Return to Transcripts main page
Erin Burnett Outfront
Biden Admin Considering Requiring Everyone Who Enters U.S. To Be Tested The Day Before Their Flight; Authorities: 3 Students Killed In High School Shooting; 8 Others Injured; 15-Year-Old Sophomore In Custody; Omar: Boebert Should Face "Appropriate Action" For Anti- Muslim Comments, Suggesting She Could Be A Suicide Bomber; GOP Moderates Warn Failure Of Party Leaders To Rein In Hard-Right Members Directly Threatens Midterm Chances; Meadows Is Now Cooperating With January 6 Panel; EU Wants "Assurances" Peng Shuai Is "Free And Under Threat"; Accuser Gives Graphic Testimony In Epstein Associate's Trial. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 30, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's the direction they're looking I'm sure.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Awful situation. Andrew McCabe, thank you very much. And to our viewers, thanks for watching.
Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the Biden administration rushing to stay one step ahead of the new Omicron variant, now considering stricter testing for anyone traveling to the United States. This as we're learning new details about some of the very first patients.
Plus, CNN learning moderate Republicans are growing concerned that the disgusting and offensive antics of the hard right faction of their party could threaten the GOP's efforts to win back the majority next year.
And Donald Trump's former chief of staff now cooperating with the Committee investigating the deadly insurrection, so what does he know? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, top government officials are currently considering requiring everyone who enters the United States to be tested for COVID the day before their flight. This comes as the CDC quickly ramps up efforts to ward off a possible threat from the new coronavirus variant. Right now, the Biden administration is working with Pfizer, Moderna and J & J to develop contingency plans for a potential booster. The CDC also enhancing screening for the variant at four of America's busiest international airports: Newark, JFK, San Francisco and Atlanta specifically are on that list.
Tonight, health officials insist that despite the fact that they don't know very much about the variant, the U.S. is nonetheless prepared to combat it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: To be crystal clear, we have far more tools to fight the variant today than we had at this time last year.
JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Vaccines remain our most important tool in our fight against the virus.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are hoping and I think with good reason to feel good that there will be some degree of protection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, of course, who knows what some, is it some 10 percent, is it 80 percent, that's the great unknown. The hope right now, though, that it does lead to real protection is leading to longer lines of vaccination sites. You're looking here at the scene in Boston, where officials at one clinic say they saw a three-fold increase in the number of people wanting a booster today. This comes as we're learning new details about some of the very first patients and Israeli hospital reporting to doctors there tested positive for the new strain despite each of them having received all three doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The doctors are said to be experiencing only mild symptoms and they're in their 50s for one and 70 for the other. So there's a lot we don't know tonight and a lot we do, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is going to join me in just a moment to tell you what he knows.
But first I want to go to Phil Mattingly. He's OUTFRONT live outside the White House tonight. So Phil, this sort of headlines swept around the world, it swept through financial markets, it has completely upended a lot of assumptions. What is the administration saying behind the scenes about all this?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, I think this is definitely an anxious wait and see moment. Administration officials making very clear throughout the last several days, there's just so much they don't know in this moment about what this new variant may bring to the United States. And one thing they seem certain of is that if it's not already in the U.S., it will be shortly.
However, what you're hearing is behind the scenes urgent deliberations over the course of the last several days, while they might be hoping for the best, there is certainly preparation ongoing. Preparing for the worst in the near term. You just noted that U.S. is considering shortening the timeline testing timeline for all travelers, including vaccinated coming into the United States from three days for vaccinated to one day.
Also considering testing after arrival in the U.S. as well, expanding surveillance capabilities at the four busiest international airports in the U.S. Obviously, we've already seen the travel restrictions on seven South African countries and South Africa.
What you're seeing on the near-term is a push from the administration on vaccinations, on boosters, as well as these travel restrictions or new travel requirements while at the same time preparing for a more long term solution. And that is contingency planning with vaccine makers in case there is a need for updates, making sure that there's constant communication, making sure the process if it has to kick into gear can kick into gear quickly and that the U.S. can ramp up a mass vaccination process, something obviously this administration already has plenty of experience in doing at this point in time.
I think the one thing you hear from administration officials, at least over the course of the last several days is they don't want to be caught flat footed. They obviously have a lot to learn about what's coming with this new variant, but they want to ensure whatever is coming, they are fully prepared to engage it when it arrives, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Phil.
And I want to go now to the U.S. Surgeon General as I promised Dr. Vivek Murthy. And Doctor, I appreciate your time tonight. So as I said, there's so much we don't know and sort of over the long weekend all of a sudden this sweeps around the world, causes great disarray and financial markets and everything on Friday. You saw it sort of hit the wires as if no one knew anything about it.
Have you learned anything new about Omicron in the past day that makes you more or less concerned about it?
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, Erin, at first, I just want to say to many of the people who are hearing the news about Omicron over the last few days, I recognize that this must sound scary, must be frustrating to people who are tired at this point after 22 months of being in this pandemic.
But I want to caution people against is over interpreting or relying too much on isolated initial bits of information that come out. We know that there are three critical questions, Erin, that we have to answer. We have to understand how transmissible is this virus. We have to understand is it more severe than other versions of COVID-19 and we have to also understand how effective our vaccines and therapeutics are against this virus.
And to understand the answer to that question means that we have to get multiple data sources to sort of give their data. We have to analyze that carefully. It's not going to be from a single source. So I just want to caution people, it will take couple weeks, at least to get reliable information that will guide us.
But the good news, Erin, is that we're not powerless in that time in between now and when we have a clear answer. It's very likely that our vaccines will still have some efficacy and protecting us against the virus, particularly against a severe disease and hospitalization and death. And that's why we hear everybody urging people out there to get vaccinated if you're not, if you are vaccinated get boosted. We know that that is the surest pathway right now to protecting yourself against the new barrier.
BURNETT: All right. So you need a couple of weeks, but let me just ask a couple of points here, because, as you point out, you're only going to know with data and Israel says it's observed six cases. That's what they say they've observed.
Tonight, the Israeli health minister came out and spoke and said there are 'indications that those who are fully vaccinated or have had a booster within six months are protected against the Omicron variant'. Now, I just want to point out the plural of anecdote is not scientific data, okay, and we're talking about six cases, that is not data. But have you seen any data to back his view?
MURTHY: Well, we've seen a number of reports of small sort of numbers, if you will, indicating various things both about the severity and about the effectiveness of the vaccine. But they're too small at this point and too anecdotal to be reliable in aggregate, as evidence that we can look at and say, aha, this tells us what the severity of this variant is and how effective our vaccines are.
It's really important for us to be cautious here. Because, the wrong message can be misleading to people ...
MURTHY: ... it may falsely reassure them, may falsely alarm them. But again, we want to use what we know now and there's a big difference, Erin, between now and a year ago. We've got more tools not just the vaccines, but knowledge about the fact that masking, using testing strategically, the distancing, hand hygiene, these are all effective ways to help reduce the spread of all the variants we've encountered.
BURNETT: So just as a quick follow up to that, saying if you're coming into the United States that you have to be tested within one day, as opposed to three. I get it. That's less of a chance to be infected. But scientifically, does that really make a difference? I mean, in terms of these restrictions, do you see them as scientific restrictions or more just like, well, let's give it a shot?
MURTHY: Yes. It's a good question, Erin. And this actually goes back to why the President decided to put travel restrictions in, in the first place. Travel restrictions, we know, will not permanently keep out a variant. These variants reach all parts of the world in due time, but it can buy us a little of time to do the following: number one, vaccinate more people. Number two, learn more about the variant. But number three, work on strengthening even further travel safety measures, including testing.
So the CDC is considering a number of measures.
MURTHY: Right now, it hasn't fully decided on what it's implementing. But I do believe some of the measures it's considering will have a substantial impact on our ability to detect virus before it arrives, Erin.
BURNETT: Okay. Well, I think that's important. That you're signaling, they're looking at more things that would affect people coming into the United States. Obviously, you're not going to tell me what they are, but I think it's important for people to understand there's more on the table right now. But you keep talking about getting boosted and obviously, yesterday, the CDC changed its language on getting boosted from - to saying everybody should. It was only recommended for people over 50 and now it's everybody 18 and over should get boosted.
And I ask you this question, the context of my understanding is less than 21 percent of fully vaccinated Americans are boosted and fewer than 60 percent of Americans are even fully vaccinated, so it's 21 percent of 60 percent. You're getting a smaller and smaller number of people who actually have the triple protection that you're saying is so necessary. Did officials wait too long? Are you frustrated that they waited too long? Because now it's like long lines you can't even get the booster, it's hard.
MURTHY: Yes, Erin.
So these are really important questions you're raising. Look, we have been saying now for months that boosters would be helpful to extend the protection of the vaccines. The CDC actually several weeks ago along with the FDA made it possible for people 18 and up to get boosted. For some populations, 15 and up, they said they should, for people 18 to 50 they said that they may. So they were eligible, even though the recommendation was stronger for the elderly.
And we've seen now 40 million people get boosted, which is good, but we've got a ways to go. My hope is that this news and certainly the concerns, I know that people have about Omicron will just re emphasize that, look, getting boosted, getting the maximum protection possible is more important now than ever and it's not just because of Omicron, Erin. We should just remember there's a lot of Delta still circulating in the United States.
MURTHY: We've seen cases rise with winter weather as people go indoors and we know the virus is easily transmitted in cold dry air. So bottom line is, if you want to maximize your protection against all the variants, getting boosted is the way to go. It's encouraging to see more people out there getting boosted. We just need this to continue.
BURNETT: Right. Right. And hope that the lines aren't long and make it easy for people. All right. Dr. Murthy, thank you so much. I appreciate your time tonight.
MURTHY: Of course. Thanks so much, Erin. Take care.
BURNETT: All right. You too.
And next, the breaking news a school shooting in Michigan. Three students killed today at school, eight others injured. Officials just holding a press conference, what we are learning about the victims and the alleged teenage gunman tonight.
Plus, tennis star, Peng Shuai, missing from public life, yet the International Olympic Committee says they're not concerned about her safety, why? Well, one of the longest serving members of the IOC is going to take my questions tonight.
And a woman who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse, testifying in the trial of his longtime associate. Details on her emotional and disturbing words.
BURNETT: Breaking news, at least three students are dead tonight and eight more injured after a shooting at a high school in Oxford, Michigan, which is a town about 40 miles north of Detroit. Authorities say the suspect, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school is in custody tonight. Alexandra Field has the latest on the breaking news.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Three students shot and killed at their own high school just north of Detroit, a 16-year- old boy, a 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D) MICHIGAN: I think this is every parent's worst nightmare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD(voice over): Michigan's governor choking back tears. Seven other students and a teacher all shot after a sophomore at Oxford High School opened fire, according to authorities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm shocked. It's devastating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD(voice over): The shooting suspect, a 15-year-old boy firing off 15 to 20 shots over five minutes official said, while armed with a semi automatic handgun. Almost 25 agencies and 60 ambulances raised to the scene. More than a hundred calls pouring into 911 in the middle of the school day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MCCABE, OAKLAND COUNTY UNDERSHERIFF: There was an orderly evacuation of the school, did everything right, everybody remained in place. They barricaded themselves. (END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD(voice over): Officials say the suspect was taken into custody without incident, arrested with the help of a deputy assigned to the school. But the suspect whose parents have hired a lawyer for him isn't talking to police now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You got to know that that whole community has to be just in a state of shock right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD(voice over): President Joe Biden addressing the latest school shooting during a speech in Minnesota.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: As we learned the full details, my heart goes out to the families enduring the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD(voice over): Investigators say they believe the suspect acted alone. They haven't identified a motive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCABE: We're hearing all kinds of rumors about warning signs. We are not aware of any warnings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD(on camera): And Erin, officials say they are aware of how the suspect was able to get the gun into the school, but they aren't elaborating, aren't giving the details of that. We do know that a search warrant is being executed on the family home. As for the suspect himself, we're learning that he was in school this morning. He was even in his classes before the shooting started.
BURNETT: Wow. Alex, thank you.
BURNETT: And I want to bring in Peter Licata. He's our Law Enforcement Analyst, also former Supervisory Special Agent for the FBI.
So Peter, it's unbelievable just that, I don't know, I'm thinking about what Alex just said, goes to class, starts the day normally and then this happens. I mean, the big question now is why, what could possibly be the motive? Alleged shooter is alive in custody, that is not often the case, alive and in custody, is a minor, only 15 years old. So then what happens next? PETER LICATA, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. Erin, the big
question is why, why did he do this, a 15-year-old and a high school, three individuals dead, at least eight wounded right now summoned to surgery. So that's going to be the investigation.
Law enforcement, local law enforcement in Oxford, the sheriff's office with the assistance of the federal government will dig deep with regard to that search warrant, with regard to any media or devices he has, his laptop computer, his iPad, his Microsoft Surface Pro, his cell phone or cell phones. They'll dig deep in that social media, his emails, his text to find out if he did communicate with anyone about this.
Police already said there were no warning signs. We have to believe them on that. But usually there is something that leads up to this. There's a reason behind it. Bullying, something that the individual saw on the internet or watched that prompted them (inaudible) them to conduct these types of acts.
BURNETT: So what we do know right now is that according to authorities that he had a semi-automatic handgun. He seemed to know how to use it. He fired off 15 to 20 shots according to law enforcement. He hit 11 people. He did not fight back when they took him into custody. As far as we understand, did not try to hurt himself. What does that suggest to you?
LICATA: Correct. He surrendered peacefully. Again, why? Why did he do this? Why did he surrendered peacefully? Why? Maybe he didn't want to die. Maybe he realized what he did was finally wrong, who knows. And right now he's not talking to law enforcement in the State of Michigan, as well as many other jurisdictions throughout this country, law enforcement are not allowed to interview minors without consent of the parent and we're assuming that that's what's going on now.
So until their parent, until his parents give consent for custodial interview, therefore, he will not talk and we will not know the facts of this matter for quite some time until that happens.
BURNETT: Peter, thank you very much.
A lot of new information there.
LICATA: Thank you.
BURNETT: Thank you.
And next, we have breaking news. We're learning moderate Republicans are getting worried, concerned that if party leaders don't rein in the hard right faction of their party, the consequences could be severe.
Plus, Trump's former chief of staff agreeing to testify before the January 6 Select Committee. What is he agreeing specifically to share with investigators?
BURNETT: Tonight, Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar revealing she's receiving death threats after Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert suggested she could be a terrorist. Omar growing emotional as she shared this voicemail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't worry, there's plenty that will love the opportunity to take you off the face of this (inaudible) earth. Come get it. But you (inaudible) Muslim piece of (inaudible). You jihadist. We know what you are. You're a (inaudible) traitor. You will not live much longer, (inaudible), I can almost guarantee you that. We, the people, are rising up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: CNN is learning there is growing concern among House Republicans about how all this is being handled by the Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has failed to publicly condemn Boebert's remarks. Manu Raju is OUTFRONT live from Capitol Hill.
Manu, this has become a great schism within that party. What are you hearing?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. A number of Republicans are frankly concerned that the tension that is caused by a lot of these conservative members of the House Republican conference could undermine their efforts to take back the House next year, the feuding, the inter party feuding amounting to a major distraction as they tried to focus on the Biden agenda and take advantage of the real advantages that they hold to take back the majority come the 2022 midterms.
Now, after Boebert's comments about Omar she was condemned by Nancy Mace who was a conservative freshman Republican comes from a swing district in South Carolina. Now, after Mace on our air criticized Boebert, today, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the conservative from far- right conservative from Georgia came out and called Mace 'trash'. That led to a series of back and forth all day on Twitter.
And just this evening, behind closed doors, Kevin McCarthy summoned each of them for private meetings, discussing with them and telling them this message. He wanted them to 'stop it'. That message, Erin, did not take hold. Greene emerged from McCarthy's meeting and told her colleague Melanie Zanona that she would support a primary challenge against Nancy Mace. And she also said that Donald Trump would support a primary challenge against Nancy Mace.
And when asked by reporters just moments ago about that, Mace had a colorful response saying about Greene, she said, "All I can say about Marjorie Taylor Greene is bless her effing heart." That was the exact on the record quote from Congress on Nancy Mace.
So all this playing out at a critical time for the GOP as they're trying to focus on the agenda, trying to focus on their message, keeping the party in line and the man in the middle, Kevin McCarthy, having a hard time doing just that. Erin?
BURNETT: Yes. I guess, his realizing that some creatures will bite you in no matter what you do. Thank you very much, Manu.
And OUTFRONT now former Republican Congressman Francis Rooney and Gloria Borger, our Chief Political Analyst.
So Congressman, let me start with you. You heard Manu talking about moderate Republicans getting really worried about this that McCarthy is currently failing and if he does not rein in all of this going on the far right, Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, that Republicans could lose the house next year. Do you agree?
FRANCIS ROONEY, (R) FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM FLORIDA: I don't know if they'll lose the House next year or not, because the math kind of stacking up pretty well for them. I'm really concerned about a bigger picture of what does this say about our party, about our values, but what we're addressing the American people with and we're doing nothing but inciting vitriol and personal attacks, and getting away from policy. And we don't seem to be able to deal with policy we disagree with.
BURNETT: No. And Gloria, you know what's amazing about this is that it just is all become so political. So Congresswoman Omar calls on the House Minority Leader McCarthy to take action against Boebert for what she said when she said - the comments about being a Jihadist about Ilhan Omar. And yet, on the other hand, we're reporting Trump and his allies are starting to threaten to block McCarthy becoming speaker, if they retake out the house next year, because ostensibly he's not enough in their corner, which is sort of incredible.
But McCarthy thinks he can solve all this behind closed doors, and they both walk out and it's the exact opposite. It escalates.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He can't. He can't. I mean, the thing is, McCarthy cannot do that. He has to grow a spine. He has to get out there as a leader. That's what leaders are for and say, this is not what the Republican Party is about, period. We don't threaten each other. We may disagree on policy, but we don't call each other names. We don't call members of the other party or imply that members of the other party are terrorists.
I mean, these are members of Congress, for heaven's sake. It's hard to sort of wrap your arms around that. But these are members of Congress talking about each other. And Kevin McCarthy behind closed doors is not going to stop the vitriol. The person who can stop the vitriol is Donald Trump. Instead of egging Marjorie Taylor Greene on and saying, good, let's primary Nancy Mace. Let's do that. He could say, as a former leader, as a former president, I don't really want this because it inspires voicemails, like the one the Congresswoman played today. But he won't do that. BURNETT: No, he's not going to do that. In fact ...
BURNETT: ... in fact, Marjorie Taylor Greene is following him. He's the one who first said he was going to primary ...
BURNETT: ... Nancy Mace. I mean, Congressman, just to get through some of this, Republican Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene has seized on all this. So she has, went when Nancy Mace came out, the Republican from Charleston, South Carolina, and condemn the anti-Muslim comments that Boebert made, Greene jumps to Boebert's defense. She tweets, "Nancy Mace is the trash and the GOP conference. Mace you can back up off Lauren Boebert or just go hang with your real gal pals, the Jihad Squad."
Mace then responds to that just a few moments ago. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Make no mistake, Marjorie Taylor Greene is a liar. She's crazy. She's insane. She's bad for the party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Now, I want to be clear. She did say that on Fox News, Congressman, and I they that's, you know, important. She didn't have -- she didn't mince her words over there. But -- but what do you make of this?
I mean, right now, it's a lonely fight. It's a lonely situation. She's the one saying it's wrong. Not Kevin McCarthy.
FRANCIS ROONEY (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM FLORIDA: No and that's a real problem. Like I said, our leadership is not stepping up to define what we stand for from a big picture point of view. They are hiding behind Trump. I call it Trump-domination syndrome.
They are all cowering to Trump and they're empowering these people, like the two congresswomen that you just mentioned that have made ethnic threats and very vitriolic comments that are not constructive and they're not helpful to get anything accomplished. I'm proud that Ms. Mace spoke up and there is a real question, who is the real trash in the conference right now?
BURNETT: Well, I mean, you know, it's powerful words and we have seen that word being thrown around so much.
I mean, Gloria, Congresswoman Omar was emotional at the press conference moments ago, right, when she played that voicemail that she said she received last night. And it was awful. She says it is something she has dealt with. This isn't the first time she's gotten these kind of horrific things. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ILHAM OMAR (D-MN): Steven King claimed another member said of my hijab that there might be four pounds of C4 under it that would wipe out half of Congress.
The truth is, is that Islamophobia pervades our culture, our politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)(
BURNETT: So, Gloria, does anyone listen?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know. I hope -- I hope Kevin McCarthy was listening. You know, Kevin McCarthy, at one point, came out against Donald Trump after the insurrection and he has been paying for it ever since.
He had to go to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring. He had to change his mind, and I don't think he wants to go through that again because as you point out, he wants to be speaker of the House and he thinks this is the way to get it.
And so, I don't know if McCarthy is listening or not. Perhaps, what we heard from Omar tonight will give him an excuse because that's what it would be, would give him an excuse to come out and say, I don't like those voicemails. I don't like those tweets. Rather than saying I don't like what Boebert did and she needed to stop doing it.
I mean, he needs to come out and criticize her. And, I, you know, let's see if has the guts to do it. What is the speakership worth if you don't have a party to lead?
BURNETT: Yeah, that's well said. Thank you, both, very much. I appreciate you.
ROONEY: Can I make one more comment?
BURNETT: Yeah. Sorry.
Next, Trump's former -- okay, go ahead. Go ahead. You are back, congressman. Sorry, go.
ROONEY: I probably disagree with Ms. Omar about most everything she has said on policy. But I respect the fact that she expresses policy, not personal epithet.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much and we will end on that note. Thank you, both.
And next, Trump's former chief of staff now cooperating with the January 6th committee. So, what is he specifically willing to give up?
And the International Olympic Committee -- they claim that they are totally satisfied Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is fine. But how do they know from like a zoom call? Well, the longest-serving member of the IOC is going to come and
answer my questions.
BURNETT: New tonight, CNN learning that Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is now reversing course and cooperating with the January 6th House Committee. Chairman Bennie Thompson says Meadows is providing some records and will appear before the committee soon.
But one of his lawyers is signaling there could evidence Meadows will not ever hand over to Congress.
Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT.
So, Ryan, I understand Chairman Thompson's coming out with a lot of e- mails are going to be provided. Let's start with what will be provided. What are you learning?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So far, Chairman Bennie Thompson just telling us a few minutes ago the committee's received more than 6,000 e-mails from Mark Meadows. Now, we don't know specifically what is in those e-mails or how much they will help the committee in their investigation but it does show a level of cooperation with Mark Meadows that we hadn't seen before.
Now, to your point, how far will that cooperation go? His attorney saying today they are ready to have conversations with the committee but they are still concerned about executive privilege. At this point, we don't know how the committee defines executive privilege as opposed to the way that Mark Meadows and his legal team define executive privilege. Still, Meadows is scheduled to be here on Capitol Hill next week to answer questions. That's where we will really see some substance behind this new cooperation that he has agreed to at least begin with the committee and how far that will end up going, Erin.
BURNETT: Well, it's fascinating because some saying he would go the route of Bannon but of course as a former member of Congress, there was a question. And I don't want to read too much into 6,000 e-mails and showing up because showing up is not necessarily opening up. But obviously, significant developments.
So, Ryan, this is coming as judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals expressed skepticism today about whether Trump can actually supersede President Biden's decision to waive executive privilege, right? And then, obviously, if they -- if that is held up, President Biden's decision, the January 6th committee would get more than 700 pages of documents.
We actually heard the judges in court today. Here's what they said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JUDGE PATRICIA MILLETT, DC CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: You are going to have to come up with something more powerful that's going to outweigh the incumbent president's decision to waive, right? You are going to have to change the score on that scoreboard.
JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, DC CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: Seeing that the current president has not only the confidentiality factor that he is thinking about, but the current duty to the interests of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Ryan, just hearing them, right, and actually hearing them deliberate. It appears Trump's legal team is facing a really serious uphill battle on this.
NOBLES: Yeah, Erin, that is not surprise. These are three judges that were appointed by Democratic presidents. One judge, in particular, had weighed in on a previous executive privilege claim involving Don McGahn, the former White House counsel, and sided with the Congress and their desire to get information from him.
So, it's not a surprise that they would side with the lower court that's already ruled that these executive privilege claims do not supersede the interest of the American public and the committee's desire to get this information.
But we should point out, Erin, this is just one stage of a lengthy legal battle. Were former President Trump to lose at this stage, he still has the option of going to the Supreme Court where he might have the opportunity to be in front of some more friendly justices. So, at this stage, doesn't look good for Trump but there is still a long battle to go, Erin.
BURNETT: Long road.
All right. Thank you very much, Ryan.
And next, the European Union tonight demanding verifiable proof that tennis star Peng Shuai is safe. But the same cannot be said for the International Olympic Committee. Why? One of the longest-serving members of the IOC answers my questions, next.
And Jeffrey Epstein's pilot testifying in the trial of his longtime associate, naming names of high-powered people who flew on Epstein's private jet.
BURNETT: Tonight, the European Union urging China to release, quote, verifiable proof that tennis star Peng Shuai is safe, saying, quote: Her recent public reappearance does not ease concerns about her safety and freedom.
[19:45:10] The latest photo of Peng was released more than a week ago, taken during a video call she had with the president of the International Olympic Committee -- the only outside organization to speak with her.
This comes as Peng disappeared from public life four weeks ago after publicly accusing a retired senior communist party leader of rape.
OUTFRONT now, Dick Pound. He's a long-serving member of the International Olympic Committee.
And, Dick, I really appreciate your time. So, we have been covering this story and I want to ask you about this because you have information that no one else does because you, at the IOC, have interacted with -- with her on that video call. I know you didn't see the call, yourself. But you said your peers, other members of the IOC, came away satisfied that Peng was not speaking under coercion.
Can you tell me and everyone watching why you feel confident that that's the case?
DICK POUND, MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: Well, they -- they had a very friendly and relaxed call between four of them for half an hour. And it concluded with a very positive outcome that, you know -- that the president and -- and Ms. Peng are going to have a lunch or something when -- when he gets to Beijing in January.
And generally, the consensus of all of those people on the call was that she's fine. She's not -- she's not under any kind of coercion or -- or -- or, you know, confinement. So that's the best evidence we have at the moment. And it's certainly a long way ahead of the people who have not contacted her, and who just make statements.
So I think I would rely on the combined judgment of colleagues who are -- you know, there basically was a conversation between four Olympians. And there's a special relationship that they enjoy together, so there would be very little difficulty in having a relaxed conversation. And I think if it were not relaxed, they would have noticed that.
BURNETT: Right. Of course, you know, as you point out, you know, she hasn't responded to others who have tried to reach out to her. Tennis world is just an example. And, you know, she made an incredibly serious allegation. A very heartfelt, serious one, and then just suddenly retracted it via Chinese state media. So, you know, it's not just the EU and human rights groups who are questioning whether she's really saying what we're hearing her say, right?
Others who have been in a situation with the Chinese government have spoken out about this. A Swedish human rights activist detained by Chinese authorities said that when, you know, he looked at the videos released of her, it reminded him of the propaganda videos that Chinese authorities forced him to take.
So he told our producer today, Dick, quote I think it's safe to say Ms. Peng is custody and strict control. Her public appearances are undoubtedly scripted from start to finish. Police are likely to prep her before, and sit down and review her performance when done.
And then last week, I spoke with Desmond Shum. I don't know if you know the name but his ex-wife -- Chinese billionaire -- vanished four years ago without a trace in China. Hasn't -- hasn't been able to see her child since.
He says there is no chance Peng will be allowed to leave China freely, right? Back to the point you had at the IOC was a video call. She wasn't able to come and meet you in Montreal where you are, have a casual lunch, nothing like that. How can you ever be sure that her appearances aren't staged if she isn't allowed to leave China completely on her own free will and speak publicly?
POUND: Listen, there are lots of countries where you can't easily leave the country and so forth. So, I -- I think a lot of that is speculation. I mean, what we have is -- is hard evidence as we can have and feel.
These are people who are -- you know, they've dealt with athletes and dealt with pressure. They know -- they can tell whether somebody's behaving under duress or not. And their -- their unanimous conclusion was that she was fine and she just asked that her privacy be respected for the time being.
The other thing you mentioned earlier is I don't know that she withdrew anything she said. What she said was taken off whatever the platform was.
BURNETT: Actually, head of the world tennis association received, didn't share with anybody. But then, he saw it reported in Chinese state media.
POUND: Well, I -- I -- I have no idea what that was. But the people who saw her and interacted with her were as satisfied as they could be in the circumstances.
And in something as complex as sexual harassment or worse a charge, I don't care what country you're in, it takes a long while to put the evidence together in your country, my country, anywhere else. China would be no different to get all the facts and reach a conclusion. And I don't know whether that's what she actually asked for.
BURNETT: Right, her allegation was of rape. You know, obviously, the reason you and I are talking is you're front and center in this as the Olympics, right? And Beijing is hosting the Winter Games in February. So you only have a few weeks really to go.
Of the 15 companies listed as your Olympic partner sponsors, not one has spoken out about Peng. But, of course, you and I both know the reason we are talking about this is the Women's Tennis Association has -- has spoken out. Steve Simon. And he is the head of it. I spoke with him. They just signed a billion dollar with China.
But this is what he told me. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE SIMON, WTA: We have to start as a world making decisions that are based upon right and wrong, period. And we can't compromise that. And we're definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it because this is certainly -- this is bigger than the business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, there are going to be some people, dick, you and I know who are going to watch this interview and say, okay, you are saying all this because you got billions of advertising dollars on the line and you are weeks away from the Olympics and your hands are completely tied. So you're just hoping and praying that the whole thing will go away. What do you say to them?
POUND: I don't think we -- we -- we hope that the -- the games will be celebrated and all the expectations of the athletes, of the sponsors, the world audience will be met in the sense that there will be good games and great competition. Kind of the way it was in the end in Japan, even though they were very reluctant towards the end to go ahead with the games. So, that's our motivation there.
It's not -- if -- if the games get cancelled, we have got all kinds of insurance. I mean, it's not -- it's not a financial disaster for us.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Dick, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much for sharing your side of the story. Thank you.
And OUTFONT next, the first of four women who claim Ghislaine Maxwell groomed them to have sex with Jeffrey Epstein taking the stand. Details and her graphic testimony.
BURNETT: Tonight, emotional disturbing testimony in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. A woman taking the stand accusing Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse, saying it began when she was only 14 years old. And she provided graphic details on years of abuse from Epstein and tied Maxwell, specifically, to several incidents.
Earlier today, Epstein's former pilot, also, testified on the stand that several high profile men, including former President Clinton and Trump did fly on Epstein's private jet. None of the men mentioned are alleged to have committed any wrongdoing related to this trial.
OUTFRONT now is the person who has been in the thick of reporting on Jeffrey Epstein for nearly 20 years, Vicky Ward. And she is the host and reporter for a new podcast and docu-series called "Chasing Ghislaine," which is now streaming on Discovery +.
So, Vicky, you know, I have read so much of your work on this, your interviews, and everything you have done. Today, you were in the courtroom during "Jane's" emotional testimony. I put that in quotes because she was going by a pseudonym. I know, at times, crying, shaking while detailing the horrific abuse she endured.
You were there. What was it like hearing from her?
VICKY WARD, HOST AND REPORTER OF "CHASING GHISLAINE": It was very shocking, Erin. An Assistant U.S. attorney Alison Moe representing the prosecution kept repeating that 14, 15, 16. And, you know, you couldn't just escape that reminder of how young Jane was when she first met Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. And her stories of not just how he preyed on her and abused her, but then, of how Ghislaine Maxwell would sort of normalize this behavior by either being topless or being in the room and appearing to think that what was going on was sort of normal, hearing about orgies involving other women, and hearing how it just went on and on for years, it was really disturbing.
BURNETT: And, Vicky, there are no cameras allowed in that courtroom. But as I say, you were there so you are one of the very few people who can see Ghislaine during the testimony, right? So, this is all now -- all of these years of all the rich -- richness and famousness and celebrity with which her entire life has been full, and now here she is in this courtroom. And she listened to that today.
What -- what -- what was her reaction?
WARD: So, she looked remarkably calm and unfazed. She focused on taking notes, conferring with her lawyers. She looks very understated. She's wearing cashmere sweater and slacks. Her lawyers, particularly her female lawyers, make a point of being physically affectionate with her.
And, you know, the defense opened yesterday very strongly saying that she should not be on trial for Jeffrey Epstein's crimes. And that that is what they claim is going on here. They say it's about 3M's -- memory, manipulation, and money. And, of course, the real question is whether Jane can withstand the cross-examination, which began in the last half-hour of today's hearing. And if I have to tell you, Erin, was blistering.
BURNETT: And quickly, before we go. I know you and I are going to talk a lot about this but with are we going to hear a lot more powerful -- rich and powerful names here come out? I mean, this trial has the potential to upend many lives.
WARD: Right. So, one name I wasn't expecting to hear today was that of Bobby Kennedy, Jr. Epstein's pilot was asked if Bobby Kennedy, Jr., had flown on that plane, along with Clinton, Trump, others. The pilot said he didn't know.
But, you know, it seems like every day, there's another name of a powerful guy that gets added to Jeffrey Epstein's web.
BURNETT: All right. Vicky, thank you very much. It's going to be incredible to watch all this. And, Vicky, I know you are going to have more on this when your series
"Chasing Ghislaine" airs on Discovery ID this Friday. Thank you so much for your time. I am glad to see you.
And thanks to all of you for joining us.
"AC360" starts right now.