. But the affidavit says he had two guns on him, others at home, but two guns on him as I just mentioned and he was wearing tactical gear, armored vest. What does all of that tell you about his intent, Tim?

TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI SWAT & FORMER ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICER: It tells me that he was planning. There was a lot of forethought to this purchasing the weapons, purchasing the gear, the body armor, that was all used explicitly for this purpose to try and survive this event where he was going to kill as many people as possible.

The fact that his brother didn't know he had a weapon, I read one story somewhere where a sister-in-law had seen him playing with a gun, those were the words that were in the article, within the last week. And it seems to me that if the family knew that he had either mental stability issues or paranoia that they should have done more than just tell him to stop playing with the gun, which is what the article I read stated.

And it's concerning because this person has a past history of violence, he has a prior arrest for assault from what he, I believe he was he was in high school on the wrestling team and ended up in a fight with one of the other wrestlers after he had quit the team. And that type of behavior doesn't go away.

And I'm sure the family didn't expect that this specific thing would happen. But you have to expect when somebody has a background of violence, that that violence doesn't just disappear overnight. And it's a tragedy, it's a horrible event and I feel terrible for the family.

But the family is the one closest to the shooters every time and they have to know when there's somebody that's in unstable or might crack like this and they have to be looking out for their community and for others.

BURNETT: And it is true, Juliette, that the suspect's brother says the suspect is suffering from mental illness. He thought he was being followed and chased, became paranoid, according to his brother in 2014. There are a lot of pieces to this, Juliette.

But yet we look here at the people, 10 people dead. The age range very broad. This appears to be who happened to be at the checkout area. So 10 people between the ages of 20 and 65. What does that tell you?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, it tells you that it was a Monday afternoon and most - I mean, we talk about mental illness or what may have motivated him and most people who have mental illness do not kill 10 people. Most people who even have violent tendencies do not do mass murders.

And so there's probably a multiplicity of complex issues that lead to gun violence, including that they're all men. But I think that the question of the sort of why, why is this happening or why did this particular individual do it is the very question that opponents of gun control want us to ask.


They want us to look at each of these things differently like why did this guy do this, why did that guy do that. Rather than taking a step back and just asking how, how is this happening, how Boulder, Orlando, Parkland, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Waffle House, San Bernardino, Sutherland Springs, the Tree of Life Synagogue, that's probably only half of them, all of them AR-15s.

And so I've been with you long enough that the question of why is a question that benefits those who do not want to minimize the risk of gun violence in this country and we just have to look at the how.

BURNETT: I think it's really powerfully said, not that the why isn't important but you can have all the whys in the world, if you don't have a how, you don't have a mass shooting, so it's a powerful point.

Tim, when we talk about him, you mentioned his past. We did just get this information in now that he pleaded guilty, actually, to third- degree assault in 2017, about three years ago. According to the police report at the time called cocking a classmate in the head getting on top of him and punching him multiple times.

Now, he said his reason given and he pleaded guilty to this, Tim, but his reason given was that his victim, Alissa's victim had made fun of him and called him racial names. How much do you think that all of this will play in motive? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLEMENTE: Well, it's it seems to me if we look back at the Aurora, Colorado shooting, that individual and I won't name him, was somebody that is known in behavioral science parlance as an injustice collector. That's somebody that builds up injustices throughout their life and uses them to justify a heinous act in the end and it seems like this individual is doing exactly that, that he had grievances with people.

Sometimes he took it out violently as in the case where he pled guilty. Other times, he screamed violently at people and the issue is that his behavior led to this. Now, we can say it's because he had an AR-15 and the AR-15 may have made it easy for him. But an individual in Nice, France used a truck to kill 80 some odd people (inaudible) there. So it's the behavior we have to stop.

We can ban everything in the world that seems like it's a weapon, but the behavior still allows somebody that wants to kill-to-kill and that truly is a societal problem we have to remedy.

BURNETT: I appreciate both of your time. Thank you very much.

And I want to next speak to a close friend of 59-year-old Suzanne Fountain. She died in the shooting. What our friend wants everyone to know about this woman, Suzanne, who she calls a bright light.

Plus, tensions high in Washington in the wake of two mass shootings in one week.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Thoughts and prayers cannot save the eight victims in Atlanta or the 10 last night.


BURNETT: Sen. Richard Blumenthal is my guest.

And pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell now claiming in court, OK, she's a lawyer, she's gone to court to claim that no reasonable person would have taken what she said the entire country for months, comments like this as a fact.


SIDNEY POWELL, TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: All the swing states should be overturned.




BURNETT: Tonight, we are learning three of the victims in the horrific shooting in Boulder, Colorado were employees at the King Soopers grocery store. The company that owns the grocery store saying in a statement just moments ago and I quote, "In the hour since the shooting, we're learning of truly heroic acts included associates, customers and first responders selflessly helping to protect and save others."

And we are also learning new details about another of the victims, 59- year-old Suzanne Fountain. A friend says she helps seniors in the community sign up for Medicare and she starred in local theatre productions. You see her there.

OUTFRONT now, Helen Forster, a longtime friend of Suzanne's. And Helen, thank you for being with us. And I am so terribly sorry for your sudden and horrible loss.


BURNETT: How did you find out that your dear friend was one of the victims?

FORSTER: We found out this morning, my husband and I, Suzanne is someone that I've known since the late '80s, really, when we met during a community theater production. She was a wonderful actress, by the way. And we found out this morning, we started getting texts from everybody all over it because our crew, our friends, our neighbors, a lot of people know her.

And when the list came out, she has a very unusual name, and we thought, oh, no. Hopefully, it won't be her. But it was her and it's a terrible loss of an incredible human being.

BURNETT: We see her pictures smiling. It gives a sense that it's a person with a big smile and a big life. And you just mentioned you've known her for a long time, since the late 1980s. And I know you say you couldn't help but just hit it off with her. Bring her to life for all of us, for people watching tonight, bring Suzanne to life.

FORSTER: She was the type of person that if you were having a bad day or you were having a tense moment, if she was around and you saw that smile, she just would light up the room and she was a bright light. She was one of those people that I think a lot of people who met her felt they already knew her.

She was warm, funny, smart, really dependable. We actually hired her after she volunteered at our nonprofit for a number of years and she worked with us for 17 years and everyone loved her. And you could really relate to her and she would be the first person that people would see when they walked in the door of the nonprofit building that we operate.

And she just would take care of everybody. She was calm and reassuring when things were stressful. She again was a wonderful actress and she was a person who all her life really she was about doing service, helping others.

[19:25:03] So she worked at the hospital here for a number of years helping

patients who are under great duress kind of wade through and navigate the difficult insurance stream that you have to go through. And then later she became a Medicare consultant and help seniors do the very same thing.

So she was just a delight to be around. Again, all you had to do is be around her or her give you a hug and everything was better.

BURNETT: So what do you do now? How do you cope now with the unimaginable, something that surely you like me or anyone watching would never think would touch your life and now it has?

FORSTER: Yes. I mean, I have to speak for everyone who knew her and everyone here in Boulder too, you hear about the shootings and I would have great empathy for these communities. Many of them small, many of them like Boulder. You know your neighbor. It's a friendly town. You just never think it's going to happen here and especially to someone like Suzanne.

And I'm sure the other victims are equally as wonderful and I grieve for them and their families, too. We all do. I think we're still a little bit in shock and we're stunned. And I think we just have to take one day at a time and remember what she did for all of us. And you hold someone in your hearts, whether they're on a planet or not, so I think that that's what a lot of us will be doing moving forward.

BURNETT: Helen, thank you so much for sharing Suzanne.

FORSTER: Thank you. Thank you very quickly, let me say for humanizing these victims, because it's easy to hear about these things and your mind goes numb, it's just 10 more people or eight more people or whatever, but these are real individuals and I thank you for giving me the chance to speak on behalf of her friends about Suzanne.

BURNETT: Thank you so much, Helen.

Next, Ted Cruz firing back after Democrats say enough with the thoughts and prayers.


BLUMENTHAL: Thoughts and prayers must lead to action.

CRUZ: Contempt of Democrats for prayers is an odd sociological thing.


BURNETT: Sen. Richard Blumenthal is my guest.

Plus, pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell defending her baseless claims of election fraud, which she made and people believed, and people rioted, and people died but she now says no reasonable person would have ever taken her comments seriously. The Michigan attorney general who is now trying to get Powell disbarred is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden eyeing executive action on gun control in the wake of a Colorado supermarket massacre in which 10 people were killed, including a police officer.

This is he admits, he does not know if he get the Senate to pass things like, a ban on assault weapons or enhanced background checks.


REPORTER: Do you believe you have the political capital to make changes on gun measures right now?

JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope so, I don't know I haven't done the accounting for.


BURNETT: Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT.

And, Phil, Republicans have been reluctant obviously to back any gun control measures after mass shootings in the past. And is there any sign that it will be different this time with President Biden?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not at the moment, Erin. Look, I don't think the dynamics have changed on Capitol Hill. Obviously, the dynamics have changed in one sense, and that is that the Democrats are in control of the majority in the U.S. Senate. And Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer has made clear they will at least debate two House passed bills related to background checks.

I think the big question right now is where the White House is going to be on. There's no question this was a priority for President Biden on the campaign trail. But it has not been a top tier priority for the White House up to this point, obviously, laser-focused on economic issues, on coronavirus issues as well, so what kind of heft are they going to put behind this push.

The president today making clear he wants it to be a top 10, are they going to follow through on that?

Now, as you noted, the White House is drafting executive actions related to smaller board back on track issues, sending more funds to communities that have been affected by gun violence. But they know, one, that to get anything substantive done, they're going to need Congress. If they're going to do that, they are going to need Republican votes which they don't currently have.

And two, this has been an issue that has confounded president after president, Congress after Congress for now it seems like decades.

This is also an issue that's not going away. Obviously, two mass shootings in two weeks, I think the expectation is just based on history, they'll be more going forward. I think the most telling thing, Erin, from the course of this day, was

the comments you just played for President Biden. If you talk to White House officials they all say he is relentlessly optimistic on just about everything. Even the things that seem very, very difficult to achieve.

On this, he was rather blunt, saying he didn't know and he hopes so. He understands the dynamics. He's been through this as a senator. He's been through this as a vice president, now dealing with it as a president.

He knows there is no clear path way forward to the votes that needs in the Senate to pass anything substantive. There's no clear pathway forward to any significant change legislatively. But a lot of it is going to depend on what kind of effort the White House puts over the course of coming weeks and months -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Phil. Well, a massacre in Boulder is now already leading to a heated back and forth on Capitol Hill today over how to prevent the next tragedy.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Inaction has made this horror completely predictable. Inaction by this Congress makes us complicit. Now is the time for action to honor these victims, with action, real action, not the fig leaves or the shadows that have been offered on the other side, along with hopes, and thoughts and prayers.


Thoughts and prayers cannot save the eight victims in Atlanta or the 10 last night, including a brave police officer.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): What happens in this committee after every mass shooting is Democrats proposed taking away guns from law-abiding citizens, because that's their political objective. But what they propose, not only does it not reduce crime, it makes it worse. By the way, I don't apologize for thoughts or prayers, I will lift up and prayer people who are hurting and I believe in the power of prayer. The contempt of Democrats for prayers is an odd sociological thing.


BURNETT: Senator Blumenthal is now OUTFRONT.

So, Senator, Senator Cruz is saying you and your party are just playing politics after every mass shooting. That you're proposing gun control measures that would do nothing to prevent another mass shooting. He went so far as to call it ridiculous theater, his words.

What do you say to Senator Cruz?

BLUMENTHAL: To Senator Cruz, I would say, thoughts and prayers are good but they are not enough. And after every one of these shootings, my Republican colleagues say that they are offering thoughts and prayers, but then they oppose common sense constitutional measures to separate people from guns, when those people are dangerous.

You know, a shooter in Atlanta is just a misogynist and a racist, except when armed with a gun and then he becomes a monster and a mass murderer. In Boulder, that shooter was a deeply disturbed man, who became a mass killer because he had an assault weapon that could kill people with the efficiency and speed meant for the battlefield.

So guns make all of these serious problems, even more fatal and deadly, especially for domestic violence victims, who then can be killed -- five times more likely to be killed in those situations. And that's why we need to make sure that we adopt these common sense measures.

BURNETT: So, you heard President Biden say he does not know if he can get can gun control done through Congress, he hasn't looked at the numbers. He was there for Sandy Hook. There weren't the numbers then.

Senator Joe Manchin, who you need to pass a virtually anything right now due to the 50/50 tie has supported much of gun control legislation, but does not support to those already passed by the House that Biden was touting today, in part because of a wide expansion in backroom checks that those would entail.

Putting aside Republicans, if you don't have Senator Manchin, is this a nonstarter?

BLUMENTHAL: Erin, we shouldn't be putting aside Republicans, they bear responsibility as well. That was the whole point of my exchange this morning with Senator Cruz, because they are the ones who are ducking that responsibility, and become complicit in all of these shootings. It's not just Boulder. It's 100 killings a day not to mention the emotional trauma and injuries that result. The eight children lost every day to guns that are stored unsafely.

And so, I think my Republican colleagues are going to put on record, we are going to have a vote. We have a president who's committed to this cause, both houses of Congress and most importantly, we have a popular political movement, a grassroots movement, led by a new generation like the Parkland students in March for Our Lives.

BURNETT: Before we go, Senator, I want to ask you about something else that just happened. Two of your Democratic colleagues, Senators Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono, are vowing to oppose all in their words, non-diverse nominees of President Biden until he commits to and appoints more Asian-American Pacific Islanders to key executive branch positions. They say Biden will be the president in 20 years without a cabinet secretary who is in the Asian American Pacific Islander.

Senator, do you support banning all white nominees until an Asian American Pacific Islander is nominated?

BLUMENTHAL: I'm not sure I would support that specific ban. It is actually something I haven't discussed with them. I want to hear their point of view.

But I deeply respect them, they are friends and I think they're absolutely right to raise awareness about the need for Asian American Pacific Islanders to be represented in the cabinet. That is part of a racial justice movement we are living through right now and we owe it to them to hear them out.

BURNETT: Right, I totally understand what you're saying and I know you'd want to talk to them more. But do you hesitation when it comes out, the way I said it? Which is banning white nominees until there is one of another? It sounds a lot uglier when it's put that way.


BLUMENTHAL: I'm not sure that's how they would put it, and I would want them to express it in their own words. I don't know whether they have actually taken that exact position.

But remember that the Biden cabinet is one of the most diverse, if not the most diverse --


BLUMENTHAL: -- in recent history. And I deeply respect the president for the diversity of his cabinet.

BURNETT: Al right. Well, I appreciate your time and it will be interesting to see if they define non-diverse in a different way. I appreciate it. Thank you very much, Senator.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, she claimed she had proof of election fraud.


SIDNEY POWELL, PRO-TRUMP LAWYER: We've got evidence of corruption all across the country.


BURNETT: But now, a pro-Trump attorney is changing her story in a Trump filing.

And flags are at half-staff tonight, as we remember the 10 victims who lost their lives in yesterday's mass shooting. Their stories ahead.


BURNETT: Tonight, pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, the top cheerleader for the big lie, now dismissing her own claims of election fraud because, quote, no reasonable person would accept them as fact. OK. I'm not joking. I'm not dancing around this. That's her official defense.

It's all in writing now, in an official court filing in connection with the $1.3 billion lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems, a company suing Powell for damages. [19:45:06]

Now, her lies weren't only limited to Dominion voting machines. She waded deep, deep into conspiracy world.


POWELL: What we're really dealing with here and uncovering more by the day is the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China, and the interference with our elections here in the United States.

The entire election, frankly, in all the swing states, should be overturned and the legislatures should make sure that the electors are selected for Trump.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Michigan's Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel. She is seeking to disbar Powell from practicing law in Michigan after repeating lies about the state's election.

Attorney General Nessel, I'm glad to talk to you again.

Let me just start off with this defense that Powell is putting out there. That she is literally saying in an official filing that no reasonable person would have accepted what she repeatedly said as fact?

DANA NESSEL (D), MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yeah, that's her defense, and basically speaking, just kidding, all the things I said undermined the integrity of our electoral system. It was what we knew it to be, which was a lie, a lie so outrageous that she says now that no reasonable person could possibly believe it.

But unfortunately, you know, who did believe it? Sixty-seven percent of all Republicans believed it, 366 people that have been charged with insurrection for storming the Capitol, they believed it. Republican legislatures like my own, they've spent countless hours having hearings on this issue. They believed it. And all the legislators now that are voting to enact voter suppression laws to protect against what we know to be the most fair, accurate, safest election in modern history.

The damage that this individual, this woman, has done, and her cohorts who filed these cases along with her in the highest court of the land, is untold. And who knows how or when this damage can possibly be undone.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, it's pretty credible, too. She's saying no reasonable person would have accepted what she said is fact. She went and peddled that to the president and he -- well, he continues to peddle it. He peddled it yesterday, saying the election was rigged and he won, and still putting out the things out there that she now admits are something no reasonable person would accept as fact. I want to just play a little bit more in case anyone has forgotten.

She did talk a lot during all of this, with a long list of spurious allegations that she pushed in service to Trump's big lie.

Take a listen.


POWELL: We've got evidence of corruption all across the country in countless districts. The machine ran on algorithm that shaved votes from Trump and awarded them to Biden. It's really the most massive and historical egregious fraud the world has ever seen.


BURNETT: So, at the time, Attorney General, she actually said she had evidence of these things, but now in the filing where she says no reasonable person would have ever listen to this, she -- I don't know I am laughing because it's not funny, but she says: Indeed, plaintiffs themselves characterized the statements at issue as wild accusations and outlandish claims.

They are repeatedly labeled "inherently improbable" and even "impossible". Such characterizations of the allegedly defamatory statements further support defendants' position that reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact, but view them only as claims.

I mean, this is -- this is pretty stunning. She's saying -- go ahead and respond to the desperation of this defense.

NESSEL: Well, you know, the last time you had me on your show, we talked about the accusations that were made against myself and the governor of my state, Governor Whitmer, and Secretary of State Benson, when we filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney Grievance Commission, Attorney Grievance Commission, to try to disbar Sidney Powell.

And the accusation that was levied against us is that we were abusing our authority, abusing our positions of power in order to try to ensure that this woman could never again practice law anywhere in the United States of America.

But, I mean, to see that she -- to talk about blaming the victim, now that she made no effort to determine whether the allegation she was making were factually accurate, she knew it was a lie. She knew it was a lie and yet she added it into all these court pleadings anyway. She argued it to the United States Supreme Court.

And, you know, it's so egregious in so many ways.


But it really -- it undermines the credibility of the justice system and it undermines our system of elections. And the damage really is just untold. I hope as many people will believe her now when she says that she is lying is as many people who believed her when she said that this was the truth.

BURNETT: Wow, strongly said.

Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Attorney General.

NESSEL: Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: And also tonight, another Trump ally, Roger Stone, facing new scrutiny. The Trump ally's name showing up in new Capitol riot court filings again and again. Now, Stone vehemently denies any involvement.

Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT


ROGER STONE, POLITICAL ALLY OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: It sure looked like a Trump rally to me.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Video and photos of Roger Stone that once seemed standard for the self described dirty trickster are now drawing renewed scrutiny from federal prosecutors because of the people Stone is surrounded by.

STONE: I lost my ability to make a living.

SCHNEIDER: The woman guarding Stone at this pro-Trump rally in Florida back in December is Connie Meggs, allegedly a member of the far-right, anti-government militia group, the Oath Keepers. Meggs is charged with conspiracy for coordinating with at least 9 other members of the group in the January 6th Capitol attack.

She also appears in this picture that prosecutors filed a redacted version of in court last week, standing and smiling next to Roger Stone. Prosecutors say the man standing nearby is Graydon Young. He is also allegedly a member of the Oath Keepers and has been charged with conspiracy.

The group was at Stone's book siding inside a space that had this life-sized replica backdrop of the Oval Office on December 15th.

Stone hasn't been charged in relation to the Capitol attack, but his connections to the Oath Keepers are well-documented in court proceedings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overran the Capitol.


SCHNEIDER: These two other Oath Keeper members charged with conspiracy allegedly texted about acting as Roger Stone's security detail before the insurrection. Court documents detail how Jessica Watkins told Donovan Crowl on January 1st that they would provide security for Stone if we end up rolling with the Oath Keepers. Crowl then allegedly texted someone else, we will be in D.C. Tuesday and Wednesday, part of Roger Stone's Oath Keepers security detail. Should be fun.

REPORTER: Any concerns about the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers?

STONE: Guilt by association and innuendo. Disgusting. No real journalist ever ask that question.

SCHNEIDER: Stone lashed out when asked by CNN's Donie O'Sullivan about his apparent ties to these extremist groups, but Stone refused to condemn them.

STONE: This is nothing less than an epic struggle for the future of this country between dark and light, between the godly and the godless.

SCHNEIDER: But Roger Stone was protected by members of the Oath Keepers the day before January 6th during this rally, according to authorities, and FBI agent telling a federal judge in Alabama that member Joshua James chauffeured Roger Stone and James's wife testified he was paid around $1,500 by the Oath Keepers for his work at least two events.

And prosecutors also say Oath Keeper Robert Minuta out was seen screaming at police on the steps of the Capitol January 6, had just hours before outside the Willard Hotel in Washington standing guard by Roger Stone's side.

STONE: Any honest investigation will prove there is no evidence whatsoever that I either was involved in, or knew about, this stupid, senseless, counterproductive, illegal, assault at the Capitol. The folks who invaded the Capitol should be prosecuted.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): (AUDIO GAP) Roger Stone declined to comment on the latest court filings that associate him with those members of the Oath Keepers. Stone, though, has previously denied any advance knowledge of the attack, Erin, and he has said that he only accepted the security from the Oath Keepers because of death threats -- Erin.

BURNETT: Wow. All right. Thank you very much, Jessica.

And OUTFRONT next, flags at half-staff tonight as we honor the victims from yesterday's massacre, including one young woman called a shining light in a dark world.



BURNETT: Tonight, a memorial is forming outside the Boulder supermarket where 10 people were shot and killed. People have been gathering near the store to honor the victims, leaving behind flowers and notes.

Sunlen Serfaty has more on the lives lost.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The victims going about their daily lives in a grocery store, customers, employees, some there to get their COVID vaccine. The 10 lives lost from all backgrounds and ages, from 20 to 65 years old.

GOV. JARED POLIS (D), COLORADO: Our hearts ache for those who lost their lives.

SERFATY: Among them, 61-year-old Kevin Mahoney. His daughter posted a tribute on twitter to the man she calls her hero.

My dad represents all things love. I am so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer, she wrote. Adding, I am now pregnant. I know he wants me to be strong for his granddaughter.

And 25-year-old Rikki Olds, a manager at Kings Superstore, she was raised by her grandparents. Her uncle describing her as charismatic, a strong, independent young woman, a shining light, he says, in this dark world.

And 51-year-old officer Eric Talley, a husband, a father of seven, who within minutes of the first 911 reports of unarmed man inside the store ran into danger. He was the first officer on the scene, and then shot and killed.

BIDEN: When the moment to act came, Officer Talley did not hesitate in his duty, making the ultimate sacrifice, in his effort to save lives. That's the definition of an American hero.

SERFATY: Talley had been and IT before becoming a police officer, but at age 40, pursued a career change, joining the Boulder police forced 10 years ago.

CHIEF MARIS HEROLD, BOULDER POLICE: He didn't have to go into policing. He had a profession before this, but he felt a higher calling. He was willing to die to protect others.

SERFATY: Today, Talley's police car parked outside the Boulder police station, becoming a memorial, and a procession of his fellow officers honoring him Monday evening.

Boulder police tonight revealing the other seven victims.

HEROLD: The families of the victims have been notified.

SERFATY: Twenty-year-old Denny Stong, 23-year-old Neven Stanisic, 49- year-old Tralona Bartkowiak,59-year-old Suzanne Fountain, 51-year-old Teri Leiker, 62-year-old Lynn Murray, and 65-year-old Jody Waters, lives lost, families shattered.

HEROLD: Our hearts go out to all the victims killed during this senseless act of violence.

SERFATY: Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: Our thanks to Sunlen.

Thanks to all of you.

Anderson starts now.