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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Trial Suddenly Accelerates, 7 Jurors Now Seated; Biden Tries To Capitalize On Stark Split Screen, Pushes His Wins, Mocks Trump In Pennsylvania As Trump Is Stuck In Criminal Court; U.S. Plans New Iran Sanctions, Israel Weighs Strike Inside Iran. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 16, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Breaking news, seven jurors just seated for Trump's hush money trial. The case is suddenly picking up speed and fast, as Trump gets scolded by the judge for intimidating a juror. The court sketch artist who was with Trump all day is OUTFRONT.

Plus, Biden hits the campaign trail in a big way, slamming Trump's courtroom cameos, as our Harry Enten breaks down the numbers showing where Biden is gaining ground tonight. And this may surprise you.

And, payback. CNN learning Israel is now considering a strike inside Iran. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas- Greenfield, responds.

Let's go OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, fast and furious. The first seven jurors who will be deciding Trump's fate have now been sworn in for Trump's New York criminal trial. There were zero jurors this morning, seven tonight. That is, you know, zero to seven and point two. I mean, the case is accelerating fast.

Jury selection is now more than a third done, and the judge in the case told those who have been sworn in to be ready to go on Monday.

Now, excuse me. That is week sooner than most experts had expected. So let's just go through what we know now about the first juror seated for Trump's historic trial.

The first juror will be the foreperson. He's originally from Ireland, reads "The New York Times", "The Daily Mail", watches Fox and MSNBC.

The second juror is a woman, an oncology nurse, reads "The New York Times" and watches CNN.

The third juror is a corporate lawyer originally from Oregon. He is not married and has no children. He gets his news from "The New York Times", "The Wall Street Journal", and Google.

The fourth juror was identified as a Puerto Rican man with an IT business, and he told the court that Trump, quote, makes things interesting. He says he has no strong feelings about politics.

The fifth juror is a black woman who was an English teacher. She told the court she is not a political person and really doesn't care for the news.

And the sixth is a software engineer who recently graduated college. She said she gets her news from "The New York Times", Google, Facebook, and TikTok.

And number seven, a lawyer originally from North Carolina who told the judge he has quote, political views as to the Trumps presidency and thinks that there were policies he disagreed with.

Now, this is the seven we've got. This is what both sides with everything have agreed to. So that gives you a portrait of who's in that room. When these jurors walked to the jury box, some did appear under stress. Juror three biting his lipped, or six kept her eyes on the ground.

Trump did react during the juror questioning. We understand from our reporting in the room, the judge actually raised this voice after he heard Trump muttering and the judge said, Merchan, I wont tolerate that. I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom.

And just moments ago, Trump left. He spoke out to the cameras and lashed out at the judge.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to continue our fight against this, judge. We think he's totally conflicted. He's a conflicted judge, as you know, over an appeal.


BURNETT: Now, in a moment, I'm going to speak to the sketch artist who is in that courtroom next to Trump all day.

And first, I want to begin though with Brynn Gingras, who is OUTFRONT live outside the courthouse.

And, Brynn, the jury selection today. I mean, after yesterday, I actually know when was it? Two-thirty this afternoon, near 3:00, someone told me they've gotten nobody, still don't have a single juror and then, all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And we've got seven.


BURNETT: I mean, what's next and what this mean for the trial timeline? GINGRAS: Yeah, Erin. I mean you make a good point. I think people were

really concerned. How do you actually see a jury for a trial just like this, but it did accelerate quite quickly in the late afternoon today.

So, essentially, right now, where we stand like you just laid out, those seven people who are anonymous to the public, only those minor details. And they were told by the judge to not consume any news, to not talk to anybody and to report back for Monday. That is when they hope to have opening statements for this trial.

Now, that schedule could change just a little bit and that judge did give a bit of a caveat, but where it stands right now, remember, both sides, the prosecution and the defense, they get ten strikes when it comes to these jurors. Well, both sides have used six. So they're four strikes remains to get those five jurors left in the 12 panel.

And then of course, there also needs to be alternatives. It's not clear yet just how many alternates the judge wants for this trial, but it was really interesting to see and to hear about these juror, or -- rather than the fence and the prosecution using these strikes.


There were jurors that were called back in and it was very clear that Trump's defense team had gone through their social media challenging some of the posts that they were have -- they had essentially saying that they can't be impartial and unbiased as they had promised in that court room.

For example, one person said that they had a Facebook post that said that lock him up and he was dismissed by the judge for cause. Another person had husband's posts that were a little bit controversial. The judge said that person could be allowed to be on this trial, but they did -- that is not the case.

So anyway, there were some real really interesting moments as they ticked through these different people trying to figure out who could actually serve on this jury and be impartial and be fair for a defendant like Donald Trump -- Erin.

BURNETT: It's really fascinating, just the details, right, and then how it works, just individual people walking in and all of this and to see the scouring of the social media.

All right. Brynn, thank you so much, outside the courthouse.

And I want to go now as promised to Christine Cornell. She was in the courtroom today, the official sketch artist today. In addition to this Trump trial, Christine has sketched many high-profile criminal trials. So she's used to seeing these moments.

El Chapo, the Mexican drug lord, mobster John Gotti, Bill Cosby, Jeffrey Epstein, Bernie Madoff. Wow, you have seen it all and you were there today and I know this was a momentous day to you, a part of history. And in fact, I mentioned all those individuals that you've drawn, but

you've drawn Trump for decades, back to an antitrust suit decades ago. So you've seen this man a change and morph and age in so many different ways.

What did you think today?

CHRISTINE CORNELL, COURTROOM SKETCH ARTIST IN COURT WITH TRUMP TODAY: He's -- he's gotten a bit older. No, I've been drawing him now for months, right? But I did draw him when he was a young man. He's always kind of startling because of his height. He really is a big guy.

And also the kind of impassive mask that he wears. You know, he's really -- he's very designed.

BURNETT: Very purposeful.

CORNELL: Yes, his -- those eyebrows, you know, which are, you know, they wear him, you know?

BURNETT: And you do draw them with such distinction. You -- they really stand out and how you draw him. I want to show one of your sketches today. We're going through some of them, but this one, it appears in this one that his eyes are closed. What was happening here?

CORNELL: My apologies, ma'am. I was sitting 50 feet away. I was having such a struggle to try and get those eyeballs in it was just not the best advantage, you know?

BURNETT: Vantage point to say here.

CORNELL: Yeah, yeah. I mean, later in the day he was more cooperative and he turned a couple of times.

BURNETT: And knowing that there's someone there in a sense, right? That he could --


BURNETT: -- turn to your vantage point and see you.

CORNELL: No, he wasn't doing anything for me.


CORNELL: He was just talking to his attorney was sitting right there on his on his right.

BURNETT: All right.

CORNELL: And I had my binoculars on. So any look that he gives it all is going --

BURNETT: You could tell.

CORNELL: -- I'm going to grab it, yeah. BURNETT: All right. So could you tell what was happening in that moment or no? That's just what just stood out to you, to capture.

CORNELL: Just when he was talking to his lawyers about, you know, various jurors and what he thought of them. You know, this was -- this was -- what was unique about this jury was that first day they called, I think 96 people and I think 50 people raise their hand when the judge said raise your hand, if you can't be fair.

And then today there was a whole little train. The trailing and saying, oh, judge, I slept on it. I can't be fair.

BURNETT: Oh, that's what you saw today?

CORNELL: Yeah. Even more, were dropping like flies. So this is -- this is a unique situation. Usually people have all these other excuses. My vacation, my child, my job, this that.

BURNETT: Not in this case, but interesting what you say coming in, I slept on it

How did they react the jurors that you saw when they the ones and I was just going through some of the basics that we know about them, biographical, but when you saw their faces, when they realized they had been chosen.

CORNELL: Well, they had to walk right past me, which was really quite fascinating. I got the whole down the runway look. And you know, that was the first guy number one, and he was all -- he was almost militaristic.

BURNETT: This is the foreperson, the man from Ireland.



CORNELL: He had a real military presence about him. There was an Asian man

And I remember he was, he was quite intense. Everybody felt like they looked as if they'd been hit by a ton of bricks when they heard the news that they were actually chosen. One woman went scurrying by and she was smiling.

BURNETT: So, she seemed happy.

CORNELL: She was happy

BURNETT: Hmm, interesting.

All right. So let's show another one of your sketches.


BURNETT: Yeah? CORNELL: -- and that older man, the one who said that he found Trump interesting --

BURNETT: Yes. He was older.

CORNELL: Yeah. He was an older guy. I couldn't get over him listening to him say, okay, you've got to stop using that word interesting, because it really means something else.


But anyway, he got selected and I thought, well, we actually have a jury of his peers. This is a guy who's probably close to Trump's age.

BURNETT: And was close to Trump age. So, you did see. You saw diversity in age, and it sounds like --

CORNELL: Mostly young ones, mostly young.

BURNETT: Mostly young.

All right. So what was from what you could tell Trump's reaction as these -- I mean, I talked about a moment where he was muttering. My understanding is that particular juror didn't end up for whatever reason whether it was struck are not on the jury that but what was Trump's reaction? Could you tell to anyone who is chosen?

CORNELL: No, I really could not. No.

BURNETT: You couldn't.

CORNELL: Because I'm 50 feet away sitting smack dab behind his head.

BURNETT: So were there other moments that stood out to you when he did turn and you're looking through your binoculars?

CORNELL: I loved it. I loved it when the judge reprimanded him for muttering because that was the woman who had videotaped celebrations when he hadn't won the election.

BURNETT: Right, Biden celebrations in New York City.

CORNELL: Yeah, right? And I think was beside himself with that piece of information. And the judge scolded him, which I thought was great and it was clear he was -- he was angry at me. Yeah, I need tilted his head back in Yemen. He had to agree, tilted his head back and shut his eyes when the judge said that.

BURNETT: Oh, really -- okay. And from his interactions with his lawyers, could you tell anything else about I don't know his demeanor or his feeling or his emotion in those interactions?

CORNELL: Now you're making me wish I was in the overflow room.



CORNELL: Stray on him, yeah.

BURNETT: Yes, but it's different in this case. You are because you're in the room, you have the vibe, you have the kind of electricity, the actual presence.

CORNELL: I was excited to get the feeling for the people, you know, because they really do come from all walks of life and it's kind of shocking to see them coming in and you know, and you think, I wonder what Trump would think of this one or that one or this one you know, none of them. I don't think are kind of like the -- his standard of caliber of what he really admires and human beings, which is extremely shallow quality.

BURNETT: So let me ask you one more thing, because I said you have done you've sketched him over many years, right? El Chapo, John Gotti, Bill Cosby, Jeffrey Epstein, Bernie Madoff. You have been in the room with the most notorious defendants, some of the most notorious in New York history.

How did this moment compare?

CORNELL: You know, there's a bottom line thing, it's just another human being he's just a guy in a pinch, you know?

BURNETT: And you're there to capture the humanity?

CORNELL: Absolutely. And you want to see it be a fair trial. Absolutely.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Christine, thank you very much. It's really fascinating and thank you for sharing that. As I say, you become the eyes for all of us of history when you are in that courtroom drawing. So thank you.

CORNELL: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And I want to get to all of our experts here with me and just a moment to talk more about all of these details that Christine just shared.

I want to begin with Robert Hirschhorn, jury consultant, four decades of experience.

Welcome back, Robert.

I know you've got the William Kennedy Smith rape trial, George Zimmerman trial in your history of what you've been part of. What do you make of what Christine is describing about some of these additional details she shared about these jurors, and their reactions that the foreperson she described as almost militant in when he walked by, the man originally from Ireland. She described an older gentleman, a Trump peer in terms of age and a woman who was smiling and seemed very happy to be on the jury.

What do you take away from what you just heard?

ROBERT HIRSCHHORN, JURY CONSULTANT: Yeah, Erin, it's a -- it's a mixed group. This is exactly what you want. Its -- you've got people from different walks of life. You can see that I'm wearing my fishing tie today. And the reason I'm wearing it is because the former president caught himself some pretty good jurors today.

We've got seven. You've got two of them that are lawyers. The end -- what this sketcher was telling us is that these jurors are reacting naturally. It's not just that it's a criminal case. It's not just that it's a high-profile case.

It's a criminal case that's high-profile involving most popular person -- popular -- the most well-known person in the world by the name of Donald J. Trump. And so some jurors are going to be happy about it. Some are going to be frightened about it, some are going to just do their job.

Because the key thing that the sketch artist said, Erin, when you strip it all away, Donald J. Trump is just another person that's on trial. And I'm telling you, this jury is going to give the man a fair trial.

BURNETT: Yeah. I mean, it is fascinating what she said, right. It is the humanity and when you think about all the people she's been in the room, it strips you down to that that you are a human, as I think Christine put it in a pinch.

She also was talking about the juror that I mentioned, juror number for Puerto Rican man with an it business who tells the court Trump, quote, makes things interesting. The way Christine described it was that that he said that word a few times and it appeared clear that that word may mean something it was unclear. What do you take away from that? And the fact that that individual has been chosen to be on the jury?

HIRSCHHORN: To me, Erin -- Erin, are you asking me?


BURNETT: Yes. Yes. Yes,

HIRSCHHORN: Yeah. Interesting is the perfect word that team Trump wants to hear. It can be interpreted all sorts of different ways. I don't think it's a dog whistle for anything.

Look, I liked the guy. He's just being real and honest and that's what you want from the jurors. He's expressing on the outside what he's thinking on the inside. And that's all we can ask to the people that we are -- that we summons and send down the courtrooms all across America to serve as jurors.

So, kudos for him, for being for being so straighten, and honest.

BURNETT: All right. So, Robert, stay with me.

Paul Martin is with me as well. Mimi Rocah as well.

Okay. So, so, so, Paul, you -- you've tried to hundreds of criminal trials. Another thing that stood out to me from what Christine just said is how many people she said sort of -- I forgot what words she used, but I think it was sort of dripped and in front of the judge to say I slept on it and I decided I cant be unbiased more than half had raised their hands yesterday.

But what do you make of the fact that people slept on it and came in and did that?

PAUL MARTIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What I found was in Manhattan, you are going to find jurors are some of the most educated and pathetic knowledgeable individuals. That's great. That's what you want on the jury.

You're also going to have a bunch of crackpots as a defense attorney --

BURNETT: We're New Yorkers, we all know.

MARTIN: I want a little bit of both as a defense attorney?

BURNETT: You want a little bit of both?

MARTIN: Oh, I definitely want some crackpots because you only takes one, one juror does flip the whole button, dozen.

So I think I've respect the fact that they -- that they came back and they said that they couldn't sit, but it's the ones that were chosen that I thought were interesting.

BURNETT: What stood out to you from what we found out today and also what Christine was just sharing the additional details about some of them and their reactions to being chosen, very -- very serious, but certainly in one case, quite happy.

MIMI ROCAH, FORMER SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK DIVISION CHIEF: Yeah, I mean, look, I think even just since yesterday, this is such a different conversation. I mean, first of all, we have, you know --

BURNETT: Zero or seven and one hour or something like that, yes.

ROCAH: And, yesterday, I think people were, oh, god, this is going to take three, four weeks, and some of us said, no, you know, they'll get into a rhythm. The pace will pick up and it did.

So I think just that we just have to take a moment and step back and say the process is going forward. It's working the way it works in the hundreds of trials that you've done and the hundreds that I've done or seen and, you know, it's remarkable how normally it is.


ROCAH: In this situation. And I think that's worth just saying, you know, the criminal justice process, the jury system is working the way it's supposed to.

BURNETT: Paul, did anything stand out to you about when Trump was reprimanded by the judge for muttering and the way Christine described as it was very clear, Trump was angry at this juror who had posted a video of people celebrating in New York when Biden won and the judge admonished him, she -- Christine described his reaction is because he had to accept it, but he leaned back and shut his eyes.

MARTIN: It's not going to be the first time. It's not going to be last. This is who he is. We should be all be prepared that he's going to act as Trump. The question becomes, is he going to do this in front of the jury? And what ramifications is that going to make for the judge? Because at some point in time, he's going to push them to a corner where the judge has got to do something serious.

BURNETT: Right. And they're all going to be sitting there now in judgment literally of that.

Robert, may I ask you? From zero -- this afternoon, as I said, we had no -- we had no jurors. And then in an hour or an hour and a half, suddenly, we had seven jurors. Do you -- and they were told to show up on Monday as if opening arguments are going to begin, then.

We don't know exactly how many alternate, you know, you've got to get to 12 and then some number of alternatives, possibly up to 18. No selection tomorrow.

Do you think this is done by Friday?

HIRSCHHORN: I think there's a good chance. Here's the thing, we went from glacial speed to the speed of light and the other point I want to make, Erin, is that if President Trump or former President Trump were smart, I know he's talking to the face what he makes his comments before and after court.

But he ought to be talking up -- the jury ought to be talking about what great jurors we have. And I appreciate everybody being honest and we just want more jurors to be honest because all I want a fair trial.

Stop dumping on the judge, stopped whining all the time and just time to talk up the jury. That would be a smart thing for him to do at this point.

BURNETT: You're right. They are -- because they are going to make the decision. One other juror, the women I mentioned who teaches English, public school charter system. She told the court that as a person of color, she has friends who have strong opinions on Trump. She personally is not political. She doesn't care for the news.

She was the only of the 18 questioned this morning who said he was not aware that Trump is facing other criminal charges and other criminal cases. So, Mar-a-Lago, January 6.

Do you -- what do you think that means for Trump?

ROCAH: I think that just makes her frankly, a good juror. It may not make -- it may surprise some of us who consume news and information on a daily basis at exhaustion, but think it makes her a good juror, frankly, for both sides.


She sounds like as much of a clean slate basically as they're going to get in a case like this. Sounds like she's being quite straightforward about and probably doesn't do a lot of social media, maybe reads only certain aspects of the news, maybe go to the sports section or -- who knows? And so, I think really that she's a good juror for both sides, which is again, kind of how the jury system works.

Both sides are going to eliminate or strike the extremes.

BURNETT: And we're all humans. So every person comes in, they're with their individual foibles, and that's the reality of the humanity of it all.

All right. Thank you all very much.

And we do have major developments tonight in another case that could affect Trump and the charges he's facing. The Supreme Court in session today hearing whether pros in a case, to hear whether the prosecutors went too far in charges against the January 6 insurrectionists. This could have huge implications for Jack Smith.

Plus, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, at the DMZ today, with a big offer for Kim Jong Un. We're going to tell you exactly what it is, why it matters. She's OUTFRONT.

And Marjorie Taylor Greene says she does have the votes to oust Speaker Mike Johnson. Another major Republican joining her fight today.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): There are others behind Massie as well. But, of course, I'll never speak for them and say their name.




BURNETT: New tonight, the Supreme Court appearing skeptical in a case that could have a direct effect on special counsel Jack Smith's election interference case against Donald Trump. At issue is a federal obstruction law which has been used to charge hundreds of people accused of taking part in the January 6 ride on Capitol Hill, including a former police officer who is challenging the use of this statute.

It is a law that is also central to two charges in the DOJ case versus Trump. So that is at stake. So the DOJ repeatedly was asked by the justices to try to defend why their interpretation of the law was not an overreach.


JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Would a heckler in today's audience qualify or at the State of the Union address would pulling a fire alarm before a vote qualify for 20 years in federal


JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Can you just give us a little bit more? As to why we shouldn't think of this as being a narrower set of circumstances to which this text relates


BURNETT: Obviously taking from perceive, you have got to justice. Left-leaning and right-leaning skepticism shared.

Ryan Goodman, our OUTFRONT legal analyst, is with me now.

And, Ryan, you obviously say that that line of questioning from Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is very significant, right? This isn't just a left-right split. This appears to be skepticism that we saw on both sides.

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: That's right. And that happens oftentimes when were talking about defendants rights that it cuts across ideological boundaries, and that the justices and they expressed it today as we just saw, our concerned turn that the law may have been interpreted to broadly and that they want to interpret the law if there's ambiguity in favor of a defendant, there's even a canon of construction the way you're supposed to interpret certain laws in favor of the defendant. If there's that kind of ambiguity and they both were pressing on that issue.

BURNETT: All right. So, here's the thing, half of Jack Smith's charges against Trump in the election interference case use the same statute. So, if it gets struck down here, not only does have huge implications for the defendants in January 6, you'll hundreds of people have been charged some have said this could be disastrous for Jack Smith when it comes to Trump himself. What do you say?

GOODMAN: So I do think it will be very significant for the Department of Justice because out of the nearly 1,400 people who had have been charged for January 6, a full quarter have been charged for this particular offense, 350, just over 350. So that's a huge number that are -- stands that are at stake for what the Supreme Court rules.

I don't think so when it comes to Donald Trump's case for a couple of reasons. First, what's really at issue at the Supreme Court today is whether or not the statute is only about obstruction of records and documents.

And Mr. Fisher, for example, is not charged with that. He's charged with running into the Capitol and interfering with the proceedings.

BURNETT: Destroying property, right?

GOODMAN: Yeah, exactly.

BURNETT: The proceeding.

GOODMAN: So what has Trump being charged with, documents and records? It's the full certification by the false electors and then hit their submitting that to gum up the works of the congressional proceeding. And in fact, a couple of hypotheticals today we're about, well, what if it's about the certificates and the answer for Fisher's -- by Fisher's lawyers, oh, that's actually a larger case, but not our case.

Well, that might actually mean that --

BURNETT: And that's the case that would be applied to Trump.

GOODMAN: There's the allegations --

BURNETT: So, it's different. So, this is not a direct precedent- setting ruling if they go against it for Trump in the DOJ case is what you're saying?

GOODMAN: On the face of it, that is correct. Just now depends on how they write their opinion because they could still write it more broadly if they wanted to.

And the second is that the indictment by Jack Smith is very clever and some people will not like to hear this in a certain way in terms of how clever it is. It has all of the allegations of facts. And then at the end it says, okay, here the three charges. So you can knock out one of the charges. It's in the alternative. The facts still come in for the other two charges.

So maybe they don't have obstruction, but then they have one or the other two, like conspiracy to defraud the United States is one of the other two. They'll just say, okay, all of those charges still apply -- that charge still applies to all the same facts.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Ryan Goodman.

And next, President Biden, tearing into Trump while Trump sits in a courtroom.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I look at the economy, I don't see it through the eyes of Mar-a-Lago. I see through the eyes of Scranton.


BURNETT: Plus, there's breaking news tonight, as Israel's deciding whether to launch a counter attack inside Iran. Would the United States support it?

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be OUTFRONT. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden going after Trump in a big way in Pennsylvania, mocking Trump's legal problems, even taking on the tanking price of Trump's Truth Social shares, all while Trump's spent the day in New York City courtroom. It was a very stark contrast.

And Arlette Saenz is OUTFRONT.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Joe Biden tonight, leaning on his Scranton, Pennsylvania roots to make as economic case against Donald Trump.

BIDEN: Folks, where we come from matters. When I look at the economy, I don't see it through the eyes of Mar-a-Lago. I see through the eyes of Scranton.

SAENZ: While Trump spent another day in a New York City courtroom, Biden embarked on a three-day swing through battleground Pennsylvania, with a pitch on tax fairness.

BIDEN: No billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a teacher, a nurse, a sanitation worker.

SAENZ: The president took aim at Trump's plans to extend Republicans 2017 tax cuts, which expired next year. Biden is vowing to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations while promising no tax hikes for those making less than $400,000.

BIDEN: Trickle-down economics failed the middle class. It failed America. The truth is Donald Trump embodies that failure.


He wants to double down on trickled down.

SAENZ: Meanwhile, Trump issued his own warning against Biden.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; If Joe Biden gets his way, you will soon be facing colossal tax hikes, the likes of which no one has ever seen before.

SAENZ: At times, Biden openly mocked his predecessor.

BIDEN: Just the other day, a defeated-looking guy came up to me and asked if I could help. He was drowning in debt. I said, I'm sorry, Donald, but I can't help you.

SAENZ: And jabbed at Trump's stock markets stumbles.

BIDEN: If Trump stock in Truth Social, his company, drops any lower, he might do better under my tax plan than his. Possibly. SAENZ: The president made his case near his childhood home in Scranton while the campaign used a new digital video to play up his local ties.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scranton is a set of values we pride ourselves on the importance of family and honesty and hard work.

SAENZ: The president also is facing a close contest against Trump in Pennsylvania, where 19 electoral votes are up for grabs in a state critical to maintaining the Democrats so-called blue wall. Biden this week has tried to shore up support in key areas he won, like here in Lackawanna County home to Scranton, but surrounded by counties that went for Trump in 2020.

And with his eye on November, Biden warned voters of what could come in a second Trump term.

BIDEN: He's coming for your money, your health care, and your Social Security. And we're not going to let it happen.


SAENZ (on camera): Now, ahead of the trip, President Biden sought to draw another contrast with Trump by releasing his 2023 tax returns, something Trump did not voluntarily do while he was president. The president will continue his campaign, swing tomorrow with a stop speaking to steel workers in the Pittsburgh area, and he'll wrap up the three-day trip in Philadelphia on Thursday, Erin.

BURNETT: Arlette, thank you very much in Scranton.

And I want to go now to Harry Enten. Let's go beyond the number.

So, Harry, Arlette's talking about the tight race in Pennsylvania. You have noticed one particular group that stands out in that state.

SAENZ: Yeah, you know, if you look at the Great Lakes battleground states what stands out about them versus let's say the Sun Belt battleground states is that white voters make up not just the majority of voters, but the vast majority of voters, 80 percent north in the state of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

And if you look among white voters, the trend line that you're seeing there is look, Donald Trump is still winning amongst them. He won them by 12 percentage points back in 2020. But in 2024, that margin has been cut in half.

It's not just a six-point advantage for Donald Trump in the state of Pennsylvania among white voters. And this is a big reason why Joe Biden is so competitive in Pennsylvania, while he's falling behind in other battleground states like Arizona and Georgia.

In Pennsylvania, white voters make up the lions share of the voters. And Joe Biden's doing significantly better amongst them than he did four years.

BURNETT: Which is fascinating because it's not a story line people may expect.


BURNETT: You talk about Biden, you talk about oh, people think the Democrats and you're going to have -- it's about diversity in the base. So that is a fascinating point you say about white voters, but its not all you're noticing. Where else are you seeing gains that may surprise people for Biden?

ENTEN: Yeah, you know, if we've been talking about nationally Joe Biden has been struggling among voters of color, Hispanic voters in particular. And you look at the aggregate of polls, what were seeing there as we are seeing gains for Joe Biden.

So if you go back to February, Trump was actually leading amongst Hispanic voters by a point. Now, Joe Biden's ahead. He's only ahead by nine points. That's significantly worse than he did back in 2020. But the fact is Joe Biden is gaining among Hispanic voters, and that is a big reason why, and the average of national polls, Donald Trump was ahead two months ago. And now were looking at a tight race nationally.

BURNETT: And the things we just heard Arlette highlighting when Biden saying go for your Social Security and health care, and its part of a push Biden has been making and towards middle-class voters that he thinks will work, is it?

ENTEN: No? I don't, at least not at this particular point. You know, if you ask voters who they think is better to represent the middle- class, you go back to 2020, Joe Biden led on that metric against Donald Trump by a pretty clear margin. It was seven points back in 2020. You look at the polling.

Now, look at the 2024 polling. Who is better for the middle-class, Donald Trump leads by nine percentage points. This to me more than anything else, sort of encapsulates the problem that Joe Biden is facing. A lot of voters were looking back on the economy, back during the Trump administration.

BURNETT: That's a -- that's a 16-point swing to be clear, right?

ENTEN: That is a very -- that is a 16-point swing. It's a very large swing. It's one of the largest swings that we've seen across the polling down, I think is a big reason why Donald Trump at this point is a much better position than he was in the 2020 polling.

BURNETT: All right. Harry, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And there's important information, so let's bring in former executive director of the New York state Democratic Party, Basil Smile.

So, Basil, let's just start where Harry finished

BASIL SMIKLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure. BURNETT: And then there are positives, let's start on that middle- class issue.

Biden is obviously focusing in on that, that's clear.

The point that the swing though that we've seen thus far is 16 points away from Biden among the middle-class. That's a pretty stunning thing. Is that -- is that something you can turn around enough.


SMIKLE: I think so. You're starting to see as numbers get better in a lot of different places. And I do think that these numbers are turned around.

But going back to the State of the Union, he talked about these very issues focusing on a middle-class, like a tax break but also taxing the wealthy. He's talked about assistance for homebuyers win in states, particularly states like New York, you have governors talking about how to encourage more, afforded building of affordable housing.

So all of these pieces that help not just sustain a middle-class, but I also want to talk about what brings people into the middle-class. I love the fact that he's going to talk to steel workers because organized labor has historically been a huge vehicle to get people into the middle-class. A lot of Republicans over the years have tried to decimate the support of unions and their power. And Joe Biden is leaning into that trying to bring -- make sure that they're part of the Democratic coalition because they have historically not just in terms of wages, but also even in terms of housing, been able to support middle-class voters.

BURNETT: And in terms of the gains among Hispanic voters. Now, obviously, as Harry points out, so there's been a shift, but it's been a shift from Biden really. Biden really going to a bad place, but now starting to come back.


BURNETT: How much can that continue? This is that Trump was up a point and now Biden's up nine. But Biden still way below where he was in the last election.

Is that something that he can really move? And now tied is that to the border?

SMIKLE: You know, it's interesting because I do feel that there have been voters and we've seen this in some of the polls here and there, that there are real concerns about if you're -- if all the support for recent migrants and a lot of older migrants saying, well, what about us and even African American voters saying the same thing, but what Biden has done is turn and lean into those voters. And that I think matters, showing up, matters.

And what I call just use a sports reference small ball, like going into the smaller retail politics, not just the big rallies and I think going to talk to those voters where they are, you know, you get that heuristic. Does he care about people like me? And I think more and more voters are able to say that.

When you marry that too, I think all of these other hot-button issues like reproductive rights and so on. Then I see -- that's where you see that movement.

BURNETT: All right. Basil, thank you very much.

And next, breaking news, United States announcing new sanctions right now against Iran after the unprecedented attack against Israel. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield is OUTFRONT.

And Marjorie Taylor Greene telling CNN the momentum is on her side to oust Speaker Johnson.



BURNETT: Breaking news, the U.S. tonight announcing it will impose new sanctions on Iran for the attack at launched on Israel over the weekend using more than 300 missiles and drones. This comes as CNN is learning, Israel is weighing whether to launch what is being described as an attack inside Iran. That's according to U.S. intelligence.

Details at this hour though, are sparse. A senior Biden administration official says, quote, we would hope that the Israelis would give us some warning. Any additional move now opens up a series of other possibilities, some of which are quite frightening.

OUTFRONT now, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas- Greenfield, and she joins me now tonight for this morning in her case from Seoul, South Korea, where she has just returned from the DMZ, a rare visit for a U.S. official to obviously one of the world's most heavily armed borders between North and South Korea.

Ambassador Greenfield, I want to ask you in crucial questions about that in a moment. First though, Israel's response to Iran is expected at any time. And one possibility I mentioned is a strike being described as a limited strike, unclear what that means, but on Iranian soil. Does the United States support Israel striking inside Iran?

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Look, I can't comment on what Israel's plans are. I will say, Erin, that we have been in close contact with the Israelis. We are encouraging de- escalation, but we absolutely support Israel's right to defend itself from this brutal attack on its own territory that we all witnessed at over the weekend.

BURNETT: We are just learning just moments ago that the U.S. will impose sanctions on Iran in the coming days, unclear exactly what those are.

But we do understand ambassador the State Department says that it has been days since the U.S. and Iran actually communicated, and no engagement is expected when the Iranian foreign minister is that the U.N. this week.

I will be interviewing the foreign minister on this program on Thursday, Ambassador. Do you have a message for him?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Look, he knows what are messages are. We gave him a very strong message in the Security Council on Sunday. We condemned their horrific attack on Israel and we made very, very clear that what they were doing went against all of the Security Council resolutions in terms of they're using the types of missiles that they were -- they were using.

So I don't have a direct message from him that he has not already heard from the U.S. government.

BURNETT: And as I mentioned, you went to the DMZ today in Korea. I want to play part of what you said there, some very important words here.


THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We have held the doors open for meaningful diplomacy and we remain open to dialogue, real productive dialogue without preconditions.


BURNETT: Some of your works there so crucial, Ambassador. Meaningful diplomacy without preconditions and you emphasized those words. And it brought to mind for me the last time the U.S. and North Korea met, that, of course, was the summit in 2018 between then-President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore.


When you say, you know, a dialogue and no preconditions, is President Biden open to meeting with Kim?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Absolutely. We have been clear since the Biden administration came on board that we are prepared to have an open dialogue with the North Koreans without preconditions. We want to pursue diplomacy.

I visited the room in the border at the DMZ. I saw the table with the flags on the table, the chairs empty, the table empty. They -- all they have to do is walk through the door. There's a door on their side in that room where they can walk through that door and start those negotiations.

They may start at a level of the militaries that are on the ground there, but we're willing to do that at every single level to get to a place where we can find a path to peace and to really address the issues that the people love of a Republic of Korea have with the constant attacks, the constant missile tests near their border. BURNETT: And just to be clear, when I says President Biden open to

meet with Kim, you started your answer with absolutely. Then you went into the details there about that table and I've been there in that table. It is poignant. It's -- the seats that are empty.

But when you say every single level, I just want to be clear that that President Biden would be open to meeting with Kim?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I'm not going to speculate when and if President Biden will have a meeting with Kim. Before any meeting like that could happen, we have to have engagements at other levels.

BURNETT: And, you know, your visit comes just after North Korea claimed to have successfully launched a new hypersonic missile. Obviously, their tests and their arsenal now are central focus. The world has just changed with Iran launching a massive direct attack on Israeli soil with missiles.

Does the United States at this point, ambassador have a full picture of the reality of North Korea's arsenal?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We certainly have a good picture. I don't know if we have a full picture. We were very disappointed when the Russians vetoed the 1718 panel of experts resolution that allows for reporting on their capabilities. And we will look for other ways to continue that reporting.

But they continue over and over to break numerous Security Council resolutions that they are not being helpfully accountable for because the Russians and the Chinese provide cover for them in the Security Council.

BURNETT: Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, I really appreciate your time. Thank you.

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you very much

BURNETT: And next, the House Speaker Mike Johnson now facing a bigger threat to his job tonight. We'll tell you.



BURNETT: Breaking news, more House Republicans joining the effort to oust the speaker, Mike Johnson. Republican Congressman Thomas Massie today publicly backing Marjorie Taylor Greene's crusade to remove Johnson. Greene and Massie say there are more Republicans who have not yet publicly come forward yet who will vote with them to oust Johnson.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): There are others behind Massie as well. But, of course, ill never speak for them and say their names. I think last time it was an extra firmly difficult process. It threw everybody into chaos for three-and-a-half week is weeks and it really broke our conference but we never really recovered from that. This time, it doesn't need to be that way.

So I'm being responsible with this decision and allowing people to come to terms and think about it would be the next speaker.


BURNETT: Melanie Zanona is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill.

So, Melanie, you've been doing so much reporting on this, talking to all the people at the center of it.

How much jeopardy is speaker Johnson actually in right now?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Speaker Mike Johnson finds himself in a very precarious position right now, and that is because of this simple math. After Friday, which is when Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher is planning to resign early, Johnson can only afford to lose one Republican on any party-line vote.

So what that means is that if this motion to vacate comes to the floor and both Greene and Massie supported it as they've said they would, that means Johnson is certainly going to have to rely on Democrats to bail him out.

Johnson, though, has been defiant, even as he recognizes the embattled role that he finds himself in. Take a listen.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I am not resigning and it is -- it is in my view and absurd notion that someone would bring a vacate motion when we are simply here trying to do our jobs.

It is not helpful to the cause. It is not helpful to the country. We need steady leadership. We need steady hand ends at the wheel. Look, I regard myself as a wartime speaker.


ZANONA: Now, Greene has not committed to a timeline to forcing a vote on a motion to vacate and part of the reason for that is because she says she wants to give Republicans time to find a potential successor, so they can avoid the same embarrassing speaker drama that we saw in October, but as of this point, we have not seen any evidence that anyone's coalescing behind a potential successor which could work to Johnson's advantage. And meanwhile, some Democrats are signaling that they might be willing to step in and help save Johnson.

But other Republic -- other Democrats, excuse me, have so far been keeping their powder dry with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries saying they need to see the details of Johnsons foreign aid plan. But they make any commitments about that, they're going to back the speaker, but really remarkable position that Democrats now for the second time this Congress could control the fate of the Republican speaker, Erin. BURNETT: I mean, it is absolutely incredible. And as you say, not fully tipping their hand and he would need them to survive. So ironic, a guy who has refused to give them their Ukraine bill up to now, maybe someone they choose to save because they might get I mean -- wow, the machinations.

Thank you so much, Melanie Zanona, and showing the power of Marjorie Taylor Greene right now on the Hill.

And thanks so much to all of you for joining us as well.

"AC360" begins right now.