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Erin Burnett Outfront

Witness Breaks Down As Floyd Says He Can't Breathe; Witness Felt "Guilt" Over George Floyd's Arrest; Body Cam Video Played At Chauvin Trial Appears To Show Officer Saying He Can't Find A Pulse On George Floyd; Biden Unveils Massive $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan, The First Part Of A Broader Package Expected To Cost Up To $4 Trillion; Interview With U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh; Gaetz Denies Relationship With Minor, Claims Extortion Attempt; Dr. Sanjay Gupta Goes Inside Pfizer's COVID Vaccine Facility. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 31, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. I'll be back tomorrow.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, graphic never before seen police body cam video of George Floyd's arrest shown in court. Floyd pleading with officers not to shoot him, seems struggling to breed.

Plus, President Biden today unveiling part of his $4 trillion infrastructure plan, calling it a once in a generation investment. Well, it's a lot more than that and does he have the votes to pass it? His Labor Secretary is my guest.

And Pfizer says its vaccine is 100 percent effective in kids aged 12 to 15. And tonight, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta has an exclusive look inside Pfizer's vaccine labs. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, I can't breathe. The three-word rallying cry across the country in the world after George Floyd's death. Today, we heard it again and again. Floyd himself uttering those haunting words during former Officer Derek Chauvin's trial. Some never before body cam videos coming out today revealing the moments that led up to Floyd's death.

Now, the videos are disturbing and graphic because you keep hearing Floyd repeating that painful phrase, all too familiar phrase as he's being arrested and placed into a police car.


GEORGE FLOYD: I'm not a bad guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will not win.


DEATH: Take a seat.

FLOYD: Please.

KUENG: Take a seat.

FLOYD: Please, man. Please. No.


FLOYD: I can't - hold on. I can't choke. I can't breathe, Mr. Officer. Please. Please.


KUENG: You'll be fine.


FLOYD: Let go of me, man. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

LANE: Take a seat.

FLOYD: Please, man. Please listen to me.


BURNETT: That was before Floyd was pinned down, which as you know he was then pinned down for nearly 10 minutes. So here's more of that video from one of the officers who was on Floyd along with Chauvin.


FLOYD: I can't breathe, Officer.

CHAUVIN: Then just stop talking and yelling.

FLOYD: You're going to kill me. They will kill me, man, here.

CHAUVIN: It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to (inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's it, man. You get up (inaudible) ...

FLOYD: Come on, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That's it. That's wrong (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to get your feet right off his neck.

FLOYD: I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop that. Stop that. (Inaudible) ...

FLOYD: They will kill me. They will kill me. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.


BURNETT: It's really awful and hard to watch that, but the video goes on until you hear what appears to be an officer saying he can't find a pulse. Some of what you just saw was too much for one witness to see again, bystander who was standing just feet from Floyd on that day. Today, he broke down on the stand and we're going to hear much more from him in just a moment.

First, I want to go to Minneapolis live where Omar Jimenez is OUTFRONT. He's been covering the trial. And Omar, another dramatic day in court. Emotional testimony and even if you saw it today to watch that again every time it is painful to watch that video.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin. We've seen how emotional testimony can get in this trial and today was no different. You add to that new video context and witness accounts and you get a picture painted of what happened in the lead up to George Floyd having the police called on him and what happened after Floyd was loaded into the ambulance.


JIMENEZ (voice over): Former Officer Derek Chauvin heard for the first time since his murder trial began.


CHAUVIN: That's one person's opinion.


JIMENEZ (voice over): His voice audible on newly released police body camera footage as he defends his treatment of George Floyd to an onlooker.


CHAUVIN: We got to control this guy, because sizable guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (Inaudible) get in the car, I get that.

CHAUVIN: It looks like he's probably on something.


JIMENEZ (voice over): The video shown during witness testimony maybe the first and last time the court hears from the man charged with killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck if he doesn't testify.


LANE: Put your (inaudible) hands up right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JIMENEZ (voice over): New video dominated testimony Wednesday,

including this police body camera footage showing the initial moments of George Floyd's arrest. Prosecutors also introduced this dramatic footage as George Floyd is pinned to the ground.

The prosecutors began the day showing the events that led up to George Boyd's arrest. This surveillance video made public for the first time today shows Floyd in a black tank top walking through Cup Foods convenient store.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... the truth and nothing but the truth.



JIMENEZ (voice over): Nineteen-year-old Christopher Martin was the cashier that day. He testified that Floyd was calm and friendly, but appeared to be high when he came in to buy a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill.


CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, WITNESS: When I saw the bill, I noticed that it had a blue pigment to it, kind of how $100 bill will have and I found that odd, so I assumed that it was fake.


JIMENEZ (voice over): After telling his manager and trying unsuccessfully to bring Floyd back in the store, one of Martin's co- workers called the police. When asked to describe how he felt about what happened that day, the teenager said ...


MARTIN: Guilt.


MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.


JIMENEZ (voice over): Sixty-one-year-old Charles McMillian testified he saw police pinned Floyd to the ground and tried to convince him to cooperate.



FLOYD: I'm not trying to win. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ (voice over): Pleading with Floyd as officers tried to force him in the police car.


CHARLES MCMILLIAN, WITNESS: I was trying to get him to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So were you trying to just help him to ...

MCMILLIAN: Make the situation easy.


JIMENEZ (voice over): Instead, the situation got worse. And seeing it again was overwhelming.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. McMillian, do you need a minute?

MCMILLIAN: I feel helpless.



JIMENEZ (on camera): And that feeling of helplessness is one that has been shared by so many of the witnesses that have testified so far. Many of them young, that 19-year-old cashier was the fifth teenager or younger to testify as part of this trial in just the past few days alone.

Court will be back tomorrow morning. We'll hear from a brand new witness and we learned in a new court document just filed that the man who was in the car initially with George Floyd plans to plead the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination if he is called to testify, Erin.

BURNETT: Omar, thank you very much.

I want to go now to OUTFRONT's legal team. They're going to be with us throughout the trial, Areva Martin and Elie Honig. Appreciate both of you.

And Areva, it is really hard to watch this footage and you just keep hearing those same words again and again. It's so haunting as officers tried to get Floyd into the police car before he's even pinned down, he's screaming out he's claustrophobic, he can't breathe. He calls for his mother.

One bystander urging him to get in the car saying, "You can't win." What's your reaction to seeing all this? I mean, we really had never seen most of this before. AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Erin. It was an emotional day

for me as a lawyer, as a mother, as an African-American woman, so I can only imagine what the jurors are going through as they watch this footage. And we thought as civilians that we had seen the totality of the horrific video tape involved in this case and each day we're seeing new and new videotape that shows different angles, shows different perspectives.

And each day, the videotape seems to get more and more emotional. I think what was striking for me today on one of the videotapes from the police officers was Lane, former Police Officer Lane in his first 15- second encounter with Mr. Floyd, he put a gun to his head and he dropped a series of F bombs.

So the inhumane way in which Mr. Floyd was treated didn't start with the nine minutes and 29-second videotape that we all have become so familiar with. It started with the very first interaction that the police officers on the scene had with Mr. Floyd. And I know that that had to resonate with jurors as they think about the reasonableness of the conduct involved with the officers.

BURNETT: So Elie, we also heard Chauvin's voice for the first time during the trial, which was an important moment. Again, in body cam footage, he was interacting with one of the bystanders after Floyd was taken away in an ambulance. So now we're talking about after the nearly 10-minute time on his neck, before he's taken away in the ambulance and then we hear Chauvin's voice for the first time. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I feel (inaudible) ...

CHAUVIN: That's one person's opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But, no, no, no (inaudible) ...

CHAUVIN: We got to control this guy, because sizable guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (Inaudible) get in the car, I get that.

CHAUVIN: It looks like he's probably on something.


BURNETT: Very calm. He says you got to control this guy, because he's a big guy. He looks like he's on something. Incredibly calm. Again, the context is this is after all of that, the screaming, the fighting, the begging for his life after he had his knee on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. How do you think the jury responded to that?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Erin, this is really powerful evidence. What the prosecution is doing here is taking the jury inside Derek Chauvin's mind. You have to remember this situation here, Derek Chauvin has just been on top of George Floyd for nine and a half minutes. George Floyd's body has just been taken away and what jumped out to me and I believe will jump out to the jury is just how calm and bloodless and almost nonchalant Derek Chauvin is right after this happened.


And if I'm arguing this case to the jury, I'm saying he is cold- blooded. You can see it. You can hear it right there. We, lawyers, use this term intent. Our viewers will hear this term intent throughout this trial.

I would argue to a jury, this shows intent. This shows he did not care. He was barely moved. That shows what's in his head at the key moment.

BURNETT: And Areva, you hear Chauvin at that moment saying, well, he seems like he's on something. And the defense has focused on Floyd's drug use. They had it in their opening statement.

We know that they're going to make that a crucial part of their defense how it may have impacted Floyd's behavior. I want to play again what that employee said, that 19-year-old who is at the cash register about his interactions with Floyd that day. This is what we heard today.


MARTIN: He seemed very friendly, calm, approachable. He is talkative. He seemed to just be having average Memorial Day just living his life, but he did seem high.


BURNETT: So he said that they knew he was going to say it, I mean, right, Areva? So prosecutors are owning that. They're making it clear, look, we all know that there was something that shouldn't be. They're addressing it head on now. That is strategic, isn't it?

MARTIN: Oh, absolutely, Erin. What lawyers tend to do, good warriors in particular, they know there's a weakness in their case. They want to be the first ones to introduce that weakness to take the sting away from it. And what the prosecutors did really effectively with regards to Mr. Martin's testimony is allow George Floyd to be humanized, to show him as a person that was friendly, that was affable, that was engaging in discussion.

And this notion that he die from a drug overdose or pre-existing heart condition doesn't fit what we saw in terms of George Floyd who was having interactions and conversations with that store clerk and appear to be perfectly fine, not on his way to death but for the knee on the neck for nine and a half minutes.

BURNETT: So Elie, the hearing today started with video that we had never seen before, as I said a lot of it. But it started with Floyd inside the Cup Foods store before all of this happened, so that's what Areva is talking about. And you do see him walking around the store eventually comes to buy that pack of cigarettes with you know what turned out to be, at the heart of all this, that counterfeit $20 bill.

One of the witnesses, again, the cashier, put all that into perspective. Let me just play the question and answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going through your mind during that time period?

MARTIN: Disbelief and guilt.


MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.


BURNETT: Obviously, he's talking about the time when you had the altercation with police and George Floyd's death. This is another thing they're doing here, Elie, they're clearly saying, putting in the counterfeit bill as the center of this and we know the defense is going to try to say, well, look at George Floyd's rap sheet. Again, the prosecutors are going there first.

HONIG: Yes. The counterfeit bill in this whole thing should be a big so what. If I'm the prosecutor, I'm saying, so what, who cares, does that justify what came next. I think it was absolutely the right move strategically, put it out there like Areva said, let the jury hear from you not on cross-examination.

The bigger point here is that witness, Mr. Martin, express what so many witnesses have expressed, these lingering feelings of trauma, of hurt and of regret and self-doubt and that's natural. And I think the jury will really relate to that and I think it will help the prosecution drive home the importance of this case to the jury.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. Areva and Elie, obviously, going to be with us, as I said, throughout this trial.

And next, we've been talking about the never-before-seen body cam footage from officer Chauvin's camera itself and we're going to have more of that new footage coming up. The former Police Chief from Detroit is going to weigh in on what was caught on tape and what he thinks.

Plus, President Biden's infrastructure plan, it's about infrastructure in a very broad sense, not just roads, and bridges, and airports and things. So what's in the multi-trillion dollar package and is it worth the stunning price tag? I'm going to talk to the Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

And new details on the Justice Department's investigation into Matt Gaetz. Did the Republican Congressman have a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl?



BURNETT: Tonight, body camera video played in the Derek Chauvin trial showing one of the officers appearing to say he couldn't find a pulse on George Floyd. Almost three minutes before Chauvin released his knee from Floyd's neck, three minutes before. I warn you that some of the video that you're about to see not seen before and it is disturbing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not responsive right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back off. (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not responsive right now. He's not responsive right now.

LANE: Want to roll him on his side?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not responsive right now. He's not responsive right now, bro.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he have a pulse?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Bro, look at him. He's not responsive right now, bro.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bro, are you serious? He's going to just stand in here with that on his neck, bro?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me see a pulse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he breathing right now?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check his pulse. Check his pulse. Check his pulse. (Inaudible) ...


LANE: You got one?

KUENG: I can't find one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... (inaudible) the suspect is (inaudible) ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bro, check his pulse.

KUENG: I thought I'd check him for a pulse.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now Isaiah McKinnon, the former Police Chief for Detroit. And Chief, I appreciate your time. So one of the officers just to timeline again, I just want to bring this home to everyone, one of the officers says he cannot find a pulse on George Floyd. And yet, Derek Chauvin, the officer remain on Floyd's neck for almost three minutes after they're told they can't find a pulse. Is there any situation where that could be an appropriate use of force?

ISAIAH MCKINNON, FORMER DETROIT POLICE CHIEF: Erin, I've seen people die in Vietnam. I watched them, the rebellion here in 1967 in Detroit and throughout all my years in law enforcement I've seen people die, but I've never watched someone die for almost 10 minutes. This is just absolutely incredible to see.

And when you see the body cam and you hear the officers talking, you hear the other people talking to them it's as if, OK, we got to keep talking with you and tell you not to come here, but I'm going to keep my foot on this guy's neck. There was no rush for anything. It's just unbelievable.

BURNETT: So when we back this up to the beginning here, let's go back to the beginning of this tape. We're now seeing the officers' first interactions with Floyd. OK. So this is their first interaction, so he's left the store. The counterfeit bill incident has happened.


They approached his car, OK, because the store has called.


BURNETT: They approached his car. Immediately he's crying saying he's been shot before. You see this gun of an officer being pointed at him. OK. They know this is over a counterfeit $20 bill, so this is how it begins just so everyone understands, how it begins. Things then escalate beyond this once they try to get him into the police car. I'll play that moment for you, Chief McKinnon.



FLOYD: I'm not a bad guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will not win.

FLOYD: Oh, god. Oh, man. (Inaudible). Please, officer. Please.

KUENG: Take a seat.

FLOYD: Please. KUENG: Take a seat.

FLOYD: Please, man. Please. No.

KUENG: Take a seat.

FLOYD: I can't - hold on. I can't choke. I can't breathe, Mr. Officer. Please. Please.

CHAUVIN: Quit talking. Sit down.

KUENG: You'll be fine.

LANE: Get him on the ground.

FLOYD: Let go of me, man. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

LANE: Take a seat.

FLOYD: Please, man. Please listen to me.


BURNETT: You hear him he can't breathe. He has anxieties. He's claustrophobic. Officers say that he's resisting in that video. As you look at it as a professional, do you see that? I mean, was this handled appropriately at any point even at the beginning?

MCKINNON: Erin, we're taught to de-escalate a situation. There is no rush on anything here. I mean, it's a $20 bill. We don't know if, in fact, George Ford knew it was or was not. We don't know if he was high or what. But the thing here is as law enforcement officers we're taught to de-escalate, respect people. But what I saw there was a lack of humanizing a person.

We've seen officers throughout the years do those kinds of things with people, but take a step back and what some of the classes I taught at the university, I would say to the officers, "Do you want to be the least story on the five, six, 11 o'clock news? Because if you do something like this, this is what's going to happen."

Let's take a step back and let's see. Obviously, George Floyd was having a problem. So we as law enforcement officers, we should recognize that and make sure that we don't make the situation worse than it was when we got there and that's exactly what they did.

BURNETT: Yes, every step of the way. All right. Thank you very much, Chief McKinnon. I appreciate your time.

MCKINNON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, President Biden going big with his massive new infrastructure plan.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's the largest American jobs investment since World War II.


BURNETT: Can he get it through Congress? His Labor Secretary who is just briefing senators is here.

And Congressman Matt Gaetz speaks out as we're getting new details about a stunning report that the Justice Department is investigating a possible relationship between the Republican and a 17-year-old child.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden unveiling the first half of his up to $4 trillion infrastructure plan to help Americans recover from the pandemic. Biden saying it's worth every penny and will create millions of jobs.


BIDEN: It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It's a once-in- a-generation investment in America. It's the largest American jobs investment since World War II. It's big, yes. It's bold, yes. And we can get it done.


BURNETT: The plan includes $621 billion to improve roads, bridges, tracks, 400 billion to enhance caregiving for older and disabled Americans, 300 billion on manufacturing, 100 billion to build or upgrade schools.

OUTFRONT now the U.S. Labor Secretary and former Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh. He briefed senators today on the plan.

And Secretary, I want to ask you about that because what you did today is at the heart of all of this. There is no room for error in the Senate, given the 50-50 split and not a single Republican backed Biden's COVID relief plan, so you've got to make sure every single Democrat is onboard, especially the moderates who may balk at massive price tags like senators Manchin and Sinema.

So after your meeting today, do you feel like you have them all that you're confident you can get a plan to size through?

MARTY WALSH, U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: Well, I think that you can't just focus on the Democrats. We got to focus on the Republicans and everyone in Congress. This proposed plan that the President unveiled today has a lot of great things for investment for Americans and I think that every city in town all across this country benefits from something in the plan.

And I had conversations last night with some Republican senators and some Democratic senators and everyone is open to the idea of having a conversation and seeing where we go from here. I think that's something that's important and I think that going into just depending on one side at this point is isn't the way to approach this bill. I know the President is focusing on all members of Congress, so they all have a chance to have conversations and have dialogues.

And that's what I'm going to be doing and that's what a lot of the different people in the administration are going to be doing as well, just having very important conversations about the impacts of this plan on their constituencies and the American people.

BURNETT: So Mayor, the total cost of the package is expected to cost between $3 trillion and $4 trillion. So from what we heard from President Biden today, he's made it clear he wants half of that paid for by corporate tax sites. That would still leave up to 2 trillion currently unpaid for. I know Biden has said he's open, give me some ideas.

But context matters here, just since the beginning of the pandemic, one year ago. So in one year under Trump and Biden, America has increased our national debt by 27 percent in one year. We're talking about we're now up to $30 trillion. These numbers are so staggering, no one can even comprehend them.

As mayor of Boston, you didn't get to do this kind of stuff. You had to balance a budget. You had to find money to pay for every single thing you were going to do at that time. Does all of this being sort of on borrowed terms keep you up at night?

WALSH: President Biden has made it perfectly clear from the beginning of his presidency is that he intends on tackling the debt as well. So it's something that we're not just adding to the bottom line, it's something that he's going to take a look at and we'll move forward at some point. But right now, the focus is on the American jobs plan as it was the American rescue plan two weeks ago.

The whole America has been dealing with a pandemic, people are out of work, 2 million women are out of work that aren't returning. They've been pushed out of their work, not returning to the workforce.


We have an unemployment rate in the black community of 9.2 percent I believe it is. There's lots of challenges we have, and I think right now, the focus needs to be on how do we get America work again. When we get America back to work again, then that's the right time in a couple years from now to starting about how we tackle the debt.

I mean, I don't think the president -- the president is not just adding to the bottom line. He has a plan and the plan is going to generate billions of dollars in return for the investments he's making now.

BURNETT: OK, so, look, we all need investments, especially in just -- I mean, the basics they are out there, right? The airports, the bridges, right, bridges across this country are in danger of serious crisis. I get that. But, of course, Secretary, we all remember the big dig in your city of

Boston, and as mayor, you benefited from that. I mean, that was incredible that happened. It was all those roads running over Boston.

And then there's an eight-mile tunnel under downtown. So, your whole city was able to flourish, but construction started in 1991. It was supposed to finish in 1998. It took another nearly 10 years, it didn't finish until 2006, and the total cost was $15 billion, which sounds like nothing in the context of numbers we're talking about here.

But $15 billion, the point I'm making is that it's three times what it was originally estimated to be.

Do you think that the real cost of what you're putting out there is going to be similar?

WALSH: No, I think it's going to be incumbent upon myself as secretary of labor and Secretary Buttigieg, the secretary of transportation, to make sure as we put this money out, that we spend this money right. This isn't our money. This is the taxpayers' money, it's the American people's money, and we need to make sure the investments we are making are going to make a difference.

The Central Artery Project that you're referring to in Boston, the benefit of that, we have a booming city and I left a booming city with the exception of the pandemic.

So federal investment can spur economic development and growth, and it has in the city of Boston and it has throughout this country.

And that's one of the important pieces in this bill. Not bill, this plan, I should say, right now. It isn't a bill yet. It's kind of to seed the growth that we need to happen coming out of a pandemic that has been damaging in so many ways to the American people.

BURNETT: You talk about 2 million women out of work and the pandemic has hit female workers especially hard, right? There is a McKinsey study that I have just found stunning. It found that more than one in 4 women, many of them working moms, have been forced either to consider downshifting their career or leaving the workforce entirely.

I mean, his is a stunning thing. This would set this country back generations in terms of women's participation in the workforce and fulfillment of their career aspirations.

And now, you've got a new report from the World Economic Forum that says it's going to take 60 years at least for women to reach a quality with their male counterparts in terms of earnings here in the United States, and that's a lot longer than they have thought before.

How do you even begin to fix this? These huge big macro issues in the context of a bill like this?

WALSH: First of, all we can't accept the findings in that report and settle and saying it's going to take us 60 years. We have to do a lot more work that and the Department of Labor, the women's bureau, I've already had these conversations on how do we create better pay equity, how do we create better opportunities. Some of the training that we're going to have to be doing to get women back into the workforce.

As mayor of the city of Boston, we saw this as a big problem. Lack of childcare, lack of paid family leave, a lot of women did leave the workforce, and the women are a big part of our workforce here in the city of Boston, but the country is huge.

So we can't just settle and say, OK, this is that what the report says. We have to do better and I know that the Biden administration is definitely committed to doing better and moving quicker and moving faster, and I'm committed. And there's a lot of us in the administration, Vice President Harris as well.

So, we -- this is -- this plan that we unveiled today addresses some of those challenges that we have in front of us, the CARES part of the plan, of $400 billion investment, excuse me, into children, into elderly, into people with disabilities, all different aspects of the plan, help move our country forward and also helps move women forward in a lot of different pieces of it.

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

WALSH: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: And next, Congressman Matt Gaetz denying allegations related to sex trafficking of a minor. Tucker Carlson, though, does not seem to be buying his story.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: I don't remember the woman you're speaking up in the context at all, honestly.


BURNETT: And our Sanjay Gupta takes us inside Pfizer's vaccine labs to show what they are doing to pump that vaccine out.



BURNETT: And tonight, new details in the investigation into Congressman Matt Gaetz.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy leaving in on the news that the Trump ally being investigated for sex trafficking involving a minor. According to "The New York Times", federal investigators are looking at whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I haven't been able to talk to Mr. Gaetz yet. Mr. Gaetz denies the story, but I look forward to talking to Mr. Gaetz. I haven't heard anything from the DOJ or others, but I will deal with it if anything comes to be true.


BURNETT: Gaetz says, McCarthy said, denies the allegations. The FBI and the Department of Justice both involved here and not commenting.

Our new senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid is OUTFRONT.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, news that the then-Attorney General Bill Barr received multiple briefings while he was an office on the sex trafficking investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz. A source familiar with the matter tells CNN Barr did not take issue with the case which began in the final months of the Trump administration.

Another source tells CNN that Gaetz is being investigated over allegations of sex trafficking and prostitution including involving a minor. Congressman Gaetz is denying the allegations after "The New York Times" reported he was under investigation for allegations involving a sexual relationship with a 17 year old by the Justice Department.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It is a horrible allegation and it is a lie.

REID: The investigation is looking into whether the Florida Republican paid a 17 year old to travel with him, according to "The Times", a possible violation of sex trafficking laws.

GAETZ: That is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case.

REID: A person briefed on the probe confirmed to CNN that federal authorities were investigating Gaetz as part of a broader probe into trafficking allegations against another Florida politician.


GAETZ: You know, providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you are dating who are of legal age is not a crime.

REID: According to Gaetz, the story is part of a 25 million dollar extortion exit against his family to make that DOJ investigation disappear. Gaetz said on FOX News they were supposed to hire a 4.5 million dollar down payment today.

GAETZ: The Department of Justice is so concerned about this attempted extortion of a member of Congress that they asked my dad to wear a wire.

I am demanding that the Department of Justice and the FBI released the audio recordings that were made under their supervision.

REID: The Justice Department, though, has so far declined to comment but according to a source familiar with the investigation, federal prosecutors are examining these allegations of extortion. It's separate from the ongoing investigation into Gaetz.

The lawmaker alleges a former DOJ official is the one trying to extort him.

GAETZ: His name is David McGee.

REID: McGee is a private attorney in Florida who left the Justice Department in the nineties.

His law firm releasing a statement today: The allegation by the congressman is both false and defamatory. While he was with the DOJ, he would never have entertained a scheme such as what Congressman Gaetz suggests nor would he today.

Gaetz's interview with Tucker Carlson took a strange turn.

GAETZ: You and I went to dinner about two years ago, your wife was there and I brought a friend of mine, you will remember her, and she was actually threatened by the FBI.

CARLSON: I don't remember the woman you are speaking of or the context that all, honestly.

REID: Carlson distanced himself afterwards.

CARLSON: That was one of the weirdest interviews I've ever conducted.


REID (on camera): CNN has learned that Fox News host Tucker Carlson was livid that Gaetz appeared to be trying to rope him into a controversy involving the sex trafficking of minors. Now, CNN has also learned that Gaetz has approached at least one major criminal defense firm in the past few weeks as this investigation intensifies -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Paula, thank you very much. And by the way, welcome to the network. Great to have you.

And I want to go down to Katie Benner, part of the team that broke the story for "The New York Times", and Jim Clemente, retired FBI profiler and sex crimes investigations expert.

So, Jim, you know, just taking a step back here -- how big of a deal is an investigation like this?

JIM CLEMENTE, RETIRED FBI PROFILER: Well, if you are talking about sex crimes against children in general, federal sex crimes, or if you are talking about sex trafficking of children, those are both federal felonies. They are very serious charges.

BURNETT: So, Katie, a source tells CNN that then Attorney Bill Barr was briefed on the Gaetz investigation and not just once but multiple times while he was on office and the source says Barr did not object to the investigation. He was briefed on, it he knew on it multiple times briefing, no objections.

What does that tell you, Katie?


And what it tells us is the allegations were really serious. It tells us the allegations seemed not only serious but real. Attorney General Barr asked all of his U.S. attorneys last year, last February, in fact, to tell top officials including the office of the attorney general in the office of the deputy attorney general whenever they were looking at a case involving somebody like a congressman, somebody like Matt Gaetz. Because it would give officials an early look and basically would also give officials the ability to squash investigation in its infancy if they did not think it was valid.

Instead what happened in this case is when the facts were briefed up to the U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida to officials of the Justice Department and to Bill Barr, they found the allegations to be credible enough to proceed. And to your point, not once but multiple times they were briefed and multiple times they continue to say, yes, go ahead.

BURNETT: I mean, which is -- which is so significant.

And, Jim, you know, Gaetz has said this is an extortion plot. He says a former DOJ officials trying to extort $25 million from him. He says his father has been wearing a wire which, by the way, is not something you would say if that was actually going to accomplish anything or actually really happening. I don't know why you would ever say or announce to the world that someone is wearing a wire.

He told "The Times" he is not the target of the investigation, that's what Gaetz is saying. Given everything we now know, does that sound to be true to you?

CLEMENTE: Well, first of all, the other investigation and it sounds like a completely separate investigation into any kind of extortion that he might be experiencing has nothing to do with the fact that he was actually named as the subject of a criminal investigation.

We don't have targets of those investigations. The DOJ sometimes will send out a target letter in certain white-collar cases but the FBI when it investigates somebody who is the subject of the allegations is called the subject of the investigation.

So, they are investigating him and his behavior. Not somebody else.

BURNETT: Right, which is really significant. They are investigating things and if you made a really significant point which is whether he did this incredibly serious and awful thing, that's, they are going to get the facts on that.


That's separate from the extortion plot, right? Both things could be true.

CLEMENTE: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Katie, on that front, what more are you learning about this alleged extortion plot?

BENNER: So, we know that Matt Gaetz's father, Don Gaetz did, in fact, meet with people who they say we're trying to extort the family. He met with them twice and he wore a wire on both of those occasions. There are also at least two recorded phone calls with the men involved in this plot. He is named Mickey, there are two others, one is a real estate developer who has had legal issues in the past.

And what we know is that in those conversations, it sounds like the man dance around the idea of what could happen should the Gaetz family give money to help fund a very special project that everybody wanted to accomplish and would it and in a pardon? Could it and in something else that would be great for Matt? Could it and in something else and be great for the congressman's career?

Nobody to our knowledge actually specifically made a quid pro quo statement saying if you give us $25 million we will do XYZ. But certainly Don (ph) Gaetz and people close to him have said they believe these conversations to the extortion to be a way of saying we can make the castigation go away.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both your time very much and again the point stands, with extortion it can be completely separate from whether Matt Gaetz did whatever he is being investigated for doing, or not.

Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

And next, Sanjay Gupta is going to take inside Pfizer's vaccine lab, facility to see how they're pulling off what once was considered impossible -- 13 million doses coming out of there a week.

And President Biden's dog Major, turning into a major pain for those in the White House.



BURNETT: Tonight, new COVID cases up 25 percent over the past week. That is the highest increase since mid January, deaths are up 6 percent. New York City, there's a very troubling variant of concern that now compromises more than half of all new cases.

But all of this scary news comes as we're getting promising news from Pfizer, where clinical trials show that its vaccine is 100 effective in kids 12 to 15 years old, the main coronavirus.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT with an exclusive look at Pfizer's vaccine labs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One year ago, the process you are watching didn't even exist, and for Mike McDermott, Pfizer's president of global supply, a novel virus and maintaining a novel approach to vaccine manufacturing.

MIKE MCDERMOTT, PRESIDENT, PFIZER GLOBAL SUPPLY: This has been an amazing 12 months in my career.

GUPTA: Remember, until the end of last year, no vaccine using mRNA technology had ever been authorize. And now, I'm getting an exclusive look here in Kalamazoo Michigan, at how Pfizer in partisanship with BioNTech has produced million of these vaccines.

MCDERMOTT: Sixty million doses are surrounding us, hugging us right now. Imagine the impact that this room will have just to those who are sitting here today, on U.S. citizens and patients around the world.

GUPTA: That gives me goosebumps.

While Pfizer has more than doubled its output from a month ago, now producing at least 13 million doses a week, it's still not enough for McDermott.

MCDERMOTT: By the middle this year, at 13 million doses, we'll be at 25 million doses in a couple of months.

GUPTA: So, hundred million a month.

MCDERMOTT: A hundred million a month.

GUPTA: And he's doing that by continuing to look for the novel solution, even seemingly simple ones. They found that their suppliers couldn't provide enough dry ices, so they decided to produce their own.

MCDERMOTT: High visibility jackets so we can see each other, hard hat.

GUPTA: It also means that you are now seeing things that President Biden didn't see when he was here just 5 weeks ago in February.

MCDERMOTT: This is our new formulation suite.

GUPTA: Here's part of how the scale up so fast, these pre-fab formulations suites, they're all built in Texas before being brought here.

MCDERMOTT: If we built it wall by wall onsite, it would have taken us a year. Doing it modularly, we can cut that in half.

If you want to get on one side, I'll get on the other.

GUPTA: And yes as I found, it really is as easy as pushing it into place.

MCDERMOTT: Man, that's amazing.

GUPTA: That was pretty smart.

But for McDermott, it really all came down to this key part of the process.

MCDERMOTT: There's never been a commercial scale mRNA vaccine. So everything you see here is custom design.

GUPTA: Remember, what makes up Pfizer's vaccine is basically mRNA housed in a 4 different lipids, which is really just a fact. This tiny tool, called and impingement jet mixer makes a possible.

Now, this is going to sound too simple, but here goes. On one side, mRNA is pumped in, on the other side lipids. And they are forced together with around 400 pounds of pressure. Outcomes a new livid nanoparticle, which McDermott says is the perfect package to deliver mRNA to yourselves. That's the vaccine.

When you start to really scale it up like, that how confident were you that it is going to work?

MCDERMOTT: So, the first time somebody showed me this impingement jet mixer, I said, you can't be serious. How could you put billions of doses through here? So, my confidence level is actually quite low, not that it could be done. I knew it worked at this scale, but how could you multiply it?

GUPTA: Not only did McDermott cracked that code and is now on his way to producing billions of doses for the world, his life has now come full circle.

MCDERMOTT: As a kid, my dad worked for NASA. He was lucky enough to be in mission control in Houston when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, that amazing moment.

NEIL ARMSTRONG, ASTRONAUT: One giant leap for mankind.

MCDERMOTT: And the day that we shipped the first doses out of the site, it rushed over me like that was -- that was our moonshot.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Kalamazoo, Michigan.


BURNETT: Pretty emotional thing.

Next, President Biden's dog Major in trouble again after biting another person. But so far, it seems he's staying at the White House.



BURENTT: Major Biden is in trouble again. The First Family's German Shepherd involved the second biting incident. He bit a National Park Service employees on the south lawn Monday, the wounded required medical treatment. Now, Major was sent home to Delaware after a first fighting episode

earlier this month, and he got training there according to the White House. As of this morning though, he hasn't been banished again. He's still at the White House, where he was spotted with the Biden's other dog Champ outside of the diplomatic room and later outside on the south lawn today. Major was leashed, Champ was not.

Now, Major should consider himself lucky has not been banished from the White House permanently after his second strike. Teddy Roosevelt's dog Pete was exiled, but it did take several biting incidents. The last straw for Pete was when he chased the French ambassador and tore off his pants.

Well, maybe that is the standard for Major and why he is getting a third try. Ripping off someone pants might be the final straw.

All right. Our thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere, just go to CNN Go.

"AC360" starts now.