tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN July 1, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
's scramble. just crack an egg. >> >> i'm wolf blitzer in surfside, florida. thanks for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. news. the trump organization charged with a 15-year tax scheme. trump's top money man at the company slapped with 15 felony charges. is this just the beginning? breaking news, the rescue efforts at the site of the condo collapse have just resumed as joe biden consoles families. still waiting for word. as bill cosby reunites with
his wife and makes plans to go back on stage, we're learning more about the man whose actions led to cosby getting out of prison. bruce caster, also known as one of trump's impeachment lawyers. let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone. i'm poppy harlow in for erin burnett. a scheme to defraud that's what prosecutors said what former president trump's company did to the government for over 15 years. at the center of the case, trump's right hand main, allen weisselberg, charged with 15 feltny counts. you see him here in handcuffs walking into court. both the trump organization and weisselberg pleading not guilty today. but the charges are serious, and carry significant consequences. weisselberg is 73 years old and could face a significant amount of time in prison if he's convicted. weisselberg knows the inner workings of the trump organization. he's been by trump's side since 1973. even appearing with him on "the
apprentice." the former president praised wiseleberg in his book, writing, he did whatever was necessary to protect the bottom line. that may be what's gotten him into so much legal trouble, he would do anything for trump and he knows poppy much everything about him. just listen to weisselberg's former daughter-in-law. >> it's been his life. he's always been saved by donald. >> he knows everything about donald. next to a family member, and perhaps even more than a family member, he knows everything about donald. >> everything went through donald. you name it. allen weisselberg's payments, rent, everything, would have donald's signature on it or his initial. >> former president trump, for his part, released a statement after -- a statement today, slamming the charges and the case against his company and executives saying "the political witch hunt by the radical left
democrats, with work, now taking over the assignment continues." kara, what more are you learning about the charges against the trump organization and against weisselberg? >> reporter: good evening, poppy. today in court, a prosecutor called this a sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme that kurd over 15 years at the trump organization. the chief financial officer, allen weisselberg, was led into court in handcuffs where he entered his plea of not guilty. they're being charged with a sweeping tax evasion scheme. the trump organization being charged with ten felony counts. allen weisselberg been charged with 15 counts. prosecutors are alleged he did not pay taxes on $1. 7 million,
concealing that he lived in new york city when at the time he was living in an apartment paid for by the former president's own company. so they did enter their not guilty pleas today. the trump organization is punching back, and the next court date will be september 15. weisselberg was released on his own, although he did surrender his passport. poppy? >> how are the trump organization lawyers responding to these charges? >> reporter: this is going to be a big battle. the trump organization say thing is a political vendetta. they said that the district attorney's office hasn't prosecuted actual crimes, that they didn't prosecute the big banks from the financial crisis that resulted in trillions in losses, and they're taking a case that should have been hand lted as a civil matter and turning it into a criminal case. but they're making this into a political match where they're saying this was all politically motivated, and we heard the former president calling it a
witch hunt by the radical left. >> kara, thank you. i know you've been reporting all day. "outfront" now, laura cotes, harry it willman, and glory borger. good evening, all. harry, a 15-year tax scheme, 15 felony counts, including a scheme to defraud, grand larceny, falsifying records. prosecutors allege weisselberg evaded taxes of $1.7 million of income. what do you make of the charges? >> sweeping and audacious. you know, as recently as yesterday, poppy, we might have expected a few isolated tax counts. instead, what we have is a sk scheme to defraud. that's a lot more understandable for a jury, and it's pretty brazen here. two sets of books, phony baloney residency, cash payments under the table, all the sort of thing that weisselberg couldn't claim
was just accidental. so they really now packaged something that's pretty potent, and i think pretty easy for a jury to understand and judge. rather than a difficult paper case, they have a fairly easy, sort of human interest case involving, as they say, ongoing conduct, sort of a way of doing business with weisselberg at the center. >> so laura, weisselberg pleaded not guilty. we know how close he is with trump. he worked with him for 48 years. if someone is going to flip, they almost always do it before they're indicted. but not always, right? sometimes they flip after. could this be in your opinion enough to flip weisselberg? >> i mean, he's facing a very lengthy prison sentence in the double digits, if he is, in fact, convicted that's a lot about calling somebody's bluff.
a lot of time predictable defendants might think the government is not going to charge them, and it will be in per perpetuity. we're seeing here that they essentially called whatever bluff he thought he was under the impression of here. remember here, what they're looking for, if he is to be useful, remember, president trump is not somebody who kept emails, sent emails, had written records. they would need somebody who is in the room where it happened. a lot of these crimes are premised on intent here, poppy. and so how do you prove intent? you have to get that circumstantial evidence or somebody who can say, here is what was meant to happen. here were the instructions and the orders. this is a lot of weight on one person. if anybody thought it was going to be about fringe benefits, now the jury knows it's about fraud. >> and a lot of alleged fraud. gl gloria, you have done so much reporting on former president
trump and his inner circle. weisselberg is as close as he gets. >> he is. he worked for fred trump, donald trump's father. and he's a devoted, loyal soldier. the reason he's had longevity is not because he's a nice guy. he's had longevity because he knows how to do what donald trump wants him to do, which is to pay attention to that bottom line, as president trump himself said. so trump is famous for not wanting to pay all of his bills for example. so if somebody said you owe me $100, and donald trump said pay him $70, then weisselberg was the guy who made that happen. so he knows everything. michael cohen says this over and over again, that weisselberg didn't do anything without donald trump signing off on it. but weisselberg knew everything. so he's just the kind of person they're looking for, because he was in the room. >> yeah, a lot.
so harry, let's play what trump organization lawyers said today after court. >> these cases are always resolved in the civil context. the irs has never made a case like this. >> they cannot point to any case, any case, where a corporation has been prosecuted based on a few individuals in the corporation who allegedly, on their personal tax return, made a mistake or did not pick up fringe benefits on their personal tax return. >> you hear that, and there is the question, harry, most of these cases against corporations like this are generally civil. can you explain why this one is criminal? >> yeah. and it's not really true. this is spin and talking points that they prepared before, i think, they saw tin he indictme.
but he must have known what was coming. one quick point to gloria, he's not just the kind of guy, he is the absolute guy they need. but what's the difference? continuing course of conduct, obvious intent, victims from not only the state but the federal system. when you get that kind of scheme to defraud, that's -- it's not at all unusual that the corporation would be charged also. when somebody as high as weisselberg is acting, that means it's also for the corporation. they're trying to spin it as a few negligent, inadvertent omissions. but two sets of books. the brazen lie about where he lives. cash under the table. that just doesn't hunt next to the story that the indictment lays out. oh, and one more point, grand larceny, which drives the bigger sentence. they were able to use that. for grand larceny, you need to
get money you didn't deserve. and by making it a scheme, they were able to say we got refunds on federal taxes, and that is actually going to be the number one count, the so-called b-felony under new york law that will drive the potential sentence. >> laura, these charges come from an interesting combination. it's a combined effort by the manhattan d.a., cy vance and his team and the knowledge attorney general la tisha james. if they did lead with the big one, which is typically what you would do, does this mean that donald trump is essentially off the hook legally now? >> i mean, forgive the pun, normally you would think you would lead with trump here, but prosecutors are able to have their cases evolve. remember, this investigation, according to the attorney general, who i agree, the idea that these two offices have joined forces is a rarity in and of itself. but it's also because they
didn't want to duplicate efforts. remember, the d.a.'s office was able to go all the way to the supreme court twice on the tax issue. the a.g.'s office was going to capitalize on somewhat's already been received and build on their own cases here. so the idea here is that the investigation, in fact, the grand jury we're told is still going to be able, according to "new york times" reporting, is going to still meet up to three times a week, until the end of the year. there might be a whole host of other details we learn, there might be other named parties. of course, the idea of an agreement with weisselberg is possible. it's hard to predict at this point in time. he is a large fish in and of itself. the corporation is a large fish in and of itself. but this investigation, as long as it's ongoing, until there's a trial, and then that indictment is set in stone before a jury, anything can happen and anyone can fair game. >> gloria, the president --
president trump called this a political witch hunt. does this just embolden him, though? >> sure. he likes to play the victim. he's going say i'm the victim here, and it's just the democrats who have moved from capitol hill and now they're in new york. but the portrait that is painted in -- by the prosecutors here is not of a mistake. it is of tax cheats. it's a way of doing business. and juries don't like tax cheaters, the last time i checked. rich tax cheaters the last time i checked. so president trump will be able to play to the base and the base will say yeah, yeah, they're just out to get you, of course, they're out to get you. but what he has to say and prove to everyone else is, you know, this was just a mistake. this is small stuff. $1.7 million, whatever it is. this is nothing. well, tell that to the rest of the american public. >> gloria, harry, laura, thank you all very much.
"outfront" next, kevin mccarthy first fought a bipartisan commission to investigate the january 6 riot. and now he's threatening to punish any republican who serves on the newly formed select committee. that's next. plus, joe biden comforting families of those killed and all of those still unaccounted for after the catastrophic condominium collapse. >> our message today is that we're here for you as one nation. >> and a major twist tonight in the space race between bezos and branson. oh! don't burn down the duplex. terminix. you need an ecolab scientific clean here. and here. which is why the scientific expertise that helps
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tonight, what is kevin mccarthy so afraid of? multiple republican sources tell cnn that the house minority leader issued a blanket threat that any republicans who joined the select committee investigating the riots invaded by nancy pelosi, would lose their republican seats. this is liz cheney, accepting an offer from pelosi to do just that and saying oath to the constitution comes before partisan politics. here's manuraju. >> reporter: andrew clyde said it was a normal tourist visit, yes she can lose her committee
assignment. >> let me be very clear, i'm not threatening anyone with committee assignments. what i'm saying is, it was shocking to me that if a person is a republican, for somebody to accept committee assignments from speaker pelosi, that's unprecedented. >> manu, it is very clear, mccarthy and his conference want no part of this committee or any committee, i guess. >> reporter: no question about it. they are concerned about where this committee can go and concerned about taking back the house majority in 2022. that is the overriding concern for kevin mccarthy. and it's still unclear what he will do with the five appointments that he gets to the committee. he's in a bit of a difficult position, because the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, ultimately could veto picks that she doesn't like if mccarthy chooses people who down played
the capitol riots, people whod . it's also difficult for him to find other republicans, including moderates and people in swing districts and talking to a number of republican house members today, it was clear, virtually none of them want to serve on this committee. they view it as a lose-lose proposition. something that could put them cross wise with president trump, or in the very least, if they sided with trump, they could be accused of whitewashing history, which makes a big decision on mccarthy's plate. will he move forward with naming picks, will he boycott? ultimately he will choose to name some choices to the committee. now, the committee does still man to move forward. they do plan to have their first hearing with capitol police officers to detail their experiences from that day, and they will go far, they could go long. the chairman of the committee,
bennie thompson, said this could go on through next year. this is not going to be done by the end of this year. i asked him, will you call in former president trump? he said he's not opposed to calling him? he's also open to calling in those republican members of congress who had conversations with trump ahead of january 6. >> that could include kevin mccarthy. thank you very much. mike shields is currently a paid strategy for kevin mccarthy and former rnc chief. thanks for taking the time. look, kevin mccarthy could have supported a bipartisan committee, like 35 republicans in the house voted to do. he didn't. even after nancy pelosi gave in on nearly all of his demands outlined in that february 22 letter, like equal representation by democrats and republicans, co-equal subpoena power. why is he deadset against getting answers here? >> this is a partisan committee, and i disagree with you.
kevin mccarthy, yes, i am a paid adviser to kevin, but i don't talk to him about this stuff. but this is a partisan committee, and kevin did propose to do a bipartisan committee that would look at political violence. for instance, his colleague, steve scalise was shot on a baseball field. why only focus on january 6? the reason is simple -- democrats know they're in a terrible position in 2022 to keep the house. they want to drum this up for political purposes and they keep talking about it over and over again. now they have created committee where nancy pelosi could sign off even -- >> so in you're in the minority and you don't get every single thing you want, that last thing he wanted wasn't each in this february 22 2 letter, he added later. then you don't look at an attack on the capitol, even when you are inside of it. is that right? >> this was a partisan process from the very beginning the
first proposal nancy pelosi made was, it wouldn't be equal, that they would be in charge of the process. here we are now, she's basically got swhan she originally proposed, which is they're in charge of the process. it's political theater. yesterday, "the washington post" said that 12 more people in one day were arrested for this. the fbi is investigating this. there's juries and indictments happening, which by the way is happening. i support the capitol police. anyone who did anything on january 6 that is illegal should go to jail. >> but kevin mccarthy -- thank you for stating that you want answers here. kevin mccarthy clearly doesn't, from any sort of -- >> that's not true. that's not true. because they're not looking for answers, they're looking for politics. >> let me ask the question. you answer it. we'll go back and forth. does he have a personal conflict of interest here? because remember, he was talking to president trump in the weeks leading up to january 6. he supported and carried on the big lie. and he may be, could be, called
as a witness because of his phone call with president trump. is he personally afraid that he may be vulnerable in this investigation? >> no, and he's -- i'm just repeating -- he's spoken on the record about that and he's clarified that. but here's the thing. what you have to remember is, this is all about politics. this is political theater. >> he wanted the benghazi -- >> you said i could answer. >> answer the question i'm asking. >> i am. this is about politics. that is the answer to the question. bennie thompson just came out and said we may not just stick to the deadline of the end of the year. we may just keep doing this forever. that tells you everything you need to know about this. this is a political issue, and by the way, as a campaign operative, as a republican, i'm kind of glad. if the democrats want to run on '22 about january 6, which affects no one's lives in this country every day, republicans are going to run on securing the border -- >> hold on, january 6 affects no
one's lives in this country? >> this commission is not going to affect people's lives. >> how could not having answers to an ongoing threat -- mike! an ongoing threat, a life or death threat according to dhs -- >> that's why the fbi is investigating. political theater has no bearing. >> do i need to remind you what kevin mccarthy said about benghazi and that commission? let's find the truth, wherever the truth takes us. >> and you know what? and that commission, republicans didn't have signoff on democrats getting on the commission. that's a great example. must bes democrats have rhee created a partisan situation. we should investigate all of the political violence that happened in this country last year going back to when members of congress were actually shot or say this is what it is, the sfbi is
investigating it. there are bipartisan committees in congress that are looking at this. this is a sham political process that nancy pelosi has created and republicans are right to focus on the real issues the american people care about. >> one more question, mike. help me understand this. liz cheney is as conservative a republican as you get. i don't need to tell you her voting record. 96% conservative rating. why is kevin mccarthy so worried about liz cheney accepting this position from speaker pelosi? >> he's not worried about it. >> he made it very clear today. >> what he made clear today rngs and he clarified it in the clip you showed, when you get your committee assignments in the house, they have granted to you by the conference together. and it's just telling the reality of the situation. if you're a republican and you go work on a partisan sham committee with this democrat speaker, your colleagues are going to be upset with you and hold you accountable. all kevin is doing is telling
the truth, that's the reality of somewhat happens when you do that. >> it could have been bipartisan. >> it could have been a long time ago if they had agreed to have the things that kevin proposed. they chose not to do that. we're in a partisan world. this is washington, d.c. everyone knows this is a political game. republicans will move on to the issues that matter in the election. >> i think the answers here matter a lot. mike, thank you for the time. >> thanks. next, steve rosenthal really cheated death the night of the florida condo collapse. he was rescued from his balcony. today he met with joe biden and he is my next guest. and bill cosby reuniting with this man, and has this man, who defended struch in his second impeachment trial, to thank for his freedom. >> clearly, there was no insurrection. needed just one siy to pay it all off. it was an easy decision to apply with sofi loans, just based on the interest rate and how much i would be saving.
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experiences with unimaginable losses. he told families, the hardest thing is not knowing, not knowing whether or not the person you adore, the person you love, the person is gone. the waiting, the waiting is unbearable. it comes as search and rescue operations temporarily halted for nearly 15 hours following concerns that remaining building pieces could fall. laura sanchez is "outfront." >> the whole nation is mourning with these families. they see it every day on television. they're going through hell. >> reporter: joe biden tonight, offering personal condolences and federal support amid an unexpected tragedy at champlain towers south in surfside, florida. >> they're praying and pleading, god, let there be a miracle, let there be something happen for me that's good. i have some idea what it is to suffer that kind of loss that so many are suffering. you know, they had basic heart
wrenching questions. jill and i want you to know that we're with them, and the country is with them. our message today is that we're here for you, as one nation. >> reporter: spending most of his visit, speaking privately to families of the dead and missing one week after collapse, biden sharing episodes of loss in his own life. according to accounts posted by meeting attendees on social media, the president drawing on his faith, promoting prayer and patience amid the difficulty of grieving in the public eye. >> i think, again -- >> reporter: alongside the governor of florida and mayor of miami-dade, biden saying the federal government would cover the entire cost of rescue and recovery efforts. also, shaking hands and thanking first responders. >> what you're doing here is incredible. having to worry about, you know,
families. >> reporter: meantime, crews forced to pause the search amid concern a remaining portion of the tower is unstable. >> six to 12 inches of movement in a large column hanging from the structure that could fall and cause damage to the support columns in the south terrain garage area. >> reporter: rescue workers also refvealing today during the initial search they heard a woman's voice for hours and made efforts to reach her but her voice went silent. attempts to find her remains ongoing. workers struggling to keep hope alive. >> it's a feeling of loss. we're not robots or machines. we feel it. we have team members that have first-hand friends that are potential victims in this. it weighs on them and it weighs on us. >> reporter: and poppy, in just
the past hour or so, there is good news out of surfside. rescue workers were able to move on to portions of that debris field that were deemed safe by officials. the mayor of miami-dade county revealing that officials expect that they will likely have to demolish the portion of the building that is still standing to allow workers further access to clear certain areas. she acknowledges that this remains a delicate process, but the search and rescue effort has not changed. it is not yet a recovery. poppy? >> they are still looking for people and holding out hope for us. thank you. let me bring in steve rosenthal. he narrowly survived the building collapse. his apartment was one unit over from the part of the building that went down. this, his hallway, blocked by concrete and steel. he was rescued from his seventh floor balcony by firemen reaching for him, from their truck's ladder. he met with joe biden and the first lady today.
steve, good evening. thank you for being here. >> hi, poppy. thank you for having me. >> i remember watching you that morning, with our -- with our reporter on the ground, and i remember you talking about waiting for them to come up in the cherry picker and to rescue you. today, to have the first lady and joe biden there must have meant a lot, given all you went through. can you tell me about the meeting? >> it was -- yeah, it was amazing. on a scale of 1 to 10, it was 100. it was fantastic. the president was fantastic, the first lady was fantastic. he gave, you know, he talked about the grief with his son, when his son passed away and died. and then he walked around -- there must have been 200 people in that room. he walked around and talked to every single person. as long as that person was
talking to him, he listened. and i'm not embellishing this at all. if a person talked for six minutes, he sat there and listened for six minutes. it was absolutely incredible, and very uplifting. it was amazing. very impressed. very happy. >> i'm so glad to hear how meaningful it was, for all of you. of course, for the families who are still waiting for any word on their loved ones. you are lucky to be alive. as we mentioned, your condo was one unit away from where the building collapsed. tonight, so many of your friends who lived in that building, are unaccounted for. so many. do you feel like a week to the day after the tragedy, that has even really sunk in for you? >> no, no. it really hasn't. i mean, you know, people have asked me that question, you know, they put us up in this nice hotel right now, the red
cross. it doesn't feel like anything -- you know, it's been crazy, the first three days were -- i was upset, i was distraught and i was, you know, i didn't know what i was going to do. but it's gotten a little bit better. but i haven't felt it yet. i think i'll feel it when all this is gone, when all the reporters are gone, and then where do i go? what do i do? where's my home? i'm homeless for all intents and purposes at the moment. not intents and purposes, i'm homeless. >> i think that really -- that really gets it, that's something key here. it is, in a situation like this, the news cameras aren't all there, and the lights aren't on this. the pain of all these families remains, right? i know that personally from experience, seeing death in the family. that's what is really, really hard. many weeks and months down the road. what does your community need and those families need most do you think months from now? >> well, you know, that's a good
question. you know, short-term, the red cross has been great. and people are stepping up. we have an apartment for 30 or 60 days. and we'll do this for you and that for you. but we had a home. i lived there for 20 years. what happens after 60 days? where do we go? what do we do? you know, there's all kinds of legal issues here with insurance money, mortgage money. where is the money from the charity? it's just everything is -- it's a pain, a hassle. you can't get a right answer from someone. i mean, i'm talking to some insurance people, they didn't even know about the collapse. i said you're in the insurance business and you didn't hear about the surfside collapse, are you serious? it's just been an amazing experience. it's been crazy. it's beyond anything i could have imagined. >> we are so glad that you survived and grateful for you
being here night after night and speaking with us. we will keep the focus on this, of course. steve rosenthal, thank you. >> thank you, poppy. i appreciate it. thank you. thank you very much. >> of course. >> >> "outfront" next, bill cosby now looking to get back on stage as questions remain about just how was justice served here after he walked free? plus, she made history as an american aviator and about to make history again. meet the 82-year-old going to space with jeff bezos. ♪ don't flex your pecs. terminix. ♪ i thought i was managing my moderate to severe crohn's disease. then i realized something was missing... ...me. my symptoms were keeping me from being there for her. so, i talked to my doctor and learned humira is the #1 prescribed biologic for people
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new tonight, bill cosby's first full day of freedom. the disgraced actor seeing his wife, camille today for the first time in three years after his conviction was overturned. cosby's camp says he's working on plans to return to standup. jean, what else can you tell us what cosby's life may look like out of prison? >> reporter: andrew wyatt, cosby's representative, says he and his wife met at another one of their homes today. bill cosby had not wanted camille to go to the prison. so they virtually haven't even each other for three years. he said they were like teenage love birds. she kept calling him billy, he called her my dearest camille.
she made an enson salt bath for him. that's today. they're saying he does want to go back to standup. he wants to return to the stage. and about four years ago, he started a documentary that got interrupted because of the conviction in prison. he will take that documentary up again and do an interview with those people. and we don't know who is doing the documentary. >> you know, jean, you were in the courtroom for both of the cosby trials. you have been covering this extensively. you were there, including the hearing where the former d.a., bruce caster, testified. it was caster, of course, who agreed to not prosecute cosby in exchange for that deposition in the civil case. that is -- that deal is what led to yesterday's ruling. looking back on that now, you have some interesting observations about what you saw. >> i remember it like it was yesterday. this was a pivotal hearing. if the trial judge believed that there was this promise that was relied upon, charges would be
dismissed. and everybody knew bruce caster, the district attorney that refused to bring charges in 2005, was going to take the stand. so he did, and he was asked, did you make that promise? he said, yes, i did. and then the question was, did you put it in writing? did you make a declaration to show what this was? uh, no. well, did you tell bill cosby about the promise? no. i told his attorney. but his attorney is deceased now, and so he's not here to be able to tell us what he told -- was told by you. did you tell the attorneys in your office, the assistant district attorneys? well, i think i did. well, maybe. lisa fuhrman, the attorney that brought the charges, said they had no knowledge of any agreement at all. his credibility was on the line. the trial judge said, there is not credibility here. i cannot find that there was a promise. the supreme court of pennsylvania, not usually looks at credibility. they said we have to rely on the trial court.
but they turned around and said it was that press release that was generic, that meant he was never going to be prosecuted in montgomery county. >> jean, thank you for that reporting. what else do we know about bruce caster? tom foreman is "outfront." >> reporter: the court made it clear, bill cosby is free because of an unwritten promise from a district attorney in 2005 that he would never face criminal charges in exchange for cosby's cooperation in a civil lawsuit on the same matter. >> this is not a complex or difficult investigation to do. >> reporter: back then, bruce caster said there was not enough evidence for conviction any way, despite his best efforts. >> we essentially tried to build as many details for both of the main statements as we can to try to determine what exactly happened or whether there was any violation of the law. >> reporter: his reaction to
cosby's release, i was right back in 2005 and i'm right in 2021. who is caster? he earned his law degree in virginia. a prosecutor in the early '80s, he was elected district attorney in 2000. he became a county commissioner, served in the state attorney general's office and spent years in private practice, too. but you may know him as the guy who said in the wake of the uprising of january 6 -- >> clearly, there was no insurrection. >> reporter: that's right. he was part of the defense team when then president trump was impeached for the second time. offer an opening argument in the trial that started just after trump left office. >> i worked in this building 40 years ago. i got lost then and i still do. nebraska, you're going to hear, is quite a judicial thinking place. we still know somewhat records are, right? on the thing you put the needle
down on and you play it. >> reporter: despite his team's efforts, even some republicans were critical. >> plump is still libel for everything he did while he was in office. >> reporter: and the majority of senators found trump guilty, but not the 2/3 needed for conviction. so trump called it a witch hunt. >> i think that yesterday their case was destroyed and they needed to throw a hail mary pass and it fell in the end zone uncaught. >> reporter: so caster has found himself in two of of the biggest cases this year so far. and he's now representing at least two of the people charged in that attack on the capitol. poppy? >> tom, thank you very much for that reporting. "outfront" next, the supreme court upholding voting restrictions from a lower court that found that the lower court found unfair to minorities. plus, the race to space between billionaires. richard branson and jeff bezos heats up.
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those who argued these restrictions were racially motivated not only in arizona but across the country at a time when this debate is front and center in the united states. in a 6-3 ruling the court upholding a provision discarding in-person ballots cast in the wrong precinct and restricting third parties from collecting mail-in ballots. out front now, elections law expert and professor at university of california's irvine school of law. he's really been the go-to voice especially today with this ruling. let's begin with this lower court previously ruling, the supreme court disagreed, upheld the provisions. this weekend's another key protection from the landmark voting rights act section 2, what does it mean for voting in america big picture? >> so what it means is that the last of the three big tools that voting rights plaintiffs had in federal court to go after restrictive voting rules is now very weakened.
it was preclearance under section 5 under the voting rights act where states with a history had to get approval before their laws. in a less well-known case in 2008 called crawford the supreme court made it very hard to constitutional challenges to restrictive voting rules. what was left was section 2 of the voting rights act which says that minority voters should have the same opportunity as others to participate in the process and elect their choice. this now is very difficult standard to be able to meet. >> this also comes at a time when the justice department announced it would sue the state of georgia over its new restrictive voting law, and the department of justice said, look, it's aimed at black or minority voters. doesn't this ruling make it a lot harder for the doj to prevail in georgia in that case and then beyond any future cases
like that? >> so doj tried to plead their case in an interesting way. they tried to avoid a potentially adverse ruling in the case decided today by depending on discriminatory intent. so another path to getting a law thrown out if you can prove discriminatory intent. even that justice alito made it harder to bring that claim saying you really can't rely on what one or two legislators would have thought. and if it's partisan motivation which may overlap with racial motivation, that's probably not enough either. >> interesting. let me finally get your take on what justice kagen wrote in dissent tonight. quote, this court has no right to remake section 2. and so the need for a potential section 2 is gone or a potent section 2 has come and gone but congress gets to make that call. explain what congress can do now
but also how this may limit what it can do. >> so this was a statutory interpretation case. it wasn't a constitutional interpretation case so congress could come back and rewrite the statute, just like congress can come back and restore preclearance. justice alito in his opinion suggested that might be unconstitutional. if you start making states have to change their voting rules that might infringe on the constitutional rights of states much like the court said back in 2013 when they killed off preclearance. even if congress acts not clear that the supreme court, this very conservative supreme court would agree it's permissible to do so under the constitution. >> thanks for helping us understand all of it. >> thanks. out front next the billionaire space race launched to a whole new level. looks like richard branson might beat jeff bazos to space.
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♪ me and you just singing on the train ♪ ♪ me and you listening to the rain ♪ ♪ me and you we are the same ♪ ♪ me and you have all the fame we need ♪ ♪ indeed, you and me are we ♪ ♪ me and you singing in the park ♪ ♪ me and you, we're waiting for the dark ♪ well, a surprise announcement in the billionaire space race tonight. virgin galactic says richard branson will be on its next scheduled flight to launch july 11th that is more than a week earlier than the flight set to take jeff bazos to the outer limits. bazos had some news of his own joining the amazon founder and his brother on the trip to space on july 20th.
will be an aviation pioneer who is 82 years old. the first female faa inspector and the first female investigator for the national transportation and safety board, well, she will be the oldest person to have flown in space when all is said and done. no word from bazos yet about branson's news but this is all very cool. ac 360 begins now. the man once described as the most senior member of the trump organization not named trump is now facing criminal charges. so the company. and the question is where does that leave the man whose name is on the door? john berman here in for anderson. few people have worked longer or more closely with donald trump than chief financial officer allen weisselberg. he was charged today in manhattan along with the company and trump payroll corporation in a 15 count indictment alleging tax fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records and scheming to
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