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Erin Burnett Outfront

FBI: Apparent Human Remains Found After Atty Says Laundrie's Parents Went To Park To Search For Him; Biden Touts Agenda In Hometown As Dems Scramble To Finalize Deal; Still Split On Corporate Tax Hikes, Climate Change; GOP Urges Members To Vote "No" on Bannon Contempt Tomorrow; Trump Allies Defend Trump, Bannon At Hearing On Contempt; Judge Hearing Trump Lawsuit On Jan. 6 Records Told Rioter During Sentencing He Was At Capitol "For One Man," Trump; DC Attorney General Adds Mark Zuckerberg To Facebook Lawsuit; Texas Lawmakers Approve New Map That Fortifies GOP Power. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 20, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. And THE SITUATION ROOM is also available as a podcast. Look for us on or wherever you get your podcast.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, the FBI just confirming that apparent human remains were found in a Florida nature reserve along with Brian Laundrie's belongings. Is Laundrie dead and will Gabby Petito's killer ever be brought to justice?

Plus, she said the January 6th insurrectionists went to the Capitol for 'one man'. Now, she's the judge who will decide whether Trump's presidential records stay secret.

And Facebook under fire, the D.C. Attorney General directly going after Mark Zuckerberg in a lawsuit, the first Attorney General to do it and he's my guest. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, in major development in the search for Brian Laundrie. The FBI just confirming that they have found what appear to be human remains along with items they say belong to Laundrie at a Florida nature reserve.


MICHAEL MCPHERSON, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, TAMPA FIELD OFFICE: Earlier today, investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie.


BURNETT: Officials are now working to formally identify the remains with DNA. Laundrie has not been seen since around the time his fiance, Gabby Petito, was reported missing last month. And his disappearance sparked a massive nationwide manhunt. Meanwhile, Petito's body was discovered in Wyoming where the two had been together during a road trip over the summer. Medical examiner ruled last week that she died by strangulation.

Leyla Santiago is OUTFRONT live in North Port, Florida. And Leyla, fast developing story at this hour. They had been combing this nature reserve to the extent that as many said there's no way anything could be there that they don't know about and yet here we are. What have you heard about the remains and other items they found in the nature reserve today?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well listen, Erin, this is exactly the type of development that investigators have been waiting for any sign of Brian Laundrie. Now, tonight when the FBI spoke to journalists, they did not take questions.

So at this point, we don't know what was written in that notebook. We don't know what was found inside that backpack or what else may have been found in the nearby area. But investigators insisting that this is still very much an active and ongoing investigation.



MCPHERSON: Investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie.


SANTIAGO(voice over): Tonight, a major development in the search for Brian Laundrie at the nature reserve where teams have spent weeks searching. The potential remains not confirmed to belong to Laundrie were found nearly five weeks after Laundrie was reported missing, following the disappearance of his fiancee, Gabby Petito.


MCPHERSON: These items were found in an area that up until recently have been underwater.


SANTIAGO(voice over): The items were found just a day after the park reopened to the public after the initial search for Laundrie began. Tonight, the park is closed off again. Chris and Roberta Laundrie met with law enforcement at the reserve this morning after notifying authorities last night of their plans to search the reserve today according to the family's lawyer. Their attorney also saying they were there when the remains were found today and they 'will wait for the forensic identification of the human remains before making any additional comments'.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NICOLE SCHMIDT, GABBY PETITO'S MOM: I think silence speaks volumes. I believe they know probably, if not everything, they know most of the information. I would love to just face-to-face ask why are you doing this, just tell me the truth.

GABBY PETITO: Never goes outside.


SANTIAGO(voice over): The couple had been on a cross country road trip over the summer, but Laundrie returned home to North Port, Florida where the couple lived alone September 1st according to investigators. Days after Petito was reported missing, Laundrie was also reported missing.

Investigators say his parents indicated they had not seen him for several days after he went for a hike at the Carlton Reserve setting off a massive search that began where the Laundries Mustang had been reported abandoned near the reserve. Petito's remains were found in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. The county coroner said she was strangled to death and had been out in the wilderness for about three to four weeks. Petito's parents hoping their daughter found some peace before her death.


N. SCHMIDT: I hope that she didn't suffer and that she wasn't in any pain.

JIM SCHMIDT, GABBY PETITO'S STEP-FATHER: Just hoping that at that moment...

N. SCHMIDT: That she was in a place that she wanted to be looking at the beautiful mountains.



SANTIAGO (on camera): And tonight as the FBI address the media, they called Brian Laundrie a person of interest in Gabby Petito's murder.


They also explained that they are expecting to be here in this park for the next several days as they process the evidence in the area where they found those belongings today, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Leyla, thank you very much. I know there have been so much talk, they still be looking there, could he have fled and it seems as if possibly, no. He was there all the way along as they thought.

OUTFRONT now Jim Clemente, former FBI profiler who worked on high profile cases like the D.C. sniper case and the death of JonBenet Ramsey and former prosecutor Wendy Murphy. Thanks to both. So Jim, you've been with us since the very beginning of this search for Brian Laundrie. Now we're learning that the FBI found what appear to be human remains along with Laundrie's backpack and notebook in that Florida nature reserve. How confident are you that the remains will be Brian Laundrie's?

JIM CLEMENTE, RETIRED FBI PROFILER: I think it's pretty highly confident. The fact that his materials, his items were found there; notebook and backpack. And the fact that they were partial remains say that it's been there for a while. So I think it's going to be very easy to determine that through DNA and I think that determination will be made fairly quickly.

BURNETT: So Wendy, there's that part of this, the DNA, which obviously is central to the entire thing. Then there's the fact that they did find the backpack and the notebook that they say did belong to Brian Laundrie. So we don't know the condition that those items were in and we understand that all this may have come because water had receded. So I just want to be emphasized that we don't know that there is anything to indeed be seen. But how crucial is it for investigators to reveal what they do find inside that notebook?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, the notebook could tell us a lot and answer some questions that maybe both families have at this point. If it was underwater, I don't care what kind of notebook it was, it's not going to have a lot of ink left. So maybe the area that they found this stuff in was adjacent to the area that was flooded previously, if that's true, that's great.

Because if Brian Laundrie is sitting alone for weeks with a notebook and a pen, nothing else to do, there's a good chance he wrote really important things in there about what he did, why he did it, how he feels about everything, maybe even a suicide note. Guys who are abusive, especially guys who think they are entitled to get away with it, so they take off after they get caught or when they feel like they're under suspicion, they tend to be the kind of narcissistic self-absorbed, self-centered people who don't ever confess, much less write about their feelings in a notebook.

So I'd be surprised if there was anything contrite in there, but I hope there's something in there that would give some peace to Gabby's family.

BURNETT: Well, it's interesting, Jim, to what Wendy is pointing to is that we don't know from what we're being told now at all when he died. So we know that it's been 32 days since they started looking there. But we don't know at what point he died or whether he died intentionally or accidentally, we don't know any of that.


BURNETT: So to Wendy's point, there could have been a significant amount of time that passed where he was alive with this notebook.

CLEMENTE: Yes. And I think Wendy is right that he could have written, if he didn't actually confess, he could have written justifications for what he did. He could have written about how he was entitled to a certain set of behaviors from her and she didn't follow through and how it was her fault, projecting the blame on her.

Those things could be in that notebook and now they could be lost forever, we'll see. But hopefully he had conversations with his family, whether it's his parents or his sister and those things might reveal some information. The FBI is going to have to really dive into sort of - it's called an equivocal death investigation and perform a psychological autopsy to determine what his state of mind was.

BURNETT: And I want to ask you more about that. But Wendy, I mean, obviously to this point what we don't know is whether Gabby Petito's parents will ever know what happened to their daughter, which is what they deserve to know, what they so desperately want to know. They believe the only other people who might know at this point are actually Brian Laundrie's parents. Just listen to them.


N. SCHMIDT: I believe they know probably, if not everything, they know most of the information. I would love to just face-to-face ask why are you doing this, just tell me the truth.

J. SCHMIDT: We want vengeance and to be...

N. SCHMIDT: And justice, yes.

J. SCHMIDT: ...and justice. And for him to pay for his crimes and to spend it in a prison for the rest of his life.


BURNETT: So Wendy, if they confirmed that this is indeed Brian Laundrie's remains, do you think Laundrie's parents will talk to investigators about Gabby Petito?


They have obviously been completely stonewalling up to this point.

MURPHY: Yes. I don't know, because they do face some exposure in terms of potentially being prosecuted as aiding and abetting or obstruction of justice. We just don't know enough about what they knew, when they knew it, what they did to help him if anything.

So if I'm their attorney, I'm going to say don't say anything. But there's a pretty good chance they won't be prosecuted if this was a sincere attempt today on their behalf to help and if because they helped that the body was found and so forth. So it's a judgment call.

But I do think that the fact that they know a lot, nobody doubts, the question is would it be helpful for them to speak. And I can say as someone who's represented victims of all kinds of crimes and parents of homicide victims, the definition of justice always requires truth.

At a piece of what justice means, you have to have truth. It's good to have accountability, too, and that's not going to happen in this case if this is Brian and he's dead. So the one thing that Laundrie's family can do to give some degree of justice to Gabby's family is tell the truth, just give the facts that they know. Let us all understand this better. Give them some peace of mind so it can help.

BURNETT: Jim, one thing that we really and I don't know if we'll get answers to, but everyone would want to know if this is indeed Brian Laundrie is what his intent was. Was he intending on holding up there for a while and then departing, and escaping and going on the run? Did his family know that and was helping him? And we just don't know that yet.

And the attorney for Laundrie's parents, in terms of this timeline says they called the FBI last night say they were going to the nature reserve to look for Brian this morning. And after a brief search, they find these articles belonging to Brian. Brief search today after 32 days since the FBI started searching the area, what do you make of this timing?

CLEMENTE: Well, it's unfortunate that they didn't make this effort in September. I don't understand why they waited so long. Now, perhaps had they done it, this area could have been flooded and they wouldn't have found these things. But if this is an area that they knew that Brian typically hiked on and they didn't tell the FBI or the police, then it's just very unfortunate.

It may not be a crime, because there was no charges filed earlier when he left their company. But at this point, it's about time that they were out there doing that. And I have to say, my heart goes out to them if they just lost their son. I'm sure they're going through a lot as well.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

And next, Biden on the road selling his sweeping spending bill that's getting smaller by the day. Is Congress going to green light it or no?

Plus, she called the capitol rioters a danger to democracy and pointed to their devotion to Trump. But now she's about to rule whether Trump's presidential documents can stay out of public view, is that right?

And Republicans make a move in Texas that could doom Democrats' chances there for a decade.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden visiting his hometown to push for his scaled back $1.7 trillion to $1.9 trillion economic package. Now, that is down significantly from the $3.5 trillion he originally proposed and the $6.5 trillion progressives wanted. But the fate of that and his bipartisan infrastructure bill now still up in the air.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't afford to sit while other countries passes by. We're going to breathe new life into the economy in our workforce. If we make the investments, there's going to be no stopping American the remainder of the 21st century.


BURNETT: It comes as key moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema opposes tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy, leaving the White House and Democrats scrambling over how to pay for any of this if a deal is even reached on what they're willing to do.

We're covering this story from all sides, Kaitlan Collins is with President Biden in Pennsylvania, Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill. First, I want to go to Kaitlan. And Kaitlan, President Biden on the road selling his economic package to the public as he's trying to smooth out these differences in Congress, so what is the White House saying tonight? Are they confident they can get this done?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the President says he is confident they will come to an agreement. But Erin, what that agreement actually looks like still is far from certain, because you did see the President here in his hometown pitching this bill earlier tonight.

But as he was pitching it, of course, there are still a lot of specifics that has to be worked out among Democrats. So it's hard to really sell a bill when it's still unfinished in the way that this one is and just given how much the size and the scope of it has changed just this week alone. But also, of course, since he was last pitching this bill on the road.

And so there are still some provisions that we know will still be on the table. They will still be included in this bill based on what the negotiations look like right now. That, of course, is universal pre-K. That has been a massive Democratic priority. The child tax credit is also something that President Biden talked about here in his speech in Scranton tonight.

But Erin, notice he did not use specifics when talking about it. That's because they wanted that bill to be extended or that tax credit to be extended for several years. Now it's likely only going to be extended for one year. There are several other factors, of course, that were also included in this bill at the moment, paid family leave is one of them, though we know that now they are talking about going from 12 weeks, closer to four weeks, which of course had been a far cry from what they had initially hoped to have in this bill.

So that is really the nature of this. It's just how fluid it is and, of course, the President is also doing the CNN Town Hall tomorrow to sell aspects of this bill as they are very much still negotiating them.

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

So Manu, now let's go to you because, obviously, Kaitlan is laying out how much up in the air this is. I mean, there's details need to be filled in and the substance of what they're going to do like what's in it, but then there's how much it will cost. And Kyrsten Sinema saying she's not comfortable with the pay force that were even put in there. So where are we right now in terms of this moving forward or not in Congress?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you talk to the Democratic leadership, there is still confidence that they are moving to a resolution as soon as this week. But what the resolution would be, would be an agreement just on the general outlines, the general parameters, not the detailed legislative bill tax which means that the detailed legislative bill tax is still going to take weeks, potentially even months to put together and then the final votes still need to happen.

But what the Democratic leadership wants is an agreement on that broad outline agreed to by all the various factions within the House and Senate Democratic caucuses signed off on by the President.


And then passing that separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate back in August. That bill would provide money for roads, bridges, broadband, something that the President wants to get passed before he goes to a climate conference in Glasgow next week. So the hope is with the Democratic leaders, they could do both.

But there are still some major issues that are still out there. Kaitlan listed off several of them, but also the two main Democratic senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are not yet on board on this plan. Manchin is pushing back on a lot of the spending programs and Sinema on the tax provisions. So can they get there, Erin, still a big question but optimism at the moment, but we'll see if it actually leads to a law.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean, because there's been a lot of talk about what they're going to do and now suddenly they're now talking about the pay force. It's not a small thing. All right. Manu, thank you very much.

And tomorrow night on CNN as Kaitlan referred to, there is a special town hall with President Biden. He'll be joined by Anderson starting at eight o'clock.

And next, Trump's most ardent supporters go to the mat for the former president refusing to shut down the big lie during a crucial hearing.


REP. MATT GAETZ (D-FL): I think that our election was uniquely polluted by these indiscriminate mail-in ballots.


BURNETT: Well, he's wrong.

Plus, Washington, D.C.'s Attorney General going directly after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, why? The Attorney General is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Breaking news, House GOP leadership officially recommending that Republican members vote against holding Trump ally, Steven Bannon, in contempt of Congress. That vote is scheduled for tomorrow.

And on Capitol Hill today, the Republican cover up was on full display to a former President Trump's most loyal foot soldiers defending Trump and Bannon, Congressman Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, defending Bannon's refusal to comply with the committee's subpoena and both still refusing to admit that November's election was not stolen.


REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D-MA): In January, I asked you to say five simple words, the election was not stolen. And you were unwilling to say them then, can you say those five words again?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I've never said it was stolen, Mr. Chairman. I'll give you the same answer. I never said it was. I said we should investigate it. I said on January 6th when the Electoral votes were counted that Joe Biden is President of the United States. And if you got a problem with that, I don't understand.

MCGOVERN: (Inaudible) ...

JORDAN: The real question is why don't you guys want to investigate what happened?

MCGOVERN: You said a lot of words just now, but unfortunately you're still unwilling to say those five simple words.

JORDAN: Your obsession with five words seems pretty ridiculous to me.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Here's the question I want to ask you, let's just start with basics. Do you accept the Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential Election?

GAETZ: I accept that Joe Biden is the president.

RASKIN: Do you accept that he won the election by more than 7 million votes and defeated Donald Trump by 306 to 232 in Electoral College, a margin that Donald Trump called a landslide when he beat Hillary Clinton by the same numbers?

GAETZ: I think that our election was uniquely polluted by these indiscriminate mail-in ballots.


BURNETT: It's pretty stunning. I mean, there has never been, never been, any evidence that there was any pollution like he's talking about. In fact, the most free and fair election in the history of elections as Trump's DHS blah, blah, blah. It's like, I mean, I got to keep saying it, and saying it and saying it. No evidence of large scale voter fraud of any kind. Not a single suit filed by Trump or his ally showed any wrongdoing that would have changed the results of the election.

But Gaetz and Jordan don't care. They don't care at all nor that they appear swayed by this plea from the January 6th Committee Vice Chair, Republican Liz Cheney at that same hearing today.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Let me address my Republican colleagues, specifically. I've heard from a number of my colleagues in the last several days who say they quote just don't want this target on their back. They're just trying to keep their heads down. They don't want to anger Kevin McCarthy.

I asked each one of you to step back from the brink. I urge you to do what you know is right, to think of the long arc of history. We are told that it bends towards justice, but it does so only because of the actions of men and women in positions of public trust.


BURNETT: Well, perhaps Cheney will get through to some other Republicans. Perhaps she and fellow January 6 Committee member Adam Kinzinger will not be the only two Republicans to vote to hold Bannon in contempt. Bannon says he will not cooperate with the Committee until Trump's lawsuit claiming executive privilege is decided. And that lawsuit is now in the hands of federal Judge Tanya Chutkan who's already handed down prison time to some convicted January 6th rioters. Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Judge Tanya Chutkan has made her view of the January 6th insurrection clear in court saying it pose a very real danger to our democracy, a violent mob seeking to overthrow the lawfully elected government. And she tacitly referenced former President Donald Trump's role saying the rioter before her in a sentencing hearing this month did not go to the United States Capitol out of any love for our country. He went for one man.


ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This judge has gone on record, putting some culpability on Donald Trump for what people did on January 6th.


BROWN (voice over): Now, she has been tapped by random assignment to hear Trump's case against House investigators trying to subpoena his presidential records. Her previous statements in court for a window into how she could view his effort to assert executive privilege, which the current White House says shouldn't be waived due to 'national interests'.

Chutkan has handed down tougher sentences for Capitol rioters than prosecutors have asked for in order to send a message saying, "There have to be consequences for participating in an attempted violent overthrow of the government, beyond sitting at home."


HONIG: The fundamental balancing that the Judge has to do is on the one hand what's the need for these documents, these communications to remain secret.


On the other hand, how imperative is it, how critical is it to the public need for these documents to come out.


BROWN (voice over): Chutkan was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She received her B.A. in economics from George Washington University before attending university of Pennsylvania law school. She, previously, worked as a public defender and in private practice before former-President Barack Obama nominated her to the D.C. district court in 2014.

HONIG: She has an established record as a trial lawyer. She was approved by a 95-0 vote in the U.S. Senate. She also appears to be sort of both tough but fair.

BROWN: Chutkan has presided over a number of controversial and high- profile cases. She handled the criminal proceedings against Maria Butina, a Russian national who pleaded guilty in 2018 to conspiracy to act as an east of agent of a foreign government after she tried to infiltrate conservative American political groups.

And one of her most recent high profile cases, she took the relatively rare step of jailing January 6th rioters, sentencing two cousins with extensive criminal records to 45 days for storming the Capitol, and blasting them for their, quote, decision to take that protest and turn it into a violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol. At a time when we were attempting the peaceful transfer of power.

Whether Trump's lawyers will use Chutkan's comments about January 6th to request another judge is an open question tonight.


BROWN (on camera): And lawyers for the former president allege in their suit they filed that this request from the House for these national -- for these executive branch documents are unprecedented in their breadth and scope and are untethered from any legislative legitimate purpose.

Now, the National Archives, Erin, is slated to turn over these documents early next month. So Trump has a tight window in his court pursuit here.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Thanks very much, Pamela.

And I want to go now to Laurence Tribe, the constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School, who also consulted with House Democrats on Trump's impeachment.

And, Professor, I want to ask you about the case President Trump is making in his lawsuit against the committee, right? He does not want a subset of documents to come out from the National Archives, 45 of them, specifically. It's all scheduled to come out on November 12th.

What do you make of the arguments that he is making in his lawsuit?

LAURENCE TRIBE, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, I think they are too weak to deceive a judge as fair and smart as Judge Chutkan. His claim that he is not trying to hide the truth, but just preserve the Constitution is really quite laughable. His claim that it would be unconstitutional for the current president's view of executive privilege to Trump his view, that is, the former president's view, is also mistaken -- although, the former president's view will be taken into account. His claim that the executive privilege, if it does apply and the attorney-client privilege, if it applies, are absolute has been rejected repeatedly by courts.

Those privileges sometimes have the crime fraud exception for information that is part and parcel of a crime like insurrection or an attempted coup. And he is trying to rely on the Presidential Records Act which says that he's got 12 years to keep certain records secret. But this judge is smart enough to know that there is an explicit exception in that act when a congressional committee or subcommittee has a need for and demands information from the National Archives that is, otherwise, unavailable. And that certainly applies here. And his argument that there is no legitimate legislative purpose is truly laughable. This judge should be able to recognize --


BURNETT: It would seem that, I know, look, she's got to look at the documents and when you know, you go through the pages, right? I mean, I don't know how many pages of documents would be involved, right, who knows. It is a lot of documents requested. The reason I am emphasizing that is they are specifically sayings they don't want 45 to go out.

So for some reason, she looks at those 45 and says, okay, that does meet the 12-year thing. Congress doesn't need these for whatever reason. You just -- you think it -- there's no way?

TRIBE: There is no way. And there's no way, especially because his whole argument depends on the notion that Congress has no legislative purpose to find out what communications there were with, let's say, Steve Bannon who is also ridiculously claiming privilege. But, of course, this legislative purpose, namely, passing laws to make another coup less likely to make another insurrection less likely.

So he is basically throwing sand in the gears but it's unlikely that the gears will stop moving. I do think that this judge is smart enough and fast enough that she is going to really give relatively short shrift to these unfounded allegations of privilege.


BURNETT: It's so interesting, though. The broader, more existential question, but what laws Congress could pass that would make an insurrection less -- less likely. It seems like such a much bigger thing than that but let me ask you. Trump's goal may be here --

TRIBE: I wouldn't give up on the possibility. I wouldn't give up. Adam Schiff and others have introduced laws that would be helpful. But go ahead. You were going to ask me something else.

BURNETT: Well, yeah. I want to ask about Trump's goal, because he may know he is going to lose. He may hear your arguments now. His lawyers may and say, okay, professor tribe's right. But the whole goal is to delay, right?

So you get to the midterms and if Republicans win, this is all over anyway. And I know there is this whole question of how quickly this moves. What do you think? Could this -- could he successfully stretch this out that long?

TRIBE: Well, you know, I don't have a crystal ball. He could try. But eventually, the wheels of justice are going to catch with him. It is true that if the Republicans take over Congress, first thing they are going to do is dissolve this committee.

That's one reason we cannot let them win because they want to cover the up the truth. They want to propagate the big lie. They want to come roaring back, whether they win or not. They are setting up another coup. Democracy is on the line.

And so, the idea that he should be allowed to drag this out indefinitely is -- is a terrible mistake and we have to do everything we can to prevent him from simply slowing down the wheels of justice. It's not going to be easy. But that's not a good reason to give up.

BURNETT: Professor Tribe, I appreciate your time. Always do. Thank you.

TRIBE: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Facebook feeling the heat, reportedly, looking to change its name, too. Now, the company CEO Mark Zuckerberg is personally getting sued by Washington, D.C.'s attorney general, personally. Why?

Plus, Democrats are calling it a Republican power grab. Texas Republicans redrawing congressional maps.

And well, then you can guess who it benefits.



BURNETT: Tonight, Facebook under fire. Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine going after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg directly. And it marks the first time it U.S. regulator has specifically named Zuckerberg in a complaint, according to Racine's office. And it comes amid reports the social media giant is trying to re-brand by changing its name.

He is OUTFRONT now, the Washington, D.C. attorney general.

And, Attorney General Racine, I really appreciate your time.

So you originally filed this lawsuit against Facebook in 2018 when it was revealed that a private company collected the user information -- this is an incredible statistic that you had -- of 87 million people's Facebook accounts. And now, you want to hold Mark Zuckerberg personally liable, as well.

Tell me why.

KARL RACINE (D), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is incredibly important and as you noted, we filed the suit a couple of years ago. And we certainly investigated before we filed suit. What has changed is that we've received a lot of discovery from Facebook. We certainly appreciate their cooperation in this lawsuit.

And our discovery has revealed that far from being a passive observer, Mr. Zuckerberg was actively engaged, actively involved in making the decisions that allowed third-party apps to scrap user data and that's what happened in the Cambridge Analytica matter.

Faced with these kinds of facts of active involvement of the CEO, we would be reckless if we didn't add him to the complaint. It's important for CEOs to recognize that if they're involved in wrongdoing that hurts the privacy of Americans, that they, in addition to their company, will also be held liable.

BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty stunning, so you are saying you -- you got the -- in the discovery, you found this information. This is what you saw. Now, of course, a Facebook spokesperson is dismissing your lawsuit and Mark Zuckerberg's, you know, personal liability.

Their statement says, quote: These allegations are as meritless today as they were more than three years ago when the district filed its complaint. We will continue to defend ourselves vigorously and focus on the facts. Now, it's interesting, right, that they are referring to your original lawsuit and not -- it doesn't sound very specifically here to the development about Mark Zuckerberg, personally.

What do you read into that?

RACINE: Well, I think there are two points. First, a D.C. superior court -- that's our local-trial court -- determined that Facebook's claims that we filed a meritless suit is completely wrong. In fact, the court wrote nearly a 40-page opinion detailing why our lawsuit should not be dismissed. So, they are wrong on that first count. And the second count, Erin, as

you pointed out so well, they don't say anything about Mr. Zuckerberg's knowledge of the third-party app scrapping problem. Nor, do they say anything about Mr. Zuckerberg's knowledge that what Facebook was saying after the Cambridge Analytica mess was wrong, not truthful, and not fulsome. Mr. Zuckerberg was an integral part of this problem.

BURNETT: It's very interesting, right? Right? That they, I guess, in a sense, it doesn't sound like they are disputing his knowledge of it. They are trying to say that it is not the problem, which is obviously really important thing here.

You know, we saw Zuckerberg recently because he posted a video of himself and his wife on a sailboat just before a former-employee turned whistle-blower alleged Facebook knows its platforms are used to spread hate and misinformation but that the company chooses to let all that go out because they make more money doing so than they would if they stopped it. Zuckerberg forcefully denied the allegations. He said they create a, quote, false picture of the company and don't make any sense. He remains defiant and obviously, you know, we -- we got that video.

Does his behavior surprise you in any way?

RACINE: First of all, I have to give a lot of credit to ms. Haugen. It's not fun, Erin, as you well know, being the whistle-blower. That has real implications on your life going forward, your employability, et cetera. So, she actually is a courageous human being.


And not unlike what she testified to under oath, what we have found is that Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg knew, at all times, about what was going on with user information and third-party apps being free to take that information for their own purposes. And now, the truth needs to be told and people need to be held responsible.

BURNETT: All right. Attorney General Karl Racine, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

RACINE: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Texas Republicans accused of stacking the deck. Why Democrats say they are trying to dilute the vote of Latinos, blacks, and Asians.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we don't take -- pay attention to this, we will find ourselves with no representation.


BURNETT: And a sobering warning tonight from President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICHOLAS BURNS, NOMINEE FOR AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: China's the greatest threat to the security of our country.




BURNETT: Tonight, a Texas Republican power play. The legislature drew a new congressional map for the state that will be used for the next decade. Who does it benefit most?

Well, white Republican incumbents.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crews down Jefferson Avenue in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas next to the iconic Texas Theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and you will see the color and flavor that makes it one of the most prominent Latino neighborhoods in the city.

But civil rights activists in Texas say it's the kind of neighborhood severely impacted by the way Texas Republicans have redrawn the state's congressional maps. The activists say neighborhoods like Oak Cliff are crammed into fewer minority districts to dilute the vote of Latinos, blacks, and Asians.

LYDIA CAMARILLO, TEXAS REDISTRICTING TASK FORCE: The growth in Texas is fueled by Latinos -- 2 million of them -- and blacks, Asians, and other communities of color. If we don't take -- pay attention to this and we don't demand that Latinos are represented, we will find ourselves with no representation.

LAVANDERA: Texas is the only state in the country that is getting two new congressional seats because of the state's population growth. Nonwhite Texans account for 95 percent of that new growth. And according to the latest census data, white Texans make up just under 40 percent of the population. Latinos are now about the same percentage of the population.

The black population is almost 12 percent and Asians are about 5 percent. Civil rights groups say the two newly created congressional districts in Texas are drawn to give white and likely Republican candidates an advantage. The white voting age population tops over 50 percent in 23 of the 38 congressional districts in Texas.

The Latino voting age population is the majority in seven districts. Black and Asian voters do not make up the majority of the population in any congressional district. The way some of these congressional lines are drawn does raise some

eyebrows. Let's take a closer look at the map. Down here in this corner is the sea city of Denton. Lately, it's been trending bluer but it's now drawn into a map that extends hundreds of miles out into the west Texas panhandle, heavy Republican territory. And if you take a closer look at the ft. Worth and Dallas area, look at this district in the way it's drawn.

It stretches from ft. Worth and kind of hooks its way around into Dallas County. And it surrounds another district that one person described to me that it looked like a dragon spitting fire, this district right here. And when you zoom out, you realize that that district actually is a rural district that makes its way all the way out into east Texas.

Despite this, the Texas Republicans who led the redistricting efforts insist the new political boundaries for state and congressional districts are fairly created.

SEN. JOAN HUFFMAN (R), TEXAS STATE SENATE: Our maps were drawn -- drawn blind to race. Once they were drawn, they were checked for compliance. We -- we were assured that all the existing minority opportunity districts, whether they be black or Latino, were going to perform as such.


BURNETT: And Ed joins me now from Dallas. So, Ed, I understand nearly a dozen Latino civil rights organizations have filed a lawsuit, already, against Texas over the new redistricting maps. But where does this go from here? I mean, what are they really hoping happens?

LAVANDERA: Well, in the short-term, what they are hoping is that a judge will essentially block Texas from using these new maps that run from the congressional statehouse and state senate, as well. And prevent these new maps from being used in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. And they are also hoping to present their own version of these maps and what they are saying is essentially that they believe that at least -- at the very least, one of these two new congressional seats here in the state of Texas should be drawn in a way where it increases the likelihood of Latino representation.

At this point, they say they are going backwards, not forwards.

BURNETT: Ed, thank you very much.

And next, President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China going to be the ambassador. But he said something loud and clearly. He said China's a threat to the U.S. and the Democratic world.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China not mincing words or even playing diplomat. During his confirmation hearing, the former ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, sounded the alarm.


BURNS: There's no question in the 21st century, given Chinese power that we have talked about this morning. China's the greatest threat to the security of our country and of the Democratic world.


BURNETT: Wow. The greatest threat to America's security in the democratic world, that's being said from the person who is about to be the ambassador to China. That's how bad it is.

And tensions are soaring between Beijing and Washington. U.S. officials say China just tested a hypersonic missile that reportedly circled the globe. Now, just to give you some context here, that kind of a missile can travel more than five times the speed of sound. It's difficult to shoot down. They are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

According to "The Financial Times," the missile caught U.S. intelligence totally by surprise. China says maybe it's a spacecraft, not a missile. China has been building up its military arsenal for quite some time. A takeover of the South China Sea and invading Taiwan. A takeover of the island, something the U.S. has treated as a redline, that situation becoming one of the most serious flashpoints on the planet right now, and one that literally could drag the United States into a war.

People said the U.S. and China, it's going to end in military conflict. It sounds obscene and impossible to contemplate. And yet, you keep hearing headlines like this, deeply troubling.

And a quick programming note, before we go. Tomorrow night on CNN, President Biden takes questions from the American people in a special town hall. He'll be joined by Anderson right here tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.