Return to Transcripts main page
Erin Burnett Outfront
GOP Rep. Gosar Becomes First Member Censured In 10 plus Years, Removed From Committees Over Violent Video Targeting AOC; Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) Arkansas Discusses About Gosar Being Censured In The House; Rittenhouse Jury Wraps Day 2 Of Deliberations Without Verdict After Rewatching Key Videos Of Shooting Today; Source: Biden Not Expected To Attend Beijing Olympics; QAnon Shaman Sentenced To 3+ Years For Role In Jan 6 Riot. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 17, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. Brian Todd reporting for us. Thank you very much, Brian Todd with the latest.
And to our viewers, thanks for watching.
Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the House voting to censure Republican Congressman Paul Gosar for posting a video depicting him killing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but almost all of his Republican colleagues don't think he crossed the line, their reasoning and his response tonight.
Plus, still no verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. New questions though from the jury providing clues about the ongoing deliberations, you'll see exactly what they asked to see today.
And vials of the contagious and deadly virus smallpox found in a lab just outside Philadelphia. They were not supposed to be there and now the CDC is investigating. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, censured. For the first time in more than 10 years, the House leveling its most severe form of punishment, short of being expelled. Republican Congressman Paul Gosar censured for tweeting an animated video of him appearing to kill Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Will Representative Gosar present himself in the well. By its adoption of House Resolution 789, the House has resolved that Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona be censured.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Only two Republicans, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney joined Democrats to censure Gosar and also to strip him of his Committee assignments. Again, as I said, this is the first time in more than 10 years. This is a serious thing. It doesn't just happen all the time.
Two hundred seven Republicans did not think Gosar crossed the line when he posted a video threatening a colleague's life, a video that he refused to apologize for and then a video he defended before the vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): I have said decisively, there is no threat in the cartoon other than the threat to the immigration poses to our country. And no threat was intended by my staff or me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, just after Gosar was censured, he retweeted the post, including the exact same video that he was censured for. The one of him killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who spoke out today about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It's pretty cut-and-dry. Do you find, does anyone in this chamber find this behavior acceptable?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You don't need to hear from her, the target of the tweet, because it isn't okay in any scenario and I would bet that most in that chamber would agree. Probably the vast majority, but they couldn't bring themselves to say that. So instead, some went out of their way to come up with ridiculous excuses for why Gosar should not be censured for posting a video of him striking AOC in the neck with a sword.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (D-FL): Today, we're critiquing Paul Gosar's anime. Next week, we might be indicting the Wile E. Coyote for an explosive ordinance against the Road Runner.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): For Democrats, this vote isn't about a video, it's about control.
REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): I lived in Japan for several years. I speak Japanese. I read and write Japanese. This is an anime. It is Shingeki no Kyojin, highly popular, stylized, intended to demonstrate the alienation people feel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't like freedom. You can see it. They don't like it. This is wrong.
REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): The left has nothing else to do but troll the internet looking for ways to get offended.
REP. CLAY HIGGINS (R-LA): America is dissolving under our feet and Democrats are worried about cartoons.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: It should have been pretty easy for Republicans just to
stand up here, especially after January 6th to condemn this. But they look the other way as so many have done again and again when it comes to Gosar specifically, because Gosar is a person with a long history of disturbing tweets and comments.
After the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, he blamed the violence on a, quote, Obama sympathizer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOSAR: Let's look at the person that actually started the rally, it's come to our attention that this is a person from Occupy Wall Street that was an Obama sympathizer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's retweeted other baseless QAnon conspiracy theories and pushed an astonishing number of lies about the 2020 election. In fact, he's said to have helped organize at least one stop on this stop the steal rally. This past February, he appeared in an event with a Holocaust denier and white supremacist instead of voting for COVID relief. And most recently, he defended the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOSAR: These are not unruly or dangerous violent criminals, these are political prisoners who are now being persecuted bearing the pain of unjust suffering.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, his party came behind him, but this is breaking up Gosar's own family, his own siblings. They've had enough, they've spoken out. They fear that he's only going to grow more unhinged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. GOSAR: It definitely is getting worse because no one, no one holds him accountable. Not Kevin McCarthy, not Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, not Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, not Speaker Nancy Pelosi, not Attorney General Merrick Garland, no one holds him accountable. And then this is something that I have to openly wonder, does he have to act on it himself before we believe that he is an absolute, he's a sociopath.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill tonight. And Manu, I know you spoke to Republicans after the vote. What more are they telling you about why they voted the way they did knowing that in plenty of cases, had it been a closed vote, we might have different numbers on the board? MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, none of them
are saying that the precedent that would set it will be ultimately something that Republicans would follow should they take back the majority next year, which is very likely that they will take the majority. And at that point, they're saying that they will go after Democrats.
Democrats may not do the exact same thing with Paul Gosar on here, but even if they do things Democrats do that upsets Republicans, that could be enough to strip them from the Committee assignments. What the House did today was unprecedented. This is the first time that a member of Congress has been both censured and removed by a majority party from his committee assignments in one fell swoop.
Earlier this year, Marjorie Taylor Greene became the first member of a minority party to be targeted by a majority party because she got booted off from her committee assignments. Now, Paul Gosar the same is happening with him.
Now, in talking to Republicans, including the ones who voted to impeach Donald Trump, they are saying that they did not want to follow that precedent and some who have broken with Donald Trump in the past like Congressman Don Bacon warned that there could be retribution in Republican majority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DON BACON (R-NE): I'm not going to whitewash what he did, it was wrong. Again, I just think it's a mistake to take people off committees, because this is a precedent that the Democrats are going to have to live by when they're the minority. And I say that as someone who think it's bad for the institution. Retribution is not good. I think it's going to happen.
REP. TOM RICE (R-SC): I mean, it's ridiculous, it's childish, it's stupid. There's no doubt about that. But is it inciting violence, absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Yes. And that last Congressman was Tom Rice. He was one of the 10 Republicans who did vote to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the January 6th insurrection.
RAJU: And the only two Republicans who did vote that way today in favor of this effort to censure and punish Paul Gosar were Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Of course, they have broken repeatedly with the President, the former president here. But as you can see, Erin, most of the Republicans, they lined up with the Republican leadership and said they weren't going to go along with this effort, despite even if they were concerned with his tweet, they said that he didn't deserve to be punished this way, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much. So I want to go now to Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. He is currently attending the Republican Governors Association annual meeting, which is as far away as they could possibly get from Washington, D.C. and who can blame you for that. Governor, I appreciate your time.
So when you look at the situation, only two Republicans voted to censure go sharp for this tweet. Of course, it was Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney. Do you think more Republicans should have joined them or not?
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R) ARKANSAS: Well, first of all, I haven't seen the video. But there's no place in the public life for pretension of acts of violence or any depiction of that. That's the last thing that we need. I advocate for more civility versus less civility.
And so I don't like it. At the same time, Congress has to make these decisions. And I've been on the ethics committee in Congress, I've dealt with tough issues like this and if anything is going to have an impact, there ought to be a better bipartisan foundation for disciplinary action.
And the fact that you only got two Republicans that supported that effort indicates that most Republicans just believe that this was overreach, too severe of a punishment and not a good precedent for the House.
HUTCHINSON: Congress has to deal with that and they dealt with it today, but I haven't seen the video and that's all I can say on it.
BURNETT: So let me ask you about the point that you heard Republican Congressman Don Bacon talking to Manu Raju and he had voted for impeachment, so it's clear where he stands on issues of right and wrong on things like January 6th. But his reason for not voting for this today was that he thinks Democrats can expect retribution, if Republicans take the House in 2022. And he wasn't saying he support it, he just said if you're going to set this standard, they're going to turn around or his party is going to turn around and do that to Democrats.
It's pretty sad that that's the state of affairs.
HUTCHINSON: Well, it is. It just shows the division in Washington. But it also, when someone is willing to cast a vote for the impeachment of president, he's clearly willing to take a stand and act in courage and he did not see that this was meritorious.
I think one of the things that you've got to think about is that if you discipline a member of Congress, that's punishing the people of that district as well who's deprived of someone serving on a committee, having the voice that they should have. And so ultimately, whenever you see these kind of things that people of a district, that people of a estate should make a judgment and take that consideration in the next election. House should govern their decorum, but I think they have to be
hesitant about punishing a district and really denying someone adequate representation.
BURNETT: So let me talk to you about something that it has been bipartisan, well, it much more so than this and that is the infrastructure bill. You got 19 senators who voted for that. You support it. You've been clear about that. President Biden signed it on Monday. And you support it, in part, because your state is going to benefit from it. You've been very clear about that.
Former President Donald Trump is now going after any GOP lawmaker who supported the law. He said he's going to go against them. He's going to do anything he can to get them out. He endorsed a Republican who voted against the bill in a primary matchup against a Republican who voted for it, he's already doing that. Are you okay with that?
HUTCHINSON: No, I'm not okay with that. That's what really reflects that you go after retribution. It's not helpful to the party. And obviously, I support the bipartisan infrastructure bill because not just that it's good for the states, but it had something that we've needed for a long time in our country.
And I understand many of the Republicans that voted against it and say well I'm worried about that giving momentum to the social infrastructure bill, which I'm opposed to, but this is where the American People just expect you to vote on a bill, whether it's right or wrong for our country, the next one, you work to defeat if it's bad.
And so I don't believe that's right at all to go after retribution or punishment of those that voted for their state or district or their conscience. We've got to be a bigger party than that. We've got to understand differences and not engage in that. It's taken us back and it's taken us the wrong direction.
BURNETT: Well, you make that point. There are others I know you know - Gov. Chris Christie is someone you're close with, he's trying to move forward to although, of course, he has said things different from that in the past. But you were, of course, at the Republican Governors Association meeting. You are now and you were at a closed door event last night where the former Vice President Mike Pence spoke, obviously, he's also a former Republican Governor.
Now, President Trump not only continues to show no remorse for the insurrection, he continually shows no concern and, in fact, a lot of anger still at Mike Pence who was there that day for Mike Pence not overturning the election, which Trump seems to believe he could have done. He couldn't have. I want to play a recently released audio of what Trump told ABC reporter Jonathan Karl about pence. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, ABC'S THIS WEEK: Were you worried about him during that that siege? Were you worried about his safety? DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I thought he
was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, no, I think ...
KARL: Because you heard those chants, that was terrible. I mean, those ...
TRUMP: He could have - well, people were very angry.
KARL: They're were saying, "Hang Mike Pence."
TRUMP: Because it's common sense, Jon. It's common sense that you're supposed to protect. How can you - if you know a vote is fraudulent, right?
TRUMP: How can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Still says it's fraudulent and the people were angry so that, I guess, it's okay that they were saying hang Mike Pence. What's your response to this, Governor?
HUTCHINSON: Well, first of all, former Vice President Pence spoke last night. He was very well-received. We like former governors that have had such key roles in our country. Obviously, he's a friend and anybody should be concerned about the fact that he was in jeopardy and at risk in that insurrection on the January 6th, a terrible day.
What's important, though, is that we not dwell upon what President Donald Trump, former president, is saying about this. Let's move on. We do need to hold people accountable. We need to understand what happened. It was a terrible day for our democracy. But we can't win dwelling upon that past. And I've distanced myself from it. I disagree with those comments, but it's got to be about the next election. It's got to be about bringing people together and continually dwelling on comments from former president is just not helpful.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Governor, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
HUTCHINSON: Thank you. Great to be with you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. You too, Gov. Hutchinson.
So I want to now go to Gloria Borger, our Chief Political Analyst. So Gloria, there's a lot to talk about here.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
BURNETT: Including a lot of what the Governor just said. But let me just start with Congressman Gosar. So the last time a member of Congress was censured, because it sound - in the current political environment, a lot of people probably think it happens all the time, but it doesn't. It hasn't happened since 2010.
And at that time, it was Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York, who was censured by his own party, over various ethics violations. Anyone who lives in New York remembers the New York Post pictures and coverage of that. What we're seeing today is not common.
BORGER: No, it is not common. It's only happened a couple dozen times in our nation's history. And the reason it's not common is because it's important and it shows you what you need to do to get censured, it just shows you how serious it is that it's happened so few times. They don't do it all the time.
And what I think we're going to see and you've been talking about this in the show, unfortunately, is that the Republicans, according to Kevin McCarthy, if they win back House are going to adopt an eye for an eye strategy.
BORGER: Which would be after criticizing the Democrats for doing this, he then turns around and says, well, we're going to do it to you.
BURNETT: I'll punish back harder.
BORGER: We're going to do it to you, too. So he's saying just wait till we're in charge and just wait till we get to strip your people from committees, et cetera, et cetera. It wasn't even an implied threat. It was a stated threat. And unfortunately, I think we're in for a rough time here, because it's going to descend into this kind of rabbit hole and if it could get any deeper, it will.
BURNETT: I mean, so Republican Congressman Liz Cheney, only she and Adam Kinzinger voted in favor of the censure.
BURNETT: She spoke to our Melanie Zanona today about Trump and Senator Ted Cruz. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think that Trump broke Ted Cruz. Ted used to say he was a Constitutional conservative. But now he is like, so desperate for political approval that he will even advocate, suggest, secession. And I think that a real man would be defending his wife, and his father, and the Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORGER: Why don't you tell us what you really think?
BURNETT: Yes. BORGER: Yes, I mean, look, he had gone on Hannity and criticized her
and said that she falls in the category of people who Donald Trump just broke, just shattered. So she was throwing this back at him. But this is the state of the Republican Party right now.
I mean, Ted Cruz represents a much larger piece of the Republican Party than Liz Cheney does. I mean, she's fighting for her life, her political life in the state of Wyoming right now, because she voted for impeachment. She dare become a member of the January 6 Committee. And Cruz, who was an outright enemy of Donald Trump's now defending him at every turn. I'm presuming Cruz wants to run for president.
BURNETT: Yes. And we've never understood how he could look past those ...
BORGER: Make that turn.
BURNETT: ... deep personal slights.
All right. Thank you so much, Gloria.
BURNETT: I appreciate it.
And next, the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial asking to review a crucial piece of video in the case, why? We're going to go through it. What could it tell us about what they're focused on? What they're deliberating on? They are entering now a third day.
And a tennis star accusing a Chinese leader of sexual assault, of rape and now no one knows where she is. She's missing. The Chinese government is trying to pretend it's okay.
And he became the face of the deadly insurrection and tonight paying a heavy price for his role on January 6th.
BURNETT: Tonight, still no verdict on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. The jury returning home without reaching a verdict after their second full day of deliberations, but there were some key moments from today. The jury asking to re-watch a few very specific videos which show the moments before Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two of them. Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT live in Kenosha tonight.
And Sara, you are in the courthouse today. Obviously, they came with these very specific requests for these specific videos. What do you know about what clips they wanted and how this came about?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They clearly wanted to watch video of the first killing, Kyle Rittenhouse's first killing, which was the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum. And they asked for a half dozen or so videos, evidence that has already been presented in this trial they've already seen, but they want to go back over it and there was a huge argument over whether or not they should be able to continually as many times as they want go over this video.
I want to show you the video that is a huge contention though in this case, because the defense says that they are going to use it to ask for a mistrial. There is drone video taken by a civilian that the prosecution says they did not get a hold of the high resolution version of this. The video you're seeing now until five days into the trial. Meaning, the defense did not get their hands on it until after that once the evidence was closed.
And so the jury did see this, the Judge did allow it in, but you see Kyle Rittenhouse there. You see him being chased a bit and then you see him turn and shoot Joseph Rosenbaum. It is extremely important video in this case and the jury wanted to see it. The defense though, told the Judge, look, we think we are going to use this to ask for a mistrial. Here is their argument as to why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY CHIRAFISI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We would have done this case in a little bit different manner, if that was the situation. We didn't have the quality of evidence that the state had until the case had been closed. I'm going to be asking the court for a mistrial.
JAMES KRAUS, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: But their client lied about this, understand it's the State's position. There seems to be evidence to support the position that he lied on the stand about raising the gun.
He was confronted with the exhibit, he denied it. The jury wants to see these exhibits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: The prosecution being very clear saying, hey, the reason why you don't want the jury to be able to go over this is because it proves that your client, in their words, lied on the stand about pointing the gun towards him and then having Joseph Rosenbaum chase him. In the end, though, this is going to be the second time that the defense asked for a mistrial. They asked for a mistrial already and filed that on Monday for prosecutorial overreach, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara.
So I want to go now to Elie Honig, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former defense attorney and the former Mayor of Baltimore who have been with us throughout this trial.
So okay, a lot to go through here today. Elie, let me just start with the big picture. Jury has now been deliberating for two full days. They have been in there for 16 hours total. They didn't come out quickly. We still don't have a verdict. What does that mean? ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Erin, anytime a jury is
out deliberating, minutes feel like hours, hours feel like days, days feel like eternities. We are all on pins and needles. It's a stressful situation. And we try to interpret these clues that we get.
And whenever we do that, it's more art than science. There's no science to this. But let me put myself back at the prosecutor's table. I'll tell you my view.
I'm looking at this case and thinking this is a complicated case. There's five counts here. There's two murders. There's an attempted murder. The only way in my view the jury comes back very quickly is if they go into that jury room, sort of look at each other and say this is self-defense, we're going not guilty and we're going home.
The fact that they've not done that yet, that they've not come back quickly, if I'm the prosecutor, I take some comfort in that, that this does not mean they will convict but for a prosecutor they've avoided the worst case very quick not guilty verdict.
BURNETT: All right. So now I want to go through some details about today. Mayor Rawlings-Blake, the jury requested to rewatch half a dozen separate videos, okay, and I want to go through these because it's important. I want to show one of them, warning to viewers that it's disturbing and I'll explain what it shows, so we'll play it.
The jury asked for this video. It shows the moments before Kyle Rittenhouse fires his gun at Anthony Huber, who is the second man Rittenhouse shot and killed. And Gaige Grosskreutz who is the third man Rittenhouse shot and wounded.
So the jurors then requested not just this video, but a slow down version of this video. They wanted to watch every single moment and frame here clearly. They wanted the slow down version. What do you make of that when you look at it, Mayor?
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: I agree with Elie. I was leaning toward the jury being done very quickly, but it's true. If they're still deliberating, I think that they are kind of deliberating on this point trying to determine if they can parse out from these videos whether there was a provocation or whether it was actual self-defense. And this jury has a really tough time. I give them a lot of credit for wanting to be very thorough with their deliberation.
BURNETT: Right. And slowing it down, I mean that is important. Because you can't capture in the chaos and melee, the darkness what really happened without doing that.
I mean, Elie they also rewatched two drone videos. Now, these drone videos show different angles of Rittenhouse shooting Joseph Rosenbaum. So the first is an FBI drone video that shows Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum. They are represented by the two yellow squares that you see on your screen.
Throughout the video, you see them chasing each other, all right? They're chasing each other around. Rittenhouse shoots Rosenbaum after that. Now, the next video, graphic, it shows a much closer angle of the moments before Rittenhouse shot and killed Rosenbaum. And you can see how close they were standing to each other, okay, this is this video that Sara was talking about and we'll talk about that in a moment.
But we know the jury spent about 45 minutes viewing these videos, the judge said watch them and watch them as many times as you want, 45 minutes. You can see how short each of them are. What do you make of them focusing on these videos and spending this amount of time, Elie?
HONIG: This tells me the jury is going about their job meticulously that they are focusing on the most important evidence. These videos are the key to this case. I do think we can draw one potential conclusion from this though. It seems to me the jury has not bought into the prosecution's provocation argument, because if the jury believed Kyle Rittenhouse provoked these attacks, was responsible for getting others to attack him so he could wound them, then Rittenhouse could not even raise self-defense, that would be it, game over he would be guilty.
So the fact that they're going frame by frame here tells me that they've not accepted provocation and that they're going to instead do the frame by frame analysis of did he use reasonable force or did he use more force than is necessary.
BURNETT: So Mayor, let me ask you about this because that last drone video clip that I referred to is now the one that is at the center of the defense's claim for mistrial, that Sara was talking about, because the video have been out there but not this high quality, not this high def quality that they are now seeing and that the jury is seeing.
The defense is saying they never knew about this. They weren't told about it.
The judge issued a warning when the defense said this today -- issued a warning to the prosecution. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: You're putting an awful lot of emphasis on this. And if it turns out that it's not technologically sound, this is -- I referred to it as -- the situation as a house of cards. This is just more weight on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Mayor, if -- if the defense's claim is true -- the prosecution purposefully withheld the high-quality version of this drone video from the defense. This video ends up being important to the jury. Could this -- could that be grounds -- fair grounds for a mistrial?
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: With this judge, I think it would be. I mean, in general, judges don't like prosecutors playing fast and loose with evidence, and you can see that this prosecutor has already stretched the limits of this judge's patience, with the questioning that he was doing and the trying to introduce evidence that was already excluded from the trial.
So, the judge is giving a very clear signal that if -- if he can determine that this was done purposefully, that -- that he will entertain a mistrial. But it seems, based on the -- the back-and-forth conversation that they had as much difficulty as many of us have on Zoom calls and staying on mute for the whole time. It didn't seem like anyone that was passing this video back and forth had -- had the computer skills that they needed to really get that done.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you, both, very much. Another day will begin tomorrow. Understand the jury is looking tired.
OUTFRONT now, President Biden expected to skip the Winter Olympics in Beijing amid rising military tensions with China. Retired Admiral William McRaven joins me next.
Plus, one of the most recognizable faces from the deadly insurrection is sentenced. What the judge said about his role that day.
BURNETT: New tonight, President Biden is not expected to attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing and is on the verge of not having any officials attend as a diplomatic boycott over human rights abuses. This is what a senior administration official is telling our Kaitlan Collins tonight, and this is just two days after Biden held a virtual summit for the -- with the Chinese President Xi that went about three hours.
And this satellite images show China's military's built mock-ups of a U.S. navy aircraft and other warships and have been targeting them with missiles.
OUTFRONT now, retired four Star Admiral William McRaven. He was ninth commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command and oversaw the bin Laden raid. He is also the author of the new children's book, "Make Your Bed with Skipper the Seal", which comes, of course, after your best-selling adult book. I am so glad there is a children's version of this now.
But I want to start with this news out of China. We have these satellite images and of course you have seen them. Vice chairman of the joint chiefs was talking about this. Warning about that hypersonic missile the U.S. admits they weren't really aware China had these capabilities that showed they could be able to launch a surprise nuclear strike against us and that was something we weren't aware of.
Does it look like to you when you put all this together that China is preparing for a possible war with the United States? That this is something they are legitimately thinking of? ADMIRAL WILLIAM MCRAVEN, FORMER COMMANDER, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS
COMMAND: Well, I'm sure they are thinking through it because I think the United States and the Pentagon -- we think through all possible scenarios. But I do not think at all that China is preparing for war with the United States.
Now, I saw the interview with John Hyten, the vice chairman of the joint chiefs and he expressed concern -- real concern. And I think the interviewer asked whether this was our Sputnik moment. In other words, are we making up and smelling the coffee that the Chinese are moving very quickly on hypersonic technology?
MCRAVEN: We are a few years behind on that. So I do think we need to be concerned about their hypersonic technology. I am not concerned we are going oh go to war with China.
BURNETT: OK. So, let me ask you about the last hypersonics test for the United States failed. That's partly what you are referring to. That is a pretty stark thing. Ours failed and theirs didn't for people to hear. How does China view that?
MCRAVEN: Well, I mean, China's made some great progress recently in a lot of technical areas. You look at their space program and I think the hypersonic missile systems are kind of banking off some of the work done on the space program.
So obviously, we have got some work to do. And -- and I do hope that we start really putting a little bit of additional focus on hypersonic technology and other technologies that cannot only deal China but frankly other competitors.
BURNETT: So, you know, you got the Beijing Olympic boycott. That is human rights related but of course it comes in the recent news here of the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. So, two weeks ago, she accuses the former vice premiere of China of rape. And she -- she does that. She's not been seen in public, since. Just, poof, gone.
Chinese state media now has released an e-mail they say came from her. We haven't seen her but apparently it comes from her they say where she reneges and says the allegations of sexual assault are not true. I am resting at home and everything is fine. Head of the tennis association can't reach her. No one can find her.
You know, what do you make of this?
MCRAVEN: I don't think it should surprise anybody. I mean, it is a communist country and so their ability to kind of crack down on dissidence as we ever seen in Hong Kong and other places.
Again, this shouldn't surprise anybody. Let's hope she is safe. And I know, you know, bringing the world attention to her situation is good because I think, sooner or later, China's going to have to come forward and show us kind of proof of life that she is doing all right. BURNETT: So, you also have Russia building up its military and we are
seeing what is happening with Ukraine and the Belarusian situation as well. Secretary of State Blinken today said it is reminiscent what they are doing in Ukraine right now, what happened in Crimea a few years ago. And here is the Defense Secretary Austin speaking about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We continue to see troubling behavior from Russia. We are not sure exactly what Mr. Putin is up to. But these movements certainly have our attention. And, you know, I -- I would urge Russia to be more transparent about what they're up to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, do -- do you think Russia and China -- I mean, do they see an opening with this new administration? What's happening here?
MCRAVEN: Well, I mean, I give Biden administration credit. You know, when this first happened right after Biden came in -- into -- into the presidency, Russia did the same thing. There were about 50,000 troops on the Ukrainian board on the eastern border and President Biden came out very quickly and said, look, we are fully behind President Zelensky and really it was a shot across the bow to Putin to say don't even think about coming across the border.
I thought that kind of tamped things down. And then, of course, Biden had this kind of off-site meeting after the G7 with Putin. Things were starting to look a little bit like rapprochement, and now, all the sudden, Putin's coming back for a second time on the eastern border of Ukraine. So I think General Austin's -- or excuse me, Secretary Austin's concerns are well founded and I am hoping that, once again, we will stand behind Ukraine, stand behind President Zelensky and that President Biden will be prepared to send whatever is necessary to help the Ukrainians.
BURNETT: That's test.
MCRAVEN: Yes, it is. I do believe it's a test.
BURNETT: So I want to talk about your new book because, you know, you obviously had written the book for adults about your lessons. You have also spoken out about, you know, integrity and decency and -- and what you saw lacking in -- in former President Trump when it came to those crucial things.
So, in the book, it's skipper the seal that sort of talks about becoming a Navy SEAL and all the things you need to do that, and you talk about being teammate. And -- and you know, but the context I read it as a mother of three kids, you know, this country's so divided. It's so nasty. It's so hard to even talk to kids about -- well, gosh, public service is a great thing to go into, right? Because they -- because they see something that's very different from what we might say. Are you worried about the values in this country?
MCRAVEN: Well, you know, first, the book isn't a political book.
BURNETT: No, the book itself is not. It is a great book for kids.
MCRAVEN: Yeah, and it is a book about values just like the original book "Make Your Bed" was, and the values I learned going through SEAL training. To your point, it was about respect for all shapes and sizes. I talk about the munchkin crew in the book.
So this book teaches kids about respect. It teaches them about how to deal with failure. It teaches them to smile when things don't go well. But I think those are values that parents have always tried to instill in their children. I did when I was a young parent with my three kids that are now all adults, and I am hoping that -- that when people read this book, they will pull the values out of there that I think are universal across all ages and all generations.
BURNETT: All right. I like the line the shark slunk away in fear and disgrace. It's great to use the word slunk. But it's great. I so much enjoyed your fresh book as well.
Thanks so much, admiral. I appreciate your time.
All right. And, next, the man who became one of the most visible and recognizable figures seen storming the U.S. capitol sentenced for his role in the insurrection. And he's getting a stiff sentence, so we'll tell you why.
And we'll introduce you to one suburban mother who is giving tens of thousands of parents a voice. That voice wants to keep schools open.
BURNETT: New tonight, 41 months behind bars. That is how long Jacob Chansley -- the so-called QAnon shaman -- was sentenced to in prison for storming the Capitol on January 6th. Forty-one months is one of the harshest sentences yet for any Capitol rioter. Prosecutors look to make an example of Chansley, arguing he was essential figure in the riot, and emblematic of the vicious crowd.
Now, the judge agreed saying of Chansley, quote, he made himself the image of the riot, end quote.
Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT.
And, Jessica, you know, when you think about what's been happening here, 41 months -- that is a significant sentence for someone who, you know, certainly was, you know, visually to many Americans in many ways, kind of the face of that insurrection day.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. And, Erin, because of that, this could really be a benchmark here and what's particularly notable about this case is that Chansley received this long sentence -- about three and a half years in prison -- despite the fact that he wasn't actually charged with any violence.
To make a comparison here, the other capitol rioter that was recently sentenced to about the same amount of time was charged with assaulting a police officer. But why the judge came down so hard here is because of the fact that Chansley really, like you said, has become emblematic and a focal point of this riot with his face paint, his headdress.
The way he marched around the Senate floor, leaving that note on the Senate dias that then-Vice President Mike Pence had vacated just moments before. It was a note that read it's only a matter of time. Justice is coming.
So, Erin, all of those factors led to the judge issuing this rather lengthy sentence and it could be a benchmark for future defendants.
BURNETT: I mean, especially, as you point out, right? The emphasis here is didn't actually -- was not charged with any violence, right? That wasn't actually even on the table.
Now, one of the defenses that -- that Chansley tried to use was that this is Donald Trump's fault, right? And we all remember Chansley's lawyer making this case.
Here he is just a week after the riot making the case here on CNN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ALBERT WATKINS, ATTORNEY FOR JACOB CHANSLEY: He loved Trump. Every word, he listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our president. He was there at the invitation of our president.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, that may be true, right? But the judge didn't seem to buy that, certainly, not as an excuse, right? Forty-one months.
BURNETT: Three and a half years. Is that a sign judges will not have any sympathy for that argument? Which a lot of other insurrectionists have made.
SCHNEIDER: Yeah, I think so. It's a common refrain of these defense attorneys but really, Erin, what we have seen not necessarily in sentencing but in other hearings, judges have been very dismissive of that defense when other rioters have brought it up in other cases.
They brought it out -- out the hearings process and many defendants -- they have since made clear in court they regret what they did. They don't, in fact, believe the election was stolen, after all. And, you know, Jacob Chansley gave a very similar speech about 30 minutes repenting for his actions but in the end, Erin, it really didn't make a difference. Forty-one months is his sentence.
BURNETT: Even with that, even with a 30-minute mea culpa. Wow.
BURNETT: All right. Jessica, thank you very much.
And next, a group of moms pushing to get their kids back in school and pulling off some surprising upsets.
And a dangerous discovery in Pennsylvania. A lab worker uncovering a number of vials labeled smallpox. No reason for them to be there, the CDC investigating tonight.
BURNETT: All right. New tonight, in Detroit, they are apparently going to be going to four days in person for school, and then a remote virtual learning day on Fridays. And that's tonight's inside look, the political battle over education. This is the biggest warning sign that we have seen for Democrats and those elections, of course, in Virginia, a crucial issue.
The political success for Republicans, lately, has been coming from their stance on education. And now, the parents of public-school children, angry over teaching curriculums, frustrated that their kids are falling behind. That's how they see it. Are turning to a new and potentially powerful force with the ability to shape American politics.
Gabe Cohen is OUTFRONT.
GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think a movement is growing here?
CLARICE SCHILINGER, EXECUTIVE DRIECTOR, BACKTOSCHOOL PA: I know a movement is growing.
COHEN (voice-over): Watching from her Pennsylvania home, Clarice Schilinger wasn't surprised when Glenn Youngkin, riding parents' fears and frustration with schools, won the Virginia governor's race.
SCHILINGER: I hope the race in Virginia really woke people up and said, okay there is a groundswell of parents.
COHEN: Ten school board meetings show the political divides playing out in public schools right now from critical race theory to mask and vaccine mandates. But beyond the weekly fireworks and beyond Virginia, there is a common thread tying many parents together, the feeling they have been ignored. A "USA Today" poll found 55 percent of parents says their kids fell behind because of virtual learning, and some of them blame the districts, teacher unions and politicians.
Tens of thousands are in Facebook groups focused on keeping schools open.
In Pennsylvania, Schilinger harnessed those frustrations. The suburban mom, a Republican, helped run a political action committee that pumped close to $700,000, mostly from a Republican venture capitalist, into statewide school-board elections.
All on one issue -- keeping schools open.
SCHILINGER: We gave the parents a voice to run and try to win.
COHEN: They supported more than 200 candidates across Pennsylvania. Nearly two-thirds, Republican. And they say many won.
How many parents have you heard from on this?
SCHILINGER: Tens of thousands across the state.
COHEN: Kari Korgen (ph) is one of them. She is on the verge of removing her sons from a public school in the Philadelphia suburbs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it closes down again, that's going to be the last straw.
COHEN: She is opposed to school mask and vaccine mandates but she says her main focus keeping classrooms open.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The children are still trying to make up for last year.
COHEN: We also met with Bethe Suarez.
BETHE SUAREZ, MOTHER OF SIX KIDS: I felt like my voice didn't matter.
COHEN: This formerly homeless mother of six in Harrisburg said she can't afford to work outside her home.
SUAREZ: I need to be here with my children.
COHEN: She supported virtual learning but quickly faced problems getting her kids online and getting the help they needed. Now, one daughter can't keep up in class and another doesn't feel challenged, so Suarez moved her from public school to an online program.
SUAREZ: They dropped the ball in not being able to provide them with what they needed to brighten their future, to secure their future.
COHEN: This past election, Suarez supported Democratic school board candidates that vowed to keep classrooms open, as did a local PAC run by Pastor Earl Harris.
School frustrations aren't just a suburbs issue.
PASTOR EARL HARRIS, FOUNDER OF BLACK WALL: Absolutely. It's -- it's -- it's a human issue. COHEN: Harrisburg is predominantly African-American and even before
COVID, 26 percent of families lived below the poverty line.
HARRIS: So they make the choice to keep their children safe and they stay home. They lose their jobs. It was sense ever abandonment.
COHEN: It's not clear the role education will play in the midterm elections in a state like Pennsylvania. A poll from "Axios" shows three-quarters of American parents believe local schools have done a good job balancing health and safety with other priorities. But organizers from Virginia to Pennsylvania and beyond are already trying to weave this common thread --
SUAREZ: I felt ignored.
COHEN: -- into a political pattern.
SUAREZ: Biggest frustration is being invisible.
COHEN: Now, I also spoke with the head of the National Parents Union, a longtime-Democratic organizer and she says they, right now, are hearing from thousands of angry parents from all backgrounds. Not about critical race theory but about crises that their kids are dealing with. She thinks special interests have been prioritized over parents and that candidates will benefit from hearing out these moms and dads -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Gabe, thank you very much for that report.
And next, vials of the deadly virus smallpox were just found in a Pennsylvania lab. That is not one of the two places on this planet that is supposed to have smallpox. And now, an investigation is underway.
BURNETT: Tonight, smallpox vials found in a lab in Pennsylvania. A lab that should not have them. Smallpox is so dangerous that only two facilities in the world are actually permitted to keep samples of it. That is the CDC headquarters in Atlanta and a lab in Russia.
Now, we are finding out that even in the United States, smallpox may be in more locations. Smallpox is seen as one of the riskiest possible bio terror weapons because no one is vaccinated for it anymore. Vaccination stopped in 1970 when the disease was considered eradicated due to vaccinations. It killed and disfigured millions before then. The CDC is investigating.
Thanks for joining us. It's time for Anderson.