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Erin Burnett Outfront

Top Republican Leader Now Urging His Party To Vote Against A Bipartisan Investigation Into The Capitol Insurrection; Interview With Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA); QAnon Zeroes In On Conspiratorial Election Audit In Arizona As GOP State Senator Vows To Push Ahead; Protest Underway After D.A. Says Brown Shooting Was "Justified"; Biden Dodges On Middle East Conflict As Pressure Mounts; Giuliani Says His Call For "Trial By Combat" Was "Hyperbolic". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 18, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, vote no. A top Republican leader now urging his party to vote against a bipartisan investigation into the Capitol insurrection after Kevin McCarthy objected to the probe. Why? What is McCarthy afraid of?

Plus QAnon, now setting its sights on the controversial Arizona third audit. Their supporters echoing Trump think Arizona is now key to overturning the election.

And tonight, the House passing a bill to address the rise of anti- Asian hate crimes, 62 Republicans voted against it. How come? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, shutting it down. House Republicans following Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's lead as they try to block a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection. CNN learning House Republican Whip Steve Scalise is urging his colleagues to vote against the measure. Urging them to back McCarthy who refuses to sign off on the commission. But why?

I mean, the commission itself was negotiated by a Republican. The commission itself is bipartisan. And there was, of course, a time when McCarthy was outraged and angered about January 6th, when he called the former president to account.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The President bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Pretty basic, simple sentence on the 13th of January from

Kevin McCarthy. About a week later, though, here again is the same Kevin McCarthy.


MCCARTHY: I don't believe he provoked if you listen to what he said at the rally.


BURNETT: And 14 days after that, McCarthy scurried down to see Trump at Mar-a-Lago to make sure that he had made up for his comments that he was in good graces with the king. There they are.

What could be at the heart of McCarthy spheres is the fact that McCarthy himself would be a focus for the commission. He's a key witness. He knows more about Trump's mindset that day than just about anybody else, because he was actually on the phone with Trump as the former president was watching these images. The images you're seeing now, Trump's watching them. He's talking to McCarthy.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican were told by McCarthy after the call that McCarthy tried to get Trump to understand the severity of the situation. He pleaded with Trump to forcefully denounce the attackers. Herrera Beutler says McCarthy told her that Trump actually claimed to McCarthy that the people there were antifa and that McCarthy responded to Trump, no, "They're your people. Call them off."

Of course, Trump refused. Herrera Beutler then said confirming to CNN that Trump said, "Well, Kevin," again, this is a quote, "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are." Justifying it as the rioters push deeper into the Capitol.

McCarthy responds to Trump, he tells people, one of them Jaime Herrera Beutler, "Who the f--k do you think you're talking to?" But now, McCarthy doesn't want to know more and he doesn't want to have to tell the full truth of everything he knows. Here he is today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Leader McCarthy, would you agree to speak to the commission if they subpoenaed you about your phone call with Trump on the 6th or anything regarding the 6th?


BURNETT: All you hear is clicking shoes because McCarthy did not answer that question. He walked away. We're now learning tonight from our Jamie Gangel who reported all of those comments from Herrera Beutler originally, she's now reporting that McCarthy wants to do everything he can to stop a commission from getting off the ground. Everything he can. Not only because of his potential exposure, but that he thinks it might hurt his chances of becoming speaker one day. Said one Republican with knowledge of the situation, "Kevin got too

scared and he can't let it go anyplace." I guess the reality of all this is, is it proves something important that for McCarthy this is above all about politics, not about truth and that is not new for him. If you look at the Benghazi commission in 2015, I should note we spent a lot of time on this, did an entire documentary, hour long on the attacks that killed four Americans and the security lapses. That deserved a thorough investigation.

But for McCarthy, it wasn't about that. It wasn't about getting to the truth, it was about the politics. It was about getting to Hillary Clinton.


MCCARTHY: Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable. But we put together Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's on trustable, but no one would have known any of that had happened had we not thought ...




BURNETT: So that response was so crass that McCarthy actually publicly backtracked. Said he didn't mean to imply it was political. Because, of course, it shouldn't have been. Benghazi was important and deserved a thorough investigation, just like the events of January 6th deserve a thorough investigation. It's not about politics when the Capitol is attacked by a group of insurrectionist.

Because now it's too late, a lot of the lie - I don't mean for the investigation, I mean, for the lies - the lies about that day, about the election being stolen, they have taken on a life of their own. They have now run rampant.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): The people who breached the Capitol on January 6th are being abused.

REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): 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.

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): As a result the DOJ is harassing peaceful patriots across the country.


BURNETT: OK. These comments, according to Congressman Jim McGovern today in a fiery statement, should disqualify these members of Congress from holding office. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D-MA): I'm going to tell you, if there's anybody in this chamber who doesn't believe that it's important to get to the truth about what happened on the 6th or who wants to make believe that what happened on the 6th didn't happen on the 6th, that it's a typical tourist day on the Capitol, they are not fit to serve in this chamber and I've had it.


BURNETT: Referring back to that GOP Congressman who said it was like a tourist visit. One of the most incredible things actually for anyone to have said. I'm going to speak to McGovern in just a moment. But I also want to make the point because he's a Democrat that it is not just Democrats who have had it. Look at the circus that is now the third election audit in Arizona, first two finding nothing.

A Republican official who called Trump's lies unhinged, telling me last night that this has to stop.


STEPHEN RICHER, (R) MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER: Just stop indulging this. Stop giving space for lies. I mean, this has been a very rude awakening into what politics has become.


BURNETT: McCarthy now a symbol of what politics has become, unwilling to do his job, unwilling to get to the truth because he's afraid.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill. So Manu, let's just get to the bottom line here as I said, Steve Scalise, the number two leader going out to saying urgently vote against this, vote against this, trying to get as many Republicans to not sign on as he can. So where does the bill stand? How far does it get?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it will get out of the House tomorrow. There's no question about that, that the Democrats have the majority and narrow majority. Some Republicans will vote for it, but probably not a lot of Republicans because of McCarthy's position.

When McCarthy is moving his opposition is significant because it could certainly influence the vote in the Senate and I'll tell you why, Erin. If people will come out in support of this, but then there would probably be a significant bipartisan majority that will pass in the House that would make it almost assured that a bipartisan majority would pass it in the Senate.

But in the Senate, you need 60 votes to get anything through, that's 50 Democrats right now undoubtedly support this plan, can they get the 10 Republicans. That is an open question given McCarthy's opposition. Look no further than Sen. John Thune, the number two Republican. Yesterday, he told a group of us that he thinks a bill could pass in

some form. He said that having a narrow focus on the events of January 6th are good enough. But today he said he didn't realize that the Republican leadership in the House had not signed off on it and he said that it's still an open question and the key question too will be Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader.

I asked him whether or not he still has concerns that similar to Kevin McCarthy's that this probe is too narrowly focused that it should be focused on some of the protests that occurred on last summer as McCarthy has called for. He did not go that far but he did say that he wants to look at this and is concerned about the duplicative nature of this.

So eventually, Erin, even though Steve Scalise who is recommending a no vote against this and that we do expect that this vote will pass even though it will pass, the question ultimately be on the Senate Republican's lap and how they come down as open question as a couple of them are signaling they will support it, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and what do they have in question, Erin, they voted to convict Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection. But there are only seven Republicans who did just that. Will 10 eventually break ranks, that will be the big question to ensure this can get to Joe Biden's desk, Erin.

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

And I want to go now to the Chairman of the House Rules Committee, as I promised, Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern, who presided over a markup of the January 6th commission bill today. Look, I appreciate your time.

Obviously, Leader McCarthy matters. He matters and he matters for his rank and file and Scalise is going out and urging them. They don't want any Republicans to vote for this.


They want to make this look as political as possible. Why do you think when you try to get to the bottom of it, McCarthy opposes the January 6th Commission, which is, I want to note, was negotiated by a Republican and would be bipartisan?

REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D-MA): Well, that's a good question. I've concluded that Kevin McCarthy is a weak and cowardly individual who's afraid of Donald Trump. I wouldn't be surprised if Donald Trump tried to kill this.

But here's the sad thing, the ranking Republican member of the committee on Homeland Security worked out this deal with Chairman Bennie Thompson and it's a bipartisan deal. And by the way, Kevin McCarthy sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi with all these demands that he said were necessary in order to win his support, including a evenly split Democrat-Republican number of commissioners, equal subpoena power I can go on and on and on. But we met all of these conditions. All of the things that Kevin

McCarthy wanted have been included in this compromise. And yet, to everybody's surprise, I guess, maybe not to everybody's surprise, but he came out today and said he was against it. And I think the only reasonable conclusion is that he's afraid of Donald Trump and he doesn't want to offend him, doesn't want to get disinvited to Mar-a- Lago. But it is sad and it is pathetic and getting to the truth matters here.

I was there on January 6th. I was the last person off the House floor. I had to tell members to get their gas masks, before they evacuated. I walked down to the Speaker's lobby and saw this mad mob breaking the glass. There were Republicans there as well.


MCGOVERN: And my hope is that my fellow Republicans will stand up to the bully in Mar-a-Lago and do the right thing and get to the truth. The American people deserve the truth and deserve the truth by a bipartisan commission.

BURNETT: And I think it's important what you point out by holding up that letter, equal subpoena power, equal representation, that you met all the demands that are in the letter and now still, he says, no. But I want to ask you about the Senate side.

Manu is obviously pointing out you'll get this through the House because you've got the majority. And I'm putting aside the moment of - for a moment the fact that you obviously could get more Republicans on board than you will because of McCarthy and Scalise's opposition.

But in the Senate there are some Republicans standing up. This is going to be a crucial vote for that. Lisa Murkowski said today that former President Trump himself should testify before your January 6th commission. She told CNN that Trump will be a key individual. So what do you think about her point of view? Obviously, he'll likely refuse, but does this give you heart?

MCGOVERN: It does. Look, there are some Republicans in the Senate and in the House who have stood up. I have great respect for Liz Cheney for her willingness to stand up for the truth and not buy into the big lie and her continued call for accountability, in return Kevin McCarthy threw her into oncoming traffic. I mean, that was he canceled her.

And - but I'm hoping that people are going to look at her, are going to look at Mitt Romney and Sen. Murkowski and others and say, you know what, this is the time to do the right thing. I mean, this should not be a difficult vote. I mean, this is a truly bipartisan commission, negotiated in a bipartisan way and it is what we all strive to achieve here on Capitol Hill that it is controversial, that Kevin McCarthy all of a sudden is getting cold feet, because he's afraid of Donald Trump. It's pathetic.

And so I appeal to my Republican colleagues, do the right thing. It's important. It's important that this commission move forward and that there be a full accounting and that the truth be out there.

BURNETT: So a number of Republicans are saying they think the January 6th commission is too narrow. McCarthy is now saying that. McConnell interestingly demur or didn't go that far. But the ranking member of your committee, Congressman Tom Cole said this at your hearing today. I'll play it for viewers.


REP. TOM COLE (R-OK): It makes sense to grant any such commission the capability to look more broadly at political violence in this country, including widespread violence of last summer and previous attempts to attack members of this body. After all, the 911 Commission was able to look not only at the September 11th attacks, but also the broader context out of which those attacks rose. It seems to me that this commission should do the same.


BURNETT: Interesting parallel he draws to the 9/11 commission and its ability to go broader in terms of context. Do you think that he has a point?

MCGOVERN: No, I don't. And by the way, the mandate of this commission allows the commissioners to look at anything related to January 6th. It's very similar to the September 11th commission.

But look, some Republicans want to look into Black Lives Matter. They want to look into the attack on Republicans during the baseball game.


I mean, they are throwing all kinds of things out there to make it impossible to talk about what happened on January 6th. And let's not forget what happened on January 6th, this place was attacked. There was an insurrection. We had people walking through the Capitol with confederate flags with T-shirts that said Camp Auschwitz. And we had people who died, people who are wounded.

I mean, come on, this should not be controversial. The only reason why it is, is because the QAnon wing of the Republican Party is holding Kevin McCarthy's feet to the fire and Kevin McCarthy is frightened to death over Donald Trump. It is incredibly sad. I said today that his opposition to this has nothing to do with policy, has nothing to do with substance but it does have to do with character and his fitness to lead.

I mean, this shows his lack of character by coming out against this because he's afraid of Donald Trump. And this also shows his unfitness to lead.

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

MCGOVERN: All the best. Be safe.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you.

And Chairman McGovern mentioning QAnon. Well, QAnon conspiracy theorists are now focusing their attention on the sham election audit in Arizona. We have new details about what the group's followers are peddling tonight.

Plus, live pictures of protests in North Carolina after a district attorney claims the police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was justified. There is now disturbing new body camera footage that is raising more questions.

And President Biden not answering questions about the growing conflict in the Middle East.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can I ask you a quick question on Israel before you drive away because it's so important?





BURNETT: Tonight, Republicans in the Arizona State Senate pushing ahead with a controversial elections audit of Maricopa County. The state's most populous and home to Phoenix. This despite the county's Board of Supervisors all but one of whom are Republicans now unanimously slamming the audit as quote a sham and a grift.

In fact, the Republican President of the State Senate who led the charge for this audit is now fighting against the whole group of them saying tonight she will not stand down.


SEN. KAREN FANN (R-AZ): Let's get this thing done and get our questions answered and get it out to the public and let everybody know that our next election will be a hundred percent safe and secure and everybody can feel comfortable going to the polls again.


BURNETT: Of course, there have already been two audits. They have already been two audits and they haven't found anything that changes the outcome of the election, nothing. And the executive of the company running the latest and third audit, the Cyber Ninjas. There's a name for someone who's going to run your audit, has amplified election conspiracy theories. In fact, conspiracies that QAnon is now embracing.

Donie O'Sullivan is OUTFRONT with new reporting on QAnon's latest obsession, which is this third Arizona audit. So Donie, QAnon now laser focused on Arizona and President Trump is out there, the former president saying, this is it. We can win the state. I mean, are there people now who believe this audit could overturn the whole election?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, essentially, what we're seeing here is this sort of cyclone of disinformation where stuff that gets percolated through blogs and forums and dark corners of the internet get to right-wing websites, eventually to former President Trump and then the process starts again. It's exactly what we saw in the lead up to January 6th.

And of course, Erin, this really shouldn't be too surprising. I mean, this audit, this sham that's happening right now in Arizona is the result of a conspiracy theory. And I want you to take a listen to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell speaking to Steve Bannon last week.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: How key is a successful outcome in Arizona to the case that you're making?

MIKE LINDELL, MY PILLOW CEO: It is huge, because that's going to be - then you have the smoking gun. You have a state going - you have not just all the proof we have, but you have an example of the proof.


O'SULLIVAN: And look, you might look at that and say, well, what does the pillow guy know about all of this stuff. But this is really the stuff that's sticking, Erin. When I go out and speak to Trump supporters around the country, I've heard from one Trump supporter a few weeks ago in Texas who said that Arizona might be the first domino to follow and we are seeing all across these QAnon forms, this absolute obsession we're trying to give truth to the big lie by looking at this audit.

And it is quite concerning in the sense that this level of anticipation, this level of fascination with a daze we've seen before. We've seen it with January 6th. We also obviously saw it with March 4th when they thought Trump was going to come back.

But every time we see something like this, there are a lot of Americans who believe that something is going to happen and there is the potential then, of course, for violence when it doesn't and not to mention, of course, the long-term effects that this will have on trust in elections in Arizona.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Donie. It's pretty sobering.

I want to bring in now Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo. He's the only Democrat on the five-person board. So Supervisor Gallardo, let me just give you a chance to react to this to Donie's reporting, QAnon now seizing on this latest Arizona audit as another false hope to overturn the entire election from November.

STEVE GALLARDO, (D) MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: You are absolutely correct. This is exactly what this audit is all about. We've been at this for 196 days. It's been six months since November 3rd election and the intent of many of those that continue to push conspiracy theories and unfounded statements, their only attempt is to overturn the will of the voters in Arizona, overturn this election and continue to justify many of the voter suppression bills that are going through the legislature right now.

That's what this is all about is how do we overturn the election and how do we justify many of the bills that are going to hurt people of color, retirees, low income voters, that's what this is all about. And we continue to see members of the Arizona State Senate continue to push this. We see outside organizations that continue to push this as well.


BURNETT: So let me ask you and again I keep emphasizing this is the third audit in your state, because I think it's significant because there's been two and nothing changes and nothing changes again so now the Republican State Senate is going for a third with the Cyber Ninja company overseeing it and they held a state Senate hearing today.

Now, during this hearing, Supervisor, something really interesting happened. One of the auditors hired by the State Senate said, oh, wait a minute, we found the files. They had accused your board of deleting the entire files. Deleting the entire files. And now, guess what, they found them. They're all there. Everything is good, just like everybody knew it was. Do you feel vindicated, at least, on this point that they have admitted that?

GALLARDO: Not at all. But the fact is as you consultants that are unqualified, they had never been involved in a county-wide election audit this size. They don't have the expertise or the knowledge of elections and election procedures and our machines or tabulation system. They're clueless and they're conducting the audit and this is a perfect example of a group of consultants that have no idea what they're doing.

They are running around in circles. They're looking for bamboo fibers. It's a sham. It's a circuit and the only attempt is to throw red meat to their base and try everything they can to try to undermine our democracy, undermine the will of the voters and continue to push voter suppression bill. That's what this is all about. So you have Arizona senators that are pushing it.

BURNETT: So let me just make a point here. Obviously, you're a Democrat, you've been against this from the beginning. You happen to be a Democrat, actually, I should put it that way because your board is now unanimous in opposing the audit. All the Republicans and you are united on this.

You were the first to speak out though. Your Republican colleagues now are taking a stand. They're doing it nationally. Stephen Richer, the County Recorder who joins your board yesterday to speak out against the audit has done so strongly. Here's what he said to me last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHER: I came into this office to try and make it as boring as

possible. I've been sitting on the sidelines. I hadn't taken a single interview prior to Friday. This is my first national interview. But at some point, we're humans, it has to stop. There are good people working here in Maricopa County and I was tired of them being defamed.


BURNETT: So it sounds like he had said look he was hoping that this would - he could sit on the sidelines and it would go away. It doesn't feel that way now. He's speaking out nationally. What are your Republican board members saying to you about why they are all now speaking up?

GALLARDO: Well, it's enough is enough. I mean, honestly, we were accused of committing an illegal act in a letter that was sent by Senate President Fann to the Board. So it's enough is enough. You have county-wide Republicans across Maricopa County, several of them have come out and say they are opposed to this audit. Enough is enough. Stop this sham. You finally have senators that are standing up. Republican senators that are standing up saying enough is enough.

We need more. We need other Republicans to join Democrats to say enough is enough. We need our Governor who's been very silent, our Attorney General been very silent. Anyone who is running for office in 2022, they're going to have to decide, are they on the side of the conspiracy theories and the insurrectionists or are they on the side of democracy and the Constitution, the rule of law.

They're going to have to make that decision. But for those folks that want to stand on the sidelines and be quiet, unacceptable, they need to pick a side. They need to be clear and loud, enough is enough. Let's protect our democracy. Our elections were safe, secure and accurate.

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

And next, protesters taking to the streets tonight in North Carolina after the DA says the deadly police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was justified. Now, there is newly released body cam video, is that what it shows? The Brown family attorney is next.

And President Biden dodging a key question today on the deadly violence between Israelis and Hamas, why?



BURNETT: Breaking news -- these are live pictures out of Elizabeth City in North Carolina, protesters are walking after the district attorney announced the deputies who shot and killed Andrew Brown Jr. last month were justified in their use of deadly force. The D.A. saying Brown acted, quote, recklessly by driving toward deputies while trying to escape arrest. But in videos we are now seeing for the first time, and other comments

by the D.A. are all leading to more questions about what happened.

Joe Johns is OUTFRONT, and I will warn you that some of the video in this piece your'e about to see is graphic.


ANDREW WOMBLE, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NC DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Mr. Brown's death, while tragic, was justified.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the final word from the Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble on the investigation into the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. No criminal charges for the officers involved in the 42-year-old's death.

WOMBLE: When you employ a car in a manner that puts officers lives in danger, that is a threat. And I don't care what direction you're going, forward, backward, sideways, I don't care if you're stationary and neither do our courts and our case law.

JOHNS: Newly-released video shown by the district attorney shows the attempted arrest on April 21st, when deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, were attempting to serve Brown with two felony warrants and a search warrant. This was the first public viewing at the much discussed the body cam videos, and the entire incident last just 44 seconds. In the videos, you see deputies jump in the back of a truck before confronting Brown in a parked BMW.

You see the vehicle move, deputies shout for Brown to stop. And then the deputies opened fire. The vehicle eventually comes to a stop, after 14 shots are fired.

The D.A. says Brown used his vehicle as a weapon against the officers, a sharp contrast of what the Brown family's lawyer said after they viewed the police body cam footage last week.


CHANCE LYNCH, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW BROWN JR.'S FAMILY: When the first shot fired, he was sitting in his car and then he began to back up. At no time did we see him go towards a sheriff deputy at any time, the first shot was fired and what we saw was after he was fired, he began to back up, because he wanted to get out of there.

JOHNS: They say Brown's death was whitewash today by the district attorney.

WOMBLE: Dr. Kelly determined Brown suffered two gunshot wounds, one to the right shoulder of the arm that was non-lethal, a second wound to the back of the head of the base of this call near the hairline.

JOHNS: A contradiction to the independent autopsy commissioned by Brown's family. WAYNE KENDALL, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW BROWN JR.'S FAMILY: What our

preliminary autopsy report shows is that there were five penetrating bullet wounds to the body of Andrew Brown Jr.

JOHNS: The family released a statement, following the press conference saying in part, to say this shooting was justified, despite the known facts is both an insult and a slap in the face to Andrew's family.


JOHNS (on camera): Back live now in Elizabeth City, these demonstrations have been a fixture here in this town, ever since the death of Andrew Brown. These people, or at least some of them have called for the recusal of the district attorney, not clear at all that is going to do that.

The other thing that's important tonight is that the Charlotte field office of the FBI, has announced an investigation. So this case probably is far from over.

Erin, back to you.

BURNETT: All right. Joe, thank you very much, an important addition there from Joe about the FBI.

I want to go now to Wayne Kendall. He is an attorney from Andrew Brown Jr.'s family.

And, Wayne, I appreciate you being back in the show.

You know, a week ago, you told me and I quote, you this was indeed an unjustified killing. Now you heard the D.A. today defending the decision not to charge the deputies, his quote, while tragic, what happened was justified.

What do you say to the D.A.?

KENDALL: Well, first of all, Erin, thank you for having me back again.

The D.A. is wrong. This was not a justified shooting. Anybody watching the video can see that Mr. Brown was attempting to get out of the way of these deputies who are pointing weapons at him. He backed up his vehicle and he went across a vacant lot. There was a deputy that jump in the path of the vehicle initially and jumped back out.

And this was what their manual teaches them to do. D.A. Womble never once mentioned the fact that the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office has a manual that says, that a vehicle that is occupied by an individual should not be shot into. He never mentioned that.

He never mentioned any of those requirements of the D.A. -- of the sheriff's office that would have not justified them shooting into the vehicle. And for good reason, because when you shoot into a vehicle you take the risk of hitting that person who's occupying the vehicle and driving the vehicle, then the vehicle becomes uncontrollable. It becomes out of control and who knows where it may end up. So, he's absolutely wrong about his interpretation of what's on the


BURNETT: And, you know, look, we're only getting 44 seconds and I know one of your frustrations has been, how they have taken so long to release video, how much you all were able to see, it was in droops and drabs, obviously you've seen watch more than we are but we're getting 44 seconds, and you see him sort of turn, as you say turn towards that vacant lot, then as a deputy that gets in front.

You've been consistent weighing in saying that the vehicle didn't go towards the deputies -- last week, you told me in any way shape or form, at any time. Now, the D.A. today is saying Brown ignored the commands of deputies, in his words, drove directly at a deputy.

So let me just again play some of the body cam video that the da play to make his case.


BURNETT: So you see the car start and it accelerates but it turns to the left. It appears Brown is trying to get away, right? Not driving at the group of deputies but trying to get away.

So does this video, even the 44 seconds we have, the D.A. is using this to make his case. Do you think it actually makes yours?

KENDALL: Erin, first of all, D.A. Womble selected certain portions of that video that he thought supported his narrative.


We have not seen the entire video. The video that he shows is selective by him, their snippets, their clips. We need to see the entire video.

And if you remember in the hearing that we had to disclose the video, he objected to the disclosure of the video to the media and to us in its entirety. Then he comes back without a court order, and says, oh well, I'm not subject to that law, I can show you the media would I decide you should see.


KENDALL: That's entirely unfair to us, because we've seen the video and we've seen portions of the video on only 19 minutes or so. And we came to the exact opposition conclusion that he did.

And might also add, Erin, that D.A. Womble is the absolute wrong person to have been making the decision to as whether or not to charge these officers or not. He works with them every day. He's depended upon them to make cases that he prosecutes. He'll be working with them for the next 19 months, while he's in office as the district attorney and while he's running for a judge. He should and have been the person making a charging decision. BURNETT: All right. Wayne, I really appreciate your time. And to your

point, obviously, this is not over. You have now the Charlotte office of the FBI investigating, so we'll see what those next steps are out of the FBI. I appreciate your time, Wayne.

KENDALL: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the pressure is mounting for President Biden to do more about the growing violence in the Middle East. But so far, he is staying very silent. Why?

And lawyers for Rudy Giuliani claim he wasn't literally calling for Trump supporters to overtake the Capitol when he said this.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Let's have trial by combat.




BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden met with protests over his handling of the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, to visit a Ford factory. Dearborn is home to one of the largest Arab-American populations in the United States. Protesters want to see an end to the violence.

Yet in his remarks, the president only briefly mentioned what's happening in the Middle East, and later wouldn't even take questions about it.


REPORTER: Mr. President, can I ask you a quick question on Israel before you drive away because it's so important?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, you can't. Not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it. I'm only teasing.


BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT.

And, Kaitlan, look, there is a lot of pressure on Biden to say more and do more. But the president making it very clear he doesn't want to talk about it and didn't want to take questions.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and, Erin, he has barely spoken about it publicly since his silence has broken out over the last nine days. He barely answered the question today. Yesterday, he answered a question to tell us he was going to speak with the Israeli prime minister, and that's really it. Instead, he has left to his officials. But what we do know is that privately, he seems to be understanding

the pressure that's growing here from even some of his own Democratic colleagues to take a different stance toward Israel.

And that is because we found out that in that call yesterday, his second call he had with Netanyahu in just a matter of days, he actually took a firmer tone and made it clear that, of course, there is growing calls for the United States to come out and say something. There are other U.S. allies that have called for a cease-fire. Biden has not explicitly done so yet, only voicing support for one generally.

And so, when we asked the White House about taking a tougher tone with Netanyahu, a White House officials say he is always straightforward with world leaders, but they confirmed it essentially, saying that behind the scenes, it is going to be this quiet, intensive diplomacy, but they say that publicly, they are not going to be commenting and offering analysis of the global and domestic reaction to what's happening, the violence there on the ground.

BURNETT: Do you get the feel from the protest you are seeing, the pressure, much more public and large than we have seen in the past, pro-Palestinian, is influencing him?

COLLINS: I think so because I do -- I think it's influencing to a degree in how he is navigating this. That's why he did take that firmer tone with Netanyahu yesterday, because it's not just coming from really progressive members of his party.

As you saw today, he was talking with Rashida Tlaib on the ground in Michigan. She's been very critical of his favorable stance toward Israel. But it's also coming from the top rungs of the Democratic Party, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi both calling for a cease-fire.

So, you see that Biden is the one leader in the Democratic Party who has not taken that step yet. He has gotten praise from Republicans for that. And so, how he navigates this really depends on what's happening on the ground there. But if that violence continues, the pressure is going to continue to ramp up. The White House says they are fully aware of that.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you as always.

And next, Rudy Giuliani's lawyers say he wasn't really calling for an insurrection when he called for trial by combat in front of Trump supporters before they did just that on January 6th. Will the argument hold up in court?

And 62 Republicans tonight voted against a bill to address the sudden spike in anti-Asian hate crimes. How come?



BURNETT: Tonight, lawyers for Rudy Giuliani arguing that he wasn't literally advocating for insurrection, when he spoke at a pro Trump rally in Washington just before riders stormed the Capitol, and he said this.


GIULIANI: Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent and if we're wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we're right, a lot of them will go to jail. So, let's have trial by combat!


BURNETT: Giuliani was central to former President Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election, and now he says in the court filing that those were words were quite -- were quote, I'm sorry, hyperbolic.

OUTFRONT now, Elie Honig, our senior legal analyst and a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

So, Elie, Giuliani now saying, oh, it was all hyperbolic. Does that stand in court?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No, Erin, it's utter nonsense and here's why -- a statement can be both hyperbole and intended to incite. Hyperbole just means an exaggeration, something that's intentionally overstated. Well, sometimes that's what people do when they're trying to get other people to something, especially if it's drastic like this.

And you have to look at the statement in context. What happened in the two months leading up to January 6th, Rudy Giuliani was just losing lawsuits all of the country.

Here we, it's January 6, and he tell us that crowd, your democracy is being stolen from you, then he says trial by combat. So, I think when you look at it in that context, it's really hard to accept it as benign.

BURNETT: Well, I think, as you say, I mean, it's really well-said what we just said. Hyperbole can be purposely used to incite, in fact it often is in many context of people's lives.

So, Giuliani's lawyers are arguing that the riot was orchestrated by pro-Trump extremist groups. Pro Trump extremist groups, to whom Giuliani they say has no connection. But I find this interesting, Elie, because Giuliani himself previously said that Antifa was behind the riot, which, of course, is an assertion peddled by many Republicans that it has been thoroughly and clearly debunked by the security apparatus that this country, including the director of the FBI.

My question to you, though, is why do you think Giuliani has slipped on this? Going from saying Antifa to pro-Trump extremists are responsible?

HONIG: Because the courts can have a real sobering effect on people, it's one thing to pop off with wild conspiracy theories on Twitter, it's another thing to say something in a court of law. I think Rudy and his lawyers probably made a reasonable calculation here, that we cannot go into a court and say, this was all Antifa. I mean, the crowd is literally waving flags, that's a Trump. They're wearing Trump gear, they're chanting for Trump.

So, I think it's a smart legal strategy, an unavoidable legal strategy to at least have to concede that much, as much as Rudy and sort of Trump's more loyal defenders might not like it.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, well, you know, the fact that that would pass for some sort of truth telling is pretty stunning, but it is a mood for Giuliani.

So, Giuliani's legal troubles overall, though, Elie, are mounting. Two lawsuits by Democratic congressman seeking to hold him accountable for the riot, under federal investigation for his political work in Ukraine.


Two election technology companies are suing for defamation, and those lawsuits are for $2.7 billion and $1.3 billion.

So, now, his allies are going to well the person behind at all, Trump. Hey, help me pay the legal fees? So far, nothing, so far, nothing. What does this financial liability mean for Giuliani?

HONIG: Yeah, I'm not sure I've ever seen one individual looking at so many criminal investigations and so much civil liability at once. Money matters when it comes to lawsuits, when it comes to courts. It's very expensive to defend yourself. Ultimately, I've actually seen people flip, cooperate, because they ran out of money. So, I'm not saying that's likely here, but I've seen it happen.

BURNETT: Wow. All right. Elie, thank you very much.

HONIG: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the vote today, 62 Republicans voted against a bill to protect Asian Americans from hate crimes. And this was a broad statement on high crimes, how come?


BURNETT: The House passed legislation today intended to counter a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes amid the COVID pandemic. Now, the bill sailed through the House, but that's not the full story. Now, the vote was 364 to 62. Democrats and the majority of Republicans voted for it, but all 62 in opposition were Republicans. And they do include Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Louis Gohmert, Paul Gosar, the usual suspects there. but there were 62 of them. Why?

Americans like this man have been attacked in the United States, two women in New York beaten by a person with a hammer, singled out by someone with hate, because they were unfairly blamed for being responsible for COVID's origins.

So, here's what the bill would do just so you understand, create a new position at the Justice Department to speed review a possible COVID-19 related hate crimes and incidents reported at the federal, state, or local level, and it would have federal agencies working with local communities to raise awareness and set up a system for local law enforcement to report these kinds of crimes online.

Pretty anodyne, right? I mean, it shouldn't be controversial. So, again, we ask, why would anyone vote against the bill that would protect Americans? Protect people who live in the United States? Well, 62 of them dead.

The bill goes to President Biden's desk this week.

Thanks so much for joining us.

Anderson starts now.