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Erin Burnett Outfront

Gov. DeSantis Threatens Salaries If Schools Mandate Masks; Interview With Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler (D); Sources Say Gov. Cuomo In Fighting Mood, Aides Urging Him To Resign; Sen. Judiciary To Interview Ex-U.S. Attorney As Part Of Trump Probe; Senate Hours Away From Final Vote On $1.2T Infrastructure Bill. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 09, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I remember that day well, and thanks to everyone who works on this show. Thanks to you, our viewers as well. We look forward to reporting the news for many years to come. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.


ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Florida's Governor upping the ante in the fight over masks, warning school officials in the COVID ravaged state their paychecks are in jeopardy if they defy him on mandates.

Plus New York Governor Cuomo said to be in a fighting mood as allies call on him to resign. He says he needs more time. For what? His attorney is OUTFRONT.

And members of President Trump's own Justice Department revealing just how far he went to try to overturn the election, and a stunning testimony isn't done yet.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erica Hill, in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight. Defy DeSantis, risk losing your pay.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis leveling a new threat tonight against school districts that defy his ban on mask mandates. A statement from the Governor's Office reads: "The State Board of Education could move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or school board members, as a narrowly tailored means to address the decision makers who led to the violation of the law."

It's just the latest threat following an earlier warning from the Governor that he would pull a school district's funding if it requires masks.

Meantime, students across the state returning to the classroom this week as Florida finds itself at the center -- epicenter of this latest surge. Florida reporting more than 134,000 new cases last week. That's the most in a week since the start of the pandemic. The positivity rate, by the way for 12 to 19-year-olds, 24.3 percent, and yet DeSantis has remained steadfast. No mask mandates no matter what. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): His solution is he wants to have the government force kindergarteners to wear masks in school. Well, I can tell you in Florida, the parents are going to be the ones in charge of that decision.

At the end of the day, we've got to start putting our kids first. We've got to look out for their education. Is it really comfortable? Is it really healthy for them to be muzzled and have their breathing obstructed all day long in school? I don't think it is.


HILL: Florida isn't alone. The Governor of Texas also recently signed an Executive Order which bans mask mandates in schools and as we speak, the Austin School District is actually considering taking on Governor Greg Abbott's ban, debating whether to require all staff and students to mask up when on school property.

I am going to speak with Austin's Mayor in just a moment, but that move follows a decision by the state's second largest school district, Dallas, announcing that starting tomorrow, everyone will have to mask up.


MICHAEL HINOJOSA, SUPERINTENDENT, DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: If we don't do anything, it could go as many as 2,000 new cases every day by the end of the month. So, I felt it was time to step in, even though I may get in trouble and need to step in and just have some courage and make a decision I think in the best interest of the district.


HILL: This war over mask, as millions of students caught in the middle comes as the U.S. as a nation now averaging more than 100,000 new cases a day. Keep in mind, these are numbers we haven't seen since February.

Leyla Santiago is OUTFRONT live tonight in Gainesville, Florida. So Leyla, what's the response so far to this latest threat from Governor DeSantis?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boy, Erica, I'm in Alachua County where school starts tomorrow and I just spoke to the Vice Chair of the School Board. She said this is enough to make her pause, but not enough to change their plans to require masks in the first two weeks of school.

And here is how she lays it out. She says, listen, we've had two employees recently die of COVID. We have employees testing positive. We have some employees in quarantine. They even had a student who died because of COVID-19. And this is in a state where the hospitalization rate is three times the national average. As you pointed out, Erica, the threat of cutting funding is not new.

DeSantis wrote that in the Executive Order. But this, what he has just said targets the decision makers, the superintendent, the school board members and their salaries. Listen to the reaction.


TINA CERTAIN, ALACHUA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: If I have to step out and take the risk of one versus putting 29,000 students and our 4,000 staff members, we have just about 2,000 teachers and support staff members to keep them safe, I'm willing to take that risk. I think we're operating within our constitutional rights.


SANTIAGO: And she is not alone. I checked in with Miami-Dade and the superintendent there, Alberto Carvalho just sent us this statement in which he says: "At no point shall I allow my decision to be influenced by a threat to my paycheck, a small price to pay considering the gravity of this issue and the potential impact to the health and wellbeing of our students and dedicated employees."


SANTIAGO: And I've got to tell you, Erica, I spent all day at a school here in Alachua County, and I talked to teachers and staff members, the principal, they are getting ready for the first day of school tomorrow. And the sense that I get is they are just exhausted, so much back and forth in what they see as sort of politics when they are trying to come back, have a fresh new start after what was a very long year last year with COVID.

And now, they are dealing with the delta variant, a spike in cases, hospitalizations, and a back and forth between the Governor and school districts on masks.

HILL: Students and staff are becoming the pawns here, political pawns, unfortunately. Leyla, great reporting, as always, thank you.

OUTFRONT now, the Democratic Mayor of Austin, Texas, Steve Adler. Mr. Mayor, good to have you with us. So, your school district right now is actually debating that classes start in what I believe is eight days, but considering this mask mandate just after Dallas defied the Governor announcing one begins there tomorrow, where do you stand?

MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D), AUSTIN, TEXAS: Oh, I think that kids need to be wearing masks at schools, so do teachers. I think we're all going to do whatever we can to help make that happen. And it's just not Austin or Dallas, I think Houston may take that same action this week.

We have to listen to the doctors and the data. The C.D.C., the American Academy of Pediatrics, the data and the doctors are clear, we need to do what we can and everything we can to keep our kids safe.

HILL: The data may be clear, but so is the Governor's Executive Order. You know, for folks at home who may not have seen it, quote, "No person may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering." Are you concerned about retaliation in the City of Austin?

ADLER: You know, I think those kind of concerns always exist, but you can't alter the course of action that you have. You know, at the very beginning of this process a year and a half ago, we all pledged, the Governor pledged to be guided by the doctors and the data.

But at this point, rather than being governed by the data, I think we're being governed by Republican donors. We're going to have to do what it is this necessary to keep the kids safe. We've already been in court twice with the Governor, we've won it twice at the District Court level. The Supreme Court hasn't weighed in, but regardless, we need to be doing everything we can to send a really clear message to our community that masking works, it helps keep us safe.

It is something we can do and keep our economy open and safe and vibrant, but we've got to do at least that, we've got to get people vaccinated.

HILL: Have you seen much of a pushback to new recommendations for even fully vaccinated people as we know that maybe time to start masking up again, indoors? What are you hearing from your constituents there?

ADLER: Well, I think everybody was ready to be done with this. So, when things opened up, and people could take off their masks, I think everybody celebrated that and it is hard to go back and it is an absolute travesty that we're having to do that now. But when people see what's happening in our intensive care units, we're running out of space. People are rallying to the cry. They're doing what it takes for our community to come together to keep people safe and it really does focus right now on our kids and schools.

HILL: You talk about the data. You talked about the limited ICU beds, I believe Austin area hospitals have, and I think just six ICU beds available. The Governor seems to be taking note of that. Just a short time ago, he actually asked hospitals to forego elective surgeries, in his words, to increase hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients. Is there a-disconnect there?

ADLER: There is a-disconnect because our hospitals have been pulling back on discretionary surgeries for some time now. We're not losing space in our intensive care units to discretionary surgeries. We've been working together as a community to maximize the bed space available.

We know our community, which is why local communities need the flexibility to be able to decide what's best for those communities, and we're going to push real hard to maintain that liberty and that freedom in our local communities.

HILL: Given the delta variant, how concerned are you about where things could go in your city?

ADLER: Well, real concerned about the delta variant. It is real clear that it is a meaner, nastier virus. It's adapting and that means that we all have to adapt as well. It is, if you look at the folks that are in our hospitals right now, almost all of them 85 to 90 percent of them are people that have not been vaccinated. Virtually everybody in intensive care unit, people that have not been vaccinated.

This is a virus right now that is seeking out people that are not vaccinated, which is why we need to get better information. We need to get more trusted speakers, clergy, doctors and nurses reaching out to those in our community that are hesitant, but open to learning factual information because this virus is nasty.


HILL: Yes, it certainly is. We are starting to hear more of that, even a pastor in Florida with a really impassioned plea for his congregation in Jacksonville.

Mr. Mayor, appreciate you joining us. We'll continue to follow what's happening there with the school district in Austin. Thank you.

ADLER: Thank you, Erica.

HILL: OUTFRONT now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush, and David Frum, senior editor at "The Atlantic." Good to have both you with us.

Dr. Reiner, let's just start with you here. You know, we've talked so much over the last year and a half about mask mandates, about masks in schools. When you see what Austin is considering, what Dallas has already done, and then what we just heard from the Governor, his concern over hospitals. How do you think things are going in Texas?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, it's fractured the way it is in large parts of this country. I applaud Mayor Adler for looking after the best interest of his constituents. Our children are most vulnerable at any time, and now particularly during this pandemic. We have vaccinated almost 200 million Americans now, not a single one of those Americans is under the age of 12.

Every one of our young children in this country is vulnerable to infection and are getting infected at record rates. About 220 kids per day in the United States are being admitted to hospitals and about a third of those children are being admitted to ICUs. This is a real danger to children.

About 4,000 kids have had multisystem inflammatory disorder, which is a very serious inflammatory disease with unknown long term consequences. We need to protect our kids. Every parent in this country would do anything to protect our kids. Our kids are unvaccinated, and we're sending them back to schools. We need to mask them up.

HILL: You know, David, Governor DeSantis is clearly not backing down with this latest threat to withhold salaries. In addition to that threat to withhold school funding for districts defying his order mandating masks, this is clearly a political move, is it worth it? DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE ATLANTIC": Governor DeSantis lives in

two realities. The first is the medical healthcare reality, and in Florida, that's pretty bad. But the second is his political reality, and that is actually impressively good for him. He remains quite popular in the State of Florida. He is ahead of one of his two most likely Democratic opponents and neck and neck with the other.

And meanwhile, he is, in internal Republican polls, the second favorite among Republicans after former President Trump himself. If President Trump is unable or unwilling to run in 2024, Governor DeSantis looks like the frontrunner.

So, the incentives for him are to keep going, and he has got another incentive that is maybe even more powerful because one of the things that a lot of Republicans have learned from President Trump is it is not a mistake until you admit it. It's not a failure until you admit it.

So, no matter how bad things seem, if you've made a bad choice, stick with it because Republican primary voters care more about continuity toughness, finding somebody else to blame, attacking the media, attacking the doctors than they care about seeing you correct a mistake that you made because you have different information now where you have more insight into what the truth is.

HILL: It is definitely one strategy. Dr. Reiner, there are a number of Republican governors, we should point out who had been urging residents for months to get vaccinated. Among the most vocal, Jim Justice in West Virginia. Here he is again today.


GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): You're taking a hell of a risk if you're not vaccinated. That's all there is to it.


HILL: You know, at the same time, you've got Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene continuing to fuel vaccines skepticism now saying that the vaccines shouldn't be fully approved by the F.D.A. tweeting in part that many people's personal testimonies are saying they are still getting sick with COVID. Vaccinated people are spreading it. It shouldn't be approved or mandated.

You know, it's important to point out, more than 99.99 percent of fully vaccinated people have not had a breakthrough infection. No vaccine obviously is a hundred percent, but in terms of preventing severe illness and even death, this one certainly seems to be doing a pretty good job.

The facts, I feel like we've talked about this ad nauseum, but it is frustrating that at this point, the facts still don't seem to matter in some cases, Dr. Reiner.

REINER: Right. Look, Americans need to get their medical information from physicians and other healthcare providers. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a cartoon character.

If you want to get real information, speak to your own doctor. And the truth of the matter is, Erica, as you said, these vaccines work better than we could have possibly hoped, 99.99 percent of people who have received these vaccines have not died.


REINER: So, it's a remarkable achievement. This is not necessarily -- this isn't necessarily endemic to Republicans. The Republican Governor of my state as well, Larry Hogan, has done a terrific job. Maryland was one of the first states to mask up and right now, it has one of the lowest COVID positivity rates in the United States.

So, look, I think that people are starting to get the message as they see their hospitals in their towns start to fill, and as they start to see people that they know get sick and in some instances, die. We're sort of moving very slowly in the right direction, but we are in need of better leadership in places like Texas and Florida.

HILL: You know, you say you need to trust the doctors, but David, Senator Rand Paul, also a doctor is railing against the C.D.C.'s guidance on masks. Take a listen.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): President Biden, we will not accept your agency's mandates or your reported moves towards a lockdown. No one should follow the C.D.C.'s anti-science mask mandates.


HILL: "No one should follow the C.D.C.'s anti-science mask mandates." I mean, we're also at this point, David, where you just have to wonder, how do we come back from this?

FRUM: Well, Dr. Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist, an eye doctor. He has no more insight into virology than you or I or any other listener of this program. If you're a car mechanic, you know as much about viruses as Rand Paul does.

But Rand Paul, to do him justice is at least an authentic crank. He has been cranking on so many issues over so many years. It's not -- it's not surprising that he is a weirdo on modern medicine, too. What is more disturbing are the politicians who are not cranks, who find themselves acting in cynical ways because, in fact, they have created a culture war and now they are prisoners of that cultural war.

And even some government -- even some Republican politicians like Mitch McConnell, who would like to end the culture war just can't. I mentioned before that Ron DeSantis lives in two universes, one medical, one political. Even in his political life, he lives in two universes.

If you watch Ron DeSantis on TV, you see someone who picks fights over masks, but acts when he remembers to talk about vaccines reasonably pro-vaccine, he doesn't attack the vaccines. But if you get his fundraising e-mails as I do, well, you live in a world in which the public health guardians of the country are in fact the greatest enemies of the country in which they are attacked every day. I mean, almost literally every day, I get an e-mail from the DeSantis' operation denouncing one or another public health official, and suggesting pretty strongly that their advice is not to be listened to.

HILL: Dr. Reiner and David Frum, appreciate it. Thank you both for being with us tonight.

REINER: Thank you.

FRUM: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, a New York State official saying quote, "No one of sound mind" would advise embattled Governor Cuomo to say, so will he resign? His attorney is my guest.

Plus, alarming details from Trump's then acting Attorney General on just how far the former President pushed the Department of Justice to overturn the election.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pressure he was putting on Jeffrey Rosen, it was real -- very real.


HILL: And a final Senate vote on the infrastructure bill is ahead. Will it pass?



HILL: Tonight, in a fighting mood. That's how embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was being described to CNN, yet a former ally, New York State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs said today quote, "No one of sound mind would tell Cuomo to stay in office." All this, as one of the Governor's accusers is telling her story publicly for the first time. M.J. Lee is OUTFRONT.


CARL HEASTIE, NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY SPEAKER: The governor has clearly lost the confidence of the majority members of the New York State Assembly.

M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): New York Governor Andrew Cuomo fighting for his political life as a ballooning scandal threatens to undo his decades' long career.

The three-term governor accused of sexually harassing almost a dozen women, including former and current employees, allegations detailed in an explosive report released by the New York Attorney General last week.

In Albany, the New York Assembly's Judiciary Committee convening on Monday to continue their impeachment investigation of the Governor.

HEASTIE: I'm heartbroken. Let me be clear, no one should have to endure the type of behavior detailed in the Attorney General's report.

LEE (voice over): Now one of his accusers publicly speaking out.

BRITTANY COMMISSO, FORMER EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT IN THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: To me and the other women that he did this to, it was not normal. It was not welcomed and it was certainly not consensual.

LEE (voice over): Brittany Commisso, previously identified as Executive Assistant #1 in the A.G. Report, describing instances of unwelcome advances and touching from the Governor.

COMMISSO: I then felt while taking the selfie, his hand go down my back onto my butt, and he started rubbing it, not sliding it, not, you know, quickly brushing over it, rubbing my butt.

He walked over, shut the door so hard to the point where I thought for sure someone downstairs must think -- they must think if they heard that, what is going on? Came back to me, and that's when he put his hand up my blouse and cupped my breast over my bra.

I exactly remember looking down, seeing his hand, which is a large hand thinking to myself, "Oh my God. This is happening." It happened so quick. He didn't say anything. When I stopped it, he just pulled away and walked away.

LEE (voice over): Commisso filing a criminal complaint against Cuomo with the Albany Sheriff's Office last week and says she wants accountability.

COMMISSO: What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law.

LEE (voice over): Cuomo's attorneys declining to comment on Commisso's interview. The Governor denying the allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment, laying low over the weekend and according to sources telling aides, "I need more time."

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Melissa DeRosa --

LEE (voice over): Overnight, one of Cuomo's closest senior aides, Melissa DeRosa announcing her resignation.

DeRosa appearing throughout the A.G. report, including for allegedly spearheading retaliation against one of Cuomo's accusers. DeRosa is yet to respond to allegations regarding her role.


LEE (on camera): Now, just to give you a sense of where things stood over the weekend, sources telling CNN that some of Cuomo's confidantes spent the weekend trying to convince the Governor that he should resign, that there's really nobody around the Governor who believe that he can actually survive this scandal, but that the Governor himself was in a fighting mood, believing that he can wait this one out, and he really can't accept, we are told by our sources that his governorship may be coming to an end.

Erica, as you know very well, it is very, very difficult right now to find anyone in New York who really believes that he can survive -- Erica.


HILL: M.J. Lee, excellent reporting, as always, thank you.

OUTFRONT now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's personal attorney, Rita Glavin. Good to have you with us. You just heard some of M.J.'s reporting there. We know, too, New York State Democratic Party Chair, Jay Jacobs, said today, no one of sound mind would at this point be advising Governor Cuomo to say -- all signs pointing to impeachment -- is there any way he would resign at this point?

RITA GLAVIN, GOV. ANDREW CUOMO'S ATTORNEY: I think right now that the Governor is very much focused on getting the evidence from the Assembly and being able to make a submission to the Assembly.

You have to remember that this report just came out a week ago. He got it at the same time as everyone else. And upon my read of the report, and I've said this a number of times, it was very clear to me that they got some facts wrong. It was clear to me that they did not include information that was exculpatory, for the Governor or helped to put things into context.

I have heard from a number of lawyers for other witnesses in the case that they had information that they thought should have been included in the report, and was not. And so, what's happened here is that this report, which the Governor takes issue with and which I do think is a biased report and not fulsome, and we now know even Brittany Commisso says that the Attorney General's investigators report got facts wrong. This is the whole basis for proceeding with impeachment against the Governor.

And if we know that there was information that that report didn't include, and factually erroneous information in the report, I mean, they have said three times that the groping happened on November 16th, and Brittany Commisso doesn't agree with that, and the only day that I've seen in November that there is information she was in the mansion was November 16th.

HILL: Right. I know, you've pointed that out a number of times.

GLAVIN: And so, everyone is pushing for him.

HILL: Right. But, just to follow up on what you said.

GLAVIN: On this point -- But everyone's -- hold on -- what -- everyone is pushing the Governor to resign based on a report that has not been vetted and that people are taking to be 100 percent true. And the Governor should be allowed the opportunity to see that evidence and do a fulsome submission, which we're not being allowed to do.

HILL: So, now the A.G. in response to your press conference on Friday, and I'm paraphrasing here, but in a statement told CNN that there were transcripts that were forthcoming, you would be getting more of that evidence, because I know you had said in that press conference on Friday that was one of your frustrations in terms of what else you'd like to see.

I know you have until Friday to submit additional evidence for this impeachment inquiry. What is it specifically that you're submitting at this point? Because if you're saying that there are things that are missing from the report, what are you supplementing that you believe needs to be seen in terms of this impeachment investigation?

GLAVIN: So, back to your point about that the A.G. Office said that transcripts would be forthcoming, I wrote the Attorney General's Office last week and asked, I still haven't gotten a response. The Attorney General's Office has not even given me my client's transcript.

So, in terms of what I'm going to be able to submit by the deadline on Friday, the 13th, which I think is an unreasonable deadline, and it is a deadline meant to handicap any meaningful defense or due process for the Governor in this case, we will make do with what we have. But I will certainly point out to the Assembly that I think that this manner of proceeding is not the right way to do this.

And if you go back and you look at what impeachment proceedings were, you know, with the President, whose conduct was far different than what the Governor has been accused of, and he was not convicted after trial, but there was more of a back and forth. There has been none of that here.

And if you look through this report, there are hundreds of footnotes, referring to testimony that we don't have, out of 179 people who have been interviewed, only 41 of those interviews were transcribed. And I want to point you to one sentence in the report buried in the report on Page 121.

The Attorney General's investigators wrote: "A number of former and current executive chamber staff, particularly the senior staff, as well as State Troopers on the protective security unit, denied having witnessed or experienced any conduct by the Governor that could be characterized as sexual or otherwise inappropriate."

There is no footnote. They just dropped that sentence. Why can't we get that information like, who that is?

HILL: Right. You would like to know who those people are.

GLAVIN: Like if there are approximately --

HILL: So you'd like to know who those people are. I understand.


GLAVIN: -- footnote.


HILL: Look, I've got the report in front of me. Lots of notes in it.


HILL: It also says on page 123 staff members felt particular anxiety focused on the governor's mood and treatment rather than their work and talks about some of the back and forth that they received.

I do want to hit on a couple other points that I don't think have been addressed with you yet. First of all, Melissa DeRosa who resigned, of course, late last night. She did not mention the governor in her statement, and the resignation was described to me earlier as someone who has been covering the Capitol for sometime, the Capitol bureau as an atom bomb dropping in the middle of the governor's circle.

Did the governor know Melissa DeRosa's resignation was coming?

GLAVIN: I don't want to get into what conversations may or may not have been between the governor and Melissa DeRosa. But I want to say this about her, she has worked non-stop 24/7 for the last two years and that most certainly takes a toll on you, particularly through COVID.

And the last six months if you look at, you know, some of the ways she's been portrayed in the media, it just simply was not fair to her. She gave a detailed statement about her departure and I'll leave it at that. I think that Melissa worked very hard for the people of the state of New York and I don't have anything more to say on that.

HILL: I know you don't want to characterize their conversations, but just a yes or not -- were you given a heads up that the governor know this was coming?

GLAVIN: I'm not going to comment on my conversation with the governor.


GLAVIN: On that point.

HILL: Brittany Commisso in the interview that aired this morning, she described an interaction with the governor according to the A.G.'s report took place on December 31st, 2019. This was the selfie she said the governor have requested. Take a listen.

GLAVIN: Uh-huh, right.


BRITTANY COMMISSO, GOV. CUOMO ACCUSER: I then felt while taking the selfie his hand go down my back on to my butt and he started rubbing it, not sliding it, not, you know, quickly brushing over it, rubbing my butt.


HILL: The governor has denied touching anyone inappropriately. Is he then saying that Ms. Commisso was lying?

GLAVIN: I am not going to get into Brittany Commisso's head. I do know that several people have discussed and testified to the attorney general about potential motivations for her to be less than truthful, none of that was included in the report.

And with respect to that particular selfie picture, I just urge you, I think they published it on CBS this morning. Take a look at that picture, and I think the picture speaks a thousand words as to whether or not Brittany Commisso felt moments before that she had been essentially sexual assaulted by the governor, who I think she said rubbed her butt for five seconds. Look at the selfie that was published, because she then said she sat on the couch with him and took the selfie and you can draw your own conclusions.

HILL: So, again, are you saying she's lying in how she felt and what she took the actions of the governor to be, which is what she said was sexual harassment, that he was rubbing her butt, not an inadvertent pat?

GLAVIN: I will tell you that the governor absolutely denies that. And again, for Ms. Commisso's motivations, all I can say is that she gave an anonymous interview to the "Albany Times Union" on April 7th and the facts she testified to them in that interview, her length of time at the mansion, she was definitive --


HILL: You're talking about a separate incident right now? You're talking about a separate incident.


HILL: I'm talking about the December 2019 incident. We're almost out of time. You talked about November a lot.

GLAVIN: I'm sorry.

HILL: I want to get you once more on this.

GLAVIN: I'm sorry.

HILL: You have said Friday you told my colleague Pam Brown on Saturday that the governor would be speaking out and addressing the allegations soon from trooper number one. They are not in your position statement. They have not been addressed. When will we hear from the governor?

GLAVIN: Again, you're going to hear from him very soon --

HILL: But is there a timeline, no date?

GLAVIN: I do want to say something about trooper number -- I think it's going to be very soon. HILL: Okay.

GLAVIN: What I do want to say about that is that I know that the governor wants with respect to trooper number one, he wants to apologize to her. He has tremendous respect for her and he never in any way, shape or form meant to make her feel as though he was touching her in a sexual way or violated her as I think she testified to.

HILL: So what is he apologizing for --

GLAVIN: I do want to make that point. That in many ways that she felt that way, that he did something that, you know, was untoward and that she felt disrespected, absolutely. He feels quite badly about it.



HILL: And does he see how that behavior can make someone feel that way? Does he agree that in the way that it's been described in this report that it's not appropriate conduct?

GLAVIN: Oh, oh, I think absolutely as he's gone through the report and read how some of these people have felt about interactions with him, yes, absolutely, and he told that to the attorney general's office during his testimony.

HILL: So --

GLAVIN: Absolutely.

HILL: One of the things that has come up as well is sexual harassment training. In 2019, Governor Cuomo did sign into law a very important law in New York state that addresses sexual harassment --addresses sexual harassment training. We went and looked through --

GLAVIN: Right.

HILL: -- some of the videos that are online from the state, right, in terms of this is the way the training should be done. I want to play just a portion of one of those videos quickly.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Physical acts of a sexual nature, including but not limited to touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, kissing, hugging, brushing against another employee's body or poking another employee's body.


HILL: The governor said in March that he had taken the training. It's very clear what's not appropriate.

GLAVIN: I don't know that he -- HILL: Does it not apply to him?

GLAVIN: No, he did not take the video training. What he took was a PowerPoint training, the senior staff given a PowerPoint --


HILL: Aren't you -- are you not given the same information, though? I mean, of all the sexual harassment trainings I've taken, the video and the --


HILL: -- and the writing, they're the same information.

GLAVIN: Have you seen the PowerPoint that the governor received? It was an exhibit in his testimony.

HILL: And so, it did --

GLAVIN: All I can tell you -- yeah, it is different than what that video training was.

HILL: Okay.

GLAVIN: And he did take it in 2019, absolutely.

But, look, Erica, he is not in any way, shape or form denying that he hugged staffers, that he -- when he goes by staffers, he will great them and touch them on the arm. He will touch them on the back. Yes, he talks to staffers about their personal lives, absolutely. And he is well aware particularly after reading the report as to how this made some people feel and he did not realize that.

HILL: Rita Glavin, appreciate you joining us OUTFRONT tonight. Thank you.

GLAVIN: Erica, thank you for having me.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, lawmakers stepping up their investigations into Donald Trump's efforts to get the Justice Department to overturn the election. Details on who is next to testify, after lawmakers learn just how close the country came to total catastrophe.

Plus, in just hours, a crucial vote on a key part of Biden's agenda so does this infrastructure plan have the support?



HILL: Tonight, the investigation into Donald Trump's efforts to have his Justice Department overturn the election ramping up. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin telling CNN a former U.S. attorney from Georgia will be the next witness that his committee calls. B.J. Pak, who Trump nominated for the post in 2017, suddenly resigned

in January, just two days after Trump called Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to pressure him to push the big lie.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people of Georgia are angry. The people of the country are angry, and there is nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you've recalculated. All I want to do is this -- I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.


HILL: The investigation into that call comes as the Senate committee heard, quote, frightening testimony from acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy Richard Donoghue.

One senator in the room, Democrat Richard Blumenthal, telling CNN, quote, I was struck by close the country came to total catastrophe.

Paula Reid is OUTFRONT.

So, Paula, what's the latest that we know about Rosen and Donoghue's testimony?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Really remarkable testimony, Erica. Former Acting Attorney General Rosen who testified voluntarily told lawmakers the pressure Trump put on him and his deputy after the election was real and it was very specific.

Now, while Rosen testified that Trump did not directly ask him to overturn the election results, he did ask him to do certain things related to states election results, which he refused to do and he was also reportedly being asked by White House leadership to meet with people who he says has sad some pretty farfetched theories why the election was not valid.

Now, both Rosen and Donoghue, interesting, they both placed Jeffrey Clark, a Trump appointed environmental law chief at the center of this extraordinary effort to help Trump undermine the election results, including potentially even trying to oust his own bosses who are resisting Trump.

Now, Rosen testified about numerous interactions with Clark but most of his testimony focused on multiple episodes where Clark went outside the chain of command to try to help push these fraud claims. Now, both Rosen and Donoghue told investigators they don't know if Clark was acting at Trump's behest or orchestrating a plot that he concocted himself.

Now, lawmakers will continue to pursue Mr. Clark to come in and tell his side of the story but it's not clear if he'll cooperate -- Erica.

HILL: We will be watching. Paula, thank you. OUTFRONT now, Democratic congressman from California, Pete Aguilar,

who's a member of the House Select Committee investigating the deadly insurrection on January 6th.

Congressman, here's a little bit more of what your colleagues in the Senate had to say after that testimony.


UNIDENTIFEID MALE: It's something that goes back to the start of my tenure, so --

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Just how directly, directly involved the president was, the pressure he was putting on Jeffrey Rosen, it was real. Very real.


HILL: What impact do you think public testimony from Rosen and Donoghue could have, especially in terms of these months of election lies?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Well, I think what it does is it shows very clearly that the efforts that were underway before January 6th to subvert democracy, and so that is exactly what Chairman Durbin indicated and I think that this is something that the committee looks forward to seeing as well.


HILL: The former president is continuing to push's lives, calling this a fake election over the weekend on Fox News. Just a day after the Department of Homeland Security warn the state authorities about increasing calls for violence online, tied to election related conspiracy theories. How concerned are you about this right now?

AGUILAR: We are very concerned. In the House, we have legislation that would help prevent threats from being made on local elections officials. We know they were under stress this last year, and that continues to be the case, professionals who just go about their work, administering elections.

And, we need to make sure we do everything we can to protect them, and their efforts, because, also, they are helping to keep democracy running. You saw, the officers who testified previously, our last line of defense that day and democracy, we owe to them, and we owe to everyone in the Capitol that day, to get to the truth of what happened.

HILL: Speaking of what happened, your colleague, Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, sat down with Dana Bash for a wide-ranging interview, and talked, a little bit, about that day, which was even more profound for herself, as a survivor of sexual assault. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): White supremacy, and patriarchy, are very linked, in a lot of ways. There is a lot of sexualizing of that violence. And, I didn't think that I was just going to be killed. I thought other things would happen to me as well.

BASH: So, what it sounds like what you're telling me right now, is you didn't only think that you are going to die. You thought you would be raped.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes. Yes. I thought I was.


HILL: What is your reaction to those comments? Do you think she is the only person who felt that way?

AGUILAR: I think that every member who was there, and I would include staff members who were in the building, people who are on the House floor with me or up in the gallery, there were members who were barricaded in offices. Members, and staff members, barricaded behind closed doors, in the capital.

And then, there is a host of other members, and staff, who were barricaded in the house office buildings, across the street, adjacent to the Capitol. Every member has their own experiences of that day, and they are all traumatic. I would also say, the custodial staff, and our staff members, a lot of people have ongoing trauma, affected by that, and I think it shows, and highlights, the importance of making sure that people have outlets to talk about these issues, and everyone is allowed to have their own experiences, and their own feelings, about that day, having lived through what we lived through.

But, you know, my hope, in my belief, is that the colleagues, staffers, and police officers who were there that day, that we can all continue to move forward, and get the help that is needed, in order to talk to folks about our experiences.

But, ultimately, our responsibility on the committee is to get to the truth. Everyone there, and every American, deserves to know the truth of what happened, and what led up to January 6th.

HILL: Congressman, thank you again for joining us tonight.

AGUILAR: Thank you.

HILL: And be sure to join us for "BEING A.O.C.", the first in the new CNN series with Dana Bash. It airs tonight, at 9:00 p.m.

OUTFRONT next, the final Senate vote on a $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure package, just hours away. But, are there still roadblocks ahead?


[19:51:41] HILL: Tonight, the Senate is expected to vote just hours from now on a massive bipartisan bill. The $1.2 trillion package has been a subject of months of intense negotiations on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol.

So, Manu, so much back and forth on the spill. When will we see a vote in the Senate? And most importantly, perhaps, will it pass?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It will, no doubt, pass. The final major hurdle was cleared last night when 18 Republican senators broke ranks, joined with Democrats, and broke a filibuster, making sure they have enough votes to, ultimately, pass this bill. It could happen sometime later in the morning, as much as we are expecting.

Right now, it's scheduled to occur at 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time. That is unlikely to happen. They're expected to change the timing of the vote early in the morning.

No question, this will pass even potentially with the support of Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who joined almost half of his conference to move forward, with the Republicans who voted against it, Erica, most of, them running for reelection. And, of, course former President Donald Trump, threatening to primary any Republican who supported the deal.

HILL: And what's next for this bill in the House?

RAJU: Still a question, Erica, how this will play out. Some moderate Democrats, are demanding Nancy Pelosi put this bill on the floor, immediately. But, Pelosi wants to move forward on the $3.5 trillion Democratic only approach, that includes a range of other Democratic priorities.

She says the Senate needs to pass that bill first, before the house would move on the bipartisan deal. But, the question is, will the Senate have enough votes to get the larger bill through? Those are big questions, and they will have to navigate to try to get this through, in the weeks and days ahead, in the months ahead.

So, there is still a question of whether or not this gets onto Joe Biden's desk, Erica.

HILL: Yeah. That's for sure. Manu, appreciated as always, thank you.

Next, an update on a story we told you about last week.



HILL: Last week, we brought you the story of Dasha Kelly, a Las Vegas woman facing eviction. She to she was a mother of three girls, also featured in the story, and it generate a lot of interest, and donations, through her GoFundMe.

Well, Kelly has since clarified to CNN she is not the mother of the three girls. CNN has, however, said that she does take care of the girls in her home for significant periods of time. This is a complicated story, and as many unanswered questions.

I want to bring in now my colleague, Nick Watt, who is covering Kelly from the beginning for CNN.

So, Nick, as I said, still many questions. What do we know right now about Dasha Kelly's story?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, CNN found Dasha Kelly through her post on GoFundMe, seeking $2,000 to pay back rent, to avoid eviction for, her and quote, her 3 daughters. She did not reach out to us.

Now, we interviewed Kelly at her home, the girls all called her mom, appeared to be very much at home, and there was nothing we could see to raise any suspicion. But, later last week, a woman named Shadia Hilo came forward, and said she was the mother of those 3 girls, and they live with her.

Obviously, we investigated immediately, and yes, Shadia Hilo is their mother. We've seen the birth certificates. And, now, we know that Kelly is dating the girl's father. She spends significant periods of time caring for the girls, at her apartment.

Now, at the time that we visited, Hilo says that she had dropped the girls off with Kelly for a week. Now, when we followed up with Kelly over the weekend, she clarified, she is not the mother of the 3 girls, she said that she originally described herself to CNN as a mother, because she considers herself to be like a mother, to those girls.

Shadia Hilo is understandably upset that someone else claimed to be the mother of 3 of her children. Children, she, also, cares for.

HILL: So there are things, Nick, about Kelly's story, or are there, I should say, that do check out?

WATT: Yeah, absolutely. She is facing eviction from her apartment. We saw her 7-day notice when we visited, and we have confirmed that. And clearly, she does look after those girls, part of the time.

But, in that GoFundMe post, she said she described the girls as her daughters, and, that's just not true.

HILL: As of today, the GoFundMe account had to over $203,000 in donations. What will happen to that money now?

WATT: We contacted GoFundMe, they investigated, they put all funds on hold, and this afternoon, they told us that GoFundMe has, proactively, notified all donors with directions on how to request a full refund.

Now, after two weeks, they will release any money left, minus those refunds to Kelly. And, any money should get, stay safe, we will be used to cover living expenses, bills, and a dedicated amount will be put into an account for each child.

Now, as for the girls themselves, Kelly tells, us she drop them off with their mom last night, in time for the start of school -- Erica.

HILL: Nick Watt, thank you.

And thanks to all of you for joining us tonight.

"AC360" starts right now.