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Erin Burnett Outfront

DeSantis Escalates Feud with Biden as FL Hits Record Cases; Sources: Top DOJ Official, a Trump Loyalist, Believed China Used Special Thermometers to Change 2020 Election Results; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) Discusses About Trump Push of Big Lie that China Used Specialized Thermometer to Change Election Results in 2020; Gov. Cuomo's Attorneys Fire Back Against Sexual Harassment Allegations; Arizona Republican Warns Others in GOP to Watch Their Backs. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired August 06, 2021 - 19:00   ET





Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Biden versus DeSantis. The feud tonight getting nasty and personal. The Florida Governor now questioning the President's mental faculties as his State reports a record number of COVID cases.

Plus, stunning new details about just how far one Trump ally in the Justice Department went in trying to overturn the election, even embracing a baseless conspiracy theory that China used thermometers to change election results.

Marjorie Taylor Greene suggests shooting people who encourage vaccines. Let's go OUTFRONT.

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

OUTFRONT tonight, a low blow from the Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis today getting personal in his war of words with President Biden, questioning Biden's mental faculties after Biden dismissed DeSantis' vow to defy the administration's COVID guidelines. Let me play for you first what Biden said and DeSantis' response.





GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: I guess I'm not surprised that Biden doesn't remember me. I guess the question is, is what else has he forgotten.


BOLDUAN: And the White House clearly leaning into this fight as well. Today, Biden's Press Secretary went right at the Florida Governor and his campaign for among other things selling T-shirts saying things like don't Fauci my Florida.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Not only as Gov. DeSantis not abiding by public health decisions. He's fundraising off of this.


BOLDUAN: DeSantis has been trying to block Biden and his administration overruling the CDC even when it comes to their science- based recommendations to beat back the virus.


DESANTIS: There's been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level imposing compulsory mask on kids. We're not doing that in Florida.

What is he so upset about Florida? If you are trying to lock people down, I am standing in your way. Why don't you do your job. I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you.


BOLDUAN: DeSantis might not want to hear a blip, but that doesn't change the reality that his State is suffering. Florida just now reporting it had more than 134,500 cases of COVID this week. That's the most cases in a week since the start of the pandemic. The State is also reporting 175 deaths over the past week, about 20 percent of new COVID cases across the country have been reported in Florida, a state with less than 7 percent of the U.S. population.

And today, Maryland's Republican governor not missing an opportunity to also knock DeSantis for his response to the pandemic.


GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Well, the good news is here in Maryland because we're so vaccinated, the virus is not spreading like the rest of the country. You were talking earlier about Florida which had 21,800 cases in a day, and we had 500. They've got 10,000 people in the hospital, we have 300.


BOLDUAN: Look, political fights are just that and they may benefit each of these politicians; Larry Hogan, Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden. But what they don't do is get us any closer to getting us out of this pandemic. Arlette Saenz is traveling with the President. She's OUTFRONT live in

Wilmington, Delaware for us. Arlette, I know you've been talking to White House officials about this fight today, what are they telling you?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, White House officials aren't exactly outlining the next steps in this strategy of the war of words between the White House and Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis. But the White House has demonstrated this willingness this week to call out those Republican governors like DeSantis who they believe are making decisions that fly in the face of public health guidance.

President Biden really set the tone for that early in the week when he's specifically responding to DeSantis and also Texas Governor Greg Abbott saying that governors who won't implement mask or vaccine requirements should just move out of the way and that is something that you really heard from White House officials as well this week. As you heard in that sound from White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, as she accused Ron DeSantis of playing politics instead of relying on public health guidance.

But one thing that this White House understands when you talk to officials is that many of those decisions regarding masks and vaccine requirements are going to end up being made at the state level.


The federal government can do as much as they can, but they're also going to highlight those Republican governors they believe are going on the right course. But we will see whether this war of words continues between the White House and DeSantis going forward.

BOLDUAN: Arlette, thank you so much.

OUTFRONT with me now Dana Bash, CNN's Chief Political Correspondent and Co-Anchor of STATE OF THE UNION and Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush.

BOLDUAN: Dana, is there any doubt in your mind what Ron DeSantis is doing by escalating this war of words?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, there really isn't. And as you played in the intro, the biggest tell for those of us who cover politics is whether or not a politician is trying to raise money off of the actions that they are engaging in. And the fact that Ron DeSantis is doing just that is the biggest tell aside from so many other political data points that fly in the face of what seems to be the medical and the scientific data points that are going on in Florida. The fact is that the hospitalization rates are skyrocketing and so on and so forth.

And it is a bit ironic that what the Governor has done is issue a mandate that people can't, on a more local level in Florida, issue mandates. I mean, there is a bit of rich irony in that. Don't you think, Kate? BOLDUAN: Yes. In the Republican tradition of valuing local control,

yes, there is quite a bit of rich irony in that.

BASH: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Dr. Reiner, Dana is talking about the reality on the ground when it comes to forget the political talking points. I mean, Florida reported more COVID cases over the past week than any other seven-day period during the pandemic. And DeSantis is trying to ban mask mandates. He's stopping vaccine requirements from going in place and honestly, again, forget the war of words, as a doctor, what do you say to the Governor?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: He needs to get his act together. Look, I think the primary role for a governor is to protect the health and welfare of his citizens, of the constituents that elected him and all those people who live in his state. And right now, in Florida, things are really bad.

Every day in Florida about another thousand people add to the already very high total of daily case rates. Right now, in Florida, there are almost twice the number of daily cases in Florida as in the United States entirely on July 4th. And again, it's increasing by about a thousand people per day.

The Governor only has three sort of tools at his disposal. He can get the public to mask up. He can mandate masks. He can get the public to increase the vaccination rate by essentially either mandating vaccines or empowering businesses to use vaccine passports, but he's refusing to do that, or je can shut down.

The Governor of Florida has refused to do all three of those. The State is on fire. And if you prevent the fire department from coming to the rescue of a house fire, that house is going to burn to the ground and that's what's happening in Florida now.

BOLDUAN: It's interesting, because Andy Slavitt said to me this week that it's almost like these governors are getting caught being too cute by half because they could put these things in place, these bans on mandates when all the case counts versus (inaudible) on the decline and it looked like we're moving out of the pandemic and now they're caught in it when things are not that and they're not dealing with reality in large part.

Dana, we know that DeSantis is likely a top Republican presidential contender in 24. Biden knows this as well. Why do you think the Biden team is and Joe Biden himself is engaging in this public fight? Doesn't it just elevate Ron DeSantis?

BASH: It does. It absolutely does. But look, the reality is what it is on the ground, and this isn't necessarily a fight. This definitely isn't a fight about a run of the mill policy difference. This is a fight about life or death and about not just Ron DeSantis' constituents but the President of the United States. He's in charge of everybody in this country and I understand the local versus federal and all of that but that is the reality here. And if you look at one of the neighboring states, Arkansas, Gov. Asa

Hutchinson, he arguably is from a much more conservative of much redder state than Florida, which has obviously been trending much more red recently.


And he signed legislation saying that there won't be a mask mandate and he now regrets it and he's saying so publicly. One of the difference is between the two of them if you look at the raw politics is that Asa Hutchinson is term limited. He's not running again in that state, so he's maybe more free to say what he thinks is best for the public good and for his constituents' health and welfare, rather than Ron DeSantis who, by the way, whether or not he's looking at 2024, also if that doesn't happen is looking at the next election in his State to remain governor.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. And honestly, it could be as simple as exactly what you laid out and it is so sad because Hutchinson term limited out and DeSantis is running for re election of some kind.

Doctor, DeSantis is continuing, as Dana pointed out, to fundraise on this in his State, out of his State day when he's traveling and fundraising selling this merchandise. Beyond what this does in a political sense, does this kind of stuff have a real consequence right now?

REINER: Look, what's happening on the ground in Florida right now is that the consequences of the governor's actions is basically creating a situation where all the hospitals are filling with COVID patients. And pretty soon all of Florida elective procedures will cease. It'll be harder to do emergency non-COVID procedures or treat non-COVID patients.

People are going to start to feel the pain of this pandemic in Florida and the Governor, I think, has painted himself into a corner. He's going to have to enact either mask mandates basically have to start closing bars and restaurants down because hospitals are going to be overrun.

BOLDUAN: Dr. Reiner, thank you. Dana, thanks.

OUTFRONT for us next, a Trump ally in the Justice Department pushing a wild conspiracy theory about Chinese thermometers impacting election results.

Plus, Marjorie Taylor Greene suggesting people who encourage others to get vaccines could be shot.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We all love our Second Amendment rights and we're not really big on strangers showing up on our front door.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: And they made headlines after waving and pointing guns at

protesters in St. Louis. Why did the Governor pardon the McCloskeys over two black men who were still in prison for crimes the evidence reveals they may not have committed?



BOLDUAN: New tonight, the top Justice Department official who tried to help Donald Trump overturn the election believed China use special kinds of thermometers to change the election results. Sources telling CNN that in late December, Jeffrey Clark was so behind this theory that he asked for a classified briefing and then the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe agreed at the request of former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

But even Ratcliffe who Trump chose for that job admitted there was no evidence to back up any theory of foreign interference. Yet that did not stop Clark's dedication to the big lie. Evan Perez is OUTFRONT and has this reporting. Evan, your new reporting shows really just how far it seems this justice official was willing to go for Donald Trump.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That was Jeffrey Clark. He was the acting head of the Civil Division and really, he was known for being unremarkable at the Justice Department until those key crucial days in late December, where he suddenly became the man at the Justice Department who was helping to front these false conspiracies that the President wanted people to believe that the election was stolen and that somehow vote tallies were changed.

And in the case of Jeffrey Clark, he said that he had his own secret intelligence sources, former official that he said he was getting this information from, and he insisted that he needed a classified briefing. And that's why Jeffrey Rosen and other officials there, they thought, well, look, if we give him a briefing, he'll go away with this nonsense.

In the end, though, he sat down with John Ratcliffe, and he came away not at all changed. He believed that some of the intelligence was being hidden from Ratcliffe himself and still continued to push this idea that there might have been fraud. And as you know, Kate, a couple of days after this briefing, Clark was at the White House where the President was trying to decide whether he was going to fire Rosen, the Acting Attorney General and replace him with Clark.

BOLDUAN: Evan, thank you so much for that reporting. It's really kind of remarkable even still.

OUTFRONT now Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff. He's on the House Select Committee investigating January 6th. He's also the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, Chairman, thank you for coming on. I want to get your reaction first to this new reporting from Evan Perez about how far Jeffrey Clark, that justice official went to try and help Donald Trump push this massive election lie even going to these specialized Chinese thermometers.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It is really staggering to see how close they came to subverting our elections, our democracy. And Clark, in particular, if what's reported is correct, he was not only proposing that they write top justice officials, including the Acting Attorney General, write to Georgia elections, well Georgia legislature and urge them to come back in a special session to discuss whether they should appoint a alternate set of electors and that there may have been five other letters to go out to five other states.

And when you consider that, he might have been appointed by Trump as Attorney General. He might have replaced Rosen if those letters would have gone out and who knows what those state legislators might have done as a result.

BOLDUAN: Add all that together, does Jeffrey Clark need to come testify before your committee, before the Select Committee?

SCHIFF: Well, I think he's going to be a very important witness and I don't want to speak for the chairman. We'll make those decisions together as a committee. But I think we need to view January 6th in the right context, which is there were efforts before the election to subvert the election by pushing out false claims of fraud.


There were obviously efforts after the election to try to overturn the result with the president intervening with state legislators with local electors, local Board members who would vote whether to certify their elections. And then you have what was going on in the Justice Department, again, at the president's instigation.

All of this is important in terms of what led us to January 6th and where we go forward as a nation.

BOLDUAN: Well, and in the immediate going forward, we're hearing more about a former Trump campaign official who's been talking of another protest at the capitol plan for next month. This one in support of the alleged rioters, the people who are charged with crimes for the interaction who are still behind bars. I want to play for you some of what he told Steve Bannon.


MATT BRAYNARD, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN OFFICIAL: And I think that as we continue to raise the profile of these individuals, it makes it harder and harder for the left's phony narrative about an insurrection to stick. We have our next rally planned, it's in the middle of September, September 18 and it's going to be huge. And what's going to define it is where it's going to take place.

We're going back to the Capitol, right where it started. We're going to continue to raise the volume push back against this phony narrative and demand justice for these political prisoners.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: What is your reaction hearing that?

SCHIFF: Well, I have a few reactions. So first of all, this is very much in character for Steve Bannon and people that he associates with. Bannon, after all famously said that what they needed to do was flood the zone with excrement, except to use a different word, as a way of confusing the public. And this is exactly what's going on here in this effort to rewrite history to pretend that the insurrection didn't happen that it was a love fest between these people that gathered on January 6th and the police.

But it's important to realize that that voice we just heard is not acting on its own. On the very day that we had those four police officers before our committee testifying in heartbreaking fashion about the trauma they endured. That same day, you had Republican members of Congress, at the Justice Department, out in front of the Justice Department making a similar argument that these insurrectionists, these domestic terrorists were somehow political prisoners, and the Justice Department should go easy on them.

So, it's the alternate world that the former president would like people to live in and one completely at odds with the reality and one that's a continuing danger to the country.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Dismissing it isn't going to make it go away. We know that now very distinctly from January 6th, of course. Before you go, Mr. Chairman, I'm seeing a report that the Select Committee has added former Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman as an advisor or someone who's familiar to folks who watch the show and watch CNN, can you confirm that?

SCHIFF: I can't confirm anything about the staff. The Committee will make its announcements in terms of any staffing that we bring on when the Chairman decides so I can't comment on that one way or another.

BOLDUAN: One thing we do know is that Denver Riggleman he has spoken up very strongly about misinformation and the toxic nature of what it can do and has done leading up to before and after January 6th. So his opinion would be very interesting for the Committee to have as some advice.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for your time.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's lawyers slamming the State Attorney General's report detailing sexual harassment allegations against him.


RITA GLAVIN, PRINCIPAL, GLAVIN PLLC: The investigation was conducted to support a predetermine narrative.


BOLDUAN: Now the Attorney General's office is responding.

Plus, a top Arizona Republican told to watch his back because he's refused to support the state's sham audit. And that is not the only threat that supervisor Bill Gates has received. He's my guest.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on the attack in a fiery press conference today. Attorneys for the Governor directly, fiercely and directly defending him, trying to discredit his accusers. This as one woman who claims Gov. Cuomo groped her on multiple occasions files a criminal complaint with the Albany Sheriff's Office. Paula Reid is OUTFRONT.



GLAVIN: This investigation ...


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, lawyers for embattled New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, firing back against allegations of sexual harassment. For the first time publicly addressing some claims line by line.


GLAVIN: The Governor deserves to be treated fairly and he must be. That did not happen here. This was one sided and he was ambushed.


REID (voice over): A New York State Attorney General's report this week found the governor sexually harassed 11 women. A report the Governor's lawyer say was done to support a pre-determined narrative.


GLAVIN: I asked why did this report ignore documentary evidence and why did they not want to tell you.


REID (voice over): A woman named in the AG' Report as executive assistant one filed a complaint Thursday with the Albany sheriff's office. It's the first known criminal complaint of sexual misconduct against the Governor.


ANNE CLARK, SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR: In the executive mansion, the Governor hugged executive assistant number one and reached under her blouse to grab her breast. This was the culmination of a pattern of inappropriate sexual conduct.


REID (voice over): But lawyers for Cuomo say that's not what happened.


GLAVIN: She was at the mansion that day for several hours. She wasn't just working with the Governor. She was working with other staffers, emails that she sent while she was at the mansion reflect that she was joking while she was there. She was eating snacks and she even offered to stay longer at the mansion when her work was done.



REID (voice over): The governor's office says it notified Albany Police of the sexual misconduct allegations several months ago in accordance with state policies.

The governor's lawyers also taking issue with another accusation that the governor inappropriately touched a state trooper assigned to his security detail. The lawyer saying Cuomo sought her out at an event to recruit her and increase diversity.

GLAVIN: He liked how she maintained eye contact. He liked she was assertive with him in the conversation and then he asked one of the troopers he knows about her and they said, yeah, she's excellent. And he's like I don't understand this. Why do I not have women on me detail?

REID: Cuomo's lawyers say the governor will address the troop troop's allegations directly soon.

Another accuser, Lindsey Boylan, says she left the governor's office after being harassed. The governor's lawyers say that's also not true.

GLAVIN: She was leading the public to believe a false story, that she left because of sexual harassment and a bad work environment when in fact, she left after being confronted with a number of complaints and then really wanted her job back and they wouldn't give it back.

REID: Cuomo's lawyers who suffered technical issues during the presentation --


REID: -- say they are preparing an official response and will submit it to the state impeachment committee by the August 13th deadline.


REID (on camera): The New York attorney general's office responded in a statement saying, there are 11 women whose accounts have been corroborated by a mountain of evidence. Any suggestion that attempts to undermine the credibility of these women or investigation is unfortunate. The office also says it will be making redacted transcripts from witness interviews available to the state assembly -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Paula, thank you very much.

OUTFRONT with me now is Jennifer Rodgers, CNN legal analyst, and former federal prosecutor.

Jennifer, what's your reaction to how the governor's legal team tried to discredit, begin to discredit his accusers today? What do you make of their defense?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Kate, they are trying to do two things. They argued about the merit of the accusations and then they argued about the process.

On the first point, the merits I thought it was a really weak defense. First of all, they only addressed two of the 11 accusers and even then, they were really kind of ticky-tacky in the way they try to pick at certain aspects of their stories, not really getting to the major violations. So, I thought all of that was pretty unimpressive.

But the process stuff actually carried a little bit weight with me. On one hand, they don't really deserve process. There is no legal right to process in this part of the proceedings. There was the A.G. report that came out, but it does somewhat undercut their ability to defend him if they don't have access to the interviews themselves, reports from the interviews and so on.

But I really think the process argument is important going forward. If we're headed towards impeachment, which it looks like we are, I really hope the assembly thinks harder about due process rights for the governor and makes sure that he's able to participate in those proceedings in a meaningful way because if he's not, I'm afraid if he's removed from office, he may have a claim for due process violation and may end up in months of litigation over that. I do hope they give him some of what he is asking for and allow him to participate so that doesn't happen.

BOLDUAN: One of his accusers did file a criminal complaint with the Albany sheriffs today. This is the accuser who says, who is accused him of groping her on multiple occasions, reaching under her blouse, grabbing her breast, and on another occasion grabbing her butt.

Cuomo's attorneys said they're not worried about this criminal complaint. But should they be?

RODGERS: Yes, they should, and I believe they are no matter what they're saying today. I mean, listen, this is still far away from an actual criminal charge being filed. It's a big step that the complainant now appears to be willing to proceed because I think without that, there would really no chance of any crimes being -- criminal charges being filed.

But you have to remember -- there is still a big difference in the burden of proof here. So there has been findings in the report that credited executive assistant one's allegations against the governor but the district attorney in Albany County, David Soares, has to think about beyond a reasonable doubt proof. So he has to be sure that they can meet that standard at trial before he charges and also, you know, the report considered all of this evidence as a whole, the other accusations, the hostile work environment.

So, David Soares, again, has to consider only the evidence that would be admissible in a criminal trial, which is going to be a lot less than what the investigators had. So, he still has a big job ahead of him to figure out where this should be headed but still is bad news for governor for sure.

BOLDUAN: Interesting, Jennifer, thank you very much.

OUTFRONT for us next, he's been told to watch his back and just today, he received a orange jump suit, an orange prison jump suit in the mail.


A top Arizona Republican who has been fighting the state's sham audit is next.

Plus, Marjorie Taylor Greene cheering on one state for not getting vaccinated.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): As I hear Alabama might be one of the most unvaccinated states in the nation.




BOLDUAN: Tonight, check your six. That's the message from one Republican Arizona state senator threatening members of her own party to watch their backs for refusing to push the big lie and support the baseless Arizona election audit.

State Senator Wendy Rogers sending out a fundraising email saying quote, personally I think they should be in jail. Let me put it this way, I'm Air Force and State Senator Sonny Borelli is a marine. We are coming for you. You better check your six.

One of those members of the board of supervisors they are talking about, Bill Gates, actually also received this orange prison jump suit in the mail today after she sent out that email calling for them to be put in jail.

OUTFRONT now, Bill Gates, the Republican vice chairman of Maricopa County's board of supervisors.


Thank you for coming in, Bill.


BOLDUAN: Your -- you've been dealing -- you've been dealing with this sham audit for months now. But, now being threatened and warned by elected Republicans to watch your back, can you just talk to me about the level of threats you have been receiving especially now?

GATES: Yeah, unfortunately, the threats continue and they're not simply organic. They're being driven unfortunately by members to the Arizona state Senate and other Republicans across the country. We have -- we received phone calls into our offices at the board of supervisors, our staff, you know, saying our families will be slaughtered and threatening us to stop standing up for the good election workers of Maricopa County.

BOLDUAN: I want to offer some context here. You are now being targeted because you're standing up against the sham audit all together, but specifically, because you're refusing now to handle the routers used by the county's election division which the state Senate is trying to subpoena multiple times, same thing former President Trump and supporters are also calling for.

Let me play this for folks.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: They don't want to give up the routers. They don't want to give them. They are fighting like hell. Why are these commissioners fighting not to give the router?

MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MYPILLOW: We're going to pull the captures out of the routers and then we're going to have a cyber guy, he'll read it and he'll go, here's what happened. Computer ID blown. Here's who did it. Here was the attacker. Here was the attackee.


BOLDUAN: Now, importantly, this is a wild and baseless conspiracy theory, that voting machines in your county were connected to the Internet on election day and somehow Italian satellites were utilized to change votes from Trump to Biden.

Can you lay out once and for all what you know about these routers? It sounds even crazy when I ask it but I want to ask what you even know about the routers and why you will not turn them over.

GATES: Yeah. So here is the issue. This all comes down to the question of whether the machines used in November 2020 election were connected to the Internet and they were not. We had two independent auditors come in, the board of supervisors voted for this, and they established that these machines were not connected to the Internet. Furthermore, we provided logs from the Arizona state Senate that if

the cyber ninjas knew what they were looking at, they would see these logs establish that these machines were never connected to the Internet. But they continue to push forward asking for the routers.

Just so your viewers understand, the reason we're not turning over the routers is because they basically would provide a blueprint if they got into the wrong hands of the information systems at Maricopa County. Now why is that an issue? We have a lot of personal information of our citizens on that information -- on those routers.

But more than that, actually, if this got into the wrong hands, it would provide information on sensitive law enforcement activities, law enforcement personnel that could put these operations at risk. And it's not just Maricopa County because we share these databases with law enforcement across the state so this could literally threaten sensitive law enforcement activities across the state of Arizona if we were to turn these routers over.

BOLDUAN: But still, the threats come in. These elected officials know this or could know this very easily but do not and you and your family now remain in danger.

Bill Gates, thank you for coming on.

GATES: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, Marjorie Taylor Greene toting Second Amendment rights as a warning to people who encouraged others to get vaccinated.

And the McCloskeys pardoned for pointing guns at peaceful protesters while two black men are still behind bars for crimes likely others committed. Why?



BOLDUAN: New tonight, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene now suggesting people who are encouraging vaccinations could be shot. Listen to this.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): You lucky people here in Alabama might get a knock on your door because I hear Aabama might be one of the most unvaccinated states in the nation.


GREENE: Well, Joe Biden wants to come talk to you guys.


GREENE: He's going to be sending one of his police state friends to your front door to knock on the door, take down your name, your address, your family members' names, your phone numbers, your cell phone numbers, probably ask for your Social Security number and whether you've taken the vaccine or not.

Yeah, what they don't know is in the South, we all love our Second Amendment rights.


And we're not real big on strangers showing up on our front door, are we? They might not like the welcome they get.


BOLDUAN: Yeah, she's clearly riling up a crowd in support of pulling a gun on someone trying to save lives and it is simply not true that Joe Biden is sending people to get your information like your Social Security number and it's just flat-out sad people cheered about Alabama's poor vaccinate rate. Yet, this rant comes amid a disturbing warning from local health officials being threatened for urging people to wears masks or get vaccinated.

OUTFRONT now, Lori Tremmel Freeman. She's the chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials which represents about 3,000 local health departments across the country.

Thank you for being here.

It's your members the ones being threatened and sounding the alarm here and now you hear this Republican congresswoman. What's your reaction?

LORI TREMMEL FREEMAN, CEO, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY AND CITY HEALTH OFFICIALS: It's so disheartening and distressing to hear this kind of message and it really gets at the heart of the public's trust in our government and messaging around solid public health measures based in science.

Our local health officials working on the ground are not political. They are completely apolitical. They have one mission in mind and that is to keep their communities safe and healthy by enacting measures that do that very thing and they've had a hard time during this pandemic with the politicization of their work.


BOLDUAN: Look, it's crazy to think local and national figures trying to inform and protect people who face these threats. But that is what is happening. Let me play two examples.


ANNA FUSCO, PRESIDENT, BROWARD TEACHERS UNION: Well, they showed up around 9:00 to give a little protests that they didn't what their children wearing masks, turned in to literally dousing it with lighter fluid, burning it in a pan and chanting, you know, teachers are child abusers, teachers are murderers. When they got into the building, it escalated into more banter and disagreements and so forth.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean, it's amazing.


BOLDUAN: What are the threats that your members are receiving, Lori?

FREEMAN: They really run the gamut, and it's been happening throughout the pandemic, but it's really started to ratchet up again with the new mask guidance coming out from the CDC. The types of threats can come from social media where people can hide behind their screens and their identity a bit more safely. Those threats can be even more serious than some other threats that we see happening.

We also see protests happening at school board meetings council meetings in some states, there are individuals coming to the meetings with guns on them. They are carrying weapons, they're concealment carried weapons, but in the public, coming to these meetings, very intimidating for our health officers but also calls. You name it. They are getting threats in all kinds of ways and being intimidated in every way you can imagine.

BOLDUAN: Look, in the middle of this, I'm just wondering, how worried are you that this kind of ongoing, these ongoing threats are just going to force these people to just give up and leave their job?

FREEMAN: Unfortunately, we have already seen a lot of that happen. We're well over 250 state and local health officials who have either resigned, getting fired or taken early retirement during the pandemic. And so, I anticipate that we'll continue to see our local health officers and the staff their serve their departments continuing to depart. We recently did a survey on the mental health of our local health officers and their staffs and it was really distressing to see that 53 percent are suffering from mental health effects from really addressing this pandemic.

BOLDUAN: Sorry to hear that. In the moment they're needed the most, right now.

Thank you so much.

OUTFRONT next, Missouri's governor quick to pardon the white couple who pointed guns at peaceful protesters. Why are two black men who were likely wrongly convicted still in prison waiting for their pardons?



BOLDUAN: Tonight, playing politics with pardons. Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson pardons Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the white couple charged last year after pointing guns at peaceful protesters who were mostly black.

But Kevin Strickland and Lamar Johnson, two black men who have been behind bars for decades for murders that other people have since admitted to are still in prison. Omar Jimenez is OUTFRONT.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As protesters marched by, Mark and Patricia McCloskey brandished their weapons outside their St. Louis area home in the summer of 2020. It led to charges. Mark was hit with fourth degree assault while Patricia got second-degree harassment. But in a decision by Missouri Governor Mike Parson, they were pardoned, after pleading guilty to the charges.

STATE REP. ASHLEY BLAND MANLOVE (D-MO): For him to get pardoned, in that scenario is unbelievable. While we're trying to do other political reform and make our politicians, you know, equitable and ethical, this is a glaring line on that.

JIMENEZ: It frustrates advocates for others in state pleading innocence like Lamar Johnson who told PBS.

LAMAR JOHNSON, MISSOURI INMATE: My concern is simply getting caught up for God knows how long over procedural matters.

JIMENEZ: He was sentenced the life without the possibility of parole in 1995 for murder. Since his conviction, two others came forward admitting in sworn affidavits to the killing and said Johnson wasn't involved. The lone eyewitness also said he agreed to testify after police and prosecutors offered to help him financially, according to a report for current circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis.

KIM GARDNER, ST. LOUIS CIRCUIT ATTORNEY: It is our duty under the Constitution, under the ethics of a prosecutor, a duty that we swear to, to make sure that we right the wrongs.

JIMENEZ: The assistant circuit attorney who original prosecuted the case denied the claim and called the report a one sided hatchet job. The Missouri Supreme Court denied appeal for Johnson.

And then there was Kevin Strickland, who is convicted of triple murder over 40 years ago and now they say he's innocent citing a sole witness was mistaken in her identification and informed multiple parties and corroborated by three of the known culprits who each have stated consistently over four decades that Strickland was not present. Two of those three have pleaded guilty and served less than ten years. Strickland has been behind bars for over 40.

JEAN PETERS BAKER, JACKSON COUNTY PROSECUTOR: This man must be freed. I am profoundly sorry -- I am profoundly sorry for the harm that has come to you.

JIMENEZ: Still, no movement from the Governor Mike Parson who declined to comment as he pardoned 12 people, including the m McCloskeys earlier in the week. MANLOVE: It kind of hits the nail right on the head, the protesters

who are outside their house was there for Black Lives Matter and the injustices that have happened to African-Americans.


JIMENEZ (on camera): Now, Strickland and Johnson are still trying to find ways to breakthrough the system which up to this point has been a tangled web of appeals and denials.

As for Mark McCloskey, he is now running for U.S. Senate. A picture of his crime featured prominently on his website and as part of their plea agreement, he and his wife had to turn over their handgun and semiautomatic rifle. They are now suing to get those back -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Omar, thank you for shining a light on this great report. Thank you so much.

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

"AC360" starts right now.