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Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump Ally, Barrack, Arrested On Foreign Agent Charges, Joins Long Line of Trump Associates Facing Legal Trouble; Study: J&J Vaccine May Be Less Effective Against Variants; Around 12.8M Who Took Vaccine Could Benefit From A Booster; Bezos And Crew Complete 10-Minute Space Mission; Greene Pushes False Claims After Suspension On Twitter For False Claims. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 20, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So it's extraordinary to witness it and then, obviously, for them just the technological thing of landing, the rocket booster back vertically was a huge accomplishment.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: It was fascinating to watch. All right. Anderson Cooper, we'll see you later on tonight on AC 360. And be sure to watch Anderson's new interview with Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark about their spaceflight. It airs tonight at 8 Eastern only on CNN.
I'm Jim Acosta. Thanks very much for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, a top Trump ally charged with acting as a foreign agent. Prosecutors describing Tom Barrack as a serious flight risk as one of his associates who has also been charged has already fled.
Plus breaking news, researchers say they have evidence that suggest the roughly 13 million Americans who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine might need a booster shot to protect them from variants.
And Tom Brady at the White House with a zinger for his former friend, Donald Trump. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, another Trump associate arrested and charged tonight. A close friend of the former president, businessman Tom Barrack arrested and charged with acting as a foreign agent for the UAE, the United Arab Emirates.
Prosecutors telling the court that Barrack is a serious flight risk with access to a private jet and substantial ties to foreign countries. An associated Barrack's who has also been charged in connection with the case has already fled the country. According to prosecutors, the man, and Emirati took off after being interviewed by federal agents and has not been found since.
Now, Barrack and Trump, of course, were extremely close for many decades. Barrack ended up being the chairman of the presidential inaugural committee. Remember that committee is also now the center of an investigation by the D.C. Attorney General. Full disclosure, I know Tom Barrack and he has appeared on this program.
And he tonight joins a long list of Trump allies who are in or have been in legal jeopardy. Trump's right-hand man at Trump Organization, the Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg charged with a 15-year alleged tax scheme. Rudy Giuliani's dealings with Ukraine now part of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation, which involved a raid of both his home and office.
And look at the list of people close to the president who have been charged and convicted. The president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, president's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, also a very close friend of Tom Barrack's, Trump's former campaign official Rick Gates, also a friend of Tom Barrack's, Trump's former adviser Roger Stone, Trump's former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump's former Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos. Several of those associates, of course, were pardoned by Trump.
Evan Perez begins our coverage OUTFRONT live in Washington, following the breaking news. Evan, what else do we know about the charges against Tom Barrack?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, if you read this indictment from the Brooklyn prosecutors, you get the sense that Tom Barrack's personal business was intertwined with his efforts on behalf of Donald Trump. And what you see repeatedly according to prosecutors, his efforts to try to use his connections to Trump to try to help his clients in the United Arab Emirates.
In 2016, according to prosecutors, Trump was then-candidate Trump was delivering an energy speech at the behest of the Emiratis. Barrack inserted language, praising the UAE in the president speech. Also in 2016, according to prosecutors, Barrack was working with the Emiratis. They provided some talking points for one of his television appearances.
And according to prosecutors he, after he did his TV appearances, he says quote, "I nailed it for the home team." In this case, according to prosecutors, he's referring to the UAE, not the United States. He also tried to get someone who the Emiratis were promoting to be appointed as ambassador to the UAE.
Now, according to Barrack's spokesman, he says, "Barack has made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset. He is not guilty and he'll be pleading not guilty."
He's due court in Los Angeles where he was arrested today any minute now, Erin. But one of the things, as you pointed out there, the prosecutors say that he is a flight risk simply because one of the men that he is charged with has already fled the country and according to prosecutors back in 2019 when Barack was interviewed by the FBI, he lied, which is why he's also charged with obstruction and making false statements.
BURNETT: All right. Obviously, one thing that they will not countenance (ph). Thank you very much, Evan.
BURNETT: I want to go now to Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI. So Andrew, when you look at this longtime Trump ally, Tom Barrack, and as I say their relationship goes back many decades, some of the people in Trump's orbit from Paul Manafort to Rick Gates came through Tom Barrack. That's how they were introduced to the former president.
And Barack now charged with the illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of the UAE over the time period of 2016 to 2018.
When you look at this, how serious do you think it could be?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Erin, it's pretty serious. I mean, this is an indictment over 40 pages. There are just page after page after page of very damning allegations, almost all of which are based on direct quotes from Barrack and his associates, email messages and text messages.
That means that investigators almost invariably had warrants for electronic surveillance collection of those messages. So Barrack may have been the subject of either a Title III or possibly a FISA warrant during this three year investigation. So it's a very thick, detailed indictment. It's clearly a very well-presented case. It's taken the government a long time to put together and they have a lot of evidence.
BURNETT: So a spokesperson Evan was just laying out for Tom Barrack says, "Mr. Barrack has made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset. He is not guilty and will be pleading not guilty." From what you see so far, is it possible that could be true? This is a guy who's trying to capitalize on a relationship with the president to make money on the side and didn't cross a line or do you think from what you read that it really does look damning?
MCCABE: I think it looks really damning, Erin. Now, he will plead not guilty initially and try to navigate this the best way he can. But what you're talking about is multiple, multiple instances where Barrack very clearly was taking direction from foreign government officials and using that direction to directly influence the president and other U.S. government officials.
That fits perfectly within the parameters of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires that if you're going to do that, if you're going to act on behalf of a foreign government in this country, you have to first register with the Attorney General and he clearly didn't do that. So he's looking at a tough case.
BURNETT: So let me ask you when we try to get to the bottom of this, it could be just this or it could be part of something even different or bigger, Director. So Tom Barrack and Donald Trump wore close, as I said, for many years which is part of why Tom Barrack was the chairman of Trump's inaugural committee. We know ...
MCCABE: That's right.
BURNETT: ... that the D.C. attorney general has been investigating the Trump inaugural committee, possible misuse of funds and that this could relate to members of the Trump family, whether it'd be Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump or Donald Trump, Jr. But obviously, Jared and Ivanka were intimately involved with the inaugural committee.
Barrack knows anything there is to know about this. Could that be part of what this is about to get Barrack to give up information on Trump or Trump family members?
MCCABE: It's certainly possible. Now, just to be clear, there are no indications in this indictment that they're looking at anybody else for activities around the inauguration.
MCCABE: However, the indictment itself puts the government in a position of enormous leverage over Tom Barrack. And one of the ways he might try to resolve this big problem he's got is to provide information or evidence to the government on any other investigation. So that could include the ongoing investigation of the inaugural committee or really anything else.
So it really could open up a Pandora's box of problems for other people in the administration.
BURNETT: All right. A lot of people paying attention to that tonight. All right. Director, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
BURNETT: And I want to go now to Ambassador John Bolton, the former National Security Adviser to President Trump and also author of The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.
Ambassador, I really appreciate your time. Tom Barrack added to a growing list now of Trump allies who have either been convicted or in legal trouble right now. Here on the screen, people close to Trump who've been charged and convicted right from Michael Cohen to Manafort, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, what do you make, Ambassador Bolton, of seeing a former American president surrounded by so many people on the charged and convicted list?
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, the old saying goes, you're really known by who you associate with and I think this Barrack indictment is another significant problem for Trump. Look, it's perfectly legal to lobby for a foreign government. This town is planted thick with lobbyists for foreign governments.
The issue here was that Barack didn't register for whatever reason and seemed (inaudible) to conceal it. But I also think the bigger pattern, which we've seen in other cases and people are familiar with the Ukraine is Trump himself using friends and acquaintances to go outside of normal channels. And as we've seen with the difficulties of both Rudy Giuliani and now Tom Barrack, this can have painful consequences.
BURNETT: So I want to ask you about that. In 2019, you were National Security Adviser and we reported that you canceled a meeting at the time with a group that was working with Barrack to push a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia. Barrack have very close ties with some in the Saudi government as well as the Emirati government.
And you cancelled that meeting due to and I quote 'legal and ethical concerns'. So tell me why, why something like that was so obvious to you and were you ever worried about Barrack's influence on White House foreign policy, given the ties that you knew he had with some of these foreign governments?
BOLTON: Well, I've never met Tom Barrack, so I don't remember ever meeting him.
BOLTON: But one of the things I worried about when I was National Security Adviser was what I didn't know that it was going on and so this was interesting news to see the indictment today. Apparently, the activity stopped in April of 2018. Coincidentally, that's when I started at the White House.
But I don't think Barack is the only example of this. We've discussed Giuliani. There were lots of others. And whether Barrack knows about the others or not, obviously, I don't know. But Trump's propensity and it began during the transition, I think that's been pretty clearly documented to ignore normal channels to have friends, members of his family, engaged with foreign governments and through intermediaries was something starting from the beginning that I think continued right on through.
BURNETT: Well, it's an interesting point that Tom Barrack, obviously, a part of that in the transition that meeting with the de facto ruler of the UAE when we had a sitting president and that ruler took a meeting at Trump Tower.
So you mentioned Rudy Giuliani. Obviously, Paul Manafort pleading guilty to years of illegal lobbying for Ukraine and now you've got that investigation into Rudy Giuliani and lobbying rules, again, related to overseas activities. In his case, digging up dirt on President Biden in Ukraine.
So why do you think this is a pattern among the people who surround Trump because it is a pattern?
BOLTON: Well, again, this is the Foreign Agents Registration Act, apparently it's one of the aspects being investigated with respect to Giuliani. I will say as a lawyer myself, I think the Foreign Agents Registration Act is a very poorly worded statute.
BOLTON: And people should know it was written in the late 1930s. It's been changed since then, but it was written in the late 1930s to deal with Nazi agents in the United States. So it could stand some updating to say the least. One would have to ask whether Barrack or Giuliani or others who are in this situation ever bothered to consult with lawyers as to whether they might be in jeopardy. It doesn't appear that they did.
BURNETT: Which is pretty shocking because these are sophisticated players. These are people who - they deal with international people, and governments, and businesses and one would think they would have lawyers.
But let me ask you, Ambassador, we don't know what Trump knew. Do you think that Trump was aware of Barrack's alleged activities? Because obviously if you look at the president's actions, he was he very clearly took a side in the whole spat between Qatar, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia. He took that early trip to Saudi Arabia. His actions were very clearly on one side of a regional spat. It was the Emirati's side. Do you think the president knew what Barrack was doing?
BOLTON: Well, I think that's a question we can't tell from the indictment. But it's obviously important because it goes to the question of who was using who here whether Trump was using Barrack more than he was actually lobbying for his actual clients. Look, this dispute between the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council was very, very complicated. And a lot was at stake and the feelings ran high on all sides of it.
And somebody like Tom Barrack, I think, didn't have the slightest idea what was going on, neither did others of Trump's advisors in the White House, including members of his family. So this is a very confused situation and how all these players relate to one another, obviously, the indictment doesn't speak to that at this point.
But whether Trump himself was actually the person, I'll use the word manipulating Barrack for his own purposes I think remains to be seen.
BURNETT: That's a very interesting point. Because as you as you point out, there are members of that family as well who thought they knew what was going on and perhaps were pawns as opposed to players. Thank you so much, Ambassador. I really appreciate your time.
BOLTON: Glad to be with you. Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. And next, the breaking news, researchers say they have evidence the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not as effective against some of the new variants, which means nearly 13 million Americans could need a booster.
Plus, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos soars to the edge of space and back again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER, BLUE ORIGIN: What we're doing is the first step of something big.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the Justice Department releasing new footage tonight from January 6th. It is disturbing. You'll see a retired Special Forces soldier assaulting two Capitol officers including with a flagpole.
BURNETT: Breaking news tonight, the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine may be much less effective against the Delta variant. That is according to a new study tonight and it's incredibly important because nearly 13 million Americans received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so far.
And according to the CDC Director, the Delta variant now accounts for 83 percent of COVID infections in the United States. We know it's much more transmissible than the original strain of the virus and the virus is now surging. The U.S. is now averaging 34,730 new COVID-19 cases each day. So that's a 47 percent increase over last week.
And then when you go drill down the numbers as you need to do to understand what's really happening, you look at hospitalizations, up 50 percent over the past two weeks and deaths, deaths are also up, 18 percent over that same time frame.
OUTFRONT now Dr. Catherine O'Neal, Chief Medical Officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Louisiana and Dr. Peter Hotez, Co-Director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital.
So Dr. Hotez, let me start with you tonight, because I know you've looked at this information, the study about Johnson & Johnson.
Johnson & Johnson have had this sort of silence which was a little troubling just because there was silence. They didn't come out with the data saying that their vaccine was extremely effective, so it raised questions. There had already been, obviously, unrelated concerns that people had about very rare reports of blood clots with Johnson & Johnson.
So what does this mean right now, if you have the J&J vaccine what do you do?
DR. PETER HOTEZ, PROF. & DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, right now I wouldn't do anything differently, because it's still a small study, first of all. And Erin, it's not truly an efficacy study. Meaning it wasn't a study done among populations to determine true levels of efficacy. This is a test tube study ...
BURNETT: Yes. HOTEZ: ... done at NYU where they looked at the virus neutralizing
antibodies against the Delta variant compared with the original lineage and from individuals who had antibodies against a single dose J&J vaccine, there was a pretty big drop in virus neutralizing antibodies against the Delta variant.
So again, there could still be good levels of protective immunity, but it is concerning that the levels of virus neutralizing antibody drops. And it looks to me it's similar to the drop that was seen against the B 1351 variant from South Africa, which by the way, is still protected although at lower levels.
So the question is going to be based on this, would you do anything or whether you would wait for an actual efficacy data under a real life situation and then what would you do? Would you recommend a second immunization with the J&J vaccine or a booster with one of the mRNA vaccines?
HOTEZ: Back earlier on when we were talking about the J&J vaccine, I've always thought it would be a two-dose vaccine based on the really good levels of virus neutralizing antibody you get with two doses.
BURNETT: Right. So let me ask you, Dr. O'Neal, when we talk about the real world, look Delta surging and it's surging because it's highly transmissible, and there are a lot of unvaccinated Americans. So it surges amongst them, that enables it to mutate and adapt. We have 8 percent of the fully vaccinated American public got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. So, Dr. O'Neal, what are you seeing right now on the ground?
DR. CATHERINE O'NEAL, CHIEF MEDICAL OFC. OF OUR LADY OF THE LAKE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER IN LOUSIANA: What we're seeing right now on the ground, Erin, is that everybody admitted to the hospital right now less than 65 is just frankly unvaccinated. We're not seeing these surge of breakthrough cases in the hospital caused by J&J or by Pfizer. We're seeing that people who get really sick from this disease are just unvaccinated.
People who have a vaccine in their pocket whether it's J&J with one probably needing a booster, I absolutely agree, and I think that most of us have agreed that new viruses often need boosters. But whether you need that booster at six weeks or at six months remains to be seen. You have one in your back pocket and we've seen that that has prevented a ton of disease in that population.
So if you've received J&J in the last six months, you should feel protected. You should feel like you have a tool in your toolbox to fight this infection. If you haven't been vaccinated, that's the population we're focusing on. You're at risk.
BURNETT: So one population that has not been vaccinated are children under 12, none of them, but they can't. There's no ability for them to get vaccinated.
BURNETT: And Dr. Hotez, you're a pediatrician, so let me ask you about children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of cases in children has now nearly doubled what we had at the end of June, so that's just in a couple of weeks or three weeks.
Officials at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa say their pediatric ICU is full. Their general pediatric floor is full. What should we read into that, Dr. Hotez?
HOTEZ: Yes. It's still early in this Delta epidemic, but from everything I can see it doesn't look like this virus is selectively targeting children. It's just that so many people are getting unvaccinated individuals who are getting Delta that children are getting swept up along with it. And I think this is going to make things very difficult as the school year opens.
I mean, especially in areas where there's not a lot of people vaccinated. So for instance, here in the south, many southern states, fewer than 20 percent of adolescents are vaccinated, very small percentages of young adults. It means that it's a very vulnerable population in schools and we have some governors that are saying no mask mandates for the school.
So it's hard to see how that's going to go well than some of our southern states up in the northeast where most of the adults and adolescents are vaccinated, I think things could go much better.
BURNETT: So Dr. O'Neal, obviously coming from another southern state with a lower vaccination rate, Dr. Fauci says he won't be surprised if schools consider including the COVID vaccine as a required immunization. Here he is this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: That is not a policy right now, so don't anyone get confused by what I'm saying. But I am saying is that I would not be surprised that in the future this is something that would be seriously considered, depending upon how we handle the outbreak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So states decide, this is a state's issue which immunizations to require, but all states do require kids in school to be vaccinated against MMR; measles-mumps-rubella, polio, diphtheria-tetanus- pertussis and chickenpox. Here in New York, we're required for our kids to get the flu shot every year, so it would seem completely inconsistent to not require the coronavirus vaccine as well.
But Dr. O'Neal, how do you see this? You're obviously a mother. You're a doctor. But do you think COVID vaccination should be on that list?
O'NEAL: Once we see COVID vaccinations go through clinical trials with children as we've seen all of the vaccines that you've mentioned, Erin, I see no reason why we wouldn't require that. Vaccine preventable diseases start in our children. We're used to doing that. We see the doctor the most in our childhood, because we're going through those vaccines series.
Children also take vaccines so well. Their immune system adapts so well to them and that's how we're made. We're made to get vaccines early on and to have long lasting immunity from them. So once we see those clinical trials come out and prove that this vaccine is going to be equally as efficacious and safe in children, I can't imagine why we wouldn't go that way.
BURNETT: Right. Well, we'll see what will happen. Of course, we all know there were some states that probably won't. I hope that they all will. Thank you both very much.
And tomorrow at CNN, President Biden joins Don Lemon for an exclusive presidential town hall talking about vaccinations and that crucial issue that's tomorrow night at 8 Eastern.
And OUTFRONT next, billionaire Jeff Bezos and his crew blast into space. His message to critics who say private space travel is only for billionaires.
And Tom Brady trolls his old friend Trump at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BRADY: I think 40 percent of people still don't think we won.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand that.
BRADY: You want to understand that, Mr. President?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: New tonight, quote, the best day ever. Those are the words of billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos after his Blue Origin rocket crew launched into space.
The journey lasting 10 minutes and 10 seconds taking Bezos and three other passengers more than 60 miles above earth. You can see them throwing a ball, twisting in the air. Trying to catch Skittles in their mouths.
Kristin Fisher is OUTFRONT with Bezos achieving what for him is a lifelong dream.
JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER, BLUE ORIGIN: Ever since I was 5 years old, I've been passionate about space. KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jeff
Bezos grew up spending summers at his grandparents' ranch in Texas, dreaming of a day he too could go into space. He also spent his time as a kid obsessed with "Star Trek", even later in life secretly buying land in Texas using a character's name for the purchase.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One --
FISHER: It took him about half a century but today, on the 52nd anniversary of the first lunar landing, Bezos made his dreams come true in the same skies over the Lone Star State.
Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old Wally Funk, and 18-year-old student Oliver Daemen enjoyed about three minutes of weightlessness, tossing balls and Skittles, and doing somersault.
But rockets aren't cheap. In order to afford being able to pour millions into Blue Origin, he first needed to found the company that made him the wealthiest man in the world. At Amazon, Jeff Bezos turned an online bookstore he created at his garage 27 years ago into a delivery juggernaut, using their own jets and even drones to deliver to customers.
But he never lost sight of those childhood dreams.
BEZOS: If I could do anything, I'd like to go help explore space.
FISHER: Now, Bezos, along with fellow billionaire Elon Musk are trying to disrupt space travel the same way they transform their respective industries here on Earth.
BEZOS: What we're doing is the first step of something big and I know what that feels like. I did it three decades ago, almost three decades ago with Amazon. But you can tell, you can tell when you're on to something.
FISHER: That something is creating a road to space. Bezos says Blue Origin is working towards a world where heavy industries on earth are moved into space to preserve the planet and protect humanity. He believes it is a natural evolution for humankind.
BEZOS: Zero G piece may have been one of the biggest surprises because it felt so normal. It felt so -- like almost like we were as humans evolved to be in that environment.
FISHER: But back on planet Earth, many people believe it's not normal for there to be billionaires. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal tweeting once the crew landed: Welcome back to Earth where the richest 0.1 percent of Americans hold as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of American families combined.
On the day before liftoff, Bezos said he gets it when people accuse him and Richard Branson of using these flights to space as joyrides for the wealthy instead of spending their fortune solving problems here on Earth. BEZOS: Well, I see -- they're largely right. We have to do both. You
know, we have -- we have problems in here and now on Earth, and we need to work on those, and we always need to look to the future.
BURNETT: All right. I want to bring in --
FISHER (on camera): The future for blue origin is two more crude flights of its New Shepard rocket that we still don't know exactly how much those seats are going for. New Shepard named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space. And then late next year, the company is hoping to launch a much bigger rocket, New Glenn named after John Glenn. And like it namesake, this rocket is intended to go all the way into orbit -- Erin.
BURNETT: Which should be amazing.
Kristin, thank you so much, and welcome. So glad to have you on board.
All right. Let bring in former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino.
So, Mike, today's milestone launch, you know, comes on the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin's moon landing back in 1969. What does today's flight mean for the future of space exploration, right?
Because, you know, they go up. It's 11 minutes but the whole point here is the moon and a colony and Mars, and a colony, right? That's what this is about.
MIKE MASSIMINO, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Yeah, Erin and thank you for having me.
And I think that's exactly right. As Jeff Bezos said, big dreams but small steps. And I think that that's what it is. This is first a suborbital flight, similar to what Alan Shepard did all those years ago, but New Glenn mentioned which was mentioned is going to be the next phase, that's an orbital vehicle. And then he also is looking at building -- is starting to build a lunar lander.
So I think the big dream is to be able to use the resources of space, be able to manufacture in space, to be able to settle in space and Jeff Bezos wants to help make that happen and this was a big step in getting there.
BURNETT: So, you know, that is all true and yet, Bezos, Richard Branson, Elon Musk are getting a lot of criticism because they're going to space, some people are saying, well, they can do this. You know, you can jaunt up there and if you pay this money because you're a billionaire, some called it a joyride for the wealthy, as you just heard in Kristin's piece.
You, though, think the way to look at this is they're doing a lot of good. Tell me how you see it.
MASSIMINO: Yeah, Erin, I think we should look at the big picture here and that's one way to look at it, of course. But I also think that what they're doing by getting private enterprise involved here is trying to push things along beyond what governments could do.
You know, governments are limited by the taxpayers' dollars and there is a lot at NASA and the other government space agency would like to do. They just -- they just don't have resources to do everything. So, by getting private enterprise finally involved here, I mean, it's been going on for a few years but finally the landmarks we're seeing very hopeful for the future is that we can see ways that space can also be profitable.
MASSIMINO: Now, the only way you get there right now is to have -- be able to write a big check. But that's not going to work. You're going to run out of billionaires who want to do this after awhile. So that -- certainly they realize the price needs to come down to make it more accessible than is now.
BURNETT: So Bezos said today's flight has changed him profoundly. Here's how he put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEZOS: It was more profound for me than I expected. You know, we see this giant -- atmosphere that we live in and we think it's big when we're here on the group. You get up there, it's so tiny, Anderson. It a small little thing and is fragile and gives you, you know, kind of drives home that point that we know theoretically that we have to be careful with earth's atmosphere but really makes it very powerful and real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You know, Mike, this is on a day when 2,500 miles away from a fire looking at red skies because the fire smoke is here, right? We're all realizing in our own small way what he saw in such a powerful way. But you can relate because you've been there.
MASSIMINO: Yeah, certainly. When you -- we know we're having issues with our planet but when you see the thinnest of the atmosphere from space, you realize that it is a beautiful planet but it's also very fragile and I think we need to use space as best we can to help solve those problems, particularly those about our atmosphere and our environment and that's what hits anyone who goes and that hit Jeff Bezos today.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate talking to you as always, Mike.
MASSIMINO: You bet. Thanks, Erin. Thanks for having me.
BURNETT: And Jeff Bezos, all right, will be joining Anderson to talk about his historic trip at the top of the hour. You don't want to miss that.
And OUTFRONT next, Republicans picked for the January 6th Select Committee previewing their strategy tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BUDDY CARTER (R-GA): We didn't have enough protection. What role did Nancy Pelosi play in that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A Democrat on the committee responds.
And Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene insisting she didn't spread misinformation about the COVID vaccine after she was suspended from Twitter. But, of course, she did do that. So what should be done?
BURNETT: New tonight, the Justice Department releasing new video of the deadly insurrection on January 6th. Officials saying it show as retired Special Forces soldier assaulting two police officers. I'll warn you that this video is both disturbing and graphic.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BURNETT: Another video showing the alleged rioter Jeffrey McKellop hitting a D.C. police captain in the head with a flag pole. Prosecutors say that attack left the captain cut near his eye. This as sources tell CNN that Democratic staffers on the January 6th House Committee met today with one of the police officers who will testify at the first hearing.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar of California. He is a member of the January 6th Select Committee.
Congressman, thank you. It's good to speak to you.
Let me first get your reaction to this latest disturbing video from January 6th -- you know, hearing what was happening that flagpole and cutting the officer in the eye. What is it like to see new videos like this surface as you are planning for your first hearing?
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): I think for so many of us -- I was on the House floor that afternoon -- and for so many of us, seeing those images, seeing those videos, it just brings us back to that day, to January 6.
And that's why I just really appreciate Chairman Thompson, you know, underscoring how important the role public safety played -- those first responders, those Metro Police Department and Capitol Police officers played in protecting the Capitol and protecting those of us who were on the House exercising democracy. And that's why they're the subject of our first hearing coming up next
week. It's important that we recognize the contributions that they made, and as your viewers saw the sacrifices that they also had to endure.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, they made those sacrifices and they risked their lives. Some lives were lost.
Yet, the Republicans that Minority Leader McCarthy picked for the committee are, you know, meeting to discuss their strategy and some of their strategy appears to already be clear.
Jim Jordan and Minority Whip Steve Scalise already appearing to put their game plan on display. Just listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): There's one question that needs to be answered and that is, why wasn't there proper security presence here that day? And that's a question only the speaker can answer.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): How high up the chain did it go? Was it at the speaker's level where they were offered National Guard protection on January 6th and denied it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, even back in February, Congressman Aguilar, Jordan and Rodney Davis, who's also picked for the committee, said there were many unanswered questions by Pelosi about the security.
So, it's clearly a strategy to say, oh, the security preparations, the issue not why the people were there, what they were planning to do or who instigated and cited and encouraged it. What do you say to them?
AGUILAR: Well, I think there will be plenty of time that the committee will devote to who knew what when, clearly the timeline when it comes to Capitol Police. There's a lot of unanswered questions as to why they didn't have a security plan and an operational plan. The Senate report talks to that.
We need to dig into that. We need to ask questions. We need to do so in a nonpartisan way, though.
And clearly, what Whip Scalise and what others on the other side of the aisle are doing here is just trying to put a smokescreen on. But I think the American public see the thoughtful nature of what we are trying to do. They see that we are going to be guided by the facts, we're going to follow the truth, we're going to pull every thread possible to make sure that we understand what happened on January 6th and what led up to those decisions.
BURNETT: So, you know, one of the core part of this is the presidents lie about the election, right, which actually started before the election when he said the only way I will lose is if it's rigged, right? And it's stolen, and that it continued after and it escalated. Jim Jordan has made it very clear, repeatedly, that Trump bears no responsibility for what happened that day.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The facts are, how do you -- how do you incite a breach of the Capitol when it was already planned?
How do you incite a riot that when the breach happened before the president completed his speech?
I don't think they were -- there wasn't any kind of language from the president that provoked them or got them or incitement in any form whatsoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, if he is going to be there, do you think -- I mean, he's going to have any kind of an open mind? He's made his feelings very clear.
AGUILAR: Well, he has, but we're going to -- I'm going to show up to the hearing next week operating under the assumption -- and I hope all 13 of us who are there -- that President Biden is the president in what was a free and fair election, he was elected. And that should be the baseline for how members are selected and how members are seated.
So, you know, I understand the quotes that were mentioned, but, you know, we need to be guided by the facts here. And we just don't know everything. So we are going to continue to pull that thread and make sure that we follow each and every set of facts out there.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, Congressman. Thank you.
AGUILAR: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Marjorie Taylor Greene suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine. Now, what she said was not true. But should she have been kicked off Twitter for saying it?
Plus, Tom Brady takes a shot at his old golfing buddy and former friend, Donald Trump. .
BURNETT: Tonight, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene not backing down after Twitter temporarily suspended her for spreading COVID vaccine information, including urging public health officials to fight obesity instead of encouraging masks and vaccines. She also went on to emphasize that 6,000 deaths were caused by the vaccine, she says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I didn't spread misleading information. You can go to the CDC website and it's reported that close to 6,000 people have reportedly died from the vaccines.
This is important information. It's not misinformation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The CDC website says reports of deaths after COVID vaccination are, quote, rare and weren't necessarily caused by the vaccine. Greene now sidelined from Twitter for 12 hours and warned she could be permanently banned if she continues sharing misinformation.
OUTFRONT now, Mike Shields, a CNN political commentator and former RNC staff chief, and Paul Begala, former White House counsel for President Clinton and a Democratic strategist.
So, thanks to both of you.
So, Mike, look, I know you don't agree with a lot of what Marjorie Taylor Greene says, and certainly not her constant vaccine skepticism. But you don't think Twitter should stop her from using their platform to spread her message, even if it is misleading? Tell me why.
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, first of all, I'm vaccinated, everyone should get vaccinated. It's safe.
But, look, this is America. We have free speech. Even people saying dumb things are allowed in our country. Twitter is a platform that looks biased. It looks like it only does this sort of thing to conservatives.
I mean, the Iranian regime gets onto Twitter and says -- denounces Israel and says that Israel should not exist. Stacey Abrams still claims to have won the election in 2018.
There's so many things of misinformation that happen on Twitter and the way to combat that is not to shut people down. It's to put proper information out there. It's to communicate to people and bring them in.
When you shut people like her down, all you're doing is making her a martyr. You're making it a bigger issue. And really what conservatives believe is, there's a lot of evidence of this, that this only happens to conservatives, and it really opens up the idea of how big tech should be regulated in terms of how they use the public Internet.
BURNETT: So, Paul, you know, Greene is holding a press conference to rail against Twitter's decision to suspend her, right? She's become a prolific fund-raiser ever since she became such a target of criticism from the left. The fights against big tech censorship are red meat for the Republican base. Mike is correct about that.
So, doesn't this on a level, putting aside what you believe about speech and tech companies and their role, doesn't this all just help her, Paul?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It could, it could. But, you know, Twitter has rules. They are a private company.
You know, there are fancy restaurants that make a gentleman wear a coat and tie. They would kick Shields out. And I think Shields is a snappy dresser, has impeccable table manners. He could be welcomed in my home or restaurant anytime.
But they have a right to have rules. Twitter has rules. Congresswoman Greene agreed to those rules when she signed on to Twitter. She broke the rules, she's getting a slap on the rest.
She -- I think she is doing this to try to make herself a martyr. Apparently now, the chief thing for Republicans is whining. They just wine and complain, oh, I'm such a victim.
She's not a victim. She's a powerful congresswoman with a massive megaphone who walk on the House floor anytime she wants and gives a speech. That is not a victim. She should play by the rules just like everybody else.
BURNETT: So, Mike, look, I know you don't like Twitter deciding which tweets are true and which are misleading. There are probably people if they're honest themselves on the left or at least in the center left to agree with you.
But the question is this. Isn't it to Paul's point within Twitter's right as a private company, right, they're not -- they're not a media company the way that is defined now, right? Isn't it their right to do just that, to pick what they want?
SHIELDS: They should be defined as a media company. You know, on the airwaves, on NBC or on CNN, these are the public airwaves and there are certain things we can't say and we certainly can't commit libel or we would be sued. And they're protected from that.
So, when you can pick and choose, when you don't responsibly govern the publics Internet, you start shutting down conservative voices and have the influence that you obviously believe you have or else you wouldn't be shutting it down, so you're acknowledging that you believe you have an influence, then you've given up the right for you not to be regulated and Section 230, there is legislation on this from senators like Hawley and Cotton where we need to go and look and see, what is it that their algorithms are doing that are shutting people down. And why are they being so un-American?
Ideas are not dangerous, OK? Have better ideas. Have a public debate. You know, let people have free speech. That's what the American values are.
And if you're going to -- if you're going to shut down debate on your platform, then the government should have to take a look at how you're doing that.
BURNETT: So, Paul, are you hiding behind an antiquated definition of what a media company is? Because you're right, they are a private company. But one can make a really solid argument that the world has changed, right, and because of what they do and how they operate, they should be treated like media companies.
BEGALA: Yes, they're media -- I actually agree with Shields on this. I think social media companies are publishers.
Now, 25 years ago, when they passed this law that Mike referred to, Section 230 --
BEGALA: -- they exempt social media companies. There were no social media companies. It exempts Internet service providers from liability for what others say on their platform. The theory then was the Internet would be more like a news stand then a newspaper, right? Newspapers are liable, but the newsstand is not.
BURNETT: Yeah, uh-huh.
BEGALA: That was just wrong. It's not how it developed. These media companies like Facebook, like Twitter, I think -- President Biden today said that we should look at that section. So you may have some agreement here for completely different reasons.
BEGALA: The truth is the algorithms that these social media companies massively favor divisiveness and disinformation and negativity and polarization, all of which will benefit the right, the Trumpist right, not the responsible right.
So, I -- I don't like it from a liberal point of view, but I think both Mike and I can agree that if CNN is liable for its content, why shouldn't Facebook be? I think it's at least worth studying, and I think the president is right to say to take a serious look at it.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate both of you, thanks. Glad you're on together.
And next, Tom Brady scores a laugh as he takes on Trump's big lie.
BURNETT: Tom Brady back the White House for the first time in 17 years, cracking jokes at the White House today, where Tampa Bay was honored for its Super Bowl win. The 43-year-old quarterback trolled Trump. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BRADY, TAMPA BAY QUARTERBACK: Not a lot of people, you know, think that we could have won, and in fact, I think about 40 percent of people still don't think we won. JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand that.
BRADY: Do you understand that, Mr. President?
BIDEN: I understand that.
BRADY: Yeah. And personally, you know, it's nice for me to be back here. We had a game in Chicago where I forgot what down it was. I lost track of one down in 21 years of playing, and they started calling me Sleepy Tom.
BRADY: Why would they do that to me?
BIDEN: I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Maybe the next career is in the comedy.
All right. But before we go tonight, I do want to note that we showed a graphic at the top of our program showing Trump associates who've been charged. We incorrectly showed Michael Flynn Jr. instead of his father, Michael Flynn, who is seen here correctly. We do regret that error.
Thanks so much for joining us and don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anywhere on CNN Go.
"AC360" begins now.