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Erin Burnett Outfront

Oath Keepers Leader Convicted of Seditious Conspiracy; China's Security Forces Flood Major Cities to Try to Quash Protests; McCarthy Falsely Claims Trump Condemned White Nationalist; CNN's KFILE Turns Up Walker Speech That Raises Residency Questions; Senate Passes Bill To Protect Same-Sex, Interracial Marriage. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 29, 2022 - 19:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, we have breaking news. The leader of the far-right group, the Oath Keepers, has been convicted of seditious conspiracy for a plot to keep Trump in power. A top lieutenant also found guilty, a major win for the Justice Department tonight.

Also breaking this hour, Trump's former senior advisor Steve Miller testified today for a federal grand jury in the January 6th investigation. That brand-new reporting is next.

And China, now going through extreme lengths to silence and punish protesters, seizing phones, and leveling a new warning.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

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

OUTFRONT tonight, guilty. The leader of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers, and one of his top lieutenants have been both found guilty of seditious conspiracy. It is the most serious charge brought so far in any of the cases involving the January 6th attack. And it's for their role in the plot to prevent President Biden from taking office, all coming to a head on January 6th.

It is a major win for the U.S. Justice Department, which accused Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, and associate Kelly Meggs, of plotting to use force to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. They each face up to 20 years in prison now, and three other Oath Keepers who were also on trial were now found not guilty of seditious conspiracy, but all five were also convicted of obstructing the peaceful transfer of power.

There is a lot to this. The split verdicts, coming after nearly a two month trial, a trial in which the defendants claimed that they were fighting on behalf of then-President Trump.

Here is Stewart Rhodes from December of 2020.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEWART RHODES, OATH KEEPERS LEADER: If he does not do it now, or his commander in chief, we are going to have to do it ourselves later. A much more desperate, much more bloody war. Let's get it on now, while he is still the commander in chief.


BOLDUAN: That was then, here we are now. We know that Rhodes was at the Capitol on January 6th, and he said that he did not enter, but was in touch with some of Trump's associates, including Roger Stone, Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander, and former national security aide, Michael Flynn.

Whitney Wild is OUTFRONT for us tonight, live in Washington outside of the courthouse where this all happened late today.

Whitney, what more can you tell us about this verdict?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, this verdict, as you mentioned, is a major headline here. It's so significant for the Department of Justice, because it is so rarely charged. And then, further, because, Kate, there are two more seditious conspiracy trial to go. The DOJ, really looking for this boost to carry them through these next few months of seditious conspiracy trials.

Stewart Rhodes' conviction is so significant for a list of reasons, but the most important thing here, Kate, is that the Department of Justice had been trying to bring forward this case against him that he was the archetype -- architect of a plot that spanned many weeks, and culminated on January 6th. The plot was to use force to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

As you mentioned, Rhodes never went into the building, but what the DOJ presented were volumes and volumes of Rhodes' own words prior to January 6th, and even afterward, that they said proved that there was a specific plan to overturn the results of the election by force.

Here's another quote from him. He said after January 6th, after the riot, if he's not going to do the right thing, and him being former President Trump, if he's just going to let himself be removed illegally, then we should have brought rifles. We could've fixed it right then and there, and hang f'ing Pelosi from the lamppost. That's just a snippet of volumes and volumes of things that he said that were then used against him in court.

And the message here is that words matter. Words equate to actions here, there was a plot, and the jury bought that narrative from the DOJ and sealing the deal for the seditious conspiracy charge against him.

Meanwhile, Kate, his attorneys say that they do plan to appeal, but they think that they got a fair trial.

Back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Whitney, thank you so much. I want to go now to Justice Correspondent Katelyn Polantz on some more

breaking news this evening. Stephen Miller, Trump's White House senior advisor and speech writer, testified today a grand federal -- testified today before a grand federal in the January 6th investigation, he is now the first known witness to testify since the Justice Department appointed a special counsel.

So, Katelyn, you broke the story. Tell us more.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR REPORTER, CRIME AND JUSTICE: Well, Stephen Miller is always been a very important and close adviser to Donald Trump in the White House.


At the end of the presidency, after the election, and up to and including on January 6th, he was his speechwriter. And so, what Miller would be able to talk to the grand jury about, what we know he is already talked to that separate House investigation about, is how Trump's speech came about on January 6 to his supporters, the crowd that eventually rioted at the Capitol, chanting "hang Mike Pence".

And one of the things that we know, from public reporting from the House Select Committee previously, is that Miller talked to Trump about what he was going to say about Pence, it appears. They had a phone call, and then after that phone call the morning of the January 6th, Donald Trump did want to put lines in his speech about Mike Pence, about how they needed Pence to block the election results.

And so, this is the first person that we have identified who went into the grand jury after the appointment of special counsel grand -- special counsel Jack Smith. It is clearly showing us how this criminal investigation in the federal court system is really moving along at quite a clip, and really focusing around Donald Trump and what was happening what he was saying inside the White House -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: And, Katelyn, there's also -- there's a bit more I need to ask you about as well. We're also hearing tonight that Donald Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows, he's been ordered to testify in the other investigation, the investigation in Georgia that's investigating the efforts to overturn the 2020 election there.

What does this mean for that case tonight?

POLANTZ: Well, this was an order from the Supreme Court of South Carolina today. And it basically said that any arguments -- the arguments so far that Mark Meadows had made in this separate criminal probe in Georgia, they were manifest without merit, that he would need to show up and testify. The reason that investigation is so interested in Mark Meadows is that he was privy to a call between the then- President Donald Trump and Secretary of State in Georgia, pressuring to find votes.

He also was in meetings in December of 2020. And so he became a person that they really have wanted to get insight into. Now, one of the things that when you step back from this and try to look at the big import here is Georgia, this investigation is one of the tips of the spear. There are many investigations going on.

So what they get first, other investigations may also try to pursue and get as well -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: A great point. It's good to see you. Katelyn Polantz, thanks for the reporting. Appreciate it.

OUTFRONT with me now is Evan Perez, CNN senior justice correspondent. Ryan Goodman, editor in chief of "Just Security" and former special counsel at the Defense Department and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, who is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Ryan, let's start with the big news in the verdict tonight when it comes to the Oath Keepers and the Oath Keepers' founder Stewart Rhodes, guilty on the most serious charge associated with January 6th. How significant is this?

RYAN GOODMAN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: So, I think it's a very big deal. It's a historical moment for the country to have a jury find the leader of a militia group in the United States guilty of trying to use violence to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power. And I think it's also super important for what comes next, which is the next militia group, the Proud Boys are also going to go on trial for the same charge.

And I think they have been watching this very closely, and their lawyers must have a very serious conversation with them about whether or not they do want to flip and cooperate with the government, now seeing that the Justice Department can succeed in bringing a successful case to a point of conviction for the leaders. And, in fact, there's even stronger evidence when it comes to the Proud Boys. I think that's a big implication of this.

BOLDUAN: That's a really great point. And, Evan, Ryan calls it historic. How big is this for the Justice Department? I mean, why was it key for them to get a guilty verdict on seditious conspiracy?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Look, it was actually a pretty, I think, controversial thing inside the Justice Department as they waited -- and as they worked towards bringing this case. If you remember, we reported that it was Mike Sherwin who was a Trump- appointed acting U.S. attorney here in D.C. who first tried to bring these charges. And when Merrick Garland took over at the Justice Department, he put it on hold and had them work some more, another six, seven months before he approved for those charges to come forward.

Again, they thought it was a risky thing to do. And then there was a second thing there, the other charges, which were the obstruction of a congressional proceeding. There was some doubt inside the Justice Department as to whether judges might even allow those charges to go forward. Again, both those things have gone forward. Juries have now endorsed them.

And it strengthens the hand, as Ryan just pointed out, with -- in the Proud Boys' case, but also in the big case, the case that, frankly, the Justice Department is working towards, which is the one that Trump is at the center of.


You know, the question of whether the former president was impeding the transfer of power, whether he was using -- he was part of a conspiracy to do that is part of what the Justice Department is pursuing. And this strengthens their hand in that investigation.

BOLDUAN: Elie, can you weigh in on that, because I was really curious on your perspective. Is it clear to you what this verdict, kind of next steps, what this means for Donald Trump?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think, first of all, Kate, big picture. This is a forceful rejection of many of the lies Donald Trump and others have told about the election and about January 6th. This is a rejection of the idea that this was not organized, that this was spontaneous, that this was not serious, that this was not violent.

It was a rejection by a jury, our most basic bulwark of liberty, of democracy. Juries are not stupid. Juries can see through B.S., and this jury was very carefully.

More practically, Kate, you could see theoretically people flip. I've seen plenty of times when someone has said let me go to trial, see what happens. Then when you're looking down the barrel of a 20-year sentence, that can change incentives a little bit.

So, we don't know if that may happen. But if so, we'll see what dominoes may fall. But I think anyone around this should be concerned about that.

BOLDUAN: And, Ryan, the other big news that we were just talking about with Katelyn Polantz, her reporting, is that former top Trump aide Stephen Miller, he has now testified today before the federal grand jury investigating January 6th.

And Miller was really tight in there. He has first-hand knowledge on some key moments, preparation and intent of the speech, the intent of what Donald Trump was looking to do in presenting in giving his speech to his supporters who then turned around and then attacked the capitol.

Where do you see this going?

GOODMAN: So, he is the kind of person who can get into the mindset of Donald Trump on January 6th. According to the Select Committee, he has a conversation with Trump for over 25 minutes about the speech and introduces it does sound like some of the language of Mike Pence. Then Stephen Miller says, and he says to the committee, they spoke to Eric Herschmann, one of the lawyers, who said, get that stuff out of the speech. And then after Trump has a confrontation with Pence, even more of it comes in. So I'm sure he must have had some conversation with Trump over those

25 minutes plus to say, what are you trying to get at? What are you trying to produce here? And we know that he said that to the committee. There's a very good chance he claimed executive privilege, like others did.

But it sounds like the wall of executive privilege has fallen apart when it comes to the grand jury, and the fact that he's been testifying as a senior aide to the president I think is very significant in terms of the type of evidence he can give.

BOLDUAN: We've heard it over and over again which is what you say to the January 6th Committee very different standard of what is expected of you and what is required of you when you're sitting in front of a grand jury, of course, a federal grand jury.

Elie, you've long said when it comes to Mark Meadows that he is also key to nearly every investigation involving Donald Trump. And this is another big deal for that investigation in Georgia.

HONIG: It is, Kate. Mark Meadows, in my view, is the most important single witness here. He was by Donald Trump's side throughout the run- up to January 6th. He was on that famous call or infamous call with Brad Raffensperger.

And today, Mark Meadows learned the hard way that a grand jury subpoena he got from Fulton County is very different from a congressional subpoena. Mark Meadows essentially brushed off the congressional subpoena. He was never even charged with contempt. He had no consequences.

Well, he learned today from the South Carolina Supreme Court unanimously, you cannot brush off a grand jury subpoena. And now, he will have to go down to Atlanta into Georgia and testify under oath in front of that grand jury, and the D.A. is going to have some really crucial questions to ask him. And he's got to be truthful or else he's looking at a potential perjury charge. So this is a big step.

BOLDUAN: A lot of big steps this evening, and also a long list of names we're getting at. There is a long list of Trump aides and those close to him around some key moments that have been ordered to testify before the Fulton County grand jury.

We now have Mark Meadows. We have Rudy Giuliani. We have Mike Flynn, Boris Epshteyn, Lindsey Graham as well, being told he is going to need to speak to -- in that investigation. It just seems to keep going and going. And to what -- to what end? I mean, where is this all headed?

PEREZ: Well, I think, you know, the Justice Department has not really said who the target of that investigation is. But, as you can see from that list you just gave, those are the ones that have gone to the grand jury in Georgia. Those are some of the same people that the justice department is interested in.

And that makes clear that the man at the center of all this is Donald Trump. And, so, that's what is very much clear of the fact now that you have a special counsel focusing on this investigation, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you all. Thanks so much for working through all of that this evening. A lot coming in. Really appreciate it.

OUTFRONT for us next, China trying to snuff out COVID protests and going to new extremes to try to do so. My next guest has been speaking to protesters. What he's hearing tonight.

Plus, the top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, weighing in on Trump's dinner with a white nationalist.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn't know who he was.


BOLDUAN: Why that statement does not add up still this evening.

And breaking news. A historic vote. The Senate just passing a bipartisan bill to protect same sex -- to protect -- to offer federal protections to same-sex marriage. But, does it go far enough?


BOLDUAN: Tonight, a crackdown. China now going to severe lengths to intimidate, silence, and stop the growing protests against the government's strict zero COVID policies, now warning it will need to, quote, resolutely strike hard against infiltration and what they call sabotage by hostile forces. Security officials going so far as to search and inspect people's phones for apps that have been banned.

And let me show. These are the faces of what Chinese officials are now calling hostile forces. You see in those crowds -- men, women, and children, many just holding a blank sheet of paper in protest. China doing all it can to erase any evidence of the protests.

Just look at the cover of "The People's Daily", the largest newspaper in China. They feature Xi Jinping's talks with Mongolia's president, what clearly is missing, any mention of the unprecedented demonstrations which have included calls for Xi to step down, demonstrations that erupted in at least 15 cities across China.


Ivan Watson is OUTFRONT in Hong Kong.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): China's police state strikes back, flooding the streets of Beijing and Shanghai with police. An unmistakable show of force after a weekend of unprecedented protests in at least 15 cities across the country.

In the eastern city of Hangzhou Monday night, police arrest people in the central square, and eyewitness tells CNN police searched people's phones on the Shanghai subway, looking for apps that allow users to circumvent China's strict Internet censorship.

The communist party's domestic security committee ordering officials to resolutely strike hard against hostile forces as well as criminal activities that destabilize social order. No compromise for peaceful protesters to voice their opinion. Meanwhile, health officials striking a slightly softer tone, calling for shorter lockdowns in the Chinese government campaign to eradicate COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We need to minimize the inconvenience to the general public because of the anti-COVID-19 measures. As for the high-risk regions, we must have rigorous control. But, at the same time, we should spare no effort to provide services to meet people's basic living needs and medical needs.

WATSON: A carrot and stick approach from different parts of the Chinese state after the biggest nationwide display of discontent this tightly controlled country has seen in a generation.


WATSON (on camera): Kate, we have seen no mention whatsoever of these protests in the Chinese state media. Instead, what we're seeing is the government using censorship, surveillance, and repression to make it look like this never actually happened.

But the fact of the matter is we've seen that there is a portion of the Chinese population that is deeply unhappy with this system of authoritarian government and control. And that's not going to go away. And that can be down the road even if China succeeds in completely crushing this, that can be unpredictable.

BOLDUAN: Ivan, thank you so much for that.

OUTFRONT with me now is Brian Spegele, senior correspondent in the "Wall Street Journal's" Beijing bureau. He's in Beijing tonight and has been covering these protests on the ground.

And also with us is former U.S. ambassador to China and former Democratic senator, Max Baucus.

Brian, from what you have seen, has there been -- I guess we'll call it an olive branch -- but have you seen any olive branch, any offering from Xi to the protesters?

BRIAN SPEGELE, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT BASED IN BEIJING, WALL STREET JOURNAL: No. I don't see any evidence whatsoever of an olive branch from China to the protesters. On the other hand, what we see is China's deploying the full resources of its surveillance state to attempt to quell these protests. I've been in touch with people who were participating in Beijing over the weekend. What they're telling me now is that they're scared.

For example, university students, their universities are getting phone calls from the police because their mobile phones show that they were in the vicinity of the protests. The police are trying to track them down and they're using all the resources available to them to do it.

BOLDUAN: Ambassador, you've spent obviously a great deal of time in China. You have met with President Xi many times. How do you think he sees these protests?

MAX BAUCUS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Yes, he wants to stay in power. All leaders want to stay in power and he cares about is people to just as leaders in most countries do, he's facing a huge problem. He's in a box.

On the one hand, the zero COVID policies did work pretty well. There are only about 5,000 deaths. The population of that country is four times the United States. We've had, what, over a million deaths in the United States.

So, short term, the lockdown, zero, has worked. The trouble is it's not working anymore. Because new variants arriving, COVID variants. There's no significant health infrastructure that can deal with this. People are not being vaccinated the way they should. The vaccinations they do have are inferior compared with vaccines, compared with Pfizer and Moderna, what we have in the West.

So, he's either got to keep clamping down to quell the protests or he's going to have to let up a little bit. If he clamps down, clearly, he's going to make the people more upset. If he opens up, then he runs the risk of a lot of COVID cases and potential deaths. He's in a real problem.

The answer to this, I think, is for him to open up a little. He cares deeply about how this zero COVID is adversely affecting the economy. But he's going to see how far he can do and try to do what he can to get the vaccines, the jab out to as many Chinese people as he can.


BOLDUAN: Yeah. And, Brian, if it comes down to something of a binary choice, right, and the protesters know this, which it could be clamping down harder, or the opposite end, which seems generally understood as the absolute most unlikely thing, which would be opening up and letting people out and about.

What -- the protesters -- the people of China, they know this as well. You say they're scared. But what are they going to do about it? Do they believe that their courage and speaking up is going to lead to real change?

SPEGELE: Well, I think what some of the protesters tell me is that they're not really clearly defined goals of what exactly demonstrators want. And I think for each protester is a little bit of different thing. Some of the protesters tell me even if they could make incremental improvements in their daily lives, their relationship with the state, the state becoming a little bit less intrusive on the COVID controls, they would take that as a win.

But I think it's really important to remember ten years into Xi Jinping's leadership over China, we know him not to be a person who tolerates dissent very well. And I think that's really important to bear in mind as we analyze as this is going to play out.

BOLDUAN : That's a great point.

Ambassador, we've seen these protests in at least 15 cities across China. And it can't be stated enough what a big deal it is that people are out and about trying to have their voices heard, even with a blank piece of white paper to speak out against censorship. Are you surprised how these protests have grown?

BAUCUS: I am a bit surprised. It is widespread in many cities across China. But they're not massive demonstrations in all those cities. They're significant, but they're not massive.

I'm not surprised in the sense that people are finally fed up. It's three years now under zero COVID lockdown. I'd be fed up too. I'd probably do something earlier if I were in that same situation. (AUDIO GAP).

They're fed up. But they're not at the point where they want to create rebellion, revolution. It's just they're very upset with what's happening. They're trying to tolerate it a little bit longer. And we'll see.

I do think they know what Xi Jinping playbook is namely. Send police out there, discourage groups from coming together. They've experienced Tiananmen Square. And that means quelling small little protests but try to let them figure it out on their own. If they get too large, then the police will step in.

BOLDUAN: Unfortunately, we are left to stand by to see what happens next.

It's good to see both of you. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. Thanks for your reporting, Brian.

OUTFRONT next, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, he had the chance today to condemn Donald Trump for dining with a white supremacist. But he did not step up to the plate. Why even now is it so hard for him?

Plus, Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, he's on the trail, and he's claiming that he's lived in Georgia his whole life. But that is not what he said in audio just uncovered by CNN's K-FILE.


HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm sitting in my home in Texas and I was seeing what was going on in this country.




BOLDUAN: Tonight, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell condemning Donald Trump's meeting with white nationalist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a- Lago. Listen.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): First, let me just say that there is no room in the Republican Party for anti-Semitism or white supremacy. And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.


BURNETT: And, then, there was this from House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican Party. I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn't know who he was.


BOLDUAN: A note on that, though. Donald Trump didn't condemn Fuentes for any of his views. He only said after the fact and after he was called out that he didn't know who Fuentes was when he came for dinner.

OUTFRONT now, Mike Shields, political strategist who's worked for Kevin McCarthy and the NRSC. And Ashley Allison, former national coalitions director for Biden's 2020 campaign.

It's good to see you, Mike. It's been a bit.

You advised Kevin McCarthy, you know him well. What is McCarthy doing here with that statement today? He knew he was -- he knew he was likely going to be asked. He did not out right condemn what Trump did.

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, he did. I mean, he flat-out condemned it and said no one should be meeting with Fuentes. Kevin has a really strong record on fighting anti-Semitism and a very strong voice in condemning anti-Semitism and white supremacy. He's done it many, many times.

And once again today, he came out very forcefully that there's no place for this in the Republican Party or anywhere in our society. I don't know how much stronger you can get standing at the White House for the incoming speaker-elect to make a statement on this.

BOLDUAN: You could go the route of Mike Pence actually, and that would be stronger, and everyone kind of agrees that it would be stronger. You could go the route of Mitt Romney who called it disgusting, or just say what Mike Pence said.

He thinks he should apologize, he should denounce those individuals. He said it showed very poor judgment. He could go that route, Mike. SHIELDS: So you're going to sort of split hairs on how strongly

someone condemns something, if they're condemning it, they're condemning it. They're saying it was wrong. Now, Donald Trump is announced candidate for president. Kevin McCarthy is the incoming speaker-elect.

He's focused on doing what he did today, which is going up to the White House to tell President Biden that he was elected as speaker and majority to fight for lower spending and to secure the border. He's not going to get into presidential politics. He's not going to pick one candidate over the other. Some of the other quotes you gave, that's what they're doing. That's not what he's going to do.

But he's going to condemn anti-Semitism. That's a really important signal for the leader of House Republicans to send, especially when you see, you know, how the other side has behaved about this. I mean, one of the things that Kevin has said when he is elected speaker, he is going to remove some anti-Semitic members from the House on the Democratic side from the Foreign Affairs Committee so they will no longer have a platform to spew their hate.

So, he's going to take action on this. He has a very strong record on it. I don't get you can get into splitting hairs into how strongly someone condemn something when they were strong as Kevin was today.

BOLDUAN: Ashley?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, splitting hairs on condemning anti-Semitism? You can be as strong as you want and you can say it over and over and over again, and that's what true leaders do. You should say to Donald Trump you should not meet with him, whether you knew who it was or not, there are so many more ways that Kevin McCarthy, right now, could be a stronger leader and condemn these actions.

I don't expect him to do that because he is playing the game of politics for himself. He barely is going to be the speaker of the House, and he wants to keep that. And he wants to play both sides.

He wants to be able to say I condemned it and I split that hair, but I didn't split it enough to make Donald Trump mad. So, it's evident by his behavior.

I think anyone who is not condemning this action right now is questionable, shouldn't be in leadership. But I'm not going to laud Kevin McCarthy tonight or any time in the near future as a hero because he said, oh, Donald Trump didn't know who Fuentes was. But there's no space for that in the Republican Party. Say more, do more, be a leader.

BOLDUAN: You know, Mike, Kevin Madden said something last night that caught my attention, just talking about the general reaction of Republicans to this kind of next round with Donald Trump. Obviously, Kevin Madden, Republican strategist. His point was that what he sees and what annoys him is that Republicans are breaking from Trump in incremental ways, glancing blows, is how he said it. And that the question he thinks really should be, is it disqualifying

to give audience to someone like Nick Fuentes? Madden says the answer should be emphatically, yes, it is disqualifying.

Would saying that threaten McCarthy's chances of becoming speaker?

SHIELDS: Look, I think Donald Trump is an announced candidate for president, and the voters in the Republican primary are going to make a decision as to whether or not they think it's disqualifying or not. And plenty of the other candidates for president are going to weigh in on that. That's not Kevin McCarthy's job as the speaker.

His job it to state as a Republican leader that there is absolutely no place in the Republican Party or this country for anti-Semitism or white supremacy and that no one should be taking meetings with leaders of that community. That's what he said today on the steps of the White House.

So, going beyond that is just -- the media is trying to pick fights between Republicans, and even when Kevin does the right thing, it's sort of unacceptable to the media because they are only happy if Kevin and other Republicans are getting into a fight with one another. It's one of the reasons why he is such an effective leader because he doesn't do that and that's why his party has rallied behind him.

BOLDUAN: We could have a discussion on lots of things. But don't, like, clump me in with the media, Mike. Don't put this as like a media versus --

SHIELDS: I'm not --

BOLDUAN: I'm asking the question he did not go as far as other people. But we don't have to do it that way.

SHIELDS: Look at the "New York Times," "the Washington Post," other media outlets. This has become a thing because they want to foment these disagreements and they don't want to talk about what Kevin was up there to talk to Joe Biden about today. They'd rather talk about this distraction.

BOLDUAN: Well, I actually did talk about it all on my show at 11:00 today. On my 11:00 show today I did talk about that and ran all of what Kevin McCarthy said coming from the White House and talking about his priorities, which he talked about the border. Everyone can walk and chew gum at the same time.

SHIELDS: Absolutely. And you're giving me a voice on here, I'm not lumping you with this. You're allowing me to come on here and give the another view, and I appreciate that.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Ashley, if Republicans struggle with this and continue having to struggle with this and how to deal with Donald Trump, yet again, does this make your job easier? ALLISON: No. I'm an American, I don't want anti-Semitism. I don't

want anti-Blackness. I don't want homophobia in this country. It makes my job harder because I want to live in a country where everyone can be their full selves and thrive.

And when we have Republicans who won't blatantly condemn anti-Semitism and all the things that I mentioned, and many more that I haven't, it makes governing harder. It makes moving our country forward as a more just place harder.


I'm not -- I've worked on political campaigns, but I'm a Black woman in the United States of America that's an organizer from Youngstown, Ohio. I want our country to move to a more just place.

And giving a forum for anti-Semite and enabling that and playing politics with this, it doesn't make any job -- anybody's job easier. It is worse for our country. It's really frustrating and sad.

And I hope -- I hope, I really do, I'm happy to debate politics any day and the policies any day and time any Republican wants to. What I won't debate is a firm condemnation on anti-Semitism. I don't think we got that from Kevin McCarthy today.

BOLDUAN: Guys, thank you both for coming on. Thanks for taking the questions. Really appreciate it.

OUTFRONT for us next, Herschel Walker facing new questions tonight about whether he really lives in Georgia. And now CNN's K-FILE has uncovered this new audio. Listen.


HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I was sitting in my home in Texas and I was seeing what was going on in this country.


BOLDUAN: Plus, breaking news. The Senate just passing a bill that offers protections to same-sex marriage. Why some, though, are already saying, read the fine print.


BOJLDUAN: Tonight, exactly one week before the Georgia Senate runoff election, Republican candidate Herschel Walker is on defense again, this time about whether he legally resides in the state of Georgia.

CNN's K-FILE reporting tonight that Walker himself earlier this year said, quote, I live in Texas. And he also said this.


WALKER: I was sitting in my home in Texas, and I was seeing what was going on in this country. (END AUDIO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: But during a campaign rally just hours ago, Walker claimed that he's always been a Georgia resident.


WALKER: I represent the great people of Georgia. I've lived here my whole life.


BOLDUAN: Walker has been under fire over this already, fending off questions about his residency after CNN's K-FILE reported that Walker was getting a Texas tax break intended for a primary residence.

OUTFRONT now, Chris Cillizza, CNN politics reporter and editor-at- large, for more on this.

Chris, this is not clearly the first controversy that Herschel Walker has been dealing with since launching his campaign for Senate. This is a new problem. This new problem, how does it stack up against all of the others?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, let me -- let me first say, Kate, that clip you played where Herschel Walker says I lived in Georgia my whole life is just not true. He lived in Texas. He moved to Georgia to run for the Senate, which is fine, but just to do a little bit of a fact-check there. On the one hand, as you mentioned, walker has been through a lot in terms of allegations about paying for abortions, which he denied.

The campaign has been hit with a lot throughout the campaign. And he's still standing. And there's value in that politically speaking.

On the other hand, we are seven days away from the runoff. And this is a very close race. So, when you talk about those things, Herschel Walker would rather not be talking about his residency issues tonight and tomorrow on the campaign trail. So, little things can make a big difference when we're talking about a really close race with really tight margins.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. I mean, look, accusations of carpet-bagging are a tried and true political move -- ever since politics began.


BOLDUAN: I mean, from Bobby Kennedy, to Hillary Clinton, Scott Brown, Mitt Romney, Mehmet Oz very recently. The resulting impact, though, on their success or failure in campaigning in running is a bit mixed, if you really look at it.


BOLDUAN: These days, do you think these kinds of attacks do you think -- do they have impact? Do they matter? CILLIZZA: So I think the key is authenticity. Do you come off as

authentic, right? Generally speaking, and I think about where you're from and how you talk about where you're from matters. Let me take two examples.

One, Hillary Clinton who won. She went on, if you remember, almost before she announced her candidacy but right before she went on a long tour of every county of New York, essentially as a way to combat the idea that she was just flying in, she's from New York City, and she wanted to be elected.

The other extreme just happened, Mehmet Oz. He was never able to prove that he was authentically from Pennsylvania. John Fetterman's campaign did a really good job of making it seem as though Oz would a New Jersey guy who just happened to be in Pennsylvania because there was an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

So, authenticity is always the key in these campaigns. And that's when carpet-bagging can matter.

BOLDUAN: Interesting. It's good to see you, Chris. Thanks for coming in.

CILLIZZA: Good to see you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. OUTFRONT next, we have some breaking news. The Senate just passing a bill to protect same-sex marriages with 12 Republicans joining Democrats. The congressman who was a driving force behind this major moment, he's next.

Plus, Team USA moving on in the World Cup after beating Iran, but one of the team's star players injured and taken to the hospital.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, an historic moment in a landmark bipartisan vote. The Senate passing what is called the Respect for Marriage Act, solidifying protections for same-sex marriage at the federal level.

It comes after the Supreme Court overturned the right for abortion this summer, fueling concerns that same-sex marriage would be next. Twelve Senate Republicans voted with all the Democrats on this tonight. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer saying it would pass as soon as Tuesday next week. And President Biden saying he will promptly and proudly sign the bill into law once it reaches his desk.

Joining me right now is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline from Rhode Island. He's also the chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

You've been a driving force behind this effort since the summer. This -- this is expected to pass the House as we know, next week, headed to the president's desk. What does it mean to you?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Well, this is a really important victory for the LGBTQ+ community. You know, we had a strong bipartisan vote in the House. There was a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate. It will have to come back to the House.

But it means for thousands and thousands of LGBTQ people who are married, that their marriages will be respected under the law. This is an important step in our fight for full equality in this country.

And I think, you know, it's not a controversial issue anymore. People understand that marriage should be available to everyone. That you should be able to marry whomever you love. The Senate vote is a strong affirmation of that.

So this is real progress for our country, for our community. And I look forward to being at the bill signing with President Biden and finally, putting there into law.

BOLDUAN: The act provides protections to same-sex marriages. But there is a lot that it does not do. It does not require all states to allow same-sex marriage. It requires them to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. But it doesn't require states to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

James Obergefell, who was the lead plaintiff in this Supreme Court case who legalized it, he said what he sees, is that this doesn't go far enough. Let me play this for you, Congressman.


JIM OBERGEFELL, LEAD PLAINTIFF, OBERGEFELL V. HODGES: Personally, I think every couple, regardless if they're same-sex or opposite sex, should have the right to get a marriage license in the state they call home. So, of course, I think this Respect for Marriage Act, while it is fantastic in that it protects the recognition of marriage in all 50 states. The fact it would once again allow states to deny couples like John and me the right to get a marriage license in their home state just is wrong.


BOLDUAN: First, he thinks you compromised too much on this. Do you say this doesn't go far enough?

CICILLINE: Well, look, this piece of legislation does as much as the federal government can do. The reality is marriage is established in state law. The federal government does not have the authority to determine what is a marriage by state law.

What this says is, if you are married in any state in America, a valid marriage, it must be recognized by every other state in America under the full faith and credit clause of the constitution. That's what Congress can do. It says you cannot discriminate if a marriage is performed in any state in the country. Of course, we hope every state will continue to allow people the same

gender to marry. If they don't and the Supreme Court reverses Obergefell, this will ensure wherever you travel, that marriage will be respected.


That's the -- repeals of DOMA, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. And it makes certain that as long as a marriage is lawfully performed in any state of America, it needs to be recognized by every other state in this country. And that's a very strong protection. Well, of course, make sure everyone has the right to be married in their own state. Passage of the Equality Act that will end discrimination against our community once and for all is important and hopefully it will get passed in the Senate.

But this is a significant step and, frankly, it's all we can do as the federal government because marriage is really the prerogative of states. So this is a huge achievement.

BOLDUAN: While I have you, I want to ask about some of the other news we had tonight. Tonight's ruling in the Oath Keepers trial, its leader guilty on seditious conspiracy. You wanted to block former President Trump from running based on Section Three of the 14th Amendment which, to remind everyone states, in summary, that no person shall hold any office -- no person shall, who holds any office, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the government.

How does today's verdict now figure into your push to block Trump from running?

CICILLINE: Well, I think the 14th Amendment makes it clear you cannot run for federal office if you've engaged in an insurrection or assisted others in doing the same. I think it's very clear that the former president had engaged in that conduct.

The conviction today is just more evidence that an insurrection was committed. I'm very grateful to the Department of Justice in their effort to make sure every single person who was involved in an effort to overturn the free and fair elections in this country is held accountable. And it will help support bar and prevent the former president from ever holding office again.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thanks for coming in. I really appreciate your time.

CICILLINE: My pleasure.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, Team USA beating Iran in the World Cup. Yet some in Iran were celebrating their team's loss. Why? We'll get to it.


BOLDUAN: Finally, victory for Team USA. The U.S. men's soccer team tonight advancing to the World Cup's knockout stage after beating Iran today. The final score, 1-0. Star player Christian Pulisic scored the game's only goal, but it did come at a price. He suffered an injury that sent him to the hospital. According to the team, he has a pelvic contusion and they now his status day to day.

Today's match played against the backdrop of Iran's brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters. Inside Iran, many were actually celebrating Team USA's win with fireworks and much more. Up next for the U.S., Netherlands on Saturday.

Thanks for being here, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

"AC360" starts now.