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Erin Burnett Outfront

"Another Giant Election Scam": Trump Pushes Unfounded Voter Fraud Concerns Ahead Of Newsom Recall Election; Trump Attacks Bush After He Compared American Extremists To 9/11 Terrorists, Alluding To Jan 6 Riot; Source: Police Preparing For Armed Protesters At Capitol Rally; Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) Is Interviewed About Capitol Safety; Families Of 9/11 Victims Demand Answers As Highly Redacted FBI Document Shows Link Between Hijackers, Saudi Nationals. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 13, 2021 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, it's the new Republican playbook. If you lose, it was rigged, voter fraud. And it's playing out tonight in the California recall election just hours before the polls open.

Plus, Capitol Hill bracing for violence as another right-wing rally takes place in the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. This one to honor the January 6th insurrectionists.

Former first lady, Melania Trump, sound asleep on election night as her husband was losing. It's according to a new book by her former chief of staff. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the Trump playbook now playing out in California. It basically boils down to this, if you lose an election, you didn't actually lose, it's just was voter fraud, it was rigged, even when of course it wasn't. There's no evidence of any of that. The night before the California governor's recall election, the former president is stirring the pot with the very familiar message.

Here he is. "Does anybody really believe the California Recall Election isn't rigged? Millions and millions of Mail-in Ballots will make this just another giant Election Scam," capital on E and S, "no different, but less blatant, than the 2020 Presidential Election Scam." And then it came after he actually said this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think happens in California?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it's probably rigged, they're sending out all ballots, the ballots are mail-out, mail-in ballots. In fact, I guess you even have a case where you can make your own ballot. When that happens, nobody's going to except these Democrats. So, look, they're very good, the one thing they're good at is rigging elections, so I predict it's a rigged election. Let's see how it turns out. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Okay. Well, that's just all completely untrue. It's a bunch of lies. There's really no other word for it and they're dangerous lies at that. But the leading Republican contender to replace Gavin Newsom, Larry Elder is listening closely and sounding more Trumpian on this.

Listen to this event captured by The Washington Post reporter David Weigel.


LARRY ELDER, (R) CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We have lawyers all set up already to go to file lawsuits in a timely fashion. They're going to cheat, we know that.


BURNETT: They're going to cheat, we know that. No. No, you don't.

And then just listen to Trump's media loyalists.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only thing that will save Gavin Newsom is voter fraud.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: You really need outside observers to make sure this election isn't stolen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What people want to look at is this is going to be an election where they go all out to steal the referendum.

GRANT STINCHFIELD, TALK RADIO HOST: They're going to cheat to win, the mail-in ballots game is rigged.


BURNETT: Chill, steal, cheat, rigged, this is all completely false. But the problem is, of course, that there are some Republicans who are buying what Trump and his followers are saying. Just listen to what some of elder supporters told us today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard people say that they can cheat on your mail-in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If people are voting, they're not suppose - they're multi voting, they're printing out extra ballots, I mean, there's just been a lot of, I believe, there's been a lot of frauds.


BURNETT: Now, just to be clear here, there was absolutely no talk of the recall being rigged from any of the people. The Newt Gingriches, the Tucker Carlsons, none of them from Trump. None of them when Newsom's job first appeared to be in jeopardy because of his initial handling of the pandemic, that French Laundry thing, that hurt.

But when the poll shifted in Newsom's direction, Republicans immediately went to the baseless claims that it was all going to be completely fraudulent. I think it's important here just to note that this was always going to be a steep climb for Republicans because of the basic math here, we're talking about California.

Democrats have a two to one registration advantage and voting in California, two to one. Democrats hold every single statewide office. In fact, Democrats in California have not lost a statewide election in 15 years. And Joe Biden, who was in California and will be campaigning with Newsom tonight won California with 64 percent of the vote, okay.

So the concept that if Elder does not win, that it must be voter fraud is frankly ridiculous on the merit and the math. But again, refusing to accept defeat is now baked into the Republican brand, because Trump is still telling his supporters that the 2020 election was rigged. Here he is on September 11th, Saturday.


BIDEN: All of a sudden, we have a rigged election.

We won the election.


BURNETT: Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT live in Long Beach, California where President Biden is about to appear with Gov. Gavin Newsom. So Kyung, how closely are voters there listening to all of this?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: What we can tell you Erin is that in these final hours and especially at the rallies when you talk to the voters, both Republicans and Democrats, they are responding to these national issues.


It is animating and motivating both the Republican base and the Democratic base. And so what you will see as President Biden stands next to Gov. Newsom, they will be talking about these national issues, talking about the Democratic agenda. And in a closing message of Republican challenger Larry Elder, ending with that baseless claim.


LAH(voice over): Before a single ballot has even been counted in California's recall election, Republican challenger Larry Elder is pulling a page from the Trump playbook, questioning the results.


ELDER: We're going to file lawsuits in a timely fashion. What I believe is that no matter what they do and I believe that there might very well be shenanigans, as it were in the 2020 election.

Barack Obama has got (inaudible), Joe Biden (inaudible) ...

I was called the black-faced white supremacy.


LAH(voice over): Elder is a Republican frontrunner of 46 challengers on the second part of the ballot, the conservative radio host emerged early on as a leading contender to replace Newsom, helping to engage Democrats to react and vote early like Maria Morales (ph).


MARIA MORALES (PH): When you have another candidate who's very similar to what we had four years ago, that's not what we want here in California.


LAH(voice over): With just hours left to vote, Democratic governor Gavin Newsom will close this campaign beside President Joe Biden rallying in California on election eve.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D) CALIFORNIA: Vote no, no, no, no.


LAH(voice over): Newsom needs a simple majority to stay on the job. In rally after rally up and down the state, Newsom has argued to Democrats that the election is not just about California, but the National Democratic agenda, namely policies on masks and vaccines that Newsom says could roll back if he's recalled.


NEWSOM: The contrast and the stakes could not be higher. This election is a matter of life and death. Public Health is on the ballot.



LAH(on camera): And increasingly what you do hear from the Newsom campaign and really frankly from the Governor himself is competence. You said it Erin, this was the math. The math is on the Democrat side. The wind is at the governor's back. He just needed Democrats to pay attention. They believe largely that their base is now paying attention, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much.

So as we've said, when you look at the math, if you've got Democrats hugely engaged in California, it's hard to defeat them. They haven't lost a statewide election in 15 years.

I want to go now, though, to someone who knows a lot about this who's a Republican Rob Stutzman, longtime Republican strategist who served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, Schwarzenegger, for anyone who does not know, one California (inaudible) the recall election back in 2003. And Rob, you, of course, was co-communications director for that campaign.

So you've been the heart of this in every way from the California level and the national level as well. So when you hear Gavin Newsom saying in Kyung's piece that we just played, that this is act two of the big lie, all of these claims of fraud. Is that what's happening here?

ROB STUTZMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, fraud is not happening. But, of course, Gavin Newsom is more than happy to amplify the fact that Donald Trump has now inserted himself into this recall election on the very eve of it. It's what he needs in order to motivate Democrats to vote. That's been his problem all summer as Democrats haven't seem interested in wanting to vote for him.

But with the emergence of Larry Elder as the frontrunner and now what a gift to have Donald Trump weighing in today, it helps the Governor motivate his Democrats that outnumber Republicans two to one in California to get to the polls or in this case, turn in those ballots to a mailbox.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about this, because as you point out, Trump is a gift. It's certainly a gift to Newsom and Democrats had, to your point, there have been a lot of frustration and discuss with some of his behavior. But we I played a couple of voters there, Republican voters who say - they were talking about who knows what conspiracy multiple ballots and people being able to vote a whole bunch of times and they believed this.

Do you think that there are - obviously, there's a few, but a real number of Californians who do believe these baseless claims?

STUTZMAN: I think it's few. I mean, California has millions of Republicans and so you're going to find some that are conspiratorial, some that very much are fans of the President. They're just incredibly outnumbered.

I think by and large, most Republicans are used to the fact as you've already said, we haven't won a statewide race in 15 years. We're outnumbered, two to one by Democrats. The gap between Democrats and Republicans since when Schwarzenegger won 18 years ago to now is three times as many more Democrats over Republicans. It's just not a competitive state and to suggest that somehow, this election is going to probably go according to those numbers and that it's fraudulent just really isn't very credible.


And I, in some ways, I would hope that the President is hurting his own cause, perpetuating these conspiracies by attaching it to what's probably going to be a pretty comfortable win tomorrow for the Governor.

BURNETT: So let me ask you, Rob, because this is where your perspective - being able to put this on the national perspective matters as well, too. So Larry Elder had a very different view of Biden's 2020 presidential victory. In The Sacramento Bee's editorial board in August, he met with them and he told them, "I do believe Joe Biden won the election fairly and squarely." Okay, so he said the truth.

And then he got a lot of pushback from Republicans. So then a few days later, he asked for a mulligan. He literally said I want a mulligan and says I actually didn't believe that. So is this actually just like that is maybe the perfect example of what it is now to be a Republican running for office that you would have to knowingly lie about something so fundamental to get the backing of their own party?

STUTZMAN: That should be the concern or at least the majority or plurality of Republican voters. The candidate side of this ballot question is really functioning like a Republican primary in California, because there's no Democrat, no Democrat politician is running, asking Democrats for their vote.

So candidates like Elder are running like it's a close Republican primary and just trying to appeal to a very small minority, probably about 3 million, 3.2 million voters out of 20 million some odd voters that are more than that, that are registered trying to appeal to them to be the top vote getter.

So it shows no inclination of wanting to broaden beyond a base and actually win a seat in a blue state like California. Elder is just trying to be the most popular Republican in a state where it doesn't really mean anything to be the most popular Republican.

BURNETT: Rob, thanks so much. I appreciate it.

STUTZMAN: My pleasure. Good to be with you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, Trump fires back at Bush like never before after the foreign president compared the January 6th insurrectionists to 9/11 terrorists.

Plus, Trump supporters tell us why they believe the next rally on U.S. Capitol grounds just days away matters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only person got killed that day was a Trump supporter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And her name was Ashli Babbitt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she was a martyr.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And as of January 6th riot unfolded, Melania Trump refused

to call for calm and peaceful protests. This is according to a new book by her chief of staff. Our guest has access to it and new excerpts to share with you.



BURNETT: Tonight, former President Trump bitterly attacking George W. Bush in a new statement for 'getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East'. Trump then adding, "The World Trade Center came down during his watch. Bush led a failed and uninspiring presidency. He shouldn't be lecturing anybody."

It came after former President Bush when memorializing the victims of September 11th on its 20th anniversary alluded to the Capitol rioters when he said this.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.


BURNETT: Children of the same foul spirit.

OUTFRONT now Matthew Dowd, Chief Strategist to the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign. So Matthew, this is not something that's happened before. We know how these two feel about each other, but to have this sort of kind of erupt in this way, we have not seen. The acrimony and the statement that we're getting from Trump today about George W. Bush is notable even for him.

MATTHEW DOWD, CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR THE BUSH-CHENEY 2004 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Yes. Even for Donald Trump, even from both sides of it, their acrimony is not surprising in the midst of this. And I think Donald Trump has - you can accurately say, yes, George W. Bush got us into the war and I, as you know, I fought well, I broke with the president, President Bush over the war.

But I think this is really about Donald Trump sees public service as a sign of weakness and the Bush family, including George W., for all the mistakes he made, really was dedicated in their lives to public service. Donald Trump never thinks about things in relation to public service or servant leadership and I think that's the fundamental difference.

And I think George W. Bush was right to say the biggest thing, the biggest problem facing America today is not coming from overseas. It's right here in our country and the finger is pointed directly at Donald Trump and what he's done. BURNETT: So President Bush, to your point, this was clear that's what

he meant. But he didn't mention Trump actually by name on Saturday. And, of course, as you know he's alluded to Trump in critical ways before, but the difference in this case was, of course, that this was September 11th, an important day, a solemn day, a 20th anniversary and a day that is central to the entire legacy and Presidency of George W. Bush.

So what do you think went into his decision to speak like this, to say this, to make this clear connection between the September 11 terrorist and the January 6th insurrectionists in his message?

DOWD: Well, from what I know and from everything I've heard, he's been upset about this for a number of years and what's transpired over the course of the last few years. George W. Bush has been actually doing what normally presidents, ex-presidents do, which is don't say anything, stay quiet, don't personally go after the former, a former president or a current president on this.

But I think at some point, it's added up to way too much as most Americans. They've tolerated, tolerated, tolerated. They've tried to speak out in subtle ways. But after January 6th, I think it comes a point where all Americans have to make a decision about what side they're on, are they on the side of democracy and what it means to be in a diverse multicultural nation or are they on the side of autocracy.

And I think George W. Bush finally, I mean, I think finally in his own way, enough was enough and he had to speak out. Because he loves this country in a way that Donald Trump has never even thought about doing. And I think decency and all of those things are something that are part of George W. Bush are just not part of Donald Trump.


BURNETT: So the statement today from Trump is a reminder, you're talking about in ways he breaks the norms, but how far outside the ex- presidents' club Trump is? I mean, I use the word club, I don't use it tritely. But I mean, as you say, the norms of behavior and how you don't criticize another former or a current.

So on Saturday, a day that moved this entire nation, it was a 20th anniversary, it was on a Saturday and people were truly engaged with it. You saw former President Bush and Laura Bush and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for the 20th anniversary. Presidents Clinton, Obama and Biden and first ladies were together at Ground Zero.

Former President Trump was in New York, but he did not attend any of the memorials with the families. Instead, he went on his own visit to first responders and talked about how he won the election. Here he is.


TRUMP: You gave me great support. We won the election, but what are you going to do? We are fighting like hell and we're going to keep fighting. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And then, of course, Matthew, we went to Florida to do commentary on a boxing match that evening. Look, he doesn't care about how things come across. That's clear. He does what he wants to do. But how significant was this decision of how he spent 9/11?

DOWD: Well, I think it's such a reflection on who Donald Trump is and I think we've seen it numbers of times. This was much more of an underlying emphasized way that he's done this is he fundamentally has nothing, no care or no allegiance to anything other than me. There is not, I don't even think we is in his vocabulary there. The word we and how that applies to the common good and common welfare of the country just doesn't come across. It's all about himself and it's all about what's good or bad for him in the course of this.

And I think we've seen example, after example, after example where he doesn't honor public service and his ability to sort of cast empathy, something that the president, President Biden is very good at. He actually sees, not only does he not have it, he actually sees the ability to empathize and raise other people up as a sign of weakness.

And so in the end, it's sort of ego-driven. We've seen it throughout his presidency. We've seen it in every statement that he's made. It's all about his own ego and nothing about our nation as a whole.

BURNETT: Matthew Dowd, thank you very much. I appreciate your perspective.

DOWD: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the breaking news, police, we understand are preparing for the possibility of armed protesters at Saturday's far- right rally, as we're hearing from Trump supporters with this warning.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Should they be scared?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They should be scared of our own (inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, an election was stole.


BURNETT: Plus, a stunning details tonight about former first lady Melania Trump from her former chief of staff. Why wasn't she with her husband as the election results were coming in?



BURNETT: Breaking news, law enforcement now preparing for the possibility of armed protesters at Saturday's far right rally in support of the January 6 rioters. This just hours after Capitol Police warned of 'concerning online chatter' about the rally and confirm temporary fencing will return a day or two beforehand due to concern of violence.

Also earlier today, Capitol Police said they arrested a California man in a truck with a bayonet and a machete near DNC headquarters, painted on the truck a swastika and another white supremacy symbols.

Donie O'Sullivan is now OUTFRONT. And Donie, you have been speaking to Trump supporters specifically about this upcoming rally and its significance and who's going to go and what they think about it. What are they telling you?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, that's right, Erin. There is some confusion. There's a lot of mixed messages about this event on Saturday. I will say some of the major peddlers of QAnon and other conspiracy theories, people who are telling people to go to Washington on January 6, they are now telling their supporters, many of them Trump supporters to stay away from Washington on Saturday, they are baselessly claiming that this is some sort of false flag operation, a way to entrap Trump supporters.

So even though that's a conspiracy theory in itself, that might be welcome news to some in the capitol. But, of course, as we know what and what we're hearing from Capitol Police is that there is this concerning chatter online. And even though that there are some major conspiracy theorists telling people not to show up in Washington, that may not, of course, stop some extreme folks from showing up.

I want you to take a listen to a couple of Trump supporters I spoke to on Saturday, both of whom did attend, did go to Washington on January 6th. They said they didn't go into the Capitol building. They said they're undecided about whether they will go to the event on Saturday. But crucially, they are very supportive of the objectives of the demonstration on Saturday, which is in support of the insurrectionists. Have a listen.


O'SULLIVAN: You mentioned there's a lot of chat about an event happening here in Washington next week, on the 18th.


O'SULLIVAN: To support, I think, people who were detained, arrested (inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They're political prisoners pretty much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're stuck in solitary 23 hours a day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our own politicians, our own ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're not given any speedy trial. They're not given the rights that we should have.

O'SULLIVAN: But, I mean, do you think what happened up there on the 6th of January was a stain on Trump presidency?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think it was a setup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was a setup from the beginning.

O'SULLIVAN: In terms of this events on the 18th, people up on Capitol Hill ...


O'SULLIVAN: ... are scared.


O'SULLIVAN: Should they be scared?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They should be scared of our own people really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, an election was stole. There's no way that - I've seen those millions of people here. If those people were here to do damage on January 6th, they could have took that whole Capitol over there easy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We could have busted every window and taken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. But that's ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But that's not why we were here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only person who got killed that day was a Trump supporter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And her name was Ashli Babbitt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she was a martyr.


O'SULLIVAN: And, of course, police determined that the officer who shots Ashli Babbitt acted lawfully and potentially save lives. And, of course, we know that police officers who responded to the insurrection have died since. But just important to point out, Erin, that even though this couple were saying that they're not sure whether they'll show up on Saturday, they are also hearing these conspiracy theories online about the event that is sort of scaring them away. They are ultimately supportive of the objectives of it and they don't see anything that happened on January 6th is necessarily wrong.


BURNETT: All right. Donie, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

So I want to get some reaction right away from Congresswoman Stacy Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands. She was also an impeachment member for former President Trump's second trial.

And, Congresswoman, I just want to give you a chance to respond. You know, Donie was speaking to supporters that were there on January 6, and they're talking about whether they were going to come. So, they're hearing these conspiracy theories that maybe it's a false flag operation, they shouldn't go, but yet you should be scared.

When you hear them, and their belief and everything they say, you know, what's your reaction listening to that?

STACEY PLASKETT (D), VIRGIN ISLANDS DELEGATE: Well, you know, I would first say that let's put -- speak to the falsehood that only one person was killed on that day. We know that over 100 police officers were injured. Several police officers died fighting that insurrectionist crowd, those domestic terrorists that came to thwart the democratic process of our duly elected president of the United States. So let's put that to one bit of falsehood aside right there.

If individuals want to come to the Capitol, and want to protest, this is the kind of country. We have a democratic process that allows their peaceful demonstrations. If they come to the Capitol with the intent to do harm, to do Capitol building itself, to break the law, then they will have to face the consequences of that. In the same way that Ashli Babbitt and those other individuals face the consequences of their actions.

I agree that police officer who was protecting, not only the building of the Capitol and the floor of the House, but many members of Congress and staff acted in justifiable manner. And Ashli Babbitt, who was breaking the law, and attempting to climb over individuals to come onto the Capitol floor, was in the wrong.

So, we will, you know, I'm grateful Capitol police have met with a speaker, with the majority leader, and the speaker has invited both the minority leader of the Senate, as well as the minority leader of the House to be a part of this briefing to ensure that the Capitol is in fact safe.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you --

PLASKETT: So, also, that members of Congress will not be there on that Saturday to the best of my knowledge along with staff.

BURNETT: That's very significant. I realize.

The reporting that we have tonight, Congresswoman, is that law enforcement is not preparing for the possibility of armed protesters at this rally. Now again, you're hearing that there are some conspiracy theories or telling them not to come. No one knows exactly what to expect.

But the bigger picture question here, given the sentiment of what that couple said, given the fear of armed people coming, is do you fear that it is a matter of time before something else happens, whether it's this Saturday or another day?

PLASKETT: Well, we know throughout history and one of the things that we've seen in modern history is that successful coup is always preceded by an unsuccessful coup. And what we saw on January 6th was the unsuccessful coup, and those individuals who are attempting to try and overturn our democratic process will continue to do so.

I'm grateful that both the FBI, as well as national security intelligence officers, and our own Capitol Police as well Metropolitan and others are preparing at all times for the chatter that they are hearing online, and keeping vigilant as to ensure that our legislative process continues.

BURNETT: Congresswoman Plaskett, I appreciate your time as always. Thank you.

PLASKETT: Thank you. Take care.

BURNETT: All right. You too.

And, next, the new book by Melania Trump's chief of staff detailing what the first lady was doing on election night, as her husband watch the results in fury and disbelief. Reporter with access to the book is my guest.

But the FBI releases the first declassified document into Saudi Arabian government links to the 9/11 attacks. A ma who lost his father that day determined to expose the Saudi government's suspected role is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: New tonight, Melania Trump sound asleep on election night. In a new excerpt just released from a book by Stephanie Grisham who worked for both President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. She writes the first lady was sleeping on election night, as her husband was fighting for his political life in 2020. Watch the returns come in.

Grisham writing, he's reportedly that, quote, I knocked a few times, quietly at first, but louder at each attempt. I finally opened the bedroom door to find that Mrs. Trump was sound asleep.

She continues, quote: I knew by now how sleep meant to her, but still, I couldn't imagine being asleep at a time like that. Maybe she thought that somebody would wake her up if Trump won.

OUTFRONT now, Daniel Lippman, White House reporter for "Politico" who got early access to the book.

So, Daniel, what else can you tell me about what was going out in the White House on election night, according to Grisham, just to emphasize from this excerpt you have, right? Stephanie Grisham you know, it's not that you heard this from somebody, right? She knocked on the door and opened the door, and Melania Trump is asleep.

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOUSE & WASHINGTON REPORTER, POLITICO: Yeah, it's quite the stirring scene. I wouldn't expect to be writing about Melania sleep schedule tonight, but one other part of the book that I obtained is that Melania was very sick and tired of the Trump kids using their White House as a personal playground set, and also kind of a Hollywood set to perform.

So that was kind of the scene on election night as well. There was all Trump kids, lots of advisers, they were huddling with President Trump to kind of decide what to do next. And you can't declare victory at 9:00 pm, but Trump bucked some of his advisers and said the same thing at 2 30 a.m. and said the election was fraudulent.


BURNETT: And, okay, of course, woke her after that.

So, sources told CNN that as the January 6th insurrection was taking place, Grisham texted Melania Trump, quote, do you want to twee that peaceful protests are the right of every American but there is no place for lawlessness and violence? They're basically giving her exact text to quote, Melania Trump did replied to that text with one word, the word being no. Tell me about it.

LIPPMAN: And you kind of another believe what's she was doing at that exact time, 1:25 p.m. She was preparing for a photo shoot in the White House residence of a new rug that she had selected. So, Grisham in her book says that she had 4 years defended her against charges of Marie Antoinette type dilettante, and yet this kind of book excerpt tells you exactly what you needed to know, that she was not monitoring the Capitol riots to make sure that it didn't get out of control. She was continuing as if she's going to be the first lady for the second term.

And so, I think, you know, five days later, she did condemn the violence, but it was more after another former confident had within an article saying that Melania was complicit in all of this.

BURNETT: So, Daniel, Grisham resigns on January 6, right? After this and this handling. In a statement today to "Politico", Melania Trump's office response, quote, the intent behind this book is obvious. It is an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed professional relationships and unprofessional behavior in the White House. Through mistruths and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump.

OK. So, we should notice -- note that Grisham was with Trump until Grisham chose to resign on January 6th. She was promoted to Melania's chief of staff after she stepped down as press secretary. It certainly wouldn't square with the allegation of poor performance as press secretary. And she knows a lot.

How concerned are Trumps about this book? LIPPMAN: Well, they're pretty concerned, because they're trying to

get, you know, copies of the book. People who Stephanie Grisham barely know have been calling her asking for the book, and it could be packed full of nuggets that are potentially embarrassing for people like Jared Kushner and Mark Meadows.

And will say one other thing, that part of her common saying her failed personal relationships in Melania's statement to me, that was seen as a very low blow by many in Trump world because, you know, Grisham had two divorces, had a relationship with former Trump aide Max Miller that went very south for her, and Trump himself has had two divorces.

And so, I've never seen a former for first lady throw a former chief of staff under the bus, talking about her failed personal relationships.

BURNETT: I know, just low blow, low and wrong, no matter what you think.

All right. Thank you very much, Daniel. I appreciate it.

LIPPMAN: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the FBI just released a statement relating to the 9/11 attacks. And they detail suspected Saudi government support for the hijackers. Next, I'm going to talk to a man whose father determined on 9/11 and he's determined to get justice in these documents.

Plus, what did media executive Suge Knight who some think killed Tupac tell Robert F. Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan as he's up for parole.



BURNETT: Tonight, the FBI released the first of what's expected to be several documents -- here it is -- on its investigation into the 9/11 attacks, and specifically Saudi Arabia's government suspected role helping the hijackers. Keep in mind that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian.

It is a heavily redacted document released following an executive order by President Biden, and it details the FBI scrutiny of alleged logistical support that consular officials, Saudi Arabian official, and suspected Saudi intelligence agents, gave to at least two 9/11 hijackers.

OUTFRONT now, Brett Eagleson. His father died in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11. Brett and other victims relatives are part of the federal lawsuit, accusing the Saudis of being complicit in the attacks.

And, Brian, I really appreciate your time. I know it is something you and I have talked about in the past. You have been demanding for a long time, tirelessly and ceaselessly, these documents and more information about Saudi Arabia's alleged role in the 9/11 attacks and what the U.S. government knows, any kind of information.

So, this is the first document, how far does it go in meeting your demands?

BRETT EAGLESON, LOST HIS FATHER IN THE 9/11 ATTACKS: Well, thank you for having, me, Erin.

I think this is such a great important story. This is a great first step for us. It is very significant that President Biden has taken this action, and it's taking this first step.

But I want to caution that it is just the first step, and as you know, it is heavily redacted. What we have from these documents alone is very proof of what we've been shouting about and screaming about in the past decade, is that Saudi government officials we now have tangible evidence, that Saudi government officials, even Saudi government officials with diplomatic status, who are coordinating, having meetings with, talking to, and logistically supporting the hijackers.

So, you know, there was never going to be a smoking gun. I've seen the media lot of people saying there's smoking gun, but it's the preponderance of evidence. It's the fact that we now have 8 Saudi government officials with the FBI has stated now on record in these FBI reports, that they were involved with supporting the hijackers in 9/11.

I just want to point out one thing, "ProPublica" just came out with a story that the author of this report, has now been revealed. It's not been known to us for a long time. His name is John Nicholas, and he has come forward and a "ProPublica" has outed his name. And we would love him -- for him to be the one that leads this classification effort going forward.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you about this. The parts that are redacted -- I mean, you know, there's redactions on every page, but page 14 page 15 obviously very significant.

You know, the whole report, 16 pages there's going to be more of, them it does center about a student in L.A. that the FBI suspect it was a Saudi intelligence agent. He was deeply involved in providing lodging and financial support to two of the hijackers.


What in here when you look at the redactions, what's frustrates you the most? Where a new like, wait a minute, okay, I'm sitting here and then I can't finish my sentence?

EAGLESON: I know, right, you're about to get to the most juicy part, and then all of a sudden, there's a big chunk of black. But we now have the world's experts on this. We have the best lawyers in the world, the best investigators in the world, and they're able to fill in those redactions just given everything that they've known for the past decade.

Former FBI agent Catherine Hunt (ph), she needs credit here. She recreated the encore investigation. So, we're able to piece together a lot of those interactions, and this is significant. This is very, very significant. This is the first time that the federal government has acknowledged that yes, we've had these documents all along, and here you go, who are giving these documents to you.

So, this is -- you know, this is our indication. This is a saying --


BURNETT: The Saudi foreign minister says that they welcomed the release of the 9/11 documents. I mean, look, they're coming out, what else are going to say. But they say, oh, look, this show no Saudi involvement in the terror attacks. Obviously, you clearly think that these documents shows complicity by the Saudis, and it does show, right, Saudi officials helping those involved in 9/11. I guess the question is, whether that was knowledge of actual Saudi government.

How confident are you that the Saudi government will be held accountable for which you see and hear happened?

EAGLESON: Well, we need -- we need to be persistent. We need to keep going. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of pages of documents coming. We have brought bipartisan support in the United States Congress.


EAGLESON: You know, how far are we going to let Saudi Arabia continue to go? You know, they have a horrible human rights record. They carpet bombed Yemen. The sent their airmen over to kill our service members in Pensacola. They chopped up Khashoggi bones off. They did 9/11.

At what point does the United States government need to just take action here, and we have broad bipartisan support in United States Congress. Maybe we call for sanctions. Maybe we list them as a state sponsor of terror.

But we're going to keep fighting, we're going to keep pushing. The families are more determined than ever, and now we have our evidence and we have a president that is willing to take our side and stand with us. And for once and for all, hold the Saudis accountable.

We now have a U.S. government and our backs, and this is -- this is a great moment.

And you know, we are in such a different place than we were four years ago. Saudis need to pay attention to that and realize that.

BURNETT: All right. Brett, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

EAGLESON: Thank you for having. BURNETT: All right. And next, media mogul and convicted killer Suge

Knight, mafia leaders and gang members, just some of the people mentoring RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan about his parole.


[19:51:13] BURNETT: Will California Governor Gavin Newsom free Robert F. Kennedy's killer from prison? State parole board in California recommended releasing Sirhan Sirhan. A decision that is now spreading the entire Kennedy family. We are learning about the cast of characters who have mentored Sirhan as he waited a parole decision.

Here's Tom Foreman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey there, Mr. Sirhan.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Sirhan Sirhan's long quest for parole, the key to moving forward came not from a clever lawyer, but from a fellow inmate at the San Diego prison, at a program called Redemption Row aimed at prison and prisoner reform.

JOEL BAPTISTE, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, REDEMPTION ROW: We address both the needs of the incarcerated populations and ultimately, the communities that they'll be returning to.

FOREMAN: Convicted murderer Joel Baptiste, who was tied to the Aryan Brotherhood, and former gang member Cameron approached Sirhan roughly a year ago, according to a program leader. Then, they recruited Suge Knight, who that same leader says told Sirhan I'm a global villain myself. People think I killed Tupac. And several others associated with organized and/or violent crime joined into.

Together, they urge Sirhan to reconsider his thoughts, his anger and his crime, according to Jen Abreu, president of the program.

JENNIFER ABREU, PRESIDENT, REDEMPTION ROW CALIFORNIA: They started to just talk to Sirhan and, you know, observe him, and, you know, create trust with him.

FOREMAN: It was not easy. For more than half a century, the man who've gone down Robert Kennedy during his promising presidential bid in 1968 has led to a tumultuous life behind bars. At previous parole hearings, he argued --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interrupting me after I told you time and time not to is again demonstrating impulsivity, a lack of control for yourself.

FOREMAN: No more, his team advised, as long as he doesn't recall the shooting.

SIRHAN: I don't remember pulling my gun out of my body, or wherever it was located. I don't remember any human being. FOREMAN: The team told him he had to accept his guilt. He had to stop

thinking any violence he suffered inside prison offset his violence outside. And they talked about the impact of his crime against the Kennedys, against America.

ABREU: Once he was able to hear other stories from my teammates inside about their own experience with gun violence, the loss of their loved ones, and he was able to put himself in that position and understand the horror.

FOREMAN: For most of the surviving members of Robert Kennedy's family, Sirhan's alleged transformation has not been enough. Kennedy's widow Ethel said in a written statement, he should not have the opportunity to terrorize again. He should not be paroled.

But a couple of Kennedy children say Sirhan now deserve a chance at freedom and importantly, the parole board members who heard his case think so too.


FOREMAN: This is not a done deal. Government Gavin Newsom or the full parole board would have to give a thumbs-up. And, absolutely, there are plenty of people who say this is just a guy gaining the system.

But the mere fact that one of the most reviled assassins of modern American history is this close to getting paroled through the help of his fellow inmates is remarkable -- Erin.

BURNETT: It certainly is remarkable. Originally sentenced to death, commuted, and now possibly going free.

All right. Thank you very much, Tom Foreman. And thanks very much to all of you. You can watch OUTFRONT anytime on CNN Go.

In the meantime, it's time for AC360.