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Erin Burnett Outfront
"Washington Post:" Grand Jury Convened In Trump Criminal Probe, Expected To Consider Indicting Former President; GOP Leaders Rebuke Marjorie Taylor Greene Five Days Too Late; Effort By Trump Administration To Prove Pandemic Started At Lab In China; Memorials Across U.S. Honor George Floyd A Year After His Death; Interview With Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 25, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks very much for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT tonight, we have breaking news, The Washington Post reporting the Manhattan District Attorney has convened a grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former President Donald Trump. The District Attorney's criminal investigation into Trump entering a crucial stage tonight.
Plus, money talks. Clearly, after five days Republican leaders finally condemned Marjorie Taylor Greene's vile comments but only after a top Trump fundraiser said enough is enough.
And a memorial tonight to remember George Floyd, one year after his murder. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight breaking news and a major development in the investigation into the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal investigation into former President Trump. The Washington Post is reporting prosecutors have convened a grand jury that's expected to decide whether to indict Trump and other Trump Organization executives.
Today's development suggests the investigation which has been going on for more than two years is now entering an advanced stage. It also signals, according to The Washington Post this, that District Attorney Cy Vance believes he has found evidence of a crime if not by Trump then by someone potentially close to him or by his company.
It comes as Trump today is also defending himself in a lawsuit holding them accountable for the deadly insurrection on January 6th. For the first time Trump is formally defending his actions on January 6th saying he had absolute immunity while he was president. So there's a lot of breaking developments to get to, but first I want to bring in Shayna Jacobs. She's one of the reporters who broke this story about the grand jury convening for The Washington Post. She's Joining me now.
So Shayna, tell us more about what you have been learning. How far along is this? What are your sources tell you?
SHAYNA JACOBS, NY FEDERAL COURTS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Kate. So the investigation, as we know, has been going on for two years at this point and this development seems to represent that the probe has reached the later stage of the overall investigation.
This does not mean necessarily that charges are very imminent and certainly the District Attorney could ultimately decide not to present any charges relating to anyone or the company itself at the end of the grand jury's term. But it certainly appears as if things are developing and things are progressing in the direction have some finality here.
BOLDUAN: I mean, what are your sources telling you in terms of what it suggests about how serious the investigation is now? As you've said, it's been going on for a long time. It is very broad. It's very wide. They've gone in many different directions.
JACOBS: People we talked to seem to think it suggests that it's crunch time, something may happen sooner than later finally in this case which really dragged on for a while as the District Attorney was in court litigating the tax return matter and they only recently got a hold of Trump's many, many millions of pages of tax records personal and related to the Trump Organization. So things are heating up.
Cy Vance, the elected sitting prosecutor in Manhattan is leaving office at the end of the year when he's replaced. He's not running for reelection and things are finally sort of coming to a head.
BOLDUAN: Your reporting does seem to suggest that great reporting. Thanks for bringing it to us. Shayna Jacobs, appreciate it.
For more on this I want to bring in also now one of the nation's top constitutional scholars, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe and our Gloria Borger.
Professor, I'm going to start with you. Just what do you make of this development from the Manhattan DA and what we're hearing from The Washington Post?
LAURENCE TRIBE, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: I think it's extremely serious. It suggests that the indictments are about to come down. They may not be absolutely imminent. But Cy Vance is not going to convene a special grand jury of this kind and ask it to meet three days a week which is unusual. If he is simply engaged in a fishing expedition, he's pursued the matter all the way through to the Supreme Court of the United States to get the tax returns.
And now, what this indicates is that there is serious evidence of tax fraud, insurance fraud, bank fraud, serious crimes under the laws of New York. He's also cooperating with Letitia James, the Attorney General of New York. [19:05:07]
And it looks like Weisselberg who is in the crosshairs and who certainly knows where all of the bodies are buried is ready to turn on Trump. So I think that we're going to see some real fireworks coming out of New York State against Donald Trump in the near future.
BOLDUAN: And Professor, let me read just one part of how The Washington Post put it. It gets exactly to your expertise and what you're saying here. They write, "The move indicates that District Attorney Cy Vance's investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years. It suggests, too, that Vance believes he has found evidence of a crime, if not by Trump then by someone potentially close to him or by his company."
You mentioned the unusual nature of how many days the grand jury is going to be convening. If prosecutors present criminal charges to the panel. I mean, what are the chances that they get the indictment?
TRIBE: Ninety-five percent, maybe a little more. It's probably an overstatement to say that a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if asked to by the prosecution but that approximates the probability.
The grand jury has enormous power of subpoena and power to go beyond what the prosecutor asks. But it's very unlikely that the grand jury would decide not to indict either Trump himself or Weisselberg or Trump's children who were running the company if that's what the Manhattan DA decides to request.
And at the same time, Trump is under enormous pressure because he is now being sued for his responsibility for the insurrection by people like Eric Swalwell and his desperation was made clear by the extraordinary reach of his sudden claim that he has absolute immunity as president.
TRIBE: And that's another subject you might want to go into.
BOLDUAN: Oh, we absolutely want to get into that. That's the thing about this entire thing. All of these investigations, all of these lawsuits, if you will, and investigations there is so much to it, so we want to get to that in just a second, Professor.
But Gloria, you've done a lot of reporting around these two years of investigation surrounding Donald Trump and those around him. And as the Professor says, this does could all come down to Allen Weisselberg.
I mean, this is the Trump organization's top financial officer aside from Trump's kids, Weisselberg is one of the people closest to Donald Trump and prosecutors have very - much been putting pressure on him to cooperate for a long time. It just kind of highlights, once again, how crucial Weisselberg is to the DA's case. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes, I would say to
you that he's the keys to the kingdom here. He is reportedly the subject of a criminal probe himself. It's clear that they want him to flip that they've been putting pressure on him. He's been very loyal to Donald Trump. They worked together for decades. They had offices down the hall from each other.
But this is somebody who has probably seen all of Donald Trump's taxes or at least understands what is in them, who understands the real estate deal, who understands the insurance deals, who understands everything about how they paid people in the company, how they hid how they paid people in the company, so he knows everything.
And we know that his former daughter-in-law has told CNN, among others, that she thinks he's going to flip. We don't know at this point whether in fact he has or he has not, but we do know that he knows a lot and that he is under an awful lot of pressure. And he's an older gentleman and we just don't know what Cy Vance knows about what Weisselberg will tell them him at this particular point or whether he's told them everything he has to tell them.
So that is a little bit of this that needs to get unraveled. But he's key to any investigation of Donald Trump or the Trump Organization. And Michael Cohen always used to say, if you want to know what's going on in the Trump Organization ask Weisselberg.
BOLDUAN: Professor, let me play what Gloria is referencing there, Jennifer Weisselberg, the former daughter-in-law of Allen Weisselberg. She spoke to Erin about the family, about the Trump Organization and she's now cooperating with prosecutors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER WEISSELBERG, TRUMP ORG CFO'S FORMER DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: As far as I'm concerned, there's been nothing legal going on in the past 21 years.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Will Allen Weisselberg flip on Trump?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Really no hesitation there, Professor. I mean, if this is what she's saying publicly, I'm just kind of in my head thinking how damaging could Jennifer's cooperation be behind the scenes for Trump?
TRIBE: Right. And Weisselberg has in the past testified against Trump.
So it would be nothing new and I don't think Weisselberg wants to go to jail to protect someone who is certainly not going to be loyal to him.
BOLDUAN: Let me also ask you, Professor, about what you mentioned earlier. We found out today that President Trump's attorneys claimed absolute immunity in court responding to a lawsuit filed against him over the insurrection and this is the first time that Trump's formally defended his actions in court since the insurrection. What do you think of that defense?
TRIBE: Well, to be really candid I think it wouldn't do very well in a very simple law school exam. The idea that a president is absolutely immune not only for performing his duties, which the Supreme Court held in the case called Nixon v. Fitzgerald, but for permanently holding on to office and basically telling Congress that he will not allow it to certify the election of a competitor essentially equates the president with a dictator, there is no such absolute immunity.
He's also claiming that because he was acquitted by the Senate, he can't now be subject to civil liability. That's ridiculous. His defense in the Senate was the right place to hold them accountable is in a court of law. You can't have it both ways. These new defenses are signs of extreme desperation and I think that's where we find the president. He's extremely desperate. He's in a corner.
BOLDUAN: It's fascinating. And Gloria, add all this together, if you can take this big picture, as we're kind of mentioning, is the president facing possible grand jury indictment in New York, another investigation - facing an investigation Georgia over his efforts to overturn the election there.
He's defending himself now in a D.C. courtroom over accountability for the attack on January 6th. I mean, I know I'm also leaving some things out, this is a former President of the United States and what he's facing today.
BORGER: It is. It's kind of extraordinary. But don't forget, this is Donald Trump. This is the environment that he loves, that he thrives in. Because now he can take this and I guarantee you he will and talk about the hoax and talk about the crooked Attorney General in the state of New York, he will raise money off of this, he will gather his political base together and he will say, look at me, I'm the victim.
Republicans, however, are not going to be so thrilled about this, because they want to talk about 2022 and they're still re-litigating the last election because of Donald Trump and now his legal troubles are going to be front and center reminding people all about Donald Trump. But as for Trump himself, he will use this just the way he's used everything else in his political career to raise money, get more notoriety and stay, I guess you'd call it relevant.
BOLDUAN: Professor Tribe, Gloria, thank you both very much.
TRIBE: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, Republicans finally denounced Marjorie Taylor Greene's remarks comparing a mask mandate to the Holocaust. But why did they wait five days?
Plus, more breaking news tonight, CNN is learning tonight the Biden administration shut down a secret investigation started by the Trump administration to prove the pandemic started at a lab in China.
And Corey Lewandowski is seizing on a baseless accusation of fraud in his home state of New Hampshire where an election audit is wrapping up.
BOLDUAN: Tonight, too little too late. Top House Republicans finally breaking their silence after five days to condemn Marjorie Taylor Greene's vile comments comparing the mask requirement in Congress to the Holocaust. Now, you should hear again exactly what she says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second class citizens so much so that they were put in trains and take into gas chambers in Nazi Germany and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Condemning someone who compares the execution of 6 million Jews by Nazis to wearing a face covering in the middle of a pandemic is not hard and should be the bare minimum for anyone who considers themselves a leader. Yet, these three Republican leaders Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise and Elise Stefanik had nothing to say for five days. I mean, it's not like they didn't have the opportunity.
CNN and many others repeatedly asked for comment, what we got was silence. Silence until today when Greene tripled down on her outrageous remarks tweeting this, "Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi's forced Jewish people to wear a gold star."
So that was a bridge too far for one person, Jeff Miller. A top Trump fundraiser who helped raised more than $11 million for Trump's reelection campaign. He responded to Greene this way. "WTF," essentially, "what is wrong with you," I won't say it all, of course.
"I think you need to pay a visit to the US Holocaust Museum. I'd be happy to arrange. Then maybe going forward you wouldn't make any more disgusting, ignorant and offensive tweets. If I'm wrong and you're not ignorant about Holocaust then you are disgusting."
That tweet came in at 8:03 am this morning and it looks like Miller's money talks, because not long after that tweet, the floodgates opened one after another. McCarthy tweeting, "Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling. Let me be clear," McCarthy says, "the House Republican Conference condemns this language."
Steve Scalise's office released this statement, "Rep. Scalise does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust."
Elise Stefanik, the newly elected GOP Conference Chair said this, "Equating mask wearing and vaccines to the Holocaust belittles the most significant human atrocities ever committed."
Notice though, Stefanik didn't mention Greene by name which is true courage on display, I have to say. Denouncing Greene by name, that is the easy part friends but will Republican leaders do anything, something about Greene rather than more than just put out a statement.
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, he says do not hold your breath.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): What we can do as a party is take a stand and say you don't belong in our conference. That's what I think we should do. I think we should kick her out of the conference. I'm not sure if that'll happen, but it's just going to continue this kind of stuff. It's just mind numbing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Kinzinger is right, it is going to continue even after the Republican leader spoke up, Greene was at it again putting this out, "Their attempts to shame, ostracize, and brand Americans who choose not to get vaccinated or wear a mask are reminiscent of the great tyrants of history who did the same to those who would not comply." She's just not going to quit, guys.
Remember, this is the same person who said the wildfires in California were caused by space lasers, possibly controlled by the Rothschilds. That family, of course, is a frequent target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Greene also said this last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREENE: Whether I see a statue that may be something that I would fully disagree with like Adolf Hitler, maybe a statue of Satan himself, I would not want to say take it down. But again, it's so that I could tell my children and teach others about who these people are, what they did and what they may be about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And Kinzinger is right about something else. Nothing is likely to happen to Greene. McCarthy and company made no reference to any consequence that could be coming, not even saying we're going to pull her in her office and have a good old talk like they did with Steve King. No talk of censure, no talk of formal reprimand, no talk of removing her from the conference, no talk of cutting off funding, nothing. Why? Probably because of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Marjorie Taylor
Greene right here from Northwest Georgia. Oh, boy, I don't want to mess with her. No, she's great.
This one, I never ever want to have her as my enemy, Marjorie Taylor Greene. There is she. She is so unbelievable. You are so unbelievable, thank you.
Also joining us tonight our Georgia representatives, Marjorie Taylor Greene. I love, Marjorie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT with me now, longtime Republican donor, Dan Eberhart. Dan, thanks for being here. Let me ask you this, no matter what the game or political calculation is that is dictating the slow walk of McCarthy and other Republican leaders. You think that this actually could blow up in McCarthy's face in his quest to be speaker, why is that?
DAN EBERHART, GOP DONOR: Well, I think, I agree with McCarthy's comments and he called it appalling and I think maybe if anything, he didn't go far enough. But the problem is, there needs to be consequences for this kind of discourse.
Look, this, kind of messaging from Marjorie Taylor Greene is distracting from the Republicans going after Biden's overreaching overspending agenda and it's really just a big distraction and it's not helping to hold the conference together. It's not helping Republicans move forward in the suburbs and it's not helping McCarthy recruit people for next cycle that can win in tossup districts and that's what he needs to be focusing on right now if he wants the Speaker's gavel in January of 2023.
So this is all a big distraction and I think by slow walking in response, calling it appalling, which is certainly something but not quite enough and by not admonishing her in these ridiculous comments that just seem completely insensitive, given what's going on in the Middle East right now, when the Republicans should be standing with Israel and not creating hay is weakening McCarthy in the medium term.
So I think he needs to be more aggressive in going after her and in admonishing her and I think there needs to be consequences for these kind of crazy remarks that are stepping in the Republican message right now.
BOLDUAN: Look, one of the few Republicans who are speaking out forcefully and calling what it is, is Adam Kinzinger. I want to play you more of what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINZINGER: What we can do as a party is take a stand and say you don't belong in our conference. That's what I think we should do. I think we should kick her out of the conference. If there was a kind of organic within the conference movement to oust Liz Cheney, certainly, we can have the same kind of movement to oust somebody that is trying to compare wearing a mask to the Nazis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: But if they need, I don't know, motivation and being pushed one direction, it's money that talks, we know that. We know that money matters. You've got - you're a big donor, are you willing to draw a line and say, no more money to any Republican who's unwilling to take a stand here because there are a lot of people who are still silent tonight?
EBERHART: I'm not willing to draw a line in the sand. But I will say this, I stand with Jeff Miller and what he said and I think that the Republican leadership really needs to take a long hard look at comments like this and they needed to try to bring the members of the conference in line.
To go back to what you know Congressman said, Cheney wasn't kicked out of the conference. She was kicked out of the conference leadership.
But I think McCarthy needs to show discipline and show strength and that's what's going to get him, eventually to the Speaker's gavel and (inaudible) ...
BOLDUAN: Because, I mean, is he even leading? Because there was a lot of suggestions that she's now the one leading because he's kind of chasing around trying to avoid taking her on?
EBERHART: Oh, no. I don't think she's leaving at all. But I think that she's definitely figured out how to get the media's microphone and to get the liberal media to pay attention to her and I think she's usually ...
BOLDUAN: No, no, no, but that's not it, you think people should ignore comments like this? You think the media should not (inaudible) comments like this?
EBERHART: Absolutely not, but I'm saying that she's playing the game and is able to garner media attention and play the victim in her district was going to be my point. I think McCarthy, look, what McCarthy is doing right is issuing a statement, what he's doing wrong is taking too long to do it and not having there be a stick or consequences for these kinds of actions.
And the problem with that is it's going to mean more behavior like this, more comments like this and she's going to quadruple it, quintuple down on statements like this and they're not helpful for the Republican Party. They're really not helpful for Kevin McCarthy or Kevin McCarthy in the medium term and he's sowing the seeds of his own demise by not being stronger here.
BOLDUAN: You did say that it gets the liberal media's attention. I know that you would also agree, though, that conservative media should also be calling this out. This is not a left or right thing. That's what this is about. EBERHART: All media definitely should be calling this statement out. I
mean, look, and especially at the time with what's happening in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas last couple of weeks, this is the wrong comment and the wrong time and should be completely disowned.
But what I do think is different is I think that she's using this storm to raise her notoriety, raise your fundraising numbers and play the victim card in her district.
BOLDUAN: Yes. And people who could slow that down would be donors like you and leaders like Kevin McCarthy if he did more. Thank you for coming on. Appreciate it, Dan.
EBERHART: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT with us next, live pictures of a memorial tonight to remember George Floyd one year after he was killed at the hands of police.
And as questions grow about where and how the pandemic began, CNN is learning that the Biden administration shut down a secret Trump investigation into proving coronavirus came from a lab in China, why?
BOLDUAN: Breaking news, CNN learning the Biden administration shut down a previously unknown investigation -- previously unknown investigation to prove the coronavirus originated at a lab in China, with connections to the Chinese military.
They were hunting down the theory and it is now shut down. The secretive effort at the State Department, it began at the end of the Trump administration, as the reporting that CNN has now, launched by allies of then-Secretary of State Pompeo.
This as some of President Biden's top COVID advisers, they say a full investigation into the origins of the virus must happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Because we don't know 100 percent what the origin is, it's imperative that we look into that investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to get to the bottom of this, whatever the answer may be. And that is a critical priority for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Kylie Atwood is OUTFRONT with me now.
Kylie, what else do we know about the investigation and why the Biden team ended it? KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, this is a very
closely held project at the State Department that emerged in the final months of the Trump administration to look more closely at that likelihood, according to those who are investigating this, that the COVID-19 pandemic could have come from a Chinese lab and could've had connections to China's biological weapons research and development program.
Now, I am told by State Department spokesperson that the Biden administration reviewed the original findings of this group. It was actually a group that had the final approval of secretary of state, then Secretary of State Ben Pompeo, if they found those findings were not very conclusive. They weren't things that they really trusted. So they shut down this group.
And I'm also told that there were concerns about the time that was spent on this. It was not an effective use of resources. There is a lot of drama surrounding this inquiry at the State Department. Those who are proponents of this said that although Chinese lab leak fury, the possibility that this pandemic came from the lab needed to be investigated more closely.
And as far as the State Department knew, no one else in the U.S. government was looking at this possibility as closely as those involved in this war. But there were opponents of this at prefer to say it was a secretive effort. That they were trying to prove that an actual outcome and they weren't actually sharing that information that they were learning with folks at the state department, they were briefing randomly before their facts were together.
So, there were a lot of concerns about the effort itself. We should note, this comes as there has been renewed interest in this possible Wuhan lab theory. There are folks saying earlier on that is very unlikely and now saying it should be looked at.
So, this is a really interesting time as the U.S. and as the rest of the world tries to figure out the origins of this virus -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Kylie, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
OUTFRONT with me now is Dr. David Relman. He's a microbiologist at Stanford University who spearheaded a new push by 18 scientists, kind of arguing more must be done to investigate the origin of the virus. He's also former president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Dr. Relman, thank you for being here.
And with so much that is unknown about still, about the origins of where this pandemic began, do you think it's a mistake to be stopping or shutting down any investigation trying to get at that?
DR. DAVID RELMAN, SPEARHEADED LETTER SIGNED BY SCIENTISTS CALLING FOR COVID ORIGINS PROBE: We're urging that a proper investigation be undertaken, and by proper we mean fair, objective, and very deliberate. [19:30:01]
But that doesn't mean that any investigation would satisfy those criteria.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. I mean, for more than a year, you have raised questions about the virus' origin. You've been pushing for a deeper look.
Why do you think other scientists and experts are now taking a closer and more serious look at -- at this hypothesis? One of the options would be, you know, that the virus and the pandemic began -- came from a leaked from the lab.
RELMAN: Well, it's been a very contentious issue, a lot of people have been reticent to weigh in for fear of assumptions that would be made about how they really feel about the topic, I think others have reticent because there's just frankly been a paucity of data.
BOLDUAN: Meanly there isn't enough known?
RELMAN: On both sides, on both major hypotheses. We simply don't have a lot of good data that are compelling either way. And what I have found and I think many of my colleagues have found is that far too many people are willing to weigh in with very strong assertions based on very little data.
And what we're asking now is that people think clearly about what we know and don't know. And why that is important. And then to begin the process of collecting good data to support whatever the hypothesis might be.
BOLDUAN: Why is it important to get at the origins of this pandemic?
RELMAN: It's a good question. I know a lot of people are wondering, look, we have enough problems right now to worry about without worrying about how this began. But to me and many others, we are already thinking about the future. And the next pandemic, how we can get ahead of it better.
So the answer to your question is, the better we understand about the origins of this one, the better we are going to be able to anticipate and prevent the next one. And the exact answer here on this one will determine where we place resources and how we approach this problem.
BOLDUAN: Look, trust and credibility in investigation is important, the WHO has faced some understandable criticism for praising China for transparency early on. And they weren't. And also for the first of these investigations which you have also said does not deserve much credibility.
Do you think the WHO should lead the investigation you are now calling for?
RELMAN: I think we have to be very careful to make sure that the right process and the right goals are in place before anyone begins a new thorough investigation. The WHO certainly has the means to do this properly. But so far, in my view, they have fallen short.
And that is to say that they have not shown the kind of transparency, the kind of oversight, and the kind of objectivity that any scientist would ask of anybody who seeks to find an answer to difficult problem and wants to know the basis for any conclusions that are drawn.
BOLDUAN: Doctor, thank you very much, Dr. Relman.
OUTFRONT for us next, live pictures out of Minneapolis. We're going to show here where the city is remembering George Floyd after he died under the knee of former Officer Derek Chauvin.
And Donald Trump, with the help of his ally Corey Lewandowski, now pushing a baseless conspiracy theory, another one about the election, in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: This isn't just about the town of Windham. We're seeing things take place across this entire country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: You're looking at live pictures from Minneapolis where memorials are being held at the site where George Floyd took his last breath as he was pinned down by police officers one year ago today, and his name is echoing across the country with memorials and marches from New York to Atlanta and also Los Angeles.
Floyd's family is marking the state by pushing for change in Washington. They met privately with President Biden and Vice President Harris at the White House for more than an hour. They also visited several top lawmakers on Capitol Hill where negotiations are still underway for the police reform bill hearing Floyd's name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: We need to get this taken care off, because just like Gianna said, your dad can do what?
GIANNA FLOYD, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE FLOYD: Change the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who's been a close friend -- who's been close with the Floyd family throughout this past year. She's also cosponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that passed the House in March.
Congresswoman, thank you for being here.
I understand you're at the Floyd family home right now. Let us first talk about this day. How do you reflect on this anniversary?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, I am in Cuney Homes at Houston, Texas. So we join the nation in mourning, but also celebrating the life and legacy of George Floyd. That's what we came together to do.
We took a moment of silence. We sang about the impossible dream. And of course, we had the family here in Washington.
You know, Kate, I reflect on this day as a memory of that day, that 9 minutes and 29 seconds. I knelt at the spot were George was killed in Minneapolis with my co-members of Congress, women who came along with the member of Congress there in Minneapolis, Ilhan Omar, and the reflection for me is that we have made this journey in the family has made this journey and they never had the chance to mourn. And we have not finished the journey.
We're here on the 25th in 2021 and we have not finished paying tribute to George's legacy. We haven't passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
BOLDUAN: The bipartisan negotiations do continue. I mean, they have been going on for quite some time. And one thing that's true about Congress is the longer things drag on, the more the momentum and the urgency can fade on any issue.
Do you honestly think that Congress is going to pass -- to pass a bill that the Floyd family can be proud of?
LEE: Well, I actually think that we have been inspired tragically by the spirit of commemoration, the family being in Washington, the mini marches and testimonies, and tributes. The family that again has been unselfish and sharing their words, I now think the pressure is on.
The idea that President Biden and Vice President Harris took the time, of over an hour to meet with them, that's a very large statement to the nation and it is one to the Congress that says get going and get it done.
I frankly believe that we're at a point -- I spoke to the family. They thought it was a good day. But they were not hesitant in what their vision was, and how firm they were going to be. And they were firm.
And so, I think the legislators who are amidst all of us are advocating and pushing and really talking to law enforcement as well. I think we've gotten in essence a new lease on life. I think we'll have an understanding of qualified immunity which seems to be over and over again, the -- I don't want to use the term suddenly blocked, but the real question before. I think we'll have an answer for that. I think we'll find the police
officers are going to be stepping forward with advocacy that will help move the parties along to get us to a point where we will have legislation that we can all agree on.
BOLDUAN: President Biden set the goal of passing the police reform bill by today. And today, the White House kind of refused to put a new deadline on the negotiations. The president has faced some criticism by police reform advocates for not putting on more pressure to get it done.
Is the president doing enough to get this thing over the finish line?
LEE: Absolutely. And I think police reform advocates are doing what they need to do, put pressure on, put pressure on me, put pressure on those of us in the Judiciary Committee, those of us who are negotiating this legislation, that have worked so very hard -- from Senator Booker to Congresswoman Bass and Tim Scott and he's drawn in Lindsey Graham, but there's been others as well.
Our leadership, I chair the crime subcommittee, we're all working -- the Judiciary Committee members of the House and in the Senate. The pressure is the right pressure.
President Biden has every moment, he first gave (ph) this day, and then invited them to the White House. He did not need to do that, gave them a forum today on the day of his death to speak loudly for America to hear and to go to those who really have this bill in their hands, because the Republican conference, the individuals in the Senate will look to these two senators.
And I think that they need to understand that they're holding America's future and really having police community relationships and stemming the tide of violence in the streets, of bringing about peace when we build on these relationships. They have that in their hands. I think that kind of pressure is on.
And I feel good about where we're going next. I'm going to be working positively for a positive end. The president has done a great job and I'm very grateful that he hosted the family today. They are as well.
BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, thank you very much.
LEE: Thank you for having me.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next -- how one of Trump's trust advisor's helped turn New Hampshire into the latest hotspot for Trump's new big lie.
And the U.S. getting in major new COVID milestone today.
BOLDUAN: Tonight, a New Hampshire town of 14,000 people turning into the latest battleground over the big lie. One of its residents, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is pushing baseless allegations of election fraud in the state, even though if Trump had won New Hampshire, which he did not, it would not to change the election outcome.
Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Windham, New Hampshire, a week-long audit of a 2020 race for state representative is wrapping up, but the election conspiracies persist.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: They found a lot of votes up in New Hampshire just now, you saw that, because this was a rigged election.
MURRAY: Despite the early read from expert auditors --
HARRI HURSTI, INDEPENDENT AUDITOR: There's no evidence that this would be a malicious act or deliberate act. This looks like human error.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: This is Trump country!
MURRAY: Former President Donald Trump and his allies, including Windham resident Corey Lewandowski, are clinging to the down ballot audit to cast doubt on November's election results across the country, even though Trump lost New Hampshire by nearly 60,000 votes and still would have lost the election even if he had won the Granite State.
LEWANDOWSKI: This isn't just about the town of Windham, which we're lucky enough to live in this community, OK? We're seeing things take place across this entire country.
MURRAY: On Monday, Trump baselessly claims the voting discrepancies were orchestrated by Democrats. Unlike other post-election audits pushed by conservatives around the country, New Hampshire's bipartisan reviews stems from a tangible gap in vote tallies.
Democratic State Representative Kristi St. Laurent started this saga after requesting a recount. It showed her tally dropping by 99 votes while the Republicans who won the seats saw their rise by roughly 300.
KRISTI ST. LAURENT, NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Pretty much the whole room was shocked.
MURRAY: The discrepancy led to an audit and a fight among residents about who should lead it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to tell you, the people were pretty riled up.
MURRAY: Hundreds piled into a town meeting earlier this month booing town leaders and chanting resign.
CROWD: Resign! Resign! MURRAY: All of this after the town selectman chose an audit expert who
criticized Arizona's deeply partisan audit to help lead the Windham review. Unlike Maricopa County shadowy election review in Arizona, Windham's audit is independently livestreamed, open to observers and auditors regularly explain the process under way.
HURSTI: Saturday, we ran 32 mock elections.
MURRAY: Auditors and their conservative critics seemed to agree on one issues skewing the count, improperly folded ballots, leading the machines to think a ballot bubble were shaded when it was actually a blank bubble with a crease running through it.
HURSTI: Even when this doesn't change the outcome of the election, they're finding why it happens, so it will never happen again.
MURRAY: But Tom Murray and Ken Eyring, local activists who pushed for an audit, say they still have questions.
KEN EYRING, WINDHAM RESIDENT: Why are they not properly sealing the boxes, you know, with the tape and the answer was, well, you know, they're going to be under camera anyway and the doors are locked. Well, the cameras went out two nights in a row.
MURRAY: Auditors apologized for the camera outage but say the ballots were secure.
Still, local conservatives are pressing for a statewide audit. One Trump allies say should include the top of the ticket.
LEWANDOWSKI: I'm here to count every single vote and every vote matters. How come we're not counting presidential race in this election?
MURRAY (on camera): Now the reason they are not re-counting the presidential race is because there is no sign of a discrepancy in the presidential totals. Donald Trump lost the state of New Hampshire by more than seven points. Even if he had won the state, he still would have lost the presidency. But despite that, he remains fascinated with what is going on in New Hampshire. He's been checking in weekly, sometimes daily with his allies in the state about what's going on with the audit.
Back to you.
BOLDUAN: For sure. Thank you, Sara Murray, so much.
OUTFRONT for us next, the White House touting what it calls a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19.
BOLDUAN: A big milestone today. Half of the adult population in the U.S. is fully vaccinated now against COVID-19. That's according to CDC data. This milestone has also been reached by 25 states, as well as Washington, D.C.
And incentives to get more people vaccinated are still being offered. Colorado's Governor Jared Polis announced today, a $5 million sweepstakes for residents who've been vaccinated. Vaccinated residents of Delaware, 12 or older, will be enter to win a $5,000 in cash and additional prices in twice weekly drawings conducted by the Delaware lottery.
Progress, slow and steady, but progress anyway. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. I'm Kate Bolduan.
"AC360" starts now.