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Erin Burnett Outfront
Witness Told To Prep For Grand Jury Testimony In Trump Case; Some Trump Advisers See An Indictment As Inevitable; Eight People Killed In CA Mass Shooting; Biden Tells Intel Officials To Report On COVID Origins In 90 Days; Trooper In Ronald Greene Arrest Will Be Fired Over Unrelated Case; Arizona GOP Trying To Strip Power From Democratic Secretary Of State After She Slammed Sham Election Audit In Maricopa County. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 26, 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. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, prepare to testify at least one witness told to get ready to go under oath before a grand jury in the Manhattan DA's criminal investigation into President Trump. This as we learn Trump's inner circle believes an indictment is inevitable.
Plus, a mass shooting. Eight people killed at a rail yard in San Jose, California. The 16th mass shooting in the U.S. since Friday. The State's Governor asks what many are thinking, what the hell is going on in the United States of America?
And President Trump - President Biden, rather, now demanding an investigation into the origins of COVID as evidence builds of a possible lab leak. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight prepare to testify. That is what prosecutors are telling at least one witness as the Manhattan District Attorney convened a special grand jury to investigate former President Trump. This grand jury could decide whether criminal charges will be filed against the former president.
The news means the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation, which has been going on for two years now is now moving into a crucial new stage. The DA has been investigating Trump, his company and the company's executives on multiple fronts including their tax returns, executive perks, the way the company accounted for reimbursements made to Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
Tonight, some Trump advisers are telling our Jim Acosta that they see an indictment of the former president as inevitable. As for Trump, he's lashing out in a statement saying this, "This is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. It began the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower, and it's never stopped." Kara Scannell is OUTFRONT from Washington. So Kara, you broke this
news about the witness. What more are you learning?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Kate. So a source tells CNN that the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has notified at least one witness that this person should prepare to testify before the grand jury. And this marks a significant shift in the investigation, which to date has really been focused on them accumulating evidence, obtaining evidence through subpoenas.
Well, now they're shifting in this new phase where they're looking to have witness go before the grand jury and testify. And as The Washington Post reported, they're using a special grand jury. Now, those grand juries are used in complicated investigations and they're used when prosecutors need more than one month to present the evidence and one month is when a regular grand jury sits.
So this is an indication that prosecutors believe it will take them some time to lay out what they believe might be evidence of a potential crime here. This, as The Washington Post reported, this injury will sit up to six months and up to three times a week. Now, the grand jury is composed of 23 Manhattan residents and if prosecutors believe that they do have evidence of crime, it will require just a majority of them, 12 of them to decide to indict.
But as you said, this investigation has been going on for a long time and this is moving into a new phase, but it is not clear at all whether the prosecutors will decide to try to bring charges against Donald Trump, the Trump Organization or any of the employees. And Trump, his company and some of those top executives like the Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg have denied doing anything wrong.
One other important thing to note here is as we're seeing this shift take place, it's important to remember that the statute of limitations on a lot of the potential crimes that they're investigating, that clock is ticking. So they are moving against the clock there.
It's one of the reasons I think we're seeing them move into this and another deadline here, this grand jury is sitting for up to six months. Six months is how much longer Cy Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney, will be in office and a lot of people believe he will want to make a decision on this case either way before he leaves, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Kara, great reporting. Thank you very much.
OUTFRONT with me now CNN's Jim Acosta who, of course, covered all four years of the Trump White House and Elie Honig, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Jim, you've been talking to your sources.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BOLDUAN: The folks around Trump they see an indictment as inevitable, what else are they telling you? ACOSTA: Yes, Kate. There are some advisers who talk to Trump on a
regular basis who see this as inevitable because there are Democrats running these investigations. That is how they're framing it at this point. They're seeing it as a political witch hunt.
At the same time, though, I talked to a longtime Trump advisor earlier today who said I think Trump is in trouble. He is terrified. This adviser used the word terrified. He is terrified of these investigations and that he feels targeted.
One thing we should also note though, I talked to another Trump advisor earlier today who said Trump is still talking to people around him about running for election in 2024. And so Kate, just as Donald Trump was trying throughout his presidency to shield himself from prosecution, he may run for election to shield himself from incarceration in the years ahead.
BOLDUAN: Elie, do people closely involved with the Trump Organization and the former president, do they have real cause to be this worried?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Kate, they do because any time a criminal grand jury is convened, specifically for the purpose of investigating a particular business and the people associated with it, that's a deadly serious thing. And that tells me that prosecutors are intending to take this case to the finish line and at least to present the evidence to a grand jury and ask the grand jury to decide whether there's enough evidence to indict.
Now, this is important to understand. The legal standard, if you look at the law books, it's probable cause. That is very low. That basically just means 50.1 percent probability.
However, no decent, respectable prosecutor would indict a case based on 50.1 percent of the evidence. If you do, you're setting yourself up for a failure, particularly in a mega stakes case like this. You better be ready to take it to a jury and prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
BOLDUAN: And that's I was going to say, especially when the stakes are so high here very clearly. And Elie, President Trump is calling this a witch hunt as he always does. But as he says that, could he use that as a defense?
HONIG: Yes, Kate. So part of this is just the normal witch hunt blather.
HONIG: However, there is an actual legal defense called selective prosecution. It's raised once in a while and it very, very rarely succeeds, but the gist of the defense is, I was singled out for prosecution and treated differently from others like me for improper reasons, for political reasons. Now, will it succeed? I'm doubtful that it will. However, there may be
a little more than just the usual witch hunt nonsense. He may be trying to lay the foundation for an actual legal defense here.
BOLDUAN: Now, that is fascinating.
Jim, a federal judge is now issuing a warning that Trump's election lie that he continues to push could actually inspire more violence. This is really interesting. It's Judge Amy Berman Jackson and she wrote this in a decision about a January 6th rioter. The case was before her and let me read in part what she said.
She said, "The steady drumbeat that inspired defendant to take up arms has not faded away; six months later, the canard that the election was stolen is being repeated daily on major news outlets and from the corridors of power in state and federal government, not to mention in the near-daily fulminations of the former president." How real is this threat do you think?
ACOSTA: I think it's very real. And I talked to a Trump ally about this who said, listen, for the last two centuries, we have had a peaceful transfer of power in this country, Kate, and that is just not the case anymore. Donald Trump has planted the seed. He has left a legacy behind of a potential for violence every four years when Americans go to vote for president.
And what do you see right now happening in state houses across the country? Attempts to change voting laws, actual changes to voting laws. A sham recount out in Arizona. Precedent has been set.
Elie talks about legal precedents while political precedent has been set where every four years now if voters don't like the results of an election, they can try to overturn them through the electoral accounting process every four years or as we saw on January 6th, you may see supporters of one particular candidate or another go up to the Capitol and try to do things through violence.
And that, I think, is the legacy that Donald Trump has left behind. And if you talk to his own people, they will say some of his own people, obviously, they are people who will defend him to the end. But there are some people who used to count themselves as very strong supporters of Donald Trump, who will say, this president, this former president has left behind a legacy of potential violence in elections to come. There's just no other way to look at it.
BOLDUAN: Elie from like a lawyer's perspective, were you surprised by this statement coming from a very serious judge?
HONIG: No, I think this statement makes perfect sense and Jim hit on the key concept there, which is potential violence. These are bail decisions. So what the judge is doing is deciding does this person pose a risk to the community a risk of committing further acts of crime or acts of violence. And so the judge's logic as laid out in the opinion is, well, what's driving these, what drove these people to storm the Capitol in the first place? The big lie. And if the big lie had gone away, if Donald Trump had just come out
and said, look, I lost let's get real here. Then that threat, the impetus, the motivation would be gone. But to the contrary, Donald Trump and many of his enablers have continued to amplify the big lie and so I think the judge was perfectly reasonable to say the impetus not only is it still out there, but it's growing in some sense.
BOLDUAN: And Elie, back to the reporting from Kara Scannell about at least one witness has been told to prepare to testify before the grand jury, what type of witnesses are typically called before a grand jury?
HONIG: Yes. So some of them are just what we call sort of custodial witnesses, people from maybe banks who were in charge of documents, who will just establish, yes, these are our documents nothing super controversial. The interesting ones are going to be the people who work in and around the Trump Organization.
Now, I would not expect to see subpoenas served on, for example, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, because you typically don't subpoena someone who's a target of an investigation. And if you did, they would take the fifth and invoke the right to remain silent.
The question for me is who are the peripheral players in and around the Trump Organization who might not have criminal exposure themselves, but who might be able to come in and shed some light on these piles and piles of documents that the prosecutors have? That's where I would be targeting my subpoenas.
BOLDUAN: Very interesting. Jim, despite all of this, Donald Trump is not losing support among Republicans in Washington. Just listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Tell me who is your president.
CROWD: Donald Trump.
GREENE: That's my president too. OK.
REP. MATT GAETZ (D-FL): This is Donald Trump's party and I'm a Donald Trump Republican.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I would just say to my Republican colleagues, can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Let me tell you this right now, Donald J. Trump ain't going anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Does anything that we could see happening in the legal realm that we're talking about here change any of that support?
ACOSTA: I don't think so, Kate, because I mean you could make the argument that, yes, the entire Republican Party has gone out on the limb and Donald Trump or perhaps the Manhattan DA could saw off that tree branch and let the entire party go down with Donald Trump. That may well be the case.
But given what Elie was just talking about just a few moments ago about the big lie, given what we know about the potential for Donald Trump to be prosecuted in multiple investigations, not just in New York but down in Georgia as well, that potential election fraud case down there, despite all of that there was a Quinnipiac poll that came out earlier today, Kate, I'm sure you saw it that said two-thirds of Republicans would like to see Trump run for president again, even though two-thirds of Americans do not want Donald Trump to be president again.
So yes, you very well could see a situation where he tries to run again in 2024. Loses the popular vote by a wide margin, but somehow makes it competitive when it comes to that Electoral College vote. I think that montage we're just showing a few moments ago shows you all too well, Kate, the Republican Party that you and I have covered for years is essentially dead.
This is the Trump Republican Party now and I just don't think there's any way to look at it right now. Until something very serious happens to Donald Trump from a legal perspective, I just don't see that dynamic changing.
BOLDUAN: And even then, we'll see.
ACOSTA: That's right.
BOLDUAN: Good to see you both, thank you very much.
OUTFRONT for us next, eight people killed in a mass shooting at a San Jose rail yard. And tonight, California's governor asking the question on everyone's mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D) CALIFORNIA: But it begs the damn question what the hell is going on in the United States of America? What the hell is wrong with us?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Plus, President Biden ordering the intelligence community to investigate the origins of COVID-19 and to get back to him in 90 days. Is that enough time to determine whether it came from a lab?
And Arizona Republicans now trying to strip the Democratic Secretary of State of her powers. Is it anything other than retaliation? Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is OUTFRONT.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:16:55]
BOLDUAN: Tonight, what the hell is going on? That is the question from California Governor Gavin Newsom after San Jose becomes the site of the 232nd mass shooting in this country this year. Eight lives lost after a gunman opened fire at the city's rail yard. The gunman we now know is an employee at that rail yard.
According to officials at about the same time, the shooting was unfolding. Officials were also called to a fire at the gunman's home. And investigators are still trying to determine if the gunman who they say took his own life was trying to do much worse than the devastation he already pulled off.
As we speak, teams are going room to room in that facility now searching for explosives. The eight people who lost their lives today join the more than 7,500 people who have died from gun violence across this country just this year. That is a 23 percent uptick in deaths from last year.
And this attack adds to the very clear epidemic of mass shootings in the United States, 16 mass shootings now since Friday. California's Governor today, he said enough is enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWSOM: It begs the damn question what the hell is going on in the United States of America? What the hell is wrong with us?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And President Biden ordering flags to be lowered to half- staff once again saying in a statement this evening the following, "Enough. Once again, I urge Congress to take immediate action and heed the call of the American people, including the vast majority of gun owners to help end this epidemic of gun violence in America. Every life that is taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We can and we must, do more."
Josh Campbell is OUTFRONT in San Jose, California with the latest.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): An early morning massacre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have eight victims that are pronounced deceased from today's incident from gunshot wounds. We also have one suspect who is deceased as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL (voice over): Shots rang out around 6:30 am at this sprawling San Jose maintenance yard where commuter rail vehicles were being dispatched in service for the work day. A law enforcement source tells CNN the lone suspect identified as Sam Cassidy was an employee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was seen at that location working before the shooting. It's clear the victims and all the colleagues there knew the shooter well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL (voice over): According to the sheriff, Cassidy continued shooting even as police arrived.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF LAURIE SMITH, SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: I know for sure that when the suspect knew the law enforcement was there, he took his own life. Our deputies were right there at that time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL (voice over): The Sheriff's office says more deadly plans were potentially laid out in advance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received information that there are explosive devices that are located inside the building.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL (voice over): Multiple law enforcement agencies including the bomb squad are on the scene, beginning what is likely to be a lengthy and extensive investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN HENDRICKS, PRESIDENT, SANTA CLARA VALLEY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY: We're so sorry this event happened. We are there for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL (voice over): The head of the Valley Transportation Authority emotional as he tried to comfort the surviving staff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: VTA is a family. People in the organization know everyone. This is a terrible tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL (voice over): Just eight miles away, a neighbor took this video of the suspect's home, billowing with smoke in a suspicious blaze. Firefighters responded to the scene at 6:36 am just two minutes after the first calls from the shooting at the rail yard came in. Investigators are now on site at both locations searching for answers. While California's Governor has more questions of his own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWSOM: What the hell is going on in the United States of America? What the hell is wrong with us?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL (on camera): And Kate, at this hour that grim task of processing this crime scene continues. Our colleague, Wolf Blitzer, spoke just a short time ago with the Santa Clara County Sheriff who said that six of the eight victims who were killed, their bodies are still behind me here being processed by the coroner.
We also understand that state and local law enforcement as well as special agents from the ATF and the FBI are at the shooter's house right now processing that scene trying to glean any evidence they can to try to get to the motive in just the latest mass shooting in the United States, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Josh, thank you very much.
OUTFRONT with me now is Raul Peralez. He's a councilmember in San Jose and also a former San Jose Police Officer. Councilman, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for joining me. I mean, the last time we heard from you this afternoon during a press conference, you had mentioned that you were still waiting to hear from your childhood friend, someone who works at this very rail yard.
The mayor tonight said very sadly that your friend was killed today. Have you heard anything?
RAUL PERALEZ, SAN JOSE CITY COUNCIL; REPS DISTRICT WHERE SHOOTING OCCURRED: Yes, we don't have final confirmation on that. We are waiting that. I've been in contact with his family who are at the District Attorney's Victims Assistance Center.
What we do know is that it looks like of all the shooting victims there's only one that is still surviving that is in critical condition in the hospital. What they're not necessarily telling any of the families of the victims are the identities of those who are deceased. But it does not look good and I know obviously all of the families there are trying to remain hopeful. But it's a very, very challenging time as we're sort of waiting for that unfortunate news.
BOLDUAN: Everyone is still waiting. What have you heard? I mean, I cannot imagine what waiting like this is like. I truly - I cannot. You are very - I mean, this is very personal for you, what does this wait feel like?
PERALEZ: It is frustrating. I've been in contact with his family that are there and I can tell you, they're very frustrated as well. They understand the circumstances. But yes, as you can imagine, really, it's right now it's just wanting to know, wanting to actually have that information. Clearly, everybody wanted to hold on hope. But every minute that goes by, it becomes more challenging to do so.
For me included, this has been very agonizing all around. Being a representative of this area, being a VTA board member, but then personally having a longtime family friend, it has been tough.
BOLDUAN: I don't know if words could even be put to it. I'm so sorry. I really am. And we're now talking about eight more families that are shattered. They don't even know it yet, because they haven't even been told. And this is the 16th mass shooting since Friday in America.
You just heard what the Governor had said earlier today and he was exasperated and said, what the hell is going on in America, what the hell is wrong with us. Councilman, what the hell is going on?
PERALEZ: Yes. Look, I wish I also had an answer. I think we all wish we could stop this from happening and if it was so simple, we would have done so already. Unfortunately, as we know, these debates are hotly contested on what the real issues are when you're talking about gun control or mental health or are these one off type of incidents that you know could not have been prevented.
The reality is here in this case, we're going to dissect that and try to really get down to what happened here. We don't know that just yet. But we do know that for numerous other mass shootings, active shooters that have happened across our country at schools, movie theaters, malls, this is something that absolutely should not be happening in our country and that, I think, is what the Governor was expressing in his frustration that I share as well.
BOLDUAN: Yes. You drew up, a life lifelong resident of San Jose.
And San Jose now joining the long list of cities in America where a mass shooting has just taken place. We continue to hold out hope with you for some good news, but I'm very sorry. Thank you so much for joining us.
PERALEZ: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
PERALEZ: Thank you very much.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT with me now is Chris Swecker. He's a former Assistant Director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. Chris, thank you for joining me.
It is hard to imagine as all of those families are still waiting to hear something and the wait must be, he said, agonizing and I can't think of another word. But big picture, I mean, they keep talking about how big the crime scene is and how big the investigation will be. Josh Campbell saying that most of the victims are still at the
facility. They have still not been removed. The FBI says it could take days to go through it all. Can you give us some perspective on that?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI'S CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: Yes, so tragic. I mean, here we are again. This is a complex crime scene to be sure across two buildings, eight fatalities and nine including the shooter.
They have to reconstruct what happened inside the building. Important to do that, but that's not the most important part of the case right now. I think the most important part is digging into his social network and talking to the people that know him the best and getting information about why he did this.
I mean, it seems obvious that it had something to do with the workplace, the victims are people that worked with him. He timed it at a time when there was a meeting. He knew where he needed to go. This was some situation where he was committed. He wasn't going home that night because he said his own house on fire.
So this is one of those cases where I think there was quite a bit of pre planning. He was angry at somebody or something at work and this is not your normal mass shooting case. I hate to call it normal.
BOLDUAN: Well, that's reality. It is becoming normal. I mean, that's the sadness of it. A source close to the investigation has told CNN that the gunman's house went up in flames right around the same time that the shooting was happening. And the fire, I mean, you can see the video, caused some serious damage. The house is no longer inhabitable. What does that do? How does that impact the investigation.
SWECKER: Well, one of the most important and richest sources of information and evidence is usually things that are in the house; notes, social media, different types of mobile devices, laptops, hard drives, things that would record his thoughts and his communications with other people and expressing himself. Usually when somebody goes off like this, they're flashing red and they're talking to somebody about it or people are noticing the bizarre behavior or that there's usually some clues in the house.
Unfortunately, it sounds to me like the entire house was gutted. So that's an avenue, whether they're going to have to go to the cell phone carriers and the email carriers and try to retrieve all this information from the cloud that takes time.
BOLDUAN: It sure does. Chris, thank you very much.
SWECKER: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, President Biden ordering the intelligence community to further investigate the origins of COVID-19. But how much can the U.S. learn if China doesn't cooperate. And the family of Ronald Greene who says they were led to believe Greene was killed in a car accident instead of at the hands of police. They are marching to the Louisiana Governor's residence to demand justice. Ronald Greene's sister is my guest.
BOLDUAN: New tonight, President Biden ordering the U.S. intelligence community to dig deeper into the origins of COVID-19, asking officials to, quote, redouble their efforts and report back to him in 90 days.
Biden's request comes just after "The Wall Street Journal" first reported that 3 workers at a lab in Wuhan sought hospital care a month before China disclosed the first confirmed case of COVID, which has helped fuel the debate over how exactly the pandemic started. Could the virus have been the result of a lap leak?
OUTFRONT now is "Washington Post" columnist, Josh Rogin. He's reported very extensively on this very subject. He's also the author of "Chaos Under Heaven".
It's good to see, Josh.
What do you think of what the president is asking for from the intelligence community? Is 90 days enough? What are you hearing?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, Kate, it's such an important interesting move by the Biden administration admits rising pressure from Congress, they've decided to admit what a lot of people had thought was obvious, which is that the World Health Organization is not capable, and not likely to solve the mystery of the pandemic, because they spent a year trying to do it, and they failed, miserably.
So, now, the Biden administration is taking it upon himself to do a second look. And one of the really interesting things that not a lot of people called is that they are expanding the investigation. So, it's not just the I.C. It's going to include the national labs and lots of other U.S. agencies.
So that means there's a lot of more information that they could turn up. It won't get us to the answer that you want. It won't get us to incite those Chinese labs. That can only come through diplomacy, through pressure, and that will happen after the 90 days.
What the Biden team said is they're going to get the questions ready over these 90 days, and then they're going to go to the Chinese and press for more answers while the WHO tries to do the same. Both of the things can be very, very difficult. There's a long road ahead, actually.
BOLDUAN: Long. And let me read part of the statement the gets just at this, a part of the statement from President Biden. And he said the -- he said, the failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origins -- origin of COVID-19.
And because, at the end of the day, how much -- and maybe the intelligence community, of course they have a long reach -- but how much can the U.S. really learn now, without actually going to China?
ROGIN: Right, well, that's what -- what you see there is the Biden administration preparing us for if they fail, right? They are saying, listen, we might not be able to find the smoking gun. The Chinese government may have buried it, considering they jailed all the whistleblowers and censored all the science.
And if they have the proof, they might have destroyed it by now. That's true, but what we're going to end up with is a big stockpile of circumstantial evidence one way or the other, and we see, as you mentioned in that "Wall Street Journal" report, the circumstantial piling up on the lab leak side. We don't see a lot of circumstantial evidence piling up on the other side. We haven't found any pangolins or palm civets or minks or whatever.
So it seems the more we dig, the more circumstantial evidence will be on the lab leak side. Does that get us to a smoking gun? Probably not, but it should inform policy and politics if we find out that the circumstantial evidence from the lab leak carries a lot more than the other theory. That should tell us something about how we should respond to try to prevent the next pandemic.
BOLDUAN: OK, intentionality, we won't -- we don't know as well, right? Accidental lab leak versus intentional. This is all part of this conversation and debate. But as part of your reporting last year, you uncovered official U.S. embassy cables about this. And let me read what you -- what you wrote.
You wrote: The first cable which I obtained also warns that the lab's work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented the risk of a new SARS-like pandemic. And you also wrote that the cables noted serious shortages of appropriately trained technicians to operate a lab like the one in Wuhan.
How can these cables help inform this investigation now?
ROGIN: Right, what that tells us 3 years later is serves a lot we never knew about these Chinese labs doing all this risky coronavirus research that we still don't know that the intelligence committee wasn't pointed at this network of risky coronavirus research at these labs and that was a problem, and maybe a problem that can be solved.
But it can't inform what we do with the future, in other words we're going to need more oversight of these laughter. We're going to need more of a side of the collaboration. That means turning over some rocks inside of our own system and our labs to figure out what's going on.
The best we can and then to set a policy to minimize the risk because, you know, 580,000 Americans died, and if we don't want to do this every year, if we don't want this to happen again, we're going to have to figure out what the risks are. Even if we can't find the smoking gun, we know that these left present a risk that we are wearing knowing so we can't ignore it anymore. BOLDUAN: Josh, thanks so much for your reporting. Appreciate it.
ROGIN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, the family of Ronald Greene says they were told Greene died in a car accident instead of in police custody. They are now marching to the Louisiana governor's mansion to demand answers. Greene's sister is my guest.
Plus, Arizona state Republicans retaliating against the secretary of state there. They are now moving legislation to strip her off her powers. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs joins us.
BOLDUAN: Tonight, CNN is learning one of the Louisiana troopers involved in the fatal arrest of Ronald Greene will be fired. But he's not being terminated for what happened to Ronald Greene.
He's going to be fired for his involvement in another use of force investigation on that officer's body camera, which I do want to warn you, you may find disturbing. You will see Ronald Greene repeatedly punched and tased as he's faced down on the ground and then you'll hear this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TROOPER: You stupid mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
TROOPER: I got blood all over me. I hope this guy ain't got (EXPLETIVE DELETED) AIDS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: The family says they were originally told Greene died after crashing his car into the tree. Does that look like that?
And all of this is just coming to light right now, more than two years later only because the body camera video was obtained by "The Associated Press".
OUTFRONT with me now is Dinelle Hardin, Ronald Greene's sister. And Ron Haley, one of the attorneys representing the family.
Dinelle, again and again, every time we speak, I just can't -- I'm so sorry that you have to hear that video and hear that again. I am so sorry. I am so sorry. Your action, I'm sorry to know. Can you give me your reaction to hearing that one of these officers is now going to be fired but having nothing to do with what happened to your brother?
DINELLE HARDIN, SISTER OF RONALD GREENE: It's very overwhelming. My emotions are mixed. Something needs to happen right now, not tomorrow, not next week. We need action to be taken immediately. BOLDUAN: Dinelle, your family has started a go on front we change,
because you know, for two years, have been on your own fighting and pushing for answers, and that push continues now. You are going to be marching with the end of the NAACP and the ACLU tomorrow from the state capitol to the governor's mansion.
And I saw the governor said yesterday that the actions of the officers involved, is the way he put it, is they do not represent what we aspire to in the state of Louisiana. But what is your message to the governor?
HARDIN: We definitely need to sit down and talk about it. I mean -- again, my emotions are mixed, they are mixed. He needs to take action, like, right now.
BOLDUAN: Talk through the mixed emotions right now. What are the emotions that you are feeling?
HARDIN: Governor Edwards -- I'm asking if you and your team can come together and do what's right, you know, do what's right for Mr. Greene. My brother did not deserve it. I haven't even seen all of the footage. But you need to do what's right.
There is no way that you can fire these guys and still have no accountability has been taken. We need some action and --
BOLDUAN: Take a moment, Dinelle. Take a moment. Just take a moment.
Ron, every time -- last time I spoke with Dinelle, I spoke with Mona as well -- they were both very clear they want action.
Dinelle saying this right now, you all want these officers not fired, but arrested and charged. Are you confident that when the investigations wrap on the state level and on the federal level, that that is what you're going to get?
RON HALEY, ATTORNEY FOR RONALD GREENE'S FAMILY: Well, Kate, I'm confident that what was shown on that video and what has been explained and exposed to the world is murder, I'm confident of that.
I'm confident that a case for murder can be made, I'm confident that a case for civil rights violation for all of these officers can be made. However, I have waning confidence whether or not that's going to happen because we've seen this movie over and over again.
George Floyd was the exception to the role. What has happened to Ronnie up until the leak to "The Associated Press" has been the rule in the state of the Louisiana, and a lot of places around the country. Only after the leak, his case is now being treated as exception. I'm hopeful that we will get justice. I'm hopeful for the family of Ronald Greene that this will not be in vain, that this would not be a dog and pony show, that this will have some teeth to it.
But the world saw a man get killed, and we have had no accountability over two years.
BOLDUAN: Dinelle, you've talked to me about mixed emotions, talk to me what you're struggling with, what these emotions are that you're feeling as you are preparing to march tomorrow, you are going to Baton Rouge. You're taking action. You're demanding answers and accountability, do you trust the process?
HARDIN: I don't trust the state of Louisiana as process, I really don't but I know that my higher being guy has had his hands on this case from day on, so everything that they tried to do to cover my brothers case has come to life, you know, mysteriously. So -- I'm sorry. I'm just -- I'm all over the place with my thoughts and feelings.
BOLDUAN: Please, you are not the one to apologize. Thank you.
HARDIN: It's a lot, I'm sorry.
BOLDUAN: It's a lot every day and something people need to appreciate that you've been going through for two years. It's not this or last week, as we all learned about it. You've been going through this for two years, and fighting for this. Almost alone.
BOLDUAN: Dinelle, hank you for being here.
HARDIN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Ron, thank you very much.
HARDIN: Thank you.
HALEY: (INAUDIBLE), Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
OUTFRONT for us next, Arizona Republicans take on the state's Democratic secretary of state. They want to strip her of her powers after she attacked the sham election audit. So, is it all about revenge? Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is OUTFRONT.
And the mother of the late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, she has a message for Republican senators on the eve of a crucial vote on establishing the January 6th Commission.
BOLDUAN: Tonight, Arizona Republicans moving a bill through the legislator to strip the Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, of her powers to defend Arizona's election laws. This bill would transfer that power to the state's Republican attorney general instead. This comes after Hobbs stood up to the state's sham election audit that's being pushed by the very Republicans who are now trying to strip her of authorities.
OUTFRONT now, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
Secretary, this bill is intended to only stay in effect through the end of your term, and that it expires once you're gone.
Do you see this as anything other than retaliation?
KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Absolutely not. That is 100 percent this is. Retaliation for me doing the job that the Arizona voters elected me to do. And it is blatantly unconstitutional.
BOLDUAN: If it becomes law, what does it mean for your ability to do your actual job?
HOBBS: Quite frankly, it'll make it very difficult to do my job. As the chief election officer of the state, to be filed a suit over an election issue, I'm the main defendant. And this would not allow me to be the defendant. It would give the attorney general carte blanche to respond to these lawsuits however he saw fit, which in the last several months it has not been on the side of Arizona voters, which is partly why this is happening right now.
BOLDUAN: If it becomes law, can you challenge it?
HOBBS: Oh, we certainly intend to challenge it if it becomes law. It's blatantly unconstitutional. The legislator is trying to strip me of duties that are assigned in our state's constitution and they just cannot do that.
BOLDUAN: About the broader issue for the election audit you've been speaking about, my colleague Kyung Lah has been covering the audit since it began, and she spoke yesterday with the State Senate president, Karen Fann, who is leading the push for this audit.
And I want to play for you some of that conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you believe this is helping democracy?
KAREN FANN, PRESIDENT, ARIZONA STATE SENATE: Absolutely.
LAH: You feel that this is the process that will be the gold standard?
FANN: This will be the basis of a gold standard. This is election integrity. This is answering our constituents' questions. That's all this is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: She is defending this to the bitter end, saying -- I mean, it will be the gold standard for future audits. What do you say to that?
HOBBS: That is -- I want to say I think that she has dug herself in it so deep to this that she has no choice but to defend what they are doing. But there is nobody -- nobody who has any knowledge about elections who thinks this is anywhere near a gold standard. It is not -- it can't even be called an audit. They're not following any best practices. They're such a long list of problems with what's going on here.
There's just -- there's no way that this can set a standard for what we should be doing following elections in our country.
BOLDUAN: And there's a growing number of Republicans who are coming out to speak out against it because of exactly what you're saying, what they are seeing in terms of this actual audit.
So, you have said -- I've seen you said recently that you are seriously considering a run for governor next year. When will you decide or announce your decision?
HOBBS: Well, I'm focused right now on the job that Arizona voters elected me to do and no matter what -- what job I run for, that's going to be my focus.
Not this noise, not the threats, not the armed protesters at my house, but doing the job the Arizona voters elected me to do, and getting the job done for Arizona. A decision is coming soon, and folks can learn more at katiehobbs.org.
BOLDUAN: Really quickly, is this experience with this audit but has pushed you towards running for governor?
HOBBS: It's certainly -- it's certainly part of the decision that I'm making.
BOLDUAN: Secretary Hobbs, thank you very much.
HOBBS: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, the mother of the late Officer Sicknick who died after responding to the insurrection has a brutal message for Republicans who don't support the January 6th commission.
BOLDUAN: The mother of late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick pleading to meet with Republican senators before they vote on a commission that would investigate the Capitol insurrection.
In a strongly worded letter, Gladys Sicknick writes that he and his fellow officers fought for hours and hours against those animals, she says, we were trying to take over the Capitol building and our democracy as we know it. While they were fighting, congressmen and senators were locking themselves inside their offices. Not having a January 6th commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day. Officer Sicknick, you remember, passed away after responding to the
riot. The medical examiner determined he suffered strokes and died of natural causes.
Now, Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski -- they have all said they will vote to advance the bill, but it's not enough to end the plants filibuster. Republicans are needed to support the commission to move the bill forward. Don't hold your breath.
Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.