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Erin Burnett Outfront

Jan 6 Committee Issues 6 New Subpoenas; Includes Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien & Adviser Michael Flynn; Houston Police Chief: Met With Travis Scott Before Performance, Expressed Concerns For Public Safety; Trump Attacks Chris Christie In New Statement; Claims He Was "Massacred" For Saying GOP Needs To Move On From 2020; Questions About Trump's Future Hang Over Republican Party; Warning Signs For Biden In New CNN Poll, Approval Hits New Low. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 08, 2021 - 19:00   ET


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And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, six top Trump associates hit with subpoenas for their role in pushing Trump's big lie, but will they cooperate?

Plus, the list of missed warning signs is growing. CNN learning the Houston Police Chief met with rapper Travis Scott just before the deadly crowd surge in which six people die.

And tears of joy in airports across the country tonight, families reunited after America's 18-month travel ban ends for many across the globe. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, subpoenaed. The Committee investigating January 6 now targeting six major players in Trump's orbit. These men and women were some of the former President's closest allies in the days and weeks leading up to the deadly insurrection and they include former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the architect behind Trump's plan to overturn the election. John Eastman, former campaign officials Jason Miller, Angela McCallum and Bill Stepien and Bernard Kerik who participated in a meeting about overturning the election.

This is a who's who of Trump's big lie and Trump no doubt paying a lot of attention right now, because they know a lot and they said a lot. I mean, they said a lot that we heard. Just listen to Eastman speaking to Steve Bannon on January 2nd. Bannon warning of a climactic battle if pence didn't step up and refuse to certify the election results.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Are we to assume that this is going to be a climactic battle that's going to take place this week about the very question of the constitutionality of the Electoral Count Act of 1877?

JOHN EASTMAN, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I think a lot of that depends on the courage and the spine of the individuals involved.

BANNON: That'd be a nice way to say a guy named Mike, Vice President Mike Pence?



BURNETT: Climactic battle. And here's Flynn, he met with Trump at the White House in the weeks before January 6, pushing the former president to invoke martial law to overturn the election. These conversations weren't all behind closed doors. I mean, here's Flynn in public.


GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FMR. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: You could order within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. I mean, it's not unprecedent. I mean, there's people out there talking about martial law. It's like it's something that we've never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times.


BURNETT: I want to just be very clear here, martial law has never, not once, been invoked to rerun an election. You also have Jason Miller attacking election officials in Georgia who stood up for the truth like Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Miller tweeted just days before the interaction, three days, in fact, "All of the officials running Georgia's elections are trash, and POTUS won the state." Well, there's class for you.

Look, all of this stuff is untrue, there lies, but they are the lies that sparked thousands of people to show up outside the capitol on January 6th. And these lies are the reason that Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol in which five people were left dead, including Officer Brian Sicknick.

Now the question is will these six individuals actually abide by the subpoena and testify? I mean, up until now, obviously, this Committee has had trouble getting Trump's allies to cooperate. I mean, just on Friday, Jeffrey Clark showed up, the former Justice Department official who had tried to help Trump overturn the election, showed up and that was about it, completely stonewalled the Committee.

And, of course, there Steve Bannon who defied a subpoena from the Committee. The House has voted to refer his case specifically to the Justice Department. But as of tonight, the Attorney General is very tightlipped. Merrick Garland not saying anything about whether he'll charge and prosecute Bannon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you provide the status of the referral for Mr. Bannon, where you are on that?

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: No. This is a criminal matter, some ongoing examination of the referral and as you know the Justice Department doesn't comment on those.


BURNETT: Now, no doubt the six subpoenaed today are watching what garland does, before they decide whether or not to cooperate. I mean, the precedent here is crucial. Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill. So, Ryan, what more are you learning about the six subpoenas?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's definitely a connection between all six of these individuals, Erin, and that's really that timeframe after the November election leading up to January 6th. Each one of these people played some role in peddling this narrative that somehow the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. And as a result, everyday Americans should be outraged by it and take action.

And what we're seeing in the information that they released today, the subpoenas that they issued, the letters that they sent to these individuals is that they want to know information.


For instance, about the messaging around the stop the steal rhetoric that was being peddled by the former president. It was a bit of a surprise to see Bill Stepien, the former campaign manager listed as someone who was under subpoena because he didn't really take that big of a public role after the November election leading up to January 6.

But according to the subpoena that was issued today, he was involved in some of these planning meetings as they message stop the steal and tried to get that information out. And then as it extends to the former president, Mike Pence and the danger that he was in on that day, the fact that both John Eastman and Bernard Kerik are two of the people subpoenaed.

They're part of that war room at the Willard Hotel where they were planning all of the events leading up to January 6. This real effort by people close to the former President Donald Trump to put an intense amount of pressure on the former Vice President to try and force the Congress to object to the election results, that's all the Committee wants to know here, Erin, they're trying to connect these dots to try and find out what went wrong on January 6th.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ryan. I want to go now to Norm Eisen who served as counsel to House Democrats during the first Trump impeachment trial and Dana Bash, our Chief Political Correspondent and, of course, Co-Anchor of STATE OF THE UNION.

Norm, let me start with you. Look, I know 150 people have appeared before this Committee and I'm sure many of them have shared important things. But some of the most important people are stonewalling, have tried to stonewall. So let's talk about these six that we're talking about here. How important are these individuals?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Erin, thanks for having me back. They're very important because January 6 was not an isolated event, there was a long run up to it of incitement by the former president. And so you have individuals like Stepien and Miller from the campaign who are privy to the behind the scenes planning.

Then you have individuals like Kerik and Eastman, who were part of the infamous insurrection war room at the Willard Hotel. Again, the behind the scenes planning the exchange of information, proving that there was a long fuse that was lit that led to the explosion on January 6, these are very important witnesses.

BURNETT: And, of course, the Department of Justice is crucial here, too. I mean, Dana, on Friday, the former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark stonewalled the Committee. So everyone was like, oh, he's going to show up and talk. He is going to be someone that actually goes out with a subpoena. Well, he showed up and that was about it, refuse to answer questions.

Now, these subpoenas are obviously for some really loyal people, Flynn and Kerik both got pardons from Trump. So, I mean, we're talking about a real level of loyalty. Is there any question that or chance that any of these six actually answer questions anytime soon or just under force of subpoena?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Maybe. Ryan was saying that he was surprised to see Bill Stepien who was the former president's campaign manager in the last part of the campaign to be on the list, Jason Miller as well. Those are, well, in particular in the case of Bill Stepien, he's a longtime Republican operative who worked for Chris Christie who worked in other areas.

Now, of course, once you're in the Trump world, it's like the Hotel California, you can check out but you can never leave. And this is the ultimate, ultimate example.

But someone like him, I wonder whether or not he will go in or whether he will decide that he's going to defy the subpoena and face the legal consequences that surround that or follow the Jeffrey Clark model that you mentioned. Go in but not necessarily give the Committee what it wants.

BURNETT: So Norm, I mean, look, the big threat that the Committee used to try to get people to talk is the threat of criminal contempt. Okay. That's all they have to really force this, but they're waiting on the Justice Department to decide whether or not to charge Steve Bannon. Now, they've been waiting two and a half weeks, DOJ has not made any

decision. You just heard Attorney General Garland refusing to comment on it. Are you frustrated, Norm? Does the DOJ need to make this decision fast? Do you read anything into this? Why is this taken two and a half weeks?

EISEN: Erin, I've represented individuals who've been investigated by DOJ, of course, worked on the Hill in the impeachment where we were subpoenaing people. It takes time. DOJ may very well have convened or put this before grand jury. You need to present the information to the grand jury.

So no, we've just had a new U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia who is technically charged with this responsibility under the statute, although the AG oversees that. So no, I do not take it amiss that it's taken two and a half weeks. I for one was encouraged what a refreshing change from the Trump years to have the AG say, hey, we're not going to talk about that.


Let the wheels of justice work. I think we'll be seeing action from DOJ. It's a very clear cut case.

BURNETT: So Dana, the members of the Committee, though, is their concern? I know that Vice Chair Liz Cheney made a point of saying, well, 150 people have appeared and spoken. And I understand they want to emphasize that and it's important to know that.

But time is of the essence, so far as far as we know there are no huge names on that list. No one really close to Trump that has come in and said everything that they know. Are members of the Committee in their honest moments concerned about this and where they get?

BASH: Yes. Because the clock is ticking. Norm was talking about the reality of the wheels of justice moving slowly, even in a fast track situation, which this may or may not be, it still takes time. And Republicans are very, who are not Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger on the Committee, but those who are kind of more broadly and those are with the Trump or within the Trump orbit, they know that.

And they're also hoping that a year from now, Republicans take control of the House and because this isn't a commission rather, this isn't a bipartisan commission, Republicans blocked this. It's a Select Committee that will go poof, if and when Republicans take over, so that's a big part of this.

Having said that, I mean, Norm can speak to this better than I, if it's already moving through the courts, I'm not sure they can stop that train.

BURNETT: No. We'll have to see what happens then, obviously a lot. Everybody waiting here on the Attorney General. Thank you both very much. Dana and Norm, I always appreciate both of you.

And next, troubling new details emerging about the conversations that took place just before the deadly crowd surge in Texas, because we are now learning that Houston's Police Chief met with rapper Travis Scott, so what was said in that meeting?

Plus, Trump hours ago lashing out at Chris Christie. Why he's claiming the former New Jersey Governor is getting 'absolutely massacred'.

And Biden's approval rating hits a new low and he's not yet signing that bipartisan infrastructure bill that is on his desk, why?



BURNETT: New tonight, Houston's Police Chief revealing that he met with rapper Travis Scott just hours for eight people were crushed and killed in the crowd of his show. The Police Chief saying he met with Scott and his head of security due to quote public safety concerns. Josh Campbell is OUTFRONT.



TRAVIS SCOTT, RAPPER: How you feeling right now?


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice over): A criminal investigation underway to determine what went horribly wrong at a music festival in Houston.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is someone dead.


CAMPBELL(voice over): Leaving eight people dead and dozens injured when a crowd surged forward, crashing concert goers during Travis Scott's performance at Astroworld Music Festival. Three people were trampled at the same event in 2019. But a detailed operations plan for this year's festival did not include specific contingency plans for a surging crowd incident. Instead, documents obtained by CNN show that organizers plan crowd management techniques for scenarios including a possible riot or civil unrest.

There were warning signs from the start, when massive groups of people crashed through a VIP entrance earlier in the day, destroying an entrance and ignoring security personnel. Before Scott took the stage, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner met with the rapper and his head of security over concerns about the crowds.

The Chief saying in a tweet, "I expressed my concerns regarding public safety and asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend."

Fans in the crowd say they could tell something was wrong early on about.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About 30 minutes before he performed, he started a timer on the big screen. And as the timer got closer to coming down to zero, it got worse and worse.


CAMPBELL(voice over): The surge of people intensified when the concert started at 9 pm.


SINCLAIRE HOYT, ATTENDED ATROWORLD FESTIVAL: One of the first songs, you could feel like everybody pushing up behind you like you couldn't move your arms, you couldn't breathe, like you couldn't see anything.


CAMPBELL(voice over): Thirty minutes later, officials say they first received reports of injuries in the crowd, declaring a mass casualty event at 9:38 pm.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were like it's a dead body, move out of the way it's a dead body.


CAMPBELL(voice over): But the music did not stop for at least another 30 minutes. Even as first responders in an emergency vehicle struggled to get through the crowd. With concert goers at times dancing on top of it. Scott maintains he had no idea how severe the situation was in the crowd as he paused his set at times to ask for help.


SCOTT: I'm honestly just devastated.


CAMPBELL(voice over): The festival headliner who also acted as an event organizer now facing multiple civil lawsuits from concert goers after the deadly event. One suit saying Scott entertainment company Live Nation and concert promoter ScoreMore consciously ignored the extreme risks of harm to concert goers and in some cases actively encouraged and fomented dangerous behaviors.

CNN has reached out to Travis Scott Live Nation and ScoreMore for comment on the lawsuit. Scott has seen a history of crowd control issues at his shows, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge in 2015, according to the Chicago Tribune, and a disorderly conduct charge in 2018, as reported by The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. In his 2019 Netflix documentary, a member of Travis' team told

security guards how unruly fans were expected before his show.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lot of kids are just trying to get out and get to safety, because they can't breathe, because it's so compact. Like you won't know how bad it could be with the crowd until we turn off ...


CAMPBELL(on camera): Now, as investigators here in Texas work to determine exactly what happened, the Houston Fire Chief is weighing in on how this could have possibly been prevented. He talked to our colleague Jake Tapper today and suggested that if Travis Scott or one of the people in a position of authority at that concert had called for the lights in the venue to be turned on as these first responders were trying to attend to the injured, that very act of bringing up the house lights could have calmed that crowd and possibly leading to a very different outcome, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Josh, thank you very much for that report. I mean, it's so tragic, just didn't need to happen.

I want to go OUTFRONT now to Art Acevedo, former police chief for both the Miami and Houston Police Departments. He was the Houston Police Chief during both the 2018 and '19 Astroworld events.


So you know this, Chief. So let me just ask you first from your point of view, what do you think went wrong here?

ART ACEVEDO, FMR. POLICE CHIEF OF HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, a lot went wrong. We don't know specifics yet but when you have eight people dead, others clinging on to life, the plan didn't go as it was meant to go, so there's a lot of questions that need to be asked and a lot of questions that need to be answered and I think there's some accountability in the short and long-term here in this case.

BURNETT: So I want to ask you about this, because I know you know personally how chaotic this event could be. You were the police chief for two years during this. This is video that Travis Scott posted from 2019 when you were chief. It shows fans climbing over fences, large crowd knocking down a barricade to get in. Three people were trampled and hospitalized then.

So this has not, of course, not happened like this before but they know the risks and Scott has a history of crowd control issues. Josh Campbell just mentioned this, but I wanted to play for you what the Houston Fire Chief said just a moment ago.


CHIEF SAMUEL PENA, HOUSTON FIRE DEPT.: If the lights would have been turned on, the promoter or the artist called for that, it would have chilled the crowd. But everybody in that venue, starting from the artist on down has a responsibility for public safety.


BURNETT: Do you agree, Chief, that Travis Scott bears some responsibility for what happened?

ACEVEDO: Well, I think that's yet to be determined. When eight people died and he has a history of encouraging unruly behavior in the past, there's going to have to be a very comprehensive investigation looking to see who did what, who said what and who should have done what when things started going sideways.

And so in Texas with eight dead people, I can assure you the likelihood of having a criminal grand jury, look at all the evidence in this case and holding people accountable for those deaths is high.

BURNETT: So according to our reporting officials and witness accounts here, it's what we pieced together so far, Chief, this is the timeline. Travis Scott starts his show around nine o'clock. He takes the stage. Officials received the first reports of people falling and being injured at about 9:30.

By 9:38, now this is not an about, this is exact 9:38, they declare a mass casualty event. And yet, the mayor says the event did not end until 10:10. So more than 30 minutes, the show continues on after they know it's a mass casualty event. How in the world could that have happened? Does that surprise you?

ACEVEDO: Yes, I think that's the $4,000 question. Look, we had issues with his concerts in the past in Houston. There's been issues with his concerts in other cities. And quite honestly, when you look at the number of officers that were present, I think that's some of the questions that have to be asked, where were the officers, were officers in front of the stage, were there officers deployed in the crowd, how was their response, where's the command and control.

So I know Chief Finner. I know him well. I respect them. I love that man and I know how deeply this is impacting him and his city. So I can assure you that whatever the lessons are, the good, the bad and the ugly, he's going to uncover them. He's not going to hide them. He's not going to run away from them. And the truth will come out in the upcoming weeks and months.

BURNETT: All right. Chief, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

ACEVEDO: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the comments made by Republican Chris Christie have set Trump off.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Plus, a new poll has President Biden at a new low. So what

do Americans think Biden needs to start focusing on now?



BURNETT: New tonight, former President Trump attacking the former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Well, the reason is that Christie said Republicans need to look ahead. They need to move past the 2020 election. That's it. Stop talking about 2020, that's what he said. Well, Trump is livid and he has come out and claimed that Christie was 'absolutely massacred' for these statements.

Well, Christie's comments at the time and the location GOP event received only a little applause, but there are others in the party who agree with him. Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORREPONDENT(voice over): Republican Resurgence is in the year, exactly one year before the 2022 midterm elections.


CHRISTIE: We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections. No matter where you stand on that issue, no matter where you stand, it is over.


ACEVEDO: Former New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie offering a blunt roadmap for the party's future.


CHRISTIE: Every minute that we spent talking about 2020, while we're wasting time doing that, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are laying ruin to this country. We better focus on that and take our eyes off the rearview mirror and start looking through the windshield again.


ZELENY(voice over): He's talking of course about former President Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I may even decide to beat them for a third time, okay?


ZELENY(voice over): The proverbial elephant in every Republican room, whose conspiracy theories, grievances and score settling are a driving force in a party still firmly in his command. A year after losing the White House and control of Congress, Republicans are at a critical crossroads as they capitalize on democratic divisions in hopes of reclaiming their majority.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Is President Trump part of that discussion? Of course he is. And those voices that want to silence him I think are ridiculous.


ZELENY(voice over): Fresh signs of optimism are coursing through the GOP, following a big win in the Virginia governor's race and a stunning finish in New Jersey. Yet those signs of strength have shined a brighter light in balancing the risks and rewards of embracing the former president.

Today in Kentucky, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell instructed his party to spend more time talking about President Biden.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The key to '22 is to have a discussion with the American people about how they feel about the new administration and democratic congress and what they're doing. So I think the election would be about the future, not about the past.



ZELENY(voice over): Trump's role in midterm election races and whether he runs for president again is a central question hanging over the party.

At a weekend GOP gathering in Las Vegas, that question was on the back burner as former Vice President Mike Pence and a parade of Republicans made appearances.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just 12 months away from a great Republican comeback and we are going to win back this country in 2024.

ZELENY: That field of potential 2024 candidates is already taking shape with more than a dozen ambitious Republicans in the earliest stages of exploring a run. Some of whom, said they would step aside if Trump steps up again. Not Christie, who told CNN's Maeve Reston that doing so would be a sign of weakness.

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Anybody who says they will step aside for anybody else, I'd say to you, doesn't belong being president. You don't believe in yourself enough to stand up to anyone? Then, you can't possibly stand up for everyone. ZELENY: To rebuild, Republicans know they must win over at least some

of the suburban voters who left the party under Trump. That was one of the brightest spots for the GOP in last week's elections.

Longtime Republican Ari Fleischer, a former-White House press secretary, said any questions about Trump would be answered after the midterm elections.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: This suburban reversal is significant. With or without Donald Trump on the ballot, the trick for Republicans going forward, in my opinion, is to keep revving up the rural areas and the lower edu -- lower-income, non-college educated areas, and just be reasonable in the suburbs. Don't scare people and the suburbs will come home.


ZELENY (on camera): Now, even as Christie and other Republicans urge the party to look forward, not backward, Erin, that debate is not happening in all corners of the party. Tonight, right now, the former president is headlining a House Republican fundraising dinner.

Kevin McCarthy, of course, has chosen to embrace the former president. One year from tonight, the votes are counted in those midterm election races.

BURNETT: Well, one year from tonight and how fast it will go. Jeff, thank you.

So I want to go now to Republican Congressman Tom Reed of New York because he is a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

So, Congressman Reid, you know, I guess, you know, I think it's amazing that there is a debate over whether one should move past an election that happened, in the past, as opposed to focusing on the future. But nonetheless, that is -- that is core right now. It's a fight within your party, for the soul of your party.

How do you see it? Not how do you want to see it, how do you want it to be, how do you see it? Is Trump still the future of the Republican Party or not?

REP. TOM REED (R-NY): Obviously, President Trump has a huge influence over the Republican Party. And when it comes to policies and things he's advocated for that kind of broke out Republican orthodox, I will tell you he was on the right message and he was bringing the right policies.

And so, I think we're going to see President Trump continue to influence the Republican Party. But I do agree with the sentiment that I just heard from your prior section. We need to be reasonable. We -- we have to act normal and what we have to do is lead and look to the future because that's what the American people want us to do. They don't want us to be focusing on the past. They want us to be focusing on their future. BURNETT: So -- so what do you do then, you know, Christie is saying

-- I'm sorry Trump is saying Christie was absolutely massacred. The applause wasn't strong but massacre would be way too strong of a word. He is not letting up at all on looking back, right?

I mean, is your party going to be able to win if -- if he won't stop doing that?

REED: Oh, I believe absolutely because I also watch what's happening on the Democratic Party side of the ledger and you see extremism of the left overtaking the Democratic Party. So there is going to be a contrast opportunity going forward.

And I will tell you, the -- the American people are smarter than what the inside D.C. beltway people give them credit for. They know what they're looking for and I'm just -- I -- I'm very optimistic that the Republican Party that I believe in and the vision that I'm trying to advocate for, that will win the day come 2022 and beyond.

BURNETT: All right. So the Republican Party that you believe in is a party that can work with the other side. And there -- there -- you are not alone but you are in a small group. I mean, look, 19 Republicans in the Senate, right, voted for that $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. You voted for it on Friday night.

Now, let's just go through the math here. Six Democrats opposed the bill when it came to a vote. So, if all the Republicans had voted against it, it was going to fail. It was going to sink. Biden would not have gotten a crucial victory, and it would have been because his own party denied it to him.

However, 13 Republicans, including you, voted for it. How come? Why did you choose to support that bill?

REED: Because if I wanted to play partisan politics 24/7, then of course we would have tanked that bill. Sent it back to the Senate. And -- and then, you would have taken a victory that is for the American people.

This is $1.2 trillion in America's infrastructure. I have been working on this for ten years. This was a good compromise bill and I will tell you, if -- if you just want to vote no and not get anything accomplished, you can do that in Washington.


But I tell you, I think the American people are getting sick and tired of that.

BURNETT: Okay. So here is the thing. You can do that and some of your colleagues do. Um, I am not saying all of them and, you know, every case. But 200 House Republicans, obviously, voted against this, an overwhelming majority. And some of them are really angry about what happened here, right? They are angry at people like you.

Matt Gaetz, I can't believe Republicans just gave Democrats their socialism bill. Madison Cawthorn, there is a lot of Democrats who call themselves Republicans in the U.S. House, Marjorie Taylor Greene calling you and the other 12 who voted for this, quote, the 13 traitor Republicans who, quote, voted to help Biden screw America.

These are your colleagues. I mean -- I mean, that -- that's just, you know, obviously, completely inappropriate way to conduct yourself with a tweet like that. But what do you say to them?

REED: You know, I -- I will say, look, I'm the youngest of 12 children. I got eight older sisters, three older brothers and I have been called many a things in my life.

And I am comfortable in my vote. I'm confident in my vote. I know what was in that bill. And I know that was good for America and I respect their difference of opinion. I respect their ability to be a member of Congress and do what they want with their position but it doesn't mean that I am just going to follow the crowd. I'm going to stand up for what I believe in and I believe that was the right vote and to be perfectly honest with you, Erin, there were many of Republicans that wanted to vote for this.

And I give a little blame to the Democratic side. They waited three months to bring this bill to the floor. They had at least two to three times Republicans that would have voted for it earlier but the politics changed and that -- that's troublesome.

BURNETT: That's interesting. So you think it would have been two to three times. That's a lot.

REED: Yeah, because you had 19 Senate Republicans voting for it. Just do the math and it would reflect the same in the House.

BURNETTT: Yeah, no, you're right, 26 to 40 and that would have been very significant.

I really appreciate your time. And thank you.

I did not know you were the youngest of 12 and I now will never forget it. Thank you.

REED: Thank you so much, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, a new CNN poll painting a concerning picture for Biden. Will getting his massive spending bill passed be enough to change minds?

And a key witness in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse admitting that he was armed just before he was shot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun, not your hands down pointed at him, that he fired, right?




BURNETT: Tonight, a warning sign for President Biden. A new CNN poll showing 48 percent of Americans approve of the way the president is handling his job, 52 percent disapprove. And that disapproval number is up from three points just since October. Up 11 points since March. And I want to show you one other layer of this, which is important to consider. We'll hold this up for a second.

Intensity is really important to look at. That top number. 15 percent say they strongly approve of the president, 15 percent. That number was 34 percent in April. Okay? So, it was 34 percent in April. It's down to 15.

And I want to give you a comparison because that number of strongly approve never went below 20 percent during the presidencies of either Barack Obama or Donald Trump. Neither of them ever went below 20. Biden is at 15. So, why?

Well, one reason many Americans are unhappy with the president according to the poll is the economy. Fifty-eight percent don't believe that he is paying attention to the nation's most important problems, and the biggest of those? Well, you know, it's the economy. That's according to more than a third of Americans, and that is -- they say it's a bigger problem than any other single issue, including coronavirus, including immigration, economy. Nothing else bigger.

So, what is President Biden doing about it? Well, according to Biden himself, one remedy is the bipartisan infrastructure bill that finally passed the House on Friday after months of Democratic infighting and negotiations.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We did something that's long overdue, that long has been talked about in Washington but never actually been done. There'll be jobs in every part of the country.


BURNETT: Yet, as of tonight, nearly three days after the House finally passed the bill, the president still hasn't signed it into law. Today, the White House principal deputy press secretary was asked about the delay. And here's what she said.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: He wants to make sure the -- the congressional members who worked very, very hard on this, when they come back, then we'll figure out a time to sign it but you're right. It's -- it's urgent.

REPORTER: So, do you have a date in mind?

JEAN-PIERRE: I do not have a date but it will be very soon.


BURNETT: Urgent but, yet, no date.

OUTFRONT now, Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the council of economic advisers under President Obama.

All right. Austin, so the polling numbers obviously right now -- they are not -- they're not looking good but Democrats have finally now passed the bipartisan bill. The $1.2 trillion. So, two months have gone by of fighting over this thing. Finally, it passes. It's urgent but he hasn't signed it yet.

So -- so let me ask you. Why -- why not? Is that an issue? I mean, why wait on this?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS UNDER OBAMA: Well, the last thing you want to do on a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill is sign it in the dead of night where nobody gets to see it. I mean --

BURNETT: As in Friday night. But what about today?

GOOLSBEE: Well, whatever it takes to call the most attention to it, that's what they should do. So, the -- the three days that go between now and when they sign it is not going to make any difference in a 10, 20-year infrastructure bill.

So, I think this is a totally normal thing to happen that people would pass something in -- in the house and senate. And that, you will wait until you make a big brouhaha of an event to try to call attention to it.

BURNETT: All right. So we talked about the economy. You know, more people pick it as the biggest-single issue than anything else, right? There is a lot of concern. And, you know, on some level, this is feeding through to these strongly approve numbers, right? For Biden, his strongly approve numbers were 34 percent. They are down to 15.


Neither, Obama or Trump ever had numbers below 20, right? So, Biden is now doing worse than Trump on strongly approve.

GOOLSBEE: Well, yeah.

BURNETT: I mean, okay. So, I mean --

GOOLSBEE: Overall approval is down, for sure.


GOOLSBEE: It was -- when Trump was at the equivalent in 2017, I think Trump's approval was in the high 30s. It's definitely the case that one year into an administration, the -- the history's not going with you. You know, up to your first midterm tends to be trending down.


GOOLSBEE: And we've had several months of disappointing news, as the virus resurged, the GDP growth slowed down. If you get more jobs numbers like the one we had on Friday, blockbuster half-million jobs created in a single month. You have a few months of that, you would think the poll numbers will go back up.

But for sure, people are grumpy. You got inflation, you got gas prices high.

BURNETT: So, can I ask you about that inflation? Because I mean, that's -- like, if that -- if that lasts, it's going to out -- you know, it could be more important than anything else, right? Gas prices, you know, are up. They were $2.11 a year ago. $3.42 now. Sure, coronavirus is part of that. Sixty-two percent up. Eggs, 36 percent higher. Bacon, 29 percent higher.

I can give you a whole lot more. People are experiencing it and it's hurting people. Do -- do you really buy into this, this is really transitory at this point still?

GOOLSBEE: I have been on team transitory because if you look at the categories, they tend to be pandemic-affected sectors that don't seem to be as broad based across all the goods.


GOOLSBEE: I think the thing to remember is this is a worldwide phenomenon. So you are seeing this inflation all over the place. I don't think that it really has that much to do with specific policy in the United States.

And that still is not going to make anybody feel better for the next several months because even the temporary folks think that it's going to be months, not -- not weeks before -- before this comes back. But the big shift that happened in -- in the U.S. is that we started buying goods and fewer services. As the virus goes down and we shift back to services, I think a lot of the supply chain stuff will ease.

BURNETT: Yeah, right, well it's a really fair point and I know companies like Walmart have experienced this, too. Thanks so much, Austin. Always good to see you.

GOOLSBEE: Great to see you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, a witness admitting under pressure that he not only had a gun but that he pointed that gun at Kyle Rittenhouse before he was shot.

And the emotional reunions 18 months in the making as the United States rolls out the welcome mat for fully-vaccinated international travelers. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No longer on a screen. It's going to be hugs. It's going to be in person.




BURNETT: New tonight. An armed paramedic shot by Kyle Rittenhouse admitting today that he aimed a gun at the teenager before being shot by him. Today's testimony bolstering the defense's argument that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense.

Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN JUSTICE AND CRIME CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): key witness, one of the three men shot by Kyle Rittenhouse, taking the stand in his trial today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sounds like multiple gunshots.

PROKUPECZ: Dramatic video played out in court showing the sequence of events leading up to Rittenhouse shooting Grosskreutz.

Grosskreutz testified he was armed and acting on his own as a trained medic that night.


PROKUPECZ: Grosskreutz recalling his first impression of Rittenhouse.

GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, WITNESS: More people were then pointing out the defendant, saying that he had just shot somebody. That he is trying to get away, get him. I thought that the defendant was an active shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you witness the defendant fire two shots at that man on the left?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you witness him fire a shot into Mr. Huber's chest?


PROKUPECZ: Both sides focusing on the gun Grosskreutz was carrying.

GROSSKREUTZ: I -- I didn't draw my firearm with express intent of -- of using it. I was never trying to kill the defendant. The defendant had pointed his weapon at me and I had put my hands in the air. In that moment, I felt that I -- I had to do something to try and prevent myself from being -- being killed or being shot or killed.

PROKUPECZ: The defense, in cross-examination, questioning whether he drew the gun in self-defense.

COREY CHIRALIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You were chasing him with your gun, yes?


PROKUPECZ: The prosecution introducing graphic video of a gaping wound as Grosskreutz was shot.

The defense then zeroing in on Grosskreutz.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree your firearm is pointed at Mr. Rittenhouse, correct?


PROKUPECZ: Asking him to admit he was shot after pointing his gun as Rittenhouse fires from the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you were standing 3 to 5 feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun now your hands down, pointed at him, that he fired, right?


PROKUPECZ: The prosecution, on redirect, asking for his state of mind at the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you feel there was an imminent danger that the defendant was going to kill you?

GROSSKREUTZ: Yes, absolutely.

PROKUPECZ: The defense, also, pushing him on why he didn't, initially, tell the police he was armed.

CHIRALIS: So, the fact that you failed to mention that you possessed a firearm?

GROSSKREUTZ: I had just gone through one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Both, emotionally and physically.

CHIRALIS: It's the only information that you appeared to have forgotten. That puts you with a gun directly in front of him, right?

GROSSKREUTZ: That is correct.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [19:55:07]

PROKUPECZ: And, Erin, the prosecution ending their day today by calling their 19th witness. They could rest their case as early as tomorrow. And, Erin, if today is any indication, the defense is then expected to put on a very vigorous defense. And we could, in the coming days, hear from Kyle Rittenhouse himself.

BURNETT: It will be a really incredible if they choose to do that.

All right, Shimon, thank you very much.

Next, packed flights. Lots of hugs. More than 18 months have passed, and some families now being reunited for the first time as the United States eases its COVID border restrictions.


BURNETT: Tonight, a major pandemic milestone. After 18 months, the United States, once again, opening its door to fully-vaccinated international travelers, to noncitizens. To mark the occasion, two planes lifted off simultaneously from London this morning at Heathrow, bound for New York.

The ban was put back in -- put into place back in early 2020, barring non-U.S. citizens from 33 countries, and today, it all changed and it led to so many emotional reunions across the country with friends and family.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No longer on a screen. It's going to be hugs. It's going to be in-person catching up, a lot of stories to tell.


BURNETT: Delta Airlines says it's seen a 450 percent increase in international bookings in just the past few weeks.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.