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Erin Burnett Outfront

Biden Lays Out COVID Fight Plan, Says "This Is Not March Of 2020"; Senate Dems About To Hold Meeting; Unclear If Manchin Taking Part; Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) Discusses About The Meeting With Democrats On Spending Bill; Jan 6 CMTE Condemns GOP Rep's Rejection Of Panel's Request To Talk, But Warns It Will Consider "Using Other Tools;" Jan. 6 Committee Condemns Rep's Refusal to Talk, Stops Short of Subpoena; Jury to Judge in Kim Potter Trail: "If the Jury Cannot Reach Consensus, What is the Guidance?"; Librarians Fifth Back Against Push to Ban Books From Schools. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 21, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. That's it.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, don't panic. President Biden laying out his action plan to slow the COVID surge sending resources to states in need of help and defending his plan for testing amid long lines.

Plus, the race to save Biden's agenda. The president promising tonight to get something done with Joe Manchin on his spending bill, but will the Senator even join a key call with fellow Democrats on the topic tonight?

And a story you'll see only on OUTFRONT. School librarians fearing the worst because critics want to ban hundreds of books that they claim are offensive. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, this is not March of 2020. That was President Biden trying to reassure Americans today telling them not to panic over the latest surge. But he did warn things are about to get worse.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll see some fully vaccinated people get COVID, potentially in large numbers. There will be positive cases in every office, even here in the White House. But these cases are highly unlikely to lead to serious illness.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned. You're at a high risk of getting sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Right now, the U.S. is reporting more than 140,000 cases per

day and the CDC is predicting we could be at 250,000 new cases a day in the next few weeks, breaking the record set back in January of this year. President Biden insisting the U.S. though is ready for an Omicron wave, announcing 500 million at-home tests will be available sometime next month.

But that is next month and the President is facing real questions about why Americans are struggling so much right now to get tests.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it a failure that you don't have an adequate amount of tests for everyone to be able to get one if they need one right now?

BIDEN: No, it's not, because COVID is spreading so rapidly, if you notice. It just happened almost overnight.


BOLDUAN: Companies like Walgreens and CVS are reporting unprecedented demand for tests. Nearly impossible to find in their stores. New York City is set to open federal testing sites as people are forced to wait hours in lines to just get a test. One big question remaining, how deadly will this variant prove to be.

New research today from the UK, South Africa and Japan are finding that Omicron may be less likely to cause severe disease in the lungs. But at this point, it is still not clear whether the variant is less severe. Israel though not waiting around to find out, now recommending a fourth vaccine dose to everyone over the age of 60 along with medical workers and people with suppressed immune systems.

Back here, hospitals are bracing for what may feel like March of 2020 again. The President announcing emergency response teams are being deployed to help in six states, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire and Indiana where hospitalizations are up 80 percent from this time last month and doctors are warning that people could wait as long as 36 hours for a bed to open up.


DR. DONALD ZIMMER, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN SOUTH BEND, IN: We're underwater at the moment and it feels like every day is a little bit worse than the last and I'm so tired of saying I'm sorry. I'm sorry for how long you've had to wait. I'm sorry that I had to see you in the hallway. We're all doing the best that we can.


BOLDUAN: I'm going to speak to that doctor in just a moment. But first Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT for us live from the White House this evening. Jeff, the President trying to ease fears tonight about Omicron as cases are reaching their highest levels in more than three months.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORREPONDENT: Kate, he did and President Biden also he really shot to reassure Americans but at the same time say that - he said, I know you're frustrated, but we're still in this. We're in this critical moment. That point, of course, is clear.

This is not a Christmas message that any President, of course, wants to do a deliver. He was defensive on the question of testing. Has this administration done enough about testing, but the reality is going forward. They will be tested by how they perform here, delivering those at home test to people next month. But that, of course, is next month. Now is the critical time here, so the President really going hard after disinformation and misinformation.

Some of the hardest, strongest language we have heard him talk about yet.


Really trying to draw the distinction between the vaccinated and boosted and the unvaccinated, allowing people the opportunity to once again try and make that decision for themselves to get the shot.

So Kate, we've seen the President in this setting so many times before trying to urge, cajole, nudge, but at this day, four days before Christmas, again making that plea. But the question here is really no one at the White House knows how bad this will get. There is a sense of anxiety, but also he made clear, the President made clear this is not March of 2020, as you said, because of all the vaccinations. That is what they are hoping for, but certainly as they prepare to send up to a thousand military medical members to really ease the burden here of hospitals across the country. There is a sense of unknown here right before the holidays, Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's for sure. Jeff, thank you.

OUTFRONT with me now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush and Dr. Donald Zimmer, an emergency physician at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana.

Dr. Reiner, President Biden was making clear that they are stepping up their response. They're really leaning in on this, but he was also today clearly frustrated when asked if this should have been done sooner. Do you think he's right to be defensive about this?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the American public have a right to feel agitated by not having access to these tests. For instance, the BinaxNOW test was the EUA for that was approved on March 31st of this year. So that test has been available for nine months.

So nine months later, now suddenly, it dawns on this administration, that perhaps these tests should be available in wide numbers. Remember, we - before Omicron, we had Delta. Another opportunity for people to test and to keep people at work and keep people at school and prevent spread.

So now basically, after the outcry following the unfortunate press conference a couple of weeks ago, when the Press Secretary basically dismissed this idea of sending test, now we're going to send test. But that's only part and I'm glad the administration is doing that.

But it's only part of the answer. We need to flood the countryside with tests. You should be able to pick up a free bag of tests at the supermarket, at the drugstore, at your bank, at your library, at your place of work. Every home needs tons of these tests and I'm concerned that if we now we rely on a system next month, when we'll be well into this surge, where you have to basically go online, order some tests on a website, then wait for them to come.

That's not really going to do it. People need to have access to test on the day they don't feel well. So we need to think more expansively and half of billion tests seems like a lot, but we have 330 million Americans. We're going need a lot more.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Dr. Zimmer, Indiana, as I mentioned, is one of the states that the federal government is deploying resources to right now, because it's being hit so hard. At your hospital, you're already at 127 percent capacity and you've described it as being underwater. What's going on there?

ZIMMER: It's just like that. It's like being underwater and trying to tread water and catch your breath. And then someone brings you someone to try to help and you're trying to keep them above water too. We're overwhelmed. Our hospital is pulling every lever that we possibly can to try to open up more bed space, to try to bring in more nurses and techs and respiratory therapists and try to open up more zones.

But right now in the emergency department, 75 percent to 80 percent of our beds are full of patients that are waiting for beds upstairs. And that makes it incredibly hard to do the work of Emergency Medicine, which is on a day to day basis, a life and death business. It's overwhelming and it's incredibly stressful. And it's hard on patients and it's hard on our community.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Especially two years in having your hospital get crushed again, even as we have vaccines. That must be just really hard to face, Dr. Zimmer.

ZIMMER: Yes. I think that's the part that's the most frustrating is that, for the most part, the patients that we're still seeing with COVID which currently are occupying almost a third of our hospital and over 3,000 of the hospital beds in Indiana right now, most all of them are unvaccinated particularly in the ICUs and that part of it all feels like it was preventable.


We had a level of protection that was offered that people declined and now they're taking up beds that we know we need for other patients that need surgery for their heart disease or for their cancer and those patients don't have access to the care that they need right now and that's pretty frustrating.

BOLDUAN: I'd say so. Dr. Reiner, looking overseas, Israel is moving on forget one, two or even three they're looking at - they're now recommending a fourth dose to everyone over the age of 60 along with medical workers. It will be given the way that we're learning is four months after their third dose. Do you think we'll be seeing or should be seeing fourth doses happening here after the New Year?

REINER: Yes. I think we're going to do that. The question is how late are we going to be when we finally do that. We've been following the Israelis since this pandemic began. That's where almost all of our data has been generated. So what the Israelis are seeing is that while the boosters do restore a great amount of efficacy for our existing vaccines, that efficacy, the boosted efficacy wanes, after about 90 days.

So what the Israelis are going to do is they're going to protect the people who are really in harm's way. They're going to protect their healthcare system by reboosting with the fourth dose their health care workers and keeping people at work, keeping their hospitals functioning, and they're going to reboost the people who are at greatest risk of a severe infection, people over the age of 60 and people with pre existing conditions or the immunocompromised. We should be doing that now.

Many of our people in this country who got boosted are now starting to approach that critical four-month period. We should start boosting America's health care workers now. Otherwise, our hospitals are going to be even more short-handed and every hospital is going to face the kinds of terrible issues that Dr. Zimmer was facing.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Dr. Zimmer, you talked about the unvaccinated how that's majority of who you're seeing in your hospital beds right now. Part of the President's speech was about appealing to people to get vaccinated, finally. He called it a patriotic duty. What do you think? Do you think that message cuts through to the patients that you're treating?

ZIMMER: I think it depends to some of the patients on who the message comes from. I'm not partisan in any way and I don't think the virus is either. I know that the vaccine is efficacious and it protects people across both sides of the aisle. I do think it's a patriotic duty and I do think that if you get vaccinated, you're not only protecting yourself, you're protecting your family, your kids, your loved ones and your community.

And I think that's what we need people to do. I know in my community, I'm begging people that are unvaccinated or that are due for their booster to get the next shot, to get the first shot if they haven't had any. This is absolutely a non partisan type of topic. We need everybody to get vaccinated, and we need people to take care of one another. And I don't know anybody that doesn't want to take care of their own family, their mother, their father, their grandparents, their loved ones, their children. This is the way to do it, it's the vaccines.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Dr. Zimmer. Thank you, Dr. Reiner, as always.

OUTFRONT for us next, President Biden still confident his agenda is on track, telling reporters he and Sen. Joe Manchin will get something done but what exactly can they accomplish?

Plus, a showdown on Capitol Hill. The January 6 Select Committee has a new warning to one of their colleagues after Republican Congressman Scott Perry refuses to sit down with investigators.

And you've seen the videos anger and outrage in the air, thousands of passengers behaving badly. Well tonight, the FAA with a new plan to punish unruly travelers.



BOLDUAN: New tonight, President Biden predicting he will convince Democratic Senator Joe Manchin to get on board with his sweeping Build Back Better plan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Senator Manchin break his commitment to you?

BIDEN: Sen. Manchin and I are going to get something done. Thank you.


BOLDUAN: Something done. This just two days after Manchin, the key Democratic senator in the negotiations at this point that he walked away from talks with the White House and said he was a no on that bill. And tonight Senate Democrats are just minutes away from holding a conference call to discuss the fate of this massive bill and massive effort to get it over the finish line. Manu Raju is OUTFRONT for us tonight. Manu, what's going to happen on this call?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to be a lot of air clearing. We do expect the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to detail what his plan is to try to bring this bill for a vote even though it is destined to fail assuming Joe Manchin doesn't change his position. Imagine making very clear, he is not going to change the position and it's also unclear whether mentioned himself will participate on this call.

I am told that he still has not confirmed his participation on this eight o'clock virtual call. Now, this comes as Democrats are scrambling to figure out what the way forward is exactly. There are some discussions about potentially a scaled back plan, something in which they believe they can get consensus from the various wings of the party.

But there's also a pushback from some progressives and say there don't trust Joe Manchin to get behind such a narrower approach. And Manchin himself has suggested that instead of going through the Democratic- only approach on a smaller bill, if they were to go that route, they should go through the regular committee process. And that process, Kate, as you know, could take months.

It's a process that Joe Manchin envisions that could require 10 Republicans to join with all 50 Democrats in agreement on all these issues, ranging from health care to climate change, and education and housing that has been elusive with Republican for months. So where does this all lead the party, uncertain.

Frustration is building particularly among House Democrats who were forced to cast a vote to pass their version of the $1.75 trillion bill out of the House last month. But they may be headed to the polls next year, next November having voted for the bill, but having delivered nothing which makes these conversations tonight and the weeks ahead so critical as a party tries to get their agenda back on track, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Manu, thank you so much.


OUTFRONT with me now for more on this Democratic Senator from Maryland, Ben Cardin. Senator, thanks for being here. On this call that you're about to jump on, what are you all going to work out tonight? What are the options?

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD): Well, Kate, first of all, it's good to be with you. This bill is so important to the American people. We're going to continue to work for a path forward where we can get it done. We know it's important in regards to the affordability of health care, the affordability of housing, childcare all of these issues that are so important to the American families.

The checks that they've been receiving in regards to the child credits that are important to pay just your basic needs. So we're going to continue to work to find a path forward in tonight's call. We'll talk about our strategies of when we should bring the bill up, where we think we can make some progress.

But one thing is clear, we're not bringing a bill up to lose. We're bringing it up in order to find a path forward to get this done.

BOLDUAN: Which begs an important question. I mean, Manu said that Manchin has not yet confirmed he'd even join the call tonight. Do you expect Joe Manchin to be on the call?

CARDIN: I know that Sen. Manchin has joined us in our caucus. He understands what we're trying to get done. He's had direct conversations with the President and with Sen. Schumer. So I am confident that we'll have communication with Sen. Manchin. We're also looking for a way which we can get all 50 Democratic senators together.

Look, it would be a lot better if we had Republicans who are willing to work with us. We don't on these issues, so therefore we need all 50 Democratic senators.

BOLDUAN: You sure do. What message does it send if Joe Manchin at this critical juncture does not join this call? CARDIN: Well, I think he will join us. Ultimately, we're going to

need to get all 50 senators together. That's what our objective is to figure out a path forward. We've made a lot of progress. Look, we're able to get the American rescue plan done with all the Democrats. We've been able to get a lot of bills through the Senate in unity in a Democratic caucus over the course of this year.

We're not there yet. We recognize we still have challenges, but we're not going to give up. It's just too important. We're going to figure out a way to get it done, as the President said this afternoon. He's confident that he can work out an agreement with Sen. Manchin. I know that Sen. Schumer is confident that we can get to the finish line.

BOLDUAN: One aspect of the bill that you care deeply about is expanding the Child Tax Credit. Sen. Manchin, the counter offer that he gave to the White House last week included key elements of the bigger bill of Build Back Better, but it notably left out the Child Tax Credit. If that is the compromise that gets this over the finish line, if that's the get something done, as President Biden described it tonight, what do you do?

CARDIN: Well, Kate, we want to get the strongest possible bill done. We recognize we're all going to have to make compromise and we've already made a lot of compromises in the legislation that's before us. The child credit is a very important part of the package. It is so important to families on the affordability of just basic expenses.

So we're going to continue to try to extend the child credit. We think it's important. We think Americans will be missing that check in January when it doesn't come in and that there will be additional interest in getting that done and we do have some Republicans who might be interested in this.

So we're going to continue to work for a way to get that done. We want to get in the Build Back Better budget, the strongest possible bill we can to the President of the United States.

BOLDUAN: Joe Biden says he's confident he's going to get something done with Joe Manchin. But honestly, Senator, seeing the mess that this has been in playing out, the surprise from this weekend that was very clear, the anger and blowback we've seen against Joe Manchin since then, how are you confident you're going to get something done? Honestly, candidly, are you confident guarantee that you're going to get something over the finish line?

CARDIN: Kate, I've been in this business for a long time now and I know things can change pretty quickly. So yes, I maintain my optimism that we'll be able to get the Build Back Better budget done. I think is so important to the American families. I know that every Democrat, including Senator Manchin understands the importance of this legislation.

So I am encouraged that communications are still continuing that the President and Joe Manchin did talk, that we will have a path forward. I'm not exactly sure how the final bill will look like, but I am confident that we'll be able to keep the process moving forward. BOLDUAN: Senator, thanks for your time tonight.

CARDIN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, former President Trump announcing his plans for January 6th, the anniversary of the insurrection he helped incite. And breaking news in what could be a major sign of where deliberations are headed in the trial of the officer who killed Daunte Wright. Their questions to the judge tonight.




BOLDUAN: Tonight, the January 6 Select Committee condemning Republican Congressman Scott Perry's refusal to meet with them. But the Committee stopping short of saying a subpoena is now coming. What the Committee did say is this in part, "If members with directly relevant information declined to cooperate and instead endeavor to cover up, the Select Committee will consider seeking such information using other tools."

OUTFRONT now former Republican Congressman Francis Rooney and Gloria Borger, our Chief Political Analyst.

Congressman, Scott Perry's response to all this he just went after what he called an illegitimate committee in a series of tweets today. Are you surprised that he is not cooperating and what do you think the Committee should do now?

FRANCIS ROONEY, (R) FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM FLORIDA: Given the monolithic behavior of the Trump base, I'm not surprised that Scott would stonewall the Committee. But there seems to be an awful lot of evidence written in testimonial that he was helping block those vote counts and urging this Clark guy on at the DOJ and I think he needs to be investigated, held accountable for that.

BOLDUAN: I mean, would you be extraordinary for the committee to subpoena a sitting member of Congress, Congressman? Do you think that's what should happen?

ROONEY: Well, wait a minute. We're a nation of laws, not men. That's what John Adams said. I think that whether you're a congressman or not, if you have been involved in some conduct that's suspect. And in my opinion, any of these people that refused to certify the election is inherently a little bit suspect with the evidence here is even more that they should be held accountable and they should come testify as to what happened.


BOLDUAN: You know, Gloria, this -- Perry is the first known sitting member of Congress asked to come before the committee. It would be an extraordinary move if the committee is considering, you know, investigating him in this way.

Where do you see this going from here?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, it's really hard to say. I think this committee has proven, time and time again, that they are willing to subpoena people, and willing to hold them in contempt if they don't answer that subpoena. As you point out, this is a member of Congress. They would rather not have to subpoena a fellow member of congress.

And what you're going to hear from these members is the same old, same old, which is they say that this is an illegitimate committee because it's not truly bipartisan which, of course, it is. Or that it has no legislative purpose, which of course it does. And so, they will throw that back at the committee. And then, perhaps try and end up in court.

The committee has not indicated what it's going to do but, you know, Congressman Perry is kind of crucial here. He tried to get rid of the acting AG and put in Mr. Clark, instead. He had text messages with Mark Meadows, which the committee is aware of and, of course, they want to question him about it. Why wouldn't they want to question him about it?

I think the question you ought to be asking is why doesn't he want to answer their questions?

BOLDUAN: A great question, Gloria. Congressman, former --


BOLDUAN: -- former President Trump today announced that he is planning a news conference for January 6th in the very same statement, announcing this he pushed his election lies again and downplayed the attack on the Capitol. So now, a press conference, he is planning on the anniversary of that horrible day.

What is that going to do?

ROONEY: Well, I think that will further enliven his base, which has proven incapable of supporting democratic institutions versus him, personally. And I think it's a bad thing. I think it's one more damage to our history of elections and democratic respect for our electoral process.

I mean, look what happened with Nixon and Al Gore. Those were much more legitimately contested elections than this one.

BOLDUAN: Look where we are.

Gloria, kind of wrapped into all of this, I spoke with -- last night with retired army general who is afraid and warning about the potential of another insurrection coming in 2024. This one, he fears, from within military ranks. I asked him what he thought needed to be done to prevent that from happening.

Let me play for you what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIG. GEN. STEVEN ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET. SERVED 31 YEARS): The most important thing is accountability. We haven't accounted for the leaders, the people out there -- the Josh Hawleys, the Donald Trumps, the people fanned the flames of insurrection and then stood back and act surprised when it happened.


BOLDUAN: I mean, this brings it back to Scott Perry and even the Trump press conference. I mean, how do you prevent another attack from happening if people aren't held accountable for the first?

BORGER: I know, that was a stunning interview, Kate. I mean, you know, he was begging people. Saying, look, look right before your very eyes what is occurring, and what is occurring domestically. And, you know, the question is how do you protect the country?

And when you have this kind of misinformation floating around, and Donald Trump is out there still singing the same old, same old the election was rigged because he can't admit that he lost an election, and riling up the base. I think it becomes more and more dangerous. And I think that's what he was saying to you last night, and it was sort of a cri de coeur. You know, we can't -- we can't sit back and watch this happen again because democracy is at stake here.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. Congressman, what do you think of that?

ROONEY: Well, I think the only ray of hope I can think of -- and I am trying to think of 'em every day -- is that there is about 30 -- 30- plus percent of this country that isn't monolithically aligned with Trump and isn't nearly as progressive as some of the progressive Democrats. And those are the people that need to determine our future and who have historically determined it.

They -- they -- they usually want to see things done on a compromised basis. They -- they resist the partisanship. That's why we have increasing non -- non-party-aligned voters. And somehow, we have got to reach them and they have got to rise up and counter this anti- institutional behavior.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, it's good to see you. Gloria, thank you as always.

ROONEY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, breaking news. A crucial question tonight from the jury in the Kim Potter trial.


What they've asked and what it could mean for her fate.

Plus, school librarians fearing for their own safety now over books.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of us have had to take measures in our personal lives that we never would have imagined we had to do because of our profession.




BOLDUAN: Breaking news: the jury in the Kim Potter trial revealing they could be deadlocked. The jury asking a key question tonight, which is what happens if they don't reach a consensus?

Potter is on trial for killing Daunte Wright after she says she meant to pull her Taser but instead pulled her gun and that jury has been sent home for the night. They have been deliberating now for more than 14 hours.

Adrienne Broaddus is OUTFRONT with us now.

Adrienne, a very revealing question from this jury tonight. What did the judge tell them?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the judge re-read an instruction she gave to them yesterday. And that first question they asked certainly signals there may be some sort of debate or disagreement brewing among members of the jury. The judge said to them, in part, deliberate with a view toward reaching an agreement if -- keyword if -- you can do so without violating your individual judgment.

Members of the jury also had another question -- it was about exhibit 199. That is the gun Potter used on the day she shot and killed Daunte (AUDIO GAP)


The jury wanted to know if the zip ties that are securing the weapon could be removed so they could remove the weapon from the evidence box. The answer was yes. You might remember, during closing arguments, Erin Eldridge and Matthew Frank on rebuttal told members of the jury they would have an opportunity to compare and contrast the two weapons. They would be able to feel and see the Taser Potter thought she intended to pull, as well as the gun.

They did mention, obviously, the gun is not loaded with ammunition, so the weight is a little different. Today, the first-full day of jury deliberations, combined with deliberating today and yesterday, they were in that room for more than 14 hours trying to determine whether or not Potter is guilty of first and second-degree manslaughter -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Adrienne, thanks so much for that.

OUTFRONT with me now, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former defense attorney, also former Baltimore mayor.

This jury asking what happens if they can't reach consensus, they're home for the night. They are going to be back tomorrow. But when you hear that, do you think they are headed for a hung jury?

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So, a hung jury, um, is pretty unusual. So, I think they will eventually get to a verdict because, you know, really, most jurors -- most juries do end up with a verdict. But I think it means that they are pretty strong opinions on both sides.

And I also think it means that they've gotten beyond the use of force, and they're really taking a look at that gun.

BOLDUAN: Does it mean that they're struggling in there?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I definitely think they're struggling. I think they passed the point of whether or not she should or shouldn't have used the gun. I think the struggle, the chaos, you know, using -- excuse me, using a Taser -- that using force was okay -- was understandable.

I think right now, they are saying can this be an accident? Or must it be negligence for an officer to mistake or confuse a gun -- a handgun -- with a Taser? And that's why I think they are holding it. I think they are really grappling with that and trying to come up with a decision that they can stick with for the rest of their lives.

BOLDUAN: And is that -- do you think that speaks directly to what that other question was from the jury? Wanting to get the gun out of the evidence box to hold it?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Definitely. I think they want to hold it. I think they want to compare the Taser to the handgun. They have a really tough job ahead of them. They have to see, is -- is it a -- an excusable mistake? Can they give this officer the benefit of the doubt? Or does this have to be negligence to confuse two weapons that are so vastly different?

BOLDUAN: If this is how they ended the day, where do you think the jury begins tomorrow?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think they begin tomorrow as they began today, focused on looking at all the evidence. You know, we have seen so many trials -- high-profile trials lately where the jurors are really taking their job seriously.

And I think that this is no different. They are looking at the evidence. It's clear based on the question today. And they are looking at the instructions, and they are trying to reconcile those things to come up with a verdict that all of them can feel comfortable when they have to give that jury -- if there is a tally, you know, if -- if they want to hear a voice vote for the jury, they -- they need to feel comfortable in their spirit that they can say guilty or not guilty.

BOLDUAN: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, thank you.

OUTFRONT for us next, an OUTFRONT exclusive. School librarians caught in the middle as one state moves to ban hundreds of books.

Plus, the FAA wants those who behave badly while flying to pay, and not just a fine but by standing in line. We'll explain.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, a nationwide movement to keep some books out of school libraries is gaining steam but in Texas, one former librarian is fighting back.

Evan McMorris-Santoro with tonight's inside look.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a school librarian in Texas.

Why are you afraid to show your face when you talk about your job and the challenges that you're facing these days?

TEXAS LIBRARIAN: Because there was a day not too long ago when I had to stop and think, when they come in with handcuffs and they come in with the warrant for my arrest for alleging that I have provided obscene material to minors, who am I going to call first?

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Across Texas, protestors at school board meetings are accusing educators of forcing pornography or obscene comment on children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not a political thing. This is not a witch hunt. This is genuine concern for children. It's abuse. It is grooming behavior. It's predatory.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The anger is largely aimed at school libraries and many Texas politicians are onboard. In October, Republican state legislator Matt Krause requested every school district in the state scour their libraries for a list of 850 books.

TEXAS LIBRARIAN: The infamous texts list, the pattern seems to be books that are representative of LGBTQIA, subjects and characters and topics, books that may contain depictions or narratives of sexual violence, survivor stories, some books that are about racism.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The list includes "New Kid," a graphic novel about a black student's struggles fitting in at a majority-white school. "The Letter Q", queer writer notes to their younger selves. And "The Cider House Rules", a coming of age story that features a character who performs abortions.


Republican Governor Greg Abbott took things a step further, ordering officials to investigate any criminal activity in public schools after complaints act two LGBTQ-themed books he said were pornographic. MARY WOODARD, PRESIDENT-ELECT, TEXAS LIBRARY ASSOCIATION: I have

never experienced anything like that before where a government agency or any kind of government entity was interested in specifically what kinds of books were in the library.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The Texas Library Association is traditionally a pretty sleepy advocacy group. But the heated rhetoric is forcing that to change.

Last week, the group set up an anonymous hotline for librarians afraid of job consequences.

WOODARD: School librarians don't go into this business to harm kids. They are working really, really hard to select books that represent everyone on their campus.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This is happening all over the country. LGBTQ and racial-themed books written for children and young adults are facing powerful resistance. Educators are being put on notice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is pornography, plain and simple, and it does not belong in our schools!

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Just since the start of the school year, the American Library Association has tracked more than 230 book challenges nationwide. The ALA says there's been a dramatic uptick in challenges to books featuring LGBTQ and racial themes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Students like me, who are being harassed for not conforming to antiquated notions of gender roles and how they should express themselves.






FOOTE: There it is.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Librarians are starting to fight back, in a very librarian way.

FOOTE: This week, we are sharing books that were gifts in people's lives, and so I am going to kick this off by sending the first -- my first tweet from our FReadom Friday's account.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Carolyn Foote is a retired librarian and one of the found founders of the group FReadom Fighters. In just a month, it's become the grassroots way librarians under threat find and help each other. FOOTE: It is amazing how widespread these book challenges are. People

are contacting, like, privately from all over the country saying can you help me?

BECKY CALZADA, CO-FOUNDER, #FREADOM FIGHTERS: Scared. Nervous. Unsure. Worried they might lose their job.

FOOTE: If they speak up.

CALZADA: I have heard that, too. Or I am hearing this from my district or they don't know this. What do I do?

FOOTE: They are facing pressure -- external pressure. Like, what if I am called out at a board meeting? Or someone's in front of my house? And then, there is internal pressure of your own organization and how they're responding to something, and your relationships within the institution. So -- so really, it's a time when people need a lot of support.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Librarians helping librarians, so librarians can get back to helping kids.

CALZADA: I grew up reading "Trumpet of the Swan" and "Little House on the Prairie and I mean, there were no, you know, Hispanic girls. That is a disservice to kids and -- and -- and so, we work really hard as librarians to make sure that kids have books that they can see themselves in. But we also want to offer books where kids can learn about other kids' lives.

FOOTE: And who knows if that's something that would get you demonized?

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Governor Greg Abbott's office didn't respond when we asked for comment on what librarians in Texas are telling us. We also reached out to Matt Krause and stopped by his office.


Do you think you are going to win this? You think you are going to lose this?

TEXAS LIBRARIAN: It's not about whether I win or lose this. I think it's a point in our culture and society when we have to ask ourselves what do we stand to lose if we don't correct action and course now? We can't afford, as a democracy, to believe anything else will correct this.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Kate, it is hard to understand. It's hard to explain how strange a moment this is for school librarians. You know, usually, they are valued members of their communities, even who teach our kids about books and about reading. But in just the past few months, this rhetoric, this vilification, has changed their lives.

That woman you saw on camera there, afraid to show her face, she said she's had to add a security camera to her garage just in case something might happen there. Other librarians were worried about their jobs, other things like that.

This is all happening to school librarians, people who are usually pretty boring, quiet job. They are now on the front lines of a very vicious and nasty culture war. It is really a remarkable moment -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Really remarkable. They'd like to go back to that boring period of their lives, for sure. You can tell.

Thanks, Evan, great reporting.

OUTFRONT for us next: the new plan to punish people responsible for this -- passengers behaving badly.



BOLDUAN: And finally tonight, the FAA with a message to anyone who behaves badly while on a flight. Act up and you will end up at the back of the security line. The FAA announcing today that it is teaming up with the TSA, and will soon share information about unruly passengers, like this. Those passengers could then lose their pre- check privileges. The move, coming after the FAA says this year alone, it's received more than 5,600 reports of in-flight incidents. Of those, 4,000 were mask-related.

The FAA has been cracking down -- trying to on the unfriendly skies for almost a year, warning passengers they could face fines of up to $37,000 if they threaten or attack other passengers and crew. One example of things getting out of hand? This fight in Miami's airport last night. Police say they were called to the gate because of a disturbance surrounding a delayed flight, and it quickly escalated.

Two people were, eventually, taken into custody. Honestly.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight. I am Kate Bolduan. "AC360" with John Berman starts now.