Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

Frustrations Mount as Vaccinations Stall, Hospitalizations Spike; New Capitol Police Chief on January 6 was Courage on Display; January 6 Panel on Riot Hears First Witnesses on Tuesday; Trump to Hold Arizona Rally, Will Prop Up Sham Audit; Trump Ally Barrack Freed: $250M Bail Deal for Release. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 23, 2021 - 19:00   ET



KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: And, you know, we don't know when it's going to wrap up.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: All right. Well, we hope it wraps up soon and that they end this thing and move on with their lives.

Katie Hobbs, thanks so much. We appreciate it.

I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN newsroom. Thanks for watching all week long.

Erin Burnett OUT FRONT starts right now. Have a good night.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUT FRONT next, the perfect storm. Governors sounding the alarm tonight as COVID cases surge among the unvaccinated and vaccination rates continue to plunge as the White House tracks the troubling trends.

Plus, CNN just speaking to the new Capitol Police Chief, his response to Republicans who claim the January 6 rioters acted like tourists.

And Trump using the big lie to bring in huge money. So, far that money reportedly not going where his supporters think it is going.

Let's go OUT FRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUT FRONT tonight, tossing tens of thousands of doses of lifesaving COVID vaccines. Health officials in Iowa are warning that is what they may have to do in the coming days because people just don't want to get vaccinated, there isn't enough demand, so they are going to throw it away.

According to the "Des Moines Register," nearly 40,000 vaccine doses expire next week headed for the garbage because less than 50 percent of Iowa's population is fully vaccinated and vaccination rates there plunged. They are down by 90 percent from the peak in early April.

It is a really disturbing headline and it's an alarming trend in vaccination rates that we're seeing across the country. It is one of the reasons why we're seeing a surge of new cases among mostly the unvaccinated up 65 percent from last week. And more concerning, hospitalizations, they have been climbing for three weeks running now, up 60 percent over the past 14 days.

And governors are now running out of patience. Here is the Governor of Louisiana today, the state with just 36 percent of the population vaccinated and a whopping 670 percent increase in cases from just a month ago.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): We have the highest growth rate of new cases per capita of any state in the United States of America.

This really is the perfect storm, and the conditions are ripe for catastrophic outcomes for far too many individuals and families.

This is a storm that we can control. We're not powerless.

We can be vaccinated.


BURNETT: Well, that follows the Republican Governor of Alabama, which is one of the least vaccinated states in the country, where hospitalizations are also up 60 percent in just the past week.


GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): Folks, they have commonsense, but it is time for us to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It is the unvaccinated folks that are leading this thing.


BURNETT: Pretty blunt. And the Governor of Mississippi, Republican also today telling his residents the data shows they should get vaccinated and then quote, "Make the right choice, Mississippi."

"Make the right choice." So far, only 34 percent of people in his state are fully vaccinated, and even in highly vaccinated areas like New York City, there are still pockets that are not getting vaccinated, like the NYPD just as an example. Only 43 percent of the largest police force in the country is vaccinated, which is just slightly better than some of the worst vaccinated states.

And because of that, the city's mayor warning there could soon be a crackdown on those who are opting not to get the shot.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: The delta variant is like a freight train coming on, we've got to take it real seriously. If people want freedom, if people want jobs, if people want to live again, we have got to get more people vaccinated, and obviously, it's time for whatever mandates we can achieve.


BURNETT: More mandates. That's also what we're seeing across the country. Just today, St. Louis announcing the mask mandate returning for people indoors, joining many other jurisdictions doing the same thing.

Jeff Zeleny is OUT FRONT live outside the White House tonight. And Jeff, Biden administration officials are really growing concerned about this troubling new phase of the pandemic. You know, you heard one of the governors there saying catastrophic outcomes for far too many people and families. What is the Biden administration saying tonight?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN U.S. CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: And there is no question that President Biden and his team here have really been sounding the alarm for several days. But as we head into a weekend here, we're in a dramatically different place than just a week ago.

But those calls from governors, Republican governors, as well as some Democratic ones, really are music to the ears of people here at the White House because they do believe the only way to get more people to become vaccinated is not a message here from the White House. It's from local officials, it's from friends, and it's from family, even some of those Republican governors.

So, there has really been a dramatic shift over the last several days in terms of the degree to which people are taking the delta variant very seriously. But the White House stopping entirely short of calling for any Federal mandates.


ZELENY: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki today said look, it is the responsibility of institutions, individual businesses to decide this for employees, but there is a sense here that that is what it is going to take for businesses and others to start requiring this.

But the White House really wants to try and stay out of this, to not be, you know, really to politicize this even more and being accused of trying to impose this on people. But as we head into a different chapter of this pandemic fight, we heard the C.D.C. Director calling it a pivotal period.

There certainly is a sense the White House now has a sense of uncertainty. The economic challenges, you know, that are looming here because of the just simple unwillingness to get vaccinated is a concern. But more than that, it is the spread of this virus. It is the most infectious, the C.D.C. Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she has ever seen in her career.

The White House is hoping that people heed this warning and start getting more vaccinations, but more uncertainty about this disease now, Erin, than at any other point here in several weeks, if not more than that.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny. OUT FRONT now, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. And Dr. Murthy,

I appreciate your time tonight. I just want to put up the map that shows how much transmission has exploded across the United States in recent weeks.

So you know, we see a few weeks ago, a map that's a lot of yellow and blue, low and moderate. And now all of a sudden, more than a third of counties in the United States are in red, meaning high levels of transmission. How worried are you about where the pandemic is heading now?

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Erin, I'm worried about where we're headed, we're seeing the delta variant spread quickly, and particularly among the unvaccinated population.

And just remember that the vast, vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths that we're seeing right now are among unvaccinated individuals, and because we have millions of people who are not vaccinated, which means they're not protected, I'm worried that variant will continue to spread.

The thing that's making this possible is the fact that we are dealing with the most transmissible version of COVID-19 that we've seen today. But the good news is the vaccine does work. It is highly effective, even against the variant. We just need more people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

BURNETT: I want to ask you about the rise in breakthrough cases with the delta variant. You know, in Los Angeles, they're now saying about 20 percent of new COVID cases -- that was in June, were among fully vaccinated. Most are mild, but not all.

Do you feel confident that you can tell vaccinated people not to worry if they get this virus? I mean, that you truly know where it's going, as the virus infects vaccinated people and mutates and sees the vaccine. I mean, are you really confident telling someone, if you are fully vaccinated, you are essentially in the clear, even though these breakthrough cases, obviously, we're seeing more and more of them.

MURTHY: Yes, well, I'm glad that you asked, Erin, and it's really important that we talk about breakthrough cases because people are hearing more and more about them.

Here is what's important. When you have a vaccine, what it does is it protects you against the worst outcomes, against hospitalization and death, and often prevents the majority of even mildly symptomatic cases.

In the case of COVID-19, we are fortunate to have highly effective vaccines, which is why the vast majority of people who are actually hospitalized or dying from COVID are unvaccinated. With that said, there's a small portion of people who are vaccinated, who may have what are called breakthrough cases, but they will more likely be mild, or even asymptomatic because we have hundreds of millions of people who are actually vaccinated right now, 162 million people fully vaccinated in our country. You're going to see breakthrough cases because again, even a small

fraction of 162 million people, you know, seems like it's a lot of people. But you should feel confident if you are vaccinated, your chances of getting severe illness or dying from COVID are very, very low.

And if you do get a breakthrough infection, which itself will be unusual, it will be more likely to be mild or asymptomatic.

BURNETT: So to this point, though, President Biden says his team is looking at whether new mask recommendations are necessary. So, if you're confident that fully vaccinated people aren't going to get really sick, why would you consider asking them to go back to wearing masks in any situation?

MURTHY: Well, Erin, so here's what we learned and what the science tells us about masks. You know, we know that from the science that if you are fully vaccinated, your chances of both getting sick and transmitting it to others is very low.

But we also know that risk is also based on individual circumstances. So, if you are living in an area where there's a lot of virus circulating, if you happen to have somebody at home who is unvaccinated like you and I do, Erin, young kids who are too young to get vaccinated, or if you yourself, are immunocompromised, which means that you may be at greater risk. Those are all circumstances where people may make the decision to actually go the extra mile, be cautious and wear masks, especially in indoor settings.

And part of the reason to do that, that some people may decide it's not just, you know, because they may want to avoid mild or asymptomatic infections. But again, in the case of parents who have kids at home, they may decide that even if there's a really small chance I could pass it on to my kids, I want to be cautious because I'm living in an area with a lot of virus circulating.


MURTHY: So again, those are individual decisions that people will make, but it's one of the reasons why you see some localities and individuals choosing to continue wearing masks.

BURNETT: FOX News anchor, Sean Hannity made headlines this week after urging his viewers to take the virus seriously. He said he believes in the science of vaccination. So, you may have seen that soundbite. But then, you know, he got a lot of credit for that, and then he came out and backtracked. This is what he said last night.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: I never told anyone to get a vaccine. I've been very clear. I am simply not qualified, I am not a medical doctor. I know nothing about your medical history.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: You know, it's almost as if he -- you know, everyone said,

this is so great. He is telling people to get vaccinated. He is saying he believes in science; and he wanted to be like, oh, don't worry, I never told anyone to get a vaccine.

I ask this in the context, Dr. Murthy, of a new poll that finds 45 percent of unvaccinated adults in the U.S., so nearly half of them say they are definitely not going to get the vaccine. Have we reached the limit on vaccine outreach?

MURTHY: Well, I'm certainly not giving up on making sure that we continue to work hard to get people vaccinated, and I don't think we've actually reached the limit yet. Because every day, more than half a million people are making the active choice to get vaccinated. That's a lot of people.

It's more than three million people every week. And so, we are making progress. We just want to make faster progress.

BURNETT: All right, Dr. Murthy, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

MURTHY: Of course. Thank you so much, Erin. Take care.

BURNETT: And OUT FRONT next, CNN speaking to the new Capitol Police Chief tonight. He is breaking his silence and pushing back against Trump who called January 6 a love fest.

Plus, "The Washington Post" reporting Trump's PAC has raised more than $75 million this year. That is an incredible amount of money. But if Trump supporters think that money is going to fight the 2020 election, they're completely wrong.

And a blow to billionaires, Bezos and Branson made it to the edge of space, but the F.A.A. doesn't want you calling them astronauts.



BURNETT: New tonight, the new Capitol Hill Police Chief rejecting attempts from former President Trump and others on the right to downplay the deadly insurrection. Here is what he said just moments ago in an interview with our own Josh Campbell.


J. THOMAS MANGER, CHIEF OF THE U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: I cannot waste my time worrying about what how somebody interprets a tape. I know what the men and women of this agency went through. I know, the challenges that they faced. I also know the courage that they displayed that day.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's your view when people say, well, this was tourism or this was a love fest? I mean, we all saw that video of your officers on the receiving end of so much violence. As the leader of the department, what do you think when you hear it characterized that way?

MANGER: Well, I don't agree with it. That's not the way I saw it. But again, everybody is entitled their opinion. And frankly, as the Chief of this Police Department now, I'm in a position to do things to ensure that that wouldn't happen again.


BURNETT: Josh Campbell is with me now. Josh, I mean, some strong words from the new Capitol Hill Police Chief in that interview with you.

MANGER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, this is a man who is new to the job. This is his first day as the new Chief for the Capitol Police and I sat down with him and asked some of the questions that are on all of our minds. And that is, what is his view of the January 6 attack, how it is being characterized, how his department is going to improve.

And as you just heard him there, you know, there have been these mischaracterizations in his words different than what he saw, people calling this especially a Republican Congressman, tourism, calling this, you know, the love fest as former President Trump did. And as he said, that's not what he saw.

He also mentioned that he hadn't had enough time to look back. He is trying to focus on trying to improve this department. Now, it's also worth noting, Erin that that he is not just looking backwards, he is looking forward to additional potential threats, and that is because there's this continued big lie being spread.

I asked him about that, if he is concerned specifically about some of this chatter that Donald Trump might be reinstated, and whether that could lead to additional violence at the Capitol. Take a listen.


CAMPBELL: Does that concern you, we may see a repeat of January 6?

MANGER: I I'd be a fool to not be concerned about that. I mean, that obviously -- the safety, security of the U.S. Capitol, the Congress, that legislative process, those are top priorities, and I'm absolutely concerned about all of those things.

But I also know that even today, six months after January 6th, we are better prepared today than we were six months ago.

We are going to be as prepared as we possibly can be, you know, whenever we have another protest here. And look for the -- you know, for folks that, you know, never paid attention to the Capitol Police Department before January 6, know that we have protests here almost every day. Now -- and some of them are big, some of them are small. But we have protests here almost every day.

I got a briefing this morning about, you know, protests that were occurring -- that are going to occur tomorrow. And so we're -- you know, we've prepared for them and we're going to -- and the norm is and this is this the reputation of this police department, for those in law enforcement circles is the U.S. Capitol Police handles these things pretty good. That's why you never hear about them because everything goes just the way it's supposed to go.

But January 6th, it did not. But that January 6th does not define this agency, it does not define the men and women of this agency.


CAMPBELL: He said that he has gone through this report that has been put together, the so-called Honore report looking at how his department can reform. He said that he has some questions about some of the recommendations in there. He is continuing to study that.

I also asked him about whether he supports the House leadership's push for this Select Committee to look into the events of January 6. He said that he supports any effort to help his department improve their processes, their training to help try to prevent another attack like this.


CAMPBELL: Finally, I asked him, you know, one thing we've noticed, Erin, is that there have only been a very small number of Capitol Police officers that have been permitted to speak out since January 6th.

We've heard from a very small group, we will hear from a handful on Tuesday. I asked him if he thinks that his officers should be able to tell their story about what they endured on that day. He told me, absolutely, they should be able to tell their stories.

BURNETT: All right, well, thank you very much. Really significant in having him speak out here for the first time to Josh.

I want to go now to the delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives for the Virgin Islands, Stacey Plaskett, because she was also one of the impeachment managers for Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, and now, of course, at the heart of this investigation.

Delegate Plaskett, let me just ask you to first respond to the new Capitol Police Chief, right? He is concerned about the big lie and future violence, but very interesting, in the context of an investigation to what happened, saying he absolutely supports all the officers having the ability to speak out when we know obviously to this point, of course, very few have been able to do so.

DEL. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): Sure. Well, we're happy to hear from the officers. We see them on a daily basis, those of us who are in the Capitol, and I continually give them my thanks for their heroic actions on January 6th, and their continued ability and willingness to defend not only Members of Congress and staff, but to defend our democracy. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of them, as well as to the Metropolitan Police officers, and all of the officers who came to the call of duty on that day.

I'm grateful that I hope -- I'm hoping that the Capitol Police will have now a morale boost with this new Police Chief, and that he will work closely with this investigation, and the Select Committee to look at the recommendations that the committee is able to make, to bolster to support his officers.

BURNETT: So, this does come, of course, four days away from the first hearing of that House Select Committee, right, that is investigating January 6th. Speaker Pelosi just sent out a letter to Democrats saying in part, and I quote the letter, "Now, our imperative must be to find the truth. We must do so in a way that retains the trust of the American people in the proceedings, so that they will have confidence in the truth that emerges."

A few questions from this, but first, this one. How confident are you that the committee will find out new answers, new information about what happened on January 6th?

PLASKETT: Well, I'm grateful that the Select Committee was made, as you know very well, Erin, we attempted to create a bipartisan independent commission. The Senate Republicans were unwilling to support us in that. And so this Select Committee will have broad powers of investigation, the power to subpoena.

I'm sure under the leadership of Chairman Bennie Thompson, who has headed up Homeland Security for many years, they will be able to get to new evidence and use their subpoena powers and their ability to really focus in and drill down on the truth to find out not only what happened on that day, but the how and the why of what is happening.


PLASKETT: I'm also really grateful that at that first hearing, we will be hearing from those police officers, both Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police who defended us on that day.

BURNETT: So you know, she also said in the letter, right, that you have to find the truth in a way that retains the trust in the American people in the proceedings. And obviously, that's really crucial, and it has been made more challenging by McCarthy's rejection of the separate fully bipartisan committee.

Now, there are Republicans on this committee, right? There is growing speculation that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger could join. We know he would happily accept that. Liz Cheney, of course, is already on the committee.

Both Cheney and Kinzinger have not just been critical, though of Trump for pushing the big lie and inciting the insurrection. We know that they have called him out for that. They've also though vowed to fight him going forward. Here they are.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I don't want this party to be Trump's party.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I will not sit back and watch in silence, while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former President's crusade to undermine our democracy.

KINZINGER: I've been a Republican far longer than Donald Trump has, and I'm not going to let him come in and hijack my party.

CHENEY: I will do everything I can to ensure that the former President never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.


BURNETT: Does that give you any concern when it comes to the right's inevitable push to say that this is just a one-sided anti-Trump committee?

PLASKETT: Well, I hope not and I don't believe that the American people will do that when they see the measured approach that this committee has taken. Listen, not only has Speaker Pelosi put a Republican among the members that she could select, although she rejected two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's picks, she did not reject three of them. He chose to remove those individuals from the Select Committee.



PLASKETT: It is our hope that he will bring individuals back and move forward with the Select Committee. And if not, listen, we cannot hold ourselves hostage to the machinations and the struggles within the Republican Party. The American people want answers and we are going to give them to them.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you so much. Congresswoman Plaskett, I appreciate your time. Thanks.

PLASKETT: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Trump's PAC reportedly raising huge money off of the big lie. But when it comes to spending that money, what they told people they were going to spend it on, apparently, Trump does not plan to put that money where his mouth has been.

And the former President's longtime ally, Tom Barrack, out of jail just days after prosecutors warned he was a flight risk. So, what changed?



BURNETT: Tonight, former President Trump holding a, quote, rally protect our elections, end quote, tomorrow in Arizona's Maricopa County. Maricopa County, of course, where sham election audit has made the state ground zero for Trump's big lie about a stolen election.

It comes as "The Washington Post" reports that Trump's pact raised $75 million this year. And that none of that money has gone to Arizona's audit or similar efforts in other states despite Trump loudly and vocally, you know, saying they are key to overturning the election and that's the point, the election he, of course, falsely claims was stolen from him.

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We were doing well until the rigged election happened to come along.

SERFATY: -- remaining fixated on the baseless claims of election fraud, pushing hard for state ballot reviews of the 2020 election results. In a steady stream of public statements and comments, promoting a so-called audit of Maricopa County ballots in Arizona.

TRUMP: I want to congratulate, by the way, Republican state senators in Arizona and other places for their great work, that they're doing in exposing this fraud.

SERFATY: But privately, Trump isn't putting his money where his mouth is. "The Washington Post" reporting that of the $75 million Trump Save America PAC has brought in in the first half of this year, the group has not put any resources into helping finance the on going ballot reviews he's been pushing so hard for, citing sources familiar with the finances.

Instead, according to "The Washington Post", that money is actually paying for some of the former president's travel, legal cost and staff, along with other expenses and noting the PAC has held on to much of its cash.

TRUMP: There are so many discrepancies, so many problems and heard from so many people about the corruption and what took place.

SERFATY: There is no evidence of wide spread fraud in the 2020 election but Republicans in several states are rebounding to the former president pushing for audits through other ballot reviews like the one in Arizona, but who is actually funding the Arizona effort is in secrecy with private fundraisers boasting they have directed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the audit, which is run by a little known Florida based security consulting firm Cyber Ninjas, not previously known for election auditing. A group with ties to Overstock founder Patrick Byrne says it's raising funds to support the Maricopa audit in helping with future audits. Another group established by one America news personality, Christina Bobb has also touted receiving donations for the audit.


SERFATY (on camera): And former President Trump is heading to Phoenix, Arizona tomorrow to talk about all of this at that so-called protect our elections rally. A rally, Erin, that is funded by a conservative activist.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sunlen.

And I want to bring in Chris DeRose, Republican elections lawyer and the former clerk of Maricopa County superior court and Abby Phillip, anchor and senior political correspondent, of course, here at CNN.

So, Abby, given how much energy and attention Trump gave on pushing the big lie and these audits, right, specifically mentioning Arizona and specific audits and how they should happen and this is the key to everything, he still doesn't put his own money into the effort to prove widespread voter election fraud? Amazing.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, it's a fundraising toll. There is nothing right now that is more motivating to Republican voters than this idea of the big lie and Trump has been integral in using it as a tool to fund his own political ambitions. At the end of day, this war chest he's built up is keeping up the prospect of running in 2024 and "The Washington Post" reporting, funding his lifestyle currently, his staff, you know, his expenses, his ability to travel around the country.

It's no surprise the candidate that claimed he would self-fund the campaign so he wouldn't be holding to special interest and turn around and took money from special interest would then do something like this. It's pretty, I think, par for the course for Trump.

BURNETT: That's amazing there as you lay it out. Chris, you were on early opponent, excuse me, of this sham audit but obviously, this audit is certainly going to be front and center at Trump's rally in Phoenix tomorrow. I mean, it's in Maricopa County.

The audit took on a life of its own. Some Republicans toted it as a way to prove loyalty to Trump and came around the country to sort of like a Mecca they've been coming to visit the location of the audit.

How do you deal with this, Chris?

CHRIS DEROSE, REPUBLICAN ELECTION LAW ATTORNEY: Yeah, well, here is the problem and I would advice any elected official throughout the country who is thinking about replicating our audit in their county, their state run, don't walk in the other direction because what has happened here in Arizona is that this train has left the station and now, the people aboard have the choice of waiting for it to go over the clip or to jump off at 200 miles an hour.


But now, there are no good options for this audit here in Arizona. It was -- first of all, it was unnecessary. Our Republican county board of supervisors, which is 4-1 Republican conducted two audits using election assistance commission approved companies, bipartisan commission, non-partisan professional companies, two audits confirmed we had a fair election here in Maricopa County. And it was no purpose to begin with but since it's been a conclusion in search of evidence and now that no evidence of fraud or error has been detected, they've taken to inventing statistics and facts made up out of thin air about more ballots received than requested, which of course is thoroughly debunked.

So, there is no good resolution for this. I said, when I started, there is no good that can come out of this. And every day, that's proven to be increasingly true.

BURNETT: I mean, you know, what Chris is laying and here's the thing, when this audit and, you know, I put the quotes around it, when this is done, whatever it's done, it been going on and on and still goes on and on and there is an outcome and what Chris said is powerful. You can go off the cliff or jump off the train going 200 miles an hour. When this is done, whatever that means, it could be a major flash point. What is at risk here, Abby?

PHILLIP: Well, considering that there is already a conspiracy theory that Trump was going to be reinstated in August, it's all part of the atmosphere around the way in which these types of audits and the kind of false hope that it gives Trump supporters are creating a frankly a dangerous environment and which people, you know, rank and file Republicans believe this stuff, believe they're going to find something where doctor there is nothing and when it doesn't happen, they are angry. They are disillusioned. That's the part of this that I think leaves people waking up at night.

And, you know, to use his a -- Chris' analogy whether they will go off the cliff or jump off the train at 200 miles an hour, Republicans are going off the cliff. They've decided they are not getting off the train, they're going with it until the very end.

BURNETT: Chris, you've lead and worked on election integrity efforts for Republican governors and members of Congress and I know you'll continue to support efforts to increase election fairness. What is your message to the Republicans out there now, many of whom are elected pushing the big lie still to try to run audits in their own states now?

DEROSE: Yeah, I can tell you as a Republican attorney who has worked on election integrity matters for over a decade in five different states that our nominee lost the 2020 election and every minute we spend trying to relitigate that election, number one, it undermines confidence in our democracy and representative government but two, it's a minute that we don't spend talking about the issues that are going to motivate voters in the 2022 election.

So, the more we talk about this, you know, our audit here in Arizona may many popular within the Republican Party but multiple polls have shown that it's anathema to general election voters. So, every minute we're talking about it, every minute we waste trying to relitigate an election that we lost is a minute we don't spend for voters up for grabs in the midterm elections.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate both of you very much. Thank you for your time.

DEROSE: Thank you. BURNETT: And next, two Democrats demanding answers after CNN learned

prosecutors have enough evidence to charge Trump's long-time ally Tom Barrack last year, this as Barrack posts a mass bail.

And health care workers across the country taking to the streets to protest vaccine mandates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't stop this now, everybody across the nation will be forced to get things into their body that they don't want.




BURNETT: New tonight, Tom Barrack, the long-time ally of Donald Trump and chair of his inaugural committee, free on bail after being indicted on charges of the illegal foreign lobby. That agreement, including a quarter billion dollar bond, $250 million, secured by $5 million in cash.

Prosecutors, facing that on an estimate that he's worth about a billion, which means they have a claim to a quarter of his entire net worth if he flees. Barrack also must wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, and will head from California, to New York, where he will be arraigned on Monday. The spokesperson for barrack, previously telling CNN, quote, Mr. Barrack made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset, he is not guilty, and will be pleading not guilty.

OUTFRONT now, Elie Honig, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the author of the new book, "Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code, and Crushed the Justice Department".

Elie, let me ask, you there is many questions here about this. Days ago, prosecutors said that barrack was a flight risk. They did agree to release him on bail, but the security here is stunningly high, right? A quarter of his estimated net worth, quarter billion is an incredibly amount of money.

From your experience, when you look at that, when you look at how this is going, does this mean that prosecutors think that Barrack may cooperate?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGLA ANALYST: So, Erin, this could be one, or both of two things. One, it could be that prosecutors are now satisfied he is offering enough of a bail package, enough cash, enough sureties, the GPS monitor, that they'll have to wear, that they no longer believe that he might flee.

But, as you said, Erin, just a day or 2 ago, the prosecutors were ardently against that. They said he was an enormous flight risk, too much money, too many connections all over the world, we can't let him out. It could be that has changed.

The other possibility is that they could have agreed to let him out as part of some agreement that he will come in, and try to cooperate.


That is rare, but I can tell you firsthand, I have done that as a prosecutor. Not often, but rarely.

If you think it will help the potential cooperation process along to let someone out on bail, I have done that. It's possible, we don't, know we have to wait and see, but it is in play.

BURNETT: All right. We reported earlier this week, prosecutors in the eastern district of New York believed they had enough evidence, last year, to indict Barrack during the Trump administration. Of course, that didn't happen. You know, there had been discussions of this maybe came too close to the election, you can't bring cases so this at that time, but it does raise questions among son, including House Democrats, Ted Lieu, Kathleen Rice, asking the department inspector general to investigate whether his case was inappropriately suppressed, their words, but Trump's DOJ.

Do you see any evidence of that?

HONIG: There are questions that need to be answered, here Erin. First of, all it's impossible for me to imagine that any competent, impartial prosecutor looked at his evidence, and decided, it's not an, offer too close to call. If you look at this indictment, it's 46 pages, it's extraordinarily detailed, and very strong proof.

This isn't the case built on the back of a witness, who can be cross examined. This case is built on his own words, his emails, his texts, things he typed. I have real questions about how and a prosecutor who wasn't in the bag could look at this and say hold, on, we're not sure.

BURNETT: I will just say, some would say that what Barrack did is business as usual in Washington lobbying, foreign officials, this is how it's done. John Bolton the other day telling me, the former un antacid are, that Foreign Registration Act, Agents Registration Act, as poorly worded, and confusing, and that is part of the problem. That it could stand some updating, to say the least.

Does he have a point? Is that part of the problem, the law self?

HONIG: I think any law can be clarified, and I think this law could stand some clarification. I agree with that, but I absolutely disagree with the notion that some one put out there that this is a silly sort of paperwork crime. This is intended to protect our national security against people lobbying for foreign governments, who we don't know are working for foreign governments.

Imagine if we didn't have this law. You could have people with all sorts of access, up to, and including the president, lobbying the president, influencing our policy, who are secretly working for foreign countries. That would be extraordinarily dangerous. This is an important law.

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

HONIG: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, more and more hospitals are telling employees to get vaccinated, or lose their job. Tonight, some health care workers pushback. Why?

And the FAA bringing Jeff Bezos back to Earth. Why the billionaire could be denied astronaut wings.



BURNETT: Tonight, health care workers pushing back against vaccine mandates, holding protests across the country, as more and more hospitals are requiring employees get vaccinated, to keep their jobs.

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they say mandate, we say educate. They say mandate --

CROWD: We say educate.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Health care workers, taking to the streets across the country. Their aim? Stopping mandatory vaccinations.

JENNIFER BRIDGES, NURSE: If we do not stop this now, and initiate some kind of change, everyone across the nation will be forced to put things in their body they don't want. And that's not right.

MARQUEZ: The protest trying to reverse or stop hospitals, businesses, and cities, from requiring vaccinations for COVID-19.

CARRIE BRYER, COVID PATIENT: I believed that it was not as bad. I believed that it was just like the flu.

MARQUEZ: Carrie Breyer didn't get vaccinated. Then she, and her husband, got sick. They believe they picked up from someone who had mild symptoms. It put Breyer, and her husband in the hospital, for weeks.

BRYER: I want people to understand, the after recovery. There is recovery. They you could be on oxygen for 2 to 3 months. I will be going on 2 months with oxygen.

MARQUEZ: Breyer, who is now all for vaccinations, her information came from friends, family, and new sources, telling her the coronavirus wasn't serious, and the vaccine came with risks. BRYER: I'm not trying to scare people, I'm just trying to tell them,

educate yourself. Don't assume that everyone is out to get you. Don't assume that it is all political.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ninety-nine percent of the people who are dying from COVID are unvaccinated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's their choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't want to die.

MARQUEZ: Fox News, and many in the Republican Party, continue to send mixed messages on the virus, and the vaccine.

SARAH SANDERS (R), ARKANSAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: If I'm elected governor, here in Arkansas, we will not have mask mandates. We will not have mandates on the vaccine.

GOV. KAY IVEY (R), ALABAMA: Vaccine is the greatest weapon we have to fight COVID. There's no question.

MARQUEZ: Breyer says doctors confirmed she, and her husband, who is still recovering, both had the delta variant, now accounting for more than 80 percent of cases in the U.S. It is much more contagious, and here in Springfield, one doctor says it appeared to be making younger people, sicker.

DR. HOWARD JARVIS, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT COXHEALTH: I talked to some who are glowing specialists are saying, what they're seeing is different, and more severe than what they are seeing, back in December for example.

For Springfield's Mercy Hospital, which will require vaccinations for all employees, the public health implications, far outweighing any concerns about the vaccine.

CRAIG MCCOY, PRESIDENT, MERCY SPRINGFIELD COMMUNITIES: It's extremely taxing. When you start to look at resources that are tied up, in treating COVID, and the demand that is pulling, and it pulls away from health care needs that are in the community.


MARQUEZ (on camera): Now, Mrs. Breyer says that she will get vaccinated, as soon as possible. Health experts say, it's 90 days after recovering from COVID-19.


They also say, the problem remains the same with this delta variant, everywhere now. Individuals who are vaccinated, can get it, they can be asymptomatic, little, or no symptoms at all, then they can pass it to someone like the Breyers, put them in the hospital for a long time, or kill them -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Miguel, thank you. And next, Bezos and Branson, they made history, by making it to space,

but do not call them astronauts. We'll explain.


BURNETT: Jeff Bezos may have gone to space, but that doesn't does not make him an make him an astronaut in astronaut in the eyes of the FAA. On the very day Bezos and three others were launched above the stratosphere on a private venture, the FAA issued a directive about when it takes a directive on what it takes to earn astronaut wings, the formal wings. The formal thing.

Commercial launch crew members must also demonstrate, quote, activities during flight that are essential to public safety, or contributed to human space human flight safety.

A new directive, right before Bezos goes, 16 words to prevent Bezos and crew from probably getting astronaut wings.

But Mike Massimino, who is an astronaut who has logged 571 hours in space and earned his wings begs to differ with the FAA. Here he is earlier this week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people go up there for a few minutes and call themselves a, quote/unquote, astronaut. That's like, seriously, man?

MIKE MASSIMINO, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: If you can get yourself into space, no matter how you do it, you certainly deserve astronaut wings.


BURNETT: Making it clear.

In fact, Massimino told me that Bezos' trip made a big step towards helping humans manufacture in space, settle in space and use resources from space. Let's see how this plays out.

The FAA order says an honorary award can be considered for those who contribute to commercial human spaceflight. We'll see if Massimino gets the last word. Stay tuned.

And thanks for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.