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Erin Burnett Outfront

Biden Pushes Spending Plans, McConnell "Anxious to Stop" Him; McCarthy, Stefanik, Other Republicans Still Touting Benefits of Biden Bill They Unanimously Opposed; Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) Discusses About Republicans Against the COVID Relief Bill But Touts the Benefit to the Public; Cases, Deaths, Hospitalizations at Lowest Levels in 7 Months; Stefanik Echoes Trump as Conservative Group Calls Her "A Liberal"; Biden's Agenda Could Hinge on Arizona's Dem Senators. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 06, 2021 - 19:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. So it's a worrisome development indeed. We'll see what happens over the weekend. Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon. Thanks very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the party of no. McConnell says his goal is to stop President Biden. So why is his party trying to take credit for Biden's work.

Plus, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gives Fox an exclusive to the signing of a voting law. A voting law that affects every single person in that state, no matter their party. The White House tonight says that voting law is 'built on a lie'.

And I'll speak to a Republican from Pennsylvania. She was skeptical of getting the COVID vaccine until she heard one particular doctor make the case. What did he say that changed her mind? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, just say no. That appears to be the mantra of the GOP when it comes to President Biden. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell today proudly admitting this.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, I'm actually to stop the Biden agenda depending on what it is.


BURNETT: Well, that comes just the day after this telling declaration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCONNELL: One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new



BURNETT: He was pretty clear there. Stopping Biden is the focus, 100 percent. That's the goal for the top Republican in the Senate. This as President Biden today hit the road to try to sell his latest $4 trillion spending plan.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's about building a strong foundation for the American people. These are jobs that can't be outsourced, can't be outsourced. They just require something we've got in good supply here in Louisiana, hard work, grit and sweat. I'm willing to hear ideas from both sides.


BURNETT: Well, if he's hearing ideas from both sides, at least from what Mitch McConnell said, the idea for the Republican side is the word no. We saw it with the $2 trillion COVID relief bill, every single Republican voted against it.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): This isn't a relief bill. It's pretty much a payoff for Pelosi's political allies and it will be the American people paying the bill.

REP. NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-NY): I have to tell you that this bill is extremely bloated. You don't need to spend $1.9 trillion.

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): It's absolutely the worst thing to do. It is going to hurt the economy, hurt American people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's stop having these giant bills that go under the name of things like COVID relief, but they end up just being a democratic wish list.


BURNETT: Congresswoman Elise Stefanik added to those sentiments with a statement, "Speaker Pelosi and Biden's $2 trillion partisan spending package is filled with pork projects, special interest giveaways and the Far-Left's policy wish list." Whose wish list? Of the far-left.

No. Actually, maybe Republicans. Because it actually turns out that on the wish list there, there were a whole lot of things that Republicans apparently are now happy to embrace for political gain. Wicker, McCarthy and Stefanik not been shy when it comes to touting things that are in that bill. There was a fund for restaurants in there. The Associated Press pointed this out today it was a great idea.

The fund offers up to $28.6 billion in grants for the restaurant industry. That money was in the COVID bill. That bill was the far-left wish list and all that. Well, it was in the bill and it's very popular with a lot of people across the country. Sen. Wicker actually proposed the idea, but then actually voted no on the whole bill tweeting, "Independent restaurant operators have won $28.6 billion worth of targeted relief." So, he voted no and then he's celebrating a win for the people who voted yes.

Malliotakis and Cawthorn have been outspoken about the funds for popular community health centers in their districts. Congressman Cawthorn tweeting, "Happy to announce that NC-11 was awarded grants from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services." Grants that came from the bill that he said was so terrible that he voted against.

So sure, Republicans they could have hated some parts liked others, but here's the reality, when it comes down to it, only one thing counts, did they vote to send that money that they're now touting to the American people? Did they vote to send that money, the restaurant money to help - did they vote to do it? No. Every single one of those individuals voted no.

So, will the same thing happen with Biden's latest spending plan? Republicans united in blocking it. The party of no, 100 percent focused on it and then later try to take credit. If it's clear that voters like it.

Kaitlan Collins is traveling with the President tonight OUTFRONT live in New Orleans. Kaitlan, today the President was in Louisiana with you touting his newest spending plan, trying to sell it. And he talked about getting Republican support this time. Pretty clear he's not going to get back from Republicans in Washington, though.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He was saying that sometimes, Erin, he finds it easier to get support from Republican mayors and governors and local officials in addition to their Democratic counterparts, because basically his argument was that he thinks that they're more accountable to voters.


Because voters take a harsher look at whether or not their life has improved since that mayor or governor or statewide official has actually taken office and so he said it's easier to work with them. Kind of changing this decision about bipartisanship, not saying it's just about getting Republican voters as we've seen, of course, the White House say before, bills are bipartisan. They feel like if they've got Republican voter support, maybe not necessarily Republican lawmakers on their side.

And now he's saying that goes for state officials too. When he comes down here, you saw him today with a democratic governor and a Republican mayor from Louisiana as he was going around these events today trying to sell this infrastructure plan.

And so, when it comes to COVID-19 relief, the other thing you hear from Democrats or excuse me from Republicans is not just that they didn't vote for it. They're also incredibly critical of Democrats, because they pass it without any Republican support. And so, they say it is not a bipartisan bill. That is what President Biden promised to bring to Washington, but they neglect to mention the fact that, of course, what they had proposed was something that the White House said was far short of what they were willing to accept.

And so, we are seeing them now trying to take credit for that, pushing several parts of it, including that restaurant relief fund that you talked about, those stimulus checks as well. You're seeing that from people even in Republican leadership like Kevin McCarthy. And so, I think the White House and Democrats are going to plan to use that when it comes to the midterms to try to use that against some of these Republicans who were up for reelection.

I think the question going forward is not just watching them take credit for the COVID-19 relief bill, but also what they do on infrastructure. Because the White House is saying, yes, we are open to compromise. But the question that they still don't know at the end of the day is whether or not any Republicans will actually come out and vote for it.

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

And of course, it should be compromised. Trump had said he wanted infrastructure. Republicans really wanted it. Democrats didn't work with them. Now here we are, this seems to be how it goes.

OUTFRONT now Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan. He is Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. So, let me just ask you, Senator, what do you think of your Republican colleagues who voted loudly against the COVID relief bill, now touting some of its benefits to their constituents?

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI): Well, it's clearly outrageous. It's clearly hypocrisy. And we are going to make sure that the voters back home in their individual states understand exactly where that member of the Senate voted. At a time when they needed relief to get through this pandemic, when families were struggling, when the need for a stimulus check, when restaurants needed relief to reopen, when schools needed to reopen, every single Republican in both the House and in the Senate, every single one voted against that relief and we're going to remind voters of from now until Election Day next year.

BURNETT: And how are you going do that, because obviously you're speaking now and your job as Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, your job is to get Democrats elected to the Senate.

PETERS: Right.

BURNETT: So, when you see Republicans taking credit for these things they voted against, it strikes home. This could hurt Democrats at the ballot box. Are you confident you're going to be able to get the credit score to line up accurately?

PETERS: We are. I mean, we're going to be very assertive and aggressive to make sure that that message is out from the DSCC. We'll be putting ads, so we're going to be working through media channels. And certainly, we'll have members of Congress in those states, talking about what Democrats did. And if there's a Republican senator in that state and a democratic senator, our democratic senator will paint a very clear contrast. And even an open seat, it's very clear that had the Republicans been in the majority in the Senate, all of the benefits that folks received, critical benefits for them to get through this pandemic, they would not have gotten it and they need to remember that come election time.

BURNETT: Now, they'll say Nicole Malliotakis, she voted against the bill, but she did like the health care grants. She told the AP. These grants were among 9 percent of funds dedicated to COVID-19 relief that I was always in support of. So, some of them will make the argument, Wicker, I'm sure will make it. They were things they liked in the bill that they supported, but you guys stopped it with so much other pork that they couldn't vote for it. Is that not compelling?

PETERS: No, it's not. People see through that. We're confident that a majority of Americans will see through that, someone who's trying to have it both ways. Let's be frank, a lot of folks don't trust what a politician says and when a politician is saying something and then their action is absolutely opposite of what they're saying, it just is very clear to voters that that's not someone who they can trust.

BURNETT: So look, we made it clear at the top of the show that if you're going to come out and say 100 percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration, as Senator McConnell has. You're not working with anybody. It's not acceptable.

However, let me just play for you what Leader Schumer said in 2017 when he was in the minority and he was talking about working with Trump.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The only way we're going to work with him is if he moves completely in our direction and abandons his Republican colleagues.



BURNETT: How is that any different?

PETERS: Well, I'm sure he said a lot of other things related to that. But let me just get back to what Mitch McConnell said that he was 100 percent focused on the Biden administration and opposing. What the American people want right now is they want to have a party focusing on them getting through this pandemic. If a Republican Party, Mitch McConnell isn't saying that he's also focused on trying to rebuild America, make sure our businesses open up, our schools open up and families can get back on their feet. He's saying he has zero interest in doing that. He's 100 percent about politics.

That's what the American people are frustrated with. They've had enough of it and what they need to look at is as Democrats, we have stepped up and said, we're willing to do the tough things necessary to help people in our local communities and when you vote for a democratic majority, that's what you get.

BURNETT: Senator, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

I want to go straight now to a Republican who appeared alongside President Biden today as he tried to sell his spending plan, the Mayor of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Nic Hunter. And Mayor, I really appreciate your time.

So let me just be honest with you when you hear what Mitch McConnell says, a hundred percent we got to shut him down. Most Republicans don't want to do what you did. They don't want to publicly appear next to the President. I'll just call it like it is. But you did it. You're working with him on this specific issue. Obviously, you're proud of that. Tell me why.

MAYOR NIC HUNTER (R) LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA: Well, Erin, I'm proud of representing the people of Lake Charles. I'm proud of fighting for the people of Lake Charles in Southwest Louisiana. And I joke today that I don't care if it's President Trump, President Biden or President Kanye West. If they are here in Lake Charles and they can help us, I will be there to break bread with them and to try and accomplish some things.

We have needed a new interstate 10 Bridge in this city for 30 years and we've been talking about it for 30 years with Republican and Democratic presidents, and Republican and Democratic governors and we haven't gotten it done yet. And it's extremely frustrating. This quagmire, this polarization is very frustrating here in Main Street, U.S.A. It's just very upsetting.

BURNETT: So, I mean, it's an amazing point you raise and it's so true with infrastructure. And both parties say they want to do something about it and then no one's ever done anything. You point out 30 years for that bridge. This plan that President Biden is talking about does include a lot of infrastructure, obviously. It does push his total spending to $6 trillion.

Now, Republicans historically were proud of owning the title, a fiscal conservative, balance the budget, don't spend more than you take in. That's been completely thrown out the window. We saw that in the Trump years spending surged, everybody just spends, whatever their party. Does this level of spending at this point bother you and if not, why?

HUNTER: Well, Erin, again, I'm going to answer the question as Mayor of the City of Lake Charles.


BORGER: What bothers me is the fact that we haven't had a new bridge built that we've needed for 30 years. And again, we've had Republican and Democratic presidents and Republican and Democratic governors. I had someone, a friend text me the other day where he was saying, well, I don't want to - I'm worried about my grandkids. The amount of debt. And I said, I get you, but we've been increasing the national debt for

20 years. So, I don't know the recipe. I don't know if there's bullet to it, but I know that we need infrastructure. And I noted that in this city that was ravaged by two hurricanes and a winter storm earlier this year, we need help in Lake Charles, Louisiana and I will seek it from anyone that is able to sit and try and give it to us.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you about it, because you need it. But obviously what we saw happen before is Democrats push this through, fully party line. They find a way to do it in reconciliations. So, they don't they don't need to have a single Republican vote to push it through. Do you think that that's worth it? I mean, again, because I know this is going to come back to you, you getting what you think you need for your people, do you care how it passes?

HUNTER: I care, and I certainly care what's in the bill. But ultimately, I think that's why people need to sit down and have conversations with each other. It's so disappointing that I see some of my colleagues who want to demonize, and grab headlines more than even sit down and have a conversation and I don't understand that.

And that is what's upsetting is that there's not even conversation. There's not diplomacy anymore. It's just simply throwing stones and staying on your side of the line that's drawn in the sand and you won't even cross a toe over. So, I don't know what the answer is, but I know that infrastructure is something that we should be able to come together and talk about.

BURNETT: Well, you sure write about that and I'm sure a lot of people - I hope a lot of people share your sentiments on the lack of civility and discourse. Thanks so much. Mayor Hunter, I appreciate your time.

HUNTER: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Texas lawmakers now debating the state's controversial bills that among other things further empower partisan poll watchers.



CARISA LOPEZ, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, TX FREEDOM NETWORK: They're taking a page from the Jim Crow playbook.


BURNETT: Plus, I'll speak to a Republican who was against getting the COVID vaccine until she heard one particular doctor on TV. What did he say that changed her mind? Both of them are OUTFRONT.

And Congresswoman Elise Stefanik poised to take Liz Cheney's leadership spot in the House right now sounds a lot like a certain someone.


engineered the Russia hoax.

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): We had four years of Democrats peddling the Russia hoax.




BURNETT: Tonight, Governor Ron DeSantis praising Florida as 'a great place for democracy', while barring all media. All of the free press, except Fox, to the signing ceremony for a voting bill. The White House taking aim at Florida's new law and other voting bills backed by Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The 2020 election was one of the most secure elections in American history. There's no legitimate reason to change the rules right now to make it harder to vote. That's built on a lie.


BURNETT: It comes as Texas lawmakers are, as I speak, debating controversial voting bills in a legislative session that is expected to go late into the night. Dianne Gallagher is OUTFRONT.



DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the latest spectacle in the saga of unfounded outrage over the 2020 election results, Gov. Ron DeSantis casting shade on the political process in the sunshine state.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): It was on national TV. It wasn't secret.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): Local media shut out. DeSantis calling it a Fox News exclusive.


DESANTIS: So right now, I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) GALLAGHER (voice-over): As he signed the bill into law that voting

rights advocates say will make it harder for people to cast their ballots.



DESANTIS: The bill is signed.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): Within minutes, the state was sued over allegations parts of the new law like drop box restrictions and new vote by mail ID requirements are unconstitutional. Now, Florida is following a national trend as Republicans introduced restrictive voting legislation they say are aimed at restoring confidence in elections. Confidence eroded by the former president's baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 vote.

The left leaning Brennan Center for Justice says as of March 24th, it has tracked 361 bills in 47 states that would restrict voting access in some way so far this year. In states like Montana, Kansas, Iowa and Georgia, those bills are already law.

And advocates fear that Texas may be next.


LOPEZ: They're taking a page from the Jim Crow playbook.

REP. BRISCOE CAIN (R-TX): Reforms are needed to the election laws of the state to ensure that fraud does not undermine the public confidence in the electoral process.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): With lawmakers in the Lone Star State considering bills that could add new criminal penalties and restrictions for voters and election officials, including making it a felony to send an unsolicited ballot application or requiring people to disclose why they're assisting a voter and expanding the power of partisan poll watchers.


LOPEZ: They're closing polling locations. They're not allowing counties to do outreach on vote by mail. They're criminalizing small mistakes.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): Critics of the proposal say they target diverse, populated counties that lean Democratic in the last election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It picks on the places where you have large Latino

populations, African American populations, AAPI populations and it tries to make it harder for them to go vote. They try to stop 24-hour voting, for example, even though we got voter ID in Texas.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): And though Texas Republicans have not offered evidence of the fraud the bills allegedly are designed to stop, they say that the changes are a necessary step.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our objective is very simple, and that is to ensure that every eligible voter gets to vote. It's also to ensure that only eligible votes are the ones that count at the ballot box.



GALLAGHER (on camera): Now, look, this bill was just brought to the floor about 20 minutes ago and Democrats have said that prepare for a very long night. There are still several steps even if it does, as expected, pass this House floor vote tonight for this bill to go before it would get to the Governor's desk, Erin.

I talked to a CEO who signed on to a letter from several corporations and organizations asking them not to pass any kind of legislation that would hurt voting rights. He told me that until the governor signs that there's still room for changes to be made.

BURNETT: All right. Dianne, thank you very much for your reporting.

And now I want to bring in Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. One of the most outspoken Democrats in the state opposing these bills. Harris County, of course, is home to Houston, the largest city in the state.

So Judge Hidalgo, I appreciate your time. When you look at the numbers, Joe Biden lost Texas by six percentage points, but he carried Harris County by about 13. So that was fueled by record turnout in your county, 70 percent of your residents happen to identify as Hispanic, black or Asian. Taking all that into account, is there any doubt in your mind that these bills are designed to depress turnout among those voters in the places that are voting Democrat?

LINA HIDALGO, (D) HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS JUDGE: No. There's absolutely no doubt. It's very clear that these bills are trying to dilute the voting power of minorities of urban areas, in some ways, really people with disabilities is the practical implication of some of these proposals. But really, what it is, is this exercise in blindly following what has become sort of a populist call that there is voter suppression and that policies must be passed. That there is voter fraud and that policies must be passed to root it out.

The folks who are championing these voter suppression bills right now in the House as we speak. I know you know they know that what they are doing is based on an insidious lie.


And I hope as this fight continues into the night and more and more corporations speak up and more and more leaders speak up that they will find the courage to recognize that it's American democracy they're tearing down.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you, because I think specifics here matter a lot. People hear about voter suppression or restrictive voting bills. But, I mean, all the bills are different, but also it can make people's eyes glaze over because they don't understand the specifics. So, Harris County voting measures that were implemented in 2020 during the pandemic are specifically targeted in these bills. OK.

They eliminate expanded drive through voting that you offered in Harris County, along with 24-hour polling locations that were established for one day of early voting. Republicans want early voting capped at 12 hours a day instead of 24 hours a day. So, some people hear that, and they say, OK, but that sounds reasonable. Can you explain what the specific impact will be on turnout? Why these things are clearly suppression?

HIDALGO: Absolutely. Let's take drive thru voting, for example. Drive thru voting is something that, as we've heard, and we look at the numbers is disproportionately used by voters of color. And so when you're getting rid of drive thru voting, you're harming them. Interestingly, this past selection, though, we had one just this past week, the area that most use drive thru voting was a heavily Republican leaning area.

So, it also harms Republican voters. It harms everybody, 24-hour voter. The voters that participate in that are shift workers. We can guess what kinds of folks work these kinds of jobs. The most difficult part of these bills for me is the part about poll watchers. They would allow poll watchers to video record voters as they cast their vote. They would allow poll watchers to get as close as possible as they need to, to the voter to be able to understand what's going on and it would be a crime for the poll worker to stand in the way.

So, this is about democracy. It's about continuing the fight that Martin Luther King fought that so many people have fought to promote abroad that makes our country really what it is. And it is a time for everybody to stand up. I'm so proud of the legislators that are going to be working into the night to try and keep this from passing in through.

BURNETT: Yes. So, can I just ask you, are there any things that you think could come out of this that are good? I mean, there are some measures in there, it requires more counties to offer additional hours of early voting. It mandates the use of voting machines that produce a paper record, creates an online tool for voters to track their ballots, if they do it absentee or mail-in, that's accountability for the voter. That's already the case or the law in 44 states. Are there some things in here that you think could actually be good? HIDALGO: I don't think we should open the door to making democracy a

wedge issue. You have to remember that some of the things that were done in the era of Jim Crow also sounded reasonable. Let's have a literacy test so there's an informed electorate. Let's have a poll tax to fill the government coffers.

I mean, that sounded reasonable at the time that the point is there is no massive voter fraud problem. There is nothing that needs to be solved here. And you're getting at something very delicate. That is not just another political partisan issue. This isn't about taxes. This isn't about immigration. This isn't about transportation. This is about democracy itself and that should be off the table when it comes to a partisan divide.

What we need to do is for folks to be above the fray and recognize that this is a grave, grave mistake that they're making and continue fighting, potentially business (inaudible) ...

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

HIDALGO: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, a woman who was very skeptical of getting the COVID vaccine eventually changed her mind. You're about to meet her and the doctor who persuaded her to get the shot. What was his message.

Plus, how one family's gossip made it way to the FBI and helped agents track down an alleged capital rioter.



BURNETT: Tonight, the U.S. reporting its lowest number of coronavirus infections in almost 7 months. The national average is down to 46,000 cases per day. That is down from a high of more than 250,000 in January.

And there are signs of hope even though the pace of vaccinations is slowing. Some Republicans who are among the most hesitant to receive the vaccine are changing their minds.

OUTFRONT now, Elizabeth Greenaway. She's a Republican from Pennsylvania was vaccinated last month initially was skeptical of the vaccines.

And, Elizabeth, I really appreciate you taking the time and coming to speak out because it makes a difference for others who may also feel hesitant. What made you change your mind and decide to get vaccinated?

ELIZABETH GREENAWAY, FORMER VACCINE SKEPTIC: Yeah, so there were a few things. The first of which is prayer and I know prayer isn't as popular as it may be once was but I think it's really important to talk about that because the group that you're looking at that seems to be the most skeptical of the vaccine is a lot of white evangelical Christian conservatives. BURNETT: Yeah.

GREENAWAY: So, prayer was a big part of the decision. For me, it's a big part of a lot of decisions that I make.

In addition to that, time, right? So, I was primarily concerned about short term and long-term effects of the vaccine. And initially just, you know, giving it sometime and seeing that people were doing well, that a lot of well-known experts in epidemiology and infectious disease we're getting the vaccine. Everybody seems to be doing well. That obviously was a key part.

Then there were two other things. One was my daughter has a rare health condition known as (INAUDIBLE). So, I am in addition to a mom, I am the caregiver to her. I worked part-time from home.

And so, I started to think and had a few things come my way that just got me thinking a little bit about what would happen if I was in the hospital. I am 34, healthy, so probably statistics are on my side.


I would probably do okay and would not have a bad case, but it's low risk not no risk. So, I started thinking, you know, a little bit more about that, about her. And from there I started thinking about what if I would get it and would give it to my grandmother or your grandmother or the person who is caring for somebody else's grandmother?

There's a lot of things there that made me decide, you know, I started thinking beyond myself --


GREENAWAY: -- to my daughter, to herd immunity and that made a big difference.

BURNETT: So, you know, I'm sorry I'm just going to say I know you talked about all these different things that matters so much. I know you also credited a doctor at the children's hospital where your daughter has been treated, right, Dr. Paul Offit. As part of this process of changing your mind because you heard him talking about the vaccines. We are going to speak to him in just a moment but what was it that he said that resonated with you?

GREENAWAY: Right, so, we also know how frustrating it can be when people assume, they know more than you do in your area of expertise. So, the reality of me not being an expert.

Dr. Paul Offit, there were a couple of things. There was -- I saw him answer a question specifically about if we need two doses, one or two doses. So that was interesting.

He actually did a video at the end of January where he specifically talked about the fact that there are one in 1 million side effects of a lot of these vaccines that we have now. They turn up within six weeks. That is what they'll have in common. So, again, that statement and looking to him combined with letting time pass, those 6 weeks were passing, and people were overall doing really well. That really made a difference for me.

BURNETT: That's really significant to because as you point out there are questions. What do we know, what do we not know? That 6-week point is really important.

So, Elizabeth, obviously, stay with me, I just want to bring in Dr. Paul Offit, because he's is here now.


BURNETT: In addition to his work at the Children's Hospital in Pennsylvania, he is a member of the FDA's vaccine advisory committee.

So, Dr. Offit, when, you know, you hear Elizabeth talk about all these reasons and one of them involved you, in terms of why she changed her mind, why she decided to get the vaccine, how does that make you feel as a doctor?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER OF FDA'S VACCINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: No, it's incredibly heartening. I mean we had children's hospital Philadelphia our job is to protect children, keep them safe and we do that in a variety of ways, with clinical work, with education, with research, and we can influence somebody like Elizabeth is just really heartening.

And, you know, there was something in which she said I think is so important. She to me is the voice of the society. What's she is saying is, you know, it's not just me, this is a contagious virus. I mean I could also spread it to my child or to my mother or father. I mean that is just such an important voice to hear.

It's so heartening to hear that because that is not what you typically hear. You typically hear on making a decision for myself. For a contagious disease, you're not just making a decision for yourself. So, thank God.

BURNETT: Elizabeth, you made that very clear that it was so much about others, your daughter. I also thought it was amazing that you said not just people in your life, but people that might be in my life or someone else is, right, anybody out there.

Elizabeth, I understand that you and Dr. Offit have never really actually met before. Is there anything that you would want to tell him as he is going out there about why you trust him? Perhaps even more than other medical experts, you know, that you may trust and respect but who are on TV all the time, saying get the vaccine, get the vaccine.

What was it about him?

GREENAWAY: Yeah, really it was -- we have a common connection of CHOP. My daughter sees an awesome team at the CHOP clinic and as I am sure you and all moms can understand, I did a ton of research on CHOP before I was going to decide to take her there. And so, Dr. Paul Offit was actually one of the faces I saw during my internet research.

So, he was familiar in just that very vague way, but I have really come to be impressed and just be really happy with the care that CHOP has given to my daughter. They just make us feel normal with a condition that is not anywhere near normal. And so, that. you know, CHOP being a name that I trust and him having so much expertise and being from there really made a difference for me.

BURNETT: Of course, Dr. Offit, you know, obviously, that is your work at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Let me give your chance to respond.

OFFIT: No, it's really and she is right. I mean, it's a premier children's hospital.


We've been around for more than 150 years. We have actually created a few vaccines at our hospital. And so, we take care of essentially not only just children who come into the hospital but children in the world with a vaccine that we have developed.

So, thank you, Elizabeth. That really means a lot.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you, Dr. Offit.

And, Elizabeth, thank you very much. You know, I know it's not easy to come out and do this and I really do appreciate you doing it. I think you are going to make a difference for people the way that Dr. Offit made one for you. So thanks.

GREENAWAY: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right.

And next, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik sounding more and more like President Trump as she tries to take Congresswoman Liz Cheney's leadership spot.



REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Joe Biden is also weak when it comes to countering China.


BURNETT: And why the future of President Biden's agenda could now hinge on two Democrats from Arizona.


BURNETT: New tonight, Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik stressing her embrace of former President Trump as she tries to quell criticism that she's not conservative enough to replace the current House GOP conference chair and Trump critic Liz Cheney. Talking literally word for word like Trump during an interview with Steve Bannon.


TRUMP: Democrats engineered the Russia hoax!


STEFANIK: We had 4 years of Democrats peddling the Russia hoax.

TRUMP: Biden is weak on China.

STEFANIK: Joe Biden is also weak when it comes to countering China.

TRUMP: We need election integrity and election reform immediately.

STEFANIK: We want to be able to fix and strengthen our election security and election integrity.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now Bill Kristol. He's a director of Defending Democracy Together, a conservative anti-Trump organization. He was also the chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quail and worked with Congresswoman Stefanik back in 2009, 2010 at the Foreign Policy Initiative.

So, Bill, when you look at the voting records and I think this is really important, conservatives are much more -- Cheney is much more conservative than Stefanik, right? Her lifetime record I believe was 80 percent approval by conservative. Stefanik was 48.

But, clearly, that voting record is not what matters. What matters is Stefanik's recent embrace of Trump who, of course, has strenuously endorsed her for this leadership position.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE BULWARK: Totally. I mean, it's not about ideology. It's not about Donald Trump, it's about having agreed to the big lie over the last year, especially over the last several months, having voted on January 6th, overturn these one state electors in Pennsylvania and then being fully embracing the big lie now.

That's what it's about. It's not about the new tax policy or foreign policy or anything like that. Elise was once a moderate Republican, a forward-looking Republican, a Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney. She literally works with Paul Ryan in the vice-presidential candidate in 2012.

I remember when she ran for Congress in 2014 as a kind of forward- looking moderate Republican. So, I gave her some money for that, I might have made her contribution there in a primary against a much more sort of right-wing populist Republican. She won and I probably should not even mention my contribution because that will hurt your chances to succeed and oppose Cheney.

BURNETT: Well, I think it's important -- you know, early on in the Trump administration she said that his comments about women were unacceptable. She called him out for S-hole country, said it was unacceptable. She took him on again and again, right?

So, this recent full-fledged embrace, you know, it certainly is furthering her career. It is a stark flip.

She did today take aim at big tech and social media as Facebook continues to ban Donald Trump's account. Here's some of what Stefanik said.


STEFANIK: We see that it's canceling conservative voices. The good news is that the president and conservatives are able to speak directly to the American people and I know that voters in my district and across America are very well aware of the president's public statements that he put at every single day despite big tech trying to cancel him.


BURNETT: Does she have a point? The longer that these platforms ban people like Trump, the worst they make it.

KRISTOL: We should have a debate about social media and rules, regulations.

BURNETT: It's a whole conversation, right, yeah.

KRISTOL: Yeah. But you know what's so striking about that clip, Erin? She referred to twice to Donald Trump as the president. Doesn't that say it all? Who were first of the former president as the president? As a courtesy you might say President Trump but the president.

He is her president. He is Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise's president. Now, three people in the House leaders, top three, who voted to overturn the elections, who were total loyalty to Trump is all that to find them. Therefore, it defines the Republican Party or at least the House Republican Party.

Liz Cheney having been a conservative, having led on a bunch of issues but now she tells the truth and she has to be purged.

BURNETT: It's going to be a harsh exit. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time as always, Phil.

KRISTOL: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, they turn Arizona blue but doesn't mean they're a sure vote when it comes to President Biden's agenda.

And he is known as the zip tie guy scene here during the insurrection. You are that picture, right? So why are his lawyers asking a federal judge he can call his mother for Mother's Day.


BURNETT: Tonight, the future of President Biden's agenda hinging on to Arizona Democrats, Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, who support for the president's top priorities is not a sure thing.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.


MAYOR MILA BESICH (D), SUPERIOR, ARIZONA: I do not see it as too progressive.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mila Besich is talking about President Biden's agenda from her sport perspective as mayor of Superior, Arizona.

BESICH: I think he had to be very bold to make sure the country can recover from the pandemic.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening, my fellow Americans.

ZELENY: The outlook for the president's ambitious plans run straight through Arizona and depends on the support from the states two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly. They are clashing with some of the very people who helped elect them.

Latino groups are now voicing frustration over Kelly's comments on immigration and how he pointedly questioned whether the administration had a plan to address the immediate crisis at the border.

TOMAS ROBLES, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LIVING UNITED FOR CHANGE IN ARIZONA: To put a statement like that we felt was not useful. We saw someone play your typical politics from the last 10 years of trying to work the middle.

ZELENY: Kelly, who won a special election last fall but must run again next year, is feeling the heat from both sides as Republicans in Washington are using these billboards to accuse him of being soft on immigration. Six months after Biden turned Arizona blue by the slimmest of margins, the states politics often seem upside down. The senators' pragmatic approach is it stirring outrage among progressives.

FRED YAMASHITA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARIZONA AFL-CIO: They are calculating their opportunities for reelection.

ZELENY: Sinema and Kelly are two of only three Democrats in the Senate not supporting the Protecting the Right to Organize Act which the White House and labor leaders call the most significant labor rights legislation in decades.

But the balancing act is getting high marks from business leaders and mainstream Republicans.

MAYOR JOHN GILES (R), MESA, ARIZONA: My hope is that Senator Kelly and Sinema will reflect the sentiment that I think prevails in our state.

ZELENY: John Giles is the Republican mayor of Mesa. He believes the two Democratic senators represent the state's moderate sentiment well.

GILES: I think if they do take the temptation to go too far to the left or even too far to the right that they risk not being sent back to the Senate.

ZELENY: While there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, Deborah Kay is not convinced Biden actually won but she likes her to senators.

DEBORAH KEY, ARIZONA RESIDENT: They are more on conservative side. I mean, they're not far left and I'm okay with that.


ZELENY: Such talk about bipartisanship rings hollow to many Democrats who point to the partisan-driven review of ballots underway in Maricopa County as a sign many Republicans are not honest brokers. Elected in 2018 as Arizona's first Democratic senator 30 years, Sinema brushes aside the call of the progresses to abolish the filibuster to pave the way for action on voting rights, gun control and immigration.

SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): I don't bend to pressure from either party and I just stay focused on doing what I think is right in delivering for Arizonans.

ZELENY: The centrist intentions of both senators face a critical test, with Arizona emerging as a real-world laboratory for some of the president's top priorities.


ZELENY (on camera): Now, both of Arizona senators have pledged to be bipartisan but if those efforts in Washington falls short among Republicans, it will be left to Democrats to figure out the scope of the president's plan on infrastructure and others sweeping reforms.

So, Erin, for all the cross currents today in American politics, this is a reminder that for Democrats as well, it's hardly a one size fits all party. That's why the White House has its eye on Arizona -- Erin.

BURNETT: Need every single vote.

All right. Thanks so much, Jeff.

And next, how family gossip helped the feds tracked down an alleged capitol rioter.


BURNETT: Tonight, he blamed his mother.

A New Jersey man named Robert Petrosh Jr. is facing charges for participating in the Capitol riot after his mother confided in a family friend about it. According to arrest documents, that family friend, well, she told her grandkid who called the FBI. That person also claims Petrosh was trying to lay low given the arrest of other alleged rioters.

So far, more than 400 people are facing federal criminal charges connected to the insurrection and their acts on that day.

Among them is also Eric Munchel, the so-called zip tie guy remembers him from these pictures. His lawyers ask a federal judge for permission to call his mother on Mother's Day. Munchel is not in jail but on condition of his release, he is unable to confer with his Capitol riot codefendants, one of home is his mother, who was also facing charges connected to the riot.

Thanks for watching.

Anderson starts now.