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Erin Burnett Outfront

Meadows Sues Pelosi And Jan 6 Panel, Alleging Subpoenas Are "Overly Broad" And Panel "Lacks Lawful Authority"; Pfizer: Booster Dose Protects Against Omicron Variant; Manchin Signals He's Still Undecided On Biden's Spending Plan; IOC Chief Dismisses "Suspicions" Surrounding Peng Shuai Case; First Day Of Testimony In Trial Of Ex- Officer In Taser Mix-Up. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 08, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We'll be watching. All right. Sarah, thank you very much. Sara Sidner in Chicago.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next the breaking news, former Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows suing the January 6 Committee as they move to hold him in criminal contempt, so what's he claiming in this lawsuit?

Plus, calling in the National Guard tonight. A winter COVID surge in America creating major concerns in northeastern states as the push for booster shots grows louder tonight.

And the head of the International Olympic Committee saying tonight that tennis star Peng Shuai is in a fragile situation as they dismissed questions about her being silenced. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, suing. Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is suing the house January 6 Committee and the Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Meadows wants a court to block enforcement of both the subpoena the Committee issued him to testify, as well as the subpoena that it issued to Verizon to get all of his phone records.

Well, committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney has just responded to CNN telling Meadows bring it on. Telling CNN just moments ago, "The Committee has received a number of extremely interesting, non- privileged documents from Mr. Meadows. And now he is refusing to appear to answer questions about these non-privileged documents."

Well, that would appear to be pretty inconsistent. And so the Committee is now moving to hold Meadows formally in criminal contempt. That will make Meadows the third former Trump official that the Committee will vote to hold in contempt. Clearly, there is this pattern here and there's a strategy by Trump's

closest allies; delay, distract, long enough to kill the Committee and its investigation. It is important to note that this total breakdown between Meadows and the Committee comes after Meadows did initially cooperate as Cheney just said. He handed over very important emails and text exchanges, including an early January 2021 text exchange between Meadows and an organizer of the January 6th rally, a January 5th email about having the National Guard on standby.

January 5th, let me just remind you, the day before and talk about the National Guard. And text messages about the need for Trump to issue some kind of a public statement to stop the January 6th attack at the Capitol.

Now, we know Trump didn't actually do that until hours later. Instead, telling the rioters as no doubt you remember, "We love you. You're very special."

So Meadows texts that he already willingly provided their content and their exact timing matters, especially because Meadows is on the record saying this.


MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: No one in the West Wing had any advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on January 6th in terms of the breach of security. Additionally, a number of things that that took place actually would not go towards supporting that narrative.


BURNETT: Then why did you have an email about having the National Guard on standby the day before if nobody had any idea that anything would go wrong and why was he texting with a rally organizer?

Well, here's a crucial thing about all of this, Meadows handed over those communications that I'm referring to, as Liz Cheney said, willingly. There wasn't a word about executive privilege when he did so.

But now a complete 180 from Meadows. He's now claiming executive privilege to avoid talking about the very text that he willingly provided. It seems pretty clear, he's worried about perjury and his sudden wake up call to executive privilege is a now familiar refrain from Trump allies at the center of the riot.

Remember Steve Bannon? He's been indicted for criminal contempt, but his trial won't happen till July. That's the whole game. Wait, wait, wait till it's too late. But Bannon is crucial. He's the one who got Trump back to Washington for the rally. He's the one who said this the day before the insurrection.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this, all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. Okay. It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in, the war room a posse, you have made this happen and tomorrow it's game day, so strap in.


BURNETT: Bannon is now silent until next summer, if even then.


And he's leading a pack, there's not just Meadow's bizarre about face, Roger Stone now says he's pleading the fifth along with Trump lawyer John Eastman and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, which is pretty amazing if pleading the fifth is what they now think is their best and only way to save themselves and defend Trump, given Trump's view of people who take the fifth.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The mob takes of him. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?

I think it's disgraceful.

Have you seen what's going on in front of Congress? Fifth Amendment. Fifth Amendment. Fifth Amendment. Horrible. Horrible.


BURNETT: And now a damning sound of silence for many at the core of the January 6th attack.

We'll begin our coverage tonight with Paula Reid OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill. So Paula, Mark Meadows with this amazing 180 especially in light of the book he just put out about Trump which had plenty of pretty horrible and unflattering things to say about Trump and his COVID illness, what more are you learning about the lawsuit tonight?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, in this lawsuit, Erin, his lawyers argue that these subpoenas are overly broad and that the Committee lacks the true authority to obtain this kind of information. But those arguments have already been rejected by the courts in other matters related to the 1/6 Committee.

Now, the lawyer also brings up the ongoing litigation by former President Trump who's trying to keep secret some of his records from the Committee. Now Trump lost that privilege argument, but he has appealed it. The litigation is ongoing.

Look, if Trump ultimately prevails, yes, that could potentially help Meadows. But his lawyers insisting that he's in this impossible position. He's trying to choose between his privilege rights or being held in contempt. But the Committee doesn't see it that way.

For example, Representative Adam Schiff, he says, look, this is just an effort to this lawsuit. It's just an effort to thwart our work here. We are going to continue to proceed with contempt. He points out, Erin, the fact that before he changed his mind, Meadows handed over 6,000 documents. Clearly he doesn't think those are privileged.


REID: So he typically, the way this would work, is you would come in, you would be asked about some non-privileged material. And then if there was anything that you believe was privileged, you would assert privilege then and there, not just raise this blanket concern and say, I can't cooperate or do anything.

Now if they do move forward with this criminal contempt referral. This case is a little bit trickier than Steve Bannon's for the Justice Department. Because unlike Steve Bannon, of course, Meadows was a White House official. He has engaged with the Committee, he has provided some materials and he may potentially have some privileged protections.

So this is a much, much more difficult decision, potentially, for the Justice Department than Steve Bannon who really just tied the case up with a bow and handed it to them on a silver platter.

BURNETT: Right, absolutely. But Paula, what's amazing is as Liz Cheney points out, he gave all these things over and now, as you're saying, he's trying to claim privilege that he didn't claim about the very same pile of information, whether it's just the differences. One is in text form and one is answering questions verbally about those texts.

So what information do you have, that you've learned today about these messages that the Committee have, these 6,000 pages you refer to?

REID: It's really interesting some of the stuff that he actually handed over, Erin. According to the Committee, among the things that they've received his, for example, one text exchange with an unnamed member of Congress where Meadows said, "I love it," in a discussion about the possibility of appointing alternate electors in certain states. A plan that even this member acknowledged would be highly controversial.

And that's not all, he also handed over, for example, an email referencing a 38-page PowerPoint presentation, it would be a briefing titled election fraud, foreign interference and options for January 6th. This is exactly the kind of stuff that the Committee is going to be interested in, that they would want to ask him about and clearly he doesn't believe his privilege. So it's just not clear legally, how he can argue he can't show up and answer questions about documents he's already given them.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean, it's amazing, as you say. I mean, foreign interference, what's that, the theory about Italian satellites being used to mess with us voting machines. I mean, it's like truly outlandish conspiracy theories they were throwing around there.

Paula, thank you so much. And it's amazing though the detail that Paul has about these

documents. If you're willing to hand those over without privilege, why won't you talk about them? Gloria Borger is our Chief Political Analyst, Norm Eisen is former counsel to House Democrats during the first Trump impeachment trial.

So Norm, okay, there's this fundamental issue that I just don't comprehend, which is how one can hand over a document and say fine and then say, I want to answer questions about it. That's executive privilege. There's also, of course, that they could ask about all sorts of other things and he gave 6,000 pages and we don't know maybe they were 24,000 in total. We have no idea what he cherry picked here. Does he have any grounds legally in this lawsuit?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Erin, thanks for having me back. He does not have adequate grounds in this lawsuit to fail to appear before the Committee.


He's essentially re-litigating the executive privilege claims that Donald Trump put in his civil lawsuit that failed at the trial court level and the appellate court clearly very skeptical of them. Look, the bottom line is Joe Biden is the president, not Donald Trump. Joe Biden decides executive privilege. He said it doesn't apply here. This case is a dead loser.

BURNETT: And, of course, if there's something criminal, you can't be claiming privilege on it anyway. I think it's just important to bear that, keep saying that so people understand.

So Gloria, how important are these messages that the Committee already has? Paula's going through some details there of what they have that, obviously, Meadows didn't think was problematic to hand over. There's a lot of information there already.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. There's a lot of information there and it has nothing to do with conversations with the President of the United States. It has to do with conversations with a member of Congress, for example.

So whether he appears or not, let me just say, this is part of the record now. The Committee has it and look at it in context here, you have the election, November 3rd, you have the election call for Joe Biden freely and fairly elected President of the United States on November 7th.

When you look at the dates of those emails that Paula is talking about, one is November 7th. When Meadows was emailing, discussing the appointment of alternate slates of electors, I mean, that is the day that Joe Biden was declared president. And, of course, the emails on January 5th are the day before the interaction.

So it gives you a real sense of how into promoting the big lie that Mark Meadows was and you can infer, of course, you can infer that this is something that he might have been talking to the president about, although these particular things are not about conversations with the President.

BURNETT: Right, which is pretty interesting.


BURNETT: And again, just to emphasize, if as Meadows said publicly a month ago, no one at any intimation that there would be anything violent in any way, shape or form occurring on January 6th, why was he texting with people about the possibility the National Guard being (inaudible) on January 5th.

BORGER: Exactly.

BURNETT: I mean, that is, at least, an inconsistency to ask about.

Norm, the thing is, though, is that Meadows and Bannon are different in that one crucial way, which is that Meadows actually was Chief of Staff, he worked for the President, and Bannon didn't. So he has, as you point out, it would seem no grounds for executive privilege. Meadows does, depending on what he's claiming it about.

So you heard Paula say, this is much harder for the Department of Justice to decide if they're going to charge Meadows and try to go to court on this. What do you think they'll eventually do here, Atty. Gen. Garland?

EISEN: Well, I do think Meadows is very likely to be charged with criminal contempt just like Bannon, Erin, simply because Bannon's claims are bizarre and ludicrous. It doesn't make Meadows' claims good. The executive privilege belongs to the President of the United States. The current president, as the Court decided when Trump's strike tried to stop the Committee.

The President is not asserting as Meadows. As you point out, there are many other deficiencies in the arguments in the Meadows' case that was filed today, including that privilege doesn't protect this kind of misconduct. These are political actions. They're not within the official purview of the executive and so not within executive privilege.

He's not going to succeed here. As you noted, this is about delay. It's about defiance and it's about the desire to now placate President Trump and try to cover up the truth. But quite a bit of the truth has gotten out through these 6,000 Meadows documents.

BURNETT: That's incredible. And Gloria, there is a schism within Trump's inner circle and that schism is how Trump was cheering on a crowd who was chanting hang Mike Pence while Mike Pence was locked in a closet with his chief of staff Marc Short. Marc Short and others are now cooperating.

Pence was in New Hampshire today, yes, New Hampshire, where presidential candidates begin their trail. And here's what he said when asked about whether he was running.


we'll do what my family always does, we'll reflect, we'll pray, we'll see where we might be able to serve and we'll go where we're called.


BURNETT: I mean, Gloria, Pence is in a really tough spot then, right?


BURNETT: And he hasn't turned on Trump directly, but a lot of people that work around him are making it clear they're going to come and they're going to speak. They're not pulling any of the stuff that Meadows and Bannon are pulling. So a lot at stake for Pence here, whether he should be cooperative or not.


BORGER: Well, it isn't until Donald Trump that people decided they could just dismiss congressional subpoenas. This is something that the stonewalling that started during the Trump administration and now continues.

We know what Mike Pence feels about all of this. We know that he certified the electors, so that will never make him popular with the base of the Republican Party. But people who had worked for him who may not want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers, if they are subpoenaed or if they are asked to come in voluntarily, just will do that, because they feel that it is their obligation.

What they say to the Committee, I don't know. But most people would feel that if you're subpoenaed by the Congress of the United States, you want to at least try to comply with it.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, the National Guard, one state calling in the guard tonight as COVID cases surge there.

Plus, Democrat Joe Manchin so far still not on board with Biden's so called Build Back Better plan. But the White House says we'll keep millions employed. We'll talk about that.

And the head of the International Olympic Committee speaking out tonight refusing to budge when it comes to China silencing tennis star Peng Shuai.


THOMAS BACH, PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: About suspicions you can have always in about everything.




BURNETT: New tonight, New Hampshire calling in FEMA and the National Guard, as the State reports more COVID cases than any other time during this pandemic. Several other states in the Northeast are also being hit with an early winter surge, including Connecticut, which is reporting a 160 percent increase in the number of COVID patients in hospitals in the past month and the state's health Commissioner is calling it extremely concerning.

This is leading to an urgent new push for COVID booster shots which, of course, there's big question marks around that with Omicron, the new variant as well. So I want to go now to Michael Osterholm. He is Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and obviously he's advised the Biden administration as well.

So Professor, I'm glad to talk to you again, let me just talk to you about what we're seeing here with the National Guard. This is New Hampshire, I'm referring to. The governor there, Chris Sununu, calling on the National Guard and FEMA, for help because they've got more people infected than at any point prior in this pandemic. Connecticut seeing a nearly tripling in COVID patients in hospitals in the past 30 days.

These are pretty stunning numbers to hear and I think frankly not what a lot of people expect to hear right now. Are you concerned that we could see more of this?

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH & POLICY: Well, we will see more of it. And right now we have to understand that. If you look at the United States, just in the last two weeks, 23 Different states have had more than a 20 percent increase in case numbers and it's not just been in the northeast that's surely been hard hit.

Our situation in the Upper Midwest continues to be a dire situation, where we've actually been in the surge now for the better part of 10 weeks and it continues. So yes, expect to see the numbers continue to go up. They've gone up quite dramatically just in the last three weeks for the whole country and has been largely concentrated in the upper Midwest and the Northeast. But we expect to see other areas of the country also light up in the next several weeks.

BURNETT: Early data from Pfizer shows a booster dose may be possibly able to neutralize the Omicron variant. But even if that bears out, we don't know what the numbers might actually be, but here's the reality is that only 26 percent of adults have gotten booster shots in this country, so that's far from protection in any way, shape or form. What do you do about that? That number is really low?

OSTERHOLM: Well, Erin, we've had a challenge, just as we just pointed out with Delta. And that means that even in states that are vaccinated at the levels that New Hampshire and Vermont are, which is in the high 70, the low 80 percent level, that still leaves enough unvaccinated people just have the problems with Delta. As you pointed out, those individuals that should be boosted right now

are not getting boosted in any meaningful way, which makes them not only vulnerable for Delta, but now for Omicron also, which is we're very concerned about what that means. So it is a challenge that we have tried everything from public relations to incentive offers to just having people see what's happening in our intensive care units. And we still have that reluctant group of individuals that just won't get vaccinated.

BURNETT: And when you look at this, Dr. Fauci now is basically, his quote today was it's going to be a matter of when not if, in terms of when fully vaccinated is defined as three shots and not two. And I know, this opens all kinds of questions to people about well, how do you ever know if someone's vaccinated and are we going to have to keep doing this every six months. I'm not even wondering about all that.

I'm just wondering, with all these vaccine mandates, is it time to change mandate to define as three shots?

OSTERHOLM: Well, I think we're all struggling as you know with the mandates and what's happening within the court systems to get them enacted. But I want to just emphasize that I fully agree with the idea that to be fully vaccinated today, you need to have three doses.

I've said all along for many months that I thought that there should have been a three prime dose vaccine to begin with, a two-dose prime for the J&J vaccine, so now reality is catching up. We actually have a major publication today in the New England Journal of Medicine with from Israel, which fully supports the lower incidence of death from COVID among those who did get their boosters, this was largely Delta. So I think at this point that supports what we're talking about.

BURNETT: All right. Dr. Osterholm. Thank you so much.

OSTERHOLM: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Americans leaving their jobs by the millions, leaving. The CEO of ZipRecruiter has an idea on why and it really matters when it comes to the trillions of dollars of legislation they want to enact on Capitol Hill.

And new video in the trial of a police officer who says she mistook her gun for her taser, killing a man. His mother on the moment she learned what happened.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I was like, "What's wrong?" And she said, "They shot him."




BURNETT: Tonight, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she believes Congress could pass President Biden's Build Back Better plan by the Christmas congressional break. But here we go again, Joe Manchin, crucial Democratic Senatorial vote says he's still undecided on whether or not he supports the bill and other Senate Democrats frankly appear really split on whether Pelosi is timetable is in any way realistic.


SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): What I want for Christmas is a Build Back Better package on at least 10 days before Christmas. Whether we get that kind of package remains to be seen.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): This is going to get to the White House and be signed by the President before the end of December.


BROWN: Well, it's not going to go on next year. This is something that we need to do.


BURNETT: Okay. Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT. So Phil, it's pretty amazing, this bill was supposed to pass in September, October, November, here we are in December and we're hitting up against the same problems and the same people and the same no problem it's going to pass. It's kind of hard to believe it at this point.


Does the White House think Biden's going to get this done before Christmas?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Look, welcome to Congress. You know as well as anybody and I think the White House knows as well.

Look. Publicly, White House officials have not diverged from that Christmas deadline. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer made clear that is still the deadline just a couple weeks away.

But privately when you talk to White House officials, they acknowledge it is a heavy lift and not just because they aren't sure they are going to have all the votes they need. There is also procedural issues in order to be able to pass something with just a simple majority, they need to comply with budget rules. That is a process. It's a lengthy process. It's an ongoing process and that process, itself, is not done yet.

Then, there is the policy. Obviously, the House sent over a bill. Everybody in the Senate acknowledged that that bill wasn't going to be the final product. There are changes on the revenue side of that proposal. There are

changes likely, paid family leave won't make it into the Senate bill. So, that's all being worked out as well. And then obviously, you have the votes.

Nothing moves forward without 50 votes. They still do not have commitment of at least two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin.


MATTINGLY: Senator Manchin yesterday made very clear he still has issues with the proposal. All of this needs to get worked out in two weeks. As you know as well as anyone, Erin, that seems pretty unlikely at this point, but they are still pressing forward for now.

BURNETT: All right. Phil, thank you very.

So, this fight over what Biden calls the build back better act comes as we are seeing something on the ground that's really unprecedented in American history. And it's that millions and millions of Americans are choosing not to go back to work. So, new data from the Labor Department shows that 11 million jobs were open in October. We just got that number today, 11 million jobs, 4.2 million Americans voluntarily, in addition, quit that jobs that month.

In September, it was 4.4 million people, okay? You can do the math. That's 8.6 million in two months.

OUFRONT now, Ian Siegel. He is the co-founder and CEO of ZipRecruiter.

So, Ian, I am trying to understand here because the Build Back Better Act has been positioned as something that is going to alleviate some of these problems. Do you think that President Biden's Build Back Better plan, which includes and -- and it would change what's in it but right now, expands access to childcare, earned income tax credit, paid family leave -- are these the things that are going to turn all those numbers around? Or is something else causing Americans to quit their jobs?

IAN SIEGEL, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, ZIPRECRUITZER: Well, if you look at the data, um, in survey after survey -- surveys executed by zip recruiter and a number of third parties -- we keep asking this question, which is why is there such low workforce participation? And the answer keeps coming back the same in every one of these surveys, which is there has been a fundamental shift in what jobseekers are looking for from work.

COVID was effectively a grand social experiment where a number of people who participated in the workforce discovered a different way to live their lives and they are unwilling to let go of the idea that that is how they want to work going forward.

BURNETT: And so, by that, I just want to be clear and I am not asking you to take a position on these things but this isn't necessarily childcare access or any of that, right? This is about people wanting flexibility about where they work from and how often they go to a central office, right? We are talking about flexibility, which is something that Build Back Better cannot deal with. That is -- that is a separate company issue, right?

SIEGEL: Yeah, 100 percent. What we're looking at here is a desire from the working population for either what's called hybrid work or it's partially in the office, but most of the time out of the office, or fully-remote work. And if you look at the pre-COVID period, less than 2 percent of jobs actually offered either hybrid or remote work. Today, that's already up to 10 percent because employers are being forced to rapidly respond to this desire from the workforce in order to actually successfully recruit.

Right now, you are seeing the tightest labor market ever. That's not hyperbole. That's a measurable fact. There is less than one jobseeker for every open job and less than 60 percent of jobs that are currently posted are getting filled every month.

BURNETT: Wow. Less than 60 percent are getting filled. This is amazing. I mean, so let me just say here because, you know, what we hear from some who support the Build Back Better plan on Capitol Hill are -- are that there are specific things in this that are going to turn all this around. Here are some examples.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The Build Back Better legislation, which is a jobs bill, which is -- it's a jobs bill for women in the workplace.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's pass our Build Back Better agenda. Let us build an economy that works for working families.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a fundamental game changer for families and for our economy. As more parents, especially women, can get back to work and work in the workforce.



BURNET: So again, Ian, they are talking specifically about things like childcare access, right, paid family leave. You are saying obviously it's about something different.

So, what can be done? What can be done to address what you are saying the vast majority of people want, which is flexibility?

SIEGEL: Well, I don't want to minimize the impact of childcare on women's participation in the workforce because we definitely saw during COVID when schools went virtual that the rate at which women dropped out of the workforce was far greater than the rate at which men dropped out of the workforce. So, know that that probably is going to be a job creator. But it is a small part of what is proving to be a much larger shift in what I am going to call the future of work. Which is just simply put, the expectations people have for what they

want in work as changed and more importantly, a lot of the jobs that are struggling to hire right now are jobs that require daily interaction with the general population. And those jobs were already sort of low satisfaction jobs, prior to COVID.

Now, these individuals are being asked to perform a number of new tasks, things like checking vaccine cards effectively operating like bouncers in various restaurants or retail establishments. And it's an uncomfortable position to be put in for a minimum-wage job because you are not trained for this. And you get bad responses to it.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Ian, I really appreciate your time and your thoughts. I hope that this adds to the conversation because I think it's really important. You know, when you talk about solutions, that -- that you're solving the problems that need to -- to be solved. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

SIEGEL: Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: And next, the head of the International Olympic Committee saying tonight that Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is in a, quote, fragile situation.

And the trial in the case of a woman once called the next Steve Jobs, drawing spectators who were camping out overnight for a seat in the courtroom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even when she's getting asked questions where the answer is very damning to her, she just answers it perfectly.




BURNETT: Tonight, the president of the International Olympic Committee saying tennis star Peng Shuai is in a, quote, fragile situation. While, simultaneously, dismissing any idea that Peng is being censored or surveilled in any way by the Chinese government.

The IOC president, defending his two video calls with Peng after she accused a senior communist leader of rape.


THOMAS BACH, IOC PRESIDENT: We could not feel that her being under -- under pressure. Many people are saying, you know, there -- there are suspicions here and there. It's very easy to -- to have suspicions. But, you know, suspicions, you can have always and about everything.


BURNETT: Ivan Watson is OUTFRONT in Hong Kong.

So, Ivan, the IOC seems to be basically saying, well, you can have suspicions but there's no need to see if there's any reality to those. Just take our word. With we spoke with Peng. She is not being detained. She's not being coerced.

That seems to be what they are saying even though they actually have no idea themselves. They have had a video call with her. So, does the IOC have any credibility on this?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, when it comes to the IOC and its credibility, its track record is spotty. I am old enough to remember the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and Thomas Bach -- the IOC president then -- standing side by side with Russian President Vladimir Putin defending Russia's human rights records.

And weeks after the games, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Even more egregious, we learned later that Russian intelligence agencies were running a sophisticated doping scheme -- doping Russian Olympic athletes at the games, right under the eyes of the IOC.

When it comes to this situation, the IOC, in its defense, says it's engaging in quiet diplomacy, silent diplomacy. And it has managed to have two calls with Peng Shuai. They say they are going to try to meet with her face to face.

But keep in mind that the IOC is partnered with the Chinese government right now, very closely. And it is in their interest for the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics to be a success. They do not want to embarrass the Chinese government.

BURNETT: Right. And I mean, even meeting with her face to face in China. You know, given that she is there and can't leave. You know, I mean, I -- I -- it -- I think I'm stating the obvious to say that wouldn't necessarily mean -- mean anything.

You know, so the IOC president today, Ivan, in that press conference was asked about having an independent observer join their video calls with Peng, just that, an independent observer on the video call to give another point of view, another perspective on how she is and whether she's being coerced. How did he handle that?

WATSON: Yeah. He got a little prickly here. The suggestion was, could former-tennis champion Martin Navratilova, who's been very outspoken about Peng Shuai and human rights -- could she be an independent observer? Listen to some of his response.


BACH: Why don't you respect Peng Shuai in this and let her decide where her -- the priorities are? You know, the most important human right and this is the physical integrity.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATSON: He spent a lot of time talking about political neutrality. That's getting harder and harder with a growing diplomatic boycott movement against the Beijing winter games, led by the U.S., now joined by Australia, the UK, and Canada.

BURNETT: All right. Ivan, thank you very much from Hong Kong tonight, and tomorrow morning.

And OUTFRONT next, long lines in Silicon Valley for what is now the hottest ticket in town. A trial people want to see this failed business tycoon charged with criminal fraud.


And day one in the testimony of the trial of a police officer who killed a man saying she mistook her gun for a Taser. The state today using her own words against her.


BURNETT: Tonight, the defense team for Elizabeth Holmes resting their case after the disgraced founder of the failed blood testing startup, Theranos, finished testifying in her criminal trial.

Okay. Now, if you haven't heard of Theranos, it's an incredible story. It's a high-profile trial. One of the most we have seen in ages, captivating many across the country.

And in Silicon Valley, long lines of people are forming before dawn to get in line to get a seat inside the courtroom. I am not making this up. It's incredible.

Camila Bernal is OUTFRONT.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was once labeled the next Steve Jobs. But as her 14-week criminal trial comes to a close, former-Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes could, instead, become the next CEO headed to prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless you, girl boss.

BERNAL: Her mother and husband have been by her side supporting the 37-year-old who could face up to two decades in prison for multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy.

Reporters and members of the public line outside the court hoping to get a glimpse of the one time wunderkind. Many arriving in the wee hours of the morning to nab one of the few open seats inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were here every day at 3:30 and we were kind of late. There were -- there was at least 15 people here before us.

BERNAL: Holmes has taken the stand in her own defense for the last seven days. ANNE KOPF-SILL, ARRIVED EARLY TO SEE HOLMES TRIAL: She's very smooth.

I am really amazed that even when she's getting asked questions where the answer's very damning to her, she just answers it perfectly, you know, yes.


No, I didn't. Yes, that's right.

BERNAL: As founder of the blood-testing technology company Theranos, she gained the attention of presidents.

ELIZABETH HOLMES, FORMER CEO, THERANOS: We could make a difference in the world.

BERNAL: Vice presidents.

HOLMES: It's an incredible time in the context of the ability to leverage investments in technology.

BERNAL: Medical experts. And, of course, investors, including, a reported $125 million from Fox News's Rupert Murdoch and 85 grand from General Jim Mattis.

But prosecutors say she misled everyone, lying about her company's capabilities for financial gain. A windfall of billions.

Her defense attorneys are painting Holmes as a true believer in the company's technology. On the witness stand, Holmes claimed she was the victim of her former-Theranos business partner, Ramesh Sunny Balwani, who she says sexually assaulted her and controlled her every move. Balwani has denied the allegations.

Holmes admits she made some mistakes but says she never intended to deceive anyone. Still, some see her as a symbol of female power and wealth. A girl boss. Dedicated social media pockets and posts and parodies. Even this hate to see a girl boss winning t-shirt.

But winning, in this case, will now be up to the jury.


BERNAL (on camera): And we have heard that iconic deep voice, Elizabeth Holmes even getting emotional at times. But overall, this case has huge implications here in Silicon Valley and pour startups because the jury will be deciding whether this fake it till you make it mentality, these CEOs hyping up their companies is okay, or whether that is fraud and the jury, Erin, will draw the line.

BURNETT: That's an incredible story. Camila, thank you very.

And I want to go now to Emily Saul, reporter for the podcast "Bad Blood: The Final Chapter", which examines the Holmes' trial.

And, Emily, you have been inside the courtroom covering it all so you have seen this week after week, and you saw Holmes testify in her own defense. You see the people every day lining up in the dark trying to get a seat just to see her.

Why is there such a fascination with Elizabeth Holmes?

EMILY SAUL, REPORTER, "BAD BLOOD: THE FINAL CHAPTER" PODCAST: You know, I think it goes to some of the issues that you discussed, you know, earlier in the piece. People really were excited to see a girl boss. They were excited to see someone who is young, a woman in this space, someone who had technology that could revolutionize, you know, healthcare as we know it and make it accessible to many more people. So then, the idea that, you know, there's this celebrity who was perpetuating such a fraud I think is very attractive to people.

BURNETT: Yeah, there is thing about it, and just the epic fraud involved here. I mean, you know, she was once hailed as the next Steve Jobs. She was the world's youngest female billionaire. You know, no matter how many smoke and mirrors were about it, at a moment, that was true.

And now, 11 counts of fraud, Emily, and conspiracy, 20 years in prison, if convicted. Her fall from the highest levels of power in society is one of the most stunning in American business history. How did we get here?

SAUL: Well, you know, it really started with -- with her conversations with the media. And she was looking to grow her company and continue to bring in money from investors, and, you know, ultimately, the case the government put on, you know, started with articles written by my colleague on the podcast, our host John Carreyrou when he was at the "Wall Street Journal" because she was telling investors that their those was using their proprietary technology when, in fact, therapy using modified third-party devices which she during trial said were trade secrets.

BURNETT: It's incredible. Emily, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. As we said, catch Emily's podcast and she's been in that courtroom every day.

And next, key testimony today in the trial of a police officer who says she mistook her gun for her Taser and killed a man. His emotional mother took the stand today.



BURNETT: Tonight, emotional testimony in the first day of the Kim Potter trial. The veteran police officer charged with killing Daunte Wright after Potter says she mistook her gun for her Taser during a traffic stop. You remember this earlier-this year.

The prosecution calling Wright's mother to the stand today who described seeing her son's body on the ground.

Adrienne Broaddus is OUTFRONT, and I warn you that some of the video in her piece is disturbing.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katie Bryant shaken as she describes her final conversation with her son, Daunte Wright. Bryant was the first witness called in the manslaughter trial of former-police officer Kim Potter.

Potter is accused of shooting and killing Wright, after she says she mistakenly pulled her gun instead of her Taser.

KATIE BRYANT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S MOTHER: He called me to tell me that he has been pulled over. He asked, you know, if he was in trouble. And he just sounded really nervous. But I reassured him that it would be okay.

BROADDUS: But what Bryant heard next still haunts her.

BRYANT: I could hear the phone being put down. I heard them say somebody tell somebody to hang up the phone. And then, that's all I heard.

BROADDUS: On the stand, Bryant revealing what she saw on FaceTime.

BRYANT: And she said that they shot him. And she faced the phone towards the driver's seat. My son was laying there. He was unresponsive, and he -- he looked dead.

BROADDUS: Bryant testified a neighbor then drove her to the scene about ten miles outside Minneapolis. She identified her son in the middle of a street by his sneakers.

BRYANT: It was the worst day of my life.

BROADDUS: Defense attorneys arguing there was a warrant for Wright's arrest, and he resisted.

PAUL ENGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He had to be arrested on the warrant. A court of law directed him to arrest him.

BROADDUS: Both sides focusing on Potter pulling her gun, instead of the Taser.


ENGH: A key issue in the case for you is what was her conscious thought as to whether or not she had a Taser in her arm or whether or not she had a gun? That's why she said Taser, Taser, Taser. She didn't say, gun, gun, gun.

ERIN ELDRIDGE, MINNESOTA ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: We trust them to know wrong from right and left from right. This case is about an officer who knew not to get it dead wrong but she failed.

BROADDUS: Wright was, initially, pulled over in April for an expired tag and an air freshener. Potter then tells Wright he has an outstanding warrant and another officer attempts to arrest him. Body camera footage shows the shooting. POTTER: Taser, Taser, Taser!

I just shot him.

BROADDUS: The prosecutor using Potter's own words against her.

POTTER: Oh my God, I'm going to go to prison.


BROADDUS: And we also heard from that rookie officer potter was training that day, Anthony Lucky. Some of his testimony focused on why service weapons are on the opposite side of their duty belt. When he testified, he said it's so officers don't confuse their firearms with their Tasers -- Erin.

BURNETT : Adrienne, thank you very much.

And thanks very much to all of you for being with us.

"AC360" starts now.