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Erin Burnett Outfront

Jan 6 Panel Issues 10 More Subpoenas Targeting Top Trump Aides; Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Discusses About The Subpoenas To Trump Allies About Jan 6 Insurrection; After Calling 22 Witnesses Over 6 Days, Prosecution Rests Its Case Against Kyle Rittenhouse In Homicide Trial; Rodgers Admits He "Misled Some People" About Vaccination Status; Fire Chief: Evidence Drugs Were Involved In Astroworld Tragedy. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 09, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The Georgia Democrat was 79 years old. He was a great American and a wonderful patriot. May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing.

Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, more of Trump's inner circle served the subpoenas wanted for what they know about Trump on the day of the insurrection as top Republicans tonight refuse to condemn a Republican Congressman who posted a video depicting violence against Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Biden.

Plus, the judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse case dismissing a charge against the teen as the prosecution rests. Did they make their case?

And quarterback Aaron Rodgers speaking out, addressing the backlash after claiming he was immunized even though he wasn't. Tonight, reaction from the U.S. Surgeon General. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, targeting Trump's inner circle. The January 6 Select Committee issuing a new round of subpoenas tonight for close allies of the former president, people who are having direct conversations with Trump and the hours leading up to and during the insurrection. The names include Stephen Miller, Trump's then senior advisor, Kayleigh McEnany, his press secretary, as well as some names you may not know but may have had a crucial role on January 6. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Nicholas Luna is one of them. He's the former president's personal assistant who was reportedly in the Oval Office when Trump called Pence and pressured Pence not to certify the election results. Obviously, a crucial fly on the wall.

And then there's Trump's deputy assistant Ben Williamson, who according to the panel unsuccessfully tried to get Trump to issue a statement condemning the violence on January 6th.

So these subpoenas come as Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, who's been accused of instigating the insurrection is added again, inciting more violence. Gosar tweeting an animated video of him appearing to kill Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden. A sickening post by a sitting member of Congress and one that politicians everywhere should have no problems denouncing, I mean, it's violence to killing a politician.

But Republican leadership is not denouncing it. There is no place for this type of threat. But one day after Gosar tweeted that video, the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has yet to break his silence not saying a word, why? Is it because he doesn't want to upset Trump and cross the man who very clearly has Trump's public backing?


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congressman Paul Gosar, Congressman, great job. Great job. My warrior. He's a warrior.

Listen, we have a congressman who's a friend of mine who's a warrior, Paul Gosar.


BURNETT: Well, he's a warrior, actually in all senses of the word, I guess. I mean, Republican leaders apparently don't want to go to battle with a man that has Trump so solidly in his corner. I mean, just listen to Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney. Now, of course, I want to remind you, Republican stripped her for top leadership roles so she's not in leadership. She is calling out the GOP leaders left.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We are also confronting a domestic threat that we've never faced before. A former president who's attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic, aided by political leaders, who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.


BURNETT: A dangerous and irrational man who has Gosar, a man with equally dangerous rhetoric now doing some of his dirty work. By the way, here's Gosar. Just remember, claiming fraud just days after the election.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): It's interesting that the software in Phoenix, in Maricopa County and then also in Las Vegas where a lot of the corruption actually shows it was happening.


BURNETT: So there's that, a whole set of conspiracy theories which are false. And then there's Gosar rallying Trump's troops just hours before the insurrection. Gosar went to Twitter saying, "Biden should concede. I want his concession on my desk tomorrow morning. Don't make me come over there."

And Gosar's speech was actually interrupted on January 6th by the insurrectionists and he was called out then by Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips, just listen to it.


GOSAR: Mr. Speaker, can I have order in the chamber?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House will be in order. The House will be in order. Okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is because of you.


BURNETT: "This is because of you." Shouted in that moment of emotion. But Gosar continued, continuing to defend the people who actually stormed the Capitol itself.


GOSAR: These are not unruly or dangerous, violent criminals. These are political prisoners who are now being persecuted bearing the pain of unjust suffering.


BURNETT: McCarthy stood by then in silence allowing those lies to fester and now standing by again in silence as Gosar tweets a video of himself killing another representative.


Those closest to Trump are now being subpoenaed to reveal what they knew about Trump's actions on the day of the riot, what they knew and when. It is so important to get to the bottom of this when you consider that putting these threats of violence out there is still completely acceptable to the leadership of a party.

Paula Reid is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill. Paula, what more are you learning about these new subpoenas tonight?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Erin. This batch of subpoenas clearly zeroing in on former Trump administration officials, the Chairman of the Committee says they want to know every detail of what was going on inside the White House on January 6th and the days leading up to it.

Specifically, they want to know what Trump and his advisers were doing to stop the counting of electoral votes and who they were talking to outside the White House about any efforts to overturn the outcome of the election.

Now, all these 10 staffers who have been subpoenaed, two of those who are closest to Trump are, of course, Stephen Miller, a senior advisor who made false statements about voter fraud and Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary who not only made multiple public statements about voter fraud, she was also with the President on January 6th and that would be of significant interest to the Committee because she could talk about how he reacted and what he was doing.

But it's not clear, Erin, that any of these folks are going to participate. We see that the committee is moving ahead with the subpoenas before we have an answer from the Justice Department about what they're going to do about Steve Bannon.

This is so critical, because, of course, Bannon, the longtime Trump advisor completely defied his subpoena from the Committee. And nearly three weeks ago, the House referred him to the Justice Department for criminal content. But it's not clear what the Justice Department is going to do about that if they're going to move forward with an indictment or not.

But if they don't, if there is no consequence for him, there will be little incentive for those, particularly those in Trump's inner circle to actually cooperate here. So until we have that answer about Steve Bannon, it's not clear, Erin, they're actually going to get any meaningful cooperation from these witnesses.

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

And I want to go now to Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, because she's a member of the January 6 Select Committee. And Congresswoman I appreciate your time. I'm glad to have you back on to talk about this. So let's just start with I know that kind of these subpoenas have been coming more fast and furiously from your committee in recent days. How soon can we expect to see more of the subpoenas?

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, I can't predict when we'll have to issue more subpoenas. Quite a few people are coming in voluntarily to talk to us and including people who were members of the Trump administration as some are more resistant in those cases we issue subpoenas.

But we're marching ahead. We need to find out everything there is to know about what brought this riot about, not only to make sure that the public understands, but to make sure that we take steps that can't be done in the future, for example, amending the Electoral Count Act or perhaps taking a good hard look at the Insurrection Act, which apparently, some of these individuals from these subpoenas yesterday were suggesting could be used to basically overthrow civilian government.

BURNETT: So today, the committee sends subpoenas to 10 Trump allies. I know yesterday, it was six, so that's 16 there. Have you gotten any indication from any of them or anyone in Trump's inner circle that they plan to cooperate or they're already cooperating? I know you're mentioning that some people are cooperating. I know you've talked to 150 people, so I think it's always important to put that out there.

But have any of these individuals who were in the room that day or had a direct conversation with him about this, are any of those people coming forth willingly and telling you everything they know?

LOFGREN: Well, let me just say this, we've just issued the subpoenas, and I'm sure we will be in touch with these individuals or their lawyers in the very near future. There are others who were in the Trump administration, who have come in, who have spoken to us, and we expect more of that.

BURNETT: So the Attorney General Merrick Garland still has not made a decision on whether or not to charge Steve Bannon. The House I know voted to hold Bannon in criminal contempt because of his refusal to cooperate with your committee. But Garland has not made a decision and obviously the others in Trump's inner circle will look to that.

They are going to try to claim executive privilege, obviously, because they worked for the president that time, Bannon did not. So if Bannon doesn't even get charged and he wasn't even working for the president gets away with this whole not cooperating and doing executive privilege, that would really open a whole wasp nest it would seem like for you. Do you have frustration as to why the Attorney General has not moved yet?

LOFGREN: Well, I think what the Attorney General is doing, I take him at his word ...



LOFGREN: ... is that he's having the staff in the Justice Department review the facts in the law as they would in any potential criminal case and then proceed. I don't think he's making a political decision on this and he should not.

I think the facts are clear and the law is clear and therefore I expect them to take action. I would point out that none of the individuals that we issued subpoenas to yesterday were federal government employees either and the individuals who received subpoenas today were employees, but I'd say that it would be a stretch to assume that they would be covered by executive privilege, given the roles that they played in the White House.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about something I mentioned at the top of the program, I don't know if you know about this, but Congressman Gosar tweeting animated video of himself appearing to kill fellow Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and also attacking President Biden. What was your reaction when you saw this, you heard about this?

LOFGREN: I thought it was pathetic and wrong. He, I guess, has fantasies. I mean, he's not a warrior. He's a dentist. And that you would fantasize committing violence against colleagues or the President is really, it's weak and sick, and I really am ashamed to serve with him.

BURNETT: Congresswoman, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

LOFGREN: Okay, thank you. BURNETT: I want to go to Gloria Borger now, our Chief Political

Analyst. And Gloria, I actually want to start where Congresswoman Lofgren ended, that she feels a shame to serve with someone who would tweet something like this and do something like this.

And yet, and as I point out this is not something that should be in any way political to say that tweeting out a video of yourself killing a colleague is wrong. It's just wrong and there should be some consequences. But we've heard nothing from Republican leadership, nothing.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I mean, Erin, if you did that or I did that about any of our colleagues, we'd be gone.


BORGER: We'd be fired and deservedly so. And the fact that we haven't heard from the Republican leadership about this is a disgrace. This is somebody who thought it was funny. His staff said, relax, take it easy, everyone is overreacting to this and that's not right. That's wrong.

So he's disgraceful, pathetic, whatever you want to say and he doesn't belong in Congress because he did something like this. And put the politics aside here, he just doesn't deserve to be a member of Congress. I'm sorry.

BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty incredible. I mean, I played Liz Cheney who's no longer in leadership, that being the painful point about her being the only person to speak out.


BURNETT: On this issue of getting to the bottom of what happened that day, Gosar with his history of inciting and talking about violence even on that day. Trying to get to the bottom of what happened and who knew what when. On this issue of subpoenas, they keep talking about the committee, how they've interviewed 150 people.

You heard Congresswoman Lofgren emphasizing that there has been cooperation from some.


BURNETT: But is there a sense of frustration that they are not getting those closest to Trump to talk? That maybe a charge from Merrick Garland could really help move this along to say, I'm not going to tolerate it from Steve Bannon, so get your you know what in there.


BURNETT: Or this could be you too.

BORGER: Sure. Look, I think they'd like Merrick Garland to indict Steve Bannon. There's no doubt about what they would want. There's a new U.S. attorney in Washington who just a few days ago took over, so I think they're probably working to get this person up to speed and I think Merrick Garland has a process that he wants to follow.

And I think the Democrats want it done yesterday and that didn't happen. But when you look at these subpoenas today, it really provides a roadmap, I think, for everything, and it shows you the amount of information they've already gleaned. Because you talk about people who've been subpoenaed and they say, well, we know that he urged the president to do X or Y or he was in a room with the president when he called Mike Pence asking him to decertify the election or this person was with the president during the time of the insurrection.

So they've done a lot of work here and all of these people had direct eyewitness accounts to something the President did or said and I think that's really important.


And it gives you a sense of how they're trying to close in on the president on the day of January 6.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Gloria.


BURNETT: And next, a key witness detailing what he says Kyle Rittenhouse told him after shooting three people during that night of unrest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell him to walk outside and turn himself in. He had said I had to, I had to shoot someone.


BURNETT: Plus, there's now evidence drugs may have had a role in the music festival tragedy that left eight people dead. We're learning new information tonight.

And then new data reveals 78 percent of Americans believe or are unsure of the misinformation they're hearing about COVID, so what can the administration do to turn around the situation. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is my guest.



BURNETT: Tonight, a major day in court for Kyle Rittenhouse. The teenager charged with shooting three people during unrest in Wisconsin. The prosecution resting its case and the defense starting by calling their first witness who says he heard Rittenhouse say he 'had to shoot someone'.

Sara Sidner in the courtroom today and she filed this for OUTFRONT. [19:20:00]



DR. DOUGLAS KELLEY, MILWAUKEE COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: Mr. Huber died from a gunshot wound to the chest.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): The jury began the day hearing and then seeing the graphic result of bullet wounds in the bodies of the two people shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse.

First, Anthony Huber's test wounds were displayed. Then, the wounds sustained by Joseph Rosenbaum's body.


KELLEY: He's got an entrance wound to the front of his body and he's got an graze wound to the head.


SIDNER(voice over): As the autopsy photos were displayed, Rittenhouse averted his eyes. The prosecution is trying to prove Rittenhouse had no reason to shoot the men. The defense using the same evidence to try and prove Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when the men approached him during protest in Kenosha last summer.


MARK RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The head wound goes back to front and from the top of the head down towards the forehead.

KELLEY: That's right.

RICHARDS: Okay. So if I was charging like a bull and diving, that would be consistent.

KELLEY: It wouldn't be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if Mr. Rosenbaum was struck in the hip, he's been mentioned kept carrying forward, he was falling, the other three shots could have been as he was falling.

KELLEY: That's possible too. We seldom know exactly what position they were in when the gunshot wound was incurred. So the use of the video can sometimes be helpful in answering those questions.


SIDNER(voice over): The forensic pathologist was the last witness for the prosecution.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state formerly rests its case.


SIDNER(voice over): It is now clear but the star of the prosecution's case against Rittenhouse is the video, some that was live stream and others taken by authorities that night he shot three people, killing two. But that same video is also the defense's best evidence.

At times, the prosecution witnesses did as much for the defense as they did for the prosecution with the defense seizing on moments like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him, then he fire, right?



SIDNER(voice over): This sole gunshot survivor called by the prosecution admitted he was shot only after appointing his own gun towards Rittenhouse. The defense started its case trying to prove Rittenhouse was in the streets of Kenosha the night of the shooting with the objective of protecting businesses.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raise your right hand.


SIDNER(voice over): Nicholas Smith took the stand saying he worked at Car Source, the car dealership whose cars were set ablaze by rioters. He testified what the owner asked him to do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not asking you to put out fires, he's asking for help protecting the business, is that what you said?



SIDNER(voice over): The dealership owner's son testified though that he did not ask anyone to protect his business. But Smith said he was on the roof and saw Rittenhouse and his friends standing in the parking lot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While you're on the roof, does anything happen to you?

SMITH: Yes, our group get chemical bombed from the protesters. Bricks. They were throwing bricks at us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And again, to be fair, you're not sure who that was?

SMITH: No, I am not.


SIDNER(voice over): Smith says he at one point sees and hears Rittenhouse.


SMITH: He repeats I just shot someone. I tell him to walk outside and turn himself in. He had said I had to, I had to shoot someone.


SIDNER(voice over): The prosecution cross examined Smith asking if he thought it was necessary to have a gun on him that night after being asked to protect the building.

THOMAS BINGER, PROSECUTOR: Was there ever a time on the night of August 25th where you saw a situation with regard to the Car Doctor building that you felt it was necessary to use a gun?



SIDNER(voice over): But Rittenhouse did, prosecutors pointed out.




SIDNER(voice over): Another defense witness detailed what she saw as she tried to protect businesses. She said she heard cursing and the N word from Rosenbaum that night long before he was shot.


JOANN FIEDLER, WITNESS: He was going to kill us mother (inaudible), mother (inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see him specifically throw something?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see Mr. Rittenhouse threatened anyone?

FIEDLER: Oh, no.


SIDNER(voice over): But she did see Rittenhouse after the shooting.


FIEDLER: I remember pulling his hair back and he pulled it back really hard and just he's comment was, my god, my life might be over.



SIDNER(on camera): Of course, Rittenhouse's life is not over but it has changed dramatically. He is on trial in a double homicide among other charges. But something else that the jury found out that right before the defense began its case, the judge told him that Rittenhouse will no longer be facing one of the charges against him. They are dropping the charge against him that had to do with him being out after a mandatory curfew, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara.

I want to go now to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. She's a former defense attorney and the former Mayor of Baltimore. Of course, extensive experience during Freddie Gray there.


Mayor Rawlings-Blake, you hear this, Sara going through what happened today, but also as the prosecution rested its case and what we've seen thus far.

They took six days, 22 witnesses to complete their case. Some of the testimony, as Sara pointed out, though, did seem to bolster the defense self-defense argument. One of the key witnesses admitted under pressure that he pointed a gun at Rittenhouse before Rittenhouse shot him. Another witness says he saw one of the men Rittenhouse killed 'lunging for his gun' as shots were fired.

So when you look at these past six days, how do you think the prosecution's case went?

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: I think going into this case, we were given the impression that the prosecution's case was a lot stronger than it is, as we've seen. You should never be in the position as a prosecutor that your best evidence your best witness, that video is offering to the jury reasonable doubt. And in many cases with the testimony of their own witnesses and now supported with the defense witnesses, they are casting doubt on the video testimony.

BURNETT: So the defense, of course, is now presenting. And there's this big question as to whether they will put Kyle Rittenhouse on the stand. I feel like anytime I have this conversation with you or attorneys who say look, you don't put the defendant on the stand except for in very specific circumstances that there's only downside to doing that.

But we keep hearing talk about it in this case. If you were representing Kyle Rittenhouse, would you call him to testify in this case?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: No, I wouldn't call him. I think there's too much to lose and there's already a lot of questions about the way that the prosecution has presented the evidence. And we're hearing from multiple individuals that it was basically a melee. It was craziness. There were people throwing and fighting. And was it a bad situation? Absolutely.


RAWLINGS-BLAKE: But even on the situation of the curfew, people may say that it's a throwaway charge, but they started off the case he was at the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. And now that they're not even going forward with one part of it, you just never want to give any space, give any cede any ground when you're trying to prove a case and that you don't want it to look like it's a sloppily prosecuted case.

BURNETT: Right. Right. And as you point out, the breaking curfew, that's a pretty black and white thing. There was a time of curfew and there's a time something occurred, so to try to have a charge on that, that does appear sloppy.

All right. Thank you so much. I really appreciate talking to you as always, Mayor.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Oh, my pleasure.

BURNETT: And next, actor Matthew McConaughey speaking to The New York Times about vaccinating his own kids against COVID. Here he is.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR: Right now, I'm not vaccinating mine. I'll tell you that.


MCCONAUGHEY: I'm not vaccinating mine.


BURNETT: U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is with next.

And CNN hearing from two people who attended the Astroworld Festival, what they say they told police as people were actually getting crushed.



BURNETT, CNN HOST: New tonight. Superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers defending his controversial comments where he raised doubts about the COVID vaccine after he tested positive for COVID. He also addressed when he lied and claimed he was immunized.

Here he is.


AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: I'm an athlete. I'm not an activist. So I am going to get back to doing what I do best, and that's -- and that's playing ball. And look, I shared an opinion that is polarizing. I get it. And I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility of those comments.

But in the end, I have to stay true to who I am and what I'm about. And I stand behind the things that I said.


BURNETT: Okay. Just to be clear, he didn't mislead. He -- he lied. And he says he stands by the things he said.

So, I just want to remind everybody of some of the things that he has said.


RODGERS: There has been zero long-term studies around sterility or fertility issues around the vaccines.

The people who get COVID and recover have the most robust immunity.

I have been taking monoclonal antibodies -- ivermectin, zinc, vitamin C, D and HCQ, and I feel pretty incredible.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

So, Doctor, okay. Aaron Rodgers says I'm an athlete, not an activist. He is an athlete but he is a role model and he has spoken out and become an activist on this issue and he stands by every single thing that he said, all of those things which of course have been debunked. He gave some multi-hundred-page document to the NFL backing up his point of view. These things obviously are -- are not true.

How damaging is something like this?

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, Erin, I think there are a couple things that we have to take away from the situation. One is that --

BURNETT: Yeah. MURTHY: -- when we have a voice, we have got to recognize it matters what we say. And all of us have a voice, whether we have millions of followers or whether it's primarily our family that listens to us. What we say does matter to other people and we got to make sure it's accurate.

The second thing to take away from this is that who we get our information from about health also matters.

And this is a time where there is a lot of misinformation floating around, a lot of people who are posing as pundits and experts but who don't necessarily have medical expertise. And given all the misinformation that's out there, people need to get their information from their doctor, from their health department, from their children's hospital or their local hospital, from the CDC, from credible scientific sources.


Then, they would know that, you know, for example, what he said about sterility and fertility is false, right? They would know that because they would know the facts.

MURTHY: That's right and, in fact, what we have seen in recent polls, Erin, is that challenge of misinformation is only growing. We have seen that nearly 80 percent of people in a recent poll said that they either believe one of eight common myths about COVID-19 or aren't sure if those myths are true.


That's a pretty extraordinary number. It was one of the reasons why in July, I released the surgeon general's advisory on the dangers of health misinformation and why, today, I actually issued a community toolkit to provide concrete tools that would empower people to fight back against this misinformation.

BURNETT: All right. So that's -- I actually wanted to ask you. That 78 number really stood out to me, too, right? Because in that 78 are a whole lot of people who are vaccinated, right? They have gone ahead, anyway, but they still are uncertain. They have fears.

Okay, so within that number of 78 percent of people who either believe or aren't sure about misinformation on COVID, 24 percent, believe -- not -- not even 24 of 78 -- 24 percent of 100 believe or are unsure that vaccines contain a microchip. And 21 percent believe or aren't sure that the vaccines can change your DNA.

Okay. This stuff is -- is just like out of science-fiction. And yet, you have a quarter of the American people who believe or unsure that the vaccine contains a microchip. What the heck can you do about that?

MURTHY: Well, Erin, this is daunting, right? It is no question that this is a profound challenge and it's important just to say to everyone out there who is listening that there is no vaccine that contains a microchip, you know, for COVID-19 and that the vaccines do not cause infertility. They do not cause mutations in your DNA. There is absolutely no science to back any of those claims up.

But what is really important to recognize is that people are hearing this through social media, through news outlets or hearing it through their -- in their inboxes and through text feeds that they are getting from friends. And what all of us have to do is recognize that to really address this, we have to mobilize credible voices in the community. That's why, from day one, in this vaccination campaign, we have been working with local doctors and nurses, with faith leaders, with others in the community getting them -- encouraging them to talk to their communities to help them understand the facts so they can make decisions based on accurate information.

BURNETT: So we've got airlines saying, you know, pre-pandemic level, actually above for some airlines now in terms of travel, where bookings are looking that way. And yet, today, Emmanuel Macron in France said he is worried about a fifth surge, that hospitalizations are up 40 percent. That there's all these warning signs.

Do you see any of those? Do you have any concern? Or do you think delta is now receding, we're a done?

MURTHY: Well, Erin, I think that there are a lot of positive signs. We are certainly way down from the peak we saw in the delta wave. That is good news.


MURHTY: We certainly have more than 190 million people in our country fully vaccinated. Also, really good news. And hundreds of thousands each day are go making the decision to get their first. Many more getting boosted each day. That's all very good.

BURNETT: But we can't afford to take our foot off the accelerator here. We've got 60 million plus people in our country who are not vaccinated that means that they are in fact vulnerable and winter is coming, it's easy for the virus to transmit in cold, dry air. So, we have got to make sure people get those first shots.

We have got to talk to our family, friends, and encourage them to do so. And if you are eligible to get boosted, please go out and get boosted. It will help to extend the protection you ever gotten from the vaccine.

BURNETT: All right. So I want to talk about the huge population of unvaccinated people out there. There is adults who are choosing not to. There is also kids, right? That 5 to 11 group. They are now able to get it. Mine got it today.

Just a short time ago, though, today, Matthew McConaughey, the actor who's floated running for governor in Texas spoke to "The New York Times." He has promoted the COVID vaccine. He is vaccinated, himself.

He joined Michelle Obama for a special show to try to get people to get vaccinated, right? I just want to be clear: he is not some anti- vaxxer masquerading as something, right? He has been.

But then, he talked about the vaccine for kids today and it sounded totally different. Let me play what he said.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR: We just said we can vaccinate kids. Are we going to -- do we need to trust -- I want to trust in the science. Do I think that there is any kind of scam or conspiracy theory? Hell no, I don't. Right now, I am not vaccinating mine, I will tell you that.

HOST: You're not?

MCCONAUGHEY: I'm not vaccinating mine. I've been vaccinated. My wife's been vaccinated. We have a high-risk person in our household. My mother who is 90 and she is immune compromised.

I couldn't mandate having to vaccinate the younger kids. I still want to find out. Still want to find out more information.


BURNETT: Okay. I played this because there are a lot of parents who are in the same boat, right? You may know some. What do you say to those concerns?

And I will put it out there right now because I know Dr. Walensky has said this. In the trial for 5 to 11-year-olds, there was no a single adverse effect for children. Not a single one. Not myocarditis. Nothing, not a single one.

But what do you say to Matthew McConaughey and others who may hear that and connect with that?

MURTHY: Well, what I would say, first of all, is look, you and I are both parents. We know there is nothing more important than the safety of our children. And so, if you are a parent out there and you have got questions, that's okay to have questions. You know, you should ask your questions. You should get them answered.

My thing is I really want to make sure people get them answered from credible sources. Keep in mind this. I am going to draw parallel here. When we began the vaccination effort for adults, actually a few months before we had the vaccine available, if you looked at polls, they showed about a third or so of adults were ready to go out and get the vaccine right away.



MURTHY: What changed, though, is then the FDA and CDC weighed in. People saw their friends and family get vaccinated. People also recognized they were getting protected and they got the chance to talk to their doctors about the vaccine.

All of that is going to start happening now with vaccines for children, as well. So, what I would encourage parents to recognize is, number one, COVID is not harmless in our children. Many kids have died. Sadly, hundreds of children, thousands have been hospitalized and as a dad of a child who has been hospitalized several years ago for another illness, I would never wish upon any parent they have a child that ends up in the hospital.

And the vaccines have shown in these trials for children 5 through 11 they are more at 90 percent effective and they are remarkably safe as well. The kind of side effects they saw were sore arm, fatigue, headache. And so, please, consider strongly getting your children vaccinated, because there is a lot of noise out there because but talk to your doctor, consult credible health sources and recognize this is our opportunity to protect our kids and to get them back to so many things they missed out on, Erin, birthday parties, school, youth sports, so much of what is important for their social and emotional development.

BURNETT: And a quick follow up to that. Do you think they should be able to take their masks off if they are a in classroom? I know the incoming New York City mayor is considering this. The kids are vaccinated. Should a bonus be that you can take off the mask?

MURTHY: It is a great question. I certainly think getting vaccinated takes us one step closer to that. What the CDC has said in areas that have higher substantial amount of transmission, they want people to still wear a mask for the time being but as cases come down, certainly it will become a possibility for us to take off our mask.

So we have just got to keep going in terms of taking safety precautions as cases come down and stay down, we will be able to remove a lot of restrictions we have been dealing with.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Murthy, it's very nice to see you and in person, of course, here in our studio. Nice to have some of these things start to return. Thank you.

MURTHY: Absolutely. Thank you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, the alarming warning two men claim they told police during the chaos at the Astroworld Music Festival.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just people in there and I -- they're -- they're going to die.


BURNETT: And a Republican Senate candidate facing domestic abuse allegations and he is backed by Trump.



BURNETT: New tonight, the Houston fire chief tells CNN there is evidence that drugs were involved in the Astroworld tragedy in which eight people died. He says medics treated several people at the festival with Narcan, which is used to reverse overdoses.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Travis Scott opened the Astroworld festival show with a song titled "Escape Plan." The disturbingly prophetic lyrical rhyme blasted as thousands of people in the crowd were already desperately trying to save their own lives and there didn't appear to be an adequate plan to protect people from the surging crowds where at least eight concertgoers were killed and hundreds injured.

Houston fire officials say the first reports of people falling or being injured came in at 9:30 p.m., but several concert attendees like Baheer Kashif say they tried to alert police officers and event staff before 9:30 but that their cries for help weren't taken seriously.

Kashif says about 15 to 20 minutes after the concert started, he was able to escape the crowd and he rushed to get help.

BAHEER KASHIF, CONCERT ATTENDEE: I was telling them I was like hey like there is a situation that is going on. I just got out of it and we -- we need to go do something about it.

LAVANDERA: Kashif says the officers told him they were dealing with another situation. After a few more minutes, he spoke up again.

KASHIF: So I -- I -- I told them there is just people in there and I need -- they are going to die. They are getting congested. People cannot breathe. We need to go in there.

LAVANDERA: Kashif says he was in the part of the crowd where a father was trying to escape with his 9-year-old boy on his shoulders. The father passed out and that boy was trampled and his family says he is now in a medically-induced coma.

KASHIF: I just remember the dad only because he -- his cries were so loud. He -- he was constantly yelling out I can't breathe. I'm going to die. I'm going to die.

LAVANDERA: It wasn't until 9:38 p.m., that Houston officials declared the scene a mass-casualty event. That is about the time Jared Kuker says he emerged from the crowd to get help.

JARED KUKER, CONCERT ATTENDEE: Found a group of like five police officers standing around and I went up to them. I told them like hey, there's this person dying up here I think. They said, yeah, there's people up there working on it.

LAVANDERA: But no sense of urgency from those officers?

KUKER: My impression was that they thought that everyone was just kind of drunk and being stupid and overreacting. That's my assumption.

LAVANDERA: We reached out to Houston police. They say they are not responding to individual questions and they'll post updates about the investigation on Twitter. "The Wall Street Journal" reports Houston investigators are looking at whether a batch of counterfeit pills, possibly laced with fentanyl, played a role in some of the deaths and injuries. That's according to people familiar with the investigation. CNN is also reaching out for comment.

Travis Scott has said he wasn't aware of how bad the crowd situation had become. A full-length recording of the concert does not appear to show that Scott cut the concert short. Though, witnesses say Scott paused his performance at least three times to get help for those in the crowd.

But more than 30 minutes after the mass-casualty event had been declared, the show ended with no mention of the chaos.

TRAVIS SCOTT, RAPPER: My name is Travis. My name is Travis. I love y'all so much.

LAVANDERA: Travis Scott said good night as if it was a normal show.

SCOTT: Everyone, love y'all. Make it home safe. Good night!


LAVANDERA: Get home safe. Some of the final words you heard there from Travis Scott.

We have reached out to Travis Scott's representatives and the entertainment company, Live Nation, they did not respond to our questions. But the Houston fire chief, today, said that communication in those chaotic moments was an issue. Cell phones weren't working and they didn't have radio communication with the event organizers. Presumably, that could have helped shut down things sooner -- Erin.


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

And next, he could be key to Republicans taking back the Senate. But he is facing domestic abuse allegations. Will Trump's backing be enough to save him?

And the supply chain crisis hitting home. We will tell you about the astonishing number of out-of-stock messages that are now popping up.


BURNETT: Tonight, a Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania who is backed by Donald Trump facing allegations of domestic abuse from his estranged wife. Could it cost the Republican Party a crucial Senate seat?

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sean Parnell taking the stand in a Butler County courthouse this week as his turbulent personal life takes a toll on his Senate campaign.

SEAN PARNELL (R), PENNSLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I am officially declaring my candidacy for United States Senate here in Pennsylvania.

MURRAY: The Pennsylvania Republican appearing for a contentious custody trial with his estranged wife Laurie Snell. Parnell testifying, we had a tumultuous relationship. We fought a lot.

His wife has accused him of choking her and injuring two of their children, claims he denies.

Parnell's messy personal life already an issue in his Senate campaign after a super PAC supporting Jeff Bartos, one of Parnell's GOP opponents, ran this ad.

CAMPAIGN AD: 911 calls. Protection from abuse orders. And now, a gag order. The real record of Sean Parnell.

MURRAY: Since then more details of allegedly violent behavior have emerged in the trial and court documents.

He tried to choke me out and I actually had to bite his arm to get away from it. He also tried to restrain me in rooms. He would hold me down. He would barricade himself in front of our door so I couldn't leave the House, Snell testified in a 2018 hearing.

These were, you know, pretty typical for, Sean. This happened at least a dozen times during our relationship.

In that same hearing, Snell said Parnell called her a stripper within hearing of the kids and took video of her dressing.


Parnell denied recording her.

In testimony this week, Parnell ever being physically abusive to his wife or choking her. He said he never struck the kids in anger. Snell under cross examination acknowledged that soon after she alleged Parnell struck one of their children, the family went on vacation together.

Snell said Parnell was a good dad when he's not angry and he's a great father in public. At various points in her testimony, Snell said she hoped Parnell would get help and she previously held out hopes of co- parenting with him.

A retired Army Ranger and combat veteran --

PARNELL: I was in Afghanistan for 485 days.

MURRAY: -- Parnell already banked an endorsement from Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: He's a real hero. A real tough guy. And he'll never let you down, Sean Parnell.

MURRAY: But the allegations are weighing on his campaign. Parnell abruptly canceled two fundraising events in the last two weeks, and sources tell CNN some members of Parnell's team are considering resigning from the campaign.

In perhaps another political headache for Parnell, Snell also accused him this week of engaging in a nine-month affair with his now girlfriend while still married.

Snell added she's been frightened away from even dating anyone at this point and testified that Parnell had previously tracked the cars parked at her home and sent harassing text messages: enjoy your little F buddy, go to hell, Parnell said in one message read aloud in court. In others, he called her erratic and evil.


MURRAY (on camera): In a statement tonight, Parnell said this has been the most trying week in his family's life. He said he is not going to say anything further until the judge makes a ruling on this custody issue.

Despite all of this, he still has one big supporter and that is Donald Trump who has -- to hold a fundraiser for Parnell January in Mar-a- Lago.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara.

And OUTFRONT next. The incredible number of out-of-stock messages that shoppers are seeing online.


BURNETT: All right. Tonight, warning signs that well you are going to be waiting a long time for a lot of things you shop for. I mean, there is a new report that finds that were there are than 2 billion online messages -- billion -- that items were out of stock in the month of October. I mean, that is a huge surge from pre-pandemic levels. It's up 325 percent from October 2019.

This is according to Adobe Analytics which says one out of every 50 pages you view online right now shows unavailable items -- hardest-hit products, electronics, jewelry, and clothing. President Biden speaking with the CEOs of Walmart, Target, UPS, and FedEx today, vowing to speed up deliveries and lower prices. We'll see what happens.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.