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Erin Burnett Outfront

CDC Chief Warns Of "Impending Doom" As Cases Rise; President Biden: War Against COVID Is "Far From Won"; WHO Draft Report: Virus Likely Came From Animal, Not Lab; Prosecutors In Chauvin Trial Show Video Of Lead Up To Floyd's Death; Georgia Prosecutor Adds To Team For Trump Criminal Probe; Sources: Biden's Jobs & Infrastructure Plan To Cost Up To $4 Trillion. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 29, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're told he was very proud of the business he built and very proud of his daughter, Riley (ph), who just graduated from college. May they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, President Biden urging states to restore their mask mandates after his CDC Director warns of 'impending doom'. This as Dr. Deborah Birx points figures for hundreds of thousands of unnecessary American deaths.

Plus, new details about a Georgia District Attorney's criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump, what her new team says but where the probe is going and how much trouble Trump could be in.

And he's a former professional wrestler from New Jersey running for Congress in Texas and all of a sudden, he has a southern accent. Who is this guy? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, 'impending doom'. That's a direct quote. It was a dire and emotional warning from the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, pleading with Americans. She says not as the Director of the CDC but as a wife, a daughter, a mother she was urging the nation not to let its guard down right now.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth and I have to hope and trust you will listen. I'm going to pause here, I'm going to lose the script and I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope, but right now I'm scared.


BURNETT: That's the Director of the CDC, putting aside the script and in an emotional plea talking about the fear of impending doom she has. This is why 27 states are seeing an increase in cases. The seven-day average of hospitalization is now, once again, is on the rise. It's one of the reasons why President Biden today urged people to mask up.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down. And business should require mask as well. Mask up. It's a patriotic duty.


BURNETT: Well, just a moment ago, the State of Alabama responding, the Republican Governor, their office saying no, sorry. We heard you, but no. We're not going to reinstate it. It's going away. We're sticking with our plan. Alabama, just one now 16 states that don't have mask mandates, a number that is growing and Biden tonight upping the ante.


BIDEN: If we let our guard down now we could see a virus getting worse, not better. Prepare to take this virus seriously. Precisely what got us through this mess in the first place.


BURNETT: All right. You don't actually have to take Biden's word for it. Here's Dr. Deborah Birx, who is President Trump's COVID response coordinator admitting that what he just said is the fact.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I look at it this way, the first time we have an excuse, there were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.


BURNETT: All of the rest of them, 450,000 American lives, those were human beings. Americans who could still be alive today if the former president, of course, had done - handled this virus incredibly differently instead of selling the message that wasn't rooted in reality.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country.

We have it so well under control, I mean, we really have done a very good job.

We're prepared and we're doing a great job with it and it will go away, just stay calm. It will go away.

It's going to go. It's going to leave. It's going to be gone.


BURNETT: OK. Well, tonight Trump is slamming Birx and Dr. Fauci saying, "Birx is a proven liar. She was a very negative voice and continuing his obsession with Fauci throwing out a baseball pitch this past summer," because the honor was given to Fauci and not Trump. Trump says, "He couldn't throw a baseball even close to home plate. It was a roller." That's the statement from the former president tonight.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live near the White House. Kaitlan, look, Trump obviously angry by the damning documentary where Birx was interviewed by our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And Biden pleading with people to wear masks, but it's hard to imagine that any of the states going in the other direction are going to listen.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think that's going to be a big question facing them. But on that statement that statement that former President Trump put out, we've seen some of them come from his former office or from his office that he now is holding, the office of the former president.


But this one is quite a doozy because he's not only going after Dr. Anthony Fauci who, of course, we know he publicly feuded with at the time but even going after Dr. Birx who actually if you can believe it, regarding what he said tonight, was the doctor he once favored and the one he would keep in meetings with him, of course, until he brought Dr. Scott Atlas on and then that was when we saw Birx really get pushed out of favor.

But I think this is so notable to see how the president, the former president is still lashing out at his former top health officials, of course, months after he left office, months after they are no longer in these positions. And we obviously know that President Trump and President Biden have taken very different approaches to this pandemic.

But you're really seeing it play out here even with this statement tonight, because look at what happened today where Dr. Walensky was at that briefing earlier today. She stopped reading from her prepared remarks and became emotional while talking about the coronavirus, surges that you're seeing here in the United States and how it's still important for people to follow those precautionary measures.

And then President Biden came out this afternoon and largely echoed what she had been saying, saying that yes this is happening. We don't want to erase the hard-fought gains that the country has earned so far and so really echoing her. Something that we very rarely saw former President Trump do with his health officials.

And so, of course, what President Biden also threw in there this afternoon about this mask mandate and saying that those states who have rescinded it need to put it back on. But as you just noted even with my home State of Alabama, there are states saying that despite those urgent pleas from the President earlier today, they're not going to do this and they're moving forward with rescinding those mask requirements.

Alabama is doing it next week. We've seen other states follow their lead. So I think that is going to be the big test facing this administration is trying to really speak to these local officials who they have said have really been the ones that have a big influence over what happens in these states.

And we should remind viewers that the White House has a weekly call with governors. That's happening tomorrow and Dr. Walensky did tell us earlier today during that briefing she's going to make that case directly to the governors tomorrow.

So we'll see if it changes any minds, but Erin if not, that is going to be another challenge facing the administration as they deal with this response and try to keep the numbers low and not rising as we've seen them do in some state.

BURNETT: Absolutely. All right. Kaitlan, thank you very much.

So I want to go now to the former Medical Adviser to the George W. Bush White House, Dr. Jonathan Reiner and Josh Rogin who has reported extensively on the origins of the virus and we have a lot of news about that tonight. He's also the author of Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi, and the Battle for the Twenty-First Century.

Dr. Reiner, let me start with you. So these mask mandates, I mean, you heard Alabama, obviously, respond that they're - forget it, we're doing what we're going to do. We're not putting the mask back on.

Cities and states across this country are dropping mask mandates and pushing ahead with reopening. Maybe some of the blue states are not as far ahead as the red states, but they're all doing the same thing directionally. They're all saying we're done.

But President Biden is saying reinstate. You heard Dr. Walensky. She's worried about impending doom. Are we too far down the reopening road though for really anyone to turn back?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No, I don't think so. First of all, we have a federal government now that reacts to the facts as they are, not as they would like them to be. Only a fool doesn't change course when the road ahead is untenable.

So sure, at the beginning of March when every single state was down and it looked like the virus was just disappearing, imminently it made sense in some places to maybe relax some of the safeguards. But now with virus surging again in various parts of the country, it's important to reconsider what we are doing. And the prudent move now is for states that are surging and, again, this is happening all over the United States, to reevaluate what they are doing and change course.

The easiest thing to do is masking. It can be done. It's not too late. And I think Dr. Walensky did a great job today speaking from the heart. I really admire that.

BURNETT: She certainly did. I mean, it was clear that that was what she felt emotionally and she went off script, it was important. You did also hear though Dr. Reiner, Dr. Birx, telling Sanjay that she thinks 450,000 Americans could still be alive. She said mitigated or decreased substantially in terms of death. So what do you what do you make of that though? I mean she was there the whole time along for the ride.

REINER: Well, she wasn't just along for the ride, she was in the bridge. She was the White House pandemic coordinator. She just wasn't a passenger on the ship. And there were multiple mistakes that the prior administration made, a catastrophic mistake with almost a two- month delay in testing and then this whole nonsense with politicizing masks.


And then allowing the states to bypass all of the really good advice from the CDC on how to open, yet she and her colleagues were largely silent. She was even silent when the President essentially replaced her with Dr. Scott Atlas who was really brought on to initiate this concept of letting the virus burn through the community with a modified herd immunity.

She was even silent then. She was silent. She was silent when this country needed to know the truth. When the country needed to know that masks were not optional, that testing was important, that we weren't doing too much testing, that we had to keep shut down until it was safe to open, she was silent and so were most of her colleagues with the exception to a certain extent of Tony Fauci.

BURNETT: Right, that is true.

So let me ask you, Josh, in this context it really matters where this came from for so many reasons, right? One of them though, I keep saying is that this virus really could be what cements the change in economic superpower, military superpower and everything else on this planet.

And tonight, a draft report from the World Health Organization states that an animal, not a lab in Wuhan was likely the source of the deadly pandemic, a naturally occurring virus from an animal to a person as opposed to a leak from the lab.

Now, I just want to say, Josh, so everyone knows what you know, Chinese scientists reportedly help write the WHO report. The New York Times says half of the scientists who wrote it were Chinese scientists, most of whom hold official positions or work for the government. That half of the people that wrote the report are in that category.

The World Health Organization, obviously, all the way along has not been critical of China. The WHO Director we all remember back last February tweeting to congratulate the government of China for its cooperation and transparency, which might be the biggest load of baloney that came out of all of this at the official level. Can U.S. trust the WHO, Josh, to have the say, the final say on whether this virus came from a Chinese lab?

JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: No. Listen, it's a tragedy of this pandemic that in addition to the politicization of masks, and testing and hydroxychloroquine that the origin story, the drive to find out how we got here, how this happened so that we can prevent the next pandemic has become horrendously politicized and the WHO fatally flawed investigation study group, whatever you want to call it, and its fatally flawed report is just the latest example of that and it's a darn shame.

And don't take my word for it, Secretary of State Tony Blinken who is not a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist, Tony Blinken said we've got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into the report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it.

OK. So it's not surprising that it tows the Chinese Communist Party's line, it's not surprising that they actually put out the information two weeks ago in the Chinese state propaganda media and it's not surprising that the WHO investigators were the best friends of the people in the lab say it couldn't have possibly come from the lab, even though they didn't even investigate the lab. OK.

So we actually learned nothing new from the new report. It does muddy the water further and it actually places the Biden administration in a terrible position, because they want more information about the labs. They've confirmed some of the Trump administration's claims about suspicious activity at the lab, sick researchers and the WHO report either ignored or denies that.

So now we have a big problem that the WHO report and the administration are really in conflict and we need the Chinese government to put out more information and the Biden administration to put out more information as well.

BURNETT: It is pretty incredible, because as the course of history turns, how this all started, it's not just going to be something that's interesting for general historical purposes like it truly may have just much greater impact. Thank you both so very much. I appreciate it.

And next, protests are growing in Minneapolis after an emotional first day of testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin. His defense arguing George Floyd died because among other things he was on drugs at the time of death. The Floyd family attorney is next.

Plus, Trump interrupts a wedding to push the lie about the election. We've got the video.

And this man ran for Congress in Nevada and lost, now he's popped up in a Texas race with a new accent.


DAN RODIMER, AMERICAN POLITICIAN: I'm Dan Rodimer. I'm just a small businessman.

I know how to handle Nancy Pelosi and stop her (inaudible) ...




BURNETT: Right now, protestors gathering outside the courthouse in Minneapolis where day one of testimony in Derek Chauvin's murder trial wrapped up moments ago. The day ended with a powerful witness who's just feet away from George Floyd as he was shouting out 'I can't breathe'.



JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As prosecutors open their case seeking justice for George Floyd, they began with the unavoidable.


GEORGE FLOYD: I can't breathe.


JIMENEZ (voice over): Playing in full the nine-minute and 29-second video of Officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee to Floyd's neck as he slowly loses consciousness.


BLACKWELL: You will he does not let up and he does not get up for the remaining, as you can see, three minutes and 51 seconds. During this period of time, you will learn that Mr. Chauvin is told that they can't even find the pulse of Mr. Floyd. If you can believe your eyes that it's a homicide. It's murder. You can believe your eyes.


JIMENEZ (voice over): Prosecutors say they want a fair trial, but one where evidence leads their arguments and one that proves Chauvin was anything but innocent.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Nelson, do you wish to open at this time?


JIMENEZ (voice over): The defense argues that Officer Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do and the evidence is far greater than nine minutes and 29 seconds, highlighting what will be a central battle in this trial.


ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What was Mr. Floyd's actual cause of death? The evidence will show that Mr. Floyd died of a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, his coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl and the adrenaline flowing through his body.


JIMENEZ (voice over): But Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, also argued the surrounding crowd had an impact on Chauvin's behavior that day.



NELSON: They're screaming at him, causing the officers to divert their attention from the care of Mr. Floyd to the threat that was growing in front of them.


JIMENEZ (voice over): In the end, Nelson says the only just result is not guilty. That's not how the family of George Floyd feels, who started the day kneeling in silent protest representing the time Derek Chauvin's knee was on George Floyd's neck.


PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: They can sweep this under the rug. This is a starting point. This is not a finishing point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Testimony 1920 [00:00:30] going to be the truth and nothing but the truth.


JIMENEZ (voice over): The starting point for prosecutors, the 911 operator who dispatched the officers to Cup Foods on May 25, 2020. Jena Scurry testified officers pinned Floyd to the ground for so long she thought the real time video she was watching froze and she alerted a sergeant to voice her concern with what was happening.


JENA SCURRY, WITNESS, MINNEAPOLIS 9-1-1 DISPATCHER: My instincts were telling me that something is wrong, something is not right. I don't know what, but something wasn't right.




JIMENEZ (voice over): While Donald Williams who witnessed Floyd pinned from just feet away told the court his mixed martial arts background informed him that Chauvin was tightening his knee on Floyd's neck.


WILLIAMS: Every time his shoulders move and he's pushing that pressure down on his neck from the shoulders to the knees.



BURNETT: And Omar joins me now. Omar, what we're seeing behind you we're also seeing bigger on our screen. Tell me about what's happening where you are.

JIMENEZ (on camera): Yes, Erin. This was part of a scheduled protest that we knew is going to happen around 5 pm once court got out today. So you see just behind me, of course, the banner of people justice for George Floyd and all stolen lives, the world is watching.

And we got the sense that over the course of this, outside of the courtroom proceedings just the fact that we are at this trial and got the opening statements. It was a moment that was a long time coming for many here in this community and many communities across the country so they have been watching this very, very closely.

And also what you see behind me is a reminder of what many people feel is at stake with this trial in the pursuit of justice for George Floyd.

BURNETT: All Right. Thank you very much, Omar, and for your report. Omar, of course, been covering this since the very beginning.

I want to go to Tony Romanucci now, the Floyd family attorney who is back with me. And Tony, I'm glad to speak with you again. So Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, we heard tell the jury that George Floyd had consumed drugs, that Floyd bought back against officers so much that the patrol car rocked back and forth with the force.

So what is your response to this image of George Floyd that the defense was trying to paint today?

ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, I call it the make you look defense, Erin. And really what they're trying to do is distract the jury from what really happened that night. And listening to the defense attorney's opening statement, I think his words are going to come back to haunt him because he repeatedly said that ladies and gentlemen, use your common sense and as to what a reasonable police officer would do. Well, I say this in response, the video is what common sense is all

about. The video shows that this man that Derek Chauvin actually kneeled on George Floyd now for nine minutes and 29 seconds, 43 seconds longer than we all thought what it was and what's reasonable you look at all those bystanders that were there. That's reasonableness. That is what a reasonable person knew, many people knew, that he was killing him and that's what happened.

Common sense and reasonableness tells you that if you kneel on someone's neck, if you lock their neck in place against the city street, you're going to kill them. That's what reasonable people know and you're telling me that a police officer didn't know that, I don't believe it.

BURNETT: So they actually, to this point, they're trying to say that Chauvin followed police procedure. So let me just let viewers hear how they put it today.


NELSON: Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career. The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing.


BURNETT: He did exactly what he was trained to do. Your response, Tony?

ROMANUCCI: Well, let's talk about use of force versus excessive force. We all know that police officers have a badge, because they can use force. They can use that. They can't use excessive force. And we don't agree that one second of the force that George had on him that day was appropriate. But let's say hypothetically that some force was necessary.

At a certain point that balance tipped against him using force and it became excessive, and when the man was saying, when George was saying I can't breathe, I can't breathe, my stomach hurts, my neck hurts, my whole body hurts, I'm crying from my mother. Tell my children I love them.


You have to do something about it as well as having the bystanders yelling at him to saying that he can't breathe and he's losing consciousness. That's what I have to say. That there's a difference between using force and then using excessive force.

BURNETT: And that's obviously a crucial distinction which is at the heart of this. So at the center of the trial, of course, is the cause of George Floyd's death and obviously it's clear what you're saying. But the defense today is saying that the cause is different, they're blaming Floyd's underlying medical conditions combined with the drugs in his system they say and adrenaline. So they're saying well nobody would have known those things and

therefore the officer didn't do this within 10, that's their argument. What evidence do you have that shows medically that that is not the case?

ROMANUCCI: There's lots of evidence medically. If you'll recall, we were able to get two independent medical examiners to George Floyd's deceased body within a week of this event happening. And they found that the manner of death was mechanical asphyxiation and - I'm sorry, that the cause of death was mechanical asphyxiation and the manner was homicide.

The difference is that our medical examiners found that there were actually fractured vertebra or fractured spinal pieces of bone in George's body, whereas the Hennepin County medical examiner did not discover that because he didn't go deep enough. So there is lots of medical literature and evidence to show that George Floyd died at the hands of another human being as a result of not drug overdose, but excessive force.

BURNETT: All right. Tony, I appreciate your time. Thank you again.

ROMANUCCI: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And I want to go now to our Legal Analyst, Areva Martin. So Areva, the court adjourned tonight with a powerful testimony from a man who was at the scene who yelled at police to get off of George Floyd. He's an MMA fighter. He says that Chauvin put Floyd in a 'blood choke'. It was powerful testimony that he gave. What did prosecutors gain from that?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, Erin. That testimony was so riveting, I can hardly take my eyes or ears off of it. That's unusual. What happened in terms of Donald Williams' testimony is very unusual in a trial. He was a fact witness and an eyewitness.

But yet he gave essentially expert testimony because of his experience as a martial artist, because of his experience as a wrestler, he knows a lot about chokeholds. He knows about cutting someone's oxygen off.

And he was able to give that testimony in a way that you would expect to see from a qualified medical expert so that testimony goes further than your typical eyewitness testimony. And to think that jurors went home with that witness being the last witness they heard from, that makes for a powerful day for the prosecution.

BURNETT: And prosecutors also called a 911 dispatcher to the stand who said she was watching surveillance video of Floyd's arrest and she became so concerned about the use of force that she called the police sergeant and she said she had never done that before. Here's that call played in court today, Areva.


NELSON: They're screaming at him, causing the officers to divert their attention from the care of Mr. Floyd to the threat that was growing in front of them.


BURNETT: I'm sorry that was the wrong sound bite, but let me just ask you about that first because that goes to the point that you heard in Omar Jimenez's piece, which is that the crowd of bystanders was distracting at the scene, it distracted the police so that they weren't able to think clearly.

So that's what he's describing there, the defense attorney that they're screaming at them, causing the officers to divert their attention from the threat placing George Floyd. What do you make of that argument?

MARTIN: We know, Erin, trials are basically about storytelling and the prosecutor and defense are trying to tell stories, in this case two very different stories. The defense wants to tell a story that the scene was so chaotic, that people were engaged in such disruptive behavior that it distracted from their ability to take care of George Floyd. I don't think that argument is going to resonate with jurors.

That nine-minute and 29-second video, when you think about how much time nine minutes and 29 seconds is, I think jurors will realize there was ample time to control the crowd and to turn Mr. Floyd over to check his pulse, to do things that could have preserved his life. So even though the defense wants us to think it was a chaotic scene, I don't think the evidence is going to bear out their allegations in that regard.

BURNETT: All right. Areva, I appreciate your time and thank you very much.

MARTIN: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, the Georgia prosecutor investigating Trump for trying to overturn the election beefing up her team, six new attorneys onboard.


So, what does that tell us about where this crucial investigation is headed?

And sources say President Biden's new infrastructure bill could cost $4 trillion. $4 trillion dollars, that's just like another trillion over the weekend. Is Biden's big bet going to work?


BURNETT: Tonight, the Georgia prosecutor leading a criminal probe into former President Trump beefing up her team of investigators looking at Trump's efforts to overturn the state's election results. CNN confirming, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has hired close to a dozen more lawyers for investigation, which stems from Trump's phone call demanding the secretary say Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, find him enough votes to win the state of Georgia. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I want to do is this, I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than what we have. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes give me a break.



Sara, the prosecutors billing of the team for obviously what is an incredibly consequential investigations.


Tell me what more you know.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. You know, Fani Willis took office in January and essentially what she did is she rebuilt an anti-corruption unit. She got rid of a lot of folks who are already, as part of Republican integrity unit.

And, you know, she brought on a lot of these people not just to work on the Trump case, they're going to be working on a number of anti- corruption cases. But, obviously, you will see how their expertise could be useful in an investigation into the former president.

You know, she's bringing on people like Mike Carlson, who's an expert in the rules of evidence. He actually wrote a book on the rules of evidence in Georgia with his father.

There's a guy named John Floyd, he's coming on a contract position. He's an expert in racketeering. These are really complex cases to investigate, there are complex charges to bring. He also literally wrote the book on racketeering in Georgia.

Then beyond that, you know, you're looking at someone like Raymond Baez. This is one of the few folks who was already in the public integrity office in the Fulton County District Attorney's Office that Fani Willis decided to keep on. This is someone who is relatively young, but he has experience as a former Atlanta cop, he has experienced in complex investigations.

So, this is kind of just a look at some of the folks in this team that she's building, to deal with anti-corruption cases in the Atlanta area in general, but also his expertise to be very useful in the investigations into the former president.

BURNETT: So, Sara, you know, with your expertise covering this, what does this mean to the types of charges Trump could face in Georgia?

MURRAY: Well, we have an indication of the kinds of charges she's looking, because, remember, she sent those letters to officials in the state of Georgia, who we don't believe our targets, but she essentially said we need you to say this information, we need you to save documents because we are investigating a solicitation of election fraud. We are investigating conspiracy, we are investigating racketeering.

Now, these are not going to be home runs. They're not going to be super easy for her to prove, especially when you talk about a racketeering case. But it gives you a sense that she's not just looking at the former president's behavior. She's also looking at the behavior folks around the former president who may have sort of helped him carry out his efforts to try to overturn the election results in Georgia.

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

And I want to bring in now, Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney '04 presidential campaign. And Elie Honig, CNN legal analyst and a former U.S. assistant attorney for the Southern District of New York.

So, Elie, what sticks out to you? You hear about this team, their specialties, the Fulton County prosecutor is building, the significance of adding six attorneys.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Erin. So, it's clear to me this investigation is gaining steam. First of all, importantly, the district attorney whose fairly need to her position, she's only been there a few months, essentially has cleaned house on this corruption unit, which in her estimation was ineffectual. Now she's brought in I think a higher powered group of attorneys.

What jumps out to me really is the hiring of this racketeering expert.

Now, racketeering laws are very powerful tool for prosecutors, I used to charge mafia, organized crime families with racketeering. But it can be applicable elsewhere. What you have to show is two things. One, that there was an organized group, that it was more than one person doing this. And two, what we call a pattern of racketeering, meaning multiple crimes are sort of coordinated effort over a period of time to commit crime.

So, it tells me that they're looking at really more serious charges here.

BURNETT: Wow. So, Matthew more serious charges becoming more likely and yet Trump continuing to demonstrate for the world to see, that he's willing to keep putting the big lie out there. Today, I'm sorry this weekend, he took the microphone at a wedding in Mar-a-Lago to talk about it. TMZ got the video, so let me show it.


TRUMP: They said, get 66 million votes, sir, and elections over. Well I got 75 million, and you saw what happened, 10 30 in the evening, all of a sudden, they said, that's a strange thing. Why are they closing up certain places? A lot of things happened right now.

I just want to say it's an honor to be here. It's an honor to have in Mar-a-Lago. You are a great and beautiful couple.


BURNETT: Matthew, so he starts his toast with, you know, his election. That's what happens.

MATTHEW DOWD, CHIEF STRATEGIST, BUSH-CHENEY '04 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I think Vince Vaughn is a better version of wedding crashers than Donald Trump at this point in time. I mean, the problem is yes, Donald Trump is possibly going to be held accountable for what he's done in this, but the damage he's done to our democracy is much more lasting. It's much more long held.

The damage he's done to citizens of this country, at least a third who have believed with this lie that he's told about the fraud in the election, and response to the lie, as you know, Erin, to by state legislative offices around the country, to try and do something about the fraud which doesn't exist.

So Donald, Trump he's his, you know, own crazy celebrity, whatever he wants to do at a wedding is fine. But as he keeps lying, he's doing incredible damage to our democracy.

BURNETT: So, Elie, you know, this comes as the Fulton County D.A. has told the daily beast that subpoenas are likely coming in the very near future. You know, while all this down for us.


You know, if this really is going out in full steam and they have the goods to prove crimes, this is a criminal probe then what does that mean for, you know, the person at the other end of this, for Trump?

HONIG: Yeah, Erin, the fact that they're getting ready to issue subpoenas tells me they're sort of in the heart of their investigation. Usually as a prosecutor, you wouldn't issue subpoenas first thing. You want to get a base of knowledge under you. Then you start issuing subpoenas.

This is where things are going to get really interesting, because if a person gets a subpoena, they really have a few choices. One, testify under oath in front of the grand jury under penalty of perjury. Two, take the fifth but that sort of is a red flag to prosecutors that that person may have some criminal liability. Or three, if you ignore, the U.S. Marshals will show up at your house and take you into testify in handcuffs.

So things are going to get real now. If the evidence is there, I actually have faith that this district attorney, she's shown that she's bold and independent. And if the proof is there to match the crime of the solicitation of election fraud, then we could well see a criminal charge.

BURNETT: And a criminal charge if proven, would result correct, in prison time?

HONIG: Yeah, under the Georgia law, this particular crime is punishable by one to three years in prison. It would be a felony. It's very rare to see somebody convicted of a felony and not go to prison for at least sometime.

BURNETT: I mean, it's just a pretty incredible thing to even think about as we all take a moment to just consider that. You know, Matthew, obviously you're pointing out the third, the public who may believe Trump's big life.

But it was a lie that actually officials in Georgia stood up to, right? Republican officials, Governor Kemp, the Secretary of State Raffensperger.

Here's more from that call between the secretary of state and Trump that actually launched this whole criminal probe in Georgia.


TRUMP: So dead people voted, and I think the number is in -- close to 5,000 people.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: The actual number were two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted. And so, that's wrong, that was two.


BURNETT: And yet, Matthew, you know, Georgia now has a bill that's passed right, that would allow unlimited challenges to voters, right?

So if you want to say 6,000 people voted and you're wrong, you could go check every single person, right? They are going to limit the drop boxes, even though obviously the governor himself and use them.

What do you make of the mixed messaging?

DOWD: Well, it's fascinating to me about this is yes, it was great that they set up at the time to Donald Trump, and basically acknowledge that there wasn't fraud in the election was held accurately and safely in this time. But it seems to me now, that now every single one of those people are supporting these impediments.

Keep in mind one thing, Erin, that the Jim Crow laws that were passed in Georgia and other states in the 1870s and 1880s, were legal, were legal. And so, it seems to me what they are doing in Georgia is, well, we're going to stand up to you when you do something that's against the law. But oh, by the way, we are going to pass a bunch of laws to make way you objected to an actual reality. So, therefore, we're going to support this.

So, there's a huge difference between what is legal and what is moral, and what is along with the Constitution, our democracy. So the Georgia officials seem to have only had a moral moment momentarily. But once they could get it into law, their passing it into law just like they did during Jim Crow.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much, I appreciate you.

HONIG: Thanks, Erin. DOWD: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, $6 trillion, that's how much President Biden could be trying to spend and at least allocate for spending in the first few months. He might do it without a single Republican on board. Is that right, or smart?

And he's a former professional wrestler, he's from New Jersey but is running for Congress in Texas. With a whole new Cowboy person, at this video of him running a bull well, here's what he just admitted to CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we had other people jump to be body doubles.




BURNETT: Tonight, go big, or go home. President Biden, with an eye on his legacy that some historians of already compared to FDR and LBJ, pulling out a spending package that could cost up to $4 trillion. The goal is jobs and infrastructure.

The plan being broken up into two parts. One is, you know, things like preparing roads, bridges, clean energy, and the second which is on a wide panoply of times, everything from expanding paid family leave, childcare, access to health care, a lot of things in there.

Combined with President Biden's COVID relief, that is nearly $6 trillion, and spending, in just a few months in office. It's hard to kind of understand those numbers, and whether we should spend it or not, it's a little scary that it's hard to understand, because it means that people pay less attention than they should.

One person paying close attention, Dana Bash, co-anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION".

And, I mean, Dana, these numbers are -- they defy reality in terms of our ability to understand them, right? But, obviously, the administration officials are saying they want to remake the American economy and the role of government, right? Much like the New Deal of FDR.

So, is that really the goal here? And is this actually, you know, when historians say that, is that seeping in and encouraging Biden to say, you know what, I should go bold and big?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and yes. You know, I was talking to a Democrat today who reminded me, that despite these numbers being so big, Erin, we don't at this point anticipate, still, that President Biden is going to create, you know, a system like the New Deal, or a program like the new deal, or like LBJ did with brand new systems like Medicaid, for example. I mean, those were huge government programs.

There might be down the road, but at this point, what the Biden ministration, as far as we know is talking about is all of the thing you just talked, about to add to. He has to create short term projects. But, it is to certainly add to the economy.

And it is to go beyond roads, as you said, but it is to fulfill so many of the president's campaign promises, including climate issues like clean jobs, clean cars, automobiles, and transportation beyond that, and even childcare. Money for helping women, and men, who need it better infrastructure at home in order to work outside the home.


So, all of that combined, is part, of yes, the go big, or go home. The one question we don't know the answer to is how much in tax cuts is the administration going to offer to offset, at least some of that spending.

BURNETT: Right, right.

BASH: Excuse me, tax increases.

BURNETT: Tax increases, right.

But the other thing is here, Dana, is they can use reconciliation, and I know there's a debate right now about how many times you can use it. But what I find stunning is that all of this could happen, you know, completely remaking how we do many things in this country, and who does what, without a single Republican. They can do it without a single Republican.

BASH: They can, but it is going to be less likely than it was in the COVID relief bill. There are Democrats, mostly in the Senate, mostly named Joe Manchin who felt that it was important to give President Biden a big win, and a big win on something that was so important, but it has to do with the twin crises that he inherited, the COVID crisis, and, of course, the health crisis and the economic crisis that goes along with that.

Something like infrastructure, which, you know, at its core, the idea of it has bipartisan support, the COVID relief bill did too, by the way, but this is kind of a different -- a different ball game. It is going to be much more challenging for somebody like Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, somebody even like maybe, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and others, to go along with what you -- what you described, reconciliation, doing this with just Democratic votes.

In fact, Manchin has said that he won't go along with that at all. And the reason I'm singling out individual Democratic senators, Erin, you know this, it's because they can't lose one in order to do it. They only have a 50/50 majority, and they can only get something on the party line vote if the vice president cast that tie breaking vote.

And right now, if you listen to these moderates they're saying they're not going to go there, so you need to find some bipartisan agreement. BURNETT: It's incredible. All right. Dana, thank you very much.

And also tonight, a former professional wrestler from New Jersey, facing scrutiny, as he runs for Congress in Texas, and suddenly, is riding balls. Even some fellow Republicans, are now crying foul.

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the same man, Dan Rodimer, as a congressional candidate last year in Nevada.

DAN RODIMER (R), TEXAS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I'm just a small businessman, a family man, living in the suburbs.

SERFATY: And Dan Rodimer, now a candidate for a U.S. House seat in Texas.

RODIMER: Texas, send Big Dan to Congress. I know how to handle Nancy Pelosi, and stop her bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SERFATY: The transformation is impossible to overlook. Gone is the suburban family guy.

RODIMER: Sometimes, it's easy to lose track of what's really important. And for me, it's family.

SERFATY: Rodimer is now pitching himself as a bull rider, and cowboy hat wearer, who speaks with a Southern drawl.

RODIMER: Now, that's Texas, tough baby.

SERFATY: In an interview with CNN today, Rodimer pushed back.

RODIMER: In regards to my voice? Well, as you can hear right now, it's gone. It's been gone for the past three weeks. Between the two videos that they did, back to back, if you look at them, they were selectively edited. If you watch the whole thing, you can hear my voice, just like it is right now.

SERFATY: Rodimer lost his Nevada race, last November, and has now picked up, and moving his family over 1000 miles to the Dallas area.

RODIMER: I moved by family of seven back to Texas because I wanted to raise my kids in a Constitution-friendly state.

SERFATY: Rodimer is one of the more than 20 candidates running in the May special election, to fill the seat of Congressman Ron Wright, who passed away, after being diagnosed with COVID. Wright's widow, Susan, is also running for the seat.

Rodimer's new persona is being panned by some, as phony. Including one of his Democratic opponents, who suggested he may have even used a body double to ride the bull in his campaign video. RODIMER: Let's go, boys.

SERFATY: The ad never shows the rider's face, and the boots and vest appear slightly different than what Rodimer is wearing in the video. Even some Republicans in Congress are calling him out.

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeting: Fake Texan makes fake video of fake bull ride. We already have enough phonies in Congress, Texas shouldn't import this congressman. Big Dan is all hat, no cattle.

Today, for the first time, Rodimer admitted to CNN that the campaign did use a body double for parts of the bull ride.

RODIMER: Did I ride a bull? Yes. I actually did on for 11 seconds. We didn't get the full filming of it.


And, yeah, we had other people jump in to be body doubles.

SERFATY: Rodimer is originally from New Jersey. According to his campaign website, he once lived in Houston where he worked as a home builder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So much determination off the face of Dan Rodman.

SERFATY: Before running for office, he was a professional wrestler. This is not the first time Rodimer has stirred controversy.

RODIMER: I have no convictions, and no criminal record.

SERFATY: During his 2020 campaign, the father of 6, faced questions of past physical assault allegations.

RODIMER: I had one arrest in my life, in college. Those charges were dismissed.

SERFATY: His now wife, also releasing a campaign ad, explaining 9-1-1 call she made against, him in 2018. Alleging, he stole money, jewelry, and guns from her.

SARAH RODIMER, WIFE: What happened between Dan and I was a verbal argument, plain and simple. Dan has never laid a hand on me, not then, or ever.


SERFATY: And in our interview today, Rodimer denied all of these allegations, both the physical allegations from the years 2010 to 2013, as well as those 9-1-1 calls, those allegations made by his wife. The special Election Day, for the special election, Erin, is on May 1st.

BURNETT: May 1st. Okay, thank you, Sunlen.

And next, the sounds of victory after that massive Empire State Building-sized ship got unstuck in one of the most important shipping lanes in the planet.


BURNETT: Ships are about to be moving again through the Suez Canal, where workers managed to free that stuck cargo ship early Monday with tugboats and dredger's. The Ever Given ran a ground about a week ago halting passage of 100 vessels, here's how victory sounded and looked.


BURNETT: The incident disrupted the supply chain of everything, TVs, cars, furniture, a fuel. The head of the world's largest shippers says the effects will be felt for months.

Thanks for watching. It's time for "AC360".