Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Loses Appeals Court Fight To Keep Jan 6 Docs Secret; CMTE Vote On Holding Meadows In Contempt Set For Monday; Biden Says "Democracy Needs Champions" As Trump Allies Appear Before Jan 6 Panel; Eastman Planned To Plead The 5th; Perdue Says He Would Not Have Certified GA Election Results; Actor Jussie Smollett Found Guilty On 5 Of 6 Charges. Jussie Smollett Found Guilty Of Falsely Reporting A Hate Crime; 3 States Call On National Guard For Help To Battle COVID Surge. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 09, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We'll continue to watch the aftermath, the reaction to this trial. Until then, 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 breaking news, Donald Trump losing a big legal fight to keep January 6th documents secret. Could the Supreme Court though ride to his rescue?

Plus, breaking news this hour, actor Jussie Smollett just found guilty for making false reports to police after claiming he was the victim of a hate crime. I'll tell you about possible jail time.

And all hands on deck, that's what New Hampshire's Governor is saying about a COVID surge in his state, so just how bad is it? Gov. Chris Sununu is my guest. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, two major blows to former President Trump, first, a federal appeals court rejecting Trump's attempt to keep his presidential records from the January 6 Committee. The foreign president failing in his claim of executive privilege.

The court saying Trump has given it 'no legal reason' to ignore President Joe Biden's conclusion that Congress should have access to Trump's White House records. Okay. That means this case is now likely headed to the Supreme Court.

But also this hour, the January 6 Committee just scheduling a vote to hold Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt and they have now scheduled that for Monday. Meadows will be the third Trump ally with the Committee will vote to hold in contempt.

Now, remember, Mark Meadows initially was cooperating, turning over a trove of thousands of emails and text messages. In fact, just today, we learned that those messages detailed Trump's actions during the riot in real time. But now Meadows suddenly going silent. Now he says he won't even talk about the emails and texts that he already gave the Committee.

The thing is, though, these victories maybe pyrrhic. I mean, after all, a Supreme Court appeal doesn't resolve in a couple of days and Steve Bannon's contempt case won't even see a courtroom until next July, so who knows about Meadows?

But the Committee did have those victories and they did push ahead today, interviewing three Trump allies; Trump lawyer John Eastman, you may remember, he tried to get Pence to block the certification of the election results. He said he's pleading the Fifth today.

Two other Trump allies, though, appeared in front of the Committee today and while it's unclear what level of cooperation they're offered, it is important to note that they each spent several hours behind closed doors with the Committee. They are former Department of Defense official Kash Patel, who the Committee says has important information about how the DOD and White House prepared for and responded to the attack in real time. And also, Ali Alexander, you may remember him and his face. He was the stop the steal rally organizer.

They were both there, as I said for several hours behind closed doors with Committee members. I want to go straight to Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill. So Ryan, the Committee, look, as I said, the victories may be pyrrhic but they're important such that they are. The Committee is a step closer to getting these documents that Trump has been fighting tooth and nail to keep secret. I mean, he's running out the appeals process here.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And there's no doubt about that, Erin. And the Trump legal team already responding to this decision by an appellate court saying that they always assume that this case would end up in the Supreme Court. But this is another blow for Trump's argument about the protection of executive privilege, the appellate court ruling in a three-judge decision that there was really no legal reason to allow the court to overrule the privilege decision that was made by the current occupant of the White House, Joe Biden.

And that's important because while it will impact these this trove of documents that the Committee is looking for, it could also impact legal decisions that are still to come, documents or decisions that have to do with some of the privilege statements and positions that many of these witnesses have taken. Some that have appeared before the Committee and refused to answer questions. Others that have outright defied the Committee like Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon, because of executive privilege and we saw a number of these witnesses in front of the Committee today.

You mentioned Kash Patel. This is someone who was a Trump loyalist, who was at the Department of Defense on January 6th. He was in that room for a long time. We're not exactly sure how the process went. He did say through a spokesperson that it was contentious at certain times. But he said that he answered every single question. Also, answering questions today was Ali Alexander, who you mentioned one of the big stop the steal rally organizers. This is someone that had interactions with members of Congress leading up to January 6th which is, of course, of big interest to the Committee as they try and parse through exactly who knew what and when.

And another interesting aside to all of this, Erin, as Ali Alexander left the Committee room tonight, he was served with a civil lawsuit.


He was handed that as he went into his car. We don't know exactly what that lawsuit is, but we know that he was named in a lawsuit that was filed by a number of Capital Police Officers over the summer. So there are legal problems for a lot of people connected to January 6th.

BURNETT: Oh, yes. All right. Thank you very much, Ryan Nobles.

So let's go now to Shan Wu, former federal prosecutor who was counseled to then Attorney General Janet Reno, and Evan Perez, our Senior Justice Correspondent.

So Shan, let's just start with this for the former president. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting his claims of executive privilege. They are though giving him two weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court which, of course, he's going to do. How much longer can he drag this out?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think if the Supreme Court does take it, and not a hundred percent certain they will, they will probably take it on an expedited track. And I can't really venture a guess, but they're certainly going to want to stay away from the midterms. So I think you'd see something long before the Steve Bannon case goes to trial.

BURNETT: And that, of course, is July 18th, so that's a long time away.

WU: Right.

BURNETT: Evan, let me read from part of today's ruling. It says that Trump failed to offer a reasonable argument to back up his position on claiming executive privilege and says, "He offers instead, only a grab-bag of objections that simply assert without elaboration his superior assessment of Executive Branch interests." Superior as opposed to the current occupant of the White House who controls the executive branch.

So does this impact other assertions of privilege, Evan, is a crucial question, because you've got Mark Meadows claiming it, Steve Bannon. Their cases may be, obviously, in the specifics different but all of them are going to rest upon executive privilege.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. No, it does. And I think that's a great point. A great question and a great point you're raising, because if you read this opinion, it seems like it's written specifically by these judges, knowing that there are other courts with some of these questions that are pending there, obviously, this new lawsuit from Mark Meadows. But there are other ways that people around the Trump circle who are trying to fight off this committee and what this committee is trying to do.

And what the judges seem to be calling the former president and his legal team out on is this Trumpian tactic, which is to insult, to really just assert things without having to prove it, right?


PEREZ: And they say, as you just read there, one of the things that he was doing was impugning the President, the current president and the House without really making any arguments. And he had plenty of arguments to make, he just chose not to make them.

BURNETT: So Shan, is there any sort of a precedent here that they're trying to provide that could apply, let's say specifically, in the case of Mark Meadows whose testimony is going to be crucial and, obviously, was working for the former president as the chief of staff when Trump was in office and did have in that sense some claim to executive privilege?

WU: Oh, absolutely, Erin. I think that they are setting out, as Evan pointed it out, kind of like a roadmap for other courts to look at, obviously, including the Supreme Court. I mean, they're really saying to Donald Trump here, it's not that you didn't get a chance to be heard on executive privilege, you just had nothing of value to say to us.

And it's either ironic, rather ironic, because Trump likes to fashion himself as almost a fourth branch of government. And the court quite clearly points out that here, the executive branch and the legislative branch are allied against his position. And now the third branch, the only three real branches we have, judiciary has weighed in against him to.

BURNETT: Look, let's just be honest, as you say, a fourth branch, he's got his own sort of adjunct ambassadors out there. I mean, one could laugh or be deeply concerned.

But Evan, another significant line from the ruling, I wanted to read to you because there's something I want to ask you. It says, "The Committee is investigating a singular event in this nation's history, in which there is a sufficient factual predicate for inferring that former President Trump and his advisors played a materially relevant role."

Evan, I highlight that sentence because that sentence is not about executive privilege. That sentence to me seems to take it a step quite a bit further. They're saying there's sufficient factual predicate to infer that President Trump played a role in January 6th, that's a different matter.

PEREZ: It really is. And that line seems to be in response to this is another self-created problem for the former president, because part of his argument, his legal argument here, was that really this committee is out to get me, essentially. They're trying to put me on trial.

And so these judges are saying, well, I mean, you're just saying that without really providing any example. But since you've raised that, this committee is actually looking to see whether there is something to be done about what happened in January 6th. And as you pointed out, they raised this idea that the president and his advisers have something to answer to clearly from the public information that's already been out there.


And from whatever information this committee is trying to get from these documents that Trump is trying to hide at this point.

BURNETT: So Shan, let me ask you also about Mark Meadows who they're going to hold formal vote of contempt, so then that goes to courts just like Steve Bannon is. Steve Bannon, I believe, is July 18. That he's going to get a day in court, which may mean that the Committee never gets to hear from Steve Bannon, if control switches to Republicans.

So Shan, what does that timeline mean for Mark Meadows? I mean, is there any way that Mark Meadows gets a day in court before July 18th?

WU: I don't think so. I don't think it'll take the department as long because they've kind of been through the legal analysis. He has a slightly better claim since he actually worked in government then. But I doubt it's going to get there any faster than Bannon will.

BURNETT: Wow. And, of course, I should note, he's claiming executive privilege in part about documents he's already provided that he didn't claim privilege on so that doesn't make any sense.

All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time, as always.

WU: Good to see you.

BURNETT: And next, David Perdue, the Trump-backed candidate for governor in Georgia pushing the big lie and questioning the 2020 election results in his state. The Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is OUTFRONT next.

And breaking news, actor Jussie Smollett found guilty after claiming an attack on him was the result of a hate crime.

Plus, it's a COVID winter and at least three northeastern states highly vaccinated states and yet a U.S. senator is now saying people should gargle with mouthwash to kill the virus.


[19:15:22] BURNETT: Tonight, Biden speaking out on a threat to America tonight at his virtual summit for democracy. The President is saying democracy needs champions.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the face of sustained and alarming challenges to democracy, universal human rights, and all around the world, democracy needs champions.


BURNETT: In great irony, as Biden said that, Trump ally John Eastman pleading the Fifth before the House Committee, January 6 Committee. Because even tonight, the false claims of a rigged election in the world's most powerful democracy are ringing loudly. I mean, in America's two-party democracy, 73 percent of Republicans still believe Biden won through fraud.

Let me just say it this way, three quarters of the people in one of two parties in our system actually believe the election was stolen from Donald Trump. That is pretty stunning. I'm talking about the registered Republicans and there's no other way to look at that other than that is a democracy that has some real problems.

And even though the fears of those Republicans are based on falsehoods, there are people like John Eastman on Capitol Hill today on the battlefield right now still spreading the great election lie. Do you remember this man, see in there, that is the former Senator David Perdue.

He is now running for governor of Georgia with Trump's endorsement. And his entire platform right now is the great lie, even though a lot of people are pretty sure that Trump's responsible for his loss of the Senate seat earlier this year. Perdue is now telling Axios that if he had been governor in 2020, he would not have signed the certification of the state's election results and he takes it even further. Let me read the quote.

He says, "Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn't have signed it until these things have been investigated and that's all we're asking for."

That's a pretty stunning thing to say. I mean, I just want to be clear, they've investigated everything left, right and center. There were three counts of Georgia's ballots in 2020. One of them was fully by hand. They looked into all these completely bogus things about ballot stuffing and dead people voting and it just didn't happen and Joe Biden won once and he won twice, and he won the third time. There was nothing to see. And elections officials did look long and hard at every allegation.

But Perdue is willfully ignoring those facts, because Trump wants him to. And he is again degrading America's democracy in that process, something that he's already done to a chilling effect. Just ask my guests coming up, George's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Raffensperger didn't cave to Trump's press pressure to lie and change the results of the election in his state. He was honest and he followed the law and then Perdue tried to take him on.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, (R) GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Senator Perdue still owes my wife an apology for all the death threats she got after he asked for my resignation.


BURNETT: And here he is, Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, also the author of Integrity Counts.

So Secretary, Perdue is still saying the election results in Georgia shouldn't have been certified. He actually specifically is referencing as if more information has come out along those lines that he still wouldn't have signed it not with the information that has come out now if he were governor, what do you say to him?

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, (R) GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: He would have broken the law. He would have violated his oath to the Constitution. It sounds like he believes in the rule of man versus the rule of law. We follow the law, we follow the Constitution.

In fact, I wrote a 10-page letter to Congress. They got it on January 6th and to this date that a single congressperson, not a single person has written me and said anywhere that I was factually incorrect. There weren't 10,000 dead people. There was two back in January, they found two more, we're now up to four, that's it. There weren't thousands of ballots, there's less than 74.

Now, really the challenge that he ran a bad campaign with his lifestyle consistent for the last six years was going up to D.C. spending all his time there and then flying back to St. Simons living in his gated community. He never got out and met Georgians. He was inaccessible. He wouldn't take meetings with constituents and so he was a stranger to them and that's why he lost the election. He ran a very poor campaign.

BURNETT: And yet he's saying this, I mean, this core of his platform is that he wouldn't have certified the election because there was fraud. I mean, and he now, of course, has the endorsement of former President Trump in his pocket as part of this. Does all of this worry you?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, we count the ballots three times and then there's all that misinformation about State Farm Arena. We had the FBI, the GBI debunk all those claims.


I actually put that in my book, Integrity Counts, point by point rebuttal of every single allegation. BURNETT: Yes.

RAFFENSPERGER: And we had looked at over a thousand pristine ballots in Fulton County and gave that to a judge and he found that their evidence that they said they had was just not enough moving the case forward.

BURNETT: So I played that sound earlier, where you called Perdue to account, saying that your wife had received death threats, because of his words and his actions and you said he owes your wife an apology. That's almost a year ago. Has he ever reached out and said he's sorry?

RAFFENSPERGER: He never called me before when he asked for my resignation. He hasn't called us since then. He's living his life down in St. Simons and I'm out here meeting Georgians every day. I stay very busy doing that and explaining what the new improvements are with SB202. And then also debunking the claims, because what Georgians need to understand is that 28,000 Georgians did not vote for anyone for President and yet they voted down ballot.

And in the Republican congressional areas, the Republican Congressmen actually got 33,000 more votes than President Trump, that right there explains what happened in Georgia.

BURNETT: Yes, it sure does. Now, I want to ask you to this effect, because obviously, the January 6 Committee is looking at what happened on that day and who knew what, when and how such an assault happen. I know you spoke to the Committee for about four hours last week. You answered questions. What do you make of Trump allies who have completely stonewalled the Committee either making a mockery of it, claiming the privilege and now going to be held in contempt like Steve Bannon, John Eastman, Mark Meadows, there are more, what do you say to them?

RAFFENSPERGER: I believe in the rule of law. The Congress asked me to come in and testify and so I did.

BURNETT: Can you tell us anything about your conversation with the Committee? Was it cordial? Did you feel you could answer all the questions in full and were they fair questions?

RAFFENSPERGER: I answered every question in full. I thought they were fair. I was asked really primarily from the Republican attorney that represented the Committee. I guess he's the assistant, but the Democrats that were there, they're both professional, everyone's professional when they ask the questions.

But you have to understand, Erin, my conversation with the President, it's out there. People can listen to it.


RAFFENSPERGER: They can come to their own judgment and I wrote a book and it's all right there. So there weren't any secrets. It's an open and transparent process. The Congress has my letter since January 6th. BURNETT: And I want to note, people can hear your call and also in your book, you have a transcript of the entire call. I would I would recommend people to read it, because I've listened to so many parts of it but reading it was worth it in full.

One final question for your, Secretary, during your conference conversation with the Committee last week, did you feel that they're making real progress? And I asked you this because sometimes they say, well, we've talked to 200 people. But they're not able to talk to Mike Pence or Mark Meadows or Steve. We hear a lot about the ones they're not talking to. Did you get the feeling that they are making progress at getting real answers?

RAFFENSPERGER: Yes, a few times they mentioned they had conversations with other people and I said, oh, okay. They've done their homework, so they're out there talking to a lot of folks. But they called me to come in to testify and so I did.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time. I always do, Secretary. Thanks.

RAFFENSPERGER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the breaking news, actor Jussie Smollett found guilty for making false reports to police claiming he was the victim of a hate crime.

Plus, a state with one of the highest vaccination rates in the United States now seeing its highest level of COVID cases and hospitalizations during the entire pandemic, how can that be? New Hampshire's Governor joins me next.



BURNETT: Breaking news, actor Jussie Smollett convicted on five counts of making false police reports. This comes after the actor told police in 2019, and I'm sure you remember this, that two men attacked him late one night near a Chicago apartment, calling him homophobic and racist slurs putting a noose around his neck and yelling quote 'this is MAGA country'.

Prosecutors argued all of this was orchestrated to gain publicity and they won in a court. Omar Jimenez is OUTFRONT live from the courthouse in Chicago. And Omar, you were inside the courtroom when this verdict was read. I know you had to wait quite a while here for that to happen. How did Jussie Smollett react?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, for starters, it took jurors over nine hours to get to a verdict. And when the verdict was finally read, we watched Jussie Smollett as he sat there rigid as a statute did not move in any way whatsoever from the point that that verdict began being read by the jury for person to the point, not only after it was read, but after the judge then made a speech thanking the jurors for their time. He sat there with his fingers laced. His family didn't make a single noise. The courtroom was incredibly silent as that verdict was being read. The four-person, a woman, a member of the jurors, her voice began to shake as she got toward the end of the jurors, almost like you could feel the pressure in the room itself.

I just am looking this way because Jussie Smollett's defense attorney, Nenye Uche, is stepping up to the microphones that we have set up here in the courthouse lobby. It appears they're getting ready to make a statement if you want to listen in.

Oh, but, Nenye Uche, as I mentioned, he is the defense attorney for Jussie Smollett. He's argued all along that the Osundairo brothers, the ones who allegedly Jussie Smollett paid to stage a fake hate crime, well, he was just convicted of that, he was the one that argued that the Osundairo brothers were the ones lying and that we should believe Jussie Smollett in this.

Well, the Special Prosecutor, Dan Webb, afterward has now said, well, Jussie Smollett lied under oath. He's not going to do anything about it right now, but it's something that they are going to bring up at sentencing which, of course, is going to come at a later date and likely, again, will factor into whether he gets something more than the one to three years that the judge sort of outlined for a charge like this.

BURNETT: That's right. All right. Omar, thank you very much.


And since Omar is there, please Omar listen to that, we'll bring Omar back in as he listens to that press conference. While he's listening to that, I want to bring Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to you. She's the former defense attorney and former mayor of Baltimore.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake, you know, let me just ask you about this. Obviously, you know, he took the stand in this trial. Jussie Smollett did. That's become a thing recently. Everybody seems to be taking stand in these trials.

He repeatedly denied that he orchestrated the attack and the jury found that was a lie. That he was guilty and that is what he did. Were you surprised by the verdict at all?

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I wasn't surprised at all by the verdict. I was one of the people when I first heard about the case something just didn't seem right to me. It's so sad. I mean, there's clearly something going on with this man that he would continue to tell that story and the jury just didn't buy it.

And it's unfortunate because it was so much wasted resources, police hours and money in a city that really needs the police to be on their job. So, I hope as he moves forward at some point he talks about an apology.

BURNETT: So, you know, obviously none coming at point. They haven't brought that up yet but they say that will when it comes to sentencing. Now, let me ask you about that because the judge had indicated, as you heard Omar say, sort of range of one to three years. You know, pretty incredible, you're talking about an actor who's put himself in the situation. But where do you think the sentencing will fall on that spectrum? Will he do jail time?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I don't -- I don't think that he should or will. He wasted resources. He needs to be about the business of repaying the city. I don't know what benefit could come from him being incarcerated. We already wasted resources.

He needs the support that is clear that he should have so he can recognize reality. He testified for a long time. I think he was on the stand for over an hour. And I do not believe the jury found what he was saying was credible. The facts just didn't match up. I think he needs to reconcile that and spend some time getting help. I don't think being incarcerated and having the state of Illinois pay more money would be a benefit to anyone.

BURNETT: Right, it's matter of apologizing and paying them back more than anything else.

All right. Thank you very much, Mayor Rawlings-Blake. I appreciate you.


BURNETT: And next, New Hampshire's vaccination rates are among the very highest in the United States. Why is COVID surging there? I'm going to ask the governor, Chris Sununu.

Plus, Republicans launching a secret investigation into the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin even though there's been no evidence of widespread fraud and multiple investigations. So, what are they trying to hide? We sent Kyung Lah to find out.






BURNETT: Tonight, three states asking for help from the National Guard as COVID surges in many parts of this country, but specifically here in the Northeast.

The governor of Maine warning there are only about 40 ICU beds now available in the entire state. New York deploying more than 100 medics and long term care facilities, and hospitals in New Hampshire already surpassing the record number of COVID patients last winter when there wasn't a vaccine.

OUTFRONT now, Republican Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire.

And, Governor Sununu, I'm glad to have you back. I mean, your state has one of the highest vaccination rates in the entire United States. Seventy-four percent of people in your state, 12 and older, are fully vaccinated. But yet, right now, you're seeing more COVID cases than any other time. Hospitalizations are more than doubles in the past month.

Now, that's pretty scary because you saw that last surge in the hospitals, there was no vaccine. Now, you got 74 percent of people vaccinated. What is going on?

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, it's a great question in that, unfortunately, we knew this was coming, right? We know this virus is transmitted in a seasonal aspect. Our immune systems get weaker as winter comes on.

And so, back in July, we were talking about preparing for a winter surge and we were. So, the bad news is unfortunately, we were right. The surge is definitely upon us. The good news is we've had a lot of time to prepare. And so, that's why you're seeing accelerated rates in places like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, the Upper Midwest. We're the colder states on the fore front of winter and over time you'll see the rates increase as you hit the Mid-Atlantic States and some of the states out West.

So, we've tried to prepare as best we can in terms of adapting our internal surge within our hospitals, knowing how we're going to use our national guard. We even visited other states last summer that we're seeing their cases get overwhelmed and their hospitals get overwhelmed so we kind of learned from them and prepare.

So, the bad news is that news is that surge was here. The good news is, we prepared, we have a lot of tools in the tool box that we're putting out to bear.

BURNETT: Absolutely, I still think people have to say when you got 74 percent of the population fully vaccinated and you've got the surge and people in the hospital again. That's not what people thought was going to happen, when you had 74 percent people vaccinated.

What is your public health analysis, you know, in your state with your experts on this? I mean, you know, your booster rate, like many places, it's really low. But, I mean, it's really low, 4 percent I think, of your residents actually are boosted. The national average is horrible to. It's better than yours, 15 percent.

Do you have any idea about these people that are being hospitalized? Is it delta? Is it omicron?


Do you know?

SUNUNU: Sure. Good, great. Yeah, great question. So, delta is a much more aggressive form than the original alpha variant. About 80 percent of the folks in our hospitals are unvaccinated. About 20 percent are. We were very aggressive with getting the vaccine out very early in the process.

And as we know now. That wanes. It wanes overtime, which is why boosters are so important.

We have over 500 locations in our state where you can get vaccinated. We have fixed sites up. One of the big things we are trying to do is preventative in terms of our testing. We are one of the first, the first day in the country where we made in 1 million tests available, with help from our partners in the federal government.

You can go on our website, click, and 2 days later, Amazon was delivering a test to your doorstep. That's going to allow people to know whether they have it or not. Keep them out of high-risk populations, a little sooner, and ultimately, bring back the transmission.

But it's going to be a rough winter. There's no doubt about. It I don't think these numbers are really going to finish peaking until early January.

BURNETT: Well, no, I mean when you say 20 percent of people in hospital are fully vaccinated. Look, I mean, these are people should be taking pause, they are concerning, at the least people need to get the booster.

You've taken on Republican leaders in your state, some of whom moved and pushed information about COVID because you've seen what that means on the ground, right? Republicans are the most vaccine hesitant group, more than a quarter so they won't get vaccinated, according to the Kaiser Family foundation.

So, they're now hearing some more things. This is from a sitting Republican Senator Ron Johnson.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Standard garble, mouthwash has been proven to kill the coronavirus. Even if you get it, if you're -- you know, you may reduce virus replication, There's all kind of things, you know, why not try all these things?


BURNETT: We asked about that comment, yeah I stop for the city talk about mouthwash killing the study. Of course when the viruses in around and knows it's not like one piece to virus it dies -- you know, it's absurd.

But people run with these kinds of theories. They believe them. How damaging is it?

SUNUNU: Look, it's incredibly damaging. There's no doubt about it. I've gotten kind of famous for saying when crazy comes knocking at the door, slam it shut. And that's what you got to do. You can't just tolerate it and say, oh, is just a certain part of your

population that is transmitting all this misinformation and it doesn't matter, it does matter. It gets into the populace, it gives people doubt. You have to get your boosters. You have to get vaccinated. And sometimes, unfortunately, you need to see a family member, a loved one, a coworker to see how badly and how devastating people can be with this virus because you start taking it seriously.

And that's a tough place to be, but unfortunately, that sometimes our reality. So, we push -- you have to keep pushing the messaging, pushing the realities of it, we're seeing a lot of hospitalizations there. People are taking very seriously.

The number of people to look and get their boosters are skyrocketing. We're doing a booster blitz this Saturday. Or put out 12,000 boosters in just the day. And so, you know, people are getting aware were telling him to get their booster 6 weeks ago. It was a little slow uptake, now it's incredibly rapid they know they're coming in with their families over the holiday season, they want to be protected.

But the misinformation is real. People have to -- have to discredit it as fast as they can. And I don't care what party you're from, right? We have young Democrats that don't want to get vaccinated. We have all the Republicans that don't want to get vaccinated.

I don't think it's -- it's not a gender issue. It's not a party issue. You have certain parts of the population, for variety of reasons, not just information. You have a lot of young women who might be your nurses or teachers that might have heard it might affect you in your pregnancy, which is not true. There's no data to back that, but they have hesitancy.

So, you want to educate them. You want to talk to them. You want to talk to the doctors. Not just sharing things on social media. That's the most important. Talk to your doctor, talk to your pharmacies, get information, and make the right decision to get vaccinated.

BURNETT: All right. Governor Sununu, thanks again.

SUNUNU: You bet. Thank you, Erin. Be good.

BURNETT: All right. And next, a girlfriend revealing her desperation to help her dying boyfriend after he was shot by an officer who says she mistook her gun for a Taser.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLER) and grabbed like whatever is in the car.


BURNETT: And Republicans in Wisconsin conducted a 2020 election probe that they are trying hard to hide. They even ran away from our Kyung Lah.


LAH: Hi, how are you? Hey? Good evening, sir. Good.




BURNETT: Daunte Wright's girlfriend in tears testifying in the Kim Potter trial. The former veteran police officer charged with killing Wright after saying she mistook her gun for her Taser.

Josh Campbell is OUTFRONT tonight, and just a warning that some of the images you will see in this piece may disturb you.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Emotional testimony, Thursday, from Daunte Wright's girlfriend in the manslaughter trial of former police officer, Kim Potter. Potter says she mistook her gun for her Taser when she shot and killed Wright during a routine traffic stop.

Wright's girlfriend was in the car at the time.

ALAYNA ALBRECHT-PAYTON, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S GIRLFRIEND: He was scared, and I would never see him like that before. I just remember hearing like hearing the bang of the gun, and then I remember just looking up.

CAMPBELL: Wright's girlfriend telling the court, what happened after the shooting.

ALBRECHT-PAYTON: I took my belt off, and I grabbed whatever was in the car, I don't remember, it was a sweater, a towel, or blanket, or something. I just didn't know what to do. So, I just put my hands over his chest, and I tried to hold it. I was just screaming his name. I can replay that image in my head daily.

CAMPBELL: After Wright was shot, he sped away from the scene, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. Moments later, police dash cam video shows Wright's car striking another in a violent crash. His girlfriend called out to police on the scene.

POLICE OFFICER: 219, the driver is not breathing.

ALBRECHT-PAYTON: I was trying to push on his chest, and call his name. He wasn't answering me, he was just gasping.


Just take breaths of air.

CAMPBELL: She tells the prosecutor about a FaceTime call with Wright's mother, while she was still on the car.

ERIN ELDRIDGE, MINNESOTA ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: You said you pointed the camera at him.

ALBRECHT-PAYTON: No, mom should have to see their son dead on the ground.

CAMPBELL: The officer who witnessed the crash testifying that he didn't know Wright had been shot, and ordered him to exit the vehicle.

POLICE OFFICER: Put your hands up, get out of the car, yes, you.

CAMPBELL: The police, getting Wright's girlfriend out of the car, then cuffing her, and leading her away.

POLICE OFFICER: You're not under arrest. Put your hands behind your back.

CAMPBELL: After securing the scene, officers say, to began to render medical aid to Wright. An officer testifying police tried to revive him.

OFFICER ALAN DOUGLAS-SALVOSA, BROOKLYN CENTER POLICE DEPARTMENT: Assessing his injuries, trying to find out how to best to treat his injuries, and save his life, sir.

CAMPBELL: New police body camera footage, introduced Thursday, shows numerous other officers, soon, arriving to a scene of utter confusion.

POLICE OFFICER: Gunshots fired.

POLICE OFFICER: What's that?

POLICE OFFICER: Gunshots fired.

POLICE OFFICER: Gunshots fired.


POLICE OFFICER: So, there were shots fired on there?

POLICE OFFICER: I don't know. I didn't hear that. There was a traffic stop, they had one with a warrant. As they're -- as I'm pulling up this way, the car takes off, hits the Subaru, and crashes here.

He has a gunshot wound, I didn't fire, I had no idea, but obviously, he was shot somewhere between there, and here.

CAMPBELL: While on the stand, Wright's girlfriend detailed her injuries, resulting from the crash.

ALBRECHT-PAYTON: My jaw, I remember walking, and my blood was spilling from my mouth.


CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, Erin, Kimberly Potter pleaded not guilty to charges of first and, second degree manslaughter. After court today, her attorney, asked for a mistrial, taking issue with some evidence by the prosecution. The judge denying that request. This trial will continue.

Another compelling day of testimony, and one thing is clear, Erin, and calling Daunte Wright's girlfriend, as well as another motorist, who was struck by his vehicle, as Daunte Wright was suffering from a gunshot wound. Prosecutors, showing the jury, multiple people were impacted that day, by this officers' fateful decision to pull her weapon, instead of her Taser -- Erin.

BURNETT: Josh, thank you so much, as we continue to cover the trial.

Next, a 2020 election review by Republicans in Wisconsin. But it's completely under wraps, in fact, they don't want you to know about it. Why? Why the secret?



BURNETT: Tonight, a secretive Republican ordered review of Wisconsin's 2020 election results, is underway, and behind closed doors. This comes despite multiple findings of no fraud in the state.

So, why another investigation? Why is it a secret?

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what a threat to democracy looks like, inside of this building, in the Milwaukee suburbs, working behind this tinted doorway, is the special counsel of Wisconsin's partisan review of the 2020 election.

Hello? Hello?

They don't want to talk to reporters, declining our request for interviews, and now, dodging my questions on the run.

Good evening, sir.

The man we are trying to talk to is Michael Gableman, a retired Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, appointed by the Republican controlled legislature, to lead an investigation that could cost taxpayers nearly $700,000.

MICHAEL GABLEMAN, RETIRED WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: To get to the truth of what happened, in our 2020 election.

LAH: Three separate audits, recounts, and court cases, have found no evidence of widespread fraud in Wisconsin. But, that is not stopping Gableman from moving forward, making bizarre threats, like this.

MAYOR SATYA RHODES-CONWAY (D), MADISON: Attorney Gableman has asked the court to instruct the sheriff to take me to jail.

LAH: To take you to jail? RHODES-CONWAY: Yes.

LAH: Satya Rhodes-Conway is the mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, a Democratic stronghold, one of the local officials subpoenaed by the special counsel. Gableman wants to interrogate her in this building away from public view.

Because he wants to ask you those questions in private, he is going to seek your arrest?

RHODES-CONWAY: Yes, if it comes down to, it and I have to go to jail for democracy, I certainly won't be the first person to have done so.

LAH: Gableman was hired by Wisconsin Republican assembly speaker, Robin Vos, pictured here, with Donald Trump. Vos tweeted about the top to bottom investigation by Justice Michael Gableman. After this tweet, Gableman's investigation expanded.

Hi. Good morning.

LAH: We tried to talk to Speaker Vos --

We sent a request for interview.

His office says Vos had no time this week. We wanted to know why Vos would hire Gableman, who just days after the 2020 election cast doubt on Wisconsin's election results.

GABLEMAN: Our elected leaders have allowed unelected bureaucrats at the Wisconsin Election Commission to steal our votes.

LAH: Records obtained by American Oversight, a left leaning watchdog group, show taxpayers paid to fly Gableman to Arizona last summer where the widely debunked partisan review of Maricopa County's 2020 ballots took place. Then, Gableman went to South Dakota to My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell, cyber symposium, which amounted to a gathering of outlandish conspiracies, and election lies.

In Wisconsin, Gableman's investigation continues, in the dark. His only two public appearances before state lawmakers, combative.

GABLEMAN: Stop making things up, Mark. You constituents deserve better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why have you hired Mr. Hoyer?

GABLEMAN: Shame on you.


LAH: Josh Kaul is Wisconsin's attorney general, and fighting the Gableman investigation in court.

Is this about 2020, or is this about 2022, and 2024?

JOSH KAUL (D), WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think this is about 2022, and 2024. I mean, I think what we've seen is that even though the insurrection ended, the spirit of the insurrection has remained with us. This is an effort to reduce people's confidence, in our election results.

LAH: Wisconsin Republican state senator, Catherine Bernier, former county clerk, believes elections can always improve. But, says what's clear, there is no widespread voter fraud, and, it is her party that needs to make that clear.

KATHY BERNIER (R), WISCONSIN STATE SENATE: If they do not have confidence in the electoral process, they're not going to come out and vote, and primarily, it's going to harm Republicans. So, it is Republicans, including Donald J. Trump, who need to say, okay. Let's stop, let's move forward.

LAH: The Gableman investigation shows no sign of stopping.

Can we talk to better investigation?

GABLEMAN: Hey, have a good night.

Lah: Or, answering to anyone.


LAH (on camera): Bipartisan, federal elections experts, tell CNN, they are concerned about what they are seeing here, in the state of Wisconsin. It is similar pressure to what they are seeing, being applied to Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, what they all have in common, Erin, they are swing states -- Erin.

BURNETT: Wow. Kyung, thank you very much, live from Madison with that fantastic report.

Anderson starts now.