Return to Transcripts main page
Erin Burnett Outfront
VP Harris Speaks After Meeting With Mexico's President, As GOP Criticizes Lack Of Visit To Southern Border; Biden, GOP End Infrastructure Talks With No Deal; Senate Report On January 6 Avoids Trump's Role In Inciting Riot; Richest Americans Including Bezos, Musk And Buffett Pay Little To No Income Tax, According To IRS Data Obtained By ProPublica; Warnings About New, Rapidly-Growing COVID Variant. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 08, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the last couple of months, we have convened some of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States who are all international in their footprint to see how they can extend the work they do in partnership with the United States government and the other friends we are bringing to the table.
Over the last couple of months, we have brought together civil society leaders both in the United States and those of Guatemala and I was privileged to be able to meet with them after our first meeting that was virtual in-person yesterday. The work we are doing includes reaching out through our UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to the United Nations to elicit, to solicit support and contributions from our friends around the globe, to renew their focus on this region of the country, understanding the needs that exists here, but also the capacity.
What has become clear to me during the course of this meeting and this trip is something I already knew, but has been reinforced, which we all understand. People have pride in the place they're from. People have pride in the place they're from.
And so when we're talking about the work that we are doing, we must approach it with an understanding of the capacity of people and not just their needs, understanding that they have pride associated with where they are from for good reason based on the history of those places, based on the culture of those places, based on the contributions that those places have made for thousands of years.
So this is the work that we have been doing. I'm proud to report that the agreements that we have reached, again, are the result of all of the work leading up to this week and they are very tangible and very specific. Do I declare this trip a success? Yes, I do. It is success in terms of a pathway that is about progress.
We have been successful and making progress. So as it relates to Guatemala, out of that trip, we came out of that trip with agreements to establish an anti-corruption Task Force. This was probably one of the dominant themes of my conversations with the variety of people we met within Guatemala, including concerns about those who are in exile from Guatemala in the United States, who I've also met with in convene.
Out of the trip to Guatemala, we have an agreement to create a smuggling and trafficking task force. Again, one of the issues not only there, but here in Mexico. And an issue I've worked on for a very long time in my career before I even reached the Senate, much less became vice president, the need to address the fact that there are some of our most vulnerable populations that are susceptible to abuse, and susceptible to fraud, and more horrible things as a result of the smuggling that we've been seeing.
From Guatemala, we came out of that with an agreement to create a young women's empowerment initiative and dedicating 40 million U.S. dollars to that initiative, why? I knew it before and it is not unique to this region, it is an issue in the United States as well, we need to do more as a globe and those of us who have resources need to do much more to invest in girls and women around the world.
We came out of that trip with an agreement to supply $48 million to Guatemala to support affordable housing, agribusiness and entrepreneurs. Again, I spoke of the young women that I met with who are entrepreneurs. I will tell you that one of the biggest basis for the economy in Guatemala is agriculture.
If you have ever met or know a farmer, you have met some of the most innovative people in the world because they have to adapt, because they have to be creative, because they have to be thoughtful about creating out of a situation that may be unpredictable, something that is productive. So we are investing in Guatemala in that regard.
In terms of our visit to Mexico, as you know I met with the President this morning, we had a long meeting, both he and I in-person one-on- one, and during the course of our bilateral meeting.
One of the first agreements that we've reached and there was a signing ceremony is a memorandum of understanding on how Mexico as a partner to the United States, will, with the United States, focus our resources on Central America, and in particular on three countries, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, where we understand the capacity that the United States and one of its closest neighbors, I joke our first cousin, Canadians are also a first cousin, how we can work together with the resources that we collectively have in this region to focus on Central America.
We came out of the bilateral today with the President of Mexico and his leading cabinet members with an understanding about what we are going to do in terms of an economic dialogue, which is going to include top members of the United States cabinet, working together with top leaders in Mexico to see how we can expand our economic relationship, understanding again the interdependence and the interconnection between the United States and Mexico when it comes to our economies.
We have seen over the course of history that there is a direct relationship when one is doing well, the other is doing well. And in fact with pride, I shared that OECD just recently announced that the United States is going to see an increase in our GDP of 6.9 percent, which will be the greatest growth that we've experienced in 40 years. We believe this prosperity will be shared just by the nature of it and can be shared with our neighbors and in particular our closest neighbors.
We talked about agreements around security. Again, the point about smuggling, but also the trafficking of guns, the trafficking of drugs, we had a specific conversation about Fentanyl and the need for security around the ports in Mexico, which the President is working on.
Understanding in large part it comes from China, enters through Mexico and goes north to the United States. And for those who are in the United States press, you know the damage it has done when it turns into opioids and the havoc it has caused in our country, the interconnection and the interdependency.
We came out of our meeting today also declaring and announcing today 130 million U.S. dollars that we are going to dedicate to the labor reform movement here in Mexico. President Joe Biden and I are proud of the fact that we will be the most pro-union administration we've seen. And that way, we see an alignment with the leadership in Mexico.
And so we took a meeting today and I took a meeting with leading labor activists, and professionals, lawyers and people who are organizing people on the ground to talk about how we can support understanding, again, the interconnection that we have between the United States and Mexico when it comes to our labor force.
So this is some of the work that we have done. The issues that are long standing by virtue of the nature of them are never going to be solved overnight. But it is important that we make progress. I remain optimistic about the potential for that progress. I also believe that if we see the capacity of the people, and if we invest in their capacity, we will see great returns on our investment. So with that, thank you all and I'm happy to take questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Our first question will come from Jeremy Diamond at CNN.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I just want to make sure I'm not blocking the whole camera. Vice President, thank you so much. I have a foreign policy and a domestic policy question, but just to clear something up that's been in the news for the last 24 hours or so, can you commit right now that you will indeed visit the U.S.- Mexico border and will you do it soon?
HARRIS: Jeremy, let me tell you something, yes, I will and I have before. Listen, anybody, especially if you're from California, you know I've spent a lot of time on the border both going there physically and aware of the issues. But the reality of it is that we need to prioritize what's happening at the border and we have to prioritize why people are going to the border.
[19:10:04] And so let's talk about what's going on in the places that are causing
the issue at the border. I think it's short-sighted for any of us who are in the business of problem solving to suggest we're only going to respond to the reaction as opposed to addressing the cause.
And that's just a fact if we want to - we all know that in our lives, in our personal lives - if you want to deal with the effects of a problem, then you have to go to the core of what is causing it and so that is the approach we are taking.
When the President asked me to deal with this issue, it was about addressing the root causes of migration. And the root causes are based on the problems and the challenges that people are facing in countries like Guatemala, which is why I was there. And why I spent time there.
DIAMOND: Thanks for that. You said repeatedly in Guatemala that you wanted to provide a message of hope.
DIAMOND: But you also came with a warning, you said do not come. And you warned that would-be migrants would be turned away at the border. Why did you feel it was important to relay that message while in Guatemala? And are you worried that it may have drowned out your message of hope?
And then on the domestic policy front, Sen. Joe Manchin has said that he opposes the For the People Act, and that he 'will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster'. Given Sen. Manchin's position on that and the current makeup of the Senate, what is your vehicle for moving forward on voting rights in Congress and is it time for you to perhaps look outside of Congress for progress on that issue? Thank you.
HARRIS: I know our capacity to give people hope in that region and in particular those three countries in Central America, and I have no question in my mind that the work that we have done, including the agreements that I've announced today, much less what will come of those agreements in terms of the work ahead is going to have a very positive impact. It may not be evidenced overnight, but it will have a positive impact.
When we look at what is happening in terms of the experience of people who are fleeing their home country, traveling through the entire country of Mexico to come to our border. It can be a very treacherous and dangerous trek and I don't take that lightly. I don't take that lightly.
But the reality of it is that we have to address the root causes of why they are fleeing. And, again, I will tell you over and over again with the people that I've met during this trip, who represent a broad swath of people of every stature, every cohort, if you will, from the indigenous people and representatives and leaders in Guatemala to Afro descendants to people who represent LGBTQ individuals who have been the subject of persecution. Whoever I meet, what they will say is that ultimately, they want to be
safe at home. They want to be safe economically, meaning they want to be secure. They want to have corruption addressed, so that it doesn't impede their ability to get the resources the government should provide to its people and so that's been the focus.
On the issue of voting rights, the legislation is critically important and we have been as an administration, the President has been unambiguous that S1, one the For the People Act is to be passed. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act needs to be passed.
What we are seeing around the country, our attempts to interfere with a fundamental right of the American people, which is a foundation of our democracy. And by the way, this is not even a bipartisan issue. From my perspective, it is non-partisan.
What they're trying to do these efforts to suppress or make it more difficult for people to vote will impact a wide variety of people, whoever they voted for in the last election, early voting, vote by mail, drop boxes, those boxes don't have assigned Democrat or Republican.
So we're going to keep pushing for what we need to do to push back and to stop these efforts to suppress the vote and to infringe on the American people's right to vote. So there's the legislation, there is the work that we are doing and we will continue to do of uplifting the issue so that we can make sure everyone is aware of what is happening and that's about the bully pulpit. That's about elevating public discourse around the issue.
We will, and the President has announced this in terms of executive orders, we're going to encourage folks to register to vote and continue to remind people that in this day and age, I spoke earlier about a new era, and the President talks about it all the time. Part of this new era is a debate that is occurring around the world about the relative strength or weakness of autocracies versus democracies. That's real.
And one of America's strengths has always been that we can hold ourselves out in the world and then hopefully travel to places where we have some level of respect, because we say that we are a democracy and we are true to our democratic values. And again, one of the most fundamental of them free and fair elections, people have the right to vote and it is unimpeded.
So there's a lot at stake on this issue. That is about the legislation, but it is also about fundamental rights. And so we're not giving up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Our next question will come from Tarini Parti from The Wall Street Journal.
HARRIS: Where are you (inaudible)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm in the back, ma'am.
HARRIS: OK. There you are.
TARINI PARTI, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Vice President Harris, in your conversations on this trip, have you made any commitments to expanding legal pathways for migrants including work permits or for asylum seekers to apply from their home countries? And related to that, did you come to any agreements with President Lopez Obrador on Mexico taking back more asylum-seeking families who are turned away from the U.S. on the basis of Title 42?
HARRIS: So we had discussions that were about the need, for example, to re-examine travel restrictions. And there was an announcement after my meeting with President Lopez Obrador that you may be aware of, where we are setting up a working group to actually address that and figure out how we can move forward in that regard.
There was a discussion about also what Mexico will do in terms of increasing its temporary work visas for people entering Mexico through its southern border. There were no promises made or any commitments, but we did have the discretion.
PARTI: (Inaudible) ...
HARRIS: We did not discuss Title 42.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Our next question will come from Maria Fernanda at Univision.
MARIA FERNANDA, UNIVISION: Thank you, Madam Vice President. For me, it's an honor because I actually got to vote for the first time as a nationalized citizen and I voted for you.
HARRIS: Thank you.
FERNANDA: So my question is what would you say to these women, those mothers and also women of color on both sides of the border farmers, many of them who I see every day as a message of hope, but also was what will you do for them in the next coming years?
HARRIS: That's a great question and thank you. It was actually the subject of both days and a priority for me to convene women leaders to talk about exactly this issue. And again, this is not unique to any one region.
We can look around the world and see that there is still so much work to be done to fight for the equality of women to fight against the disparities that exist in every sector, be it education or the economy. And to your point, to give people hope in the process of doing that.
What we saw in Guatemala, for example, where and it actually was a theme that is in the United States, in Guatemala and in here, access to capital, big issue. Are women given equal access to capital, to the financial resources they need to invest in their own entrepreneurship in a way that they can achieve economic health and success. It's an issue that we have discussed in the United States. In fact, I'm working on this as it relates to our CDFIs, our community banks, but it is an issue here as well.
So the work that we are doing in terms of our women, young women empowerment, which young women of every age in Guatemala is about a number of things, including looking at the issue of access to capital, the conversations that I had there included that women - if they don't have collateral, we're not given a loan. But because of certain customs and the way things work out, they may not have title to the collateral that otherwise would be the basis of the loan.
There were discussions about the interest rates that are being charged. Here we talked, just in this room, with women entrepreneurs about a very similar issue and what we can do to also use technology to get direct relationships with these women and connect them with financing institutions.
This is some of the work that I've been doing in convening the CEOs in the U.S. including folks like MasterCard and Microsoft who are interested in growing the capacity in terms of their digital health of these women so that we can do online banking, it's called FinTech, financial and technology.
I will also say that in my experience having done this work for many years, there's a direct connection between that and what we see in terms of violence against women. So it is a fact that a woman will endure almost any abuse, if it means making sure her children are fed and there's a roof over their head.
And one of the best ways we can ensure that women have power and agency in those situations is to make sure they have economic independence so they can make the choices about where they are and they don't have to accept a false choice of either feeding their children or endorsing abuse.
And so when we look around the world, we know that that is true and that these issues are connected and so let's see the interconnection because part of the focus for us in this region is about violence. We talk about safety and security. Well, when we do that, let's also always remember the violence against women and children and usually disproportionately so. And so there are many avenues through which we can address that and economic empowerment is one of them, so thank you for that question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our next question will come from Monica Alba at NBC.
MONICA ALBA, NBC POLITICAL REPORTER: Thank you. Madam Vice President, yesterday said you didn't want to focus on grand gestures as it related to potentially visiting the U.S.-Mexico border. And today, just now you've stated more definitively that you will be going.
So can you help us understand how this trip in particular to Guatemala and Mexico helped shift your thinking on that position in particular? And now that you've seen the root causes of migration and where that journey begins for many, how soon will you go to see where it ends for many of them as well?
HARRIS: The issue of root causes is not going to be solved in one trip. That took two days. This is an issue that is long standing, it's in many cases generational. It is not a new issue for the United States to feel the effects of those root causes on our shores. It is not new for us to experience that people will come to the United States if they are fleeing situations where they cannot feed their children.
So this work is the work that must be done with a commitment to going deep and making the commitment over a period of time knowing that nothing that we can do will address it overnight. So that is my perspective on this issue. And I am committed to doing what is necessary in the time that we have to deal with the complexities of this.
It would do a disservice to the issue itself, the issue at the border. It would do a disservice to the issue itself if that is the issue that that concerns some to address the root causes as though it's something that can be dealt with overnight. That's my perspective.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And our last question ...
ALBA: (Inaudible) on the unification task force report that your administration put out (inaudible) ...
HARRIS: I'm sorry, on the what?
ALBA: ... on the unification task force report ...
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. You're listening to the Vice President Kamala Harris. She is in Mexico City talking about the situation on the Southern Border taking reporter questions. You just heard her there talking about going to the border.
Our Jeremy Diamond was just in that press conference and also asking her about whether the Vice President will go to the border here for the first time as vice president. It's been something that's been asked a lot and the answer now is yes, she will and she said soon.
Gloria Borger is with me now. Gloria, Harris is walking real tightrope on this issue and you heard the NBC reporter asking that question as well. She doesn't want the focus to be on the optics, but yet this has become a crucial question.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Look, she's made it very clear that she doesn't want to go to the border for a photo op, my words, not hers. And throughout this entire press conference, what she said is that you have to address the root causes of the migration at the border and that she'd been to the border many times as a member of Congress from California, et cetera.
[19:25:03] But she said the only way to fix the problem is to understand the
problem and the only way to understand the problem is to try and figure out, as she said over and over again, why people want to come to this country. She said, they don't leave their countries easily.
BORGER: They love their countries and most of them want to go back. So you have to understand and that's what she was trying to do on this trip, try and understand what causes them to try and come here under such duress, under such strain to make such difficult trips. So she wasn't having any of it. She didn't say, yes, I should have gone there or I'll go there tomorrow.
BORGER: Eventually, I'm sure we'll see her there.
BURNETT: Right. Although there is still the question about what exactly they're going to do about it. And one thing she talked about there is we're giving $130 million dollars to Mexican labor unions which I'm sure some on the left may applaud, but nonetheless raises questions about what that really has to do with root problems or all of these other issues. I mean, there's no specifics yet and I understand she's saying this is a fact-finding experience, but no specifics yet on what they're doing to address those root causes.
BORGER: Right, there isn't. And I think quite honestly that's where they have a bit of a problem, but it has come from the President. And I think what she's got to do, as vice president not president, is go back, tell the President what her conversations were this week. Tell them what she found. And then I assume we'll be hearing more and more.
But when she says it's a fact-finding mission, I think that's exactly what it was.
BURNETT: Right. All right. Gloria, thank you very much.
BURNETT: I appreciate that. And more breaking news, the Vice President's press conference in Mexico City happening as the top domestic item on President Biden and her agenda hits a brick wall. All right. And we use those words a little bit tongue-in-cheek here, but talks between Biden and Shelley Moore Capito, which is the GOP's point person on infrastructure, you see her there with the President, falling apart tonight.
A source telling CNN that Biden broke off the talks as White House officials viewed the negotiations as dead in the water, with Biden willing to make far more concessions with Republicans and certainly he had all the way through. He cut the price tag almost in half, because of Republicans and his own Sen. Joe Manchin.
Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT. So Kaitlan, this is significant when they're saying all right we throw our hands up. This is the kind of go it alone path. What does that look like? Where does the White House go from here?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now they say they are going to talk to that bipartisan group of senators that had essentially been working on plan B this whole time in case they found themselves in this scenario where the White House and those talks with Sen. Capito and that group did collapse.
Of course, they now have, it was kind of writing on the wall as of Friday when you saw President Biden reject Capito's latest offer and then she said today, she did not plan to make a new offer when they spoke again and that was a conversation that only lasted for about five minutes or so, Erin.
But I think all of this is complicated by the fact that you are seeing President Biden leave early tomorrow morning to go on his first foreign trip. But the White House says he is going to stay in touch with those key senators that are working on this new proposal.
And he also spoke to several notable figures as well, including Sen. Manchin, Sen. Sinema, Sen. Cassidy as well today, encouraging them to keep working with Democrats and Republicans on trying to cobble together some kind of an infrastructure proposal that they can actually get passed.
But whether or not that actually happens is far from certain, Erin, because we also heard from sources that today in the Senate Democrats lunch, they said that, essentially progressive members argued that don't just think we're automatically going to get on board with whatever proposal the bipartisan groups come to, because you have heard the frustrations of people like Sen. Bernie Sanders saying that they don't think they can get 10 Republican votes on the infrastructure proposal that they want to see the kind of big sweeping package.
And so I think this is going to be really complicated and delicate and we've seen this negotiations take forth. The White House says President Biden will stay in touch with the key figures while he is overseas and his aides here are going to continue those conversations in-person.
But Erin, it does come amid this backdrop of where you are seeing the most ambitious parts of President Biden's agenda and Democrats' agenda really meet the reality of the slim majorities that they do have in the House and certainly in the Senate.
And so that is the question going forward of how this affects his agenda and what it's ultimately going to look like and what the infrastructure proposal will look like, because we know several Democrats want to make it a Democrat-only bill so they can make it as big and broad as they'd like to see it.
BURNETT: Yes. It's certainly hitting a real wall there with the numbers and not even having everyone on board within their own party. Kaitlan, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
And OUTFRONT next, the new Senate report on the deadly Capitol attack won't even call it an insurrection or hold Donald Trump accountable. The longtime partner of fallen Officer Brian Sicknick is OUTFRONT to respond.
Plus, a new report reveals how much the world's richest people pay in taxes, and it is stunning. Jeff Bezos was not a penny in federal income taxes in two years. And he is far from alone.
And Dr. Fauci warning a highly contagious COVID variant that originated in India cannot be allowed to become the dominant strain in the United States. But as the U.S. reopens in force (ph), are we prepared?
BURNETT: Tonight, not telling the whole story. The first major report on the January 6th insurrection is out, this is, it is called examining the U.S. Capitol attack, 127 pages. But it doesn't even try to tell the whole story because in order to get the Republican Caucus to buy into this bipartisan report, history was whitewashed, just a simple case in point.
You won't find the word "insurrection" used to describe the attack in here, it's only use the footnotes or in a quote attributed to someone else. It actually does not describe the events as an insurrection.
And just to be clear, the definition of insurrection, according to Merriam-Webster is, quote, an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government -- which is exactly what happened that day.
So, given that such a crucial word is excluded, you obviously cannot call this report examining the Capitol attack, if you're not willing to call that attack what it was, an insurrection. Which is something Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to call the attack when asked about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Look, I've said a lot about that already, I said on January 6th, I said it again February 13th. I've covered that comprehensively, and I really don't think there's anything I can add.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Today's report also almost completely avoids Trump's role in inciting the insurrection. And this is really crucial, because if you're looking at, you know, a review of the response failures, and what -- why people didn't know things at certain times, you've got to look at the history of the big lie.
On page 22, it says, following the state certification, President Trump continued to assert the election was stolen from him. His statements focused on the January 6th counting of the Electoral College votes during a joint session of Congress. And further down the page, quote, President Trump began his address just before noon. During the next 75 minutes, the president continued his claims of election fraud and encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol.
Now, this is really crucial, because that's as far as it goes. It doesn't actually say that that claim was false, that it was a lie. This is really, really important, it doesn't actually detail that Trump told that claim again and again and again, for months leading up to, right? And even after the election.
Here's just a sample of Trump whipping up his supporters into a frenzy for months before the election, ending -- ending with what they briefly mentioned here, his comments on the day of the insurrection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not going to lose this, except if they cheat.
But you have to fight hard, then you fight hard and you hit them back.
This election was a fraud, it was a rigged election, I mean, I hate to say it but this was a rigged -- at the highest level, it was a rigged election.
This is our country that they are trying -- and you know this and you see it, but they're trying to take it from us through rigging fraud, deception and deceit. Now is the time to fight harder, than ever before.
If you don't fight to save your country with everything you have, you're not going to have a country left.
We're going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help, which we're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Months, months, and so many more where they came from, none of those lies, those quotes, none of Trump's calls to fight are mentioned in the report. It is pretty clear that most Republicans have no appetite to fully investigate what the truth is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think there needs to be further investigation to like the origins and Trump's role in all of this?
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): No, I don't actually.
RAJU: Why is that? LANKFORD: I think that's been fully explored. At this point, you're getting into political voyeurism at this point rather than actually trying to figure out what we're trying to discern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That was Senator James Lankford, the man, you know, suggesting to be voyeurism to investigate the origins of the attack, to put a formal version in the history books, voyeurism.
But Lankford is not the only Republican who has no interest now in exploring the truth. Many Republicans for months have been trying to whitewash the events of that day, insisting that it was not an effort to undermine American democracy but something far less sinister.
I want to play for you what some of these members of Congress have actually said, okay? So, you're going to see that, then on the right- hand side of your screen, you're going to see what actually happened that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): It was not an insurrection, and we cannot call it that and be truthful.
If you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The DOJ is harassing peaceful patriots across the country.
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Some people stood out, very few didn't share the jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor of the greater majority.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are listening to Trump, your boss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: In a moment, I'm going to speak to the longtime partner of Officer Brian Sicknick, he died after responding to the insurrection.
First, I begin with Whitney Wild, with what is in the report.
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shocking and damning, and you send a report is detailing the catastrophic operational and intelligence breakdowns within Hill security and intelligence agencies.
SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI): It was widely known that it would be a very likely violent crowd that was coming to Washington, D.C. WILD: The 127-page report shows U.S. Capitol police knew in December
about pro-Trump blog post urging people to confront members of Congress and to carry firearms to the protests. The report goes on to say that Capitol police failed to share intelligence of possible violence on January 6th, with their own officers and other law enforcement partners.
A December 21st report flagged a map of the Capitol campus, about 30 screenshots of comments on a pro-Donald Trump Web sites, such as, bring guns, it's now or never, and surround every building with a tunnel entrance/exit.
Further, the department couldn't say how many officers responded to the Capitol, and Capitol police leadership gave only one radio command while other officers shouted for help.
POLICE OFFICER: You're going to need to get us more help up here. We don't have enough people to hold the line.
WILD: The report also says too many Capitol police officers lacked riot training, proper equipment and leadership on the ground, the day of the insurrection. One officer has reportedly been heard on the radio asking, does anybody have a plan?
PETERS: Clearly a failure of leadership.
WILD: The report points out intelligence agencies struggled with whether extreme comments were protected or constituted real threats. The Department of the Defense was criticized too. The report states DOD and DCNG, the D.C. National Guard, have conflicting records of when orders and authorizations were given. And no one could explain why DCNG did not deploy until after 5:00 p.m.
SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): It is important to know a real cause of anything, period.
WILD (on camera): Erin, the Capitol Police Department was heavily criticized in this report. They are responding tonight saying that basically, there is no agency that they were working, with no law enforcement partner who could've predicted that this many people would descend in such a violent way on the Capitol.
They insist, Erin, after all of this evidence, that they had intelligence suggesting they would be severe violence by a lot of people in the Capitol. They still insist that there is no intelligence to support the conclusion, that would ended up happening would possibly happen, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Whitney, thank you very much for your reporting.
And I want to go OUTFRONT now to Sandra Garza, longtime partner of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. He was attacked by protesters outside the Capitol on January 6th and later died.
And, Sandra, I appreciate you speaking out. I know it is incredibly hard to do so, and you are doing so to make a difference and to make sure people understand what happened, that the truth matters.
So when you hear what's in this report, the Capitol Police Intelligence Unit had specific information in mid-December, about a threat on January 6th. Didn't warn the rest of the department.
The Federal Intelligence Committee failed to warn as well, so Capitol Police weren't prepared.
What's your reaction?
SANDRA GARZA, PARTNER OF FALLEN CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: You know, honestly, I look at it a little bit differently here. I don't think that it's all Capitol Police's fault, as far as a failure of intelligence. I mean, I also don't blame, you know, other law enforcement agencies. I mean, let's face it, the Secret Service clearly didn't get the memo either, they had the vice president in the building.
You know, I did read in the report that and I don't know the reasons but it appears that the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, has not given the committee of the information they need. I don't know with that's about, but I do know that the FBI in particular, as well as some of these sister agencies have been working diligently, incredibly hard to bring these people to justice, that assaulted officers, brutally that day. Going through all of that footage, throughout the entire Capitol grounds an inside, was a heck of a job and I commend them for that.
So I don't know if it's an issue of timing, that they're just trying to gather all of this information, and get a proper response to them or if it's fear. The way I look at this as well, is every experience, even though this was a terrible experience, I personally -- and I certainly don't want to speak for all of the family members that have lost loved ones.
The officers themselves -- I mean, I'm not in their job, they were actually the ones with the boots on the ground. They're the ones that have to, or have had to deal with leadership throughout their time working as officers there. So, I certainly don't want to speak for them. But personally, for me, I look at it as let's look at this, see what we can do better and fix it.
I think if they take too much of a punitive approach, I think that's when people get really scared.
GARZA: And then we're not going to make any progress. Maybe some of these people are not wanting to come forward because they're terrified.
BURNETT: It's very possible. I mean, you know, as you look at this, you know, I was going through obviously Trump's role in inciting that this was not part of this report, really in any meaningful way at all.
I know that you and Officer Sicknick did support former President Trump. You mentioned, you know, recently, that Officer Sicknick had Donald Trump's personal plane on the background as his background on his Twitter page, right? He was a supporter, and I know that you were a supporter because you believed in blue lives matter, you believed in the former president's defense of law enforcement.
BURNETT: What do you think about this report that it just doesn't look at Trump's role and what happened that day?
GARZA: That bothers me immensely, and I think it goes back to, you know, why Gladys and I were up on Capitol Hill, and we were meeting with these senators, the Republican senators to, you know, have them do this full 9/11-style commission. Because we do need to get to the bottom of what happened.
Yes, this report that came out is important, and we can glean a lot of good information from it.
But we need to go deeper than that. I know Gladys feels the same way I do. We want that 9/11 style commission, and, you know, to hear Mitch McConnell asking his colleagues well, do me a personal favor and vote no on this, that's appalling. That's atrocious, it's reprehensible.
You know, why doesn't he say that to Officer Liebengood's family? Or Officer Jeffrey Smith's family? Okay? Or the numerous officers who were injured that day.
I believe one officer lost an eye, or Officer Hodges who almost lost his life that day, almost being crushed to death, you know? Or even myself, I was not working for two months because I was so devastated and broken up over Brian's death. I actually carried a lot of guilt, Brian and I, I had made the decision to take a break in our relationship and, so, you know, six months before he passed away.
So I was absolutely broken, devastated. You know, I mean, it's just absolutely atrocious and it makes me even angrier, and they're doing this to protect Donald Trump, you know? And so, for Trump to say -- and I watched his speech in North Carolina, for him to say he loves America? That he's a patriot, it's disgusting.
The patriots are people like Representative Liz Cheney, Representative Adam Kinzinger, and all the senators that voted yes. Those are the true patriots. Those are the people that love America.
And, by the way, I said on that interview with CBS, I had said that I would be willing to meet with Trump, not because I want to sit down and have tea and cookies with him, no, but because I want answers. And the rest of the officers and the families, we deserve answers.
I'm going to slam him with hard questions. I'm not intimidated by Donald Trump like some of his people on Capitol Hill are. So I have absolutely no respect for these people. They are selling their souls for power, for reelection, and like Gladys had said in an earlier interview, to line their pockets. It's disgusting.
BURNETT: Well, you and Gladys, Brian's mother, are making such a difference. I appreciate you speaking out, Sandra. I look forward to continuing to speak with you until we get answers.
GARZA: Thank you.
BURNETT: And I thank you so much --
GARZA: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: -- for the bravery and doing that.
GARZA: Thank you, Erin, for having me. Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, some of the richest people in the world, Americans paying no taxes. The reporter who broke that story is next.
And new details about COVID's origins from a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter.
BURNETT: New tonight, tax secrets of the beyond rich.
A stunning new report by "ProPublica" based on 15 years of confidential IRS documents that reporters obtained reveals just how little some of the world's richest people pay in taxes, if anything at all, like Amazon's Jeff Bezos. He is the richest person on the planet. "ProPublica" reporting he did not pay a penny in federal income taxes in either 2007 or 2011.
The second richest person on the planet, Elon Musk, also didn't pay any federal income tax in 2018, according to the report.
Others joining the club in recent years, according to "ProPublica", former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, twice, and George Soros, three years in a row.
OUTFRONT now, one of the reporters behind this incredible reporting, Jesse Eisinger.
And, Jesse, I really appreciate your time. So, your report, I just want to make a point to everyone, is unprecedented. We've never seen real tax information from any of these people before.
It's all been, you know, estimates and guesses, but you've got the goods. You've got a treasure trove, documents from 15 years from the IRS.
The major takeaway, you went through the 25 richest people. They paid little if anything in taxes. I know you spent months going through this data.
What surprised you the most?
JESSE EISINGER, PROPUBLICA SENIOR REPORTER & EDITOR: Well, that's exactly right. I mean, the first surprising thing was that we got this enormous trove, one of the largest troves ever in the history of the federal government data.
The first thing that shocks who is some of these guys can pay zero in taxes. And I think everyone is a little bit cynical and thinks that the rich can get away, but I think very few people would have thought that Bezos would pay zero in federal income taxes for two years, or Elon Musk in 2018, zero, and on and on.
But I think the larger thing here is that you and I and most of the viewers are in a tax system. We get salaries. We get our taxes extracted from that, and these guys are completely outside the system.
When you're ultra wealthy, you are outside the tax system as it's constructed in America today.
BURNETT: So, this is what's fascinating. So, OK, you mentioned Jeff Bezos. Let's start with him. He is going to space next month. You mentioned he didn't pay federal income taxes in two years.
So, what you reported I think is so crucial. So, I just kind of try to summarize it here. In a 4-year period, his wealth grows by $99 billion. His wealth grows by $99 billion, but the income that is taxable was only $4.2 billion, and on that, he paid $973 million in taxes.
So, you look at that and do the math and say, well, the tax rate in terms of what he paid versus how much wealth he had his 0.98 percent. That is pretty stunning. I mean, this like I know is -- you know, we tax income in America. We don't tax wealth. That's obviously one of the things that stands out there.
EISINGER: Yeah, absolutely. That is the message, is we do not tax wealth growth, so that's 98 cents on every hundred dollars that his wealth grows.
And what you really see there is how little income he takes. So he's got almost $100 billion in wealth growth, but he is only taking 4 percent of that in income.
So what happens with the super wealthy is that they take income at the time and place of their choosing, and sometimes they don't take any income at all. Warren Buffett takes very little income. Elon Musk took very little income very often.
What happens is some of these guys, many of these guys, instead of taking income, they borrow against their stock. They borrow and they pay a little bit of interest on that borrowing and they don't have to sell and they don't have to pay taxes on the sale of their stock, and they are in a system that allows them to do it, and it circumvents the entirety of our tax approach where -- BURNETT: Yeah. Well, as you point out, they don't -- you know, loans
are not counted as income. So you can take the loan at a lower rate, make a higher rate on your investments, and there is no income in that transaction.
So, I mean, I think that is important to make the point that what you are reporting happening here is it's legal. It's the way the system works.
I mean, Warren -- I'm sure if there's anything illegal as you say, you're going to be going through this data all year. But you mentioned Warren Buffett and he stands out, you know, reporting on him over the years, Jesse. He paid what you call a true tax rate of 0.1 percent, which shows what Buffett himself has said for years is true, including about his own assistants tax rate compared to his. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN BUFFETT, BILLIONAIRE INVESTOR: Debbie works just as hard as I do, and she pays twice the rate I pay. I think that's outrageous.
I think we should raise taxes on the very rich and I think maybe we should cut taxes for the middle class.
The wealthy are definitely under taxed relative to the general public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Warren Buffett responded in detail to your reporting, Jesse. What did he say?
EISINGER: Well, it's very, very interesting, because Buffett talks about his tax rate, and he talks about it on taxable income, and his tax rate is relatively low compared to the average secretary or working person. But that's basically irrelevant for Warren Buffett, because his true tax rate, what we are calling the true tax rate, is the taxes that he pays on his wealth growth, and he takes so little income, and it's taxed at a relatively low rate, that he doesn't really stand in the system at all.
So, when he talks about raising income tax rates or even capital gains tax rates, it's basically irrelevant for someone like Buffett, because he doesn't take income and he doesn't really take capital gains.
Now, what he said was, among other things, he said, I'm going to give 99 percent plus of my fortune to charity when I die, and that's quite admirable. Most people think it's admirable to give to philanthropy. What he also said was, I prefer to give to philanthropy than to pay China interest on our debt.
And a lot of us would prefer to pay our tax dollars to the things we want. We want bridges. We want schools. We don't want the military.
We want to have a stronger defense, but I don't want to pay for Social Security. But we don't have that choice.
EISINGER: You and I don't have a choice about how to allocate our money. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, these guys stand outside the tax system and they get to decide in an undemocratic way --
EISINGER: -- what they think is best for society.
BURNETT: Jesse, thank you very much.
EISINGER: Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: And now for tonight's "Inside Look". A rapidly growing coronavirus strain called the Delta variant, it was first identified in India, could increase hospitalization risks. Dr. Anthony Fauci warning tonight that it cannot be allowed to become dominant in the U.S., which, of course, it's hard to imagine not happening given that, you know, the masks are off everywhere and things are reopening.
OUTFRONT now, Lawrence Wright. He's a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of the new book, "The Plague Year: America in the Time of COVID."
So, Lawrence, given what you know from your reporting and writing this book on America's handling of the pandemic, do you have confidence that the U.S. is prepared for what looks to be what we're being warned from multiple scientists is a more severe variant?
LAWRENCE WRIGHT, AUTHOR OF "THE PLAGUE YEAR": Not at all. Nor is any nation for that matter. What we are learning about this particular virus, for instance, is it's going to be with us probably forever, constantly mutating, finding new forms. And, moreover, it's just one of the many.
If you just look back since the turn of the century, we've had Ebola and SARS and Zika and West Nile disease, you know, one after another. We are facing a cascade of new viruses, in part because of our encroachment into formerly, you know, sanctuaries for animals, and also because of the global warming that is chasing animals out of their habitats, and this margin between civilization and the animal world is the focus for a lot of these new diseases.
BURNETT: So, in your book, you dedicate an entire chapter specifically to the virus's origins, including discussing the lab leak theory, right, about the Wuhan lab. Now, you noted --
BURNETT: -- that the scientific consensus was that the virus likely developed naturally from animals to humans. But you write and I quote you here, Lawrence, pathogens do escape from labs, even highly secure ones.
Do you think that we'll ever know definitively where this deadly virus that frankly has changed our lives in this world originated?
WRIGHT: Well, we might if they find it -- you know, a very similar, a highly similar virus in bats or intermediate animals, it might be enough evidence to say yes, it was natural. But that hasn't been found, and it's not like SARS where they found it in bats and civet cats. This virus seemed to have sprung fully formed, ready to infect people almost perfectly.
So, that's what adds suspicion, along with the lack of transparency from the Chinese. So, if it's a lab leak, I don't think we're going to be able to find out about that, because the Chinese are keeping such wraps on it. But if it's natural origin, well, yes, we may find that out.
BURNETT: So, you know, you talk about China and how they've withheld such vital information at the onset. And they did, right? You write that the former CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield, spoke in early January with his Chinese counterpart, Dr. George Gao. And Gao tells Redfield there's no evidence that it spreads between people, human to human transition.
So, then you write in your reporting, Lawrence, in another conversation that first week of the New Year, Dr. Gao started to cry, I think we're too late, he told Redfield. We are too late.
Lawrence, how less catastrophic would this pandemic be if China had just been transparent at the beginning?
WRIGHT: It could have made a huge difference, Erin. If they had disclosed, and, you know, they never disclosed the virus circulating, that was something that Taiwan discovered. If they had been forthright, transparent, if they had allowed international authorities in, for instance, you know, when Redfield asked to send a CDC team, the Chinese authorities wouldn't allow it.
Had they done so, they would have found out it was communicable between people, they would have found out that it would spread asymptomatically. We didn't know those things.
BURNETT: You know, Lawrence, thank you so much. I hope everyone gets your -- I will read anything you write. I thought your fiction book which I read at the worst time of the pandemic, but I thought it was incredible how prescient all of what you said was. I hope everyone reads it, and I always appreciate having you. Thanks.
WRIGHT: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And thanks to all of you.
Anderson starts now.