Return to Transcripts main page
Erin Burnett Outfront
Biden: Further COVID Restrictions Coming "In All Probability" as Internal CDC Doc Warns "War Has Changed" with Delta; CDC: 74 percent Cases in MA County were Fully Vaccinated; CDC Doc: Breakthrough Cases May Not be as Rare as Thought; Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) Discusses About Trump Pressuring Justice Department About Corrupted Election; Trump to DOJ in Dec. Call: "Just Say that the Election was Corrupt, Leave the Rest to Me and the R. Congressmen". Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 30, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: The United States will be able to relocate before the U.S. completely withdraws their troops from Afghanistan in September, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. Kylie, thanks very much. Kylie Atwood reporting an important story.
And to our viewers, thanks for watching.
Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, President Biden signaling more COVID restrictions are coming as the CDC releases data showing the vast majority of people infected in a Massachusetts outbreak were fully vaccinated. What should Americans do now to protect themselves and others?
Plus, "Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me," that is a quote. That was the message from then-President Trump to his Acting Attorney General. Is the Justice Department going to hold Trump to account?
And My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell versus Fox News, once partners in spreading conspiracy theories now at odds, why? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, President Biden just telling reporters that new COVID restrictions are likely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can Americans expect more guidelines coming out, more restrictions because of COVID?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In all probability. By the way we had a good day yesterday, almost a million people got vaccinated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, awning on that last note, the best tool we have in this frightening and uncertain situation is the vaccine. But Biden's words is about, in all likelihood, new restrictions come as the information from the CDC tonight is turning crucial things we were told about COVID upside down.
The CDC revealing tonight that 74 percent of COVID cases in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, home to Provincetown, where there was a recent outbreak were found in people who were fully vaccinated. And they say now that the vaccinated are just as likely to spread the virus as those who are not vaccinated. And that, of course, is contrary to what was widely known.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: In rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. There are serious questions now about just how rare these breakthrough cases really are. And we're also learning from the CDC's new data that the Delta variant could be making the virus more deadly. Evidence in today's report found people in Canada and Singapore had higher odds of death after contracting Delta.
Now, where does that leave Americans? Unsettled? Yes. Confused? Yes. There are serious questions. But amidst them all, the one thing to tell people is that no matter what, the single best thing you can do to prevent getting seriously ill or dying is to get the vaccine. That is it. That is the best thing you can do.
Just look at this chart in today's CDC data. As of now, you're 25 times more likely to end up in the hospital if you didn't get a vaccine and 25 times more likely to die of COVID if you didn't get a vaccine. Vaccinations, along with masks are the best way forward and out of the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALENSKY: We need more people to get vaccinated to stop this pandemic.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: The vaccinations remained the bedrock of ending this pandemic.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The endgame of this whole, George, is going to be to get people vaccinated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT live outside the White House tonight. And, Jeff, the President just speaking, saying more restrictions are likely. Ominous words to everyone for so many reasons. The fact that it's happening, what they might be, what are you hearing?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORREPONDENT: Well, Erin, the President answering that question as he's leaving the White House just a few moments ago for a weekend at Camp David. In a dramatically different place than this month started when he was on that same South Lawn of the White House for the Fourth of July celebration of effectively declaring independence from COVID.
And now he was asked just simply if more restrictions and guidelines are coming and he said in all probability. He didn't say anything more than that. But it is clear that coupled with what he said yesterday, that the blunt reality is that cases are going to continue to rise until more people get vaccinated.
But he did say there was a bit of bright news on the horizon. He said a million people were vaccinated. Only a half a million today were new people getting shots. But a few options are still at his disposal. He's not yet closed the door to a wider vaccine mandate. In fact, the White House Press Secretary was asked that today and she said it's not something being considered at this time.
But the military is still something the White House is still watching very carefully if they can sort of tighten the requirements for military members as well as urging other private sector businesses to essentially force their or require their employees to be vaccinated. So a potential mask guidelines increasing as well in parts of the country.
ZELENY: But Erin, the President was not specific about that, but he did not even stop a beat. He said in all probability, yes. So again as he'll return here on Sunday, that's August 1st, a dramatically different place than they hope they would be heading into the closing weeks of this summer, Erin.
BURNETT: Very much so. All right, thank you very much, Jeff.
And I want to go out front now to Dr. Larry Brilliant, epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, and Dr. Jonathan Reiner, who advised the White House medical unit under President George W. Bush.
Dr. Brilliant, you, ahead of all of these new revelations about how infectious this is and contagious this is, said that you anticipated it would be more infectious than smallpox, one of the most infectious diseases known to mankind. And now President Biden says, "In all probability, we will see further restrictions due to COVID." How do you see this playing out, Doctor?
LARRY BRILLIANT, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Thank you for inviting me, Erin. And it's a pleasure to share a screen with Dr. Reiner. I think this Delta variant is twice as infectious as smallpox. And in a way, I know it's not technically correct, but for all intents and purposes, for practical purposes, we should be treating it as a different disease.
The way in which it super infects people who've had the disease before or who have been vaccinated and makes it possible for you to then spread the disease is quite different. We have to remember there's three parts to what the vaccine does, stopping you from getting it, stopping you from getting sick, getting hospitalized or getting dead and stopping you from spreading it.
It does a great job in the middle, not as great as we'd hoped in the two ends. And for that, we're going to look for masks. So we're going to go back, I think, a little bit, a vaccination for you, for me and masks for our friends, our children and our neighbors.
BURNETT: So Dr. Reiner, to this point I think it's interesting, Dr. Brilliant, that you frame it as in some senses as it is a different disease. I mean, look, Dr. Reiner, the Biden administration has said for weeks that breakthrough infections are rare. But, of course, the headline capturing people today is that 74 percent of the cases in that outbreak in Massachusetts were among fully vaccinated people.
For many reasons that's concerning. Nobody knows whether they get long COVID. Nobody knows what the impacts on them are. How concerned are you about this new data?
JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, first, let me say it's an honor to be here with Dr. Brilliant. Look, the Barnstable, Provincetown data is very interesting. And I wouldn't focus so much on the fact that 74 percent of the infections were in vaccinated people because large number of people there were vaccinated.
REINER: But I would focus more on the fact that out of 346 infections in vaccinated people, there were four hospitalizations and no deaths. So our vaccines continue to work supremely well at preventing really, really bad outcomes.
But what we now know from Delta is that Delta is a very promiscuous virus and it will infect people and it will infect potentially vaccinated people, but not nearly as avidly as it infects the unvaccinated. It looks like vaccines provide about an eight fold benefit in terms of reduction in infection.
But what this really shows us is, I think, that for now and until the curve starts to drop like it is in the U.K. and in India, I would add, is rapidly dropping.
REINER: The entire country needs to mask up. Everyone needs to mask up.
BURNETT: And of course, there's so many questions we don't know the answer to. If a virus is spreading among people vaccinated to that virus, what is that virus 'learning', what the implications are. I mean, there's a lot we don't know that may be concerning and we don't know until we know.
But Dr. Brilliant, I will say something about the data, in a sense, it shouldn't be a surprise that the vaccinated are spreading this so easily. The vaccinated are getting infected. The Wall Street Journal had reported Israel found weeks ago that half of adults infected with Delta were also fully vaccinated. We saw those headlines. Israel also reported vaccinated people were spreading the virus. We saw those headlines.
But now the CDC is only just recognizing this data. Why do you think that is, Dr. Brilliant? I mean, certainly they were aware of it and certainly they had to be aware it was true.
BRILLIANT: I don't think the CDC is very surprised by this data. I don't think that epidemiologists are very surprised. I'm surprised that it was characterized as a leak from CDC. And I think therein lies the problem. CDC shouldn't be leaking. CDC should be communicating to everyone in the United States and all the health officers and they should see that as job number one is talking to us on a daily, weekly basis. The best scientists in the world are at CDC.
So the leak part of it and all of that goes with it is a concern to me, but I don't think that anybody in our field is really particularly surprised.
I think maybe if you say each one of these things, we're a little bit surprised by 10 percent more infectivity, 10 percent more morbidity, 10 percent more spread, I think that's right. So what CDC has done is put it all in a package for us. I wish they would this often.
BURNETT: Yes. Well, it will and, of course, the disturbing thing is, is if they knew it and certainly it was known in other countries, why did it come out in a leak, it should have been carefully put out there.
So Dr. Reiner, now let me ask you about children because the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed an executive order that allows parents to make decisions for their children on mask wearing, explicitly bans any formal mandates in the school system. Meantime, in Louisiana, we're just finding out in Baton Rouge, a children's hospital says they're seeing a dramatic increase in children being hospitalized with COVID. ICU is almost full. This is the worst they say it's been at any point in the pandemic, children that are in there requiring breathing tubes and extra oxygen and they're attributing this to the Delta variant. So what should parents do right now, Dr. Reiner?
REINER: So first thing I would remind everybody is that every state in the United States requires vaccinations for school aged children. And we can't vaccinate kids who are 12 and under, but we can vaccinate children who are 12 and over. Every child 12 and over should be vaccinated.
For our kids who can't be vaccinated, they need to go to school wearing masks. Every child in school needs to wear a mask. And even if you're over 12 and even if you're vaccinated, we don't have an ability to know who is vaccinated, who is unvaccinated. And the data from the CDC this week shows us that even the vaccinated can transmit the virus.
So if we're going to open school safely, every child attending a school in the United States and every teacher in the school and every staff member in the school needs to be wearing a mask regardless of their vaccination status.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate both of you. I always do. I'm sorry often about the somber nature of the content, but thank you very much.
REINER: My pleasure.
BURNETT: And next Trump told his Acting Attorney General to say the election was a fraud and, "Leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen." He said it. What will Biden's DOJ do about it?
Plus, more than 100 students in one school now quarantining after a number of students and teachers test positive for COVID. Four of the teachers who tested positive were not vaccinated. I'm going to talk to a mother whose two kids go to that school.
And for the first time we are learning amazing new details about Mars, including how Mars has been rocked by earthquakes and that is not all of the revelations tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, "Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen." New documents showing former President Trump pressured Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to help him and congressional Republicans overturn the 2020 election by saying it was corrupt.
Now, what you just saw on your screen there was a picture of a newly released note of a December 2020 call that Trump held with Rosen and the Acting Deputy Attorney General. Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.
And Evan, they took notes. Sometimes that's what it comes down to even now in this era, taking notes. We knew Trump was pressuring the Justice Department but to see that in black and white, a detailed account, just say it and I and the Republican congressmen will take care of the rest. This is totally new information. What more can you tell us?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. It's still manages to astonish you to see in writing what was being said to these top officials of the Justice Department. If you remember at the time, the President was pushing for the Justice Department to say that there was fraud even though, as you know, everybody there was looking for it and they didn't find any, Erin. And these notes are from a call on December 27th. BURNETT: Yes.
PEREZ: Jeffrey Rosen was the Acting Attorney General. Richard Donoghue was his deputy. And Donoghue is the one who takes these notes. And the President is pressing him saying, look, the President, I'm sorry, the Justice Department officials are saying we can't find this fraud. And the President says just say that the election was corrupt leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen, which tells you everything about what the President was trying to do.
The officials also, these two officials were also telling the president directly that some of what he was being told was false. These allegations of fraud in Georgia and in other states. The president responded, "You guys may not be following the internet the way I do."
Again, illustrating that despite everything that the Justice Department was doing to try to find what the president was looking for and not finding it. That wasn't enough for the former president. He wanted the Justice Department to simply say those words so that then the politics could take over and this is why this is now still under investigation by these two committees on Capitol Hill, the Oversight Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee and, of course, this new committee that is looking into the events that led up to January 6th, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much. So I want to go straight now to Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia, who's a member of the Oversight Committee which obtained and released these notes. So Congressman Connolly, let me just read it again, one of the notes, right?
Trump on this phone call says, "Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen." And then they listed notes of which Republicans, I guess, he then referred; Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry, Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
So Congressman, when you first saw this note, you actually know that the President of the United States said this to the Acting Attorney General, were you astonished?
REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): No. We had Jeffrey Rosen, the former Attorney General before our committee for questioning in May. And I point blank asked him, did the President at any time attempt to engage you in interfering with overturning or rejecting the free and fair results of this election. And he declined to answer directly.
We now know the answer from the contemporaneous notes of Mr. Donoghue, the then Acting Attorney General's deputy.
So no, I wasn't surprised. I suspected it certainly long ago.
What does bother me is though that the Acting Attorney General at the time when he answered that question or didn't answer that question to me in May was basically saying confidentiality of the communication with the President is more important than the most violent episode involving newest (ph) capitol since 1814 when the British burned it down.
BURNETT: So let me just play that exchange, because it is, your question and the way in which he responded, again, so everyone knows this was in May. So this was just a couple of months ago with Mr. Rosen, here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONNOLLY: Prior to January 6th, were you asked or instructed by President Trump to take any action at the Department to advance election fraud claims or to seek to overturn any part of the 2020 election results?
JEFFREY ROSEN, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well congressman, as I just alluded to in your prior question, I can tell you what the actions of the department were (inaudible) ...
CONNOLLY: No, sir. No, sir.
ROSEN: I cannot tell you ...
CONNOLLY: Mr. Rosen, Mr. Rosen ...
ROSEN: ... (inaudible) with my obligations today about private conversations with the president one way or the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty incredible the way he answered it. Well, I can tell you what the actions of the department were. He wanted to highlight, well, I didn't do what he asked me to do. But I'm not going to tell you what the ask was, I'm just going to make it clear I never said anything about the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me. What could the repercussions be? Sorry, go ahead, Congressman.
CONNOLLY: Well, I was just going to say, I think it's important to note he never invoked executive privilege.
CONNOLLY: So he was perfectly free in May to answer my question in a forthright manner and I think he had an obligation to do so.
BURNETT: So what are the repercussions? And I'm not even talking to Rosen, I'm actually talking about the former president of saying such a thing, trying to get the top justice official in the country to say an election that was free and fair was corrupt.
CONNOLLY: I really believe that President Trump crossed the line multiple times in inciting violence, in perpetuating the big lie to undermine the results of a free and fair election that were decisive and to engage in a criminal conspiracy to undermine democracy and violation of his oath of office. And he's done that with certain allies who have aided and abetted him in the United States Congress. Three of whom apparently were named in Mr. Donoghue's contemporaneous notes on that conversation of December 27.
And so I think that underscores the wisdom of Speaker Pelosi putting together a bipartisan commission to get at the facts. But I hope after we get at the facts, that Mr. Trump and those who are aided and abetted this criminal conspiracy to subvert a free election are held accountable to the highest extent of the law.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
CONNOLLY: My pleasure.
BURNETT: And for more on this and the implications, I want to bring in Laurence Tribe, one of the nation's preeminent legal scholars and a Harvard Law School professor. He just wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post titled 'Will Trump ever be held accountable? The Justice Department just increased the odds'.
So Professor Tribe, explain to me how. I mean, I know congressman Connolly wasn't astonished. Evan and I were that such a call, even such a quote would have happened, just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me. So we've got notes now showing that this occurred. Tell me why it's so significant.
LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: These contemporary notes by the Acting Assistant Attorney General's deputy are compelling evidence that the President was committing several different crimes for violating crimes relating to stealing elections, crimes relating to pressuring of government officials to engage in political activity, violations of 18 U.S. Code Section 610, violations of 18 U.S. Code Section 2383. I could recite a lot of them.
But the point would really be not to simply enumerate a laundry list of crimes, but to say that we now know from firsthand evidence with the cooperation of the new Justice Department that is finally finding its sea legs that the President was engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to overturn the results of a free and fair election.
If it lead up to the insurrection, it puts the insurrection in context. It shows what his motives were in rallying people in this violent mob to sack the Congress. It was all part of a plan to say, I don't care if there was no real corruption, just say there was.
Say the election was stolen and then turn it over to me. That is criminal activity. (Inaudible) ...
BURNETT: So in terms of where we go is interesting, because the Congress would raise this point about executive privilege and the Justice Department now says that they won't assert executive privilege for any DOJ official's communications with Trump about January 6th. Now, obviously, the significance of that is, well, all of this. Right
now you can't have Rosen answering the question the way that he did. I know he didn't formally invoke privilege, but the way that he did with Congressman Connolly, when he said private conversations with the President, I won't talk about them. Now he can and now they can call him to testify and others. So what happens from here then?
TRIBE: Well, what happens is hopefully grand jury investigations and investigations by the U.S. Attorney from the District of Columbia. It's very clear that Merrick Garland, despite the fact that initially he seemed to be preserving the prerogatives of the Justice Department as an institution by persisting in some positions that Bill Barr had taken. He's now basically taken off the gloves and he's looking at the facts that he's authorizing the turning over of documents of a sort that the prior Justice Department kept hidden. He's turning over the Justice Department is saying to the Treasury Department turnover the taxes, they've overturned the decision of the Office of Legal Counsel that kept them secret.
The lid is off. The Pandora's Box is open and investigations will now follow the facts where they lead. Now, whether ultimately the President will be indicted, it's a little premature to say it. But it is certainly clear that the committees on the Hill that are investigating will be generating evidence. That evidence will be admissible in court and that it will be admissible before a grand jury, of course.
And we're off, basically, to get to the bottom of the worst insurrection in this country's history since the Civil War. I don't want to prejudge what a jury might say, but clearly the idea that this President will simply get away with murder and will never be held accountable is not nearly as plausible today as it would have been a week ago.
BURNETT: All right. Professor Tribe, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
TRIBE: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, an Atlanta school quarantining more than 100 students in the first week of school after students and teachers tested positive for COVID. Vaccine mandates again. Why is there no vaccine mandate at the school? I'll talk to a parent who has two kids now at home because of the outbreak.
And a Republican lawmaker from Pennsylvania telling his party stop the sham audits. He's OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, more than 100 students in Atlanta asked to quarantine after at least nine students and five staff members tested positive for COVID. An outbreak happening at a school that does require masks, raising concerns for schools in eight states moving to ban mask mandates for schools and teachers.
OUTFRONT now, Jessica Seares. Her 10-year-old daughter is quarantined and her 13-year-old son was sent home to learn virtually because too many teachers are under quarantine.
So, completely, disruptive for your children and their learning as they just go back to school.
Jessica, what was your reaction when you found out two days into the school year, a school year you hoped was going to be dramatically different than the one you just had that your kids already had to return home?
JESSICA SEARES, DAUGHTER AND SON ATTEND SCHOOL WITH 100+ QUARANINED: I was sad, but I can't say I was surprised. When I dropped them off, I had a feeling this was going to happen. I just didn't think it would happen this soon.
BURNETT: I mean, so I guess I'm trying to understand. If this was able to happen in your school with a mask mandate, right? So people are wearing masks and that prevents a lot of spread, are you worried about kids and parents in the eight states where mask mandates are banned so everybody is going to school and no one has to wear a mask?
SEARES: Yeah, I mean, our school does so much. We do require students to be masked and teachers and we have highly encouraged testing but even given all that, we still have this -- these cases so I'm absolutely concerned about those eight states and I think that's the absolute wrong direction to be moving in as a nation.
BURNETT: So looking at your school as you try to understand what happened so, what to do so this doesn't happen again, I understand that four of the five staff members who tested positive were not vaccinated. Obviously, with children that's not -- we don't -- they're either too young or ages aren't disclosed. We don't know.
But four out of the five staff members were not vaccinated and I know the head of your school says they're discussing a vaccine mandate now for all staff members and as you mentioned, right now, they're only required to get regular testing. Do you think there should be a vaccine mandate?
SEARES: Absolutely. I support a vaccine mandate and I welcome that. I'm grateful for all they've done. I think we need to do a little more and I also support the idea of mandatory testing as well. It's encouraged but I think the numbers were around 50 percent of the people could have gotten tested did. So, we need to do -- I would support doing more in that area as well. I would absolutely support mandatory vaccines for teachers, of course.
BURNETT: So, a recent study found kids are four to five months behind where they normally would have been last school year and the summer with whatever slip gets worse on top of that. How concerned are you that this virus could jeopardize another school year for your kids and really jeopardize them, if this continues to go on this way, in ways that you can't just catch up quickly? SEARES: I'm very concerned. I've absolutely noticed sort of social
emotional impacts, especially from my 13-year-old. I think he is -- he's very much involved in online gaming and that's great.
He is able to maintain social contacts but I think there is a loss of an ability to interact in person that might be happening -- as well, you know, my kids hate me for it but I put them on a schedule and have them study at home but I don't think that's going to be quite enough going, you know, going forward. I want them to have that kind of in person learning, if possible.
BURNETT: So when you talk about, I mean, you're very clear about where you stand and I think it's important, right? You're very open about how you see things. In your school, are there disagreements? I mean, is this something that know divides parents and families, feelings on things like mandates and masks?
SEARES: I think so. I think very much so. I mean, we're trying very hard to support as far as I can tell, many of the parents are trying very hard to support the school. We do support the school and are grateful the school is doing so much more than many other schools are. There is a lot of anger towards, you know, the fact that we're in this situation where kids have to be back home, teachers aren't vaccinated.
So I do see a lot of anger and it's hard for folks that moderate Facebook parents page and things like that. There is a lot going on.
BURNETT: Do you have any idea why people didn't get vaccinated? Some of them it probably surprises you. Teachers you thought you knew, you probably expected them to get the vaccine and be first in line.
SEARES: I don't know. Yeah, it does surprise me. I hope it's minority of teachers, perhaps their vaccine hesitant but there is so much misinformation and I hate every time I hear people say the vaccine doesn't work, I understand we have a new variant and vaccine is not an impenetrable armor, but it is, you know, some of the best armor we have. So we need to go ahead and put that armor on.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I really appreciate it and thank you so much, Jessica, for talking to me.
SEARES: Thank you, Erin. Appreciate it.
BURNETT: And next, a Pennsylvania Republican lawmaker telling his party to stop calling for sham audits. He's my guest.
And Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, once a Fox regular, now at war with the network. We'll tell you why.
BURNETT: Tonight, a Pennsylvania Republican state senator and Trump ally is pushing for an Arizona style audit in his own state and threatening to subpoena election materials and voting machines as three Pennsylvania counties reject the request they voluntarily turnover election materials including router logs -- oh, my gosh, the router logs again -- voter rolls and ballot production tabulation equipment.
OUTFRONT now, Republican State Senator Dan Loughlin of Pennsylvania. He opposes this attempted audit.
And, Senator, I appreciate your time tonight. You wrote an scathing op-ed ripping into your Republican colleagues' attempt to audit Pennsylvania's election results again.
Why did you feel it was so important to speak out, Senator?
DAN LAUGHLIN (R), PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATE: Well, Erin, I appreciate you having me on tonight and the opportunity to get my message out. Republicans in Pennsylvania had a banner election year in 2020. We won up and down the ballot. We held the majority in the state senate. We picked up seats in the statehouse. We actually picked off the minority Democratic leader.
We picked up two other seats, statewide seats with the treasurer and the auditor general and we haven't held those seats concurrently in, I believe, 60 years. So, we had -- we had a banner year. And, you know, I don't know how you can look at the election, look at the results that we had statewide and then assume that somehow just one race was bad.
BURNETT: Yeah, well, I mean, so this is the thing. It doesn't make sense and it doesn't make sense as you point out in intellectually.
Let me ask you, the emerging spectacle of a state senator, this is what you wrote in your op-ed, trying to audit Pennsylvania's 2020 election absent credible evidence of fraud won't change the 2020 outcome and only further the paranoid atmospherics, poisoning both parties. That's what you wrote and yet that's what is happening here, their inability to accept that one loss. They -- this is where we are.
So what's the response been to your op-ed saying, guys, stop in your own party?
LAUGHLIN: Well, there is two emerging tales here, Erin. You know, obviously, on my social media platforms, I've been taking hits from people that want the audit, but it's kind of a small vocal minority in my opinion. I think, you know, roughly 80 percent of the people in Pennsylvania are comfortable with the results of the race.
You know, some of us are disappointed in who won the top of the ticket. I am. Voted for Trump. I wish he would have won. I thought he was doing a good job.
But the facts remain that we ran an election in Pennsylvania that was a pretty, pretty good election. And, you know, no election is perfect. You can't find one in the whole country that's perfect where there isn't some little anomaly, but you can't look at the statewide results and point to anything of any credence.
BURNETT: They want to accept all the results of all those other races you point out because they won, but not the one that they lost. I mean, right, the absurdity of it, of course, is blatant.
But let me ask you about this because it's not just Pennsylvania. Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan have also attempted their own audits.
What do you say to members of your party who are so focused on re- litigating the 2020 election?
Because it's not just your state, Senator.
LAUGHLIN: Right. You know, in my opinion, we are harming our party right now with these audits. There hasn't been, you know, really a shred of everyday anything has been turned up. We'll bear the blunt of that this fall and next fall if we don't get back to the business of governing our states, doing the things that our constituents need in their daily lives and helping them with that, and working on legislation that's impactful. That's what we got elected to do, not argue about an election from a year ago.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Senator Laughlin, appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
LAUGHLIN: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And, next, Fox News and Mike Lindell once united in pushing the big lie. Now, the MyPillow CEO is breaking up with Fox.
Plus, we're learning amazing new details that, well, many of us have been eager to hear about our whole lives including Mars, including what the red planet's core is really made of.
BURNETT: MyPillow CEO and election conspiracy promoter Mike Lindell is pulling his ads from once friendly Fox. But why?
Brian Stelter knows.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): MyPillow is more like a source of nightmares due to CEO Mike Lindell's delusions that threaten democracy.
MIKE LINDELL, MYPILLOW CEO: This was the biggest fraud and the biggest crime I believe against humanity.
STELTER: Lindell's pillows have been propping up Fox News for years.
LNDELL: I want you to get the best night's sleep of your life.
STELTER: With Lindell spending tens of millions of dollars on ads to pitch towels, sheets, and, yes, pillows.
But now, Fox is rejecting one of the pillow guy's promos and he is pulling all of his other ads in response.
LINDELL: Fox isn't doing their job.
STELTER: His frustration with Fox has been palpable for months.
LINDELL: Is Fox here?
STELTER: As he has descended into a dangerous voter fraud fantasyland --
LINDELL: The election was hacked.
STELTER: -- even Fox has tuned him out.
Now, Lindell is promising a big August reveal.
LINDELL: Then we're going to bring it as (INAUDIBLE) to the Supreme Court. It's going to be 9-0. They are going to take the election down.
And, yes, Donald Trump will be your president. He is your president now and get this country back where it should be.
STELTER: So he wanted to run an ad on Fox touting these theories, promoting a live stream event, and Fox said no.
Networks are well within their rights to reject ads like that, but it could cost Fox a small fortune. Last year, according to "The Wall Street Journal", MyPillow paid nearly $50 million for Fox air time, boosting shows like "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that other advertisers avoid.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I have never seen so many ads for so long.
STELTER: Donald Trump says he is a fan.
TRUMP: I actually use them, believe it or not.
STELTER: And he leaned on Lindell for help pushing the big lie last winter. But stores dropped MyPillow. Business has shriveled up due to Lindell's election fictions, and he could be in deep legal trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Lindell is begging to be sued.
STELTER: Sure enough, Dominion Voting Systems now is suing for defamation and he is counter-suing. But Fox facing multibillion-dollar lawsuits of its own is having second thoughts about sharing a bed with the MyPillow guy.
BURNETT: I have to just say the puns on that piece were quite wonderful. They were quite wonderful, the nightmare. The -- Okay. But in all seriousness, this relationship was so tight between Mike Lindell and Fox as you show there, Brian.
So, what is the end game here?
STELTER: Well, ultimately, Lindell needs Fox more than Fox needs him. You know, the phone lines are going to dry up. People are going to stop ordering pillows. So, he is going to have a bad night's sleep and need Fox's help.
But this is bigger than pillows. It's about democracy. He is selling something that he cannot deliver. He is selling a return of President Trump to office in the next few weeks. That's crazy and he can't deliver it.
So he is digging a rabbit hole even deeper and not building himself a ladder to climb back out. Frankly, Erin, he needs to get out of the politics business and get back to pillows, because he was pretty good at that.
BURNETT: Yeah, well, that's the thing, right? Sometimes, stay in your lane.
BURNETT: Thanks very much, Brian.
And next, a thinner than expected crust, larger liquid core and earthquakes. It's amazing what we are learning about Mars tonight.
BURNETT: Mars quakes. That's what seismic activity on the Red Planet is called, thanks to new exploration decades in the making.
Tonight, we know more about Mars than ever before.
Here's Kristin Fisher.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Touchdown confirmed.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three years after NASA's Insight lander touched down on Mars, it has delivered the information that it was sent to collect from millions of miles away. BRUCE BANERDT, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR MARS INSIGHT MISSION: This is
definitely data that we have been waiting decades for.
FISHER: For the first time, scientists have mapped the interior of another rocky planet. They discovered a thinner than expected crust and the biggest surprise a larger, lighter, and more liquid core than earlier estimates. For comparison, earth's core is more dense, meaning the Martian core is at least partially made of different elements.
Why is this important? Why should earthlings care about the composition of Mars?
BANERDT: It allows us to take our theories of the formation of rocky planets in general and the Earth in particular and understand how our planet formed out of the initial solar nebula, how it changed from just kind of a ball of kind of gray, indistinguishable material into a diverse planet that we have today with oceans and continents.
FISHER: On Earth, there are earthquakes. But on Mars, they are called Mars Suakes. The Insight lander's cutting edge seismometer spent two years measuring them and tracking the seismic waves as they rippled through the Red Planet.
While, NASA's other active robot is focused on the surface, the Perseverance rover is expected to collect its first Martian rock any day now.
But for the first time in history, NASA has company. In May, China became the second country in the world to successfully land a rover on Mars.
NASA administrator Bill Nelson testified to Congress that the images beamed back from the Zhurong rover should be a wake-up call.
BILL NELSON, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: We are suddenly realizing that we don't own all of this. And it is a very aggressive competitor.
FISHER: Kristin Fisher, CNN, Washington.
BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us.
Anderson starts now.