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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Protests Underway, Curfew To Go Into Effect In Louisville; No Officers Directly Charged With Breonna Taylor's Death; Protesters Take To The Streets After One Officer Is Charged In Breonna Taylor Case But Not For Her Death; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) Discusses About Her Reaction About Kentucky Attorney General, About Grand Jury Decision On Breonna Taylor Shooting; Trump Says He May Overrule FDA On Vaccine Guidelines; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Is Interviewed About Trump Refusing To Commit Peaceful Transfer Of Power If He Loses. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 23, 2020 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, protests growing after not a single officer was directly charged with the death of Breonna Taylor. The Kentucky National Guard and state police activated. A curfew about to take effect as armed militia groups are now taking to the streets.

And the President refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after Election Day. It is a stunning development tonight and Sen. Chuck Schumer will respond right here.

Also, Dr. Deborah Birx, once a staple of the Coronavirus Task Force, now distressed questioning how much longer she can stay. She been replaced by that controversial, Dr. Scott Atlas. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

And OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, tensions rising on the streets across this nation tonight after a grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky charged just one officer in the Breonna Taylor case. That officer though not charged with the actual killing of the 26-year-old nor were the other officers present.

You are looking at pictures of a tense standoff in Louisville. Police as you can see in riot gear facing off against the crowd. That is what you see now still in daylight. The crowd growing in size tonight, curfew going in effect in less than two hours from as we are watching this right now. And to add to the tension on the ground, this is video of a militia group. That is a militia group marching through the streets with long guns earlier today in Louisville.

Now, Taylor was shot six times in her apartment in the middle of the night last March. Lawyers for Taylor's family calling the decision today outrageous and offensive, their words. But earlier today, Kentucky's Attorney General defended the grand jury's decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL CAMERON, KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Breonna Taylor's death has become a part of a national story and conversation. But we must also remember the facts and the collection of evidence in this case are different than cases elsewhere in the country.

If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: As the Attorney General is referencing, Taylor became one of the faces of nationwide protests against police shootings. And just moments ago, President Trump was asked about today's decision, here's his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought it was really brilliant, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is doing a fantastic job. He's handling it very well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. There's a lot to get to tonight and the nation, of course, now on edge.

I want to start though with Shimon Prokupecz OUTFRONT live in Louisville. Shimon, so we just had showed some pictures of what was happening just moments ago with the altercation between riot-gear clad police and protesters. What are you seeing and hearing now?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. So, Erin, we are here at Jefferson Square Park and you can see behind me several hundred protesters have gathered. They're trying to decide whether or not they're going to march. They gave some indications that they were going to march.

But here's the thing as we have seen, as I've seen through the night here, police here moving in quickly when they feel things are escalating. This as tension remains high here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Outrage in the streets after a controversial grand jury decision in the police killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March. Three Louisville officers were involved in a gun battle with Taylor's boyfriend where she was shot multiple times and only one was indicted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: The fatal shot was fired by Detective Cosgrove.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Detective Myles Cosgrove not indicted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: Sergeant Mattingly was the first and only officer to enter the residence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Sergeant Jon Mattingly not indicted either.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Only former Detective Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment not to Taylor or her boyfriend but to the apartment next door. Back in June, Hankinson was fired and reprimanded by the Interim Police Chief in a letter. It accused him of wantonly and blindly firing into Taylor's apartment through a curtain.

Several of those shots went through the neighbor's house. The officers were executing a no-knock search warrant for a narcotics investigation. But the Attorney General says a witness heard police knocking before they broke down the door.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, says he never heard police announced themselves.

[19:05:06]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNETH WALKER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S BOYFRIEND: All of a sudden someone started beating on the door. They refused to answer when we yelled, "Who is it?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Walker fired the first shot hitting Mattingly in the leg. In a matter of seconds the three officers returned fire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Fifteen minutes later, Breonna was dead from a hell of police gunfire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Breonna Taylor's family and supporters were expecting stronger charges against the officers, manslaughter. The family's attorney, Ben Crump, calling it outrageous and offensive. The Attorney General urged the public not to politicize the decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who having never lived in Kentucky will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts but they don't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ (voice over): But on the streets of Louisville, the National Guard has been called in to prepare for protests. As the Mayor announcing a three-night-long curfew beginning at 9 pm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR GREG FISCHER (D) LOUISVILLE METRO: We must plan for the potential for large gatherings. I urge everyone to commit once again to a peaceful, lawful response.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PROKUPECZ: And Erin, as you said the curfew two hours away now, less than two hours, and police here, as I said earlier, have given indications that they're going to move in and strictly enforce this curfew. This is something that is certainly on the mind of many of the people you see here who have given indications are going to march.

The issue is that there's a curfew here starting at nine o'clock, so we'll be here and we'll see what happens. But again, tension here remains high and the big thing is going to be whether or not the police move in to try and enforce the curfew.

BURNETT: Shimon, thank you very much. And we're going to continue to watch here what happens over the next few moments.

OUTFRONT now Sadiqa Reynolds, the President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson and our Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin who has covered the story extensively.

Sadiqa, I want to start with you. Now, of course, that we're seeing what happened earlier in the streets of Louisville and now people gathering, determining whether to march into that curfew. You have been speaking out about Breonna Taylor for months and today no officers charged directly in her deadly shooting. Were you shocked? I mean, how disappointed are you? SADIQA REYNOLDS, PRESIDENT, LOUISVILLE URBAN LEAGUE: I am profoundly

disappointed. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I am shocked because I am a black woman in America and I know that our lives have not had much value in this country. I did expect more from my city and I am mad at myself for building my hopes up and keeping this community hopeful, but it is what it is.

And these people marching in the streets, my god, they have a right to their rage, we all do. This is very, very disappointing day for all of us in Louisville, Kentucky and across this country.

BURNETT: So Joey, the charges, the ones that there were, were only for one of the three officers, former officer Brett Hankinson charged with three counts of first degree wanton endangerment. And as Shimon was laying out, that was for putting the lives of other neighbors at risk when he opened fire, not in relation to shooting at Breonna Taylor or her boyfriend.

When you look at the evidence in the case, as the Attorney General is telling everybody to do. Do you think the charges and lack thereof makes sense?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So Erin, I'm troubled and I'm concerned. And with respect to the Attorney General who says that there'll be people outside of Kentucky who have opinions, yes, people outside of Kentucky do have opinions. We have a country that has opinions and that opinion focuses on accountability, so let's talk about that briefly.

We're talking about a grand jury. What's the significance of that? A grand jury, Erin, doesn't determine proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A grand jury assesses the evidence and establishes whether there's reasonable cause to believe that there was a crime and that the officers in question committed it.

That gives you a lot of leeway with respect to the grand jury to what you ultimately conclude. And you don't have to, by the way, be unanimous. Why is all this relevant?

We've often said that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. Well, it depends what information they're saying. And this contradictory evidence and information what I'm concerned about is how the case was presented. What did they hear? What information were they given such that they drew the conclusion?

So yes, it's very concerning. I don't live in Kentucky, right, to the Attorney General, but as a person outside of it having evaluated followed and view the evidence, I am concerned with respect to the conclusions of grand jury reach and I want to know what information they were given such that they reach the conclusion rendered that we all heard today.

BURNETT: So it's really, I think, really crucial that you lay that out, because I think a lot of people may not realize, we may not all realize what information they had, right? It's like a function machine. What you get going in has a lot to do with what you're going to conclude coming out.

[19:10:03]

Drew, among the things we do know, we knew Taylor's boyfriend fired first and he says he and Breonna were both afraid, that was why, and that the police never identified themselves, which is core to the reason for the limited charges.

Here's the Kentucky Attorney General on this specific issue of the no- knock warrant again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: They did knock and announce. The important point here is that information was corroborated by another witness who was in close proximity to apartment four who corroborated that information and said that there was a knocking and announcing by the officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the witness a civilian or law enforcement?

CAMERON: The witness was a civilian.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. Drew, this is crucial to the whole thing and you spoke to multiple witnesses, including a woman who was just two inches away, who backed up Taylor's boyfriend saying the police did not identify themselves. So when you heard this today from the Attorney General, were you surprised?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: No. But it goes to Joey's point, which is what was presented to the grand jury. We know that there was somebody in that apartment complex. It's a very tight corridor with four apartments up, four apartments down. The doors are very close to each other. We know that one person did poke his head out to see what was happening.

Now, if that person was up at 12:40, heard something outside, poked his head out and then heard it was the police, that's a different set of facts than if you're inside an apartment like Kenneth Walker and Breonna Taylor lying in bed, dozing off to sleep and you don't hear anything.

You're right. The witnesses that I talked to none of them heard police. Two of them were woken up by gunfire, one teenage girl says she woke up and thought it was a domestic fight. All she heard was shouting. None of them heard the word police open up.

BURNETT: So I mean as you say, this is crucial here to the whole issue of charges. And Joey, when I mentioned the shot, I'm sorry, from Taylor's boyfriend, it was one shot and he says he aimed low which by the way this appears to be true, because the officer he shot was hit - was shot in the leg. So he has his one shot at the leg.

The three officers in return file a total of 32 shots, 22 from the officers who did not get charged. The Attorney General today says the use of force was justified by those two officers not charged and the former police commissioner for Philadelphia, Charles Ramsey, has just weighed in. He said, I thought this was interesting, "It's a tragedy, plain and simple, but they were justified in returning fire. In my opinion, nobody had any of this information that we're discussing now." What do you think?

JACKSON: I respect Mr. Ramsay greatly and has done a great service to this country and to his community. Here's what I think, what I think there comes a point in time where force is excessive. What I think is that in order to get to the issue of criminality, you don't have to reach a conclusion as a grand jury that someone acted intentionally.

At what point, Erin, does my conduct become so unreasonable that it transcends the boundaries of my training and goes into the boundaries of what could be deemed to be criminality? Was there any negligence involved in what these officers were doing and firing these 30 shots or open 30 that you talked about? Was there any recklessness with respect to their conduct? These are all the things that have to be measured and evaluated.

Final point, we can debate the issue of justification all day and all night. At the end of the day, though, that's a jury determination, not a grand jury determination, but a jury determination and I think people are so upset because of the short circuiting of the process. If you feel that something happened here, you can guide the grand jury accordingly. If you don't feel that something happened, you can guide them accordingly.

At the end of the day, a prosecutor should present the evidence, grand juries indict and a trial jury makes the ultimate conclusion. And the fact that a jury will not make that decision is very troubling.

BURNETT: Drew, was there anything that stood out to you that surprised you by what the Attorney General said today in his defense of this decision?

GRIFFIN: Not in defense of his decision, based on the facts he presented, I can see how he reasonably believes the grand jury was correct in its decision making. But the big, big hole in all of this is why those officers were at that door in the first place. It was completely shoddy police work, terrible intelligence, copy and pasted search warrants.

And let's go back all the way to the beginning. The actual target of this whole operation was a petty street drug dealer under surveillance that could have been arrested at any time for the months they had in being surveilled in advance. And none of the surveillance implicated directly Breonna Taylor, so why did they go to this single woman, they thought was in that apartment alone at 12:40 at night with a battering ram.

[19:15:05]

That part of it makes no sense. The officers who were there were ordered to do that, OK? So you have to take them away from the decision making, which I think is really the criminal aspect of this. BURNETT: And that is why I believe you see all these people out on the

streets, because of exactly what you point out. And Sadiqa is nodding so strenuously too. Thank you all so very much.

REYNOLDS: Can I say something else, oh, this is frustrating.

BURNETT: Go ahead quickly.

REYNOLDS: Well, I just want to tell you, the grand jury process did not work for Kenneth Walker in the same way that it worked for the LMPD police officers and that's another reason people are in the street. They recognize the difference in justice, who you are, where you are and what you have access to.

There are so many places along the way in this case where black people, where Breonna Taylor, where Kenneth Walker did not get justice and we still don't have it.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you. I appreciate your time, all of you.

And next, our breaking news coverage of Breonna Taylor continues. These are live pictures. This is Brooklyn that you're looking at right now. The civil rights leader warning protesters that any violence though will only help Trump. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is here.

Plus, Dr. Anthony Fauci takes on Senator Rand Paul's wild claims about coronavirus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: This happens with Sen. Rand all the time. You were not listening to what the Director of the CDC said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus, the President not committing to providing a peaceful transition of power, directly not committing tonight if he loses the election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:20:19]

BURNETT: Breaking news, protesters gathering in Brooklyn to express outrage that no officers were directly charged in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. And now we're gonna go to Brooklyn in just a couple of moments to go on the ground there.

I want to go now, though, to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Democratic Congresswoman. And Congresswoman, as we're working on getting our shot up there, of course, we've got all of these protests now in cities across this country. I want to give you a chance to react to the announcement today from the Attorney General in Kentucky who laid his reasoning out, but yet no officers charged directly with the death of Breonna Taylor and the only charges for one officer were related to bothering others, endangering others in the apartment complex, your reaction?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, first, Erin, thank you for having me. And my plea is for there to be protests, but peaceful protest, nonviolent protests, because I understand what the protesters are crying out for and that is just simple justice. What I believe happened today was a grave injustice and let me tell you why.

We understand the scales of justice, we understand the right to be innocent until proven guilty. In the instance of this meager indictment, if you will, this reckless endangerment, the facts were not put before the grand jury as extensive as they were. There are too many unanswered questions and in actuality, this should have had the opportunity for a jury, for a trial to occur so that all of these witnesses who have not been heard from or have a different story from what has been represented, they need to be heard, they needed to be heard.

So my point with this is that I think the Attorney General did not put a full presentation before the grand jury were the witnesses who said they did not hear any announcement that it was policed. What about the individuals that were in the upstairs apartment, where they heard? And what about the fact that she was shot eight times or she was laying wounded in her apartment and no one was seen rendering her aid?

Yes. Someone shot inside the window, but the question of self defense is whether or not Breonna Taylor was the one that was providing any threat. She was not. And, of course, the final point, I would say, is enough is enough with no-knock drug warrants. They have to cease, they should cease locally. We're trying to end them with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

But I'm empathetic to what is going on, I want justice. I want everybody to be heard. I want a trial to be had. And if it is not going to be had in the state of Kentucky, then I argue that the right kind of justice department would intervene right now to be able to begin a civil rights investigation of Breonna's life, whether or not her civil rights were violated.

And I hope the FBI can do an extensive ballistics investigation to find out where those shots went and whether or not these shots were warranted.

BURNETT: So the President was just asked about the announcement. And instead of giving his own answer, Congresswoman, he read from the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron statement and earlier, he did respond in this way. Let me play it for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I love the black community and I've done more for the black community than any other president. And I say with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln and I mean that with opportunity zones and with criminal justice reform, with prison reform, with what we've done for historically black universities, colleges, schools, what we've done, nobody's done more. Abraham Lincoln, let's give him the nod. But beyond that, nobody has done more. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So you hear that, do you think that message will resonate with black voters?

LEE: Well, black voters are enormously astute and they're also respectful. They're energized and they are energetic. And they understand that they have to vote in this election, because it is life or death. It is interesting and to recognize that all presidents are human, with all kinds of frailties and so President Lincoln had his.

But whenever you see a modern day president begin to compare himself or herself to Abraham Lincoln, you begin to start seeing frivolity and insincerity and, of course, lack of truth. So we don't hear anything that moves us to believe that he has done more for black people.

[19:25:03]

And when you call us black people in America, it almost reminds us of the moment of bondage that we are his people and he's done something for us. When you do something for African-Americans, the descendants of enslaved Africans, you really do something for America. His efforts on criminal justice reform have gone flat, because they have not funded the Federal Bureau of Prisons to be able to see it actually implemented.

Our members of Congress wrote that legislation, they did an excellent job. They had excellent good intentions, but we don't see the impact of it under this administration. And then I would say, for the historically black colleges, I happen to have a number of them in the state of Texas. I can say to you that some of them are still financially suffering, they're suffering with COVID-19.

He has not seen fit to pass the HEROES Act which has a lot of money in there for our colleges and primary secondary schools. So I think that falls short.

What we want to know is how sincere are you in the criminal justice arena, which is really the pain that African-Americans are feeling. They're feeling it because they can have a roll call and you know, Erin, you've been reporting about Tamir Rice or Walter Scott or Eric Garner or Michael Brown or Mr. Raysean in Atlanta who wanted to go home to see his daughter's birthday party.

My constituent who I share with Congressman Omar, he grew up in Texas and that is George Floyd. And, of course, we know Elijah in Colorado and Jacob Blake. These are just recent individuals and there are many others.

And so I think our community is a fair community and really there's everyone, there are suburban moms protesting. There are people of all backgrounds protesting. We want simple justice. This was not and this should have gone to a trial with the indictment of all three and they would have gotten a fair trial. And if not, then the Justice Department has responsibility for starting an investigation, maybe a civil rights investigation, around Breonna's death. BURNETT: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, I appreciate your time

tonight weighing in, thank you.

LEE: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: And next, sources telling CNN Dr. Deborah Birx doesn't know how much longer she can serve on that Coronavirus Task Force anymore. Why and why now?

And what Amy Coney Barrett, the conservative judge, who could be tapped to replace justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said about a liberal replacing Justice Scalia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMY CONEY BARRETT, CONSERVATICE JUSTICE: We're talking about him being replaced by someone who could dramatically flip the balance of power in the court - it's not a lateral move.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:31:36]

BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump accusing the FDA of playing politics, saying he may overrule the FDA when it comes to their stricter guidelines for a coronavirus vaccine approval.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It sounded extremely political. Why would they do this when we come back with these great results? And I think you'll have those great results. Why would we be delaying it?

But we're going to look at it. We're going to take a look at it. And, ultimately, the White House has to approve it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now, as the president was speaking, you can see the original members of his task force were not there. Dr. Anthony Fauci, not there. Dr. Deborah Birx, not there there.

The person that was there was Dr. Scott Atlas, the president's new task force member. And Atlas' growing influence in the White House is why one of the nation's top experts, one of the people that's been there since day one who will all now know apparently has just about had enough. A source telling CNN that Dr. Debra Birx has been telling friends and colleagues that she's not sure how long she can keep serving on the task force, telling people she's, quote, distress with the direction of the task force.

And it is a big deal, by the way, that this is happening now because Birx has tolerated a lot from the president. After all, she stayed on even after this now infamous moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Birx was visibly awkward and upset in that moment. She had to watch all of us replay it again and again and again. But she said nothing to Trump publicly and faced criticism for that. But she then later said she's pick her moment and did directly talk to him about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I made it clear and he understood that it was not as a treatment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But she was quiet at that crucial moment and didn't humiliate him. And there were other times though she did go out and publicly correct Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We've had tremendous response to the hydroxy.

What do you have to lose? Take it.

BIRX: There's not evidence it improves those patients' outcomes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, she took him on then, then Trump tried to humiliate Birx, calling her pathetic after she warned the pandemic is extremely widespread. So, with all of that history, why now, why now say you might not be able to take it anymore?

Well, Birx tells friends she feels sidelines thanks to the recent addition of Dr. Scott Atlas at the task force. Birx has been telling people he is a bad influence on the president and that, quote, the president has found somebody who matches what he wants to believe, which is a pretty scary thing. For example, like when it comes to the importance of masks.

Atlas defends the president for holding rally, where very few people wear masks and they don't socially distance. Here he is explaining that as a 15-year Stanford medical professional and a radiologist on this program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SCOTT ATLAS, TRUMP ADVISER: The president sets the policy, and I have agreed with his policy, which is wear masks when you cannot socially distance.

BURNETT: But they're not doing that. They're not doing that there.

ATLAS: Yeah, but, you know, we don't put them in prison for not wearing a mask. I'm sorry. I don't think he's going to be willing to do that.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: But he shouldn't be holding a rally with them there.

[19:35:04]

The bottom line is you do not think he needs to lead by example or stop holding these rallies, which go against his own policy? You think that that is okay?

ATLAS: I think the president does lead by example. I think he articulates the policy. I think he treats people like adults. I think he uses common sense. And I'm completely comfortable with the president's policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Clearly, Birx not comfortable with exchanges like that. I mean, just to remind everybody, it's this policy that we are talking about. This is a tweet from the president last night, late in the wee hours of the morning, thousands of people packed together, obviously not socially distanced and very few wearing masks, on a day when the U.S. death toll crossed 200,000 people. It appears that all of this is perhaps the bridge too far for Dr. Deborah Birx.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT, live in the White House.

And, Kaitlan, I want to start with the latest news here that the president is threatening to overrule the FDA coming out with what they say could be much stronger and more stringent guidelines for a possible vaccine approval. He's saying he can overrule them. Can he?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's a great question. We actually reached out to the FDA asking after the president said that, whether or not he does have the authority over that, and they said they were going to decline to comment, pass it back to the White House.

So, it's not clear where that's going to go, Erin. But, basically, what the president is saying here is this could interfere with the timeline of getting a vaccine by Election Day, something he has been teasing time and time again at these rallies, because what the FDA is considering is making it tougher to get a vaccine approved.

And so, what they're making tougher would be the timeline of the approval, which based on what we're hearing so far from the discussions happening inside the campaign, it would not happen close to Election Day. Basically, the timeline would be much closer to Thanksgiving or something further than that. So, what they're considering is after some of these drug companies

give the second dose of the vaccine trial to these candidates, they would have to wait until two months to get an emergency use authorization. Another consideration is only making them wait until they've given half the vaccine for the trial participants, then they have to wait two months before they can get the emergency use authorization. So, of course, that means there would not be a vaccine by Election Day.

So, now, the president is claiming he would have to approve any changes like that. He doesn't understand why, of course, they would want to make it longer. And we should note this comes as the FDA commissioner was on Capitol Hill today saying he would promise there would be tough vetting procedures when it does come to a vaccine, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you from the White House tonight.

And OUTFRONT now, Dana Bash, our chief political correspondent, and Dr. Jonathan Reiner, director of cardiac cath lab at GW who also advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush.

So, Dr. Reiner, what do you make of the president saying that basically a threat, essentially, that he has to approve any new FDA rules that would push the -- if the FDA has tough rules, that's going to push vaccine approval beyond election day, he has -- he has the ability to overrule them?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Shocking. When have you ever heard a president declare that he knows about vaccine science or vaccine safety than the professionals, the career professionals at the FDA, absolutely shocking. If the White House were to do that, physicians all over the country would advise their patients not to take the vaccine for fear of safety.

Look, from the very outset, the president decided to manage the message rather than manage the pandemic. And as we move closer to the election, he is betting the farm on a vaccine. He's betting that a vaccine will save his presidency. Whether it's ready or not, he needs a vaccine.

What we need more than ever are the professionals. We need to see Tony Fauci. We need to see Dr. Birx. We need to see Dr. Redfield.

We need all of the professionals. We need Stephen Hahn. We need everyone standing up in front of the press, assuring the public that the vaccine will only be released when it is safe.

BURNETT: And, Dana, tonight, when we saw the president speaking about these issues, we did not see Dr. Fauci or Dr. Birx or Dr. Redfield. We only saw Dr. Atlas. I played a clip of his point of view on this.

This is I have to say, Dana, it seems hugely significant that Dr. Birx is at this moment questioning whether she can keep doing this, right? And I don't say this in any pejorative way, but she handled bleach privately. She took him on hydroxychloroquine publicly but graciously. But Dr. Scott Atlas and how he's speaking is something that could be a

bridge too far.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and it seems from our colleague Jim Acosta's reporting and from my experience, I interviewed Dr. Birx a month ago, and it was during that interview that she said that COVID-19 is now widespread.

[19:40:06]

And it was that remark that triggered a very public rebuke from the president, rebuking her for gaining to tell the truth.

BURNETT: Called her pathetic, right, after --

BASH: Calling her pathetic, exactly. And so, it seems as though, again, from Jim's reporting, that since then her influence is waning.

You kind of saw her pained at so many of those press conferences, but, you know, forgive me, but sucking it up because she felt like she was having influence behind the scenes, despite what the president was saying in public. And that seems to have changed dramatically now that Dr. Atlas is there, not just in public but in private and doesn't seem to be somebody who she has a lot of respect for or others do too.

BURNETT: Yeah, obviously, he's the subject of a letter from Stanford for calling him out for points of view he has expressed. Dr. Reiner, Dr. Fauci was not there tonight as well, and he appeared to be at his wit's end today when he was at a hearing on Capitol Hill being questioned by Senator Rand Paul.

I just want to play part of that exchange for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): You've been a big fan of Cuomo and the shutdown in New York, you've lauded New York for their policy. New York had the highest death rate in the world. How could we possibly be jumping up and down saying, oh, Governor Cuomo did a great job, he had the worst rate in the world?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: No, you misconstrued that, Senator, and you've done that repetitively in the past. They got hit very badly. They made some mistakes.

Right now, if you look at what's going on right now, the things that are going on in New York to get their test positivity 1 percent or less is because they are looking at the guidelines that we have put together from the task force of the four or five things of masks, social distancing, outdoors more than indoors, avoiding crowds and washing hands.

PAUL: Or they've developed enough community immunity that they're no longer having the pandemic because they have enough immunity in New York City to stop -- FAUCI: I challenge that senator because --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm afraid --

FAUCI: Please, sir, I would like to do this because this happens with Senator Rand all the time.

You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said that in New York, it's about 22 percent. If you believe 22 percent is herd immunity, I believe you're alone in that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That went on, Dr. Reiner. Rand Paul is a doctor, an eye doctor, and he had coronavirus. Going after Dr. Fauci.

Dr. Fauci, I mean, he laid that down. He was not taking it.

REINER: Right. And this is why you don't have the administration put him forward because he's from my hometown. He's from Brooklyn, and he tells it like it is.

Look, there was only one person in that conversation who knows anything about virology or immunology, and that sadly, was not Senator Paul.

We need to hear more from Dr. Fauci. We need to hear the good and we need to hear the bad. And I don't think the public will accept a vaccine unless our scientists tell us that it's safe. I think the president is barking up the wrong tree.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

And next, President Trump refusing to commit to providing a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, we're going to have to see what happens. You know that. I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus, Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's top choice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg said this in 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMY CONEY BARRETT, APPEALS COURT JUDGE: We're talking about Justice Scalia, you know, the staunchest conservative on the court, and we're talking about him being replaced by someone who could dramatically flip the balance of power on the court. It's not a lateral move.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:47:58]

BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump not committing to a peaceful transition of power after the election if he loses. Let me play for you what he just said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: There's been rioting in many cities across this country, red and -- your so-called red and blue states. Will you commit to making sure that there's a peaceful transferal of power after the election?

TRUMP: We're going to have to see what happens. You know that. I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very transfer -- we'll have a very peaceful -- there won't be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The ballots the president is referring to there are apparently mail-in ballots, which are going to be a big part of this election. So, that's just the fact, right? So, they are going to be a part of it. They're not going to go away and, of course, there has been no evidence that they have had any vulnerability to fraud.

OUTFRONT now, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

And I appreciate your time, Senator.

So, I just want to read the background of the question from the reporter was, will you commit to making sure there's a peaceful transferal of power after the election? Trump answers, we're going to have to see what happens, then continues to raise his unfounded fears on ballots. Your response?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Erin, the president -- President Trump is not a dictator, and the American people will not allow him to be one. This man has no, no honesty, honor, values or faith in the American system. He doesn't deserve to be president. And hopefully he will learn his lesson.

BURNETT: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, as you know, said in September, he doesn't see the military playing a role if there is a dispute of the election outcome. We're talking about scenarios here that none of us, frankly, can envision, right? This is all stuff we thought happened in distant American history.

SCHUMER: Yeah, of course.

BURNETT: How do you see this playing out?

SCHUMER: Well, the way I see it playing out is the American people are wedded to democracy. We believe in democracy. And the kind of thing Trump is talking about just will not happen. One way or another, there will be a peaceful transition of power, and President Trump will not get his wish.

[19:50:06]

One thing I say to the American people vote, vote early, and the best way to prevent Donald Trump from messing around with election is defeat him in a landslide and that's what I hope will happen. It certainly should given the kinds of things he said.

BURNETT: And, of course, this is all happening around the context of a Supreme Court nomination, the most important in a generation. An unearthed video we found senator from 2016 shows Professor Amy Coney Barrett at the time, now an appeals court judge obviously and current favorite to be the president's Supreme Court pick, she warned of appointments for the Supreme Court that could flip the balance of power.

That was what was happening at the time, right? President Obama was poised to choose a replacement for Antonin Scalia. So, that was the context, it was an election year.

Here is what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARRETT: We're talking about Justice Scalia, you know, the staunchest conservative on the court and we're talking about him being replaced by someone who can dramatically flip the balance of power in the court. It's not a lateral move.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, Senator, she's talking about a flag, raising a flag it seems on making an appointment like this in an election year. So, you know, that's what would happen with her appointment. So, what do you say to that? Is it going to be important in the hearings?

SCHUMER: Well, I'm not going to comment on any perspective nominee for judge before they are nominated.

But let me say this about the issue.

BURNETT: Yeah.

SCHUMER: Mitch McConnell has defiled the Senate. He's about to destroy the Senate because it was he who within a few hours after Justice Scalia's death in February before election year said we ought to wait for an election.

And now, all of a sudden, with only 40 days, 45 days before an election with people already casting their ballots, he does 180 degree about-face? The American people are wise to it. This is going to hurt him. It's going to hurt his party. It's going to hurt the people who defend this total, total hypocrisy, which is the only word you can use to describe it.

The bottom line is very simple: this court contest, Erin, means a huge thing to average Americans. It can determine their future health care. Whether the 130 million Americans who have protections from insurance companies knocking them off for preexisting conditions will continue that protection by the tens of millions of senior citizens will get Medicaid -- will get their prices increased, whether millions of people will lose their insurance and in that case is before the Supreme Court two weeks after the election.

But there are other issues too. There's civil rights, and labor union rights, and gay rights and women's rights, the right to choose. Roe v. Wade could be undone by a court this extreme.

So, the American people know this. The American people know what McConnell and his hard right friends are doing. They are trying to take over a court and have it do things that the American people abhor.

BURNETT: So, I want to actually play something else she said in this interview, and I'm not going to ask you to opine on her, her possible selection because I know you won't do that but about the content of what she says here. So, here she's talking about whether a president should be able to nominate a justice in an election year and here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARRETT: It shouldn't be a surprise that the Senate is willing to push a president's nominees through in an election year when they share the same political affiliation. The president has to power to nominate and the Senate has the power to act or not, and I don't think either one of them can claim that there's a rule governing one way or the other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHUMER: Again, I'm not going to comment an Amy, Erin, but I'm going to say --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I know you're not going to comment on her but what about the point she makes? The president has the power to nominate and the Senate has the power to act or not?

SCHUMER: It's exactly the opposite of what was done in 2016, and it will mean that the Republicans have not stolen one but two Supreme Court justices using abject power, no morality, no honor, no honesty. And the American people won't stand for it.

All the polling data shows the American people are wise to this and I believe this is going to make the stature of Mitch McConnell lower. I believe anyone that supports this kind of philosophy is not going to be well-regarded by the American people.

BURNETT: One final question, have you talked to Senator Romney about his feelings on this and what he would do in a lame duck personally at all?

SCHUMER: No, I have not.

BURNETT: All right. Senator, appreciate your time as always. Thank you for joining us.

SCHUMER: Erin, thank you. It's great to be on your show, as usual. Thank you.

BURNETT: Appreciate it.

And next, more on breaking news, live pictures out of Washington, more people taking to the streets after the Breonna Taylor grand jury decision.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:50]

BURNETT: We're back with our breaking news. A large protest now growing in Washington, D.C. and other cities across the country after no officers were charged directly with the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

Alex Marquardt is out right now in Washington.

So, Alex, as we're starting to see crowds gather here, a darkness descending. What are you seeing where you are?

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. The nation's capital now joining this growing list of American cities where we're seeing these marches in response to the news about the lack of direct charges in the killing of Breonna Taylor. This march, this peaceful march, I should emphasize has just arrived in front of the White House. They started, they made a number of symbolic stops starting at the Department of Justice and then heading, stopping again -- I'm going to lower my voice in respect for the crowd here and then making their way here to what is Black Lives Matter plaza.

Erin, our viewers so many people watching will remember that this was the site of so many protests over the summer in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. That also of course was --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shut up. It's a moment of silence.

MARQUARDT: I'm sorry.

So, this is Black Lives Matter plaza. This is, of course, Erin, you remember the site that was cleared out so violently on June 1st as the president made his way across Lafayette Square for that photo-op at St. John's Church. This is now once again the site of Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of this news that there will be no charges against those three police officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor -- Erin.

BURNETT: And, you know, Alex, is there a curfew or what is the neck step next step for the crowd as you understand? MARQUARDT: Well, as I mentioned, it is a peaceful and very quiet march

right now. I spoke with the mayor's office earlier. There was no expectation for large crowds tonight.

This street, Eighth Street has been closed off but there is no curfew. So, it remains to be seen where this march will go from here but it is peaceful and as the woman up there said, they will likely stay in the streets until they get justice -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Alex, appreciate it as we watch this across the country tonight. Thank you for joining us. Anderson starts now.