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Aide for Marjorie Taylor Greene Gets into Confrontation with Dem. Rep. Eric Swalwell; Pelosi Denies Request by Republicans to Lift Masks Mandates; Arizona Republicans Conduct Partisan Audit of 2020 Election Results; Former Arizona GOP A.G., Grant Woods, Who Is Now a Democrat, Discusses the Arizona Election Audit & the Republican Party; Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, Discusses Gas Shortages Persisting, Even as Hacked Pipeline Reopens. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 14, 2021 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: More confrontations on Capitol Hill we're learning about, involving Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Today, an aide to the congresswoman was reportedly involved in this back and forth with Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell. And allegedly, this was about Swalwell still wearing his mask as he walked off the House floor.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Remember, on Wednesday, Marjorie Taylor Greene also reportedly confronted Representative Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez in the halls of Capitol Hill.

So what's going on?

CNN's Lauren Fox has the latest.

Lauren, let's start with this incident with Congressman Swalwell. What happened?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. What Swalwell is saying is that he was coming off of the House floor where you're required to wear a mask, when Marjorie Taylor Greene's spokesman said, "Biden says you don't have to wear a mask." He responded that he would do what he wanted essentially.

And I think one of the issues here is this isn't the first time we've seen sort of a heated exchange right off the House floor in recent days.

Like you mentioned, Marjorie Taylor Greene, she confronted Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this week, basically wanting to debate her on Socialist ideology and Antifa and other items.

We talked to the congresswoman earlier today about what she thought of that interaction with Marjorie Taylor Greene. Here's what she said.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): This is a woman that's deeply unwell and clearly needs some help. I am kind of her fixation that's lasted for several years now.

You know, at this point, I think the depth of unwellness raised concern for other members as well. And so I think this is an assessment that needs to be made by the proper professionals.


FOX: The tension up here on Capitol Hill since January 6th between Republicans and Democrats, especially Democrats and Republicans who voted not to certify the election, it's been really high.

But of course, Marjorie Taylor Greene is in a category of her own when it comes to confrontations that she has with Democratic colleagues.

And I think that's important to note here. This is not an isolated incident or isolated incidents.

What you've seen over the last weeks and months is an ongoing dispute between Marjorie Taylor Greene and many of her colleagues.

CAMEROTA: Lauren, let's also remember this is the same woman who, after the Parkland school shooting, chased David Hogg, a teenage school shooting survivor, down the sidewalk yelling at him telling him about her open-carry license that she had.

This is her modus operandi. She chases people and tries to engage them in some sort of altercation. And not all of them take the bait.

Meanwhile, let's talk about what Republicans in the House are asking Nancy Pelosi to do. They want her to lift all of the mask mandates. What's the status?

FOX: One of the issues here -- and you heard from the House speaker yesterday on this -- is that she feels as though there's not a high enough vaccine rate right now in the House of Representatives to lift the mandate on the floor.


And I do want to point to new CNN reporting we have been working on over the last several days. And what you see here is that there were a number of Republican offices that did not even respond to our inquiry.

More than 100 Republican House members that did not respond as to whether or not the member was vaccinated or not.

Meanwhile, you have 100 percent of Democrats in the House and in the Senate vaccinated.

And I think part of the tension here is that, yes, the CDC guidelines have changed. But Pelosi is arguing that she's very, very worried about changing anything on the House floor until she gets a better sense of how many of these House Republicans are actually vaccinated.

CAMEROTA: Right. You have to wonder, why they won't tell us, what are they ashamed of, why is that a secret?

Lauren Fox, thank you very much for all that reporting.

BLACKWELL: Republicans in Arizona are still trying to keep the big lie alive. Why the millions of ballots there are on the move.


CAMEROTA: A highly controversial partisan audit of election results in Arizona is being shut down for the next week.

Today, election equipment and more than two million ballots are being moved out of this Phoenix coliseum in order to make way for high school graduations.

Arizona Senate Republicans ordered this audit of Maricopa County despite previous recounts and audits that already certified Joe Biden's win in that state and found no evidence of election fraud.

CNN's senior national correspondent, Kyung Lah, joins us from Maricopa County.

How do we know these ballots are safe?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a very good question, Alisyn. We just don't know.

But what I can tell you is what we've been observing since early this morning here at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

What you're seeing over here is the coliseum, the stadium used for high school graduations next week, the ballots had to leave the coliseum so the graduations could take place.

What we've been watching is the trucks have been moving them from the coliseum across this parking lot at the fairgrounds.

This is the Crazy Times Carnival, with rides like Alien Abduction, the Rocking Rodeo.

And then the ballots are now housed in that green building. You can see that everything is closed up. There are 2.1 million ballots that have been moved.

I want you to take a look at some of the pool video, the live stream video we've been watching. This is taped from earlier this morning.

Forklifts have been picking up these ballots one by one, pallets with these 2.1 million ballots. And they've been loading up on trailers.

[14:40:07] Essentially, it's moving day, except what they're moving are the essential elements of democracy, the votes of the people of Maricopa County.

The Arizona Senate liaison, as you come back live and looks at this green building, he says this green building is secured, 24/7 protection, that it is going to be climate controlled.

The reason why climate control is so important is because we're talking about sensitive paper ballots.

And the fairgrounds, on its Web site, said this building is not recommended for usage because of the heat in May through September. It is May. It's expected to be 102 degrees.

And one last thing, Alisyn and Victor. The building that you're looking at, the side that faces the carnival, those are the public restrooms for the carnival.

We don't know how people are being kept out of where the ballots are being secured. We're hoping to get some of the answers later today -- Alisyn, Victor?

BLACKWELL: So the Cyber Ninjas had to pause their count to take the ballots by the Crazy Time Carnival to go into storage.

Kyung Lah, thank you so much.

LAH: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in Grant Woods, a former Republican attorney general for Arizona, who switched over to the Democratic Party during the Trump presidency.

Grant, thank you.

We've been working for days to try to get you and me together on television. I'm glad you stuck through it.



BLACKWELL: So before we get to the implications of this, just the basic security question.

For all of the rhetoric that we hear about voter confidence and election integrity, the idea that this group that's never done this work at 2.1 million ballots for Maricopa County, what does this mean for the state of Arizona?

WOODS: The whole thing has been a joke from day one. It is a clown show. They're at the right place probably now next to the carnival rather than inside the coliseum. I'd rather have the carnies handling this than the jokers.

By the way, the great security you've got going on there, if you've seen them, that's the Arizona Rangers. And what are they? I don't know.

There's no such thing as Arizona Rangers. They gave themselves the name. They got the hats, the boots and the belts that they bought at the Western store, I guess. This is the great security.

Look, across the country, secretaries of state and county recorders, elections officials, they take every single precaution. You've got to have the most care possible.

And you bring in professionals who have done this over and over. And that's who has done these things.

These ballots were compromised from the beginning. They have no idea what they're doing whatsoever. They've never done it before and the thing's a mess.

They're going to come up with something. Who knows what they're going to say. And then hang their hat on it because they're pretty much fact free.

And then I think go around the country and say, yes, look at what we found in Arizona. And people will forget that it was the carnival that produces bogus results.


WOODS: So it's part of an overall scheme, I think, to undermine our confidence and our election and our democracy.

BLACKWELL: So beyond just the ballots, they want more. The Arizona Senate Republicans want the county's routers or images of those, the administrative passwords as well.

There's a conspiracy theory that the voting machines were connected to the Internet, although, an audit already has proven that's not true.

The sheriff from Maricopa County has called it mind numbingly reckless and irresponsible.

You're the former top law enforcement officer of the state there. What does this expose? What is jeopardized here if those were to be handed over?

WOODS: Well, we do have a good sheriff now. We got rid of the last guy. Just like we have to get rid of some of these clowns doing this from the state Senate.

And he's exactly right. What it exposes is all sorts of sensitive information. Our whole criminal justice site on the county level is exposed on these routers. All sorts of sensitive information there. But just basics are out there. Remember, I do call for the Department

of Justice to step in here. I think they should take action here and do whatever they can to put a stop to this.

They did write a letter after some of us have called for it. And that had some impact.

Because what these guys were planning on doing was taking the ballots and going door to door and knocking on doors and saying, hey, it says here you voted for Joe Biden. Did you?

I mean, this is classic intimidation here. It's against the law.

So across the board, I think this sensitive information -- by the way, Victor, we vote in private in this country. They shouldn't be looking at who you and who I voted for and our Social Security numbers and our driver's licenses and everything else.


This is a really serious thing, despite all the comedy with their antics.

BLACKWELL: It's a group that's never done this type of work.

Let me broaden this beyond just Arizona though. You left the Republican Party during the Trump administration. I wonder -- and you're now a Democrat.

When you consider what's happening in Arizona and Texas and Georgia and states across the country with continuing this narrative of the big lie, what breaks for your former party, this Trump-centric era?

Because losing the House, losing the Senate, losing the White House didn't do it. What does it?

WOODS: Well, I think you're going to have to just keep beating them. They're going to have to keep losing.

And I mean, I just saw Marjorie Taylor, there in your last segment, I'd rather have Marge Simpson as my congresswoman than that Marge. Any day of the week, I'd rather have Marge Simpson.

If this is going to be the party, if it's going to be the Trump manipulating things from Mar-a-Lago and these sorts of characters, rather than what I grew up with, which was, in Arizona, we had statesmen, like Barry Goldwater. And I was very close with John McCain.

When we go to these sorts of antics of a congressional leader yelling through the door, through the mail slot at another congressman, from where we were just a couple of years ago with John McCain having the courage to stand up and save health care in this country. They're just going to have to lose.

So all I can say is, if they continue to try to suppress the vote, you have to organize more. You're going to have to overcome it.

But what we can't do is give up. And what we have to do is what you're doing, is continue to shine a light on this.

BLACKWELL: Grant Woods, again, we worked for a couple of days to get together. I thank you so much for spending time with you, sir.

WOODS: OK. I was glad to do it. Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right.


CAMEROTA: He was worth the wait.

BLACKWELL: Yes, indeed, he was.

CAMEROTA: That was a great conversation.


CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, prices at the pump are still on the rise and gas stations are still dry. So next, we're going to talk to the man so many Americans are turning to for help.



CAMEROTA: Drivers across the southeast are not seeing any evidence yet that Colonial's major fuel pipeline is back up and running after that huge cyberattack.




CAMEROTA: He's saying, no more gas. That's what anxious drivers are hearing in many states after lining up for hours.

Let's look at this map. These show the percentages of gas stations in the country with no gas today.

I mean, 69 percent of stations in North Carolina, 51 percent in South Carolina. In the Washington, D.C., area, 87 percent of stations are without gas right now.

Leading one petroleum analyst to tweet, "Everyone in D.C. has #fong, fear of no gasoline."

Patrick De Haan is the author of that tweet and the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

Patrick, thanks so much for being here. Colonial says they're back up and running, so why don't stations have


PATRICK DE HAAN, HEAD OF PETROLEUM ANALYSIS, GASBUDDY: Well, I think this is a self-perpetuating problem. As people see lines, they encounter lines, they're getting more and more panicked.

They know the pipeline is going back online, but they wonder, why in the world are there still lines? Maybe I'm missing out on something I haven't heard about.

This is what we've seen so much over the last week across areas of the southeast. It was really, first, Georgia, the Carolinas, you know, into Virginia. And now it's really spread up to Washington, D.C.

CAMEROTA: When will it get back to normal?

DE HAAN: An area like D.C., being less significant in size -- well, maybe 7 to 14 days. It really just depends on when people can calm down, when we realize the fuel is flowing.

It is flowing, by the way.


DE HAAN: But you wouldn't know based on the numbers. That's because incredible demand is still happening.

CAMEROTA: In other words, we still have two more weeks in the southeast. People still have two more weeks of lines like this? I mean, what does this mean for Memorial Day?

DE HAAN: I wouldn't say lines so much. I'll quantify it like this. I think headaches will still happen when you buy gasoline. It's not going to be like cruising into a station.

You still may have to use the GasBuddy for the next week or two until you finally can pull into that station and get lucky enough to fill up.

CAMEROTA: What about gas prices? What do you think gas prices are going to look like this summer?

DE HAAN: Well, probably higher than we've seen in the last couple of years. Last year, with COVID-19, so much was affected, prices were very low.

Overall this summer, it's probably going to be very much like 2018. Not that any motorist would remember that. Let me refresh your memory.

In 2018, the national average peaked at $2.97 a gallon. It didn't go down for the bulk of summer.

This year, of course, we're at $3.02, by the way, which is the highest since 2014. We'll probably hold around $3 a gallon.

Keep in mind, COVID is here so it's hard to know what we'll see for consumer demand. That could have an impact this summer.

But by and large, probably one of the more expensive summers than the last few years.

CAMEROTA: Just so we understand, is that a result of the hack or people coming out of the pandemic?

DE HAAN: No, that's really more the pandemic. The hack wasn't a pricing event. It was supply reduction. Refineries we're still online. And that's why it's not a pricing event. That gasoline was still being produced.

The problem with the rest of the summer, once the Colonial Pipeline is normalized in two to three weeks, it will turn into a demand story.


Americans are land-locked to the U.S. this summer. That is, not many people can get out of this country to go overseas for summer vacation.

That's going to mean potentially a very hot summer for gasoline demand and higher prices.

CAMEROTA: What's your advice to drivers in the southeast for now?

DE HAAN: At least for now, prices are actually coming down on the wholesale level. If you don't need gas, don't get it.

Number one, you'll be helping stations resupply faster. Number two, you'll be saving a little bit because prices will start coming back down in the next five to seven days.

Frankly, just the faster Americans can give those stations room to resupply, the faster this resolves itself.

CAMEROTA: Patrick De Haan, of GasBuddy, thank you very much.

DE HAAN: My pleasure.

BLACKWELL: The CDC's new guidance is certainly lifting spirits across the country, even if you cannot throw away your mask just yet.

In fact, keep swinging it from your ear because you're probably going to need it more often than you think. Answers to your questions about why and when you will still need them, next.