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Erin Burnett Outfront

2 Bodies Recovered From Vehicle At Bridge Collapse Site; Judge: Ex-Trump Election Lawyer John Eastman Should Be Disbarred; Joe Lieberman, Former Senator And VP Nominee, Dead At 82. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 19:00   ET




A breaking news, officials just announcing they have recovered the bodies of two men who were on the Francis Scott Key Bridge when it collapsed. New details as well on the two survivors.

And also, the investigation as OUTFRONT shows you what happened on the ship in the moments before impact.

Plus, Mike Lindell's MyPillow evicted, reportedly tossed out of his warehouse for not paying rent as he's also forced to pay legal bills tied to Trump's election lies. Tonight, he's not the only Trump ally facing a reckoning.

Plus, more breaking news this hour, Joe Lieberman dead, at the age of 82, after a fall in New York. The long time senator's last mission before he passed, finding a third party candidate who could unite this country.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erica Hill, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, officials revealing they have now recovered the bodies of two men who were on the Francis Scott Key Bridge when it collapsed after being hit by that massive cargo ship the bodies, according to officials, were found in a submerged vehicle. As you can see, there were a number of construction vehicles on the bridge at the moment of that catastrophic collision.

We're also learning more tonight about one of the two people who survived that collapse, an executive with Brawner Builders, that's the company whose crew is working on the bridge at the time, tells CNN and one of the survivors is surviving. He's very, very upset noting he does have injuries and I understand he's very stressed out and suffering from straps, going on to say, it's amazing that he did survive and that he swam away.

Amazing maybe putting it mildly, especially when you consider the fact that he fell from that bridge, fell perhaps at most 185 feet into the frigid waters of the Patapsco River. The exact cause of the accident is still unknown at this hour. Officials do say the ship's black box is now in the hands of the NTSB, and that really provides some crucial clues as to what happened leading up to the collision.

In a moment, we're going to take you inside a simulator for a massive cargo ship to show you firsthand what the ship's pilots may have experienced when they lost power.

Pete Muntean is near the bridge collapse, Miguel Marquez was just at that simulator, and Ivan Watson is live in Hong Kong with new details on the owner of the ship's record.

First though, let's begin with Pete Muntean, who's OUTFRONT live in Baltimore.

Pete, were learning a little bit more about this investigation tonight. What can you tell us?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, we're going to learn a lot more in about an hour, the first press conference being held by the National Transportation Safety Board since recovering the black box from onboard the MV Dali, known officially as a voyage data recorder. We'll give some really key insights into those frantic final moments on board the 950-foot long ship as it careened towards Baltimore's key bridge, the really big insights from this will be the data, the condition of the rudder, the position and power being put out by the engine, and also the condition of the thrusters on the bow and the stern, but also the audio, which will be so telling from onboard the ship's bridge about what the efforts were when it was apparent that the ship lost electrical power.

We also got a new insight from Maryland Governor Wes Moore in this press conference only moments ago, he said, it is not clear what caused that power outage on board the ship, but it is clear that it caused it to be completely unsteerable. Listen.


GOV. WES MOORE (D), MARYLAND: We're still under investigation as to what exactly happened and we don't have a declared answer as to why there was power challenges and power issues. The thing that we do know is that we have documented that there were power challenges as the as the freight was coming up on the bridge. And when the mayday call was coming in, the mayday call came in because of the power issues and the lack of ability to steer the vessel.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been hanging back here on the scene when this was a search and rescue mission. Now, a recovery and salvage mission here.

The conditions here had been relatively harsh today. Yesterday was pretty good weather. Today, it has been rainy. It has been cold. The Patapsco River is very murky. The visibility is very limited for divers.


That is why they are transitioning this to a recovery effort. But they say that will take some time. There was a lot of risks to the divers who are going down in the river. They may be able to scratch or scuff or cut their suits, even an airline on the jagged pieces of steel and concrete that are still underwater right now, Erica.

HILL: Treacherous conditions. That is for sure.

Pete, appreciate it.

So just what happened on board that ship in the moments before impact?

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT from a cargo ship simulator.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are on a cargo ship about the same size as the Dali, but we are navigating San Francisco harbor in this case this is all a simulation, but we have a real captain, Captain Morgan McManus, who is going to walk us through possibly what could have happened in a total blackout situation as you call it, a board, the Dali?

MORGAN MCMANUS, MARITIME CAPTAIN & SUNY MARITIME COLLEGE INSTRUCTOR: Yes. So we have the cadet simulating the made on watch. We have another cadet on the helm go left 15, please.

MARQUEZ: And the Dali would have lost both propulsion and steering.

MCMANUS: At a full blackout. They would have lost everything full block out call it. Right. So we could run the blackout right now from the control room

There we go. Alarms will start going off on the bridge, start getting alarms and we watch is going to try to figure out what the alarm is. The engine room is now calling to tell us what's going on.

MARQUEZ: And in this situation, where you can see the pylon coming and you know, it is disaster, can you drop the anchor? What -- what are the -- you guys trained for these scenarios?

MCMANUS: Right. We're going to -- you're going to try to do everything you can to stop from hitting it, whether it's running the engine full of stern to take the speed off. We've already come down to almost stop in the water now and then he wed be letting the anchors out. If we couldn't get the speed off the vessel, you can draw lower both anchors down and have them drag or catch along the bottom to create resistance to slow the ship down. But for that to work, you need time and you need distance.

The captain's going to be dealing with the engine room and getting on the phone. And figuring out what's going so that they will be going over --

MARQUEZ: Engine room would be --


MARQUEZ: I think that's where the real chaos is. MCMANUS: That's what a real chaos is. So, now, if they call back and

say we have power, the first thing we're going to do is then go emergency full of stern to try to stop it.

MARQUEZ: Because it looks like they do establish power just before they hit the pylon.


MARQUEZ: Before they hit the bridge.

MCMANUS: The smoke comes out. They start trying to go stern, get the speed off.

MARQUEZ: This must have been high anxiety at this point on the bridge trying to deal with this and --

MCMANUS: Incredibly stressful, watching that first video clip. When I saw the total power go out on the ship, I knew there was a major problem going on.

MARQUEZ: So one of the things we wanted to show you was what it would look like at night. We shut the simulation during the day so we could see everything. But this is much more what it would've looked like for the Dali in Baltimore Harbor.

It complicates things at night, I take it.

MCMANUS: It does. You have you need the bridge dark so you can see the lights outside, but you also have ambient light from the skyline or the terminal coming in. It also in darkness, you lose some depth perception which makes it a little challenging to actually judge or distances as well. So it complicates moving around the bridge at night.

MARQUEZ: And this is, you teach at state university, New York Maritime College. I take it what happened in Baltimore harbor will be studied for decades.

MCMANUS: It will. It will become one of those tragic accidents that we take lessons learned from, and then we apply them to what we're teaching the students of what to do in an emergency on the bridge of the ship.


MARQUEZ (on camera): So Captain McManus and merchant mariners everywhere are going to be looking to those black boxes now, not just the conversation between the bridge and the engineering room, which must have been intense. But what were the systems on the ship doing? When did they shut down? Were they trying to come back online, what exactly happened and most importantly, why? Erica?

HILL: Yeah, exactly. It was fascinating, Miguel. Appreciate it. Thank you.

There are also major questions tonight. Miguel just pointed out some of them about the ship itself and also accompany that operates it.

Ivan Watson is OUTFRONT in Hong Kong.

Ivan, what more are you learning about the safety record for this specific ship and also for the company behind it.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, Erica, officials from Singapore have rushed to Baltimore to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in the investigation. They say they're also conducting their own investigation into this because the ship, the Dali is a Singapore flagged vessel. So they say they're going to share all the information they can get from the company itself that operates it, Synergy Marine, with U.S. authorities.

I'm coming to you live here from Hong Kong's busy harbor and port over my shoulder because for some of our viewers who've never been close to some of these enormous container ships, it can help provide some sense of scale of just how enormous these mammoth ships really are.



WATSON (voice-over): Behemoths of the sea. International trade depends on mammoth vessels like this, container ships, that kind, that brought down Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge in an instant.

Up close, you realize just how huge these ships really are. This container ship here, it's a bit larger than the Dali. That is the Singaporean owned container ship that brought down the bridge in Baltimore this week.

The Dali was built in 2015 and is 300 meters or 984 feet long, capable of carrying up to 10,020 foot shipping containers for a dizzying variety of commercial interests.

SAL MERCOGLIANO, FORMER MERCHANT MARINER: When you look at international shipping, this is kind of a typical case. Here's a Singapore flagged vessel with a Singapore for company leasing the vessel to a Danish company the insurance for the cargo is British, the classification society that observes the vessel is Japanese.

WATSON: There have been three deadly incidents recorded aboard ships managed by the Dali's operators, Synergy maritime in the last six years. Accident with a ship elevator killed a crew member in Australia in 2018. In 2019, an officer went missing after having likely falling overboard in Singapore.

And last year, a collision between a synergy maritime tanker ended ship killed at least one sailor.

Meanwhile, in June of 2023, Chilean authorities briefly held the Dali reporting a deficiency for unreadable pressure gauges related to propulsion and auxiliary machinery.

MERCOGLIANO: This is what you want. You want inspectors to go on board and find issues. And are they corrected? Now, the bigger issue here is going to be did this ship have certain violations that were causing it to indicate a kind of habitual problem.

WATSON: Synergy says, it's cooperating with U.S. investigators. And the spokesman tells CNN it would be inappropriate to discuss any previous incidents at this time.

Singapore Korean transport officials say the Dali's crew reported a momentary loss of propulsion shortly before it slammed into the bridge in Baltimore.

Look at the size of this container ship next to Hong Kong's stone cutter bridge. At the time that Francis Scott Key Bridge was constructed in the late '70s, container ships like this simply didn't exist. They were not being built at that size and scale in those days.

Just last month, China witness that deadly cargo ship collision with a bridge on the Pearl River in the city of Guangzhou, at least five people died as vehicles plunged off the stretch of collapsed bridge. Authorities initially blamed the crew for the accident.

Global supply chains rely on these enormous ships to move goods around the world. The Baltimore bridge disaster may force some to reconsider the size of these ships and the potential damage they can do when things go wrong.


WATSON (on camera): Now, the Erica, the U.S. Coast Guard, inspected the Dali in September, didn't find any problems. Meanwhile, Singaporean officials say that all of that ships safety certificates were valid at the time of this deadly accident in Baltimore and that the ship was due to be inspected in Singapore again, in June of this year.

I've talked to industry insiders. They say that Singapore generally has a pretty good safety record when it comes to shipping. They also say that an accident like this is an absolute nightmare for a shipping company like Synergy Marine.

Back to you.

HILL: Ivan, appreciated it. Thank you.

OUTFRONT now, retired Coast Guard Lieutenant Henry Lipian. He's a crash reconstructionist.

It's good to have you with us tonight.

As we just heard from Ivan, these three deadly incidents on ships owned by the same company. Does that raise any red flags for you? And if so, what?

LIEUTENANT HENRY LIPIAN, U.S. COAST GUARD (RET.): Well, not necessarily, obviously, being at see even under the best of conditions can be hazardous for the crew. Our reach, those goals previous incidents that were described have to be compared to see if there's any corollary or relationship to what happened in this case. So, of course, you study the history of casualty to use this, see if there's anything that can be learned from it. But being at sea is inherently a dangerous occupation.

HILL: The Chilean navy confirmed to CNN that the ship was held briefly in the country last June over a propulsion issue. We've seen this video with the lights go out on the ship twice before it hit the bridge. We also saw that black smoke.

Do you see a way that these three things would be connected?

LIPIAN: Potentially. I mean, you have one of the rarest events that I've ever seen where you have a main propulsion engine. She's functioning, plus the generators the way it was described as the ship blacks out.


So now, your electric powered pumps that would run, and the hydraulics to steer your rudder, all of the power that's produced by the generators in the engine that produces the power to turn the propeller that allows the ship to be maneuvered of all those systems fail. You're talking about a perfect storm of multi-system casualties that I've never heard of her experienced and my career is seen in any of the investigations that I've handled.

So something that preceded this incident that had to do with propulsion systems. I think the history of that certainly warrants looking into to see if there is no relationship to this case and whatever that propulsion system was, in fact has been corrected.

HILL: As my colleague, Pete Muntean pointed out, we're expecting to her from the NTSB a little bit later. But how long do you think it will actually take the NTSB to determine what happened?

LIPIAN: You're talking about as you're describing in the previous segment, very large ship, very complicated systems, systems now that have a lot of automation and some that still involve manpower.

In any accident investigation, you have to look at the environment in which the crash occurred, not just weather, but the sea conditions, tide. You have to look at all the systems on the ship and then you have to look at the human factor -- the training in management of the crew, and what were they doing in order for the NTSB to do a thorough investigation of all three of those elements, and then take the data from the event data recorder and compare it to everything else.

I think this would be at least a year before the NTSB would have their final conclusions and recommendations.

HILL: We really appreciate your expertise. Thanks for being with us tonight.

LIPIAN: You're welcome very much. HILL: OUTFRONT out for next year more on our breaking news. This just in to CNN, we are learning that it was not the first time the Francis Scott Key Bridge was hit by a cargo ship. Why investigators are now taking a closer look at that other incident.

Plus, its being called the political earthquake a Democrat wins a special election in deep red Alabama to flip a Republican seat. Is her message, though in Alabama one that could actually work for Democrats across the country? She's my guest in her first national interview.

Plus, more breaking news tonight. Former senator and vice presidential candidate, Joe Lieberman, is dead after complications from a fall in New York. Hear what he told Erin on this show how long ago about his new mission.



HILL: Tonight, more breaking news. This just in from CNN's investigative unit. An eerily similar crash into the same key bridge years ago is raising new questions about yesterday's deadly collapse. In that crash, a container ship also lost power and then crashed into one of the Key Bridge piers.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT with this new investigation.

So, Tom, what more do we know about just how similar that crashed was to what happened yesterday and why, Tom, investigators now taking this closer look at it?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know enough to know that it is just creepy how similar they were. This is a Japanese freighter also loaded, moving across Baltimore Harbor, also has electrical problems, also loses propulsion about 600 yards from the Key Bridge, and also rams into one of the peers of the bridge. The difference is it did not end in a catastrophe. Why?

Well, here's one possible reason. It is much smaller. We've talked a great deal about how the Dali is about three football fields in length. We talked about how it carries tens of thousands of tons of cargo enormously huge.

That Japanese freighter, which happened back in 1980, was probably about a third of the size of this ship. So when it struck, it didn't end in a catastrophe, but in every other way, Erica, it looked like the same accident.

HILL: It is -- it is remarkable. And as you pointed out, looking at how much those ships have grown, in a relatively short period of time, how much bigger, how much more dangerous are all of those ships today?

FOREMAN: Well, that is the key here. They don't have to necessarily be dangerous, but look at the change that has happened in this period of time. Back in the 1977, when the Key Bridge was put into use, the ones way

up at the top there, those were the big ocean going ships. Now, the one at the bottom which can carry many, many, many more tons of weight, they're more powerful, they're harder to maneuver in the sense that they're bigger. All of that has come into play here.

What hasn't come into play, according to many engineers, is any real step-up in the protection of these bridges. When that ship hit back in 1980, it was partially stopped by these protective piers that were out there to stop it from hitting the bridge pier directly. Some of these are called dolphin, some of them were called fenders. There are all sorts of different names for them.

But the bottom line is many of them were designed according to engineers to stop these smaller ships. They were not designed to stop these monster ships that are out there now. And yet many of them have not been upgraded.

So that's why engineers are looking at that old accident and saying, look, is there a lesson here? Did we have a chance to learn this lesson? And how many more times is this have to happen before we learned the lesson for real?

HILL: Yeah, it is important context. I appreciate it, my friend. Thank you.

There are only two survivors of the key bridge collapse. Both were working on the bridge at the time that that ship crashed into the bridge and they fell up to 185 feet into the water. An executive for the construction company telling CNN one of those survivors was miraculously able to swim to safety.

OUTFRONT now, Jessie Shelton, she was driving on the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people, when it fell into the Mississippi River.

You're looking at pictures there of her smashed car from that day.

Jessie, it's good to have you with us.

I can't begin to imagine what must have gone through your mind over the last 24 hours when you first saw that video of the bridge collapse in Baltimore. What was that like for you?


JESSIE SHELTON, ACTRESS: Well, not being personally attached to it. I remember my feelings when I watched the videos of the 35 bridge but I got to say, I was so -- I got angry. It's so shocking to see the supports of this bridge, and yet one of them gets hit and it just looked like toothpicks. It was really unnerving.

HILL: Yeah, unnerving because it went so quickly?

SHELTON: Yes. Yes, and so completely. HILL: You were driving across the I-35 Bridge in Minneapolis when it collapsed. And just for people who don't remember, this was rush hour traffic and more than 100 vehicles.

We have some pictures of your car from that day. I think when people see it, they're going to be a little blown away that here you are talking with us. It's the white car that we see. There's a massive chunk of concrete that crashed through your roof into the backseat.

Do you remember much of those moments in 2007, remember falling?

SHELTON: I don't remember falling. I think I lost consciousness right as or right after and blacked up that period. I remember tilting backwards and I felt like I was kind of on some sort of amusement park ride. And then I started rolling backwards and I just -- I didn't have panic. I said to myself, like, well see what happens, sort of put my trust in the universe. And I'm very, very lucky to be here.

HILL: Which is even more remarkable. You were 18 at the time, right? And you have that peace of mind.

You suffered a broken back, fractured ribs concussion. You're a dancer, you're an actor now. Can you walk us through with that recovery was like for you?

SHELTON: Yeah. So thankfully, I didn't have to have surgery. I suffered compression fractures, so nothing had to be put back in place. Thank goodness. So, that sped up my recovery time. I was in a brace like I looked like wonder woman with a little unattractive chin thing for three-and-a-half months, sleep number was kind enough to gift me an adjustable bed because for those three-and-a-half months, I couldn't be above 45 degrees, without the brace on even sitting.

So it was -- it was a steady recovery. I didn't have any major setbacks. Thank goodness. I had been in such great the condition before and I was young.

But it was scary because I had that invincibility of a teenager about to go to college and then all of a sudden, that came crashing down with this brush of mortality. And once I got back, once I got the brace off, it took some time to find my way in the world again because id had this protective surface on me.

But I was back to dancing by late October, early November tentatively, but I was really amazed at my body's resiliency. Yeah.

HILL: It is really something. And to see where you're at today, too.

You know, the building executive who spoke to the survivor from the collapse in Baltimore, told CNN, he's surviving, but he's very upset, noting his injuries and saying he's very stressed out how he suffering from that stress.

There's the physical recovery that you went through, but there's also a real mental and emotional toll that comes with surviving a tragedy like this. What has that been like for you over the years?

SHELTON: Yeah. It's been interesting.

At the time, I thought the best since I didn't remember a lot of it, there were some people who were conscious in the water with their cars, and that's just like ultimate nightmare.

Since I was knocked out, I didn't remember all that much. And so it was mainly a physical recovery for me. But I will say that because I didn't go to groups that were offered to process that, it's come back to bite me here and there as I've gotten older whether it's confidence, fear for boating, like dread, I think that is somewhat tied to this accident, the feeling that accidents are never planned and oh, my gosh, the worst-case scenario that could befall me again.

I like to think I paid my dues through this accident, but that's not how life works.

HILL: Yeah.

SHELTON: Yeah. It's tough.

HILL: Well, Jessie, it is -- it is wonderful to see you doing so well and thriving. And we really appreciate you taking the time to join us and to share your experience. Thank you.

SHELTON: Absolutely. Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, a judge ruling the top Trump ally, attorney John Eastman, should be disbarred or his efforts to try to overturn the 2020 election. This as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has reportedly just been evicted from his warehouse as a Trump-related legal bills pile up.

Plus, a Democrat declares victory in Trump country. She did it by zeroing in on abortion. Is that the roadmap for Democrats in November? She's my guest.



HILL: Breaking news: a judge just ruling former Trump lawyer John Eastman should be disbarred. You remember Eastman is one of the key figures at the center of Trump's plot to overturn the 2020 election. In fact, he was known as the architect of the fake electors scheme.

Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT following this breaking news for us.

So this ruling is just coming in. What more are we learning?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this was just moments ago, Erica. This is a California judge with the attorney discipline court. She's recommending the John Eastman's law license be revoked in California. And this is a decision that follows a 34-day trial where more than a dozen witnesses detailed Eastman scheme to undermine the 2020 election.

And this also comes at a time when several of the attorneys who did back Trump or once back Trump are all in professional.


REPORTER: Do you still think the election was stolen?


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark are still defiant.

JEFFREY CLARK, FORMER DOJ OFFICIAL: They've tried to destroy me, but I'm still standing and I'm going to keep fighting.

SCHNEIDER: More than three years after they allegedly worked with then-President Trump to try to overturn the 2020 election.

REPORTER: Do you regret it attaching your name to the former president?


EASTMAN: None whatsoever.

SCHNEIDER: John Eastman operated as the so-called architect behind the fake elector scheme, and Jeffrey Clark instigated an intense pressure campaign inside the Justice Department to try to get DOJ officials to help overturn the election for Trump.

Now, both men are facing professional reckonings. Eastman and Clark had been sitting think through attorney disciplinary hearings in recent weeks and months that could ultimately result in them losing their law licenses.

They're also both defendants charged in the Georgia election subversion case.

EASTMAN: I'm here today to surrender to an indictment that should never have been brought. It targets attorneys for their zealous advocacy on behalf of their clients, something attorneys are ethically bound to provide, and which was attempted here by formerly challenging seeing the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means.

SCHNEIDER: While Eastman has been fighting those criminal charges, his attorney disciplinary case has been unfolding in California. He's charged by the state bar with 11 counts related to his plot to obstruct the electoral counting process.

CLARK: They're trying to take my bar license.

SCHNEIDER: Jeffrey Clark's professional ethics trial started this week in Washington, D.C. Richard Donoghue, who was then deputy attorney general while Clark

served as head of the civil division testified Tuesday to the disciplinary committee that Clark's theories of election fraud were not supported by evidence, and that Clark was repeatedly told there was no proof of tampering.

RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I said this is nothing less than Justice Department meddling in an election. His reaction was, I think a lot of people have known in this election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America's mayor, Rudy Giuliani, accompanied by professor John Eastman.

SCHNEIDER: John Eastman was closely aligned with Rudy Giuliani, who is also facing possible disbarment for his role during the 2020 election.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Let's have trial by combat.

SCHNEIDER: They're just a few of the handful of Trump lawyers who have faced severe consequences for their roles working to overturn the 2020 election. Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Kenneth Chesebro have all pleaded guilty in the Georgia case. Eastman and Clark have pleaded not guilty.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): And Jeffrey Clark's proceedings are still ongoing. In fact, he took the stand today. He pleaded the Fifth. He didn't answer any questions.

Now, Erica, as for John Eastman, of course, we just got that ruling in from the California judge recommending disbarment. What happens next is the California court will have to decide whether to the doors or reject that recommendation and officially disbar Eastman.

But of course, this step from the judge is very significant after that lengthy fact-finding trial that lasted 34 days. And in the meantime, Erica, Eastman has been ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, and while the Supreme Court of the state of California considers this in three days, his law license will in fact be suspended while the Supreme Court decides exactly what to do.

HILL: Wow. Really appreciate, Jessica. Thank you.

OUTFRONT now, David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who's covered Donald Trump for more than 30 years.

David, this judge recommending John Eastman should be disbarred on the same day Jeffrey Clark faces trial to determine whether he will be punished.

When you think about it, these are just two of the many lawyers facing potential consequences for their role in the 2020 election scheme. Rudy Giuliani, his law license was suspended in New York, eight lawyers in total charge in the Georgia case. What is remarkable is how Donald Trump continues just to attract people to do his bidding given the consequences for many of them.

How was he able to do that?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR: Well, we've, in fact, seen people go to prison for Donald Trump.

People who need to feel attached to something important will simply surrender their integrity if they had me in the first place in order to be close to Donald.

You know, Donald was always said, I hire the best people, the very best people. Well, occasionally, he does get the very best people, they leave. The people he attracts are the absolute worst, including all of these lawyers who tried to overthrow our government and commit other crimes on Donald's behalf.

HILL: We're also learning tonight that Mike Lindell, of MyPillow has reportedly been kicked out of a factory in Minnesota for failing to pay at least $200,000 in rent. We know he's facing some major financial repercussions for his election, conspiracy theories. He was millions in unpaid fees to his lawyers, also a software engineer who debunked his data.

Lyndell telling the "AP" that the business on the heels of being kicked out of the -- out of the factory is just fine. It's just -- it's just shifting. He's still pushing these election lies.

I mean, as, again, as we look at it, is it surprising to you that we are at this point at all?

JOHNSTON: No, because once people get into a cult, and I've written several expose in my career of cults, they lose all perspective and they only see things through the lens of the cult. Lindell is a good example of how Trump and many of the people around him are imprudent.


They don't pay their bills. They take big risks. Lindell has been traveling all over the country in his private jet instead of paying is rent, is a perfectly good example.

HILL: It's remarkable to see the way that the former president is continuing to try to raise money. I mean, very creative, you have to give them points for creativity, the latest is the "God bless the USA" Bible, which he is hawking for 60 bucks. Donald Trump saying in a video, it's his favorite book, and it's being advertised as the only Bible endorsed by President Trump. There were, of course, also the golden never surrender $400 high tops. Those sold out.

And now, a Victory 47 fragrance line. You can pre-order, 100 bucks a bottle.

What do you think is next? And I actually mean that as a serious question, what do you think is next? What do you think people will buy? JOHNSTON: Well, these stunts by Donald are not really intended to bring in a lot of money. There were only a few hundred of the shoes, for example, which quickly went on sale for a quarter of what he wanted to charge for them.

They're part of his effort to persuade people he really is a Christian despite having repeatedly called Christians fools, idiots, and schmucks in the past, and to come up with anything that will continue to get us in the news business to follow him and pay attention to him by saying wild and outlandish things.

The Bible maybe an effort by him to try and broaden his base a little bit. He's mostly been focused on deepening his base, not running it this perhaps is an effort to broaden it, although to anyone who's an actual Christian, it should to be blasphemous.

HILL: David Cay Johnston, really appreciate your insight tonight, thank you.

OUTFRONT next, a Democrat flips a Trump district in Alabama special election. The cornerstone of her campaign, abortion and IVF. But was that all the campaign was about? She joins next in her first national interview.

Plus, the breaking news, vice presidential candidate, longtime Senator Joe Lieberman, has died at the age of 82. What he recently told Erin about America's political system and his hope for its future.



HILL: Tonight, political earthquake. That's what Democrats are calling Marilyn Land's victory after she flipped a Republican-held seat in the state house in deep red Alabama, a state of course with a near total abortion ban and which was recently in the news for upending IVF treatment. Land's addressed both of those issues head-on, making them central to her campaign.

Her win earning national headlines today as Democrats hope it signals a positive sign for their chances come November.

OUTFRONT now, Marilyn Lands, the newly elected Democratic representative to the Alabama state house. She was just sworn in a short time ago this afternoon and this is her first national television interview since her victory.

It's good to have you with us. You are now Representative Lands.


HILL: Yes, you are. But what do you think it was that allowed you to flip this seat in deep-red Alabama? Do you believe it was purely your focus on abortion and IVF and reproductive rights? Or was there something more? LANDS: Well, I believe that was certainly a big part on it, and I think we really saw the message resonating with the voters. We had a higher than expected turnout for a special election and so, I think it was key and central to winning, but I also think there are other factors at work.

I have very deep roots in this community. So I feel like I really understand the nuances of this district. And we have been campaigning on health care, really focusing on my background in community mental health.

We've been of course, looking at education that's always a big one and in this state, we're always 49th and 50th, and we need to do better. We can do better. And then economic well-being, but I think this victory really also signals that this state is ready or change.

HILL: You know, it's interesting to see, I was struck by this was personal for you. I know more than 20 years ago, you had an abortion. You talked about your story as part of your campaign.

I just want to play a little bit of that for folks at home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without the freedom to control my own health, we had to travel out of state to get the care I needed.

LANDS: It's shameful that today, women have fewer freedoms than I did two decades ago. We need to repeal Alabama's abortion ban and protect women's freedoms.


HILL: You said you got the sense at Alabama was ready for a change. What did you hear from voters after choosing to share your experience there?

LANDS: Well, I have heard -- I didn't expect this, but I have heard from so many women and families who have shared their stories with me. And so it's become a deeply personal connection. When I knocked doors or talk with voters and many of the constituents of this district but also North Alabama in general, have really reached out to me to share their experiences.

And I -- you know, women who've had miscarriages that were unable to get a DNC which has standard procedure. Women with ectopic pregnancies, fertility issues, and many folks have said to me that this is the first time I've shared this story and 30 years or I have not shared this with anybody outside of my family.

So it feels deeply personal and I think my sharing my story has given other women and families permission to talk about their heartbreaks. And I hope that that's going to be a healthy thing that may be moving forward people that are going through these experiences won't feel as isolated because that's been something that we've always seen like with miscarriage. [19:50:06]

And I know that as a mental health professional because I've worked with women that have been through that and shared how lonely that is.

HILL: You know, I mentioned at the top of our segments, this was referred to as a political earthquake by the Democratic legislative campaign committee. They say it's a harbinger of things to come. There are a lot of national folks looking at you're really seeing if they can translate it on that national level.

What's interesting though, is after Alabama's IVF ruling, we did see Republicans in Washington really quickly tried to distance themselves from some of the restrictions in Alabama. Here's some of what they had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious little beautiful baby.

SEN. KATIE BRITT (R-AL): We strongly support continued nationwide access to in vitro fertilization.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Pro-life means being pro-IVF.


HILL: Democrats see reproductive rights and this broader conversation about them, as you point out as a winning issue, Republicans though also seem to be recognizing how important it is for voters. There was a lot of time between now and November.

Are you concerned that Republicans may also figure out a message that speaks to voters who are concerned about their access to reproductive care?

LANDS: I don't know that there'll be able to come up with anything that's truly salient. I think with the legislation that we recently passed here in Alabama to attempt to fix the IVF ruling that that is in no way a real fix, our Mobile clinic has still not resumed services. There are a lot of people who are really afraid it of the legalities around that. And I know that we have families that have been tending to move to this state and now are changing their minds.

HILL: Newly sworn in, Alabama State Representative Marilyn Lands, appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you for your time.

LANDS: Thank you so much.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, former senator and vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman is dead at the age of 82. What he told OUTFRONT about this important moment in history.


HILL: Breaking news, Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic vice presidential nominee and longtime Connecticut senator, has died at the age of 82 after falling in New York.

Wolf Blitzer looks at his life and legacy.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Joseph Liebermann came to Washington in 1989, he was part of an increasingly rare group, a conservative Democrat from the Northeast.

FORMER SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT): The American dream is alive and well.

BLITZER: In the Connecticut race against an 18-year incumbent, Lieberman beat liberal Republican Lowell Weicker by less than a point to become the first orthodox Jewish U.S. senator in history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Lieberman's office, how may help you?

BLITZER: Liebermann held traditional Democratic views on the environment and abortion rights. But the former state attorney general was also a strong supporter of law enforcement and a hawk on foreign policy.

During Bill Clinton's impeachment battle, Lieberman voted against conviction but forcefully criticize the president.

LIEBERMAN: It is hard to ignore the impact of the misconduct the president has admitted to.

BLITZER: Despite bucking his party so often. And maybe because of it, Vice President Al Gore chose Lieberman as his running mate in 2000.

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D-LA): I proudly dominate as our next vice president of the United States Senate, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

BLITZER: The first Jewish vice presidential nominee of a major party, his campaign with Gore went to overtime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN, right now is moving, our earlier declaration of Florida back to the too close to call column.

BLITZER: The toss-up lasted for more than a month until the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the vote recount stopped in Florida and Gore conceded.

LIEBERMAN: This election is over.

BLITZER: Lieberman's relationship with his own party became more strained over his strong support of the Iraq War.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I completely disagree with Senator Lieberman.

BLITZER: A position that doomed his presidential run in 2004. His support of the troop surge plan likely played a role in losing the Democratic nomination for Senate in 2006, but his political career was not over.

LIEBERMAN: He won the primary. I'm exercising my right to run as an independent Democrat. I'm loyal to my party, but I have higher loyalty.

BLITZER: Lieberman kept his seat winning as an independent but alienated Democrats again in 2008 by siding with Republicans, backing his old friend John McCain for president over Barack Obama. He made no apologies.

LIEBERMAN: None of the Democratic candidates asked for my support. John McCain did.

BLITZER: McCain later wrote in a book that instead of choosing Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in 2008, he should have followed his instincts and chosen Lieberman. His political advisors warned him against it.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): It was going to cause a problem in the convention because Joe Lieberman is pro-choice.

BLITZER: Lieberman retired from the Senate in 2013, but continued to speak up politically, supporting President Donald Trump's controversial choice, Betsy DeVos for education secretary. When Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he even publicly considered Lieberman as a replacement.

REPORTER: Is Senator Lieberman one of your top picks, sir?

TRUMP: He is.

BLITZER: Lieberman would later withdraw his name from consideration.

In a career full of unpredictable alliances and political surprises, Joseph Lieberman, described one constant that defined his life, whether on the campaign trail or Washington.

LIEBERMAN: I have never shied from a good fight and I never will.


HILL: Erin spoke with Senator Lieberman on this show three weeks ago tonight when he made clear his mission was to find a third candidate who could bring the country together. Here's some of what he told Erin.


LIEBERMAN: Polling is showing that the American people, 65, 70 percent want another choice other than Trump and Biden. And we've been talking to some really exceptional candidates who can offer that choice. I think this is a unique moment in history where the people are so fed up with the two parties and the two logic probable candidates that they're going to welcome a bipartisan unity, third choice on the ballot.


HILL: Senator Joe Lieberman was 82.

Thank you for spending some time with us tonight.

"AC360" starts right now.