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Erin Burnett Outfront

Biden Taps Oil Reserves, Admits It Won't Solve Problem Overnight; WH Won't Say Whether Move Is To Stave Off Political Crisis; Biden Says "Gas Companies Are Paying Less And Making A Lot More" After Calling For FTC Probe Into Gas Prices; Jury Finds White Nationalists Who Organized Violent Charlottesville Rally Liable For $26M Plus In Damages; Bernard Kerik Demands Apology From Jan 6 Panel, Says He Never Attended Key Meeting With Giuliani, Bannon, Eastman; Jury In Arbery Killing Wraps First Day Of Deliberations; Jury In Arbery Killing Wraps First Day Of Deliberations; China Calls Questions About Tennis Star "Malicious Speculation." Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 23, 2021 - 19:00   ET


JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: We appreciate it very much as always, great to see you.

LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Jim. You too.

ACOSTA: All right. And I'm Jim Acosta. Thanks very much for watching.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now. Have a good night.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Biden puts a plan in action to address rising gas prices, though admitting today it won't solve the problem overnight. So is this nothing more than just a political ploy?

Plus, the white supremacist organizers of the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia found liable in order to pay millions of dollars. The jury deadlocked on the more serious claims tonight though.

And she led protesters at Tiananmen Square, hid for 10 months till she was finally able to escape in a cargo box. Tonight, her message for Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, President Biden throwing a Hail Mary pass. The President ordering the release of 50 million barrels of oil from America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Biden desperate to ease rising gas prices for American touting a deal with five other countries to do the same thing and open up their oil reserves.

All right. Now, look, it is good that Biden is working with other countries to relieve pressure on prices, but context matters and the reality is, is that this is essentially America alone. India releasing just 5 million barrels, 1.5 million for the U.K., South Korea, China and Japan, no nothing at all, just 'working on a plan'. Still, Biden insists the move will pay off.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our combined actions will not solve the problem of high gas prices overnight, it will make a difference. It will take time, but, before long, you should see the price of gas drop.


BURNETT: Okay. Well, I hope he's right. But again, context really matters. So Americans used more than 20 million barrels of oil a day in the month of September. Translation, today's release equals about two and a half days of U.S. oil use. I'll say it again, two and a half days of U.S. oil use.

To be blunt, it may not provide the kind of relief that many hundreds of millions of Americans are looking for. And that may be why the White House did not want to directly answer our Jeff Zeleny when he asked if this was really just a political move.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORREPONDENT: Does the President believe that this is an emergency, of an energy sake or more of a political crisis?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, where emerging from a once in a century pandemic and the supply of oil has not kept up with demand.

ZELENY: But is this being done primarily to try and stave off a political crisis?

PSAKI: This is being done in order to use every tool at the President's disposal to lower the price of gas for the American people.


BURNETT: Okay. Sure, the President should use every tool at his disposal and there's a lot to talk about there. But pretending the SPR and this emergency reserve release, Biden knows the reality too. We've learned that Biden had been privately advised that tapping into the reserve wouldn't do much to alleviate the current problem, so he knew.

And another thing, Biden has been talking about doing this for a while, in fact, for weeks, he's been asked, and the market had been expecting it. So for the translation on that, let me quote Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy. Here's what he told us today, "Oil prices started dipping once the administration hinted this move was coming." So it's essentially already priced into the market.

Okay. Well, you can see the price of oil has dropped from its recent high, price of gas now $3.40, up 61 percent from a year ago. Experts say maybe Biden's move lowers it by $0.05, maybe $0.10. Only temporarily? Ouch. So where that goes from there, no one knows. And that is really important, because it brings me to the heart of the issue tonight. And that is it's hard to stave off a surge in energy prices with a small release of emergency oil, fundamentally, when the problem actually isn't oil prices at all. JPMorgan's Marko Kolanovic, one of Wall Street's top strategist tells Bloomberg that oil prices in fact are a steal compared to the surge we've seen in other assets.

So he points out that if the surge in oil prices was keeping up with the surge we've seen in other assets, other commodities, the stock market, bond market, it would be somewhere, oil, in the realm of $115 a barrel, $115 a barrel. Again, it's at $78 a barrel right now. So let me translate that, oil prices could be 47 percent higher and indeed they would be if they had gone up at the rate other assets have.

And that is why today's move from President Biden while welcome is essentially a total Hail Mary pass. Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. So Jeff, I saw your questioning there of the Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Why did the President make this announcement today? Does he truly believe that it will work in any meaningful way?


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORREPONDENT: Erin, the White House has been talking about this, as you said, really for a few weeks but the announcement was done, today we were told, because it was that coordination with five other countries trying to make a global announcement, shining a global light on this and no coincidence it's also right before the Thanksgiving holiday. So the White House is definitely trying to show Americans that they are on this problem.

Now, gas prices are not something that the President alone controls, of course, but they are a president's headache, regardless of which President is in office. And for President Biden now this is a central headache, with inflation certainly worrying this White House more than anything else we've really seen.

But the timing today was done to get this started. And Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was asked specifically about the 50 million barrels. The market, of course, was expecting much more. She described it as a bridge to get into the new year and to try and work out the supply and demand issues.

But a question is how long will that bridge work and will prices come down at all. The White House knows they won't come down a lot. But they do believe in the coming weeks, the next few weeks before Christmas, they hope, there'll be some evidence that at least this is working to a small degree, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny.

And I want to go now to Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and Austin Goldsby, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama. Thanks to both of you. So Doug, let me start with you. President Biden says today releasing the reserves won't solve the problem overnight, but it will 'make a difference'. Again, they released 2.5 days of supply. Do you agree with the President?

DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE: No. I think you've got this exactly right, Erin. This is a trivial amount of oil in the global ocean of oil and it's not going to make a bit of difference. And the real issue is the fact that there have been substantial mismatch between supply and demand and this just doesn't solve that problem.

BURNETT: Austin?

AUSTIN GOLDSBY, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think it's a little unfair, and it's not the correct way to think about it how many days of supply is that if it were a hundred percent of supply. The issue has been, if you needed an extra 2 million barrels a day, it would go for three weeks or so. That's not insignificant. That's not major. It's certainly not permanent.

I think the context of this is the price has gotten up above what most people view as the marginal cost of production and that's because Saudi Arabia and Russia together are restricting output. So anything you could do to try to throw a wrench into the OPEC cartel, which is why I think they got the other countries on board so that it's not just a U.S. phenomenon.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: But Austin, OPEC can offset this easily.

GOLDSBY: If you could change that dynamic that would make a difference.

BURNETT: So Doug - yes, go ahead.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: OPEC can offset this in a heartbeat. I mean, this is nothing. From an OPEC point of view, this is nothing. They can offset this easily. It will have no impact on global supplies.

BURNETT: So to the point that you're making, though, about that it's on the margin, Austin, Doug, let me ask you something the President said, because he actually addressed this issue, what it's costing the producer to make it versus what the consumer is paying for it, the retail price at the pump, here's what he said.


BIDEN: In fact, if the gap between wholesale and retail gas prices was in line with past averages, Americans would be paying at least $0.25 less per gallon right now, as I speak. Instead, companies are pocketing the difference as profit. That's unacceptable.


BURNETT: There are some saying that's complete political theater though, Doug, and you heard JPMorgan's point of view, oil should be at 115 bucks a barrel if it mirrored any other asset, so what do you say to the President?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Well, number one, JPMorgan has that right. Number two, I'm glad the President's on that quarter, but gas is up a buck and a half and that quarter is not the problem. The problem is gasoline is up at 60 percent rate and even if you take out food and energy, we've got inflation that's up at a 5.5 percent rate over the first part of this year, so 1.5 when he took office. So that's the problem.

I mean, the energy is only 7 percent of the average household's budget. So they're going after a small part of the problem with the trivial policy. They have an inflation problem. They better figure out what to do about that.

BURNETT: So Austin, put me in the mind of what's happening at the White House. There are people who know everything that we're talking about and they've briefed the President, yet they chose to do this anyway. I'm not saying they shouldn't have done it. But it's not going to massively move the needle and change the world here. So is this a sign that there's nothing else that they feel that they can do, Austin, or what's the thinking do you think?

GOLDSBY: I don't know. I mean, as I say, the oil market oftentimes when you're in a periods of high demand, a little bit of supply does make a significant difference on the price. If you could get two to 3 million barrels a day for a few weeks, that could have an impact on the price. And if that changes the political dynamic within the OPEC cartel, that would be important.

I think, to the broader inflation point that Doug raises in which you're kind of going in, there they're stuck in a little bit of a pickle.


Because the timeframe of the easing of the supply chain constraints, which are easing but that's going to be months and that's not a political timeframe, so that's why it's uncomfortable when you look beyond oil, which is a world commodity.

BURNETT: Right. And I understand that there's some who say that inflation is driven purely by how much money supply there is and those people are all on DEFCON 5 about the bad situation. There are others who say it's what people expect is going to happen to inflation, which right now isn't very good either.

I understand there's different camps in all of these stuff, but that to the point that Austin is saying is, it is a lot more than gas. Both of you are saying this. It's everything. It's everything going up. Here's what Biden said about that today.


BIDEN: All these concerns, a few weeks ago, there'd not be ample food available for Thanksgiving, so many people talked about that, understandably. But families can rest easy. Grocery stores are well-stocked with turkey and everything else you need for Thanksgiving.


BURNETT: Okay. So the stocking issue, Doug, was a problem and now there is more in stock. But turkey cost up 24 percent, complete Thanksgiving dinner cost up 14 percent. General Mills raising the price on hundreds of items across the board: Betty Crocker, Progresso, Cheerios 20 percent.

Dollar Tree is now everything is going to $1.25 tree, 25 percent increase if anyone wants to do the math. But this doesn't feel temporary when people put numbers out like this, each respond, Doug.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Well, I mean, number one, the White House is uncomfortable about this because their American rescue plan was the start of this problem. That was a massive over stimulus in an economy that has some supply problems, no question. But they're badly exacerbated by the fact that they put too much money in when the economy has already grown into 6 percent to 9 percent. They can't fix that now.

And everywhere they look, they see inflation. They're responsible for part of that and there's no easy way to fix this. Of course, you could just stop the monetary stimulus to raise interest rates. You could raise taxes on middle class, that would stop it, but we don't know that risk to recession and so they're going to let this go and they're going to try to deal with it slowly.

But that means wages continue to rise, that's cost pressures, inflation expectations continue to rise. That's an incentive to negotiate even higher wages. You see the end result on consumer prices and that's a durable inflation problem, so they're really are stuck right now.

BURNETT: So Austin, let me ask you that, because this is where it does seem durable. If you are Betty Crocker or Progresso, and you get a 20 percent increase through, I don't know when that 20 percent increase is going away. It would take a lot to take it away. Once you get an increase through, Austin, that's pretty much permanent, isn't it?

GOLDSBY: Inflation is how much prices increase each year, so if they get through and they stop increasing at 20 percent, inflation will have gone to zero. So I disagree with Doug, I don't think he's correct that U.S. policy is what's driving the inflation. If you look at Germany, they announced they've got the highest inflation in 29 years. If you look in China, the highest inflation in 26 years. U.S., highest inflation in 30 years.

Something is happening worldwide and that thing is that people are not spending their money on services the way they usually do. They're spending it on goods, physical goods and the supply chain cannot handle us spending so much of our money on physical goods all at the same time. We've got to get control of the virus, so we go back to spending money on services and that will relieve the supply chain and (inaudible) straight the inflation that is concentrated in physical goods right now where the supply chain is (inaudible) ...

BURNETT: All right. Well, I'll let you have the last words since Doug had the first, but I thank you both very much. I think it's really important to have a real substantive debate like this. Thank you.

And next, new subpoenas issued by the January 6 Select Committee, so who do they want to hear from tonight?

Plus, the jury in the trial of three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Breaking for the night, their prosecutors got the final say.


LINDA DUNIKOSKI, LEAD PROSECUTOR: Do you really believe he had no other choice but to use a shotgun?


BURNETT: And we are just hours away from NASA's latest launch an admission that could one day save our planet.



BURNETT: New tonight, a jury finding the white nationalists who planned and participated in the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia are liable for more than $26 million in damages.

James Alex Fields, Jr., who the nation saw in that extremely disturbing video, is responsible for nearly half of that money. He plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters injuring dozens and killing Heather Heyer, who's 32 years old.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT. And Jason, I mean, incredible amount of money, $26 million. The jury sending a strong rebuke to the white nationalists who were behind the deadly rally.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And plaintiffs' attorneys are calling this a major step in holding white nationalists, white supremacists responsible for the violence that occurred during the Unite the Right rally. And as you know, at the end of the day, this is a civil case, civil trial.

This was about trying to get as much money as possible out of these defendants, 17 of them. Some of them individuals, some of them organizations designated as hate groups. And while the jury did hold them accountable for millions when you add it all up, they did deadlock on two major claims.

One of those being conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence. The other one, failing to prevent that conspiracy. However, the jurors at the end of the day, they did find that these defendants were responsible for four other claims, including state conspiracy claims. And in addition to that, subjecting plaintiffs to racial and religious harassment.


AMY SPITALNICK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INTEGRITY FIRST FOR AMERICA: This verdict sends a very clear message that violent, hate won't go unanswered. That there will be very serious consequences for the sort of extremist violence we saw here four years ago.


CARROLL: And Erin, when you look at things in terms of what ended up happening here, there's been a lot of sort of talk about how exactly are you going to get all of this money from all of these different defendants, because a lot of them are already claiming, look, we didn't even have enough money to defend ourselves.


And so some of the defense attorneys are already out saying, it's really going to be impossible to get money from these people.

BURNETT: Right. So it's more of a symbolic 26 million. That's the bottom line.

CARROLL: Well, one would hope. I want you to listen to one of the defense attorneys had to say about this, because he's saying, once again, it's going to be very hard to get money from his clients.


JOSHUA SMITH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The defendants in the case are destitute. None of them have any money. I don't know how any of the plaintiffs are going to get anything for any of this.


CARROLL: And when I sort of asked plaintiff's attorneys about that, Erin, they had this to say, they said, look, we understand that a lot of these defendants don't have the money. But they also understand when you look at some of these white nationalists, when you look at some of these groups who are designated as hate groups, they're constantly getting money according to some of these organizations from sort of dark corners of society. And so what this does legally is it gives them the legal arm to take that money whenever it comes in, Erin.

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

And also new tonight, the former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, demanding an apology from the January 6 Select Committee. This is after the committee subpoenaed him.

They said the Committee was wrong when it said he attended a meeting with Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon and pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman on January 5th with the topic of overturning the election. However, Kerik's lawyer also says his client will comply with the subpoena. And this comes as the Select Committee just tonight is issuing a new round of subpoenas. Whitney Wild is OUTFRONT on that.

And Whitney, they have been actually, I mean, I know they've talked to 200 people, but a lot of subpoenas coming out here. Who are the latest targets of the Committee and why?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: The latest targets of the Committee or people that the committee believes are directly linked to the violence. This is a round of subpoenas we've been waiting for because we know that the Committee is building up to trying to figure out what were the connections between all of these different areas, the White House, the money, the rally and eventually, Erin, the violence.

So they've zeroed in on some key figures here of these major far-right extremist groups, most notably the Proud Boys. Several of those people now indicted for their roles in the insurrection. This also includes a subpoena for the Oath Keepers, a group that, according to the subpoena, provided security for Roger Stone on January 5th and 6th while he was in Washington, D.C.

Further, several of those members are now charged with conspiracy for their roles in the insurrection. And then finally a group we haven't spoken about a lot on CNN, but this group called the First Amendment praetorian. They're important, Erin, because they are actually listed as security on a national park service permit for an event that happened on January 5th.

So consider that, they were the security, the legitimate security on a permit. However, on January 6th at 4:13 pm, the subpoena says, so this was hours after the violence broke out, hours after Capitol Police had gone hand to hand with rioters. That group tweeted the cost of truth is pain. Erin.

BURNETT: Wow. All right. Whitney, thank you very much and important detail and she's right, not a group we've heard a lot about but one that no doubt you will be. Thanks again, Whitney.

And next, the jury in the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery deliberating after the prosecutor argued Arbery would still be alive if it were not for his race.


DUNIKOSKI: What's your emergency? There's a black man running down the street.


BURNETT: Plus, the International Olympic Committee now accused of looking the other way when it comes to China and its treatment of tennis star, Peng Shuai.


[19:27:45] BURNETT: Tonight, awaiting a verdict. The jury in the trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery wrapping day one after more than six hours of deliberations. Okay. So they were in there for six hours and it came after the prosecution delivered its rebuttal argument with a fiery attempt to undermine the defense's claim that the killing of Arbery was just an act of self-defense. Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, the jury deliberating the fate of the three men accused of killing a black man running through a coastal Georgia neighborhood last year.




SAVIDGE (voice over): Judge Timothy Walmsley placing the controversial case into the hands of one black and 11 White jurors.


WALMSLEY: So with that, ladies and gentlemen, I ask that you retire the jury room.


SAVIDGE (voice over): The prosecution getting the final say retelling how an armed father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, aided by a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan pursued 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, eventually cornering and killing him. The vital moments caught on video.


DUNIKOSKI: You can't force someone to defend themselves against you, so you get to claim self-defense. This isn't the Wild West.


SAVIDGE (voice over): Defense lawyers say the men were attempting a citizen's arrest after they say Arbery was seen several times trespassing inside of a home under construction. It turned deadly. They say when Arbery attack Travis McMichael as McMichael was pointing a shotgun at Arbery, Travis saying he shot in self-defense.

The prosecution pushing back saying the men that day never told police they were attempting as citizen's arrest.


DUNIKOSKI: The defendants never ever said citizen's arrest, so ladies and gentlemen where in the world this citizen's arrest thing come from, because it didn't come from the defendants on February 23rd 2020.


SAVIDGE (voice over): And the State argued self-defense was not an option since the father and son initiated the chase, saying an armed Travis McMichael in a truck never really feared an unarmed Arbery.


DUNIKOSKI: There's no fear here. There's only anger. Do you really believe he had no other choice but to use a shotgun?


SAVIDGE (voice over): The State arguing if any one of the dependents had not taken part in any of these crimes, Ahmaud Arbery could still be alive and that his race was a motivating factor.


DUNIKOSKI: What's your emergency? There's a black man running down the street.


SAVIDGE (voice over): Both Arbery's family and defense attorney said they have faith in the jury.


LEE MERRITT, WANDA COOPER-JONES' ATTY: And we're confident that this jury will seriously consider all the evidence and come back with a verdict that is reflective of what actually happened which is the brutal and unjustified murder of Ahmaud Arbery.


JASON SHEFFIELD, TRAVIS MCMICHAEL'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We are very confident in the evidence of Travis's innocence and now we will see what the jury feels is justice and we will accept the verdict, whatever it is.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Defense attorney Kevin Gough who has made controversial comments throughout the trial, criticizing the presence of black pastors, seemed to soften his tone, expressing concern for the Arbery family.

KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM "RODDIE" BRYAN: There is no pressure on the lawyers. Win or lose, we go home. The pressure is on the clients. You know, and I -- I feel for the Arbery family. This has been an ordeal for them.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SAVIDGE (on camera): Jury deliberations will begin, again, at 8:30 in the morning. And speaking of pressure, Wednesday is, of course, the day before Thanksgiving. And though it has not been spoken of by the judge, there is likely to be a significant amount of pressure on the jurors to render some kind of verdict before the major holiday weekend.

We do know that for security, a unified command has been put in place. They haven't said if they will delay the announcement of a verdict to allow security time to be present. We do know that there is a significant presence of security forces nearby just in case -- Erin.

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

And I want to go now to Paul Martin, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. And Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former defense attorney and former mayor of Baltimore.

So, Paul, six hours of deliberations today, right? And today was day one, right, because they -- they finished the argument. They are going to continue tomorrow ahead of thanksgiving, supposed to get out at noon. Could delay a little further. If they have to come back after Thanksgiving, that means they are coming in on Friday.

So, do you think there is a verdict tomorrow?

PAUL MARTIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & FORMER PROSECUTOR: There's a verdict tomorrow for two reasons. One, the prosecution has put forth a very compelling case. And when they put forth a very compelling case, it's easier for the jurors to come -- come to a conclusion that -- that is consistent with the law.

Two, it's thanksgiving. These people are human beings. They want to go back to their lives. They've been overwhelmed with this whole situation and they know that if they don't render a verdict tomorrow, they're back on Friday.

BURNETT: Yeah. So, Mayor Rawlings-Blake, you know, this started today. So you have the six hours of deliberations as I mentioned. That was after the prosecution presenting its rebuttal argument today. So, the prosecutor tried to undermine the defense's argument that the defendants were performing a citizen's arrest. That's been the core of it.

So, here is what the jurors heard today before they went into their deliberations.


LINDA DUNIKOSKI, LEAD PROSECUTOR: The defendants never, ever said citizen's arrest. They never, ever said we're making an arrest. They never said we saw him commit a crime.

So, ladies and gentlemen, where in the world did the citizen's arrest thing come from? Because it didn't come from the defendants on February 23rd, 2020. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, Mayor, did -- was that convincing? And -- and how important is it to the prosecution to prove that this was not a, quote/unquote, citizen's arrest?

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree with Paul. This was a very, very strong rebuttal. I think the jury has a lot to consider, and a lot of good information. And it is essential that the prosecutor rip apart any notion that this was a citizen's arrest.

I mean, think about it. What the jurors have heard in this trial, would they want to give that power to another human being? That they could just think that they thought that they saw something and -- and on that basis, be able to take someone's life.

I really think that it's going to be really difficult for there to be any -- any decision, other than that they did not have any right to self-defense. I think there's -- these defendants are going down.

BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty -- it's pretty hard. Shorts and a t- shirt. Guy's not harmed. It is a really hard argument for them to make.

Paul, however, the jury does have thee defendants, right? Each of them, facing nine charges. Okay? So, you got a lot to go through, to sift through. Malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, criminal attempt to commit a crime. That's a lot. Or is it not? I mean, they got to tick through each box and each person.

MARTIN: But you have to understand they -- they are tied together through the course of this trial. If they find that they're not justified in shooting Mr. Arbery, they all go down. It doesn't go -- it's not going to be a matter of, you know, a question of fact. This isn't a question of fact. We already know the facts.

Did the facts apply to the law? Did they make a self-defense claim? They did not. Then, they fall. So I don't think it's as difficult as it may seem at first blush.

BURNETT: Mayor, do you agree with that? That even though you have got nine each and three people in one trial. Which may surprise some. May think you would try everybody individually but they have been tied together.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: They are definitely tied together. I think if there is an ounce of maybe, you know, Thanksgiving good will, I think the -- the defendant Bryan -- William Bryant maybe -- Bryan, excuse me, may be the one to be found less culpable for his role.


But I think, again, I agree with Paul. That these individuals are all tied into a very heinous act. And I think they will be found guilty.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you, both, very much. I appreciate your time and, of course, Bryan, the one who was filmed the video there at the end.


BURNETT: All right. Next, China's state news lashing out at, quote, some Western forces for raising questions about the safety of tennis star Peng Shuai. Well, I am going to talk to a woman, next, who led protestors at Tiananmen Square in China, hid for ten months, and was finally only able to escape in a cargo box. She has a message tonight to Peng Shuai.

And Trump's pick is out. So, who are the Republicans that could now be running for Pennsylvania's absolutely crucial Senate seat?


BURNETT: Tonight, malicious speculation. That is how China is describing growing questions about the wellbeing of tennis star Peng Shuai, who vanished three weeks ago and suddenly reappeared this weekend, after accusing the former vice premiere of China of raping her.


This is the human rights watch group accuses the International Olympic Committee of sports washing after it downplayed concerns about Peng following a video call. And the IOC, let's just be honest, not the only organization facing scrutiny for looking the other way again and again with China.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Zhang Gaoli, China's 75- year-old former-vice premiere, the one-time face of the Beijing 2022 Olympics and the man who stands accused of sexual assault by one of China's premiere tennis stars, Peng Shuai. Her disappearance in the wake of the allegations on November 2nd and mysterious reappearance over the weekend, fueling a firestorm that threatens to dismantle China's worldwide sport aspirations. Or does it?

While the Women's Tennis Association's threat to pull a ten-year multi-tournament contract could cost China, contracts with Major League Baseball, the NBA, Formula 1, and others put China on course with its goal to make sports a $780 billion industry by 2025.

PROF. SIMON CHADWICK, DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR EURASIAN SPORT: This could be the biggest sport economy in the world.

RIPLEY: Sports is already big business in China, home to almost 1.5 billion potential fans. According to analytics company Global Data, Chinese firms sponsorship agreements with the International Olympic Committee and football federations FIFA and EUFA alone are worth more than $2.2 billion and growing.

Athletes sponsorships and sports manufacturing account for lucrative deals for companies like Nike. In 2018, Nike made some $6.2 billion in China. That number rose 21 percent from the previous year. Nike saw just a 7 percent increase in revenue in North America over that same period. So far, Peng Shuai's sponsors have stayed silent in the wake of the allegations.

CHADWICK: What a lot of organizations are trying to do at the moment is -- is to navigate the middle way.

RIPLEY: The WTA has a lot to lose by taking a stand. Reportedly, one- third of their revenue comes from China. The organization's chairman and CEO telling OUTFRONT it's a chance they're willing to take.

STEVE SIMON, WTA CHAIRMAN AND CEO: Because this is certainly -- this is bigger than the business.

RIPLEY: For the NBA, the outcome was remarkably different. Basketball is China's most popular sport but after a quickly-deleted October 2019 tweet by Houston Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey in support of the Hong Kong democracy protests, the backlash from China was swift. The threat of sponsorship loss, broadcast denial, and severing of ties with the NBA proved a bridge too far for an organization that, at that time, made 10 percent of its revenue in the Chinese market.

The NBA, initially, distanced itself from Morey and moved to do damage control hoping to salvage its relationship. And the IOC looking at a multibillion-dollar revenue stream from China's hosting of the Winter Olympics just a few months away.

That relationship with China, like it was in 2015 when Zhang helped negotiate Beijing hosting the 2022 Winter Games, appears as strong as ever.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: When the history books look back at this time, they will say the WTA, what an incredible master class in humanitarian leadership, the right way to do it to call China on its abuses and the International Olympic Committee sitting there, as they always do, basically doing nothing.


RIPLEY (on camera): And right now, as we look at a live feed of CNN's signal inside China, you can see that as soon as you started talking about this story, Erin, it went to color bars. They have been consistently censoring CNN's coverage of Peng Shuai's case and it just shows the level to which they are trying to erase this completely not talking about it on their state media in the mainland, not talking about it on social media.

Are these organizations and sponsors endorsing this by continuing to do business with China? That is the uncomfortable question that a lot are facing right now.

BURNETT: It's amazing. And by the way, the great irony that they have saying, look, everything's fine. Look at the pictures of her. But if anybody wants to talk about it, they put it -- they put it to what everyone sees on their screen now. I mean, it's -- it's pretty incredible.

All right. Will, thank you so much for that report.

I want to go straight on that now to Ling Chai, who led student protestors in Tiananmen Square in China, then spent ten months in hiding until she was able to escape by hiding in a cargo box. That's how she was able to get out of country. She's also the founder and CEO of All Girls Allowed Now.

And, Ling, I really appreciate your time, obviously as I began speaking this segment, they took us off the air in China but we are on the air everywhere else in the world.

So, the WTA --

LING CHAI, LED PROTEST AT TIANNAMEN SQUARE IN 1989: Erin, thank you so much for speaking out. Thank you. I am so proud of you.

BURNETT: I feel honored that we have the ability to -- to keep talking about it and we're going to keep doing it and we are grateful to you for coming and talking about this because you understand it.


I mean, the WTA vowing to cut ties with China, if Peng Shuai is not proven to be safe. If her rape allegations are not formally, fully, and fairly investigated.

Compare that to the International Olympic Committee. Had one arranged video call with her and said, oh, she seems completely fine. Nothing to see here. Please, let's go ahead with our Olympics.

What do you say to the IOC?

CHAI: I think it's really shameful what they are doing. They're going to suppress Peng Shuai, they suppress all the Chinese women who suffer this kind of abuse over and over again on a consistent basis. This is shameful. And it's a selling out.

I am so proud of WTA and what they stand for, for the women, for the basic human rights. This is truly -- this is bigger than sports, bigger than business. This is morality issue. This is human rights issue.

And I just really hope that the world will stand with Peng Shuai. And I really want to call her the tank woman. Just like the tank man in 1989 who stand -- stood in front of Tiananmen Square and stood in front of all the tanks and troops. She is one woman and hero -- heroine speak out against this kind of brutal physical/emotional abuse.

She need to be encouraged. She need to be made safe. She need also made honored.

And I read her blog. And she is so devastated and she is just even talking about whether she is worth living. And she's made to be feel shamed.

So she -- she need not only know -- we need to know where she is about physically. We also need to know where -- how -- what's her state of mind? Because this is huge for one person to take on entire regime, entire culture, and putting everything on the line.

BURNETT: It is incredible and when you think about it, you know, she's -- she's doing it and, you know, they are hoping that, you know, by putting out pictures or I'm sure some sort of anodyne interviews, right, that they will say everything is fine. But your point about her state of mind, what kind of life is she going to be allowed to live? That is what this comes down to.

And last night I spoke to Desmond Shum. I know you know of him. His ex-wife -- they have a child together, as well -- vanished four years ago in China.

Literally, went to work. Went to work. Boom, gone. And was gone. Called for hundreds of days. Never answered her phone until he has this book coming out and all the sudden, she is the one -- she answers the phone and is the one delivering the threat about the book.

So, Desmond believes there is a very grim future for Peng Shuai because she spoke out from inside China. Let me play it for you, Ling.


DESMOND SHUM, EX-WIFE WENT MISSING IN CHINA FOR FOUR YEARS: When the party has a complete hold on your entire family, all your friends, and your -- all your properties, you act according to their desire.

BURNETT: 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: It was very sobering to hear that, um, ling. Not surprising but -- but sobering and deeply disturbing. You, also, were inside China when you spoke out. Five nights in a cargo box ten months later to escape because you were on its most wanted list.

Is he right that there is no real way out for Peng Shuai?

CHAI: It's -- if we don't speak out, there's really no way for her to continue to survive in that kind of entire culture. And she's already made her interview and to -- and to basically be played -- play a role in the whole cover-up and undermining the severity of this assault.

I really feel the WTA's demand not only ensure her physical safety, her freedom, but also to demand for investigation to hold the premier -- vice premier responsible. The kind of details she shared in her blog, how he brought her into his -- he assaulted her seven years ago.

And then, he was obsessed about her and brought her back to his home, even coerced his wife to cause her to accept -- you know, sexual assault against her. She cried all night. And this go on for a period of time. After that, he discarded her.

And so, this is brutal. This -- you know, humiliating. This Is degrading to any woman. Also, because she is a successful woman and she need to be treated that way, with honor, with respect, and with protection.

BURNETT: All right. Ling, thank you very much. I appreciate your time and your perspective. Your deep commitment to these -- to -- to this cause and -- and not just hers but so many others. Thank you.

CHAI: You're welcome. Thank you so much for speaking out.

BURNETT: And next, a scramble inside the Republican Party. Political newcomers and wildcards, including a TV doctor, now considering a run for the must-win Pennsylvania Senate seat.


And the countdown is on. NASA just hours away from launching a spacecraft that is supposed to fly straight into an asteroid.


BURNETT: Tonight, a television doctor could emerge as the top Republican candidate in a crucial Senate race. I am talking about Dr. Oz because he is among several big-name Republicans considering entering the Pennsylvania Senate raced after the Trump-backed candidate dropped out.

Sunlen Serfaty OUTFRONT.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trump- backed candidate Sean Parnell suspending his campaign for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat. Scrambling the GOP field, creating a new opening for others to get in, in a seat a Republican has been elected to going back five decades, and crucial for Republicans to keep in the midterms, as the party seeks to win the Senate majority.

In addition to those candidates who have already declared their race could see political newcomers and wildcards, like hedge fund millionaire David McCormick, the husband of former-Trump official, Dina Powell.

A source telling CNN the Parnell departure has clearly created on opening where he is clearly considering it, saying there has been accelerated outreach from GOP leaders within Pennsylvania and nationally.

And another possibility, daytime TV talk show host, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

[19:55:01] DR. MEHMET OZ, TV HOST: Let me ask you. If -- if your health is as strong as it seems from your review of systems, why not share your medical records?

SERFATY: In 2007, Oz saying he'd consider running for office someday, calling himself a moderate Republican. But a potential oz candidacy wouldn't come without controversy. Earlier in the COVID pandemic, he initially advocated for hydrochloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus.

OZ: It's believed to be very safe.

SERFATY: And its unproven benefits.

OZ: Turns out it might have an effect against this virus.

SERFATY: He later said not enough was known about the drug and caused an uproar with these comments pushing for schools to re-open in April of 2020.

OZ: We need our mojo back. I just saw a nice piece in "The Lancet" arguing that the opening of schools may only cost us 2 or 3 percent in terms of total mortality.

SERFATY: the backlash prompting him to later apologize.

OZ: I have realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people.

SERFATY: In the past, Oz has been fiercely criticized for promoting unproven products on his show, like certain diet pills.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true.

OZ: So if I can just get across the big message that I -- I actually do, personally, believe in the -- in the items that I talk about on the show.

SERFATY: In 2015, a group of doctors sent this letter to Columbia University. Calling his faculty position there unacceptable, accusing him of promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.

OZ: We will not be silenced. We will not give in.


SERFATY (on camera): And many Republicans in Pennsylvania tell CNN that they are skeptical that oz could go the distance in the Republican primary if he gets in. And they say he is kind of a novelty. But they don't know how much real excitement there is about his potential candidacy and, Erin, CNN reached out to Dr. Oz about his potential plans and did not get a response.

BURNETT: It's going to be a fascinating race, no matter what happens here.

Sunlen, thank you so much.

And next, NASA with a new mission to prevent a real-life Armageddon.


BURNETT: Tonight, defending earth from Armageddon. That is the purpose of NASA's next liftoff which is just a few hours away at 1:00 a.m. or just about Eastern Time. The mission is to test whether a spacecraft can actually successfully change an asteroid's orbit.

If all goes well, the golf cart-sized craft, which is going 15 miles an hour is going to intentionally slam into a 525-foot wide harmless asteroid. Just think about that speed. It's incredible. It's known as a moonlit. NASA hopes the collision will change the asteroid's orbit, which is of course the stuff of movies -- shifting an asteroid's path to save Planet Earth.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.