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Erin Burnett Outfront

Biden's Warning About Democracy; Justice Thomas Admits to Luxury Trips; CNN Follows Officials Bracing For DNC Threats, Like A Lone Gunman. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 07, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Defending democracy, President Biden making that a cornerstone of his campaign as he takes on Trump who is doubling down on his calls for revenge.

Plus, exotic vacation, a private jet. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas finally admitting to the lavish trips that were paid for by a Republican megadonor. The reporter who first exposed the trips is my guest.

And an OUTFRONT exclusive, for the first time, we take you inside the unprecedented security operation now underway to protect one of the biggest political events.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Briana Keilar, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Biden takes on Trump. The president defending democracy today on the world stage, while the former president was on social media attacking the American justice system. President Biden in front France to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day but sending a very clear message to voters at home. Biden didn't use Trump's name, but he made it abundantly clear who he was talking about.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTEID STATES: We talk about democracy, American democracy. We often talk about the ideals of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness we don't talk about is how hard it is. How many ways were asked to walk away, how many instincts are to walk away? The most natural instinct is to walk away. To be selfish, to force our will upon others, to seize power, never give up.

American democracy asks the hardest of things, to believe that we're part of something bigger than ourselves. So democracy began with each of us, begins with one person decides there's something more important than themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Something more important than themselves, a clear message to Trump who seem to spend the day posting over and over on social media about himself, about how unfair his criminal trial in New York was, even though an independent jury found him guilty, not about how to help the country, but rather how to help himself, and get revenge on his enemies. Those he falsely claims persecuted and prosecuted him.

It's a theme he can't stop talking about.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, when this election is over, based on what they've done, I would have every right to go after them.

Revenge does take time, I will say that.


TRUMP: And sometimes revenge can be justified but I have to be honest. Sometimes it can.

It's a terrible, terrible path that they're leading us to, and it's very possible that it's going to have to happen to them.


KEILAR: Kayla Tausche is OUTFRONT in Paris tonight.

And, Kayla, you were there with the president in Normandy. He was sending a very clear message.

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it was a clear message and for American voters, it was also a very familiar one. The fragile future of democracy has been a central tenant of Biden's presidency, as well as his reelection campaign. And he's given at least a half dozen speeches on this topic in front of Union Station, at Philadelphia's Independence Hall, on the anniversary of the January 6 attacks, and at the McCain Institute in Arizona.

And every single time, he has tried to stress that there's urgency behind the issue and that there is a lot at stake. And yet in each of those instances, the electorate, it hasn't moved the needle for them. But what was different today was the imagery, standing atop those cliffs with the crystal blue waters and the English Channel, and being able to visualize the bravery of those young men and perhaps most importantly, during this election, referencing an event where the facts are not in dispute and the annals of history, what happened on D-Day and what happened in World War II is not subject to interpretation.

So that's what the president was really trying to get at, to target the heartstrings of voters and tried to make this, this speech that changes their minds. It evoked a lot of Ronald Reagan who made that very strikingly similar speech 40 years ago. And his speech writer, Peggy Noonan, wrote in her memoir that what she was trying to do was to try to get teenagers to look up from their Rice Krispies and think of about the tough kids who were in World War II, who are now their grandparents.

But most importantly, she was trying to prove to them that history is real.


And I think it's safe to say, Brianna, that that was President Biden's goal today, not only to prove that history is real, but that in his belief, it's repeating itself -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Kayla, thank you for that report from Paris.

And OUTFRONT now, Quentin Fulks, the principal deputy campaign manager for the Biden Harris 2024 campaign.

Quentin, why was it so important to President Biden to give that speech today?

QUENTIN FULKS, BIDEN PRINCIPAL DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, it was important for President Biden to go and get that speech because democracy is at stake, and he wanted to honor D-Day. He wanted to honor the Americans who sacrifice at all scaling those cliffs that were just mentioned to save democracy, to root out fascism, and authoritarianism across the globe, and they were successful. And it's something that we have to continue to work towards every day.

And meanwhile, while President Biden is leading on the world stage, honoring the men and women who changed the course of history in this country, we see Donald Trump returned to the trail as a convicted felon, doubling down on threats of political violence and extremism, I believe at least four times this week, he talked about jailing his political enemies and revenge.

He's only in this campaign for himself and retribution, you know, because that's all he wakes up thinking about. He is obsessed with it. He is unhinged. He has snapped. He's pledging to be a dictator. He's calling for a bloodbath. He's using the language of Nazi Germany.

That is what Donald Trump thinks about. He thinks that the men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country are suckers and losers.

And so, the contrast that American voters saw this week and today specifically cannot be more greater of a justification of the character of the two men in the focus of the two men who are running to be president of the United States.

KEILAR: Biden made the case today in his speech for Ukraine's fight against Russia and he made the case for U.S. support for that. He also apologized to President Zelenskyy for the delay in American military aid.

But when you look at a recent Quinnipiac University poll, it found only 2 percent of Americans rank the Russia, Ukraine war is their top issue.

How do you engage people on that when they're so disinterested in it?

FULKS: Well, look, I think that one, we have to follow the leadership of President Biden because, you know, he knows with the experience that he has that this is important, that democracy is fragile and that we have to keep working continue it. Meanwhile, on the other side, Donald Trump says that, you know, Russia should be able to do whatever the hell they want to our NATO allies.

That's a stark contrast. And look when it comes to the polls, the only thing that we should take away from any type of polls is that this contest is going to be in the margin of error and the campaign that is going to win as the campaign that's putting in the work and is running on the issues that matter to American voters the most. And when it comes to the work, I'm very proud of the fact that we've got infrastructure all across our battleground states to be able to communicate with voters, and were spending our resources to do that.

And when it comes to the issues, President Biden wakes up every single day working to bring down the cost of goods, continue to lower inflation across this country, rent, mortgage affordability. Those are the things that we're talking about and honestly talking about actual Americans and the sacrifices that they're making in their daily lives, unlike Donald Trump, who again, is just continuing to double down and talk about himself. That's the only thing he cares about. And he won't let anything stand in his way to get what he wants.

KEILAR: Speaking of close polling numbers, when you look at that same Quinnipiac University poll, 50 percent of registered voters believed that Biden, who has made the issue of democracy, obviously a top issue in his campaign, will be better at preserving democracy, but 43 percent think Trump will be better.

Quentin, you see there only a seven point difference and that is with someone who tried to overturn the last election. How do you combat that?

FULKS: Look, we combat it by continuing to put in the work. American voters rejected Donald Trump because they seem the type of leader that he's going to be. They've seen him give away trade secrets. They've seen him put our men and women in uniform and danger during his entire presidency.

Americans remember what it was like to wake up and wonder if Donald Trump was going to start a World War because he was tweeting. He is unhinged. And again, he has no business being anywhere near the White House. And so, our campaign is going to continue to double down, continued to make sure that the president and the vice president, our surrogates are getting in front of Americans where they are, talking to them about the issues that matter most.

And most importantly, again, echoing the president's remarks that democracy requires something from all of us. And it's the only requirement is that we don't just think about ourselves in democracy. And that's something that Donald Trump has proven time and time again that he has completely and utterly incapable of doing.

KEILAR: Since Trump has been convicted on 34 felony counts, he has been claiming without evidence that the judicial system is being weaponized against him to help Biden win the election. Here's some of what he's saying.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to straighten out what's going on with these courts.


We got a rigged deal going.

They are doing it for the purposes of hurting a political opponent of Biden. We're dealing against this system that is so corrupt.

It's so bad. It's making our justice system look so bad.


KEILAR: Now, despite that being untrue, do you worry at all that it's muddying the waters with some voters on the question of who will better protect democracy?

FULKS: Not at all. Donald Trump is a convicted felon. And here's the latest proof point that he will do anything in his power, including break the law to get what he wants and he won't stop at anything to do it.

And so, we have to continue to make sure that we're talking to American voters about the issues at hand. Donald Trump, if he cared at all about this, he wouldn't be going around continuing to incite political violence that railing on the American judicial system. He would not think that he is above the law and would not think that he's above being held accountable.

He wouldn't go out and the first thing that he does after he hits the campaign trail is campaigning with Charlie Kirk, unknown white supremacist, and Joe Arpaio, somebody who's gone to jail for literally, systematically targeting Latinos. Those are the people that Donald Trump surrounds himself with.

And so, again, the contrast is incredibly clear as the two opposing visions of this country. And again, we have not heard Donald Trump talk about any policy that would impact America's lives. He is only talking about himself, his legal troubles, because that's all he thinks about. He's obsessed with it.

And he's only in this campaign to try to regain power and he will break the law to do it so that he can get out of trouble.

KEILAR: He was talking about some policy, some border policies, and his most recent campaign stop along with other issues. I know certainly you disagree with him on that policy, but he did spend some time on it.

Quentin Fulks, thank you so much for being with us. We do appreciate it.

FULKS: Thank you.

KEILAR: And now, I want to bring in former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent.

Charlie, you heard Biden there and what a backdrop there. He was evoking the bravery of American soldiers on D-Day. He was urging America and the world to protect freedom defend democracy, a clear contrast to Trump, even if he didn't use his name, what do you think? Who do you think I should say this speech was intended for?

CHARLIE DENT (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, certainly, the speech was intended for the American public, to try to raise or elevate the issue of democracy, of course, with the backdrop of Normandy and Pointe du Hoc, you know, our greatest generation, so many of them stood up to Hitler and his Third Reich, which was the greatest threat to human freedom and democracy than perhaps ever dark and then staying pages of human history.

So I think that was his message. And it's clear that democracy is under threat, not just in the United States, but in Europe, European parliamentary elections, the liberal populist movements are gaining traction there, too.

And so, I think that's what this is about, but we have to remember though a lot of voters are not necessarily looking at this as the most important issue they're thinking about. They're looking at other immediate issues like the cost of groceries, housing, mortgage rates, of course, the border. There are a lot of issues that are more immediate maybe to voters than this one, as important as it is.

KEILAR: And the issue of democracy, you know, it isn't the top issue on voters minds in that recent Quinnipiac University poll. Of course, the economy is. It's not too distant a second though. Which voters do you think this message might specifically persuade? Is there a slice of voters that you think this might appeal to?

DENT: It's clear that Joe Biden is trying to appeal. I think to what he might see as persuadable voters. But it's important to remember that many persuadable voters are somewhat transactional. Like I said, I think many of them are worried about the economy, gasoline prices, housing prices.

These are -- these are issues front of mind, the border. And so, I think for Biden, he needs to make sure that democracy and the rule of law breath to democracy is an immediate issue and is something that they consider as they go into the voting booth. It's unclear whether that message will work.

It might. It worked for say, Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania against Doug Mastriano, where Shapiro talked about democracy and threats, the peaceful transfers of power, rule of law, the Constitution, that didn't matter, as well as women's reproductive rights. It worked there. Will it work in 2024 with Joe Biden?

It remains to be seen, but clearly in my estimation right now, democracy issue -- one side thinks that the other side is a threat to democracy. Both sides think the other is a threat to democracy. So, it's somewhat cuts both ways in the minds of many in the public.

KEILAR: Yeah, the poll numbers show that, when you look at the democracy numbers.

Congressman Charlie Dent, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

DENT: Thank you, Brianna.

OUTFRONT next, some Democrats who were leaning towards Donald Trump, that's right, Democrats leaning towards Donald Trump are now having second thoughts after the former president was convicted in New York.


I'm going to talk to one of those voters next.

Plus, an emotional day in court in the Hunter Biden gun trial, his daughter trembling as he testified. Hunter Biden wiping away tears. What she told the jury.

And career government officials walking away from their jobs because of what they claim is an attempt to downplay the horrors in Gaza.


KEILAR: New tonight, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows pleading not guilty to conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Arizona. One of 18 Trump allies charged in connection to the fake electors case. The latest reminder of the numerous legal woes surrounding Trump and his inner circle.


Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Arizona prosecutors, arrive for the arraignments of some of former President Donald Trump's closest advisers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, could you state your name, please?


LAH: Trump's former White House chief of staff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do enter a plea of not guilty.

LAH: Also, entering a not guilty plea. Trump campaign operative Mike Roman. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you state your name, please?


LAH: Roman and Meadows, both faced charges in multiple states and the fake elector scheme, aimed at overturning the 2020 election results. In Arizona and in Georgia, Roman also this week was indicted in Wisconsin. The state cases all date back to an alleged plan hatched and the days and weeks after Trump lost his last reelection bid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the undersigned being the duly elected and qualified electors.

LAH: In Arizona, calling themselves electors, these 11 people assembled on December 14, 2020 to declare the state's winner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald J. Trump, of the state of Florida, number of votes, 11.

LAH: But Joe Biden had won Arizona.

Arizona prosecutors say Meadows, Roman, and other Trump allies charged in April, like former Trump attorney John Eastman.

JOHN EASTMAN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I, of course, pled not guilty.

LAH: And current RNC election integrity counsel, Christina Bobb --


LAH: -- coordinated fake electors in Arizona and other swing states, attempting to keep Trump in power, perhaps the most well-known of the 18 indicted by Arizona is former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who say Arizona prosecutors, dodged them for weeks, as they tried to serve him court papers.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: If they're so incompetent, they can find me, they also can't count votes correctly.

LAH: Live streaming has taunts.


LAH: Until Arizona agents caught up with Giuliani at his 88th birthday in Florida.


LAH: Now has two weeks to appear in person in court and post a $10,000 bond.


LAH (on camera): Giuliani, so far hasn't indicated exactly when he'll be heading to Arizona. The Maricopa County sheriffs department tells us that he hasn't yet been processed for that mug shot or fingerprints that he is required to do.

Brianna, we did check in to see where he was live streaming from today. He's in the state of Michigan -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Very interesting.

Kyung, thank you for that report.

And Donald Trump himself still staring down three other criminal trials after his conviction in his hush money trial. OUTFRONT now, one voter from a key swing state who is now rethinking his support for Trump in the wake of his conviction in New York, Eric Tabor is with us now from Georgia.

Eric, thank you for being with us.

ERIC TABOR, UNDECIDED VOTER: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: So you are a Democrat and, first off, let's talk about why after voting Clinton in 2016 and for Biden in 2020, you were planning to vote -- initially planning to vote for Trump this fall. Why were you leaning in that direction?

TABOR: Well, one of the things is the economy and I felt like Trump would do a better job improving the economy here in the United States, not just in Georgia, but United States. And the grid in Congress is another thing. It seems like Trump can kind of push a lot of things through Congress, where Biden could not.

KEILAR: And are you having a change of heart now about Donald Trump? Tell us why.

TABOR: There's several things. First off, you know, his conviction. You know, president should be beyond reproach. That's my one of my biggest things. He, you know, a president someone sitting in the chair should command we respect.

And, you know, to pay hush money and do that kind of thing. You know, that's not presidential. If I believe in honesty first and foremost, if you say -- if you go ahead and admit, if you do something, just go ahead and own up to it and be -- nobody will get upset with you for making a mistake.

KEILAR: Is it the conviction which was for falsifying documents or is it the paying hush money and not fessing up to it?

TABOR: For me, it's -- you know, it's both, but I do get upset because my biggest thing I want my president to be a man of integrity.

KEILAR: So, the former Republican lieutenant governor of your state, Geoff Duncan, says, he disagrees with many of Biden's policies, but says that he's still going to support Biden over Trump.

Here's he's explaining why. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEOFF DUNCAN (R), FORMER GEORGIA LT. GOVERNOR: I'm voting for a decent person that I disagree with on policies, over a criminal defendant who has no moral compass.


Donald Trump needs to get beat. We need to move on as a party. We need to move on as a country.


KEILAR: What do you think about what he's saying? Is that something that you agree with?

TABOR: I agree with. I agree with him wholeheartedly. You know, he's reiterating what I was saying. You know, you have, you know, being a president, you have to be a man of integrity.

KEILAR: So if it is not Biden and it is not Trump, who would you vote for if the election were today?

TABOR: I've actually started looking into Robert Kennedy Jr. I think he's running as an independent and he seemed so far a man of integrity in my opinion.

KEILAR: Why is that? And what about his policies do you like?

TABOR: And I'm still researching a lot of his policies and looking to see. One of his things is he's trying to separate the conglomerate of between corporations in states and government and trying to break that apart and break that romance, that love affair apart.

KEILAR: So do you worry at all that he might be a spoiler in this race, that he actually cannot win but that he could maybe push the election towards one candidate or the other is both the Biden and Trump campaigns he said that he will?

TABOR: And one of one of the things I like to look at during the '60s, during the civil rights movement, there was a slogan, "one man, one vote." So if you want to vote your conscience, a vote for the person or policy that is more intuned to what you want to vote for, that's the way you go.

You don't worry about how it's skewed. You voted your conscience, you voted, your mind, one man, one vote.

KEILAR: Eric Tabor, we really appreciate your insights. Obviously, voters in Georgia are very much the target audience of all of these campaigns.

And it's great to hear your thoughts. Thanks for being with us.

TABOR: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: And OUTFRONT next, a Supreme Court justice finally, owning up to the luxurious gifts he received from a Republican billionaire, including a rather exotic vacation. The reporter who helped break this story is next.

Plus, Hunter Biden's own daughter taking the stand in his gun trial, testifying about when, quote, things got bad for her dad.



KEILAR: New tonight, Clarence Thomas comes clean, partially anyways. The Supreme Court justice formally disclosing a lavish 2019 trip to Bali, Indonesia, that was paid for by GOP megadonor donor named Harlan Crow and his wife. Thomas, who you see here in photos from the trip, saying the Crows paid for his hotel and lodging. It's a trip that was first reported on last year by "ProPublica" that Thomas previously said he was not required to disclose.

OUTFRONT now, "ProPublica's" Josh Kaplan who broke the story, shining a light on posh travel accepted by justices.

Josh, thanks for being here.

And I wonder if you think that Justice Thomas would've ever disclosed these trips if it wasn't for your reporting?

JOSHUA KAPLAN, REPORTER, PROPUBLICA: I mean, it's impossible to say for sure, but history would suggest otherwise. I mean, there's a pattern here with this defense.

This is -- today is at least the third time that Thomas has failed to follow federal disclosure law. We -- or someone else has uncovered it and made it public for him, and then facing possible government investigation. Thomas has said, oops, it was an honest mistake or I misunderstood the rules.

KEILAR: Justice Thomas also disclosed a trip that same month that the Crows paid for to this exclusive club known as Bohemian Grove in Sonoma County in California. Tell us why that particular disclosure stands out to you?

KAPLAN: Yeah. I mean, so one of the strangest things about today's filing is that we know that Thomas accepted many, many free luxury vacations that he did not disclose from billionaire. So, at the Bohemian Grove for instance, he -- we know of at least six undisclosed trips he's taken there over the years with Harlan Crow.

But in this filing, he only discussed two trips. Why those two are not the rest, why one of the Bohemian Grove trips, but not the other ones that are public, we have no idea, frankly, he decided it not to explain.

KEILAR: This is the first disclosure after this new court ethics code that was instituted in November. Are today's disclosures a sign that the code is working or that the code is not enough, or that it was just reporting that move this in this direction?

KAPLAN: Well, I think the fundamental issue here is that for all its power, the Supreme Court has less transparency, less oversight, still even after the new code, weaker ethics rules, then essentially any other part of the federal government and how Thomas has decided to handle these disclosure controversies is I think a manifestation of that when it comes to potential conflicts of interest or even federal ethics law, as in this case, each Supreme Court justice has been left to him or herself to decide what's okay, what's not okay, and how to deal with potential violation.


KEILAR: Josh, it is great to have you. Thank you so much, Josh Kaplan with "ProPublica."

KAPLAN: Thanks for having me on.

KEILAR: Also tonight, Hunter Biden wiping away tears in court as his daughter, Naomi, took the stand. Naomi appearing very uncomfortable, trembling, also tearing up as she testified, telling the jury about visiting her dad in rehab and a late-night text that he sent her around the time that he bought his gun saying, quote, I can't take this. I miss you so much and I just want to hang out.

Naomi also testifying, quote, things got bad for Hunter Biden following the death of her uncle, Beau Biden, and that she it did not see her father used drugs at any point in 2018.

I want to go straight to Evan Perez.

He is outside the courtroom and Delaware right now.

And, Evan, Hunter Biden's first real display of emotion during these proceedings, you were in that room. How powerful was Naomi's testimony today?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It was the most powerful testimony that we've seen in this trial. Look, you've seen a lot of low points for Hunter Biden displayed before this jury. You've seen pictures of him with drug paraphernalia behind him passed out on a bed. You've seen all of these text messages where he's talking about buying drugs.

And so, to have his daughter come in and try to limit or at least undo some of the damage done by Hallie Biden, who was Beau Biden's widow, and who he dated back in this period in 2018 was a really important thing for the defense to try to do. She said that in 2018 when he was going to some rehab, she said I was hopeful and she thought that he looked a lot better than he had looked at in the past. The prosecution in cross-examination got her to acknowledge that, you know, she didn't see any of this paraphernalia.

And so she has no idea where it might have ended up in the truck on October 23rd when Hallie Biden found the gun in his truck, and panicked and decided that she needed to get rid of it, which is why Hunter Biden is now on trial.

There were 11 days where he owned this gun, where he had this gun in his possession, and the government says that is a crime. And so, now, we expect, Brianna, that the defense is going to spend the weekend deciding whether they need to put Hunter Biden on the trial on the stand two who testify in his own defense. That is a big decision that's going to made on Monday and we expect that the jury will get this will get this case, certainly early part of next week.

And the big part for the defense is to just focus their attention on that period in October where Naomi Biden says she didn't see him using any drugs -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yeah, we'll have to see in the days ahead here.

Evan Perez, thank you for that report, live for us from Wilmington.

Criminal defense attorney Mark O'Mara is with us now.

Mark, Hunter Biden, emotional today, tearing up is his daughter testified. Naomi Biden told the jury more about seeing her father in the weeks leading up to his gun purchase. She described his treatment as having just said for addiction and his sobriety saying, quote, he seemed great. He seemed hopeful. She also said she never saw him doing drugs.

How effective was she for Hunter Biden's defense?

MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it's very impactful. I truly do. First of all, as a daughter and that's going to sit with the jury. Plus, what she said was not as much factually, right. But it's the hope, it's the hope that she has for her dad. It's the hope that her dad had for himself and they're trying to focus that on that period of time because obviously your argument is, I did not know I was addicted. Therefore, when I signed the document that we are I signed it, I sounded honestly and openly because I did not think I was an addict.

So the daughter really helps in that regard. It is a somewhat thinly veiled target, the heartstrings as well. And again, you have to be careful with that with the jury, with the strength of the prosecution case so far.

KEILAR: Mark, the defense says, they haven't decided if Hunter Biden is going to testify, they have until Monday to make that decision.

Do you -- do you think that he needs to take the stand?

O'MARA: So, here -- there's different ways to look at the analysis. One, if a convictions they foregone conclusion, then you don't have much to lose, try it, work for the sympathy, work for the reasonable doubt.

The other analysis and the one you have to be very careful of as the defense team is, prosecutors will pray over the weekend that Hunter Biden gets on the stand because the client, the defendant, is always that the government's best witness because he will undergo such cross- examination with very qualified prosecutors that he will probably bury himself and may well just fell always more doubt. [19:40:10]

I'm not saying that just about Hunter Biden. Most defendants end up doing that. So that's going to be one tough decision.

Of course, Hunter Biden will make it in the final analysis, but it is full of risks if he gets before that jury.

KEILAR: So, we're now a weekend of this. How do you think the jury is leaning after what you have seen that they've seen?

O'MARA: The state, the government has put on an extraordinarily strong case. Most of it, of course, came from forensics, right? It came from the laptop more than anything else, the text messages.

But everything we know that convictions occur in the past 10, 15 years because of digital evidence, more than almost any other evidence as well. Yes, they need drug tests. Yes, they need an FBI agent, but that laptop and everything that came from it and all other digital evidence is so strong in this case that I think the government has a strength that may not even be overcome with the argument that reasonable doubt has not been extinguished.

KEILAR: Mark O'Mara, thank you so much for being with us.

O'MARA: Great to be with you.

KEILAR: OUTFRONT next, a special report on top government officials who've all quit their jobs and are now banding together to force change in Washington.

And in OUTFRONT exclusive, we take you behind closed doors were security officials are preparing to protect one of the largest political events from a deadly attack.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everyone has a sense that the threats are real.




KEILAR: Tonight, pushing for a ceasefire in Gaza. Secretary of State Antony Blinken set to travel to the Middle East to sell a hostage deal and agreement to end the war. It comes amid growing pressure in the U.S. for a deal. You're looking there at tall middle fences going up around the White House. These new security barriers built ahead of massive protests expected tomorrow, a number of officials quitting over the war and U.S. policies as well.

Kylie Atwood is OUTFRONT.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost a dozen us officials who have resigned in protest of the Biden administration's approach to the Israel-Hamas War --

STACY GILBERT, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I want us to abide by our own laws.

ALEXANDER SMITH, FORMER USAID OFFICIAL: There's a real disconnect between what we and USA are saying, and every humanitarian agency is saying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why should the rest of the world look to is as a leader?

ATWOOD: -- are banding together to explore how to use their voices effectively from the outside.

GILBERT: It's kind of like an underground railroad. When I was having questions about when it seemed like I cannot work on this anymore, but what do I do?

ATWOOD: Stacy Gilbert, who worked at the State Department for more than 20 years, said she turned to members of the group when she was considering resigning. Now she wants to help those who are fighting the system from within.

GILBERT: If we can be a resource to help others find their voice, find a way to try to affect some policy change that would be useful.

ATWOOD: Gilbert and the others who have left the U.S. government in protest, like Alex Smith resigned from USAID last month, are also in public events and statements to shed light on all they've seen.

SMITH: Now that I'm no longer at USAID, I can speak publicly and loudly about what is actually happening on the ground in Gaza and I can try to get attention pointed towards me, but people who are suffering there now.

ATWOOD: Gilbert's resignation came after her office at the State Department, which focuses on global humanitarian crises, found that Israel was impeding the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza, only for the final version of the report to say that Israel was not to blame.

What are the implications of a report like this for the U.S. government globally?

GILBERT: To say it undermines our credibility is an understatement. And for this report to say, conditions in Gaza are dangerous and these organizations don't have the capacity is just patently false. It is absolutely dangerous. And it is difficult to do the work. But these organizations can do it. They are not being allowed to do it.

ATWOOD: The State Department says it stands by its final report. MATTHEW MILLER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We want to hear their

opinions. We want to hear the expertise that they bring to bear, but ultimately, it is the president, the secretary, other senior officials that make the decisions about what the policy of the United States ought to be.

ATWOOD: But Gilbert says that many of her colleagues still working on the Biden administration's policy and are seeing the death toll of innocent Palestinians rise harbor same frustrations and continue urging policy changes from within.

GILBERT: If I were the only one who thought this way, I would stay in the government.

ATWOOD: But you're confident they'll continue to fight.

GILBERT: Absolutely. Absolutely.

And I will -- I will be a voice for them on the outside, but I really am -- I am determined to do all I can to help from the outside because it's -- it's very, very hard doing this on the inside.


ATWOOD (on camera): Now, one thing we'll be watching to see is if the pressure that President Biden is putting on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come to a ceasefire agreement is enough to actually quell this mounting descent.

But from our conversations with these former officials who would actually take cutting off the flow of U.S. weapons to Israel in order to do that -- Brianna.


KEILAR: Kylie, thank you.

OUTFRONT next and OUTFRONT exclusive on how officials are preparing to keep some of the nation's most powerful people safe when they meet in just weeks.


KEILAR: Tonight, CNN gaining exclusive access to the security preparations by multiple law enforcement agencies ahead of the Democratic National Convention.


A lone gunman, violent protests, those are the sum of the many scenarios they're readying for.

John Miller is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST (voice-over): The Democratic National Convention is always a security challenge, but given the backdrop of a world engaged in two wars, terrorist propaganda calling for attacks on U.S. soil --

CHRIS WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: That's a significant concern.

MILLER: -- and protests sweeping cities and campuses, this year's convention in Chicago has the Secret Service pulling out all the stops.

KIMBERLY CHEATLE, U.S. SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR: I think they're expecting around 50,000 people, all total. That would be involved in either attending the event, working the event, or participating in the event in some way.

MILLER: The Secret Service has been designated to be an overall command of security planning.

CHEATLE: The lone gunman. You've got folks that are radicalized. You've got demonstrations that may pop up and, you know, obviously we hope they remain peaceful here, but they could turn violent.

MILLER: And that is where Chicago has a history.

At the 1968 Democratic National Convention with a backdrop of the Vietnam war, there were violent clashes between police and protesters. Chicago police were blamed for escalating the violence. It's a history they have worked hard to overcome.

LARRY SNELLING, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: This isn't 1968. There have been advances in policing. If you look at the technology that we have now, there's a different approach.

MILLER: We met Chicago police superintendent Larry Snelling at the Crime Prevention and Information Center or the CPIC. It's a 24/7 command center where they will monitor all convention related events, including protests citywide.

Multiple agencies will have representation within the command center, including the FBI, ATF, and state police, so if there is an incident, they can coordinate and deploy resources swiftly.

Here in this vast open area of the Chicago Convention Center, weeks ahead of the Democratic National Convention. The Chicago police are practicing with their mobile field forces.

Chicago police officers were drilled through different scenarios they've encountered, violent protests, medical rescue, how do we extract someone from a hostile crowd, shield training if the officers are being pelted with rocks and bottles, and bicycle teams, they can move rapidly through crowded streets and form a barricade.

What Chicago police say, the officers we are looking at here helmets and batons will be kept behind the scenes unless they're needed. SNELLING: We don't want to have conflicts with people if we don't have

to. We don't want to clash with people if we don't have to. People come here to express themselves by all means, do it. But do it according to the law, and do it peacefully. It's that simple.

Once you start to break the law, then we have to restore the peace.

MILLER: The officers also received constitutional and legal training on the First Amendment, the right to protest, but also how to follow the complex procedures that come into play with mass arrests situations.

That convention has a large footprint, prime-time programming at speeches will be held at the United Center, while daytime Democratic Party business meetings and briefings will be held at McCormick Place, the official security perimeter is still in development, but the Secret Service has released general impact maps outlining how residents and businesses could be affected.

But the Secret Service says the security blanket is necessary.

JEFF BURNSIDE, U.S. SECRET SERVICE DNC COORDINATOR: Well, I think everyone has a sense that the threats are real. This is not an academic exercise that were running through. We are planning for real- world possibilities, and are we looking at everything that we need to look at and planning accordingly?


KEILAR: John, this is a huge security effort. What stood out to you most about it?

MILLER: Well, for Kim Cheatle, the director of the Secret Service, who we just heard from, his is an NSSE. That's national special security event. That puts the Secret Service an overall charge of coordinating this effort with the FBI taking on the role of intelligence and counterterrorism, with FEMA standing in the wings for consequence management, if something natural, man-made or criminal happens. So, just the massiveness of the effort.

And of course, the Chicago PD is the big dog in this crowd because they have the thousands of cops that are going to be on the front lines and behind the scenes and coordinating all of that is a lot, but you and I were both, you know, at the global threat summit overseas recently and we heard the threat stream.

You know, you've got al-Qaeda propaganda calling for lone wolves. ISIS launching attacks in multiple countries. So they have their concerns, which is why they spent so much time planning.

KEILAR: Yeah, I think that's the thing. There are so many threats. They have to plan for everything. They have to be right to keep everyone safe. And it is quite a tall order.

John Miller, thank you so much for taking us inside of that. It was really fascinating to see what they have underway there. Appreciate it.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight. I'm Briana Keilar in for Erin Burnett.

And "AC360" starts right now.