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Erin Burnett Outfront

Doctor Falsely Testifies Vaccines Magnetize People as Highly Contagious Variant Spreads in U.S. and Vaccinations Plummet; Doctor Absurdly Tells Lawmakers that People Exposed to Vaccinated People are Suffering Strokes, Bloody Noses & Eyes; State Rep. Beth Liston (D-OH) Discusses About Misinformation Spread by Medical Professionals; White House: Biden Will Have "Direct & Candid" Face-to-Face with Putin; Autopsy: Andrew Brown Jr. Died from Gunshot to Back of Head. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired June 10, 2021 - 19:00   ET



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BLITZER: And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, conspiracy call out. A doctor testifying to lawmakers that the COVID vaccine can make a person magnetic. This as vaccination rates in the United States plummet. And officials warned the Delta variant could threaten America's return to normal.

Plus, breaking news, a bipartisan group of senators say they have a deal on infrastructure. OK, that's great. But they got to have the votes overall to get it passed. Do they have them?

And Trump's grip on the Republican Party has become so strong that he's turned Mar-A-Lago into the center of the GOP universe. New details ahead. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, watch out for the wing nuts. As the vaccination rate in the United States plummets. Officials are fighting dangerous and absurd conspiracy theories about vaccines. The misinformation hitting a fever pace at a critical time when the spread of the Delta variant first identified in India is getting worse in the United States.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: This variant is even more transmissible than the U.S. variant which is more transmissible than the version of the virus we were dealing with last year. And there's also some concern that it may be more dangerous as well. It's yet another reason to get vaccinated quickly. But for those who are unvaccinated, they are increasingly at risk as more and more variants develop.


BURNETT: More transmissible, of course, will mean more people will die if they're not vaccinated. The Delta variant now accounts for 6 percent of sequenced cases in the United States. That's according to Dr. Fauci at the NIH.

Now, you may say, oh, 6 percent. Well, that was a similar tipping point for that very same variant in the U.K. OK. So they hit 6 percent, ah, what are we going to do? Well, guess what? Now that variant is responsible for 91 percent of new cases in the U.K. That's what more transmissible means.

And in fact, it is spreading so fast there that officials may decide not to ease more restrictions as planned in 11 days, so there goes freedom day. That is why health officials in the United States are trying to stop the dramatic decline, the rate of people getting vaccinated.

But this message is facing stiff headwinds because of, Frankly, I don't even know how this stuff even happens that somebody who says these things would be - testify that someone who says these things would be a doctor, but this is what you're about to hear. A doctor who was called to testify by Ohio State Republicans trying to pass a bill that includes blocking employers from mandating vaccinations and banning requirements that unvaccinated people wear masks. Here is Dr. Sheri Tenpenny.


DR. SHERI TENPENNY, DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE: I'm sure you've seen the pictures all over the internet of people who've had these shots and now they're magnetized and put a key on their forehead, it sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they can stick, because now we think that there's a metal piece to that.


BURNETT: You just heard that, right? That just happened. That was testimony, called by people who are elected to serve in a state government. That was a doctor from a state where less than half of the population is even vaccinated. Testifying that getting the vaccine turns you magnetic and it did not take long for others to echo that testimony. Here's a nurse at that very same hearing.


JOANNA OVERHOLT, REGISTERED NURSE: Yes, vaccines do you harm people. By the way, so I just found out something when I was on lunch, and I want to show it to you. We were talking about Dr. Tenpenny's testimony about magnetic vaccine crystals. So, this is what I found out, so I have a key and a bobby pin here. Explain to me why the key sticks to me. It sticks to my neck too (inaudible). Yes, so if somebody can explain this that would be great. Any questions?


BURNETT: OK. So, you saw that for yourself. Lest there be any doubt about what's happening here, the CDC actually had to knock down this on its website. I mean, this is like people can go out and say, hey, the sky is green, and I have to like somehow prove that it isn't green. That's the world that we're living in now. Can receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to be magnetic, that actually got put on the CDC website after this. The answer, no.

And that is not the only thing said in that hearing today.


STATE REP. BETH LISTON (D-OH): To be clear, the symptoms that you're talking about were reports that you're getting from people who weren't vaccinated, but who had been around others who had been vaccinated.

TENPENNY: That's correct. Lots of kids now getting bloody noses and bloody eyes being around teachers that have been injected.


And they're now starting to actually look at why is that and that's where the concept of something is being transmitted. They're getting bleeding. They're getting strokes. They're getting heart attacks. I have a really good friend whose mother got a shot because she wanted to go to a nephew's wedding. The dad, her father, did not get it. Two weeks later, the father had a stroke. There's thousands of these reports.


BURNETT: Two weeks later, she says, because she got a vaccine? OK. That was Democratic State Representative Beth Liston who is also a doctor questioning Dr. Tenpenny and I'm going to speak to that lawmaker in a moment. But, look, I hesitate to put people up and make them look foolish, but they made themselves look foolish. They said these things. It's not OK. It's wrong. It's made up. It's completely inaccurate and people are believing it. It's causing people to be hesitant about getting vaccines. They're not isolated incidents, either.

These kinds of things are being spread like wildfire, thanks to social media. And listen to what our own Donie O'Sullivan has now heard from a vaccine skeptic.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The vaccine goes into our child, she'll just die. That's all there is to it.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: You thought if your daughter took the vaccine, she might die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That she would die, not might, just like would.


BURNETT: OK. And our Elle Reeve also found these conspiracy theories are running rampant among some white evangelical Christians.


ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you going to get the vaccine?


REEVE: I see.

JACKSON: It starts going into conspiracy theory type stuff ...


JACKSON: ... but I do, I believe it's Bill Gates and them trying to kill us.


BURNETT: This has real consequences, right? I mean, and it comes on the same day that President Biden is now vowing to supply 500 million doses of vaccines to countries that are desperate, desperate for these vaccines. They have people dying. They'd do anything to get the vaccines yet in the United States you have people saying things like you just heard worried about turning into magnets, instead of getting a vaccine.

Jeremy Diamond is OUTFRONT live at the White House. And Jeremy, you've been talking to your sources there. What are they telling you about the thinking in the White House on this very dangerous spread of misinformation? I mean, that hearing that we said, I wasn't pulling something from some corner of the internet, which by the way is very powerful on its own. There was actually a hearing that happened in Ohio. I mean, what are they going to do about it?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, Erin, there's no doubt that this White House is and has long been concerned about the spread of misinformation around the coronavirus vaccine. Two senior administration officials who I spoke with today told me that vaccine hesitancy and misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines are serious issues that they are working to confront.

One of the officials told me that the issue of misinformation is becoming more acute and that's because the pool of unvaccinated people who are willing and eager to get those shots is rapidly, rapidly shrinking. And so they are coming face-to-face with the rest of the people who are still unvaccinated who are mostly the folks who either believe some of this misinformation or for one reason or another are refusing to get the vaccine at this point.

So the White House is calling this month a month of action to confront this and that's why you're going to see the Vice President Kamala Harris, for example, she is expected to head out along with the First Lady on a tour through some of these Southern and Midwest states that have been hardest hit by this vaccine misinformation and also by these low rates of vaccination.

But I will say the White House really isn't focused on combating individual pieces of misinformation. They're not going to come and rebut this Ohio hearing, for example, word for word. What they are going to do is they're going to empower those trusted messengers in different communities, folks who are trusted within their communities, whether they're doctors or members of the clergy or other folks and armed them with the correct information and they are hoping that over time, this will help to get rid of some of that misinformation.

And they're also, look, if you look at the data here, we are not on track right now as a country to hit that 70 percent goal of partially vaccinated people by July 4th. The White House doesn't want to say that they're concerned about that at this point. What they are saying is that they're going to continue to work to hit that 70 percent, whether it's by July 4th or later, Erin.

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

I want to go OUTFRONT now, as promised, to Dr. Beth Liston. She is the Ohio State Representative that you just saw questioning the anti- vaccination doctor during that state house hearing. I appreciate your time, Representative.

So what was going through your mind as you were listening to Dr. Tenpenny's answers? And you were there, actually, able to see her, to kind of read her body language, her eyes, what were you seeing and thinking?

REP. BETH LISTON (D-OH): Well, thanks for having me here, Erin. I think this is such an important topic and that was quite a moment, the other day, while we were talking about vaccines.


But for me, I was really happy that she was showing people how absurd her perspective was. I had spent some time studying her and I knew really what she thought and I was worried that within the hearing, her perspective would come off as credible. And I knew if I asked a few questions and poked a little further that she would expand and give you the conspiracy theories that you're hearing and give you the pseudoscience that is so harmful, because as you said that misinformation can be really dangerous in our communities. So I was glad that people could see what was beneath her testimony so that others didn't fall prey to the misinformation.

BURNETT: And I guess my question is, Representative, do you feel you're successful in that? I mean, Jennifer Gross, your Republican colleague, Representative who co-sponsored the bill when Dr. Tenpenny showed up said what an honor to have you here. I mean, she brought her there thinking the exact opposite of you that this is legitimate, that when people hear that someone's spouse has a stroke two weeks after the other person got a vaccine that the things are linked, that that makes sense, never mind the magnetism and all that other business.

I mean, are you confident that people did walk away knowing that this is complete craziness?

LISTON: I'm confident that most people walked away knowing that this was complete craziness. I think you've seen the outpouring across the country on the internet with people showing that they're not magnetized and laughing at the idea. And I think in doing that, that's really helpful, because all of a sudden, it doesn't seem scary and it doesn't seem credible. It seems like a far out there conspiracy theory that would never really balance the body of scientific knowledge that says that vaccines are safe.

So did we convince everybody? No. There's still a lot of work to do. There's still a lot of people that we need to talk to and have trusted one on one conversations with.


LISTON: But I do think that having it out there and pointing out as we're doing today is really helpful overall.

BURNETT: So let me ask you, because obviously you're doing your job as a lawmaker, but you're also a doctor and in that capacity, hopefully people can trust and understand you in a different way than they can, people like me or others. But the hearing that all this happened in relation to was a bill that, in part, would not allow employers to require vaccinations. So as a doctor, why are you against this right now?

LISTON: So the bill that we were hearing is really dangerous. It's dangerous to people at Ohio. It goes beyond just coronavirus and COVID vaccines and puts into question all of our public health vaccination programs. It makes it so that no one can even ask if you're vaccinated and we're talking schools and universities, businesses, community centers, they're not able to find that information that can help make sure that they're taking care of their employees and their customers and their students in a way that keeps them safe.

So it really undermines public health and unfortunately we're seeing bills like this in Ohio and across the country, which I think is going to lead to outbreaks of disease and is really dangerous. So the bill in Ohio is really extreme. I'm heavily betting against it so that people understand how harmful it will be for the state.

BURNETT: Dr. Liston, Rep. Liston, thank you very much. I appreciate your time. And I want to go to Dr. Jonathan Reiner now who advised the White

House medical team under President George W. Bush. And you hear Dr. Liston who's an elected representative in her state laying all of this out. What I find amazing is that every time something like this happens, like a hearing like this I learned something new. Meaning, I learned, wow, now you're saying that a bloody nose at school is because the teacher got vaccinated and the kids are in the same room.

Things sort of make jaws drop on the floor, but I'm not the targeted audience to hear that and this misinformation and conspiracy business is being spread across the country. How dangerous is it, Dr. Reiner?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's really dangerous. There are, right now, 13 states, soon to be 16 states in this country with over 70 percent of adults who have received at least one shot. But there are 15 states where that percentage is less than 55 percent spread through the South and Midwest and that is the target for this disinformation.

It's tempting to look at Dr. Tenpenny and just sort of laugh at her wackiness, but she is a very serious vaccine disinformation propagandist.


REINER: She has wrongfully said in the past that vaccines cause infertility. She's talked about deep population eugenicists and globalist, but she has a wide audience and the audience that's listening to her isn't getting vaccinated.

BURNETT: Right. Right. I mean, and you talk about the states just a couple states in the south, it happens to be states like that.


I mean, masks are coming off everywhere. But the master off, right? They're off and they're off in close quarters and the restaurants are full, and the air conditioning is on and the doors are shut. So in that context when you hear Dr. Murthy warning about the Delta variant, which was at 6 percent in the U.K. when they said this is a problem. Now, it's up to 91 percent of new cases in the U.K.

So what happens here if we don't get the vaccine hesitant, if in these big states and pockets you just don't get anywhere close to herd immunity as this new variant is spreading?

REINER: Right. So let's look at Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana where only 40 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. And there isn't a lot of momentum to vaccinate a lot more. So while large swaths of this country have very high rates of vaccination and we'll achieve this fall some level of community immunity, large parts of the South and Midwest will not and the new Delta variant is much more transmissible and we are going to see in these largely unvaccinated parts of the country a resurgence of this virus. We're going to see a resurgence of hospitalizations and a resurgence of deaths. We've already seen cases start to rise, as you said, at the outset in

the U.K. It will happen again in parts of the South and Midwest unless we get our act together and vaccinate more people.

BURNETT: All right. Dr. Reiner, thank you.

REINER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And next breaking news, new hope tonight for Biden's agenda. A bipartisan deal on infrastructure has just been announced. But that's just between the group, the little group. What about the overall, the vote? Will it pass?

Plus, President Biden about to face off with Vladimir Putin. Will he send a real painful message about jailed Putin opposition leader Alexei Navalny? Navalny's close friend is OUTFRONT.

And new autopsy results tonight show Andrew Brown Jr., the black man shot and killed by deputies in North Carolina died from a gunshot wound specifically to the back of his head. This after the district attorney claimed the shooting was justified, because he said Brown was driving his car toward officers.



BURNETT: Breaking news, a bipartisan group of senators announcing tonight an agreement on infrastructure. Five Democrats and five Republican senators reaching this deal and they say that it does not include raising taxes. A senior Biden administration official telling CNN the White House believes the deal is worth exploring.

That's a pretty significant thing to say, not what the progressives want to hear, obviously. Looking at Manu, he knows this. But it's significant that the White House would consider it. And Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill. So Manu, obviously this is significant that you can get 10 on board, that 10 did include people like Manchin, but no tax increases. That's not something a lot of Democrats want to hear. What are you learning about this whole thing?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We're getting some general sense of what is in this agreement between 10 senators, five on each side. But a lot of details still need to be sorted out. But the top line agreement looks like this.

They're talking about $947 billion over five years, that's how much it would cost, $578 billion of that is new spending. And then over an eight year timeframe, that'd be $1.2 trillion dollars. There would be no tax increases.

Now, how is this paid for, that is the ultimate question. What we're hearing is that already enacted COVID relief money would be essentially redirected to help pay for this, also the gas tax. We're hearing that would be increased indexed to inflation. There are other ideas as well creating an infrastructure bank to dealing with loans that will be provided through a state project, so we'll just see how the details about that status is sorted out, but they're saying they won't do what the White House had called for here, which is to raise the corporate tax and also to raise individual income tax is among high income earners.

So that is not in this agreement. So ultimately, the details here matter. But the outlines are significant, because the two sides have gotten agreement, but can they sell it to their respective caucuses here, that's the big question.

BURNETT: Yes. That is the big question, right? Because, I mean, you talk about Democrats, they wanted that corporate tax increase. They said absolutely no to a gas tax increase as of the White House. So I get it, the devil is in the details. But I know you did, Manu, get a chance to speak to some Democratic senators today, who had been skeptical that this group would come to an agreement that would satisfy their party and here's what they told you.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): I think it's been made clear to those negotiators that we're rooting them on, but that there's no guarantee that you can get 50 Democratic votes for the package they produce.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I really think it's time to pull the plug now and take action promptly, robustly.


BURNETT: So Manu, what is the likelihood that this deal gets the support it needs from Democrats in the Senate?

RAJU: It's a real question here. The White House if it wants to support this and Senate Democratic leaders if they want to support it, they will really have to convince members on the left that their priorities, they're almost certainly going to be left out of this bipartisan deal could get onto a second package. The next package which they're going to try to move along party lines through a budget process that can actually is now subject to a filibuster in the Senate, they can pass that with all just 50 Democratic votes, not 60 votes, as was typically required, but they need to get all 50 Democrats in line behind that approach.

So they'll have to tell their members, OK, if you don't hold your fire on this, support this package, because the next time you will be OK. We'll take care of you next time.

So there will be a lot of salesmanship to go here. But, Erin, as you mentioned, a lot of the details that we're just learning about already is facing resistance, how it's paid for, namely, redirecting that COVID relief money. So we'll see the White House goes along with that, because in the past, they've said no to that approach, Erin.

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

And Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema is part of that group that Manu is talking about, the bipartisan group that came to an agreement on the infrastructure deal. But she is also far from a reliable backer of Biden's agenda. And some of her constituents back home say she might as well be a Republican, Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you today sir?


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In triple digit Phoenix heat ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are sending a petition after Kyrsten Sinema's office.


LAH (voice-over): ... progressives are pushing a message to their U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to Kyrsten Sinema's office.

Kyrsten Sinema's office.

Kyrsten Sinema's office.

To force her to do something for us.



LAH (voice-over): The frustration among the Democratic base is palpable.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Talking about she's being bipartisan with people who are delusional. These people are delusional. They are trying to take our rights.


LAH (voice-over): Much like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, Sinema has defined herself as an unapologetic moderate, defending the filibuster alongside Republicans like John Cornyn.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To those who say we must make a choice between the filibuster and acts, I say this is a false choice.


LAH (voice-over): That sparked protest in Sinema's home state.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sinema needs to hear you, it's time to end the, what?

CROWD: Filibuster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time to end ...


LAH (voice-over): But it was this vote, the $15 an hour minimum wage that progressive activist group LUCHA calls a betrayal. LUCHA was one of the groups who went door to door to elect Democrats in 2018.


ALEJANDRA GOMEZ, LUCHA CO-EXC DIR.: To see her curtsy and dance and walk away so flippantly, she was sending that message to millions of Americans and to Arizona that she doesn't care.


LAH (voice-over): As criticism erupted at home, Sinema posted this picture on Instagram.


GOMEZ: To see a ring that told the American people to F off, her message to them was clear from her ring.


LAH (voice-over): LUCHA says it's now personal and want a Democratic primary challenger to their senior senator.


GOMEZ: We already have a Republican in that seat.

LAH(on-camera): You view her as a Republican?

GOMEZ: Absolutely.


LAH (voice-over): LUCHA and other progressives may be unhappy, but Sinema has voted with President Biden on key issues from the COVID relief bill to liberal cabinet members. That's part of the balance Sinema may be eyeing as she looks toward 2024 election.


JULIE ERFLE, DEMOCRATIC COLUMNIST: For a state that is not blue, we just barely voted for Biden ...


LAH (voice-over): Julie Erfle calls herself a realistic Democrat who says to win Arizona, you need to win here in the suburbs. A third of the State's registered voters are independents. Sinema needs them plus the Democratic base to keep the Senate seat blue.


ERFLE: I do think that she's hoping that she's going to be able to broker some kind of a deal. If she can do that, then I think she has a win and she can say, listen, bipartisanship works. She's got to show something for taking this stand. She has to show some policy wins or have that yet.



LAH (on camera): Now, if this bipartisan infrastructure agreement actually comes to fruition, Erfle says this could be a very big deal. The kind of deal that could prove the naysayers here in Arizona wrong, but it is a very big if and we did reach out to Senator Sinema's office today to see if she had any comment or want to talk about what's happening here at home, Erin, and her office did not respond to our request for comment, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much on the ground in Arizona.

And next, President Biden about to come face-to-face with Putin. The issue hanging over this meeting, well, the case of Alexei Navalny, a top Putin critic was poisoned and is now in a brutal prison. I'm going to talk to Navalny's close friend of what he needs to hear from Biden.

And Trump's circle of trust is now basically living at Mar-A-Lago. They've all moved in, the hangers on. New reporting tonight on who's in Trump's ear as he plots his comeback.



BURNETT: Tonight, the White House promising that Joe Biden will deliver a, quote, "direct and very candid" message to Russian President Vladimir Putin at their first face-to-face meeting.

This is the first lady is detailing Biden's preparation for his first foreign trip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JILL BIDEN, U.S. FIRST LADY: I think he is well-prepared. I mean, he's, you know, we -- he has been studying for weeks. Joe loves foreign policy. This is his forte.


BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT with the president in Falmouth, England.

And, Kaitlan, you reported that there was internal disagreement over whether a meeting with Putin shouldn't even happen. Is the White House on the same page now with what's going on?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think it's inevitable. The meeting is going to happen in a few days. The White House says that is despite what we saw happened with that Russian court and the last 24 hours. They labeled those two groups linked to the political prisoner Alexey Navalny as extremist groups, barring them from running for office. And the White House says despite that and despite the differences between the United States and Russia, that meeting is still going to happen.

But, Erin, they're instead framing it as because of those differences. I think you can see that they are preparing for this to potentially be a tense meeting with the language that Jen Psaki, the press secretary, was using earlier today to talk about it, saying it's going to be straightforward and it's going to be candid.

Often when you see those words in official readouts of White House conversations between the president and other world leaders, it means it was a pretty blunt and not exactly warm conversation. And so, I think that is what they are preparing themselves for. I think, obviously, with the Russian president interacting with the U.S. president, there are always a lot of unknowns and it's not even clear if there are going to have a press conference afterward like we saw 3 years ago with former President Trump and Putin in Helsinki.

And on that note, we should also note that tonight, the former president is putting out maybe not a surprising, but still stunning statement, essentially repeating his embrace of Putin at that summit, embracing him, of course, over U.S. intelligence instead of framing it is citing with Putin over Obama officials, even though it was the president's own intelligence officials at the time that said, yes, they did believe Russia interfered in the election.

But I think what's so stunning about this statement from Trump tonight, Erin, is it's essentially trying to sabotage this meeting between Biden and Putin, and sowing discord just days ahead of it. I know it is Trump. It has broken so many norms, but still, to do it with the U.S. president, your predecessor when you often see presidents going into the background, remain quiet while somebody else takes over, it is still notable, but the White House says yes they're moving ahead with the meeting in just a few days from now.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you very much, live tonight from Falmouth tonight. And Biden is saying when he sits down with Putin, that Putin -- he is

going to, quote, let him know when I want him to know.


Okay. And we understand as Kaitlan describing, right, what this is code for. But the real question is, code for what? Will it come with the kind of tough talk that we heard from Biden recently?


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: So, you know, Vladimir Putin. You think he is a killer?



BURNETT: No one -- no presidents ever talked like that about Putin while in office, right? So, that -- that raises some real questions about what will happen here. One of the biggest issues hanging over the meeting is exactly what Kaitlan mentioned, the case of Alexey Navalny, the jailed Putin critic and opposition leader whose organizations were just sat down and banned from operating by a Russian court deemed extremist.

OUTFRONT now, Vladimir Ashurkov, a close friend of Navalny, who was taken over his anti-corruption organization that just got banned.

Vladimir, I appreciate you coming back on. I'm glad to talk to you. Thank you for staying up so late.

What message does Biden need to deliver? What does he need to say? What can he say to Putin regarding Navalny?

VLADIMIR ASHURKOV, CLOSE FRIEND OF ALEXEY NAVALNY: Well, I think, Erin, first of all, we need to be realistic. The U.S. and Russia have a lot of topics on the agenda. It's security issues, it's antiterrorist fight, its arms control. And, of course, it's also Navalny and political repression in Russia.

It's really difficult to imagine what those magic words that Biden can say to Putin to ensure freedom of Navalny, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

BURNETT: So, State Department condemn the Russian court decision, right, to say Navalny's organizations are extremists and to ban them. But the overall silence, the relative silence around this case has been pretty striking here.

When he came back to Russia after he was poisoned, Navalny gets imprisoned in a brutal penal colony. He's on a hunger strike. His health deteriorates to the point where he is close to death. And, you know, Vladimir, just to be frank, the U.S. has really done very little and said very little about it. I mean, they just have.

Why? How unacceptable is this to you?

ASHURKOV: The position of the U.S. administration has been consistent in that they condemned the poisoning and illegal imprisonment of Navalny. And to me, this rhetoric is really welcomed.

I don't think there is a silver bullet that the U.S. can use in this case to ensure that Russia freeze Navalny and moreover, miraculously, you know, turns the course and becomes more tolerant of the political dissent, unless foreign affairs.

I think we need to live in the real world.

BURNETT: OK. In the real world, what does a meeting like this accomplish? What could Biden do that would put Putin on notice or in any way cow Putin?

ASHURKOV: Well, I think it's still important that the leaders of nuclear countries talk to each other. I think there is little scope for any grand agreement, or at least it seems like it from outside. Biden's rhetoric has been really belligerent against Putin. Well, let's see what this summit brings.

BURNETT: All right. Vladimir, I appreciate your time and I thank you.

And next, the state autopsy confirms that Andrew Brown Jr. was shot in the back of the head by a sheriffs deputy, a shooting the district attorney says is justified. He says Brown was using his car as a deadly weapon. The Brown family attorney is next.

Plus, the rise of death threats against officials, against Americans. And tonight, a judge making one man pay a steep price for those threats.



BURNETT: Tonight, new autopsy results confirming Andrew Brown Jr. died from a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Brown was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when they were attempting to serve warrants for allegedly selling and possessing drugs to brown.

This comes after the district attorney declined to bring charges against the deputies, saying the fatal shooting was justified.

Natasha Chen is OUTFRONT, and the warning, of course, that you may find some of the video in this package disturbing.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven weeks after Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed by Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a state autopsy confirms Brown's manner of death was homicide and that he died of a gunshot wound to the back of his head. This matches the result of a private autopsy commissioned by Brown's

family and their attorneys. The report also lists another nonfatal gunshot wound to the right arm, while the private autopsy mentioned four shots to the arm.

The newly released toxicology reports notes the 42-year-old had methamphetamine in his system, but says the levels were low and likely did not play a role in his death on April 21st.

PROTESTERS: What's his name? Andrew Brown!

CHEN: The autopsy comes after weeks of protesters demanding transparency, and after family and friends laid Brown to rest in early May.

JHA'ROD FEREBEE, SON OF ANDREW BROWN JR.: It's crazy, what's going on right now. I love my dad to death. Like my brother said, he is not here but he is here though. And we can get justice behind this.

CHEN: Still, less than one minute of body camera footage has ever been shown to the public. A warning that this video can be graphic as it shows Pasquotank County deputies arriving at Brown's house, guns drawn, yelling at Brown in his car, stop.

They were there the morning of April 21st to execute warrants related to felony drug charges. The video was shown during a press conference in May when District Attorney Andrew Womble announced no charges would be filed against the deputies involved.


ANDREW WOMBLE, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NC DISTRICT ATTORNEY : Mr. Brown's death, while tragic, was justified, because Mr. Brown's actions caused three deputies with the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others.

CHEN: Womble said Brown had driven, quote, recklessly at the officers while trying to flee arrest, but attorneys for Brown's family said he was executed.

BEN CRUMP, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: It was a kill shot to the back of the head.

CHEN: After Womble's announcement of no charges, two of the three deputies who fired the shots returned to work. The third deputy intends to resign.

Brown's oldest son says he just wants the killings at the hands of law enforcement to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wish he was here with us. But as much as I'm going to wish and wish all day, it's not going to happen. I love you, pop.

CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, the Brown family's attorney.

And, Chantel, I appreciate your time.

The autopsy report today says Andrew Brown Jr. died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Does this do you believe validate your case? That -- you know, we are just looking at the little snippet of a video that we've seen. I know obviously your team has seen much more of it, but does this validate your case that he was killed while driving away from officers?


Yes, this does validate what he said earlier. It aligns with the fact that he was trying to get away from the police officers when he was shot, in the back of the head. That is what, ultimately, caused his death.

BURNETT: So, when district attorney Andrew Womble announced he was not going to pursue charges against the three deputies, who fired at Brown, he said, and you just heard the man say, that Brown posed a threat to the deputies with his car. Then he said, and I quote him, I don't care what direction you are going, neither do our courts.

Basically, implying, at the moment, it doesn't matter whether he's going forwards, or backwards. That, somehow, is not relevant.

What do you say to that?

CHERRY-LASSITER: Yeah, he actually said that in his press conference, that he didn't care if they were standing still, that Brown possibly -- what he did -- say that Brown posed a threat to the officers. That is disturbing because at the point where the officers were firing at Brown, I see nothing from the video that we've been able to see, where he was a threat at that time. He was driving away from the officers, and again, that is when he was shot in the back of the head. That aligns with the information that we have.

And he was also shot in the arm, and bullet went back, to front. You know, again, shot in the back as he was driving away. So, at that point, he was no longer -- if they're saying he was a threat, he no longer was when he was driving away.

BURNETT: So, the officers, obviously, you know, they declined to press charges against them, and two of three deputies who shot at Brown, are now back at work. Two back at work, a third is scheduled to retire. The sheriff's department says they were all disciplined, and retrained.

Have you been given any details on what that means? Disciplined and retrained since two of them were back on the job? CHERRY-LASSITER: Yeah, we've been given very limited details from

anyone, even from the family members, they didn't have notice of the press conference that Womble held, showing the video of this, showing of their loved one, we didn't get any heads up, any information. So, we are very limited in what's the sheriff's office, and the D.A.'s office is providing to the family.

BURNETT: So, then, what are your next steps? It just seems like there's so much you haven't been told, that you haven't been given, that you haven't seen.

What are your next steps know that you have this new information from the autopsy tonight, Chantel?

CHERRY-LASSITER: Well, we are seeking transparency, and accountability. That's been the goal from day one, from April 21st. We have not yet received that transparency, and we will be moving forward federally, considering doing a federal lawsuit. So, that will be our next steps.

That's still, like I said, still a problem with transparency here. We're still trying to see all of the effects. We want everything out. We want all the information.

Everything they're saying that they have, that they have seen, we would like to have that to be able to give that to the family, so they can start processing what happened to their loved ones.

BURNETT: All right. Chantel, thank you very much, I appreciate your time.


BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, the area around Trump's Mar-a-Lago, now becoming the new nerve center for the Republican Party. A new report ahead.

And he threatened to hunt down an attorney representing the whistleblower who sparked Trump's first impeachment trial. And tonight, a judge of sending that man to prison.



BURNET: Tonight, the new center of the GOP. Former president Donald Trump, surrounding himself with admirers when he's at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida. It allows Trump to both live in his own reality, and helped maintain his grip on the GOP.

Now, this is according to a new report in Bloomberg News, and these are just, show you here, just some of the members of Trump's family, longtime allies, with homes in Florida, and now live within minutes of Trump's club.

And Josh Green, who wrote the "Bloomberg" article, is OUTFRONT. He's also the author of "Devils Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising".

So, Josh, thanks so much.

So, your reporting on this is so compelling here, and fascinating.

You know, we've seen Republican after Republican go to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump, right, to get that photo op. Kevin McCarthy, Ted Cruz, just to name a few, right? Everyone goes, Rick Scott, we see him.

How -- tell me more about South Florida, you know, which we now call the Trump coast. And it turned into the center of GOP politics.

JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR, "DEVIL'S BARGAN: STEVE BANNON, DONALD TRUPM, AND THE NATIONALIST UPRISING": Erin, there is an open question after the January 6th riots, about what Trump's post presidency would look like. Would he maintain his grip on the party? Or would he kind of fade away like somebody like Sarah Palin did?

And, you know, it's become clear, over the last several months, that Trump -- his grip on the Republican Party is stronger than ever. So, I went down to Florida to kind of investigate why that was. And, you know, what I found was that instead of moving beyond Trump, a lot of the Republican Party has moved down to Florida with him.


I mean, you mentioned the family members, a lot of Fox News personalities bought homes around Mar-a-Lago, lots of Republican consultants, and donors spent time down there because in south Florida, Palm Beach in particular, really, it is the new center of gravity.

Trump is the party's greatest draw, and so, he's managed to hold on to power in a way the previous one-term presidents like Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush were branded losers, and were unable to do.

BURNETT: It's pretty incredible, you kind of liken it to Napoleon's Elba, right? I mean, his land in exile.

What's interesting is, some of this we see from the videos you get, but you actually were able to facts on it, that you report Trump shows up at almost any event that happens at Mar-a-Lago, including memorial services. And he has gotten into engagement photos, he loves to be a wedding crasher, and he goes to all of these things, and never misses a chance to talk about the election, at other peoples' parties.

Here's a few examples.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Can you say, do you miss yet?


As we were saying, we did get 75 million votes, nobody's ever gotten that. They said, get 66 million votes, sir, and the election's over. Well, we got 75 million, and they said, but you know, you saw what happened.

Let's see what they find, and I wouldn't be surprised if they found thousands and thousands and thousands of votes. This was a rigged election.


BURNETT: I mean, you know, your reporting, Josh, just shows that this is -- he has created an incredibly tiny bubble, but one that really feeds what he needs, his ego.

GREEN: That's exactly right. He lives in this surreal bubble where he's sort of worshipped and validated by everybody he comes in contact with, because he's cut off from the outside world. He's not on Twitter. He's not on Facebook. He doesn't do CNN.

So, he really kind of lives in this insular world where all of the myths and conspiracies are being perpetuated. And one of the interesting things about traveling down there was that, basically, every component of the Republican Party from activists, to donors, to staffers, to politicians, as you mentioned, comes to terms with this for their own reasons. They try to boost Trump up for his instrumental value, although quite a few of them, privately, are worried about what happens if he runs for president again.

BURNETT: I mean, did they -- do they really believe in him? I mean, you know, are these kind of like -- you know, they're just sucking off of the whole thing, or they believers?

GREEN: I mean, it's more of the former than the latter. I mean, if you look at staffers I talk to down there, unlike previous administrations, they can't go get high powered jobs and Google, or Uber, or Amazon, especially not after the January 6th insurrection. So, a lot of them have fallen back on that Trump credential, and started groups to Protect the Vote, they would call it, to stop people from voting.

A lot of the donors, who aren't very happy about Trump, have decided, and I've talked to some in this piece, who decided that Republicans probably can't win back the House next year if they don't draw out Trump's voters. So, they're kind of biting their tongues, allowing this high profile role in the party. But the problem is nobody knows how to get rid of him if they want to when the time comes.

BURNETT: And the bottom line seems to be from your reporting, that he's actually not the preferred candidate for 2024. Who is?

GREEN: That was a shocker to me. A lot of people down there like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He's Trump endorsed. He's very popular, even popular with some Democrats down there. I think Florida is viewed for a lot of people as a COVID success story.

And like I said, the entire center of the party has moved down there. So, even some of the biggest Trump activists that I've met in interviews are now out there, holding rallies for DeSantis' reelection next year. A lot of people like him as a blue check prospect in 2024.

BURNETT: Interesting how Trump will see that, right? One to support a guy and another to have him then come and slay you. But isn't that how it always works?

All right. Thanks very much, Josh, on the great reporting. Thank you.

GREEN: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And also tonight, a clear warning amid an alarming rise in death threats. Death threats for anything people say, threats that you've heard officials who stood up to Trump talk about repeatedly.


GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA ELECTION OFFICIAL: The person said, enjoy your last birthday cake.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: What's really the most troubling about it is when threats actually came into my wife's cell phone.


BURNETT: These threats, right, coming into Republicans, all over the place. The thing is these threats have consequences.

Today, Brittan Atkinson, a 54-year-old man from Michigan, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for threatening Mark Zaid. Zaid is the lawyer for the whistleblower behind Trump's first impeachment trial.

The threat read, in part, quote: We will hunt you down and bleed you out like the pigs you are. We have nothing but time, and you are running out of it. Keep looking over your shoulder.

The judge saying he could not ignore the, quote, stark and brutal nature of this threat. We hope the sentence sends a message to all others who were sending those sorts of threats out there that those words have consequences.

Thank you so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime anywhere on CNN Go.

"AC360" starts now.