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Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump Endorses Texas Gov. Greg Abbott After Abbott Pushes Restrictive Voter Law; Biden Slams GOP Voting Restrictions As "Simply Un-American"; Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) Discusses The Moves Republicans Are Pushing To Reinstate Former President Trump; Evangelical Pastor Warns QAnon Has "Characteristics Of A Cult"; Biden On Tulsa: This Was Not A Riot. This Was A Massacre; U.S., NATO Allies Send Message To Putin With Flyover. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 01, 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: And I'm grateful to be a part of it. To Ted Turner, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And to all of our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump rewarding Texas Governor Greg Abbott for pushing a restrictive voting bill in Texas as President Biden warns of an unprecedented assault on American democracy.
Plus, QAnon's grip on evangelicals. One of the most prominent evangelical leaders in this country warning the group's dangerous conspiracy theories are infiltrating churches across America. Rev. Russell Moore is OUTFRONT.
And a CNN exclusive tonight, the U.S. and its allies sending a very powerful, very specific message to Vladimir Putin. You'll actually see it tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, Trump rewards the big lie. The former president is giving Texas Governor Greg Abbott a resounding endorsement for pushing a restrictive voting law in his state, one of the most restrictive laws in the country so far.
Trump writing tonight and I quote him, "Greg Abbott is a fighter and a Great Governor for all the incredible people of Texas." He adds, quote, "He's all in on Election integrity."
Well, by election integrity, Trump means a bill that among other things will ban drive-through voting, put new restrictions on mail-in voting, grant new powers to partisan poll watchers and cut back Sunday morning voting, which happens to be when many black church goers head to the polls.
So the entire motivation around this law and why it is happening now is Trump's lie. Just listen to the Texas Republican who was guiding that bill through the Texas House. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BRISCOE CAIN (R-TX): The Constitution commands the legislature to pass legislation to detect and punish fraud and preserve the purity of the ballot box.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: See, here's the thing, this only works if your premise is a lie that there was fraud to attack because there actually wasn't fraud to attack in Texas. Here is the Republican Secretary of State from Texas and her top deputy talking about the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUTH RUGGERO HUGHS, TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE: Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, this election was a resounding success.
KEITH INGRAM, DIRECTOR, ELECTIONS DIVISION AT TEXAS OFFCE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE: In spite of all the circumstances, Texas had an election that was smooth and secure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Smooth and secure, a resounding success, that's what the Republicans in charge of it said and now the legislators, Republican legislature say they're going to pass legislation to attack the fraud that didn't happen. Well, it doesn't make sense. But, yes, Texas is among 18 states now with similar legislation moving through the pipeline.
These laws are passing, not because there's fraud to attack, not because Republican legislators care about integrity, which is the word de jure. They're passing because many people believe the lies about the election, no matter how outlandish they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY SPELL, PASTOR, LIFE TABERNACLE CHURCH: Number one, the virus has been a scam from the beginning. It's always been politically motivated for mail-in ballots and voter ID. That's what has got a new administration in the White House today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So the virus was faked to allow more mail-in ballots to get Joe Biden in the White House. What you just heard is playing out now in the form of new voting laws in states across the country and it has gotten President Biden to speak out tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This sacred rite is under assault with incredible intensity like I've never seen with an intensity and aggressiveness we've not seen in a long, long time. It's simply un-American. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The big lie itself is what is un-American. It is a lie designed to make Americans not believe in their own democracy. OK. That is as un-American as you can be. And Trump ally, former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn appears now to, speaking of un- American things, called for a military coup in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to know why, what happened in Myanmar can't happen here.
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: No reason. I should. OK. That is un-American. Now, Flynn has come out and denied he's calling for a coup in the U.S. although, of course, from what you just heard his comments were pretty clear. And in fact, it's not the first time Flynn has pushed the idea of using the military to intervene on Trump's behalf and overrule democracy.
In December, The New York Times reported Flynn met with Trump at the White House to discuss using the military to intervene. Something, by the way, he publicly talked about on right-wing network Newsmax.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLYNN: He could order the - within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. So it's not unprecedented.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. And yet, it is not just Flynn who is sending out these kinds of crazy and dangerous messages about Trump coming back into power. Listen to Trump's former attorney, Sidney Powell, just over Memorial Day weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNEY POWELL, ATTORNEY WHO CHALLENGED 2020 ELECTION RESULTS: There are cases where elections have been overturned, but there's never been one at the presidential level which everybody jumped to point out. That doesn't mean that it can't be done. It should be that he can simply be reinstated that a new inauguration data set and Biden is told to move out of the White House and President Trump should be moved back in.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Wow. Now, I should just note for important context that
Sidney Powell is being sued for $1.3 billion by Dominion Voting Systems. And in response to that, she had her attorneys argue in court this spring that 'reasonable people' would not accept any of her statements as fact.
And yet there she is putting out the stuff again, peddling this BS. There's no other word for that kind of stuff, that commentary. Because the problem is, is that right now plenty of people actually do believe what people like Powell and Flynn are saying about reinstating Trump and military coups. Just listen to some of Trump supporters who spoke to our Donie O'Sullivan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: In different country ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going on in there right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's what he was saying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at what happened, the government took over when we're doing the election, correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it was a false election ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... and they took over and that's what happened. The military took over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that could possibly happen here, possibly, if the military they control ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I personally think that's what they're working towards.
O'SULLIVAN: Would you think that that's what could happen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It could.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I think would happen.
O'SULLIVAN: Would you like to see it happen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to see it happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know why? Because the election was stolen
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This whole thing with Biden is just - he's like a puppet president. The military is in charge. It's going to be like Myanmar. What's happening in Myanmar, the military is doing their own investigation and at the right time they're going to be restoring the republic with Trump as president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That wouldn't be restoring the republic, it would be a military coup. What's happening in Myanmar is the military ousted the government. That's what some Trump supporters want to see, a coup, thousands detained, people dead.
On January 6th we saw an armed insurrection. Those were Trump supporters. They were trying in whatever crude way they were to overturn an election. And they were doing it because of people like Trump, people like Flynn and people like Powell have been fanning the flames and their words are spurring action and now they're saying it even more loudly. Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT from the White House tonight.
And Phil, President Biden also made an announcement today regarding voting rights.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Erin. Vice President Kamala Harris has now been put in place to lead the administration's response to those hundreds of laws to restrict voting rights led by Republican legislatures across the country.
And it underscores a ramping up from the administration, a ramping up coming at a time where a lot of their allies are pressing the White House to do more, to be more vocal and to push for legislation on Capitol Hill to pass on the Federal level to try and usurp some of the things you've seen on the state side of things.
Now, the President made very clear and while he views what's happening right now in state legislatures is undemocratic, an assault on democracy was how he's framed it several times. He's spoken out repeatedly over the course of the last several months, but calling on this month in particular June to be a month of action, calling on voting rights groups to work to register voters over the course of this month. But I think the primary focus is going to be on that legislative agenda.
And it's very clear Democrats have two major pieces of legislation. They would like to get to the President's desk. One sweeping Federal voting law that the House has passed, the Senate is expected to consider at the end of this month. But here's the reality, they don't have the votes for that legislation. It's not just that they don't have 10 Republicans in the Senate. They don't have all 50 Democrats in the Senate for the larger piece of legislation.
MATTINGLY: Sen. Joe Manchin has opposed to it. Other senators have raised concerns as well. So the question legislatively is what is the path forward. There is a second bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that would change some of the preclearance issues that were struck down by the Supreme Court. That might have a better pathway. That's what Sen. Manchin wants to see.
But the baseline here that the White House is working through is they don't have the votes yet for either of these bills and the urgency and the pressure is only ramping up on the White House and on Democrats on Capitol Hill to do something now, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Phil, thank you very much. And I want to go OUTFRONT now to Democratic Congressman Colin Allred of Texas. He's also a former voting rights attorney. And I want to ask you about this legislation, Congressman. First, though, this entire push by Republicans to change voting laws that we're seeing is of course being led by former President Trump because he wants the election to be declared invalid.
Sidney Powell says he can be reinstated. You heard her, new re- inauguration date is set, Biden is escorted out of the White House. You hear Michael Flynn suggest a coup like we saw in Myanmar. What do you say to this?
REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Well, Erin, you had a lot of receipts there and I appreciate that. But after every presidential election we've had crazies who said the election was fraudulent, who wanted to challenge results.
What's different in this one is that we did have an armed attack on the Capitol, an insurrection on January 6th and now we have state legislatures like my own here in Texas trying to pass the most comprehensive attacks on the right to vote that we've seen in this country since the days of Jim Crow.
And to quote John Lewis who I was friends with and was a mentor of mine that they're trying to take us back to another time and another place where certain voices weren't heard in this country because they didn't win. But in our democracy, if you don't win, you have to go back, change your ideas, put forward different candidates and go again. That's how it works in a democracy. You don't just throw out the entire system.
BURNETT: So I want to talk to you about these voting bills, because they are, as you point out, the actual practical outcome of the big lie at this point. And your state of Texas is one of many now, bills and other states are also moving ahead. So as Phil is reporting.
The federal government could stop some of this, but the bill that passed in the House is stuck in the Senate. As he points out, they don't even have all the Democrats on board. Is there any viable path, Congressman, left for Washington to accomplish anything that would overrule what we're seeing, say, in Texas?
ALLRED: I really think there should be and there has to be and I think there can be. So with H.R. 1, there are two major components to it, now that the For the People Act that was being discussed, there's a voting rights expansion component and a campaign finance component.
I think Sen. Manchin probably has some issues with the campaign finance side. And I think what we're seeing around the country has to be focusing every senator, particularly our Democratic senators on the health of our democracy.
You might have seen that there have been experts coming forward, experts in how democracies die, saying that this is an inflection point for American democracy and we have to do something. And so to me, HR one doesn't have to pass the way that it did in the house, but it can get to the Senate in some other form, but it has to get - and we can't say that Senate rules are more important than our democracy.
BURNETT: So obviously, Gov. Abbott in Texas says he's going to call a special session to get the bill passed. Your fellow congressman from Texas Republican Michael McCaul defended the bill this way to CNN. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): There are a couple of fundamentals here, though, that I think most Americans do agree with and that is asking for an ID when someone votes. I don't believe that's voter suppression. I think 70 percent of Americans agree with that idea. And then the idea of verifying signatures, I think is very important as well.
I think what the Republicans here would tell you is that they're trying to make sure that the person voting is the person on paper, so it's a legitimate vote devoid of fraud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So Congressman, I know the premise of the bill, it's raison d'etre, it's Trump's big lie. I've made that very clear. But McCaul is talking about specific points of substance within the bill. His statistics on public opinion on things like a voter ID is accurate. Does he have a point on some of the substance in the bill?
ALLRED: First of all, Erin, you have to remember that Texas is already the state with the harshest voting laws in the country. And as you showed in your earlier segment, the Texas election officials have said that last election was smooth and secure. And so why are we passing these laws in the first place, right? But let's move on to the substance of the bills.
What possible reason could there be to not allow voters to vote on Sunday morning during early voting when every other day of early voting you allow them to vote in the morning, but they can't go to vote until 1 pm on Sunday morning. That's targeted at black voters going to vote after they go to church, Souls to the Polls. What possible reason could there be to make it easier to overturn an
election, which is also in this bill, other than to say that you're going to, down the road, want to overturn an election and that's just a couple of the many provisions in this bill that are extremely dangerous.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Congressman Allred, I appreciate your time. It's good to talk to you again.
ALLRED: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now one of the nation's preeminent legal scholars, the Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe. And Professor, I want to ask you about the voting bills, and Flynn and Powell's comments about a coup and reinstating Trump as president.
So first, when it comes to these voting laws around the country that I was just discussing with Congressman Allred, President Biden calls it a 'assault with incredible intensity like I've never seen', is that just hyperbole or is it true?
LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: It's exactly true. The President gave an extraordinarily important consequential speech today on the 100th anniversary of the massacre in Tulsa.
And he used it as an opportunity not to engage in hyperbole but to be graphic and specific about the threats to democracy. That sounds abstract, democracy. A lot of people say that they're more interested in their paycheck than in their franchise. But when you ask whether we really want to have a military coup take over and take our self- government away from us the way Flynn said he'd like to see, he wants to see a military coup like in Myanmar.
When we ask whether we really want to reinstate somebody who has lost an election by 7 million popular votes and lost the Electoral College, we realize I think that our very lives as well as our livelihood and our liberty are at stake. And what we are witnessing is not simply a marginal attack on our processes of self-government. It's a frontal assault on what makes us a democratic public, what gives us the right to control our own lives. It's really dangerous.
BURNETT: So Sidney Powell says Trump can 'simply be reinstated', as you pointed out. She continues, "We can just have another inauguration." General Michael Flynn, emphasize general clearly endorsing a military coup (inaudible) Myanmar. Professor, what is the biggest danger the U.S. faces from these comments, these words from Flynn and Powell?
TRIBE: Well, I think the biggest danger we face is a violent takeover of our government against not just the votes of the minorities that they want to disenfranchise, but against the votes of the majority. They want to have minority rule. They want to have power to those who rule the GOP and to their funders. The danger is that they may well get it. They came very close in the insurrection of January 6th. Sidney Powell may lose her $1.3 billion suit because she's just
repeated the crazy stuff that she says nobody would take seriously about the election haven't been stolen and the real president being Trump and he can be reinstated. But that's not going to solve our problem.
To solve our problem, we need to address the fact that there are millions of people who are drinking this Kool-Aid and they are arming themselves. You've interviewed some of them. They are ready for a violent takeover. They may get what they want and that really would be a dictatorship.
In the end, everybody, except the very few people in power at the top would deeply regret that. That's not the lives we want to live. We want to be able to control our own destiny. We have to wake up. That's why I think it's important that John Lewis Act be enacted and that the President's new emphasis on saving democracy, newly increased emphasis be taken very seriously.
BURNETT: Before we go quickly, Professor, could the comments of Powell and Flynn put either of them in legal jeopardy risk?
TRIBE: Well, sure. I mean, Sidney Powell can be in severe jeopardy, not because of these statements alone, but because she propagated to lie about Dominion Voting Systems and cause them serious damage. And Flynn could be court martialed.
He after all is a Lieutenant General. What he did was not an exercise of ordinary free speech. He was advocating what would be treason. And for someone who is a Lieutenant General, drawing a salary of - not a salary, but a pension of a hundred bucks a year to be urging the military to engage in treason is certainly a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
So they're in legal jeopardy but we are in greater jeopardy unless we take this threat seriously and realize that there are people out there who are going to act on their calls to violence.
BURNETT: Professor Tribe, thank you very much.
TRIBE: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, churches become a magnet for QAnon. One of the nation's most prominent evangelical leaders is warning the pastors from every denomination are now complaining about the conspiracy theories infecting their congregations. Rev. Russell Moore speaks OUTFRONT.
Plus, President Biden on what really happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma 100 years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: This was not a riot, this was a massacre.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And violent and angry incidents reported across the country
as Americans emerge from lockdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my goodness. What is going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone has tried to get out on the floor. And a diving tackle by the security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, exhausted by QAnon. One of the most prominent evangelical leaders in the United States warning about QAnon's growing hold on Christians across America. Russell Moore telling Axios he is 'talking literally every day to pastors, of virtually every denomination, who are exhausted by these theories blowing through their churches, or communities."
So this comes as a new poll shows 15 percent of all Americans believe QAnon's conspiracy theory. This is 15 percent of Americans who believe this. They believe that the government, the media and the financial world are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation. Fifteen percent of Americans believe this.
That is a stunning number in any context, but let me give you some context because to believe such a thing becomes sort of a religious thing. QAnon actually now has the same number of followers as major established religions. QAnon followers now number the same as all of the Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and non-denominational Protestants in the United States of America combined.
OUTFRONT now Rev. Russell Moore, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. And Reverend, I appreciate your time. I appreciate you're speaking out so people can understand this better.
I know that you're saying you're hearing concerns from pastors of every denomination about QAnon. What are they telling you, Reverend?
RUSSELL MOORE, FMR. PRES. ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: Well, these are not just my fellow evangelicals. I hear this from mainline Protestant pastors, from Catholic priests, from others and it's just a situation where conspiracy theories are going not just through churches, but through entire communities. Some of it is just people who are trying to figure out what to believe. They see some things on social media. They don't know whether to believe it or not, but some of it becomes much more intense than that.
And, of course, as a Christian, I'm concerned about this because we're a people of truth and we're people who are supposed to be looking for truth as revealed in the Word of God, not in conspiracy theories that are batted around social media.
BURNETT: So what do you tell when pastors - they call you and they talk about this, so they're people that believe that you've got a group of - Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation running the world, what do you tell - how are they supposed to talk to people who believe that, to get them to understand that that is not reality?
MOORE: Well, most of the pastors that I talked to are heroic. They're working under very, very difficult situations after a global pandemic, after all of the challenges over the last year. And what I usually advise them is to try to figure out whether or not the person is just confused or whether this is someone who actually has bought into the full package of some sort of cultic ideology. And one would handle those things very differently.
So there are some people who just hear something and are saying what do I believe and then there are others who are looking for a kind of belonging that they're finding on social media or somewhere else and that can be really dangerous. And especially when pastors only have access to people for an hour, maybe three hours, maybe four hours in a week, that's nothing compared to 24 hours of Facebook.
And honestly, Erin, a lot of it is coming from pastors who are saying to me that they're having adult children who are coming and saying we're worried about our parents, which is an unusual situation. Pastors are accustomed to having parents scouting and say we're worried about our children. But these are children saying we're worried about our parents and what they become involved in?
BURNETT: Well, it's interesting too demographically, I mean, what you're saying the significance of that, Reverend. So to this point, the poll that I referenced it said 15 percent of Americans believed, it's found specifically white evangelicals and Hispanic Protestants were more likely than any other traditionally religious group to have adherence who agreed with the QAnon theories.
So our Donie O'Sullivan has talked to some Christian QAnon believers and their family members. And here is some of what they've told him during his extensive reporting on this theory across the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIELLE MARSHALL, MOTHER BELIEVES IN QANON: It intersects with in her with her religion and she sees this as biblical end times. She puts ques, posts on equal footing with her religious scripture.
ASHLEY VANDERBILT, FORMER QANON BELIEVE: Even the groups that I was on I was like I'm going to these more than I go to church once a week. I'm up here for two hours every single night, like committed to these and I was like that's probably not right and then I started thinking am I putting even Trump above God?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So Reverend when you hear that and you think about the people that you have heard about and seeing yourself who are drawn to this theory specifically that you just described to me as a cultic ideology. Why do you think Christians are especially drawn to this theory?
MOORE: Well, I'm not sure that Christians are especially drawn to it. I think we're living in a country right now that's experiencing a nervous breakdown in all sorts of ways. Jesus warned us that there would be false messiahs and we've seen all sorts of people who have tried to appropriate religion, gurus of every sort to appropriate religion for their own ideologies and they use the same sorts of tactics, isolate people, give people a sort of secret conspiracy theory that can help them to belong to a community and go forward from there.
I have seen people who become involved in this who sort of come to their senses and say, I now see that this is not right, what was I thinking. And sadly, I've seen people who've cut off all relationships with their churches with their families and that's really tragic as well as harmful to the country.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Reverend, I appreciate your time on this conversation which I look forward to continuing. Thank you so much.
MOORE: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, the White House press on whether the President supports reparations for the survivors and descendants of the Tulsa race massacre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: He also support a study, as we've said before, it's reparations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And you've maybe heard about attacks on flight attendant where people spitting on servers.
It's horrific what's happening right now in America. Why is civility in such disarray as American reopens post-pandemic?
BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre where hundreds of black Americans were killed and thousands more left homeless in a once thriving community following an attack by a white mob.
Biden becoming the first president to visit Tulsa and acknowledged this painful history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was not a riot, this was a massacre. Among the worst in our history, but not the only one, and for too long, forgotten by our history. As soon as it happened, there is a clear effort to erase it from our memory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Vanessa Hall-Harper, the chairwoman of Tulsa City Council. She met with President Biden today and represents the historic Greenwood district, where the massacre happened.
So, Chairwoman, I really appreciate time.
You know, you joined here as a person born and raised in Tulsa. As a black woman, you now represent the community where the massacre actually happened. And you had a president come for the first time to commemorate on this day.
What did you make of what Biden actually said?
VANESSA HALL-HARPER, CHAIR, TULSA CITY COUNCIL: I think he said all of the right things, I really do. I was very encouraged, and I'm hopeful about his comments.
But, you know, it's always the work. What are we going to actually be able to accomplish to change the history, to move our community and our country for that matter in a better direction for the black community in this country?
And so, I love what he had to say. Again, I was very encouraged by his words but I will be more satisfied when we actually see these plans being implemented and when we see black communities that are no longer devalued, underestimated and marginalized. That is -- that is what I want to see.
BURNETT: So the president announced some proposals, and as you're emphasizing right there, proposals, you want to see what the actual reality is. But among them, he wants to boost government contracts for minority-owned businesses, address discrimination in housing.
The president of the NAACP responded to Biden's plans and said, quote, student loan debt continues to suppress the economic prosperity of black Americans across the nation. You cannot begin to address the racial wealth gap without addressing the student loan debt crisis.
Now, this is a fraught issue, it's a complicated issue, in so many ways in this country. Biden has not gone there on student loan debt the way that other progressives have.
Do you think that he's making a mistake by not addressing student loan debt? HALL-HARPER: I do. I seem to recall him talking about that during the
So, I certainly hope that is a part of how do we solve these problems when it comes to the disenfranchised of black communities. There are so many things. We have so many social determinants of health.
I would go to policing and how I would love to see that there would be a federal mandate for OIMs, Office of Independent Monitors, in cities.
We need to bring all of our resources to bear, anything that we could possibly legislate, in order to improve the quality of life for this communities -- these communities.
And so, there's so much that needs to be done, it's certainly not going to be done in one administration. We just have to keep pushing the line and making sure that we are transparent. And that we are diligent. We're not just saying things because they're buzzwords and they're good things to say. But rather, we're putting things in place that is going to actually improve a quality of life.
BURNETT: So, one buzzword is reparations, right? A word that has become a very important word to some, a loaded word. And the White House was asked about it.
President Biden, does he support it, right? This is something that he has so far not done in terms of yes, I support reparations. This is not where he's been.
And today, his deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answered the question about his view on reparations this way.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: He also supports a study, as we said before, into reparations, but believes that first and foremost, the task in front of us is not to root out -- is to root out systemic racism where it exists right now.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you think she has a point? The systemic racism is the focus, and that that would come before any conversation on reparations, which again they're still sticking with they want to do a study into it?
HALL-HARPER: Now, I definitely don't think we need to wait. We've waited too long, Tulsa has waited 100 years. And we have very few survivors left.
I think you can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. We need to do both. We need reparations.
We need to be clear on what representations is, reparations is land and cash, everything else is good policy. And we need the good policy, there's no question about. Those ideas that he's -- he brought up, particularly one are talking about supporting black business and some small businesses.
Oklahoma was one of nine states that repealed affirmative action. We repealed it in 2012. It's in our state constitution that you cannot set aside or even ask if a company is black or Latinx, et cetera.
And so, we as a state, have a long way to go in that regard, because again, we haven't memorialized in our state constitution, which we know is very difficult to change. But we have it but we have to commit to doing that work.
And so, we definitely have to do both, we cannot wait on reparations. There's been so many studies throughout this world on separations and ways in which to make that. The Native Americans, the indigenous of this country receives federal dollars, right?
I think that the president should use his bully pulpit to address that issue, because there are tribes who don't recognize their black freedmen. They have been kicked out of some of the tribes.
And so, there is a lot of work to be done to address this systemic and institutionalized racism that has taken place throughout this country, as long as we've been here, since we got off the boats, to address the disparities. And I definitely don't think we have to say, okay, we've got to do this one first and getting removed (ph). No, we need to do it all and we need to do it simultaneously. And I think we can, we've done it, you know, throughout this country's history. We just prioritized. It's time that this is prioritized.
BURNETT: All right. Chairwoman, I appreciate your time and I thank you.
HALL-HARPER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, kicking, punching, spinning, it is now become a part of life, that we've all -- seeing here after lockdown. What is going on?
And a special election in New Mexico. What tonight could tell all of us about the crucial 2022 midterms.
BURNETT: Tonight, life after lockdown. New COVID cases in the United States are at their lowest point since last year. Americans across the country now doing things like going to stadiums for sporting events.
The Sixers in Philadelphia operating at 100 percent fan capacity starting tomorrow.
The Boston Celtics are already there. Las Vegas resorts are running as of tonight at full capacity.
But with the good news comes a stunning number of really disgusting things -- disgusting, violent, deplorable, and tragedy.
Dan Simon is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my goodness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a diving tackled by the security.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over). The return of packed arenas and other venues is an image worth celebrating, but it appears some fans have forgotten how to act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of fraud the guy had to run, you know there's a limited viewing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They blew the whistle. Oh my gosh.
SIMON: The latest edition of people behaving badly occurred last night in Washington during game 4 of the 76ers versus the Washington with a fan rushing the floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can tell those people have been in some kind of captivity for the last year and change, right? It's wild to see the liberties people are taking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see Russell Westbrook is very upset.
SIMON: It follows a string of ugly incidents in the NBA playoffs, popcorn dumped on the Wizards' Russell Westbrook as he left the score with a sprained ankle in Philly.
A New York Knicks fan spitting on the Atlanta Hawks Trae Young.
And a water bottle thrown at Nets star Kyrie Irving.
KYRIE IRVING, BROOKLYN NETS STAR: And just treating people like they are in a human save, throwing stuff at people, saying things. At a certain point, it gets to be too much.
SIMON: The return of incivility maybe most pronounced on airplanes. These images from a Southwest flight on May 23rd, when a flight attendant had two teeth knocked out by a disgruntled passenger.
The FAA reporting it's received 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers since the beginning of the year.
Other disturbing acts last month include a customer at a fast food restaurant in San Jose spitting on employees after being told to wear a mask.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't the first time she's done it. She did it to two other coworkers.
SIMON: And in Hawaii, a man punched in the face at a panda express after reminding visitors to wear a mask.
DR. THOMAS PLANTE, SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY: People have been in lockdown mode for over a year, and maybe some of them have forgotten how to behave in polite company.
SIMON: But Santa Clara psychology professor Thomas Plante says it's important to remember there is good from the bad acts.
For instance, when a man believed to be homeless attacked a police officer in San Francisco on Friday, bystanders rushed to help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: And, Erin, fortunately, that officer is okay. But I just want to point out that there are some hard data that points out the anxiety that Americans are feeling. For instance, the American Psychological Association put out a study that shows that 61 percent of Americans have had undesired of weight change since the pandemic began, that this is hardly surprising, about half of parents say their stress level has gone on -- Erin.
BURNETT: Yeah, there's no question about it. PTSD for the whole country in so many ways.
Dan, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT next, could Republican flips the district by tying Democrats to the defund the police movement? All eyes on one special election tonight.
And a major show of force as the U.S. and its allies send Russia a very specific and strong message and we here tonight have the exclusive video for you.
BURNETT: Tonight, a major test for Democrats in New Mexico special election, where Democrat Melanie Stansbury and Republican Mark Moores are running to fill the congressional seat left by Democrat Deb Haaland. Holland is now Biden's interior secretary.
So, Moores has centered his campaign on Stansbury support for the Breathe Act. Now, the Breathe Act is a proposal drafted by Black Lives Matter activists that would divert money away from police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD ANNOUNCER: Melanie Stansbury's plan: Supporting legislation that defunds the police. Stansbury even advocates taking guns away from local police.
STATE REP. MELANIE STANSBURY (D), NEW MEXICO: We need to pass the Breathe Act in congress. AD ANNOUNCER: Melanie Stansbury supports the most dangerous
legislation in America. Stop the madness. Stop Melanie Stansbury before it's too late.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Larry Sabato, veteran election watcher and analyst, also the founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
So, Larry, I always -- I always appreciate your perspective here.
So, the Democratic nominee Melanie Stansbury is responding to these attacks. She says this is a convenient political narrative that her opponent is using. She's basically tried to avoid talking about this, and there's a reason for it, right? Recent polling shows only about 20 percent of adults in the United States actually favor reducing funding for police and law enforcement.
So, when you look at a race, by the way, this district went overwhelmingly for Biden, what are you looking for overall and on this issue of defunding the police and Democrats?
LARRY SABATO, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: It's always a rough equivalent. We look at the actual percentages, and everything we've seen so far suggests that the Democratic candidate will in fact win, and probably comfortably. But if we are surprised, I don't think there will be a complete upset.
But let's say the margin is single digits instead of mid double digits, where it ought to be, then I think Democrats will say we've got to be more careful on this issue. Maybe we should talk about police reform, rather than defunding the police.
BURNETT: Yeah. I mean, as you point out, Biden won the district by 23 points. So, as you say, it's not so much whether the Democrat wins, although an upset would be stunning. It's the margin that will tell you so much.
So, you know, what does it tell you that the Republican in this race that was putting all bets of winning on this issue of defunding the police? You know, Mitch McConnell today making a point that this is the most crazy message he's ever heard a political party tried to say, as in, you know, defund the police. What do you take away here for the midterms?
SABATO: Well, they don't come up with this stuff by themselves. It's all polling. The background polling shows that this is potentially the most powerful issue they've got in the suburbs for 2022. And, remember, it was losing the suburbs that cost Republicans the House in 2018 and cost them the election overall in 2020.
So, they're going to try to get suburban voters back by driving a wedge between them and Democrats on the issue of crime.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I really appreciate your time as always, Larry.
SABATO: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: Everyone, keep a close eye on that. As I said, the margin for Joe Biden on this district was 23 points. And Deb Haaland herself won by 16 points before she was nominated for secretary of the interior. So, some of those -- those are the numbers to keep an eye as you watch this crucial election tonight.
And OUTFRONT next, exclusive video of how the U.S. and its allies are sending Russia message from thousands of miles -- of feet -- I'm sorry, from thousands of feet in the air, thousands of miles away. Take a look at this. You will see it in a moment.
BURNETT: Tonight, a show of force. The U.S. and NATO allies flying bombers over all 30 NATO countries in a joint operation intended to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin among -- amid rising tensions.
Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT and this is his exclusive report.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Twenty-seven thousand feet over Scotland, flying at 275 knots with British fighter jets for company.
A U.S. Air Force B-52 long-range Stratofortress bomber refueling on a flight from Spain before returning to a NATO mission, Operation Allied Sky taking aircraft within sight of Russia.
It's part of a large-scale NATO mission involving more than 20 NATO members flying over NATO states. And in part, it's a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Two weeks ahead of President Biden's summit with Vladimir Putin, it's a timely statement of the steel backing Biden's diplomacy. It puts NATO wings in the skies close to wear a Belarus fighter jet forced to civilian passenger plane to land, arresting a Belarusian dissident and his Russian girlfriend, raising tensions.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be meeting with President Putin in a couple weeks in Geneva, making it clear that we will -- we will not stand by and let him abuse those rights.
ROBERTSON: The U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker took off from southern England, half an hour ahead of the refuel. Both tanker and bomber, Cold War era aircraft, older than the crew, but with East/West tensions climbing, just as relevant as when they were built.
CAPTAIN TODD BERGLUND, U.S. AIR FORCE: It's interesting all the generations of pilots that have been able to fly it. It's updated every once in a while, but she is reliable and it's working. So, no real need to change it a lot.
ROBERTSON: The mission, according to NATO commanders, intended to demonstrate what they call credibility of common defense, and enhanced readiness.
For Captain Todd Berglund, a 6-year tanker veteran and his crew, this day like all others in the Stratotanker, nothing left to chance.
BERGLUND: We have to be at a certain place on time with the right amount of gas all the time. So, it's a bit more pressure, but we do it so often. It just kind of becomes a habit pattern. This is our profession, so it's what we do.
ROBERTSON: How much big NATO missions like this faze Putin is hard to measure. In a few weeks in Geneva, when they meet, Biden will be able to judge.
Nic Robertson, CNN, somewhere over the U.K.
BURNETT: Just fantastic and incredible to watch, that's just what we do.
Well, thanks very much for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.