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Erin Burnett Outfront
FBI Warns QAnon Followers More Emboldened Than Ever; Biden Says He Was Being Honest When He Called Putin A "Killer"; Biden Says Putin Is Right, U.S.-Russia Relations Are At A "Low Point;" House Judiciary Committee Announces Investigation Into Data Secretly Sought For Members Of Congress, Journalists; Interview With New York City Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 14, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the FBI with a chilling morning, QAnon more emboldened than ever and prepared to engage in real world violence. What's driving it?
Plus, President Biden said he meant it when he called Vladimir Putin the killer. Major posturing ahead of their high stakes meeting, will Biden follow through on those words?
And an off-duty flight attendant threatening to take a Delta flight down. New details about what happened on board as the number of unruly passengers hits an alarming spike. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the QAnon warning. CNN tonight obtaining an FBI threat assessment sent lawmakers, warning them that the conspiracies followers may carry out more acts of violence as they move from serving as 'digital soldiers' to taking real world action. And according to the FBI, the group may want to harm and I quote, "Perceived members of the 'cabal' such as Democrats and other political opposition."
And we've already seen this play out by the insurrectionists, many of whom had ties to QAnon on January 6th where rioters is just one example demanded to hunt down Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I speak to Pelosi? Yes, we're coming bitch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy. Oh Nancy. Nancy. Where are you, Nancy? We're looking for you, Nancy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This warning comes after QAnon followers have for months talked about a Myanmar-style coup in the United States. Here's what some of them told our Donie O'Sullivan at a Trump rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a false election.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they took over and that's what happened. The military took over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that could possibly happen here possibly if the military is in control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I personally think that's what they're working towards.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER (off camera): Would you think that's what could happen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It could.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I think would happen.
O'SULLIVAN: Would you like to see it happen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to see it happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know why? Because the election was stolen from us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The military is doing their own investigation and at the right time they're going to be restoring the republic with Trump as president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Trump allies like his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a retired Army Lieutenant General in the United States of America have stirred up these kinds of things. QAnon crowds with comments like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to know why what happen in Myanmar can't happen here.
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: No reason. I mean, it should happen. No reason. Flynn though suddenly is trying to rewrite history saying that he wasn't endorsing a coup but, of course, you hear the tape speaks for itself. One prominent QAnon believer with more than 70,000 followers writing online about Gen. Flynn's comments, quote, "General Flynn says the quiet part out loud." Well, that's accurate. Even as the FBI warns of more violence, some Republicans refuse still to accept the reality of what happened on January 6th, listen to Sen. Ron Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): We've seen plenty of video of people in the Capitol and they weren't rioting it. It doesn't look like an armed insurrection when you have people that breach the Capitol and I don't condone it, but they're staying within the rope lines in the rotunda. That's now what an armed insurrection would look like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, what does an armed insurrection look like? Well, that's what happened. I guess, I don't know what he calls that. Well, there's plenty of video to prove the reality. Well, Congressman Clyde, you may remember him, because last month he equated the January 6th events to a normal tourist busy said, if you didn't know it was what it was, you would have been confused it was just tourists. Well, he dodged CNN's question when pressed about that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of us allies are themselves pretty rattled by what happened on January 6th and attempted overturning of your election. And they may still be alarmed by the continued hold that Donald Trump has over the Republican Party and the rise of nationalist figures like him around the world. What do you say to those allies?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a shocking surprise that what's happened in terms of consequence of President Trump's phony populism has happened and it is disappointing that so many of my Republicans colleagues in the Senate who I know know better.
Have been reluctant to take on, for example, an investigation because they're worried about being primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And that was President Biden at a press conference today. He was asked about this very issue in Brussels at a press conference, because of some of those Republicans. The vast majority of those Republicans who have downplayed the events of that day, Josh Campbell is OUTFRONT live in Los Angeles with more details on this FBI warning. And Josh, I know you have been talking to your sources in law
enforcement and security experts tonight. How seriously are they taking these concerns about QAnon taking action?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, up to this point, FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that the Bureau is not investigating the movement QAnon, but they are certainly investigating individual adherence. And according to this new FBI memo obtained by our colleague, Zach Cohen, in which the bureau talks about their concern that some of these actors could actually move to violence, the FBI is certainly likely to have additional suspects that they will have to investigate.
Now, for our viewers who may not understand the nuts and bolts of this fringe conspiracy theory movement, it's largely been based on this notion that this mysterious figure Q is going to expose all kinds of government corruption and to know what these adherence have been doing is saying trust the plan, trust Q.
But what the FBI says in this warning is what is concerning them is that these digital foot soldiers will not just espouse their beliefs, but may actually move to violence. They're becoming allegedly frustrated that all of these premonitions, all of these predictions that this mysterious leader has come up with have fallen apart. This idea that the Democrats and the media and those in government are running this cabal of pedophiles.
And I can tell you, I've covered a number of demonstrations over the last year. I engaged with some of these folks. You ask them to show you proof of what they say and they turn around on you and say, well, give us proof that this does not exist. So you can see it just leads you down this really dark rabbit hole.
But what the FBI is concerned about is that you have these people who may, because of their frustration, now go out and try to act with violence. And finally, I'll say I was just messaging with the federal agent a short time ago about this and what she said is that we ignore these groups at our peril.
She described a lot of this adherence as what they call injustice collectors or grievance collectors, people that are just - it's them against the world. But, of course, what is concerning law enforcement is all it takes is one person predisposed to violence to possibly cause something very deadly. A very serious issue.
BURNETT: Very serious. All right. Josh, thank you very much and I think so well said, when you give some proof to me, they just say well prove to me that it isn't. It's pretty incredible and part of the deepest part of this problem.
OUTFRONT now, Greg Ehrie. He is former FBI Domestic Terror Operations Section Chief, now the Vice President of Law Enforcement and Analysis at the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks extremist groups. And Donie O'Sullivan, who has been closely covering the QAnon movement. You just saw him there in some of those sound bites.
So Greg, let me just start off with you. What is the biggest concern for you about these domestic extremists, because that's what they are?
GREG EHRIE, FMR. FBI SECTION CHIEF, DOMESTIC TERRORISM OPERATIONS SECTION: Well, Erin, first, thank you for having me and Josh encapsulated it very well. We're watching these movements change in front of our eyes, and it's happening at a speed that we haven't seen before in all my years working domestic terrorism.
With QAnon, in particularly, what we're seeing is what I would call a failed ideology. Everything they predicted did not happen, the truth became known and now they're desperate in some ways to keep this ideology moving. What that does is make two different danger levels. One and the FBI is warning about both of these is this rhetoric, this increased rhetoric online.
Does that resonate with somebody and influence them to become a lone actor in order to do something, commit a violent act. But more importantly and what we've seen with QAnon in specifically, but other ideologies, this justification, these actors who have this violence in mind use these ideologies as a justification to commit that. That's what the FBI is warning about and it is a real concern.
BURNETT: So Donie, a recent study found about a quarter of Republicans, 23 percent, so this is stunning. There's a quarter of Republicans in the entire United States of America agree with beliefs linked to QAnon. According to the FBI report, people's willingness to believe in QAnon is affected by a lot of things, but one of those things is, "The frequency and content of pro-QAnon statements by public individuals who feature prominently in core QAnon narratives."
Now, obviously, that could be more than one person, but the predominant person that that would refer to would be the former president, right, a public official who features prominently in core QAnon narratives. And he's out there still saying it was fraud and he won and the whole thing was rigged. I mean, he's saying it every day he can. He's still putting out statements to that effect, so how closely are people listening to him, Donie?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, they're hanging on his every word, Erin. And I think when we talk about QAnon, a core tenant of QAnon is this belief in the glow of pedophile ring, et cetera. But really what this is all about right now and I think what the press right now is about is it's about the big lie. It's about the election.
QAnon believers talk is less about the ring of pedophiles and Satanists and it's more about the election being stolen. And they are being told that every single day by certain segments of the media and, of course, by the former president. And look, it can be difficult to try and put yourself in the shoes of a QAnon believer, but some people genuinely, genuinely believe this stuff.
O'SULLIVAN: And if you believe that your democracy that American democracy has been stolen from you, then you can see it's not too many jumps to justify violence.
BURNETT: So Greg, how difficult is this for the FBI when you have it growing at a speed you say we've never seen before. And yet there is no kind of technical public leader or form to the movement. It's not like al-Qaeda, for example, where there were leaders. You could identify them and that would help you build out who to look for. That does not exist here.
EHRIE: That's correct. And this is not what we would call a traditional investigation into an organization or group as you refer to, say, an organized crime group or a drug cartel with a set structure. That's difficult. This is an amorphous group. There's no leadership structure. These are people who are just, in some ways, taking their own instructions or going online to look for some kind of direction and the FBI is doing what they do best.
But as Director Wray has mentioned, just because you believe in this ideology or you're a member of QAnon does not make you open or predicate you for an investigation. What they have to look for is that needle in that stack of needles is who amongst this group who believes in this ideology is planning to commit a federal crime or a violent act. It's very difficult, but the bureau is very good at it.
BURNETT: So Donie, I just played some sound bites of people you spoke to and they were very honest with their point of view, believing in so much of this these QAnon tenants. I want to play another conversation you had after the insurrection, here it is?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'SULLIVAN: What were your thoughts on the violent insurrection incited by Trump at the Capitol?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god, that's all such a lie. That was all the left. We have all the proof. There's tons of proof.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is my hope that President Trump comes back as the 19th President of the United States under the 1776 and that he is inaugurated on March 4th.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, of course, that didn't happen, Donie. The FBI report, though, warns that QAnon extremist may try to take matters into their own hands. Because some people say, well, when you hit this date and then you hit this date, and we have talked to, I know, on this show one former QAnon believer, I know you've spoken to her as well, who did change her mind. There are some. But others just keep moving the date, moving the event.
So when you talk to people who believe in this, what are you hearing about what's the next thing that they're kind of pinning their hopes on?
O'SULLIVAN: That's right. And if you invest, as many QAnon believers do, so much time, and passion and energy into believing this conspiracy and you spend hours or weeks or years online, it can be very, very difficult when those predictions don't come true to let go.
We have seen some people say no, this is BS. But what we're seeing now, of course, is as Maggie Haberman reported a few weeks ago, Trump talking about this ridiculous notion to advisors and others that he might come back in August, so that is the sort of thing.
This is not all just happening in dark corners of the internet. Right?
O'SULLIVAN: This is not all just happening in conspiracy theory blogs. All of this is being fueled by the former president.
BURNETT: Well, I guess that's the irony of it. All right, that there is a leader for Q, it's him and that makes it so much more complex at the same time. Donie, Greg, I appreciate you both. Thank you.
O'SULLIVAN: Thanks, Erin.
EHRIE: Thank you.
BURNETT: And don't miss CNN special report Assault On Democracy The Roots of Trump's Insurrection. Washington may not be doing an investigation, but we are. Drew Griffin talking with January 6th rioters, relatives of those now in prison, congressional staffers, Capitol Police and others. What led to the insurrection? Can another one be prevented? This is something you need to see this Sunday nine o'clock Eastern.
And OUTFRONT next, Biden not backing down tonight from calling Putin a killer as he prepares to meet him in person.
Plus, Trump's former attorneys general, plural, say they're in the dark when it comes to the Trump Justice Department issuing subpoenas targeting top Democrats. None of them knew anything? Now we know the White House Counsel's records were also subpoenaed, so who was behind this?
And an alarming surge in gun violence across the United States. In New York City alone, 21 shootings since Friday. I'm going to ask Andrew Yang who's running for mayor of this nation's largest city, what he's going to do about it.
BURNETT: New tonight, President Biden speaking out about his high stakes showdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin. When he was pressed by our own Jeff Zeleny on what he could hope to accomplish by negotiating with Putin who laughed at Biden when Biden described him as a killer, here's what Biden said to Jeff Zeleny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm laughing too. I believe he is in the past, essentially acknowledge that he was - there are certain things that he would do or did do. When you write treaties with your adversaries, you don't say I trust you. You say this is what I expect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT tonight in Brussels, Belgium with the President. So Kaitlan, aides are telling CNN that Biden is preparing intensely for what Putin is going to do. Putin is a master at these sorts of meetings. What message did he send to Putin in this press conference? Every one of these things is a communication just like Putin's interview with NBC News was. So what's the message ahead of the summit Biden is sending?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They're really both kind of trying to set the stage for that showdown in Geneva. And I think what President Biden was trying to do tonight, especially with that answer to Jeff Zeleny just there was de-escalate, really. Because remember in that ABC interview, he answered pretty quickly when he was asked if you thought Putin was a killer, the White House has said he stands by that.
Tonight he did say he stood by it, but he said to sidestep it a little bit by saying that Putin himself has admitted as much.
Of course, Putin has denied it in interviews since Biden made that remark. But I think that what he is saying that is he is not seeking conflict, because he doesn't want to seem like he is just going to go there and push and push and push when it comes to Russia. They've often said there are areas where we think we can cooperate. They're trying to really set the tone in that way.
But Erin, they're also not setting expectations for the summit. The White House has now said what kind of deliverables President Biden thinks he's going to walk out of that room after meeting with Putin and have in his hands and instead they've really tried to lower the expectations of what people can expect from that, saying that they're not expecting any concrete achievements.
But this does come in the face of some skepticism about why this meeting is happening now. And President Biden said today, he believes it's the media that has been skeptical of this meeting, not other world leaders. Because he says the ones that he's spoken to at the G7 summit and at the NATO summit today that they did not have one-inch of concern about his sit down with Putin. Instead, he says that they welcomed it.
So I think that remains to be seen what the outcome of the summit actually is and how world leaders feel about that. Because there are a lot of these European leaders who think Russia is more of an issue than China is. And you've seen, of course, a lot of Biden's focus has been on China.
But Erin, one last thing on Alexei Navalny, of course, the Russian opposition leader who is now sitting in jail in Russia, President Biden did say that he does believe if he dies in prison, that it will show that President Putin does not have any regard for human rights.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan.
I want to go now to Bill Taylor, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who, of course, testified at Trump's first impeachment hearing and John Sipher, former CIA Deputy Chief of Russian operations. No one knows more than you two gentlemen about this.
So Ambassador Taylor, once George Stephanopoulos asked President Biden whether Putin was a killer and Biden said, yes, you can't go back on that. It is said you can't unsay it. But Biden is not trying to back down on it. If you were preparing Biden for this meeting, knowing that that had been said and that Putin has responded to it, is this the strategy you'd push, you just have to keep doubling down on it?
BILL TAYLOR, FMR. U.S. AMB. TO UKRAINE, TESTIFIED DURING TRUMP'S FIRST IMPEACHMENT: I don't think there's any merit or any value or any use in going back to that discussion, so I don't think that's relevant. What is relevant is what President Putin has been doing around the world, in particular in Europe, but not just in Europe.
And there is where, if I were recommending to President Biden, President Biden should go into that meeting and be very clear, and be very blunt, and very direct about the problems that we have, the United States has, that the Europeans have.
I mean, he just comes from a meeting with all the Europeans at the EU G7 and NATO. And so he's coming in with a strong backing of all of his allies and he can let Putin know what they all are concerned about and they're concerned that President Putin has invaded his neighbor.
They're concerned that President Putin tries to annex part of his neighbor's territory. They're concerned that President Putin is after Navalny. So they've got real concerns about what his actions are and that's what President Biden should go in with.
BURNETT: So John, when it came to talking about Alexei Navalny, the chief opposition leader to Putin in the country, Putin wouldn't even say his name in this NBC interview. He wouldn't even say his name leading to this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His name is Alexei Navalny. People will note that won't like to say that.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: I mean, I don't care. I don't care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: As he's leaning back in his chair, the body language is all part of it, John. Putin spokesman told CNN he's not planning to discuss Navalny with Biden. What should Biden do? JOHN SIPHER, FORMER CIA DEPUTY CHIEF OF RUSSIAN OPERATION: Well, I
think Putin - oh, I'm sorry.
BURNETT: Go ahead, John.
SIPHER: I mean, I don't think Putin wants to speak about Navalny at all, because he sees it as domestic issue. But the problem is that this shows weakness. Navalny, I apologize, I'm getting feedback here and it's making it hard for me. So, as you know recently Bellingcat just put out a report suggesting that the same people who tried to murder Navalny in Russia also went after a poet, an opposition poet.
And as far as I'm concerned, this shows the weakness of Putin inside Russia. The fact that he's so concerned about these people that he's willing to murder them and jail them, I think it's going to be up to Biden to bring this up, to make it clear that it's unacceptable to the west, but he's going to have to understand that Putin is going to push back against this, but that doesn't mean that he shouldn't discuss it.
BURNETT: So it's a great point that he's going to push back. I mean, we all know that there's a whole bunch of people related to Navalny in the entire incident, I don't mean by blood. I mean related to the Navalny incident who are dead which Biden could bring up as well.
And yet, Ambassador, here's what Putin did say when Navalny came up in the NBC interview, like I don't care, I don't care. I won't say his name. But then when he had to respond, finally, to a question about Navalny, he brings up the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Here's what he actually said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN: Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress and they didn't go there to steal a laptop. They came with political demands. Isn't that persecution for political opinions?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So Ambassador, I know that's what John is referring to that Putin is going to come prepared and he's going to come prepared to throw Biden off his game. How can Biden be prepared?
TAYLOR: President Biden will not take the bait. As we all know, that's a ridiculous argument that President Putin would try to do. So Biden, again, has to stay on the offensive, not being aggressive or nasty, but just to be direct, just to be direct. There are concerns that international community has and President Biden can maintain that position, again.
So being supported by all of the allies, that it's the Russians, it's President Putin who has to defend his actions. And if he doesn't, if he continues to take these actions that we find offensive and troubling to our security, then President Biden can say, look, President Putin, I have put on sanctions on you, based on what you did before. I can do that again and he has credibility when he says that.
BURNETT: So John, Biden's tough talk is a stark departure from former President Trump who obviously tried to cultivate a friendship with Putin. Here's how Biden has talked about Putin over the years, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: So you know Vladimir Putin, you think he's a killer?
BIDEN: Yes, I do.
I made it clear to President Putin in a manner very different from my predecessor that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions, interfering with our elections, cyber attacks, poisoning its citizens are over.
I don't believe we're a nation that bows down to Vladimir Putin for God's sake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, John, do those words matter?
SIPHER: Well, the words matter, but the tone also matters. So President Trump for the last four years thought he would befriend Putin and change the way we did things and it really bought us nothing. Now, of course, in the same token, President Biden when he was vice president and the years before that he knows Vladimir Putin. He's met him for a number of years. He's had these tough talks before.
So I think he understands that just talking tough to Putin is not going to change his behavior. Listen, Putin's been under five U.S. presidents. We've tried everything from trying to cajole him to bribe him to offer him to help him and to talk tough with them and none of them has changed his behavior.
He has decided that this adversarial sort of relationship is in his interest. It's probably in his interest, because it helps him at home. It gives him someone to blame for a weak economy and the problems he has.
So I think Biden is smart. I think he understands he's not going to change his behavior. But nonetheless, he has to be very clear about these issues so he can make it clear where the United States stands and what consequences there will be going forward.
BURNETT: So Ambassador, on that front, should there be more consequences? Because obviously - you're both talking why words matter. Biden's words to Putin are night and day from Trump's, but as far as policy goes, there's quite a bit of consistency there. There's been some change but quite a bit of consistency. So Ambassador should Biden lay it out I actually am going to do a lot more policy-wise?
TAYLOR: I think so. I think it is very clear and President Biden has said this and Jake Sullivan has said this that they're looking for stability and they're looking for predictability. And as we know, President Putin is not looking for stability, he seeks instability and he's unpredictable. I mean, again, invading his neighbor, unpredictable.
And what both President Biden and Jake Sullivan and others have said is if President Putin is not willing to have a stable, predictable relationship, then there will be consequences. And again, he has put his money where his mouth is, that is he's put sanctions on President Putin for the actions that the Russians took against our elections, against Navalny, and other things and against invading Ukraine, so that will continue.
BURNETT: All right. Both of you, thank you so very much. I appreciate it ahead of this crucial meeting.
And next breaking news, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee just announcing an investigation into the Justice Department's subpoenas of top Democrats and Trump's White House Counsel, details next.
And the FAA has received more than 3,000 reports of unruly passengers this year. Like this person, seen screaming and struggling with fellow flyers.
BURNETT: Tonight, what happened on board that Delta flight?
BURNETT: Breaking news, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler announcing he'll investigate the Trump era Justice Department, issuing subpoenas.
Those subpoenas targeted Democratic congressmen, specifically Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, others as well. Nadler saying it's possible these were isolated cases but also saying, quote, it is also possible that these cases are merely our first glimpse into a coordinated effort by the Trump organization to target Trump's political opposition. If so, we must learn the full extent of this gross abuse of power.
But Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee sending a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers and evidence, including copies of the subpoenas themselves.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.
And, Evan, you know, the story it's sinister and yet it's bizarre, right?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah.
BURNETT: Because it seems that we don't know how many people were targeted, we do know around those people, people related to them even a minor child were targeted. I mean, all of this. And yet, the attorneys general, Barr, Sessions, and Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general, all say they knew nothing about it.
I mean, how could it be that you get members of Congress, former White House counsel, people's families, all these people targeted and no attorney general ever hears about it?
PEREZ: Yeah, look that's the emerging likelihood, even possibility -- the possibility, even likelihood that that is the explanation.
Now, look, I think one of the things you heard from Merrick Garland, the attorney general who finally made that comment about this today, in a prepared statement. One of things he says is that Lisa Monaco, the deputy attorney general, is essentially looking for where the dead bodies are buried inside the building.
There is a lack of trust that even the current leadership really understands and knows who knew what, when? And I think that's one of the reasons why they've been so slow in providing information to members of Congress. He says that she is working on servicing potentially problematic matters, deserving of high-level review.
And when I'm being told, Erin, is that it is distinctly possible because of the way this investigation happened, that even the investigators, the agents who were making these, sending the subpoenas, did not initially know who's numbers and whose emails necessarily they were trying to get, or they are -- the data.
PEREZ: It's not clear when they found out, clearly they did, they still did not brief the people higher up.
BURNETT: Right, which is incredible because at some point, somebody knew who they wanted to get because somebody went to somebody and got all the email addresses and phone numbers and everything else to even put in there. So there's a whole lot of somebody's who knew something.
I mean, is it possible, Evan, that shift, Swalwell, McGahn, and anybody else involved here that we don't yet know were swept up in a large investigation, that didn't have anything to do with Trump's enemies list? Or is that too hard to believe?
PEREZ: No, no, I think exactly what you just said is the emerging likelihood or possibility here, that this investigation began looking at perhaps a congressional staffer, initially the investigators, the lawmakers were certainly not the initial targets. But when the investigators find out, or figure out that now they obtained the records belonging to these two Democratic lawmakers, the question is who did they tell?
And why did they top officials in the department claim that they were not informed of it. And certainly, when they went to renew these gag orders, Erin, three times in the case of the Apple, Apple says that they renew these gag orders three times. Why did no one briefed the top political officials about what happened? I think that's one of the things that is still very puzzling about this.
BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much us an unbelievable mystery here.
BURNETT: But, Evan will get to the bottom of it.
And next an inside look at the biggest mayoral race in the United States, one that is raising questions about how to address the disturbing gun violence, frankly that is surging across this entire country. What is candidate Andrew Yang's solution? He's next.
Plus, Arizona sham audit about to finish its hand recount, as former President Trump lashes out against Pennsylvania Republicans who won't do the same. Asking if they are his words, quote, stupid, corrupt, or naive?
BURNETT: Tonight, gun violence gripping the United States. At least 9 mass shootings reported this weekend, across the country. You see it coast to coast, 10 people dead, 50 injured. In New York City, 21 shootings happening since Friday.
That brings the city's total to 634, so far this year. These are stunning numbers, and in New York City, this is an increase of 64 percent from last year.
It is front and center in your city's mayoral race, which is tonight's inside look, as New York City struggles for what its future will be. The new poll out tonight shows Brooklyn borough president and former NYPD captain, Eric Adams, is leading the field. We spoke to Mr. Adams ready, night and doing all the top contenders at this rank choice voting race, which makes it incredibly hard to predict.
OUTFRONT now, New York City mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang.
And, Andrew, I really appreciate your time.
So you have talked about a plan to address this rise in crime. It's a surge, it's fair to say. It's a surge. Anyone living in this city feels it.
And one of the things you talked about is that -- I use your words, quote, a massive recruitment drive for new police officers. And you just received the endorsement of New York City Police Captains Union today.
Are you planning to increase the police budget to pay for this massive recruiting drive?
ANDREW YANG (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Erin. It's great to be here.
Public safety is the number one issue in New York City for good reason. And we need to replace 5,000 police officers that are already filed their retirement papers. So, the investments we're going to make are going to help get crime under control.
But the first priority has to be solving the shootings as they're happening. Right now, three out of four shootings in Brooklyn are going unsolved. So imagine that, that you have 75 percent of the perpetrators of the shooting still walking around. We will never get crime under control. We have to dedicate the detectives and the resources, and the gun violence suppression division to make sure that we solve many more shootings than one out of four.
BURNETT: That's a pretty stunning statistic.
Now, you know, when you talk about a major recruitment drive, you know, some people may think that makes sense. But others may vehemently disagree. One of them is your opponent, Maya Wiley.
She received an endorsement from Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and she has a completely different approach. She wants to shift dollars -- a billion dollars, to be specific, a billion dollars away from the NYPD budget to social services.
And here's what she said about that in your last debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYA WILEY (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: We were all in Brownsville (ph) for an interview with crime center interrupters who said explicitly, not more police officers, more investment in community-based organizations. The safest they ever felt was the five days that the police department to step back, so they could prevent violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Why do you disagree with that approach?
YANG: I believe in investing in communities, Erin, but short term, we need police officers on the ground in these communities, to help address rising rates of violence.
And this is true when you talk to New Yorkers. Seventy-two percent of New Yorkers want more police officers. I talked to community leaders in Jamaica, Queens, which is a black neighborhood, and they were agitating for a new precinct in their community.
So, I want to invest in communities but the immediate concern is getting the shootings down. And for that, we're going to need officers.
BURNETT: So you have taken on rival mayoral candidate Eric Adams over questions whether he actually lives in his Brooklyn apartment, or a town house that he owns in New Jersey. This is become a lot of back and forth in this race.
Here's how Adams has just responded to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: How dare Andrew Yang say, a retired captain, a state senator, a borough president, significant other is an educator, we can have two homes? He has two homes. So, you don't see the hint of racism in that, that I can't have two homes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The hint of racism, what is your sense of that?
WANG: Race has nothing to do with it, Erin. This is centered on trustworthiness and integrity. The fact that people are debating whether Eric Adams lives in New Jersey, and that's remarkable given where we are in this race.
But even more powerful, is that today as you mentioned, I received the endorsement of the police captains of New York City, the union that Eric Adams was a part of, the officers that know him best endorsed me to be the next mayor of New York City because they know that I will keep New Yorkers safe.
And that says volumes about Eric Adams, his trustworthiness, his integrity. The people that know him best don't believe in his leadership.
BURNETT: So, you know, you talk about that endorsement, and it is a significant one.
But voting has already started, as you're well aware, right? Early voting in New York. Obviously, the formal day is still coming, but early voting has begun.
And CNN went and spoke to voters who were at the early voting polls this weekend, and I wanted to give you a chance to respond, Andrew, to one concern that we heard about your voting history and how it impacted these voters. Let me play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know well, I like Andrew Yang as a person. You know, I'm just not convinced that he knows what he's doing yet. He's never voted for a mayor me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm much more concerned with things like the fact that Andrew Yang never voted in a mayoral contest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: They keep bringing up that you didn't vote for a mayor. What do you say to that?
YANG: Well, Erin, 76 percent of registered Democrats were like me, where you voted in gubernatorial and presidential elections. We all need to get more engaged. But the issue of this election is public safety, and both the police captains and the firefighters who safeguard our lives and property every day have endorsed me.
So if you think about what this means, it means that the people who again know the city the best, know who the contenders and leadership are decided that I'm the best bet to help push New York City in a better direction. I'm excited to get started.
BURNETT: Andrew Yang, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.
YANG: Erin, always. Thank you.
BURNETT: And we'll be talking to the other top candidates in the race, Maya Wiley, tomorrow. And Kathryn Garcia later in the week.
OUTFRONT next, Trump lashing out at Pennsylvania Republicans who won't follow Arizona's lead and conduct the sham audit, asking if they're stupid corrupt or naive.
Plus, an off duty flight attendant allegedly chokes a crew member, threatens to take down a plane. This case of unruly passengers hits 3,000 this year. What's going on?
BURNETT: Tonight, Arizona's problem ridden and sham election audit expected to finish its hand recount after six weeks, this after two legitimate audits confirmed Biden won the state. But now, Republicans across the country are looking to Arizona's sham audit as a possible model. And former President Trump is calling out some Republicans in Pennsylvania who oppose an audit like that there, saying, quote, are they stupid, corrupt or naive?
Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republican proponent of Arizona's so-called ballot audit on the cusp for wrapping up the hand count.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the to-be counted (INAUDIBLE) and that's empty.
MURRAY: Of course, there is more to come. The auditors are launching into the murky process of analyzing the Maricopa ballots for anomalies whatever that means.
JEFF ELLINGTON, CEO, RUNBECK: We've never seen an audit conducted this way.
MURRAY: Even the head of Runbeck, the company that produced the ballots, does not know what to make of auditors that previously used UV light and microscopes to pore over ballots.
ELLINGTON: We're like, what could they possibly be looking for? So, he went in a dark room and got a UV light and a black light and started looking at the ballots. So, you know, you want to be open to it, right, if there's something you could see under black light, or UV light it could be fascinating to find out. But, yeah, we didn't -- we couldn't see anything so we're not sure what they're looking for.
MURRAY: The Arizona spectacle coming after two previous reviews that showed no evidence of widespread fraud.
Spearheading the effort, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann who says she's been cheered on by former President Trump.
KAREN FANN, ARIZONA SENATE PRESIDENT: I don't know what's legit, what isn't legit, but why would we want to answer those questions.
MURRAY: While the audit has come under widespread criticism from election officials both properties, Republicans are still tracking and from states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Alaska and Virginia, eager to bring audits to their states, and to try to prove Trump's lie that he actually won the 2020 election.
Josh Mandel who is running for Senate in Ohio and often pats himself in the back for being a loyal Trump supporter, making his pilgrimage to the audit site Monday.
JOSH MANDEL (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: We're here in Maricopa in Phoenix where they're opening the vote.
MURRAY: Following in the footsteps of others like we're Burt Jones, the Georgia state senator who supported Trump's efforts to overturn the results in his state.
BURT JONES (R), GEORGIA STATE SENATOR: It was very orderly. It's very organized and it was very just businesslike on the floor and there, and I was impressed.
MURRAY: That's Jones heaping praise on the audit while talking to a right-wing OAN personality who's raising money to help pay for the audit.
All of this as the Arizona secretary of state's office's keeps a running log of the problems popping up in the ballot review. I don't know anything so if you want me to do anything, you'll have to show me, a seemingly untrained audit worker says, according to observers.
Another documented concern, ballots that have been flagged for additional review are being mixed in with other ballots and after a software problem, a few dozen ballots remain mislabeled.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MURRAY (on camera): Now they did finish counting the regular ballots today, but, of course, this could still stretch on for a couple weeks and the worry among election officials is this could pick up in a place that Georgia, pick up in a place like Pennsylvania and that this kind of spectacle is going to further undermine American's faith in elections.
Back to you.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much.
And next, an eyewitness describing what he calls the bizarre behavior of the off duty flight attendant who threatened to take down a plane telling CNN the man was wearing a hockey helmet and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
BURNETT: Tonight, new details about what diverted a Delta flight and forced it to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City. An off-duty flight attendant threatening to take the plane down and it took several passengers to subdue him.
One witness telling CNN tonight that strange behavior started early in the flight. The flight attendant was actually wearing a hockey helmet at boarding.
Dan Simon is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help me!
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The struggle and screams coming from the most unlikely of passengers.
An off duty Delta Airlines flight attendant aboard a flight Friday night from Los Angeles to Atlanta.
The pilot asking for, quote, all strong males to come to the front of the aircraft to handle a problem passenger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am very thankful that it did not end badly.
SIMON: Passengers saying the man who police identified as a 34-year- old Stephon Jemar Duncan of Atlanta made an announcement over the plane's P.A. system telling everyone to take their seats and prepare to put on oxygen masks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That created quite a stir amongst everyone around and it became tense.
SIMON: The plane diverting to Oklahoma City. According to the police report, the off duty attendant making statement about being seated next to a terrorist, and stashing his personal items like tennis balls in various places throughout the plane, ignoring orders from the flight crew. The report says he allegedly assaulted a crew member and when another off duty crew member tried to intervene, he pushed her against the wall and put both hands around her neck and began choking her.
CNN has reached out to Duncan, it's not clear if he has legal representation.
On Thursday, another Delta flight this one from L.A. to New York was forced to land in Detroit after another passenger became disruptive and earlier this month, a third Delta flight from L.A. to Nashville forced to make another emergency landing with a passenger trying to breach the cockpit.
These incidents just the latest in a string of unruly behavior in the nation's skies.
The FAA reporting it's received 3,000 reports of unruly passengers since the beginning of the year. Majority related to people not wanting to mask up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we're seeing on board really is an outcome of the stress of this pandemic. People have been stretched to their limits.
SIMON: For now, the question is whether things could get even uglier with summer travel and passenger numbers starting to approach pre- pandemic levels.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime. You just have to go to CNN Go.
"AC360" starts now.