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Erin Burnett Outfront

McCarthy: I Don't Think Anybody Is Questioning The Legitimacy Of The Presidential Election; Cheney Speaks Out After Leadership Ouster; Trump's Defense Secretary Backtracks On Blaming Trump For Capitol Riot; Interview With Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); Colonial Pipeline Begins To Restart Operations As Panic Buying Fuels Shortages; Interview With New York Attorney General Letitia James About NRA Bankruptcy Case; Biden: Israel Has "Right To Defend Itself. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 12, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Rosa Flores, let's hope they find this tiger. Thank you very, very much. And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. 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, Kevin McCarthy with a head spinning lie. You have to see this one to believe it. It's on the same day his party made history, purging Liz Cheney from leadership for telling the truth.

Plus, she single handedly trying to take down the NRA and a judge's ruling just brought her one step closer. The New York Attorney General is OUTFRONT tonight.

And only in America, the Governor of Ohio just announcing he is going to give away millions of dollars and free college tuition. You just have to get the vaccine. It's pretty incredible. Moving to Ohio?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, gaslighting America. On a day when the Republican Party kicked Congresswoman Liz Cheney from her leadership posts for telling the truth, the first time a Republican House leader has been removed from leadership in modern history, in fact. The top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, came out to speak and he said something unbelievable even by his current standards.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election I think that is all over with.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Does he think that we're living on Mars? Does he think that

we have not been paying attention to anything that he has said or his peers have said for months and months and months and months?


MCCARTHY: President Trump won this election, so everyone who's listening, do not be quiet. Do not be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): I have an obligation to act on this matter. If I believe there are serious questions with respect to the presidential election. I believe those questions exist.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We know that this has really been a stolen election.

REP. MATT GAETZ (D-FL): And an election that was stolen as a consequence of illegal last-minute changes to the rules.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I don't know how you can ever convince me that President Trump didn't actually win this thing based on all the things you see.


BURNETT: I mean, this is incredible, every single one of those. McCarthy today, "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election." McCarthy, "President Trump won this election. So everyone who's listening do not be quiet."

I mean, does he have a serious case of amnesia? Does he have some sort of a mental condition that we need to be concerned about? Did he forget he was one of 147 Republicans in the House and Senate who voted to overturn state election results, even after the deadly insurrection? Or did McCarthy forget but he flew down to Mar-a-Lago after Biden's inauguration to kiss the ring of the king behind the big lie?


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we know there was massive fraud.

It was a rigged election. The election was totally rigged.

This election was stolen.

This election was rigged.


BURNETT: Cheney refused to accept that lie or to allow others around her to speak it and that is why she has lost her position. She's been purged by McCarthy and the Republican Party. And she, in fact, is not the only Republican who's being punished by the GOP for speaking this truth.

Republicans from coast to coast have been suffering a terrible fate. Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Cindy McCain, they've all been censured by state or local Republicans. I have a whole lot of other faces on the screen.

So I'll say a few others. Georgia's Governor, Secretary of State censured for refusing to overturn the election. Missouri's Republican Party Executive Director forced to resign after getting threatening messages because she refused to push the lie. They're all getting hit.

This is as Trump tightens his grip on the Republican Party. And there is a real question tonight, how far will this purity test go? Who's next?

Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT live in Washington. I mean, Jim, it is really incredible that Kevin McCarthy, a smart individual would say what he said today given the reality of the situation. So you've covered four years of the Trump presidency of Trump saying something is true that's a lie and then people somehow just gets like the emperor has no clothes and they run along with it and tell him how great he looks and that's what we're seeing now.


BURNETT: You're talking to your sources today in the Trump world, what are you hearing?

ACOSTA: Well, it's another day in the cancel culture of Donald Trump, no question about it, Erin. But I will tell you, talking to my sources, people who talk to the former president, people who advise Donald Trump's political team, I talked to one advisor earlier today who said this is about retribution. Use the word retribution.

Donald Trump wants to get revenge against Liz Cheney and the other nine House Republicans who voted to impeach during the impeachment saga earlier this year. And until he gets revenge against all of those 10 House Republicans, he is not going to rest.


I will give you one more.


ACOSTA: This Trump advisor also said that there are people who advise the former president who don't believe the big lie themselves. And this adviser went on to say that this adviser doubts that Donald Trump believes the big lie. And so what's going on here?

Take a listen to what Kevin McCarthy said earlier today. You were just referring to it a few moments ago when he said nobody is questioning the legitimacy of the election. Yes.

That is world class gaslighting, but he might have been giving away the grift. It sounds very similar to what Adam Kinzinger was saying a few days ago when he was saying there are only a handful of Republicans in the House GOP caucus who believe the big lie, that Donald Trump was cheated out of a second term.

Now, so why are all of these Republicans doing this and going along with this? Why aren't they going around the country and telling Republicans out there don't believe the big lie. I go back to what this advisor told me earlier today. This is about fear and power. As long as these Republicans fear Donald Trump, fear that he can come out and get behind a challenger in a House election or a Senate election, Donald Trump has power and until that dynamic changes, the big lie lives on, Erin.

BURNETT: It is it is incredible. And to your point, if McCarthy doesn't believe it, which again, he's an intelligent person, he is still blowing air into it. He is still amplifying it. All right. Jim, thank you very much.

So I want to go now to the Republican former Governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman. She also served in President George W. Bush's cabinet as the EPA Administrator and John Avlon, our Senior Political Analyst.

So Governor, you've been vocal in your support for Cheney. You wrote a letter now with a group of fellow Republicans threatening to quit the party and former third party if the GOP doesn't change course. A letter first reported by Reuters. So now President Trump has come out with a statement naming you and some other Republicans in the letter calling you all 'RINO losers' who voted for Biden.

So OK, that's case in point of what we'd expect here. But what's your response to all this?

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, (R) FORMER GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: I won two elections, OK. What can I do? I didn't lose my reelection. I won it in a very Democrat state. I mean, it's pointless to get into this tit for tat with him, because it doesn't do anybody any good.

The real damage that's being done here is by knowing Republicans continuing to talk about the big lie, because it's undermining the public's confidence in our voting system and that's what sets us apart from the rest of the world. I mean, you look back over our history of some really contentious elections. I mean, take Kennedy-Nixon, take Bush-Gore, those are hotly contested races, they were very close and yet at the end of the day, everybody steps aside, accepted the outcome of the elections.

We've been able to do a peaceful transition of power and then we saw on January 6th, that because of what this president has been saying, and those acolytes that continue to talk about it, we had something very, very different. That was an attempt to overthrow the government that make no mistake about it, they were trying to stop the counting of the electoral ballots and that would have undone our constitutional responsibility to respect the individual voters.

BURNETT: So John, the Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, today 'I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election'. OK. Never mind that he himself has done just that and I played all of that sound. You have the person here, the person, the former president.

This week on his blog, he posts, "The major Michigan Election Fraud case has just filed a bombshell pleading claiming votes were intentionally switched from President Trump to Joe Biden. The number of votes is MASSIVE and determinative."

And yet McCarthy comes out and says, I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. It's willful blindness, which is the opposite of leadership by any definition. But that's what he feels he needs to do to keep his caucus together, to buy into the big lie, to feed the fear.

And by the way, think about the wording he used, I don't think - has he not paying attention, does he not know what his caucus is saying, does he not know that members of his caucus today denied there was even an insurrection on the Capitol. Let alone these sort of asinine bleats from a press release from the ex-president.

This is dangerous stuff to see someone who's a leader of a party believe he can trade on fear and hate to gain power even and perhaps especially if he doesn't believe it. He's lying. He's bought into the big lie and to say that he isn't aware of this stuff is an attempt to turn the page without dealing with the problem. He purge somebody who wants to tell the truth.

BURNETT: Right. And the reality is, is Kevin McCarthy is aware of this stuff and I'm just going to say it like it is. He's well aware of this stuff.

AVLON: Of course.

BURNETT: Acutely aware as you point out.

Governor, at an April ...

WHITMAN: It still is and it is at worst.

BURNETT: ... yes, it truly is. And taking for granted the very system, that the system will certainly hold for his own rise in power.


Governor, according to The Washington Post, there was a meeting, the April GOP. And at that meeting, the National Republican Congressional Committee staff talked about polling in core battleground districts.

Now, they left out some crucial information though. And according to the Post they got all the polling information. This information was bad for Trump but showed his unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable in districts, in battleground districts. They showed that nearly twice as many voters had a strongly unfavorable view of him as had a favorable one. I mean, this is pretty stunning that the GOP and Congress is still

behind Trump. I mean, could they be blowing it and making a mistake here on their reading of the base?

WHITMAN: Well, I think they are and they aren't. They are and that the majority of Republicans seem - majority of the Americans are in the center, but they're not in the sense that the only thing they worry about is primaries and that's where Donald Trump's base will come out. And it's still an open question as to whether the rest of the country recognizes the importance of primaries and the need to be heard and vote on them. We haven't done a very good job of that in the past and we've left it to the more extremes who have come out and chosen the candidates for us for the fall.

But that's what they're counting on. That's what they're looking at. They're just looking at who is going to turn out and the way the redistricting is going, again, it's just going to reinforce this whole attitude on both sides. The Democrats neither in the House, neither side has to worry about the general election. It's only about the primaries and that extreme base.

And Trump supporters know that his people will come out hell or high water, they'll be there. And it's a question of whether the rest of us who care about this and care about democracy, care about our Constitution, care about the country's future will also come out.

BURNETT: So John, Congressman Cheney actually just spoke to NBC News. Let me just play a clip of what we just got in.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS: Are you the leader of the opposition in exile right now in the Republican Party?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I intend to be the leader, one of the leaders in a fight to help to restore our party, in a fight to bring our party back to substance and principles and in a fight to make clear that we won't participate in a really dangerous effort that's underway.

GUTHRIE: A lot of people frame this as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party.

Cheney: This is the, I think, opening salvo in that battle.


BURNETT: So John, is this the opening salvo in a battle or are we many battles in to a losing war?

AVLON: We're deep into this, but the war is not lost? To be clear, Liz Cheney is fighting a rearguard action. Ht folks, the Republicans you showed earlier, Adam Kinzinger and folks, those folks who represent the soul of the Republican Party, as it stood as the party of Lincoln, which is in contrast to the cult of Trump. Cults ultimately fade, but the issue here is democracy.

Liz Cheney is about as conservative as you get.


AVLON: This isn't about ideology. This is about whether you buy into a lie and democracy itself is at stake.

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

WHITMAN: Thank you. Pleasure.

BURNETT: And next, Republicans using an important hearing today, trying to whitewash what actually happened on January 6th.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.


BURNETT: And that was like not comedy.

Plus, live pictures as gas stations across the East Coast are running dry. I'm going to talk to the Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina where more than 70 percent of the stations have no gas about her concerns tonight. This as Colonial Pipeline says it is resuming operations.

And a major blow to the NRA, a judge paving the way for New York's Attorney, Attorney General Letitia James to take on the most powerful lobbying group. Can she take them down? She's OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller walking back previous comments that he made, comments that tied for President Trump to the insurrection on January 6th very specifically. Listen to what he said back in March.


CHRISTOPHER MILLER, FMR. ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY: The question is would anybody have marched on the Capitol and overrun the Capitol without the President's speech, I think it's pretty much definitive that wouldn't have happened.


BURNETT: OK. Secretary Miller was less definitive today, making a sudden shift during his first public testimony on the insurrection.


MILLER: I would like to offer - I have reassessed, it's not the unitary factor at all. There was no - it's seems clear there was an organized conspiracy.


BURNETT: And Secretary Miller didn't just backtrack today. He actually completely skipped over this line that was in his prepared remarks. It read, "I stand by my prior observation that I personally believe his comments encouraged the protesters that day." He left that line out. I mean, it's there. It's in the prepared. He just didn't say it.

OUTFRONT now, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, which held this hearing today. So Chairwoman, thank you very much for your time. So Secretary Miller, in terms of what we heard today made a 180. He says he's quote reassessed Trump's role. He doesn't actually say Trump isn't responsible. He just says Trump isn't the unitary factor or the sole factor and he leaves out that crucial line where I personally still think he's responsible that he had in the prepared remarks.

What do you make of that and what appears to be a very sudden effort to parse words now?

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): Well, you see it with many of the Republicans right after the January 6th right afterwards McConnell, McCarthy, Liz Cheney, Miller, everybody was saying that it was the President's words that incited the riot. We heard his speech. He said go there and give them hell. He planned it. He talked about it. He kept putting out the lie that the election was stolen and then all of a sudden now they are turning around.


Now they are removing Cheney from her position and now all of a sudden McCarthy, and McConnell and Miller and everybody else have switched their stories. But the proof is in what happened. I found Miller's testimony extremely disappointing. Not only did he reverse himself, but he failed to take any responsibility for the crisis that happened that day.

He failed to prepare for it even though law enforcement including New York City warned them a month in advance in December, the Norfolk FBI warned them. It was all over the news. If you read the news, he should have known that there was going to be violence at the Capitol. It was all over the social media yet he didn't prepare in any way and his response to that day was terrible.

It took him four hours to get the National Guard to the Capitol to protect people after they had violated the perimeter, the rioters had violated the perimeter of the Capitol.

BURNETT: So it wasn't just Secretary Miller. Then again, I do wonder it sort of confounds me why he says in his remarks, I stand by my prior observation that I personally believe Trump's comments encouraged the protesters and he leaves that part out and does the 180. It's quite fascinating to understand what really happened there, but he was not alone. There were other Republican lawmakers in your hearing who said some

pretty incredible things about January 6th that are counterfactual. Here are a few.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To my knowledge, not a single person has been charged with a crime of insurrection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.


BURNETT: If you didn't know it was from January 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit. I don't know what he's been looking at.

MALONEY: I tell you, it's an outrageous statement. Anyone who saw the - it was unveiled on television. I could see it at the window of my office when they attack on our Capitol. It's an undisputed fact and that they are trying to cover it up this way. What we need now is more oversight.

We need to get more documents. I've asked for documents along with five other chairs of committees, we're still waiting for those documents. We need witnesses that tell the truth and don't hide behind privilege and claim they have no responsibility for it.

And we knew the 9/11-type commission to get to the root cause of how this happened and what we can do collectively in a bipartisan way to prevent it from happening again. It was one of the darkest days in our history of our country.

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

MALONEY: Thank you, Erin. Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, gas prices are surging as a growing number of stations are out of fuel. This as Colonial Pipeline says it is resuming operations.

Plus, fears of a full-scale war as dozens are now dead in what's been called the worst violence to rock the Mid-East in seven years. We're live tonight in Jerusalem.



BURNETT: Breaking news, the Colonial Pipeline says it's restarting operations as the panic at the pump takes hold. A growing number of gas stations on the East Coast are out of fuel tonight. According to GasBuddy, which tracks fuel prices, in Georgia and South Carolina, more than 40 percent of gas stations are out of gas. In Virginia, it's 53 percent. In North Carolina, 70 percent.

And there you're looking at live pictures of Charlotte. As I said 70 percent of the stations in North Carolina, at Charlotte are out from what we understand from GasBuddy. The Mayor is going to be with me in just a couple of moments. There are, not surprisingly, now also concerns about price gouging.

Spokespeople for the South and North Carolina Attorney General say they have received almost a thousand reports of gouging. Georgia's Attorney General says he's received more than 300. It all stems from the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.

Amazing to say that one pipeline in this country supplies nearly half the gasoline and diesel to the entire east coast, but that is the fact. There was a cyberattack and it was shut down. Now, Colonial is now saying it's going to restart but warning that it will take several days for service to fully return to normal.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT now. And Kaitlan, how concerned is the White House - I'm sure they're thrilled. OK. They announced they're reopening, but that doesn't just mean like OK, switch, good. We're good to go. And now you've got this problem in states, how worried are they?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. It doesn't mean all these gas stations that are out of gas are suddenly going to have it and the White House knows that. And so I think really what they're focused on today and right now in the immediate aftermath is what can they do to try to stem the panic here.

And so that's why they are bringing officials out to the briefing earlier today urging people please do not go and panic buy gas because, of course, this is causing issues. There are concerns about what kind of containers people are putting gas in and so that has really been their primary focus today, as they say that they are trying to make it easier for people to get fuel for these companies to actually get gas.

And so that comes to making it easier to send it via ship or rail or truck or really whatever they can do to try to get this and stem this problem as quickly as possible.

And they've been working pretty closely with Colonial Pipeline it appears, because President Biden was the one who said earlier today that they were going to have some news. And then shortly thereafter, of course, the company said yes, we are slowly but surely trying to get back online.

And so I think this is just something that happens when you're President, when there was a crisis like this and people cannot buy gas, people obviously look to the White House for guidance on what is going on. And this all comes as after months in the making, President Biden has now signed this executive order on cyber defense and strengthening it when it comes to government agencies.

The White House doesn't believe this is something that would have helped prevent this Colonial Pipeline attack. They say that's more of an issue that Congress needs to take up when it comes to private companies and their security. But this certainly is bringing this issue to the forefront, because you're seeing just how easily a supply chain can be disrupted.




And of course, I think for everyone who doesn't live in the Southeast and is able to get gas, it raises the concerns of just how vulnerable I guess I should say a lot of these systems look like they can be.

BURNETT: Yeah. No, it's a really fair point. I think we know the answer is way too vulnerable.


BURNETT: Kaitlan, thank you very much.

I want to go now to Mayor Vi Lyles of Charlotte, North Carolina.

And, Mayor, I appreciate your time.

So, GasBuddy saying about 70 percent of stations in your city are out of gas, and I know, you know, this has been unnerving and stressful for days for your city. What has it been like?

MAYOR VI LYLES (D), CHARLOTTE, NC: Well, it's been really difficult because people are hoarding the gas. They feel like this might be a crisis that they can't manage the control and the ability to say, I filled up every car, and I've gotten all the cans filled. That gives people a sense of safety, and that's what's going on, hoarding of the gas.

I think that we would like to see actually that people can relax and, you know, realize that this can be something that's fixed. But more importantly, we went immediately today to free mass transit service. Our buses, our light rail, our street cars are now running at no cost.

We don't want people to have to stay at home and not get to the doctor's office, not get to work because of the situation. So, we're making it possible for our residents to move about the city in a safe way.

BURNETT: So, you know, you talk about people hoarding, indeed that is what's happening, right? My understanding is that this isn't the way that it should be, in terms of supply but that there was enough, the reason there isn't is because the hoarding. Is that really what you're seeing, as the problem? Or do you also, are you also aware of supply issues? LYLES: Well, the governor had an order of an emergency order today,

and he lifted many of the restrictions on trucking in our city. So, we are taking care of that part of the problem, I think this is just like the pandemic, that first couple of weeks of March a year ago. People got really frightened because the unknown is just difficult.

But this city has good planning, good communications with our residence, and so I think that we know if we can get this to come down and we hear from the White House, from Colonial, that the gas is going to be delivered in the next several days, we can manage through these next several days.

BURNETT: And is that, have they -- has the White House communicated with you? Have you heard from Colonial that indeed this is up and running, and they expected to be fully back to normal in a couple days?

LYLES: My understanding is that our emergency management system has opened its operation center, staying in contact with all of our entities, FEMA, all of the folks that we have to have, Homeland Security, so that we can react quickly. And what we are hearing now is that the pipeline folks are saying, it's going to take a couple of days to get the trucks, and the pipeline to work. But we think that we have sufficient reserves for our city, organization, making sure our water, our solid waste services, our airport all work.

And if we can do that, as long as we continue to see progress, we're going to be okay.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor Lyles, I appreciate time, thank you very much.

LYLES: Thank you so much, Erin, for having us talk about my great city.

BURNETT: All right.

And next, New York's attorney general wants to take down the NRA. And she has just cleared a major legal hurdle. Letitia James is my guest.

Plus, Ohio's governor announces he's going to give away millions of dollars and free college, the only thing you got to do is get vaccinated.



BURNETT: One step closer to the demise of the NRA. Well, a Texas judge ruling that the NRA cannot file for bankruptcy in Texas. So what this ruling does is pave the way for a fraud lawsuit by the New York Attorney General Letitia James, a lawsuit against the NRA, the powerful lobbying group. It allows that to proceed.

Now, look, James has made no secret of the fact that she wants to dissolve the NRA, I'm not taking liberties here. The Attorney General James is now OUTFRONT.

And, Attorney General, look, I know this is your first interview since the judge called us a, quote, bad faith attempt by the NRA to try and escape your lawsuit and run off to Texas. What's your reaction to the ruling?

LETITIA JAMES (D), ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW YORK: That not even the most powerful lobbying organization in this country is above the law. And this was nothing more than an attempt to evade the regulatory jurisdiction of the state of New York. This was nothing more than an attempt to gain an unfair litigation advantage.

And, fortunately, the bankruptcy court and judge in particular saw through all of this. The reality is, is that we filed 167-page complaint which basically lays out the widespread misuse of charitable assets, a number of party transactions, governance and internal controls that were not in place, the lack of protocols and procedures and the lack of grievances for whistleblowers.

Quite simply, Mr. Wayne LaPierre and his executive board looted, diverted, wasted charitable assets of the NRA.

The NRA is in a good financial position. They should not have filed a bankruptcy petition simply because they were afraid of dissolution.

BURNETT: So, so --

JAMES: -- our 167-page complaint that we filed, following a 15-month investigation, we are seeking the following relief -- dissolution, restitution, penalties, a lifetime ban of Wayne LaPierre and the executive board, as well as the removal of other executives as part of the NRA.

BURNETT: So, so, you know, you lay out in great detail, right, as you say, 167 pages, but allegations of widespread corruption within the NRA.

So, Wayne LaPierre, let's talk about him, the CEO. He had frequent stays about you lay out on 108-foot yacht in the Bahamas owned by a Hollywood producer, four state rooms, a chef.


But LaPierre in testimony defended his escapes to the yacht where he went after the Sandy Hook shootings and the Parkland school shootings. He goes to the shot, he says, oh, they simply help me use it as a security retreat, because they knew the threat that I was under. This is the one place I hope that I could feel safe.

What do you even say to that?

JAMES: Mr. Wayne LaPierre, not only engage in, again, the diversion of charitable assets for the purposes of going on yachts but, also for the purpose of buying very, very, very expensive Italian suits. In addition to that, going on safaris, engaging in a number of -- purchasing a number of gifts, providing consulting contracts to his friends and his families, engaging in, again, a number of third party transactions.

And late -- and I think what the judge indicated what was most egregious is that this petition, this bankruptcy petition was hidden in his contract. And so, most of the board members had no idea that it gave that unilateral power to Mr. Wayne LaPierre to file this bankruptcy petition. The judge saw through it all, and that's why this case was dismissed, that's why this case in the state of New York, a case involving a not-for-profit law of the state of New York will go forward and has gone forward.

BURNETT: The financial disclosure forms, as you mentioned, right, the trips were never mentioned on there to the yacht. He never paid to use the yacht, and you've accused him, you mentioned safari, of him also spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, right, NRA dollars on private plane trips, trips to Africa, all expense paid safaris that were gifted by a vendor, right? That's where you're getting your conflict of interest questions.

Do you -- do you think you've seen everything there is to see? Or do you think that this is still perhaps the tip of the iceberg?

JAMES: Well, in the judge's decision, he indicated that the -- unfortunately, the legality and these conflicts of interests, and that these expenses continue. And that is why in New York, we were in the midst of discovery and we anticipate that in all likelihood, we will proceed to trial in the state of New York in the year 2022, where we will lay out for the general public, and for all the donors to the NRA the fact that the rot runs deep in the NRA. At the relief that we are seeking is dissolution.

BURNETT: So, before we go, Attorney General, your office issued a scathing report against the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that found his administration significantly underreported the number of nursing home deaths from the coronavirus. Right now, I know you are in the midst of investigating sexual harassment allegations against the governor from multiple women. I know it's an ongoing investigation, but you have any idea when your investigation could wrap up?

JAMES: Our investigation will be completed when it's completed.

BURNETT: All right, and that is the answer.

Thank you very much, Attorney General. I appreciate your time.

JAMES: Thank you. I appreciate you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, Ohio making it worth your while to get vaccinated. This isn't only an American story, for better of worse, like a lot of millions of dollars free tuition room and board, will it work?

Plus, the airstrikes in the Middle East intensifying tonight, air raid sirens going of, dozens are now dead. We're live in Jerusalem.



BURNETT: Tonight, only in America. Ohio's Republican Governor Mike DeWine announcing two statewide lotteries to give away a million dollars each to five adults in Ohio, and five full-ride scholarships to Ohio State Universities for anyone ages 12 to 17. How do you win these lotteries? Well, your name gets drawn if you have been vaccinated. So, the money for this is going to come from federal COVID relief funds, money that DeWine says will be well-spent.


GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: I know some of you now are shaking your heads and say that Mike DeWine, he's crazy. This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money. But, truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic, when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it, the real waste is a life that is lost now to COVID-19.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush and our own Donie O'Sullivan who's been closely tracking the misinformation that is rife about the vaccine on social media. That's the reason why one but even need to have something like this, right, because too many people aren't getting it.

Dr. Reiner, let me start with you. When I saw this, I sort of stopped in my tracks. You know, only in America could something like this happen and the DeWine says, you could either say I'm crazy, or you can say the real tragedy would be another life lost that doesn't need to be lost. What's your reaction to this remarkable incentive, that the Ohio governor is rolling out?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: At first, I thought, wow, that's kind of a cool incentive. But the more I thought about it, the more sad I think it really is. You're right, only in this country do we have to beg people to take a miracle drug.

You know, all over the world, people are begging for a vaccine. The sky all over India is illuminated by the funeral fires of thousands of people dying every day. Yet we have to bribe Americans to get this free vaccine, and the reward they get is that it saves their lives.

Look, I've already won the lottery because I've been vaccinated and my wife's been vaccinated, and my two girls have been vaccinated. And I know they're not going to get sick and die from this vaccine. A hundred and fifty-four million Americans have already won the lottery. It's a really sad commentary.

What do we have to get people to understand that life -- their life will be saved by this vaccine?

[19:50:02] Every single person who is dying in the United States right now of this virus, over 600 people a day, are unvaccinated. Every single person is unvaccinated. And we have to bribe them with a million- dollar lottery.

BURNETT: It is. I mean, it is. Donie, to this point, when Governor DeWine says the real tragedy is another person dying. And he feels this is what he needs to do.

So, you've been talking to people who are afraid, they believe all kinds of bad things about this vaccine. They see all of this misinformation. Is that a money issue? It will people that you've spoken to, they see something like this, say, okay, I'm going to get a shot because I could win 1 million bucks?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think there is degrees to this. I've spoken to Trump supporters, and we've seen in CNN polling 44 percent almost half of Republicans say they will not get this vaccine. For some Trump supporters, this is an absolute redline, even if Trump are to come out and begged them to take it.

They say, no, we are not taking this. And that perhaps might be why Trump hasn't pushed the vaccine which he can take a lot of credit for as hard as he might because he knows he may alienate his base.

But the other people, the people who I think really can be reached our parents and mothers that I've spoken to, who now that the vaccine is available for younger teenagers aren't going online, looking generally for answers to question, natural questions that any parent would have. It is way too easy still. It's incredible. It's too easy to find misinformation about this vaccine on Facebook, on Instagram, across the Internet.

We even saw last night, if you type in vaccines to Instagram, the fourth, fifth, sixth result was misinformation, was anti-vax post. This is a year -- more than a year into the pandemic. So, misinformation about this vaccine is just too easy to find and that is dissuading people.

BURNETT: It's incredible. And as they say, like, wow, it's incredible only an America thing, at its best and truly a reflection of some of the worst to what we are seeing, Dr. Reiner. So, well said.

Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

And next, the violence in the Middle East right now escalating to a level not seen in years. Buildings leveled, and dozens are dead. We're going to take you live to Jerusalem next.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden making his first public comments on the violence that's erupting between the Israelis and Palestinians. It's the worst we've seen in seven years, on a phone call with the Israeli prime minister.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My expectation hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later. But Israel has the right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.


BURNETT: At least 67 Palestinians are dead, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Six Israeli civilians and one Israeli soldier have died. That is according to the Israeli military.

Ben Wedeman is OUTFRONT live from Jerusalem tonight -- obviously in the hours of the morning there.

Ben, the violence really seems to escalate today. The U.N. warning the conflict could spiral into a, quote, full scale war.

You are there, what do you see?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly things look grim at the moment, Erin. What we have seen just past midnight were Israeli airstrikes in Gaza followed by about an hour ago a barrage of rockets out of Gaza towards Tel Aviv. Sirens went off. We're not aware of any damage at this point. Probably those rockets were blocked by the Iron Dome system.

But nonetheless, all indications are the situation is getting a ever more dangerous, made more complicated by the fact that within Israel itself, we're seeing a dramatic increase in communal violence between Israelis, Jewish Israelis, and Palestinian Israelis to this extent that the government has pulled border police out of the occupied West Bank to deploy them in mixed Palestinian Jewish towns within Israel itself, imposing an overnight curfew, and one of them in an attempt to restore -- Erin.

BURNETT: Ben, here's the thing, you've had all this going on for days. You've got the worst violence in nearly 7 years, as you say it's not just inter, it's intra. President Biden then speaks out to the first time today. You know, how relevant of a player is the United States in this right now?

WEDEMAN: Well, the United States is a major player in the sense that every year it provides Israel with about $3.8 billion in the military aid and it provides a lot of diplomatic protection to Israel. But it's somewhat hobbled by the fact that, for years now, unlike for instance the Russians, it refuses to have any contact with Hamas and similar organizations.

And therefore, for instance, we understand that the undersecretary of state for Israeli Palestine affairs is coming here to speak to what they say are both sides. Who are both sides? Of course, it's the Israelis on the one hand, but the other party they are going to speak to is the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, which has had no part in this recent escalation. In the sense, they are only speaking to one side in this conflict -- Erin.

BURNETT: Right, right. And there's only so far you can get in doing that.

All right. Ben, thank you very much. I appreciate your time to bring this crucial story on the ground, as you said in Jerusalem tonight.

And thanks to all of you for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, just go to CNN Go.

"AC360" starts right now.