Return to Transcripts main page
Erin Burnett Outfront
Jan 6 Panels Issues New Round Of Subpoenas Targeting Trump Allies Who Planned Rallies, Including Roger Stone, Alex Jones; Officials: Biden Looking To Announce Decision To Release Reserve Oil; 5 People Killed In Parade Crash Identified; 48 Injured Include Catholic Priest, School Children, Dancing Grannies Members; Defense Wraps Case In Trial Of Arbery Death; Women's Tennis Association: Videos Of Tennis Star Not Good Enough. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 22, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Absolutely. We have to protect the people around us. Dr. Megan Ranney, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
I'm Jim Acosta. Thanks very much for watching.
Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, the January 6 Select Committee issuing five new subpoenas to some major players in Trump's orbit, including high profile names involved in the stop to steal rally.
Plus, gas prices up a staggering 60 percent from a year ago. Tonight we're learning President Biden, well, maybe have a plan. Maybe announcing it tomorrow and his top economic adviser is next.
And police identifying the man they say drove his car to a Christmas parade killing five and injuring nearly 50 more. What police are saying about a possible motive tonight? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, subpoenaed. The January 6 Select Committee issuing a new round of subpoenas for close allies of the former president, people who have direct ties to events leading up to and on January 6th. Among the big names Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who was in Washington on the day of the insurrection. And not only was he in Washington that day, listen to Jones the night before, riling up a crowd of Trump supporters who had also gathered in the nation's capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX JONES, DONALD TRUMP ALLY: I don't know how this is going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they got one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And on the day of January 6th, as the crowd begin marching towards the Capitol, Jones reportedly told his supporters, "We're here to take our rightful country back peacefully, because we're not globalist, antifa, criminals. So let's start marching, and I salute you all."
Now, January 6 Committee also wants to hear from longtime Republican operative Roger Stone who's always in the thick of things. In the days and weeks following the election, Jones gave the Stone a platform to spew lies about the election to millions of Trump supporters on his show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: A hoax is being perpetrated on the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sunglasses, cigar, and on January 6th, Stone can be seen surrounded by members from the Oath Keepers. Members of that far-right group had been arrested for their role on January 6th. In fact, the Justice Department says the group's founder directed the rioters.
Now, the morning of January 6th, Stone was seen hanging out with them and that's why he and Alex Jones are so crucial to the January 6th investigation, apparently had some sort of a war room, some have reported where they were all gathered during this. Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill.
Ryan, what does the Committee think it can find out from these latest subpoenas?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's no doubt, Erin, that the focus of this round of subpoenas is trying to get behind this group of individuals that were key in planning, executing and raising money for these rallies that took place leading up to January 6th and then, of course, the rally that took place on January 6th, many of which the attendees of that rally ended up here at the Capitol on January 6th with a goal of interrupting the certification of the November election.
And you mentioned the importance of Stone and Jones. They're, obviously, two of the bigger, more prominent names who had such a public role in raising money and convincing people to come here to Washington, in addition to peddling the big election lie.
But the other three names are significant as well, Dustin Stockton, his fiance, Jennifer Lawrence, and then the third person, Taylor Budowich, who is currently the spokesperson for the former President Donald Trump. They were all behind the scenes players. They helped to raise money.
They connected the dots between these more prominent names who were peddling the lie on a big stage and then brought it to the brass tacks here in Washington, by organizing the rallies, getting the permits, using the funding to set up the stage and have everything take place from that perspective. And what's interesting and the big difference between Jones and Stone
versus some of these other lesser known names is that they don't have the financial resources that Stone and Jones may have to defend themselves. So they may be more willing to cooperate with the Committee. And furthermore, they may know a lot more about the intricacies of the connections that could be made between the rally organizers, the Trump campaign and then ultimately the White House.
So from the beginning, the Committee's talked about connecting all these dots from these different groups that were involved on the planning and execution of that day. And, of course, what they want to find out, Erin, was there some sort of coordination, was this about more than just a peaceful protest that they truly want to interrupt the democratic process and that's part of why you see them bring this group of individuals forward.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ryan. Of course, it is crucial when you look at the public statements that they and others have made, the verbiage that they used. Look, it's not peaceful.
OUTFRONT now, Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI, and Elie Honig, who was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the southern district here in New York.
Director McCabe, both Alex Jones and Roger Stone, of course, were in Washington on the day of the interaction the day before. They were both incredibly vocal proponents of pushing the big lie about the election rigged hoax, all of that. They have longstanding ties to Steve Bannon, who was the one who convinced Trump to come back to Washington for January 6th. So how central to this could they be?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Erin, I think they could be right at the red hot center of it. And I think the Committee has kind of telegraphed what they're thinking with each round of subpoenas that we see coming out. And for my money, what seems clear is they are focused intently not on specifically the mayhem of the insurrection on January 6th, but on the days leading up to January 6th.
They are trying to get to who was at the center of planning this activity, how was it funded, where were those communication networks, who was involved, who was talking to who and how does this potentially get back to the White House. And, of course, the ultimate question was the violence part of the plan.
And I think these subpoenas are a great way of closing down the loop on those questions and really getting to the center of it.
BURNETT: Right. Somebody said, oh, it just sort of happened organically. Of course, you look at, as I said, what all of these individuals have said prior and on that day, they were clearly stoking it, but were they doing it so purposely, did they have a plan, did they have people planted in there, that's what we don't know. I don't know where the Committee is on that right now. So Elie, in terms of Alex Jones and Roger Stone, the two here, they
obviously have pushed the big lie and I played a little bit of that. Here's a little bit more of what each of them have said just to give everyone a taste.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Roger Stone is a smart political operator. He says Trump still has a chance. We still have a chance to stop the steal.
STONE: Their theft is provable in a number of different methods in all of these swing states. You can go to stop the steal and we'll be posting that, but there is insurmountable, compelling, overcoming evidence of fraud.
JONES: How do we Trump this fraud? How do we override the scam?
STONE: Well, first of all, the backdrop. We have to have mass public protests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. So just to be clear, Elie, Stone, of course, refused to turn on Trump when he was arrested as part of the Mueller probe and Trump then turned around and eventually pardoned him. Commute his prison sentence would be the actual term here when he was found guilty of charges of obstruction.
So there's loyalty there and Trump actually repaid him in some way. So will either of these men cooperate or is this just going to be Steve Bannon 2 and Steve Bannon 3 and goes to the court system for a year.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So Erin, the chances of Roger Stone and Alex Jones cooperating, testifying and testifying truthfully are essentially zero. I guess, I'd say negative. I'm not sure you can have a negative chance of something.
But that raises the bigger question, which is the committee has done a good job, a commendable job of being aggressive in who it's subpoenaing. But issuing the subpoenas is the easy part.
The question is do they have the political will to back these up and to force people to comply because that line of people who are sure to defy is getting longer and longer and longer. We've got Bannon. I would not count on Michael Flynn, Stephen Miller, Kayleigh McEnany, now these two, Stone and Jones, cooperating.
And so there's only two ways this goes, Option A is the Committee holds them in contempt, sends it over to DOJ and DOJ charges. And option B is these subpoenas just get openly defied with no consequence for anybody.
BURNETT: Right. And of course, in option A, they could still by the time they win, if they win, Congress may have switched to Republican and the Committee is disbanded anyway, which brings me Director McCabe to what Congressman Zoe Lofgren said. She's obviously on the January 6th Select Committee and she has emphasized the people that they have talked to.
She said they've interviewed more than 200 witnesses so far, many of them, she says, are former Trump administration officials. So that gets me back to what Ryan Nobles was just reporting. The names people don't often hear, Dustin Stockton or Taylor Budowich, these are not names that people know. But that may be powerful, because that may mean they're less likely to fight this.
So do you think the committee would still have all the information they need to put together the facts of what happened even if they don't get the kind of, as you say, red hot center, big names to testify?
MCCABE: It's entirely possible, Erin. They may not need the marquee players, but and I'm going to give the Committee maybe the benefit of the doubt here maybe more than they deserve, going after the marquee players even knowing that they're likely not going to get, as Elie said, a meaningful testimony out of a Roger Stone or Alex Jones. Simply going after those witnesses in a consistent way could get you Dustin Stockton, it could get you Jennifer Lawrence or these other, less well known folks who probably have less resources versus and are likely to suffer more severe consequences to their reputations, to their careers as they go forward having been the subject of an indictment.
So I think there could be a more complicated strategy going on here. And let's face it, if they want to go after Dustin Stockton, they got to subpoena everybody. They're not just going to play their hand to the target that they're really interested in, so there's a lot at play here.
BURNETT: So Elie, one thing that you mentioned was something that maybe people sitting at home may think, which is okay, why couldn't Stone or Jones or Bannon just take the fifth, instead of doing this whole getting pursued by the DOJ and this long legal process, they could just go in, act like they're complying, take the fifth and play it from there. Why hasn't that happen?
HONIG: Yes, Erin, in a sane and logical and rational world, they would take the fifth because all you have to have in order to take the Fifth Amendment is some potential criminal liability. And I think they all have that here, but I think they understand that to take the fifth would send a bad signal, perhaps displease Donald Trump himself and perhaps they don't fear the consequences.
And Andy makes a really good point I want to follow up on here, we're very focused on the big names, the Stephen Millers, the Michael Flynns, et cetera. But the way you build case and the way Andy used to at the FBI, I used to with the U.S. Attorney's Office is sometimes you go for the lesser known players, because if they're witnesses to what those bigger names did, they can give the information in a way that causes a lot less turbulence. So that may be the approach here.
BURNETT: Right. It gives you the crosshairs. And by the way on the fifth, of course, we all know what Donald Trump has said about people who take the fifth, that that means they're guilty, so I guess that's maybe part of the issue here.
All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.
And next, Biden shuns the left-wing of his party, tapping Republican Jerome Powell for a second term as Fed Chair because Trump put Powell in, progressives are not happy. Biden's top economic advisor is my guest.
Plus, closing arguments wrapping up for the day on the trial of three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. How the prosecution could have an advantage before the case heads to the jury?
And a Republican Senate candidate who had Trump's backing suddenly suspending his campaign tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, CNN learning that President Biden hopes to announce his decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve tomorrow during a speech at the White House. The reason, gas prices. It is plain and simple.
Right now, the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.41, that's $1.29 more than the average price a year ago, despite some easing from a seven-year peak seen earlier this month.
OUTFRONT now, President Biden's top economic advisor, Brian Deese. He is Director of the White House National Economic Council.
Brian, I'm really glad to have you on. Thank you so much for coming on. So I just saw on the schedule for President Biden tomorrow he's talking about that the line is lowering prices for the American people tomorrow afternoon. Is he going to make this announcement about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and unleashing a lot of oil there then?
BRIAN DEESE, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR: Well, I'm not going to get ahead of any announcements we may make tomorrow. But I will say that we are focused on the issue of gas prices and gas prices are high, they're too high. And we've seen this happen before in 2019, although not quite as high in 2014 and 2012.
And so the American consumer never likes to pay more at the pump, but we are focused on doing everything that we can to make sure that American consumers are not burying the short end of the stick during these periods. And so that's what the President is going to be talking about tomorrow, taking actions where we can and where it is appropriate to try to make sure that we can provide some relief to American consumers.
And also make sure that when the price of oil comes down, that American consumers see that benefit at the price of the pump. That's not what's been happening over the last several weeks and that's a concern that we have here.
BURNETT: Right. Obviously, you've got refineries who've shut down in COVID. You always have local issues. I mean, there's things along the supply chain, of course, as we know between the oil and the gas pump. But let me ask you about the context here, which is that gas prices are up, obviously, hugely despite they're a little bit down over the past few weeks, but close to a seven-year high.
This is something that's been happening over months. Why did the President wait until now to do this and I'm presuming that's what he's going to do tomorrow. I realized that's my presumption. But why wait, why not do this a month ago, two months ago, three months ago?
DEESE: Well, we saw oil prices increase earlier this fall. And as they did, what you saw is President Biden go into action, engaging with oil producing countries, engaging with oil consuming countries and trying to make sure as I said that there was sufficient supply on the market to address what is a strong global recovery led by the United States.
And what you've seen over the course of the last month is in fact, in part because of those efforts, we've seen the price of oil come down by about 10 percent. We've seen the price of wholesale gas come down by about 12 percent. And to your point, of course, there's things in the middle. But historically, the relationship between wholesale gas, what the gas companies pay and what pays at the pump is quite consistent.
DEESE: Over the last month, we haven't seen that happen. We haven't seen the decline in wholesale gas prices translate into benefits at the pump. So again, that's not typical, that's not usual market behavior in a competitive market. And so that's where our focus has been and will continue to be.
BURNETT: So can I ask you, because actually, this is something that stood out to me, the President asked for an investigation into big oils whether there was some sort of price fixing or something illegal going on in terms of prices. Obviously, it's a really big thing to allege if they were caught doing any such thing in any way, I mean, it'd be an incredibly huge story. It's almost hard to imagine.
I'm curious, do you have evidence that something happened that led you to push for that investigation?
DEESE: What the President asked was for the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and the FTC itself to take a very close look at this market and that was based on the evidence that we see in the market today, which is we are not seeing declines in oil prices and wholesale prices translate into declines at the pump.
And there are many potential reasons for that, but we want to make sure that we have our experts and our regulators looking very closely at that question to make sure that if there is any anti-competitive behavior or manipulation in the market that is negatively affecting consumers, it's stamped out immediately.
So the evidence is clear, when oil prices come down, prices at the pump should come down and we hope and expect they will but President Biden is not going to wait for that and he's going to make sure that the regulators do their job and investigate wherever there is a problem.
BURNETT: Okay. I'm glad you said that, because I was wondering if you had any evidence that somebody had done something nefarious, but it's important that you're basing it off of the pricing.
I want to ask you about Jerome Powell and the news today. Obviously, the President's gone ahead and nominated Jerome Powell for a second term as head of the Fed. And, of course, Trump named him Chairman of the Fed the first time. So Powell's nomination strongly opposed by some progressives, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who will be voting on this. She's called Powell a dangerous man. She says she will vote against.
Luckily, you've got the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee who will support Powell, so that'll make up for the loss of Warren's vote. But it is amazing, if it weren't for Republicans, you might not be getting Powell, you wouldn't have had the infrastructure bill. But President Biden has been bucking progressives repeatedly and he's been able to get those Republican votes on infrastructure and now likely on Powell. Is Biden at all concerned that progressives could abandon him if they feel like they're getting ignored?
DEESE: Well, I would say the President prioritized in these choices today; experience, judgment and independence. And that's something that he saw in J Powell. It's also something that he saw in Lael Brainard, who he's nominated to become the Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve.
DEESE: And I think what we saw today was broad support for both of these nominees. You saw the Congressional Progressive Caucus, for example, supporting both of these nominees. You've seen Jay Powell and his work along with Lael Brainard at the Fed to prioritize maximum employment in the monetary policy framework receive plaudits from the AFL-CIO and the Business Roundtable.
And part of what the President was trying to reinforce today is that for an institution, as important as the Federal Reserve, independence and credibility, and being above our political fray is really important. And he sees in both J and Lael, both Powell and Brainard, people who have demonstrated that. And I think that you're seeing the positive response across the spectrum as a result.
So I think what we're trying to prioritize here is that these economic policy decisions on monetary policy over the next couple of years are going to be crucial for American families and for the American economy. And we need people with expertise, judgment and independence and that's what we see in both these nominees.
BURNETT: Director Deese, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
DEESE: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. And next officials revealed troubling new details tonight about the man accused of driving his SUV through a Christmas parade killing five.
Plus, the prosecution in the trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery possibly given a big advantage before the jury begins deliberations and we'll explain.
BURNETT: Tonight, the man accused of driving an SUV through a packed Christmas parade in Wisconsin now facing five counts of intentional homicide. Police say 39-year-old Darrell Brooks was involved in a domestic incident before he drove his SUV through the parade, killing five people and injuring nearly 50, including many children.
Tonight, the community is coming together at a vigil, try to understand how, how this could have happened. Adrienne Broaddus is OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty casualties down main street. Alert all the hospitals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice over): This horror at high speed ...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS(voice over): ... now revealed to be an intentional act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN THOMPSON, WAUKESHA POLICE CHIEF: A lone subject intentionally drove his maroon SUV through barricades into a crowd of people that was celebrating the Waukesha Christmas parade.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BROADDUS(voice over): Police say the driver of this vehicle seen
racing through the Waukesha holiday parade Sunday will be charged with killing five people ages 52 to 81 as more victims continue to fight for their lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMPSON: The suspect involved in this tragic incident is identified as Darrell E. Brooks, male 39 years of age who was a resident of Central Milwaukee. We are confident he acted alone. There's no evidence that this is a terrorist incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS(voice over): Police say Darrell Brooks was driving away from the scene of a domestic disturbance when he plow through the Christmas parade. It was not his first interaction with police this month. A criminal complaint from earlier in November shows a list of charges including recklessly endangering safety, disorderly conduct and battery.
The complaint also alleges Brooks, "Intentionally and without consent ran another person over with his vehicle while they were walking through the parking lot." He was out on $1,000 bail. A recommendation the DA says was 'inappropriately low'.
CNN reached out to Brooks' attorney regarding the incident earlier this month, but has not yet received a response.
In addition to those killed, nearly 50 people were injured Sunday, including several children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY DRENDEL, DIRECTOR, CHILDREN'S WISCONSIN, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT AND TRAUMA CENTER: Six of these patients were sent to the operating room last night and two additional patients are undergoing surgeries today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS (voice over): Children's Hospital Milwaukee confirms it received 18 patients Sunday evening ages three to 16 including three sets of siblings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DRENDEL: Injuries ranged from facial abrasions to broken bones to serious head injuries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could see kids just laying on the street, people putting blankets over them and trying to attend to them. Kids Screaming on the sidewalk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS (voice over): At least one witness says the driver continued to speed through the street even after hitting several people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It hit at least two people right away rolled over both of them and then kept going. It didn't stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS (on camera): And as you can imagine tonight, this community is holding a tremendous amount of pain throughout the city. Flags have been lowered in honor of those victims. And as you mentioned, among the nearly 50 injured, a vast majority of children.
And tomorrow, that 39-year-old suspect appears before a judge, initially facing five counts of first-degree intentional homicide -- Erin.
BURNETT: Adrienne, thank you very much.
And in Georgia tonight, a key day in the trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. The prosecution will present their rebuttal argument in the case tomorrow morning after sparring closing arguments. The defense saying the three defendants were trying to protect their neighborhood from crime. While the prosecutor argued that Arbery was targeted simply because he is black.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.
LINDA DUNIKOSKI, LEAD PROSECUTOR: Everybody in this case had a gun except Ahmaud Arbery.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The prosecution hammering the three men accused of chasing down and murdering Ahmaud Arbery who was jogging down the street in February 2020, unarmed and unaware he was about to be killed. All three men face several felony charges, including murder. Arbery was shot at close range and still tried to fight back before dying.
DUNIKOSKI: You expect when you are committing felonies, people are going to fight back. How dare Mr. Arbery defend himself against their four felonies? Isn't that what they are saying to you?
SIDNER: The defense began their closing blaming Arbery for his own demise.
LAURA HOGUE, GREG MCMICHAEL'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He was a recurring nighttime intruder, and that is frightening and unsettling.
JASON SHEFFIELD, TRAVIS MCMICHAEL'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What was Ahmaud Arbery doing in Satilla Shores from October 2019 to February 2020? There is no evidence that Ahmaud Arbery ever jogged or exercised in Satilla Shores.
SIDNER: The white men, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan were chasing Arbery in two vehicles. They claimed they thought Arbery had committed a crime and they were going to perform a citizen's arrest.
Travis McMichael's attorney says he had seen someone trespassing at an empty home construction site in the weeks before the day he shot Arbery.
SHEFFIELD: Travis believes he has committed the offense of burglary. You do have a right to perform a citizen's arrest. You do have the right to have a firearm when you make an arrest. You do have the right to stop a person and there is risk with that. And there are tragic consequences that can come from that.
SIDNER: Travis McMichael is the one who shot Arbery. During the trial, he was the only one who took the stand in his own defense.
DUNIKOSKI: Did he brandish any weapons?
TRAVIS MCMICHAEL, DEFENDANT: No, ma'am.
DUNIKOSKI: Didn't pull out any guns?
MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.
DUNIKOSKI: Didn't pull out any knife?
MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.
DUNIKOSKI: Never reached for anything, did he?
DUNIKOSKI: He just ran?
MCMICHAEL: Yes, he was just running.
SIDNER: His defense attorney said once he came face to face, McMichael defended himself.
SHEFFIELD: You wanted to stop him for the police to detain him. Don't be fooled by this word arrest. You don't have to announce you're under arrest. He raised the gun because he was afraid that he would be on him within seconds.
SIDNER: The prosecution said the defendant's claim of self-defense is moot since they were the initial aggressors and when it comes to making a citizen's arrest, the law is clear.
DUNIKOSKI: A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence. So, what's the problem for the defendants? Well, we all know that Mr. Bryan's on his porch. Where is Travis McMichael? He is in the house. Where is Greg McMichael? This all started when they saw him run down the street. SIDNER: The racially charged trial was inflamed by Kevin Gough, the
attorney for William Bryant. Goff tried several times to get the black pastors showing up to support Arbery's mother kicked out of court. As the attorneys broke for lunch during closing arguments today, some found themselves face to face with protestors. Some, armed to the hilt, prompting attorney Gough to call for a mistrial.
JUDGE TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, SUPERIOR COURT, STATE OF GEORGIA: I agree with the concern that is out there with regard to the jurors having exposure to anything that may be going on outside. Not -- whatever may be going on outside, I have -- it has not been brought to my attention on a security level.
SIDNER (on camera): Now, Greg McMichael's defense attorney, Laura Hogue, caused gasps in the court when she made a comment about Ahmaud Arbery. She said turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made do not reflect the reality of what brought him there and then she talked about what he had on. She said with his khaki shorts, with no socks, to cover his long dirty toenails.
That the family felt was dehumanizing. You saw family members leaving the court because of that comment and there were folks in court who gasped as she was talking about a dead man -- Erin.
BURNETT: That's incredible.
All right. Sara, thank you very much. And I want do go straight to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Of course, former-defense attorney, mayor of Baltimore.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake, you just heard Sara talk about where we are in this trial. Jury chose to delay prosecution rebuttal arguments until tomorrow morning, instead of doing them tonight.
So given that's what is going to be freshest on jurors' minds as they go to deliberation, does that give an advantage to the prosecution or not?
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it gives a tremendous advantage to the prosecution not just because they'll -- they will hear that tomorrow morning but also because the prosecutors get to use tonight -- and if I were them, I would be up burning the midnight oil with a cup of coffee and just going over everything they heard today from those three defense attorneys. And I would spend the time making sure that in my rebuttal, I would rip it to shreds and that will be the thing that the jurors will hear first thing tomorrow.
BURNETT: So I want to ask you about one of the defense's big arguments today which is they were protecting their neighborhood, right? That's the core of their whole argument.
Here is Travis McMichael's attorney. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEFFIELD: He trained weekly, sometimes daily on what the law provided that he do, what his responsibilities were, how he would make decisions in critical moments of policing so that he could perform his duty and his responsibility to his country and his community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, that was the strongest argument they had for why, you know, he was doing this legitimately.
Does that make a strong argument to the jury that Travis McMichael was acting from a sense of duty and that he had taken according to his attorney, such time and care in trying to do it right?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think the defense is hoping that this lands with one of -- at least one of the jurors. That they will buy this argument but when I think about it -- and I put myself in the jury's place, do I want a defendant doing this on my behalf? Is this what I would consider a civic duty? I -- I just don't think so. They did not see him commit any offense, except for being black.
BURNETT: So let me talk about that because race actually in this trial hasn't come up as much as some might think, right? The prosecution's mostly shied away from talking about it, which is an interesting thing, until closing arguments and I just want to play that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUNIKOSKI: All three of these defendants made assumptions. Made assumptions about what was going on that day and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a black man running down the street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, interesting, they waited until this final moment to make that point. Why do you think they did that?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think the prosecutors -- the prosecution is reading the jury. They are hoping that they don't need to beat this issue over the heads of the jury. And they don't really want to turn this into a tribal war where, you know, you have to -- to figure out which side do you want to win? They want the -- the jurors to make a decision based on the facts and the facts are they did make a -- an assumption because of Ahmaud Arbery's race.
BURNETT: All right. Mayor Rawlings-Blake, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Uh-huh. Thanks.
BURNETT: All right. And next, several new videos of tennis star Peng Shuai released. They show her having dinner, attending a youth-tennis tournament. These appearances are raising more questions about whether she's really free.
And a Republican Senate candidate who had Trump's endorsement suspending his campaign tonight. We have been covering this. And tonight, we'll tell you why.
BURNETT: Tonight, the Women's Tennis Association saying it is not satisfied with the new images of tennis star Peng Shuai.
The organization still demanding to know that she is safe, and that her rape allegations against former-vice premiere in China will be investigated, prosecuted if appropriate. Peng was seen several times over the weekend, appearing on a video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee.
People connected the Chinese state media also posted videos of her having dinner and even attending a youth tennis tournament in China.
OUTFRONT now is Desmond Shum. He's the author of "Red Roulette: An Insider Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in today's China".
It is a great book. I hope you read it. I read it and it tells the story of his ex-wife, the mother of his son, Whitney Duan, a Chinese billionaire who vanished four years ago without a trace. Only to contact him right before he published the book where she urged him not to release it, including veiled threats against him and their son.
I want to talk about that, Desmond. And I really do hope everyone will read -- will read your story.
But when you see these photos and these videos now coming out of Peng Shuai on Chinese state media at -- at a tennis tournament or having dinner and the International Olympic Committee says, look, we had this FaceTime call with her and everything seems a-okay. Is -- is any of this real in the way that I would define real? You know, genuine, she means it, it's all real? Or is this all orchestrated?
DESMOND SHUM, EX-WIFE WENT MISSING IN CHINA FOR FOUR YEARS: My experience, um, judging from my 20 years from China and then dealing with high officials, it is -- I mean, when the Communist Party has a complete hold on your entire family, all your friends, and your -- all your properties, you act according to their desire.
BURNETT: So, do you think, you know, when she made these allegations -- one thing, Desmond, actually, I thought about you and -- and your book because when your wife was taken, you were out of the country, right? Thank God for you. But she -- Peng Shuai -- is there.
She put these allegations out there when she was in mainland China and that's where she is now. Do you think she is going to be allowed to leave China on her own free will?
SHUM: No. That's no chance of that.
BURNETT: Okay. So, she disappeared right after this public accusation, right, against the former Vice Premiere Zhang Gaoli of raping her. He is someone that I know you knew when you were in China through your many years of business dealings there.
So when you heard this and his name involved, what was your reaction?
SHUM: I wasn't surprised at all because sexual exploitation of women by party officials or bureaucrats is a very, very common happenings in China. And so, it is no -- no surprise what happened to her through another high place party official.
BURNETT: So, one thing that stood out to me. You wrote this book and I want to ask you about that because you did so under threat but you, again, were outside of China and there is a long pattern of critics or enemies of China disappearing for months. I mean, Jack Ma from Alibaba was disappeared for a few months and it's shocking.
But if you think about another country that sort of engages in this sort of thing, you know, let's just say, Russia. Their critics or enemies often don't just disappear, right? They are murdered and with bizarre poisons brutally on the streets of London where you are now.
Why do you think China handles this differently?
SHUM: China has a -- it's a -- you know, very different situation. They have a different desire. You know, Xi Jinping talk about he is offering China's governance model to the rest of the world. He's a common faith. He believe China offer alternative to the Western Democratic model.
So -- and then, you look at, you know, their -- their standings, they are going -- United Nation. You know, in this case, IOC came out to basically say well, Peng Shuai's okay. China is doing fine in order to host the Winter Olympic next year.
So, it's a lot of political calculation. China have a desire to have a grandstanding in the international stage so they act completely different from the Russians.
BURNETT: Yeah, it is amazing the IOC, the minute they were given a way to say okay this put it behind us, they jumped on it and enabled it as you are pointing out.
So let me ask you about your situation because with Whitney, your ex- wife, you called her hundreds of times when she was missing. Phone was dead. Hundreds of times, Desmond, you call her. Her mother calls her you write every single day until her mother died. No answer.
But even though -- and -- and then, right before you are about to publish the book, right, you know, she -- she -- suddenly get to talk to her and she is the one who delivers you the threats of don't do this, don't -- don't write the book.
And yet, since then, you have been able to speak with her and your son has been able to speak with her. So, did speaking out -- did the book help do you think? And by the way, I would imagine you still don't know exactly where she is. She is not allowed to come see you or her son or to leave China, wherever she is.
SHUM: Definitely, the book helped her. I mean, the book delivered her from disappearance after four years of complete disappearance, vanished by the state. So it is an international spotlight in situation like this definitely help.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Desmond, I really appreciate your time. Thank you for speaking.
You know, I know it took incredible courage and to go against those threats and I can't imagine that final decision point you had to make but again, I do hope everyone will hear what you have to say tonight and read your book. Thank you.
SHUM: Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: All right.
And next, he could have been key to Republicans taking back the Senate. But tonight, this Republican Senate candidate with Trump's support is out.
Fifty-eight years ago today, Jackie Kennedy -- right as her husband was assassinated -- rose to the moment and helped bring Americans together. A picture gives me chills. We will show you why -- see us zooming in -- what can we learn from her tonight?
BURNETT: Tonight, a Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate backed by Trump is out, suspending his campaign after losing his fight for custody of his children. Sean Parnell had been in a contentious battle with his estranged wife. She accused him choking her and injuring their children. He denies this.
I want to bring in Sara Murray who you may know has been following this story for us since the custody hearing earlier-this month.
So, Sara, this is where we are now with this. What is Parnell saying about his decision to suspend his campaign, which is obviously a big decision here politically?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think that the judge's ruling that became public today was just a -- a big blow to Parnell, personally, and just a huge blow to his Senate campaign.
Here is what he said in a statement today: I strongly disagree with the ruling today, and I'm devastated by the decision. There is nothing more important to me than my children and while I plan to ask the court to reconsider, I can't continue with this Senate campaign. And when I was going through the judge's ruling, you can kind of see
how this becomes politically insurmountable. You know, the judge essentially says that he found Parnell's estranged wife, Laurie Snell, to be a more credible witness. The judge says he believes that Parnell did commit acts of abuse at some point against his wife. You know, he wasn't going to sort of cherry pick which incidents he thought happened but he felt that her recounting of, you know, the incidents that she had with Parnell was credible. She felt -- the judge felt like her recounting the incidents with the children was credible.
You know, he also went on to say that it was going to be really difficult for him to be able to award Parnell sole custody or primary custody of the kids when he was running for Senate. Parnell made it clear in court that he intended to win a Republican primary. He intended to win that seat. He intended to spend part of his time in Washington and that certainly was working against him in this custody dispute -- Erin.
BURNETT: OK. It comes almost three months after he banked a powerful endorsement from former President Trump. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: He is a real hero. A real tough guy and he will never let you down -- Sean Parnell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, how much does this upend the -- that primary?
MURRAY: I mean, it absolutely does. You know, this was Donald Trump's anointed candidate. So in many ways, he sort of looked like the front- runner but he was failing to clear the field, in part because these allegations came out against him.
You know, another Republican primary opponent was using these essentially on a campaign website and a super PAC was using them in ads against Parnell. It was getting very ugly. So this kind of puts the Trump folks back to the drawing board. They say this is still a top priority for the former president.
Obviously, it is a top priority for Republicans. But it's a big question what happens next in this field, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. Of course, has been on the ground covering this story. Thank you.
And next, what America can learn from this powerful image. It was taken 58 years ago, today. Jackie Kennedy boarding air force one alone right after her husband was assassinated.
BURNETT: Tonight, we mark 58 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was a moment that forever changed this nation. And it was a moment where America came together in a way that seems almost impossible. Jut hours after the shooting, we witnessed Kennedy's widow Jackie.
Michael Bess posted this picture today and I was zooming in and I saw her skirt. Poised, grace, strength, in front of a shattered nation, boarding the plane back to Washington with blood and more all over her skirt.
Moments later, she stands next to her husband's successor -- President Lyndon Johnson -- as he was sworn into office. She was only 34 years old but she manage today comfort a grieving nation as she was in shock, despair, grief, herself. It was a tumultuous time.
Nearly four and a half years later, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Two months after that, President Kennedy's brother, Senator Robert Kennedy, was assassinated. These five years left America forever changed but our democracy held.
And we are now forced to wonder whether we can move through these times. So five years I said there, right? Well, it's been about five years since Donald Trump took office and across our society and our government, times seem to dark. Even today for the first time ever, the United States was added to a list of backsliding democracies in a report released by the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
And yet today, I look at Jackie Kennedy with blood and worse all over her skirt walking up those stairs and I had chills. She rose to that moment and I thought, my God, if she could do that, we can rise to this moment, too.
Thanks for joining us.
Anderson starts now.