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Erin Burnett Outfront

Medical Examiner: Heart Disease, Drugs Likely Played a Role in Death; Medical Examiner: "The Law Enforcement Subdual, Restraint and the Neck Compression was just More than Mr. Floyd Could Take?"; Gaetz Speaks to Women's Group Amid Federal Sex Trafficking Probe; White House Won't Surge Vaccines in Michigan Despite Governor's Plea, Case Spike; GOP, Dem Lawmakers Invited to White House to Talk $2T Spending Plan; World Mourns Death of Prince Philip, He was 99. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 09, 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 tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Thanks very much for watching.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, compelling testimony from the medical examiner who conducted George Floyd's autopsy. He called Floyd's death a homicide, but also admitted Floyd's heart and drugs likely played a role in his death.

Plus, Matt Gaetz about to give his first public speech since we learned that Justice Department is looking into whether he had a sexual relationship with a minor. What the Congressman is saying tonight?

And the Governor, where COVID cases are surging, pleading for more vaccines. The administration is saying no. Why? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, George Floyd's death was a homicide. That from one of the prosecution's most anticipated and important witnesses, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on George Floyd. Dr. Andrew Baker, telling the jury that Floyd had severe underlying heart disease but that it was ultimately his interaction with Chauvin that caused him to rule Floyd's death a homicide.


DR. ANDREW BAKER, CHIEF HENNEPIN COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: You know he had very severe underlying heart disease. I don't know that we specifically got to a counselor, but Mr. Floyd also had what we call hypertensive heart disease, meaning his heart weighed more than it should. So he has a heart that already needs more oxygen than a normal heart by virtue of its size and it's limited in its ability to step up to provide more oxygen when there's demand because of the narrowing in his coronary arteries.

In my opinion, the law enforcement's subdual, restraint and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions.


BURNETT: That answer while damning did give the defense an opening.


ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: In your opinion, both the heart disease, as well as the history of hypertension and the drugs that were in his system played a role in Mr. Floyd's death?

BAKER: In your opinion, yes.


BURNETT: So they played a role, according to the medical examiner, and that is certainly something we haven't heard from some of the prosecution's other medical experts. But in the end, even with that, it did not change Baker's ruling.


JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: In terms of manner of death, you found then and do you stand by today that the manner of death of Mr. Floyd was, as you would call it, homicide?

BAKER: Yes, I would still classify it as a homicide today.


BURNETT: That's the crucial thing, still classified as a homicide even though the heart disease, the hypertension and the drugs may have played a role. His conclusion is still homicide at the hands of Derek Shogun.

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT live in Minneapolis. And Sarah, all of this, the complexity, the defense trying to jump in there, but still that damning conclusion the jury taking in a lot of information today with medical witnesses.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of information, but very clear information for the most part and we have to remember that the testimony today was particularly significant. Why? Because Dr. Baker is the only one to testify - so far, the only one who can that he actually performed the autopsy on George Floyd.

All the other medical witnesses are looking at his work and looking at other factors to determine what they think is the cause and manner of death, but not Dr. Baker. He was very clear on what he thought happened and killed George Floyd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SIDNER (voice-over): One of the most important witnesses in this case

for both the prosecution and defense took the stand today.


BLACKWELL: You conducted the autopsy on Mr. George Floyd.

BAKER: I did.


SIDNER (voice-over): Unlike all of the other medical experts, Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker is the only person to testify that he did an autopsy on George Floyd's body. He determined the cause and manner of death.


BAKER: The law enforcement's subdual, restraints and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take.


SIDNER (voice-over): But prosecutor Jerry Blackwell asked if drugs or Floyd's heart disease caused Floyd's death.


BAKER: Mr. Floyd use of fentanyl did not cause the subdual or neck restraint. His heart disease did not cause the subdual or the neck restraint.


SIDNER (voice-over): Without those two things done by Derek Chauvin and the other officers, Mr. Floyd would not have died, he testified. But the defense tried to poke holes in his determinations, pointing out that Dr. Baker did not include lack of oxygen or asphyxia in his autopsy report.


BAKER: That's just not something that I think we see as medical examiners - pressure to the back of the neck explaining strangulation.

NELSON: Or an asphyxiation.

BAKER: Correct.


SIDNER (voice-over): As for Floyd's previous health conditions and drugs ...



NELSON: And so in your opinion, both the heart disease as well as the history of hypertension and the drugs that were in his system played a role in Mr. Floyd's death.

BAKER: In my opinion, yes.


SIDNER (voice-over): Also on the stand ...

BLACKWELL: The state will call for their first witness, Dr. Lindsey Thomas.


SIDNER (voice-over): Veteran forensic pathologist, Lindsey Thomas, is unequivocal in her assessment of how George Floyd died.


DR. LINDSEY THOMAS, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST MEDICAL EXAMINER: There's no evidence to suggest he would have died that night, except for the interactions with law enforcement.


SIDNER (voice-over): She agreed with Dr. Baker's autopsy report that Floyd's heart was enlarged and that he had drugs in his system. So Chauvin's attorney then asked a hypothetical question.


NELSON: You find a person at home, no struggle with the police and the person doesn't have a heart problem, but you find fentanyl and methamphetamine in this person's system at the levels that they're at. Would you certify as this as an overdose?

THOMAS: Again, in the absence of any of these other realities, yes, I could consider that to be an overdose.


SIDNER (voice-over): But on redirect she testified that is not how George Floyd died. The cause of death was the law enforcement subdual, restraint, and compression and the manner of death is homicide.



SIDNER (on camera): And you will hear that phrase restraint and compression, we heard that many, many, many times over and over, Erin. And the only way for there to be restraint and compression in this particular case, we all saw that on the video and that is what the prosecution is trying to say that without that and their witnesses, then George Floyd would still be here with us.

But you can really see what the defense is trying to do here. They are trying to put that reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury and all they need is one person to have some kind of reasonable doubt in order to make this jury a hung jury, Erin.

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

And I want to go straight now to Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore City State's Attorney. She prosecuted the police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who you know died in police custody in 2015. And also with me, Dr. Judy Melinek, Forensic Pathologist. OK. Thank you both very much.

State Attorney Mosby, let me just start with you. We heard today that highly anticipated testimony from the medical examiner saying Derek Chauvin's actions played a role in Floyd's death, ruling it a homicide. Now, Now, just technically in this case, it's enough to get a conviction if prosecutors can prove Chauvin's actions were a 'substantial causal factor' in Floyd's death. Not the only factor, just a substantial factor. Have prosecutors successfully made this case?

MARILYN MOSBY, (D) BALTIMORE CITY STATE'S ATTORNEY: And I would argue that they have. When we consider what we're watching in real time, these are unprecedented sort of factors and we're seeing the nuances of trial from start to finish. That doesn't happen in every state.

But the one thing that I can tell you is that despite this murder that was depicted on camera, the defense strategy in this trial is to stigmatize, and to criminalize and to blame the victim for his own death. This was done and it has been done in the killings of Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Mike Brown and so many others.

The problem the defense has with criminalizing George Floyd and blaming his drug use or his own death is this video. The experts have used this video to definitively inform them moment by moment as to the cause and manner of Floyd's death. This type of evidence doesn't always exist, because it does. It allows the prosecutor to do exactly what the prosecutor is doing, which is to brilliantly anticipate and rebut every line of attack against this victim.

BURNETT: So Dr. Melinek, you heard in our reporter's piece, Sara, the medical examiner saying drugs were a contributing factor. The witness before him, though, Dr. Thomas made it clear that his death did not look like an overdose. The jury is now seeing video of Floyd in the minutes before his arrest, walking around the store, talking to employees. Obviously, looking normal people there describing him as, I guess, a store employee.

They said he might have seemed a little high but very normal and very friendly. We've heard him yelling out as the officers pinned him to the ground. When you look at all this, do you agree with the forensic pathologist who testified today that this was not a fentanyl overdose in any way? DR. JUDY MELINEK, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I agree that this is not a

fentanyl overdose. This is not what a fentanyl overdose looks like. When people overdose from opioids, they appear stuporous. They are tired. They're sleepy. They're not walking around and talking.

So all of the video evidence that shows Mr. Floyd functioning normally prior to the physical altercation with the police supports the fact that he was not influenced by the fentanyl and probably because of his tolerance level.


People who are used to taking opioid drugs, either legally or illegally build up a tolerance to the drug and that's why this isn't an overdose.

BURNETT: So State Attorney Mosby, let me ask you, again, as sitting there as the juror, even if you hear this, these words that he had this very severe heart disease, that he had an enlarged heart, a heavy heart and a history of hypertension, drugs in his system, you can hear all of those things played a role in Floyd's death, but that does not mean you cannot vote to convict Chauvin of murder, right?

MOSBY: That's correct. And what we have here and what we've seen is, again, the prosecutor who has brilliantly anticipated and rebutted every line of attack. So this is why the prosecutor was the one that brought up these other significant conditions such as George Floyd's drug use and his heart condition and hypertension. It was brought out in the prosecutors' case-in-chief.

They want to be able to take the sting out of the defense's strategy and inform the jury that this is merely a red herring, which is what the doctor has already stated. This is merely a contributing factor to Floyd's death. But the main indirect cause of Floyd's death, which we have now heard from three medical experts was the lack of oxygen due to the excessive restraint imposed upon Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 30 seconds.

BURNETT: So Dr. Melinek, let me ask you about something else here the jurors have to get into when there is things that could appear to be confusing. The medical examiner at one point seem to imply Floyd's underlying conditions did play a significant role in his death.

And again, at one point, obviously, the ultimate conclusion was homicide, but at one point there was that implication, the severe condition of the heart. But that was in stark contrast to the testimony we heard yesterday from Dr. Tobin, a renowned pulmonologist, a breathing expert. So just let me play the two.


BAKER: He has a heart that already needs more oxygen than a normal heart by virtue of its size and it's limited in its ability to step up to provide more oxygen when there's demand because of the narrowing in his coronary arteries. DR. MARTIN TOBIN, PULMONOLOGIST, EXPERT WITNESS: A healthy person

subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to.

BURNETT: So Dr. Melinek, what do you make of that? One person saying a healthy person would have died of this. The other take sort of implies that because of all his underlying conditions, he was particularly vulnerable. What do you make of these two points?

MELINEK: They're both equally valid points, they're not contradictory. And healthy person can die of asphyxial injury or compression of the neck. And yet, Mr. Floyd was not completely healthy person as evidenced by the autopsy. So the medical examiner is primarily answering questions based on what he saw at the time of the autopsy versus Dr. Tobin, the pulmonologist is answering a different question, which has to do with what he's seeing, witnessing on the video.

BURNETT: State Attorney Mosby, before we go, obviously, the prosecution is close to wrapping its case. I would imagine you think that's the case. I mean, they've made their point again, and again, and again with so many witnesses.

MOSBY: So again, I think the most vital piece of evidence in this case is that video footage. I mean, it's incredibly emotional and compelling. It can sway a jury and the other thing that it has done is we've witnessed in real time unprecedented crumbling of the blue wall of silence, where we've had an unprecedented number of police officers, training officers and even a police chief that not only distanced themselves from the use of force in this case, but they essentially have gone out and testified against their officers. This does not typically happen in these types of cases.

BURNETT: No, it doesn't, as you point out, one after the other of them. All right. Thank you so much, Dr. Melinek and State Attorney Mosby. I appreciate your time.

And OUTFRONT next, Matt Gaetz about to face another investigation as he gives its first public speech tonight, a speech he's choosing to give, first speech since we learned about federal probe into sex trafficking in Mr. Gaetz.

Plus, some people who've received AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine could soon be offered a second dose of a totally different vaccine and a totally different technology. Yes.

And Britain in a state of national mourning tonight after the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth.



BURNETT: Right now, embattled Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz giving his first public speech since we all learn that he is under investigation by the Justice Department, which is looking into whether he had a sexual relationship with a minor and broke sex trafficking and prostitution laws. An investigation, which began under President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr.

You're looking at live pictures of Gaetz on stage right now a former President Trump's Doral Miami golf resort. The House Ethics Committee also investigating Gaetz now as well. His office today again denying the allegations. Still we're also now learning that Gaetz is adding big names to his defense team. Randi Kaye is OUTFRONT at the Gaetz event right now.

So Randi, obviously, he has chosen to speak out amidst all of this. Many attorneys would say that's the worst thing you could do, but he's choosing to do it. What's he saying?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Erin, because he's here at a Women for America First event. This is a Save America Summit. The theme is BBQ, Boots & Bluegrass. But he is the headliner just took the stage a few minutes ago. And here's some of the things that he said, first off, right at the top, he thanked his fiance, told her that he loves her with all his heart.

And he also went on to actually talk about what's been going on in the news now for days. He said he's going to take on the establishment of both parties. He said all week has been told by people in restaurants and parking lots and wherever he goes that we have your back. He says he's not going anywhere that this past week has been full of encouragement. He also said that he is built for battle and he's not going to back down from these wild conspiracy theories as he called them. He also said that he won't be extorted by a former DOJ official and he will not be smeared by lying media, Erin.


BURNETT: Right. OK. Again, it's just fair to point out, of course, it's an investigation that began under President Trump and his Justice Department, Barr was briefed multiple times and the investigation has built and built over many months. So what are you learning, Randi, about his new defense team? He has hired some really expensive and serious attorneys and what about new evidence?

KAYE: Yes. He's added a couple of New York lawyers to his team as of today. That's Marc Mukasey, he's a former Federal Prosecutor, he also represents the Trump Organization. Gaetz also added Isabelle Kirshner as a defense attorney. Gaetz's office in response to these hirings has said that Matt has always been a fighter. He's going to fight back against unfounded allegations. That's from a spokesperson in the office.

But you mentioned this new evidence, this is about the Bahamas. Right now we are told from a source telling CNN that federal investigators are looking into a trip that Matt Gaetz and others took to the Bahamas. They are looking at whether or not women were paid to travel for sex with Matt Gaetz and others. And this would be a potential federal crime.

So CBS News was first to report this and they did get a statement from Matt Gaetz's office saying Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex nor has he had sex with an underage girl. They said that this all started with blaring headlines and it has now turned into what they call a fishing exercise, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Randi, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Elie Honig is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. So Elie, a lot to ask you about here because there's the new evidence and Randi is talking about other evidence we're getting today, which could be hugely significant. I want to start, though, with the additions to Gaetz's legal team, because I know that you worked with one of the new members, you know Marc Mukasey. What does this hire tell you?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Erin. So it tells me that despite his bravado, despite this public posture of being utterly unconcerned, Matt Gaetz is taking this case very seriously. Marc Mukasey was my supervisor when I was a young federal prosecutor at the Southern District of New York.

He is tenacious. He understands the criminal justice process very, very well. He's a fighter. He will go to trial. As the reporter just said. He's not cheap, I'm sure.

Isabelle Kirshner also the same things apply to her. She's a veteran defense lawyer. So this tells me that he's not thinking this is going to be an easy, quick disposition. He's buckling up for war here.

BURNETT: Right. Well, it's not going to be easy and quick, because what he says publicly to your point, all of this fishing and whatever, of course, is not true. Because the things that we do know are quite disturbing and he's going to have to address it and deal with it.

So there's new reporting from The Daily Beast, let me ask you specifically about that. They're reporting about three transactions from Gaetz to Mr. Greenberg, who appears is entering a plea deal possibly to turn on Gaetz, his former friend that was involved in much of the salacious 1920 [00:02:56] with him.

So the next morning, after Gaetz sends Greenberg three transactions, Greenberg transfers the exact same amount, exact same total to three women, racy language in the comment section. They did this on a public app. So what more do investigators need to prove that Gaetz is guilty of violating the law?

HONIG: So that's a really interesting piece of evidence. It's a starting point, though, and the key question here is going to be this person you referenced, Joel Greenberg, who appears to be cooperating against Matt Gaetz based on the statements made by Joel Greenberg's attorney outside the courthouse, he all but says that. If Joel Greenberg is cooperating and I'm prosecuting this case, I'm sitting with Joe Greenberg, I'm saying explain this transaction, why did he pay you, were there others like it.

It seems very unlikely this would be the only transaction, where can I find other records, did he pay you by cash, by cheque, by PayPal, by other means, what for, that's what you do with cooperators. You get all of the inside information, then you go and find other evidence to back them up. That's how you build a case. BURNETT: So it's surprising that amidst all of this that Gaetz would

give a public speech tonight. I mean, it's one thing to deny something, it's another to go out and run your mouth. Let me just play a little bit of what he just said.


REP. MATT GAETZ (D-FL): This past week has been full of encouragement from President Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jim Jordan, to the MAGA Nation that shares so much love. So let me assure you, I have not yet begun to fight for the country I love and for the nation that I know benefits from America First principles.

I'm built for the battle and I'm not going anywhere. The smears against me range from distortions of my personal life to wild and I mean wild conspiracy theories.


BURNETT: Then he did an intelligent interview with Fox's Tucker Carlson, which did not turn out well. Right to take away there was a disturbed Tucker Carlson saying that was one of the strangest interviews I've ever done.


Is it smart for Congressman Gaetz for doing all this?

HONIG: Decidedly not. The very first piece of advice any attorney would give to anybody in Matt Gaetz's position is shut up. Now, Matt Gaetz is not the shutting up type. Right away, as soon as these allegations surfaced, like you said, Erin, he went on Tucker Carlson show and he made statements on that show that could come back to haunt him.

He seemed to acknowledge there was a woman. He said, well, Tucker, you and I had dinner with her. He also may well have earned Tucker Carlson a subpoena, because if I'm a prosecutor and I'm watching that interview, I'm thinking, well, Tucker Carlson appears to have had dinner with Matt Gaetz and some woman of interest. I may have some questions for Tucker Carlson. So he is not doing himself any favors by going on a public speaking tour here.

BURNETT: All right. Elie, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

And I want to go now to former Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill, because she struck up an unlikely friendship with Gaetz when she was in office and then she resigned after nude photos of her were leaked. She was accused of inappropriate behavior with a staffer and an aide and Gaetz defended you at the time, Congresswoman. So this is important.

So let me just ask you about the House Ethics Committee now opening investigation into Gaetz. Do the allegations fit with anything that you had heard or would have ever suspected him to be? KATIE HILL, (D) FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: Well, look,

clearly I have a history of trusting men that I shouldn't and I think that any criticism of my character assessment is probably warranted. But I didn't know that in the past Matt had opposed an anti-revenge revenge porn law in Florida.

I didn't know that at the time. I certainly hadn't heard anything about him sharing nude images. But I have to wonder about what his motives were when he defended me back then, especially now knowing that these accusations have been coming up and that they're accusations from multiple people, especially about the image sharing on the floor of the house.

Most recently, the organization that I founded, Hertime, we've been advocating to make revenge porn a federal crime and we were able to get that provision into the Violence Against Women Act that was recently passed by the House, which Matt Gaetz, again, voted against. So I think that this is a classic example of where men's behavior is just far and away treated differently than women's is.

Even by the length of time it took for the Ethics Committee to open investigation into both Matt and to Tom Reed. So I think that we see the double standards that work everywhere and I'm hopeful that full accountability is taken.

BURNETT: Yes. And I want to just mention for anyone who doesn't remember what case you're referring to, one of the things you're mentioning here is the reporting from multiple sources that Congressman Gaetz would, even on the floor of the House, show pictures, plural, of women, plural, that he says he slept with and would show nude images of them to other elected people in Congress. I just want people to understand that reporting.

So let me just ask you, Katie, because Gaetz had mentioned you in his op-ed earlier this week. And I guess, his perception with this would make him look good. He said, "I defended Rep. Katie Hill's 'throuple' when her own Democratic colleagues wouldn't. I just didn't think it was anyone's business."

At the time of your scandal, he did tweet, "Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo text?"

So he was defending you, but let me just ask you the first question here. How do you feel about him invoking your name now in his defense?

HILL: I mean, I think it's gross. Like I think, again, every motive for him defending me and I wrote about this in my own op-ed, was at the time it meant a lot, it mattered, anybody defending me mattered, because I felt very alone. I felt like I didn't have the defense that I wanted from my own Democratic colleagues. And so the fact that he spoke out for me was - it had an impact.

But knowing now that that could have been just because he was trying to kind of cover up for whatever his own indiscretions were, be able to use my name and invoke that defense later on is just gross, especially now that we know that the investigations were going on way back then.


HILL: So, yes, it's just gross. I'm not proud of my history with (inaudible) ... 0 BURNETT: But, look, I think everyone can understand why at the time when everyone is coming after you, if someone comes to your defense, you embrace that. I mean, we can all understand that on a human level, Katie. But let me ask you about something because in that context, the world comes after you. But right now, only two Republicans on the Hill have offered support for Gaetz, Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene. OK. There's no formal support.

But in terms of coming after him and saying that he should resign, only Congressman Adam Kinzinger has called on him to resign.


How do you see this that there's only one calling to resign or that there's only two publicly supporting, which way do you see it?

HILL: Oh, I see that there is only one calling to resign, or there's only two publicly supporting. Which way do you see it?

HILL: I see the one calling him to resign as ridiculous. I mean, these are claims that he had sex with an underage girl, that he is committed multiple crimes, and even the claims of impropriety, and him showing the pictures on the House floor, may not be illegal, but it should be illegal, and it's certainly just disgusting.

And so, I think that you -- this is -- this is the perfect example of what the GOP is just completely hypocritical, right? Like they were happy to call for my resignation, immediately. That was like, the second that those photos came out.

But for him to be sharing them, and for GOP members of Congress to be the ones who came forward, well, anonymously, because I think they lacked courage, but it also would've been privy to it, and not reported it for this long. It shows you like there is no -- there is no element of justice, or true fairness, or equality, between the different parties, and especially when it comes to women, and men.

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

HILL: Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: And next, Michigan now leads the nation in new COVID cases, yet the governor's call for more vaccines, or vaccines to be diverted there to stop it, going unanswered by the Biden administration. Why?

Plus, he's crucial to passing Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan. So, why is he not currently on the guest list for Biden's bipartisan sit down on the plan?



BURNETT: Tonight, Johnson & Johnson vaccinations at one site in Georgia temporarily stopped after eight people had adverse reactions. Officials saying the pause is out of an abundance of caution. That it comes as the CDC says it's aware of multiple cases of adverse reactions in four states, including dizziness, light-headedness, feeling faint, rapid breathing and sweating.

OUTFRONT now, former medical adviser to the George W. Bush White House, Dr. Jonathan Reiner.

Dr. Reiner, these are though, you know, all of them described at fairly mild. I know one person who did get medical attention, but this sounds mild. Does the news out of Georgia concern you at all?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No, not at all. You know, we know from very well conducted phase 3 trial in over 40,000 patients that this vaccine is very safe. You will see minor reactions.

In North Carolina, one of the places that had this event, there were 14 relatively minor reactions out of 2,300 vaccinations. That's 0.6 percent, very much in line what we've seen in the clinical trials. And the CDC has a way to monitor this. So I'm not concerned at all.

BURNETT: So, you know, Johnson and Johnson has been seeing any blood clot things are not related to the vaccine, we'll see if that's true, again exceedingly rare. But in the case of AstraZeneca, concerns about the blood collide issues have not caused countries to just stop with the vaccine altogether, you know, and now, they are scrambling for an alternative, which obviously could slow down the entire plan on vaccinations because we are counting on billions of doses of AstraZeneca.

REINER: Right.

BURNETT: But in France today, the health minister proposed a solution that anyone under 55 we had one shot of AstraZeneca now can get Moderna or Pfizer for the second. So just like, you know, kind of, okay choose your own adventure. I mean, those are totally different technologies, then the AstraZeneca vaccine, there is no completed studies on doing this.

So, as of now, you have to say this is completely contrary to known science. But it's the health minister of France. It applies to millions of people.

What's your reaction?

REINER: I think it's a gross over reaction. So the issue with the AstraZeneca vaccine is that there have been about 200 episodes of clotting out of about 34 million vaccinations. Now some of the clotting events are kind of rare, so it raises concern whether in rare circumstances, this vaccine, this particular vaccine can cause those clots, and which might be more common in younger people. But splitting a vaccine doses between two different vaccines is

completely untried. We don't know -- first of all, we don't know whether it's effective, and we don't know whether it's safe. And in an environment with more variants, you really want to know that the vaccine you are getting is not going to promote the production of more variants.

BURNETT: Yeah, I mean, it's pretty stunning, right? And you know, with all the questions on AstraZeneca, I mean, the vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective. And so you're replacing it with something that is not either.

So, let me ask you about Michigan seeing a surge in cases here, 18 percent positivity, the highest in the year. Governor Whitmer today pleaded with President Biden to surge the number of vaccines to her state to fight this.

Here she is.


GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): I made the case for a surge strategy. At this point, that's not being deployed but I am not giving up. Today it's Michigan and the Midwest. Tomorrow, it could be another section of our country.


BURNETT: President Biden's COVID response coordinator today, though, responded saying that's not fair or equitable to other states. Is he right or is Governor Whitmer right?

REINER: Governor Whitmer is right. Michigan has 3 percent of the United States population but is averaging almost 11 percent of new cases. Michigan -- cases in Michigan are up 80 percent over the last 2 weeks, which accounts for most of the increase in the United States.

But it's not the same all over the country. So for instance in the Northeast, it's pretty much flat. And in the Southeast over the same period of time, cases are down 11 percent. We need to surge both vaccines and strike teams to give vaccines to Michigan.

BURNETT: All right.

REINER: It's not equal in the United States. We did to go to Michigan with more vaccine.

BURNETT: Dr. Reiner, thank you as always.

REINER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And next, one of the few things Obama and Trump agree on.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Behind us stands the Brent Spence Bridge. It's in such a poor condition.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Replacing the Brent Spence Bridge is --



BURENTT: And both failed to do it. Can Biden succeed?

Plus, the world mourning the late husband of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip.



BURNETT: New tonight, President Biden is set to meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday. It's going to be at the White House, and it's him trying to sell his $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

The White House says, though, it's not yet known if the meeting will include Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, who, of course, is a must- have vote for Biden, in a current 50/50 Senate.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the face of Americas failing infrastructure. It's the Brent Spence Bridge, crossing the Ohio River from Cincinnati, to northern Kentucky, and one of the busiest trucking routes in the country. For years, it has also been a political football.

BRAD SLABAUGH, VP AND GENERAL MANAGER, HILLTOP CONCRETE: It's been batted around by both parties, for a very long time. So, the need is now.

ZELENY: At Hilltop Concrete, Brad Slabaugh has had a front row streak to a trail of those broken promises.

SLABAUGH: We have President Obama speak here, almost 10 years ago, about the need for a bridge, and nothing had happened.

OBAMA: Behind us stands the Brent Spence Bridge. It is in such poor condition that it's been labeled functionally obsolete.

ZELENY: The Obama infrastructure plan, failed in Congress.

TRUMP: What a nice crowd.

ZELENY: And this pledge five years later --

TRUMP: Replacing the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, you got that?


Which is critical to the region.

ZELENY: Rings hollow, as a Trump plan never materialized.

BRENT COOPER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NORTHERN KENTUCKY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: It's been extremely frustrating. We've gone through multiple presidents, President Obama, President Trump, and now, President Biden. And we're hoping that something will, finally, get done.

ZELENY: President Biden's proposal is bigger and bolder, going far beyond just roads and bridges.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To automatically say that the only thing that is infrastructures a highway, or a bridge, whatever, it's just not rational.

ZELENY: Biden's 2 trillion dollar American jobs plan, calling for much more, including $100 billion to explain broadband Internet, $400 billion to increase wages for those who care for the elderly, and $45 billion to replace lead pipes.

To pay for it, Biden wants to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent, a proposal causing Republicans, like Senator Rob Portman, to recoil.

What is more problematic in it right now? The definition of infrastructure, or how it is proposed to be financed?

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): Well, both. I mean, for the president to start off with tax increases, he knows that that's a nonstarter for most Republicans, maybe all Republicans.

ZELENY: Senator Sherrod Brown, and other Democrats, say majority of Americans support raising corporate taxes. But above all, want Congress to act.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): It's a bill that's going to meet the needs, the crying needs for a generation of rebuilding our country.

ZELENY: It's a critical test, not only for Biden's agenda, but for whether government can deliver on his promises.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's definitely time to fix it.

ZELENY: The Brent Spence Bridge opened nearly 60 years ago, for 80,000 vehicles a day. Now, more than twice as many cross it, including trucks, carrying $1.1 billion worth of freight, daily. Causing traffic jams, and fiery crashes, like this one last fall.

MARK POLICINSKI, CEO, OHIO-KENTUCKY-INDIANA REGIONAL COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS (OKI): We've been promised, so many times, that this will be pushed across the goal line. I think it is different. People understand, today, better than they ever have, how vulnerable an economy is. ZELENY: Back along the Ohio River, the gridlock is bad for Slabaugh's

business. He said he likes most of what's in Biden's infrastructure bill, and paying for it may be something companies just have to swallow.

SLABAUGH: I'm not a big proponent of tax increases, but the bridge doesn't need to be built, in one fashion or another.


ZELENY (on camera): Now, there is widespread agreement that these infrastructure projects, like this bridge, right here, must be fixed. The question, of course, is how to pay for it. That is why President Biden is getting those series of meetings in the White House with lawmakers, of both parties -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Jeff, thank you very much.

And next, how the world is honoring the life, and deep legacy, of Prince Philip, who has died at the age of 99.

Plus, a powerful story of how one mother took down the KKK after her son was murdered.



BURNETT: Tonight, the world mourning Prince Philip, the duke of Edinburgh. The bells at Westminster Abbey trolling 99 times in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's husband. Prince Philip was 99.

The former President Obama also paying tribute today, praising prince Philip's origin extraordinary example writing, quote, Prince Philip show the world what it meant to be a supportive husband to apparel woman. He also found a way to lead without demanding the spotlight.

Bianca Nobilo is OUTFRONT.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the end of an era in the royal family.

Prince Philip, the duke of Edinburgh, passing away today at the age of 99. The man who stood resolutely by the side of Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years now lies at Windsor Castle. He saw the many triumphs of the family but also experienced a great tragedy.

The palace statement read: It is with great deep sorrow that her majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband.

The duke's body will remain at Windsor Castle where his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren can say their goodbyes.

The British Prime Minister had high praise for the duke. BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Like the expert carriage driver

that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains the institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life.

NOBILO: Crowds gathered at both London residences -- Windsor and Buckingham Palace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a big symbol for a lot of people in England and it's nice to pay our respects to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a lot of respect for the queen. All of her. I think she's a wonderful woman and I'm a very sad for her today because she's lost her life partner.

NOBILO: His death, while a shock, was not unexpected. In March, the duke left hospital following a month's stay where he underwent heart surgery. He left in high spirits, eyes fixed on his 100th birthday.

Since marrying Queen Elizabeth in 1947, Prince Philip left an indelible mark on the many public figures he met, including a host of U.S. presidents -- Eisenhower, Ford, Kennedy, and Obama.

President Biden, whom Philip never met personally, praised the duke's decades of devoted public service, adding, his legacy will live on.

Condolences flooded in from around the world.

The question of Harry and Meghan attending the plural the funeral will attract attention, but for now, the couple posted this message on their website -- thank you for your service. You will be greatly missed.

As funeral arrangements are made, for the next few days, flags will be lowered and a book of condolences opened. The nation will mourn with her majesty the queen, and the loss of her beloved husband.


NOBILO (on camera): Erin, funeral plans that have been years in the making and carefully designed by Buckingham Palace have now been drastically altered to comply with the COVID-19 restrictions here in the United Kingdom. The military procession and the laying in-state have been abandoned altogether, and only 30 people will be able to attend the funeral, while we were expecting thousands to line the streets.


And though this smaller affair maybe feels incongruous with such a towering figure in British public life, it is more to the duke of Edinburgh's taste as he described himself as someone who didn't like the pomp and pageantry -- Erin.

BURNETT: Certainly, he always seem to be a person greatly understated. Thank you so much, Bianca. And next, how one incredible woman took on the KKK and took it down

after his son was murdered.


BURNETT: On March 21st, 1981, the body of Michael Donald was found hanging from a tree in Mobile, Alabama. The 19-year-old had been badly beaten.

The crime generated fear and outrage. The black community believed it was the Ku Klux Klan, but the law was slow to acknowledge the crime was racially motivated in any way.

Michael's mother fought for justice. She took the Klan to court as she took them down.

And her story is the focus of a new series, "The People Versus The Klan", premiering on CNN this weekend.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hurt is still there, the hurt my mom went through. I just visualize her face, and I go like, I'm not going to talk about it today.

My mama, Beulah Mae Donald, was a quiet woman. She was a good-hearted person. Our neighborhoods that we have lived in, everybody loved her.


BURNETT: "The People Versus the Klan" premieres Sunday night at 9:00.

"AC360" starts now.