Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

Florida And Texas Account For About One In Three COVID Cases As Florida Gov. Mocks Masks, Texas Gov. Bans Mandates; Admin Official Says Governors Putting "Political Interests" Ahead Of Public Health As U.S. Cases Up 500 Percent In A Month; Third Known Officer To Respond To Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Dies By Suicide; WAPO: WH, Dems Scrambling After Eviction Moratorium Expires; Interview With Rep. Cori Bush (D- MO). Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 02, 2021 - 19:00   ET


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: So, we'll see who wins that battle, the IOC or the U.S.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We shall see. Christine Brennan in Tokyo, thank you very, very much. And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Florida and Texas leading the nation in COVID, responsible for one in three new cases as their Republican governors run for reelection and fight CDC guidelines.

Plus, another officer who responded to the Capitol riot has died by suicide. He's now the third officer on duty on January 6th to take his own life.

And a single mother of three is about to be evicted at the White House if Congress don't act. She's one of millions across the country who are in danger. Can they be helped? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, one in three new COVID cases are coming from just two states, Texas and Florida. They're leading the nation when it comes to the fast spreading Delta variant and the Republican governors of both of those states are running for re-election and trying to use the pandemic to score political points.

Florida's Ron DeSantis mocking mask mandates while traveling to Utah.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: Did you not get the CDC's memo? I don't see you guys complying.


BOLDUAN: Hilarious. Traveling out of state as his residents deal with a surge in cases and hospitalizations. DeSantis is also banning mask mandates in schools.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also banning mask and vaccine mandates in his State.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R) TEXAS: It would be inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask.


BOLDUAN: And it appears the Biden ministration has had enough, now calling out Republican governors like DeSantis and Abbott. A senior official telling CNN this, "I think there are governors in this country who are putting their political interests ahead of public health."

The U.S. is now averaging nearly 80,000 new cases a day, that's up 54 percent from a week ago and more than 500 percent from one month ago. Hospitalizations up 13,000 from last week. This should not be political. Because for one we know vaccines work.

Just ask Lindsey Graham. Here he is, we're showing you this video earlier this afternoon, minutes before announcing that he tested positive for COVID. He tweeted this, he said, "I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms. I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now."

That is Lindsey Graham from a State where only 41 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. And yet at the same time, you have Graham's colleague, Republican colleagues, Sen. Ron Johnson raising doubts about the vaccine.

Remember, this is a man who has not been vaccinated according to a spokesman and he's also no stranger to conspiracy theories. He tweeted this today about a former journalist now chief conspiracy theorist Alex Berenson and says that he has been 'a courageous voice of reason throughout the pandemic'.

More like a dangerous voice. He has been telling people the best way to combat the virus is simply to become infected by it and then there is this statement that he made it CPAC.


ALEX BERENSON: The government was hoping that they could sort of sucker 90 percent of the population into getting vaccinated and it isn't happening.


BOLDUAN: And he's celebrating that, celebrating that this pandemic is only going to drag on longer because of the unvaccinated. As it stands tonight, 70 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. It is a good step in the right direction, but it is nowhere near enough.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I want to start today by simply stating the obvious, while we desperately want to be done with this pandemic COVID-19 is clearly not done with us.


BOLDUAN: We'll dive into medical headlines in a moment but first I want to go to Manu Raju in Capitol Hill. Manu, breakthrough cases are now very real on the hill and the concern tonight is who's been exposed and will there be more cases?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Because after Sen. Lindsey Graham announced that he tested positive, he had come into contact with a number of senators before he learned of this diagnosis. The Senate was in session all weekend and there was a gathering, a bipartisan gathering on Sen. Joe Manchin's houseboat that he lives on in the Washington area.

Lindsey Graham was there, I'm told and I'm told also a number of other senators from both parties also were in attendance. You see a list on your screen right there, including Sen. John Thune, the number two Senate Republican, Sen. Mark Kelly who's an Arizona Democrat, Chris Coons among the handful of others who are there meeting, having a nice time.


And just moments ago I asked Joe Manchin about this gathering and to ask him about the fact that they were not wearing masks while they were there.


RAJU(off camera): (Inaudible) you guys weren't wearing masks, I'm sure.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We were outside, OK? And we were all and everybody's been vaccinated, so we're sitting. And I talked to Lindsey today. He's fine. He feels good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long this all go?

MANCHIN: What do mean?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long was the event?

MANCHIN: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A couple of hours?

MANCHIN: Whatever it takes to eat a hamburger or two.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it mostly outdoors? MANCHIN: All outdoors?

RAJU (off camera): Do you think mask (inaudible) ...


RAJU: So far several of those senators who did have exposure to Lindsey Graham has suddenly had tested negative, that includes Sen. Joe Manchin. But there are still concerns, given the fact that they have such an ambitious agenda and any single senator who decides who can't attend or has to isolate could affect the outcome of some key measures going through the Senate, including an infrastructure bill right now.

But Sen. Lindsey Graham also, Kate, had a message that he left in his tweet saying that everybody should get vaccinated, including in his State of South Carolina where the rate has been lower than public health officials want at the moment. And he also said even though he is experiencing symptoms right now, he's likely a lot better now because he has been vaccinated otherwise it could have been a lot worse, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Manu, thank you for that.

OUTFRONT with me now is Dr. Ralph Gonzales. He's an internist at UCSF Medical Center and an associate Dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and also Jonathan, Dr. Jonathan Reiner who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush. Thank you both for being here.

Dr. Reiner, I want to start with that stat from the White House that we learned today. One in three cases in the United States is coming out of two states, Florida and Texas. Two states where governors have been adamant against mask mandates. What do you make of this?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, those are two states where the governors have decided to politicize this pandemic, politicize vaccines and politicize masks. I live in a state, Maryland, with a Republican governor and that's a state that has one of the lowest COVID rates in the United States now, because that Republican Governor stressed mask, had a mask mandate for a very long time, push vaccines and the pandemic has been under control for quite a while.

In Florida, which is on fire, the governor of that state has decided to just politicize almost every aspect of this pandemic. In Florida with a raging pandemic, the Governor decides not to allow local authorities to mandate masks for schools. The Governor of Florida has prevented localities or any business from mandating vaccinations, prevented companies like Celebrity Cruises and other cruise carriers from mandating vaccinations for their customers.

I don't understand what the Governor of Florida thinks is going to happen with the pandemic when you tie the hands of public health officials.

BOLDUAN: Look, and Dr. Gonzales, your hospital has an interesting situation. You had 183 positive cases among employees and students there. And a majority of them, 153, were breakthrough cases because they were vaccinated. Thirty of the cases, 30 of the people were unvaccinated. How did this happen? I mean, did this surprise you?

RALPH GONZALES, INTERNIST, UCSF MEDICAL CENTER: Well, when this first started at the end of June, we were pretty concerned that we saw this spike in COVID cases among our vaccinated employees. But keep in mind we have 35,000 employees and 90 percent are vaccinated, so we have very few unvaccinated employees.

And as we've seen this develop over time, we're finding that the rates of infection among the unvaccinated are still five times higher than in our unvaccinated. And if we did not have vaccinations in place, we would be in a much bigger problem than we're having now.

BOLDUAN: Yes. That's a great point. I mean, Dr. Reiner, the good news is UCSF is that those who tested positive only one vaccinated person and one unvaccinated person were hospitalized. But what does this tell you?

REINER: Well, that's really the message and I think the CDC has really garbled the message over the last couple of weeks. The message is that our vaccines still work remarkably well. The data over the weekend showing that 99.999 percent of vaccinated people have not died from this virus is really remarkable news.

I think we're going to see as the fall goes on, we're going to see more breakthrough cases. But these breakthrough cases in many cases will be more like the seasonal flu relatively mild infections.


The vaccines turn out to be just as good as they advertised. They are remarkably effective at preventing death and hospitalization. That's the message for the country. Our vaccines continue to work very, very well.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And in the meantime, while the Delta variant continues to run like wildfire because so many people are unvaccinated, Dr. Gonzales, seven Bay Area counties reinstated an indoor mask mandate for everyone regardless of vaccination status. This goes into effect, I believe, overnight. Do you think a mask requirement is necessary right now with just everything that you're seeing?

GONZALES: Well, I do, Kate. I think what we're seeing is that there's high levels of virus circulating in our community and because this delta strain is so infectious, we did not have high enough vaccination levels in our community to prevent the kind of spread that we're seeing.

And so while our earlier projection is about 70 percent might get us there. With this delta strain, it's more like 80 percent or 90 percent. And so, I think the mass mandate is really important, because that's where we're seeing some of the transmission. And as a corollary, if you look at our medical center, where we have universal masking, even though we've had this number of cases among our employees, we've seen only one transmission in over 180 contacts that we've traced so far, so masks work.

BOLDUAN: That's really interesting to know. Thank you both very much. I really appreciate it.

OUTFRONT for us next, some tragic news. We are learning a third officer who responded to the January 6th Capitol riot has died by suicide.

Plus, the White House and Democrats in congress scrambling now to do something about the now expired eviction moratorium. Millions of Americans were at risk of losing their homes and I'm going to talk to a Congresswoman who protested by sleeping on the Capitol steps.

And a showdown tonight between Google and Rupert Murdoch after the internet giant bans one of Murdoch's networks from posting anything on YouTube.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, the D.C. Metropolitan Police confirming another officer who responded to the January 6th insurrection has died by suicide. He is now the third officer who responded to the Capitol Riot and later took his life. Officer Gunther Hashida was an 18-year veteran on the force. Whitney Wild is OUTFRONT for us now.

Whitney, this is an awful tragedy. And honestly, it's part of a really disturbing pattern. What more can you tell us?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's just heartbreaking. The department telling us tonight that he was part of the emergency response team. That's the division within the Special Operations Division at the Metropolitan Police Department. He did respond to the Capitol on January 6th.

But let me make very clear, the department is not saying it was because of his response to the insurrection that he took his own life. However, as you mentioned, it follows this very heartbreaking pattern, two other officers, Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood both took their own lives after responding to the U.S. Capitol.

It's just another reminder of the immense burden these officers take when they know they have to run into a shocking attack like that. There are so many officers across the country who struggle, because this job is necessarily burdensome, Kate. It's just a difficult job.

And this death, he was found dead in his home, July 29th, Thursday, July 29th. That's two days after four officers took to Congress to outline the tragedy of the day their own traumas of the day and plea for mental health help for officers. It just so happens, Kate, that so when you see on our air quite often someone who testified in front of Congress, Officer Michael Fanone knew officer has Hashida very well. Here's what he had to say. He said that he was loved by everyone. Frankly, he says, "He was,"

again, "loved by everyone. There is no one in the law enforcement profession loved by everyone - most are not loved by some. He was literally that guy - who everyone loved."

Kate, once again I cannot stress this enough. The burden for law enforcement nationwide is immense and this is one more example that mental health assistance for these officers is literally a matter of life and death, Kate.

BOLDUAN: And also just how real it all is, because at the very same time, tonight we are learning that Republican Senator Ron Johnson is continuing to push unfounded claims about law enforcement in January 6th. Now, he's suggesting the FBI knew more about the planning ahead of the attack than it has revealed to this point. Let me play this for everyone.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): So you think that the FBI had fully infiltrated the militias in Michigan, but they know squat about what was happening on January 6th or what was happening with these groups? I'd say there is way more to the story.


BOLDUAN: This is not about Officer Hashida here, but it is about law enforcement. What is Ron Johnson talking about, Whitney?

WILD: So he's making these logic jumps and let me walk you through it. It is important to note this is a conspiracy theory. He's latched on to this idea that the FBI has somehow infiltrated these groups that they were at some ways much more involved in the Capitol riot then they have revealed.

But here, again, let me just walk you through what he's talking about. So he's discussing this case out of Michigan in which the FBI basically dismantled a group that had intended to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. That was a huge case that happened in October.

Now, the defense in that case is arguing that the extent of the FBI's infiltration actually was entrapment. That's what they're arguing here. So Ron Johnson making this jump from that case, those accusations by the defense that the FBI somehow entrapped these defendants is in some ways suggesting that the FBI also deeply infiltrated the groups that went to the Capitol that day.

There's no evidence to suggest that the FBI knows that much more about these groups that infiltrated the Capitol, that they in any way part of that attack as some people on the right and some people in conservative media has asserted. There's just no evidence to suggest that. It remains as conspiracy theory, Kate, but it's, again, more people pushing out these false narratives that are just so damaging.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Whitney, thank you very much.

I want to bring in right now John Avlon Anchor and CNN Senior Political Analyst.


I mean, John, I want to get to the pattern with Johnson in a second but. Just the fact that on the day that we learn another, about another officer who responded to the riot has died by suicide. You have one of the people who they were there fighting to protect really questioning the whole thing.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. That is what is happening and you see another Republican hot mic moment from Ron Johnson who's descended into the depths of conspiracy theories and fueling this distrust of law enforcement.

And let's be real clear, yes, he's saying what he really thinks. It's a hot mic. At the same time, he is also engaging in that classic Trumpian game of deflect and project. You don't want to deal with the actual facts of what occurred, so you're going to pass the buck and pass the blame and say it's some kind of a conspiracy.

And if he actually was, Kate, concerned that there was a lot more to this story, then he probably would have and should have voted for the bipartisan commission to investigate the attacks. But, of course, he's stonewalled it because this is just a right-wing talking point and the Senator should probably get into new line of work. He's a basically radio shock jock right now. He's not acting like a U.S. Senator with access to information.

BOLDUAN: And I really do want to bring up Michael Fanone once again.


BOLDUAN: Whitney read part of his statement, he's an officer that many people who defended the Capitol that day and many people have gotten to know. And that statement that he put out about Officer Hashida who he says he's known for years when he says he's literally was the guy, was that guy who everyone loved.

And also Fanone also had said that much more needs to be done to normalize the conversation around mental health now. And Fanone had this very powerful thing you will remember to say when he testified before Congress.


OFC. MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist or that hell actually wasn't that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.


BOLDUAN: Fanone is getting an exactly what Johnson is doing here.

AVLON: That's exactly right and it is disgraceful. And that form of gaslighting by elected officials who had their lives saved and protected by these police officers who suffered during the attack, that adds to the trauma. I was talking to our friend and colleague, Brianna Keilar, earlier and she made the point that this is something that we see in military units.

When conflict and war becomes politicized, it adds to the trauma. And while we can never know precisely what leads to any individual's decision to choose, to end their own life, the tragedy of suicide. A whole generation of conservatives was motivated by fury, righteous anger watching Vietnam veterans returned to America and being spat on and disrespected by citizenry.

And now we see Republican conservative senators and congressmen doing the moral equivalent of just that to the police officers who helped save their lives during attack on our Capitol.

BOLDUAN: Let me raise one more thing I want to get you on. Mark Meadows, he said something in a recent interview that is going to also fuel baseless conspiracy theories that Donald Trump is going to be reinstated as President. Let me play this.


MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I wanted to join you to talk about really a president that is fully engaged, highly focused and remaining on task. Well, we met with some of our cabinet members tonight. We actually had a follow up member meeting with some of our cabinet members.


BOLDUAN: What cabinet is he talking about? I mean, what world is he living in right now and how dangerous is this?

AVLON: He's absolutely fueling the whole complete conspiracy theory fantasia that somehow Donald Trump can be reinstated by talking about president not ex-president, talking about a cabinet meeting. And he's fueling those fires. And let's be real, Mark Meadows is a smart guy.


AVLON: And it's everything that Donald Trump seems to get dumber. Either that or he feels compelled to just kiss up to that audience of one in a performative way on Newsmax. But he is absolutely fueling these fires and it is somebody who has given leave of his senses and in some respects his political soul out of service, out of fealty to this cult of personality.

BOLDUAN: I don't know about Ron Johnson, but Mark Meadows does no better.


BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, John. Thank you.

AVLON: You too, Kate.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, a single mom of three now fearing the worst after a federal moratorium on evictions has expired.


DASHA KELLY, FAMILY FACING EVICTION: You guys honestly freaked me out when you knocked this morning. I'm not going to lie because I'm really thinking they're coming at any moment.


BOLDUAN: Plus, mask showdowns in schools. Arkansas' second largest school district now looking to sue the state over its ban on mass requirements. The District Superintendent is our guest.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, the White House saying it doesn't have the legal authority to extend the expired federal eviction moratorium on its own and is now 'challenging every landlord' to hold off on evictions for the next 30 days. It comes as America is at risk of a full blown crisis as millions of Americans fear losing their homes and Congress is pointing fingers over who's to blame. Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.


KELLY: This is the letter. Oh, I owe 1,900.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That letter is a 24-hour eviction notice.


KELLY: And you guys honestly freaked me out when you knocked this morning. I'm not going to lie because I'm really thinking they're coming at any moment.


WATT (voice over): To throw Dasha Kelly who goes by Kelly and her little girls, Sharon (ph), Kia (ph) and Domani (ph) onto the street. Talking about it doesn't help.


KELLY: Sorry.

WATT (on camera): No, Kelly. Listen, we're sorry to ...

KELLY: Do you know what's happening when we start talking about it (inaudible)?

WATT (off camera): Yes.

KELLY: It's like it's bringing all my emotions.

WATT (off camera): I'm sorry.


WATT (voice over): Kelly was a casino dealer here in Las Vegas, loved it.


KELLY: Well, I'm automatically come on please win, I'm rooting for you. Like as soon as they bust (ph), I'm upset too.


WATT (voice over): She lost her jobs, now has no car and no money for childcare.


WATT (on camera): It's this tiny virus that has come along and just ...

KELLY: Taken everything. I just had to donate a few days ago.



WATT (voice over): Kelly is now donating blood plasma, a hundred bucks a time to buy groceries.


WATT (on camera): So you are managing to eat ...


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kelly is now donating blood plasma, 100 bucks a time to buy groceries.

So you are managing to eat okay?

DASHA KELLY, FAMILY FACING EVICTION: Oh, yeah, well, they're eating okay. Let's put it that way. I'm like, there are days I don't want to roll out the bed, roll off the floor. You get what I mean.

WATT: Kelly's pawned or sold nearly everything she had.

KELLY: I had a bed right here. There was a TV right here on top of this stand so I have to pawn that.

WATT: She thought about working online but --

You lost your laptop, as well.

KELLY: Oh, I had to pawn that trying to keep up with the bills. So --

WATT: Okay.

This is the girls' room.

KELLY: They used to have their bed here and used to have a little chest there.

WATT: Not anymore.

KELLY: I'll sacrifice my couch, as you can see it's a little beat up so they don't have to lay on the floor because they're so tiny.

WATT: More than 11 million Americans are reportedly behind on their rent. Congress approved $47 billion to help but very few of those billions have actually been handed out. Kelly applied hasn't heard back.

KELLY: Apparently, it's a process, like two or three months you have to wait or something.

WATT: And that federal ban on evictions expired midnight Saturday.

Do they know what is going on?

KELLY: Not really. That's what I'm afraid of telling them. How do you explain that to your kids, you know what I mean? I don't have words. I think I'll break down crying and just hug them. Let them know everything will be all right and we're going to figure it out, I guess.


WATT (on camera): Now, Dasha Kelly started a GoFundMe page to try to cover the rent, 2,000 bucks. It's a Hail Mary. She's praying for a miracle hoping for a miracle.

The other thing she's hoping for is that more people would just wear masks. That way she says maybe more of us can get back to work, maybe more of us can get back to life -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Nick, thank you for brings us her story. Really appreciate it.

Now, I want to bring in Democratic Congressman Cori Bush of Missouri. She has been protesting at the Capitol, even sleeping outside in the Capitol over the weekend. She to draw attention to this very issue.

Congresswoman, thank you for being here.

This is not only -- not something you've just been protesting and drawing attention to, this issue is personal for you. You've spoken out about very much. And you just heard the desperation from that mother that my colleague Nick Watt spoke to.

I mean, what do you tell her? REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): You know, that right now all of the people

behind me and more, we are right now fighting and working hard to make sure that we bring home not only a moratorium, you know, that at least extends through December 31st but also the states go ahead and release the money. That $40 billion that's being held up that the states and that the local governments release the money, that we make sure those landlords get paid.

That's what we -- that's because when the landlords get paid, renters get to stay in their homes. You know, we need to make sure that that's happening.

And so, we're working hard for you and I know what it's like to be their mommy. I know what it's like to have your children -- you know, and you want to keep them safe, you want to do everything you can to make sure that you give them a good life, but then it's like life is fighting you.

I totally understand it. And because of that, that's why I want to come to Congress. I'm doing the work now to fight for you.

BOLDUAN: Look, there is a lot of finger pointing going on. Like who can do something about it? Who can do more and who hasn't done enough?

I mean, you just met this afternoon with Vice President Kamala Harris about this very thing. She did dodge questions from reporters on this moratorium today when she was on the Hill.

What did she say to you? I mean, did she say more than what she's saying to reporters?

BUSH: No, not really. She -- my whole point for going up to talk to her was I wanted to look her in her face, I wanted her to look me in my face. I wanted her to see my eyes and to look down into my soul if she could see it because I don't want my people -- I do not want the people of St. Louis ending up on the street because of policy choices, because of failed leadership, because of passing the buck.

I need my people whole and I need my people safe. St. Louis deserves that and not only St. Louis but all across this country people need that. And so, that's what we did. I asked her and said I need you to see my eyes. You know, my people cannot be put out on the street, you know, and she nodded, you know, and --


BOLDUAN: Do you believe --

BUSH: -- she told me to take care of myself and she's working --

BOLDUAN: But do you believe her?

BUSH: Yeah, she said they're working.

BOLDUAN: Do you believe her? BUSH: I believe that the statement that the White House put out today,

I do believe that they are working to try to see what legal road that they can go -- what legal road they can go down to be able to bring home this moratorium.

BOLDUAN: Look --

BUSH: What we're saying is let's just do it.


They're saying let's just do it.


BOLDUAN: You also bring up those billions (ph) of dollars in rental assistance because Congress has already approved that. It's already supposed to be out there. It is mindboggling that just a tiny fraction has been put out.

BUSH: Yeah.

BOLDUAN: It's because -- honestly, states weren't set up correctly. Some were, some weren't, but what more can you do to move that money along?

BUSH: So, right now, what we're saying is we are taking it upon ourselves, we're taking it upon ourselves to tell our districts, the governments -- the government and our districts make sure that we're working to get money out. How can we assist you to get that money out?

Because it's more than even just the money getting out. There are barriers for people being able to access the resources and then once they access the resources, for them to even do the paperwork because there are so many barriers. So, there are people that need -- that should be able to get the money that aren't going to receive it because of all of these barriers. So, also that.

We need our state, we need our counties, we need our cities to go ahead and do the work. Take the money and hire people to go ahead and get this work done. We have to have -- we have to have the structure.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, I know you care about this and you'll continue fighting about it.

I do want to ask you, though, about something else, a joke that Kevin McCarthy made this weekend. He was trying to make the case that he wants to be the next speaker of the House, and I want to play what he said about Speaker Pelosi.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It'll be hard not to hit her with it, but I will bang it down.


BOLDUAN: He said he wants the gavel and might be hard not to hit her with it. I mean, Pelosi did call McCarthy a moron for criticizing the House mask mandate last week.

But what is your reaction to McCarthy's joke?

BUSH: It's not a joke. It's not a joke. We don't joke about violence to any person.

You know, it's not a joke. That -- but you know what, it's that mentality that allows people to scale the walls right here on January 6th when I was inside this building. It's that mentality, the reason we don't -- why he chose the people he chose for the January 6th commission because he knew those names would never fly?

You know, for that reason they don't want a real investigation, for that reason, that is the exact mentality, I don't care if you don't like her or not, you need to respect her office the same way you expect people to respect yours. It's absolutely ludicrous that this is somebody that is high in political office. It's shameful.

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, thank you for your time tonight.

BUSH: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much.

Bouncing off, I'm just thinking after she just said that, this has honestly reached the level of come on. I'm the last person to be the PC police. I love a good salty joke when one is warranted but the context as the congresswoman was just getting at here is important.

Right as we're literally just in the Capitol trying to hunt Nancy Pelosi down on January 6th and Kevin McCarthy knows that. He was there. I mean, can he not come up with a better joke to make the pitch to be the next speaker of the House?

It feels pretty small and I'm also just going to say this, it doesn't look good when a man is talking about hitting a woman with a gavel or anything else for that matter.

OUTFRONT for us next, a bitter battle over masks and 24,000 students are caught in the middle. Next, I'm going to talk to the superintendent who wants to take the state to court now.

Plus, the lies and conspiracy theories about vaccines is not just having an effect on adults but also kids. You're going to want to hear what one 12-year-old is saying.



BOLDUAN: New tonight, at least 168 students and three teachers are in quarantine after the first week of school in Marion, Arkansas. That's after multiple students and teachers tested positive for COVID in the district.

This as the state's second largest school district, Little Rock, which is home to about 24,000 students, plans to sue the state to invalidate a ban on mask requirements.

Public schools in Arkansas are prohibits from requiring vaccination.

OUTFRONT now is Michael Poore. He is the superintendent of the Little Rock School District.

Thank you for being here.

So, the first day for your students in your district is just two weeks away. Why do you think it is necessary to go this level to sue the state, to reverse this ban on mask requirements?

MICHAEL POORE, SUPERINTENDENT, LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT: Well, first, I'm very hopeful our governor can actually change the course of this and he's trying to bring the legislative body back and if they can and they're successful, maybe this can be overturned within that group.

My concern is that that may not be the reality. I think it's a very tough hill for the governor, Governor Hutchinson, to climb. So, my belief is it's my responsibility to do everything I can to protect my students and staff. If we can't find the legislative solution, we need to find a judicial solution and Act 1002 is unconstitutional.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to play for you something that one Republican state senator said recently because it gets to why you rightfully so think it could be an uphill battle to get this overturn in a special session, that the governor is calling them in. Let me play this for you.


TRENT GARNER (R), ARKANSAS STATE SENATE: I probably heard from at this point hundreds, not exaggerating, parents, people who do not want the mask mandate, do not want to send their kids there and say if they put a mask mandate at school, that will be a hard decision for them because they do not believe it.


BOLDUAN: I was kind of blown away when I heard that. I mean, based on that sentiment, if that's what he is hearing, what do you think really is going to happen?

POORE: Well, again, if the governor, Governor Hutchinson's view and I agree with this is that if we need to be given the authority as a local district to make that decision. For Little Rock, our decision, we're the hub of the medical community in this state, clearly, our community would prefer to have mask. I believe that somewhere along the line, other school districts would need to pivot and use everything in the tool belt to try to protect their stuff.


So, eventually, other districts will need to have a mask requirement just simply because this is so far from being over.

BOLDUAN: That's right. I have to say, getting to the point of Little Rock as the hub of the community, earlier today, I spoke with the chief clinical officer at Arkansas's children health system in Little Rock, and he described a scary reality what things are like there now. Let me play this for you.


DR. RICK BARR, CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER, ARKANSAS CHILDREN'S HEALTH SYSTEM: Today, we have 24 children in the hospital with COVID infections. They're all symptomatic with COVID and eight of those are intensive care and five requiring mechanical ventilation to breathe. So, this is dramatic change compared to what we have seen previously.


BOLDUAN: And this is the delta variant and that's why, he agrees kids should be wearing masks in school. But if you ultimately don't have the authority to require masks when school starts, I mean, what do you fear is going to happen?

POORE: Well, first off, I don't know whether the governor will be able to execute the special session. I do think we would be successful with this lawsuit and get an injunction that would allow us to have masks. So that's kind of the angle that would help us prior to August 16th. If we don't have this in our tool belt, it takes one more thing away from us to protect our students.

We can strongly encourage masks but the reality is that in our district, obviously, no 12 and under students has received a vaccine and we really have a pretty low percentage when you look low percentage when you look at how many students that were aware of the vaccine that are 12 to 18. That number is somewhere from 10 to 20 percent. The vaccines that we personal provided as a district is only at 10 percent for students.

So, we need to get a lot more shots in the arms even of the older students and obviously, younger ones we need to do everything we can to protect them.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, and the first day of school is two weeks away. Thank you for coming on.

POORE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We appreciate it. Let's see what happens there.

OUTFRONT next, you're going to -- you've heard the conspiracy theories like the COVID vaccines are magnatizing people. Well, as you're about to see, kids are starting to believe those lies.

Plus, it's a closely watched primary that is pitting the Democratic establishment against progressives and is now getting ugly.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, Rupert Murdoch's Sky News Australia temporarily banned from YouTube for spreading misinformation. A review of the page's content allegedly found videos denying the existence of coronavirus and encouraging people to use untested experimental drugs to treat the virus. The claim Sky News Australia, quote, expressly rejects. This as the level of misinformation around COVID is hitting a whole new level.

Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ludicrous lies about the COVID vaccines can be downright laughable.

SHERRI TENPENNY, DOCTOR WHO FALSEY TESTIFIED VACCINES MAGNETIZE PEOPLE: I'm sure you have seen the pictures all over the internet of people who have had these shots and now they're magnetized. They can put a key on their forehead, it sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they could stick.

STELTER: But it's not funny when you read about a 12-year-old who was vaccine hesitant largely because of, quote, the baseless reports she saw online that it would make her arm magnetic.

Every day brings a variant of COVID misinformation.


STELTER: Not just in the U.S. but around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have always tried to be the voice of the voiceless here.

STELTER: YouTube now taking action against that channel, Sky News Australia, blocking it from posting videos for one week, apparently for violating COVID policies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This obsession with masks exists with very limited epidemiological evidence.

STELTER: Something about its COVID skeptical anti-lockdown coverage violated YouTube's policies but the site won't say what. It says, quote, we won't allow content that denies the existence of COVID or encourages the use of discredited treatments.

Sky says it did not do that, and now Australia's other networks are covering the controversy.

KEVIN RUDD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Murdoch has been putting out anti-scientific, unfactual, and frankly dangerous information.

STELTER: Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a fierce Murdoch critic, connecting the dots between Sky in Australia and Fox in the U.S.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Why are we continuing to hold America hostage for a disease that is overwhelmingly survivable.

STELTER: Back stateside, fact checkers are debunking this new meme from Facebook, claiming that planned COVID variants are going to be released on the public soon.

This kind of disinformation is about exploiting low social trust and leaving people dazed, confused, and unvaxxed. In some cases, dead.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, DHS SECRETARY: We have some reticence in certain quarters.

STELTER: The homeland security secretary today saying that misinformation is hampering his effort protecting the DHS workforce.

MAYORKAS: Misinformation is one of the challenges that we are overcoming. And we're very focused on it.


STELTER: Virtual lies, physical harm. Platforms like YouTube are in a no-win situation. They ignore this BS, they get flack from one side. They take action, they get flack from another side.

What is so striking is the way this spreads all the way around the world from the U.S. to Australia and back. It really is a small world after all, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Brian, thanks for the report. Appreciate it.

OUTFRONT for us next, all eyes are now on a special election that is pitting Democrats' biggest names against each other.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, the race that is threatening to tear the Democratic Party apart. I'm talking about tomorrow's primary for Ohio's 11th congressional district, pitting establishment Democrats supporting Shontel Brown against Bernie Sanders and other top progressives' choice, Nina Turner. And the race is getting rough.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bernie Sanders is back on the campaign trail. This time, asking Ohio voters to send his friend Nina Turner to Washington. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): The next member of Congress, Nina Turner.

ZELENY: James Clyburn spent the weekend here taking a different stance, saying President Biden needs a loyal partner.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): He needs somebody there who will work with him.

ZELENY: Here in Cleveland, a contentious congressional primary contest is reviving old divisions between the Democratic establishment and the party's progressive wing. Turner and Brown are vying to fill the seat of Marcia Fudge, who stepped down to serve in Biden's cabinet.

Heavyweights from across the party are weighing in. Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Turner.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): This is where elections are won.

ZELENY: And Hillary Clinton and leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus backing brown.

REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): There is no contrast. It's all about Shontel Brown.

ZELENY: Tuesday's election is a key test for the party's direction and the Biden agenda, with candidates and other groups flooding the airwaves, spending millions in an unusually nasty race.

AD NARRATOR: Shontel Brown, out for herself.

SHONTEL BROWN (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Some just want to attack Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Frankly, I'm sick of it.

ZELENY: She's talking about Turner using an explicit last year to describe the choice between Biden and Donald Trump, a comment that's been played again and again in attack ads.

NINA TURNER (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: You've got two bowls of shit in front of you, and you've got to pick one.

AD NARRATOR: Nina Turner said that.

ZELENY: We asked Turner if she regrets disparaging Biden after he beat Sanders and won the party's nomination.

TURNER: I will say at that moment, we all know that primaries are very heated.

ZELENY: She said she would work with the president but not bow to them.

TURNER: Congress is a coequal body. It has power too. My job is not to just parrot any administration, whether it's a Democratic administration or a Republican administration. My job is to represent the interests of the people who elect me. ZELENY: Sanders is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is a key

player negotiating Biden's economic plan. He said criticism of Turner is unwarranted, yet telling.

SANDERS: They are afraid of her. They are afraid because she's going to stand up and fight and take them on in the struggle for justice.

ZELENY: The race has emerged as a proxy war, with Sanders and Clyburn leading the respective flanks of the party.

How important is Shontel Brown to President Biden's agenda?

CLYBURN: Very, very important.

ZELENY: Brown, a member of the Cuyahoga County Council, talks often about helping the president's agenda. So much so that Turner has seized upon it.

TURNER: Being a partner is one, but being a puppet is another.

BROWN: I would consider a puppet someone that's has been on the national stage delivering catch phrases like, hello somebody. I am a partner who knows what it takes to sit at the negotiating table to get things done.

ZELENY: And that was a not so subtle crack at one of Turner's signature phrases.

TURNER: Hello somebody. Hello somebody.

ZELENY: The acrimony has intensified, but the rivals found themselves side by side Sunday at church.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: One of you will be our congresswoman.

ZELENY: Where Brown extended her hand to Turner as this battle is left to Ohio voters to settle.


ZELENY: Now, what's being debated right now in Congress, those Biden infrastructure bills, are exactly why the party establishment is so focused on races like this. Now, party leaders are quite frankly worried about the Squad gaining a new member. Of course, that being Nina Turner. They say the president needs more allies, not more antagonists.

Of course, for Turner's part, she believes the White House could use a progressive push -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Jeff. Thank you for that reporting.

And thank you all so much for joining us tonight. I'm Kate Bolduan.

"AC360" starts now.