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Bill To Create Commission To Investigate January 6th Capitol Riots Does Not Pass Due To Republican Senate Filibuster; Interview With Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN); President Biden Orders Intelligence Community To Uncover Origins Of COVID-19; New York Prosecutors Investigating Trump Organization Tell One Witness To Prepare To Testify Before Grand Jury; President Trump's Former Attorney Rudy Giuliani Under Investigation For Dealings In Ukraine. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 29, 2021 - 14:00   ET



JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Jessica Dean. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Jim Acosta.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. There will be no bipartisan commission to investigate the attack at the United States capital on January 6th. The bill that could have made it happen falling short of the 10 Republican votes needed to advance.

Many of the very senators who were under attack on that day at the Capitol are simply moving on, more concerned about how the findings could damage midterm elections, and sticking the fingers in the ears to make the inconvenient noise go away. Pleas from Democrats dismissed, pleas from some Republican colleagues ignored, even pleas from the family of fallen Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick went nowhere. When all was said and done, only six Republicans broke from party leadership. -- there they are -- to vote in favor of the commission.

CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux joins me now from Capitol Hill. Suzanne, I suppose this was somewhat predictable. We saw it was coming. What's the response from Democrats right now, what is their next move?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim, what is really interesting about this, this was such a political vote, it was so fraught with risks. You had more Republicans, Senate Republicans who voted to convict, impeach the president, than you did for this bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

It was 54 to 35 was the vote. They needed those 60 votes to overcome to filibuster, 10 Republicans. It didn't happen. They only got six, very predictable who those six were, those Senators, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy, Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski, and Ben Sasse, all of them who were able to buck their party in the past.

One of the things that happened, Jim, was that the Republican leadership made very clear both publicly and privately, you had Senate Mitch McConnell as well as the number two, John Thune, saying that, yes, this was going to be something that would cost them potentially the midterm elections in 2022 because they would not be able to essentially make this deadline by the end of the year, it would spill over, and that that would be the focal point, and that would be damaging for their opportunity, their chances to take over the Senate and the House.

The other thing that happened, Jim, that was quite noticeable was the number of senators who missed this vote, that it was so fraught with risk you had nine Republicans and two Democrats. What was interesting was that Trump had essentially said that the 35 House Republicans who voted for this, he called them weak and ineffective, they became targets, and it became even more political. So that is why at least some of these lawmakers didn't even show up for the vote.

As you can imagine, the Democratic leadership is very disappointed, very frustrated with the outcome. Take a listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: This vote has made it official. Donald Trump's big lie has now fully enveloped the Republican Party. Shame on the Republican Party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they are afraid of Donald Trump.


MALVEAUX: And so what happens next? Well, ow this goes back, it is essentially dead, but the House leadership, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, says that they will move forward with their own committee, a select committee to investigate that. You can imagine, Jim, it is going to be run by the Democrats, headed by Pelosi.

It is going to be subjected to the kind of criticism, that, yes, it truly will be a partisan venture because you will have them with subpoena power, they will be holding hearings, this type of thing, but they will have no Republican participation because they did not go along with this bipartisan independent commission. And so we'll see how effective that is, and if the Democrats decide that that is the way they want to go, it is one possibility, Jim.

ACOSTA: And it certainly looks like it will be more partisan because the Republican leadership essentially wanted it that way. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much for that report.

I am joined now by Democratic Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota. Senator, what happens next? First of all, thanks for having us on, happy Memorial Day weekend. What happens next in all of this? And do you think January 6th now is not going to be thoroughly investigated as a result of what we saw happen yesterday in the Senate?

SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): Well, it is really incredible that leaders in the Republican Party put their own party interests above the national interests by filibustering the January 6th commission. If the Speaker of the House goes forward with a select committee, then I'm sure that that will be useful. In addition, the committees in the Senate and the House are coming up with useful information, but we missed the opportunity, not just the opportunity, but the need to truly understand what happened on January 6th.


It is shocking to me that Mitch McConnell would call on his members as a personal favor not to do what is so clearly in the national interest. There is so much talk in Washington right now about bipartisanship, but on issues like this, it is two to tango. You can't have bipartisan if you don't have two parties that are willing to put the national interest above their own party interests.

ACOSTA: Well, let me ask you about that, because House Democrats, as you know, are thinking about mounting a probe of their own. Republicans are going to try to argue that the results of that probe will be partisan. You can almost write the talking points now. How does this not turn into a partisan food fight?

SMITH: Well, the irony of this is that Mitch McConnell, and most of the Republicans, vote down an independent commission, and then they will end up criticizing the fallout of that as being partisan.

I think it is so clear, Mitch McConnell said it himself, we can't have this commission because it would be counter to our political interests in the 2022 elections. And at some point, you have got to ask yourself, is Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party willing to put something other than just getting their own power first.

ACOSTA: And let me ask you this, Senator, because I think this a critical question. A lot of people are asking you about it on the Democratic side, a lot of progressive are asking about this. Did the filibuster get in the way of the commission? Obviously, if you didn't have the filibuster, this would have passed.

SMITH: Yes. Think about what happened here. We had 54 senators who voted for an independent commission represented 81 million more Americans than the 35 senators who voted no. So you are clearly thwarting not only a majority of the Senate, but I believe the majority of the Americans. And that is the problem in my mind with the filibuster.

You have a rule that is not in the Constitution, that is not described anywhere except what the Senate says among ourselves we want to do, that thwarts the will of the people. It is fundamentally undemocratic. And it is not, clearly it is not a tool for bipartisanship. It has become a tool for obstruction.

And I think we have to see that, and then we have to ask ourselves, are we finally willing to put this old and outmoded rule aside so we can accomplish things for the American people.

ACOSTA: Have you put that argument to your colleague Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He's on the Democratic side and he is in full support of the filibuster, does not seem to be wavering in his support of the filibuster. Do you have a message for him?

SMITH: I understand, Joe is a fierce fighter for West Virginia, and I have deep respect for him. And he believes in the value of bipartisan. And I'm not speaking for Senator Manchin, but even Senator Manchin over the last couple of days has express how angry he is at something that clearly should be a place where we can all come together didn't happen because of the Republican Party.

And I want to also just call out the members of the Republican Caucus that did stand up for putting our national interests above party interests. My friend Lisa Murkowski was very eloquent on this.

So I think what you see are Senators, Democratic Senators, and maybe even some Republican Senators that are growing increasingly frustrated by this mantra of Mitch McConnell that his 100 percent goal is to stop the Biden administration and to stop bipartisan efforts like this commission for January 6th.

ACOSTA: All right, Senator Tina Smith, thanks so much for those insights, your input, we appreciate it. Happy Memorial Day weekend. We'll see you again soon.

SMITH: Thank you. Thanks so much, Jim.

ACOSTA: Thank you.

And up next, what the voting blocking the January 6th commission says about the priorities of the GOP, and the shocking results of a poll showing just how many Republicans embrace QAnon conspiracy theories. That is all next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: The mother of Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick who died after the January 6th insurrection called on GOP Senators who voted down an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate the horrors that unfolded that day. She spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper in an exclusive interview.


GLADYS SICKNICK, BRIAN SICKNICK'S MOTHER: If they had a child that was hurt, was killed on a day like that, they would think very differently, or if they were hurt. They could have very well, somebody could have been killed, one of the congressmen, one of the senators. But apparently, they just think, well, we are safe because of the men in blue.


ACOSTA: Can you just imagine what she is going through? Joining us now to talk about this is CNN political commentator, Republican strategist Alice Stewart, and CNN political commentator Paul Begala. Both of us in the studio here, which is amazing as we are coming out of COVID-19. I think all the disclaimers have been said on CNN about being vaccinated and so on, but we're all vaccinated. We'll have a good conversation here.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Fully vaxxed and back together.

ACOSTA: And back together. Yes, it does feel good.

Alice, I want to start with you with something that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. He said this vote has made it official, Donald Trump's big lie has now fully enveloped the Republican Party. Is that true?

STEWART: It appears that way, at least for Senate Republicans. I think it is not out of the ordinary and not crazy to have a couple different thoughts in your head at the same time. You can believe that we had free and fair elections. You can believe that Joe Biden is the duly elected president. And you can believe that we need a full accounting of what happened on January 6th. That is not crazy to have these thoughts.

I think it's really important to look at this, listening to Brian Sicknick's family wanting answers and deserving answers, I don't see how you cannot give them the closure that they need. But not only them, there were members of Congress, there was the vice president of the United States hiding for his life in this. We deserve to have these answers.


And look, I understand Republicans are concerned about some disclosures from the past that might come out that will be disturbing, but more importantly, they are looking at this politically and how this is a distraction in the future and distracting from taking it to Biden administration before the midterms.

ACOSTA: And Paul, where do we go from here? We all witnessed what happened January 6th, and still, you can't get the GOP to investigate the truth. It just looks like they're covering up for Donald Trump.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's shocking, and they say they back the blue. I think crime will be a big issue in the upcoming election, and Republicans will want to demagogue the very real rise in crime that we're seeing. No Republican who voted to cover up this riot should ever be allowed to say that they back the blue.

Officer Sicknick, this is Memorial Day weekend. He lies in honor at Arlington National Cemetery. He was a National Guardsman as well as a Capitol Hill cop. And he is in the company of his fellow heroes now. He is there to protect their lives. That is why he lost his life. And for those gutless wonders in the Republican Party, it is just shameful.

Where do we go from here? There's talk that Speaker Pelosi will set up a select committee. That could get some answers, but it could also become a circus. I don't think the Biden White House has any interest in this, but I think the Biden White House should set up a presidential committee of non-politicians, former politicians.

Tom Ridge, President Bush's secretary of homeland defense would be great. Maybe even Jim Mattis, President Trump's defense secretary, there's a lot of really good people in both parties who you could have investigate this who are not current politicians. So I would rather see that, I think, than a select committee.

STEWART: I think what is important to pacify a lot of those with concerns about what this means moving forward, I have full faith and confidence in the members of Congress that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. They can investigate what happened on January 6th.

BEGALA: Really, they can? Maybe not all of them.

STEWART: -- and Republicans, who I fully support, can spend between now and the midterm elections calling out the big spending of the Biden administration, the crisis at the border, the crisis in the Middle East, and a lot of the problems that we're having with the economy. That should be the focus as we lead into the midterms, and it can be, but we can also have an accounting of the insurrection.

ACOSTA: But Alice, I want to press you on that, because -- and I know you're a Republican strategist. You talk to House members on the Republican side, Senate members on the Republican side. What is this poll that just came out that shows about a quarter of Republicans support these conspiracy theories linked to the QAnon movement?

If you're dealing with a party were 23 percent of Republicans believe in QAnon, which is just the craziest basket of snakes you could ever think of, why in the world would Democrats think, OK, Republicans, they'll do the right thing here?

STEWART: In full disclosure, that poll also found a very not trivial aspect, 15 percent of Americans as a whole believe in this QAnon nonsense. And for those who don't pay attention and don't know, QAnon is the crazy conspiracy notion that Satan worshipping pedophiles, a cabal of them have been out to get Donald Trump. Just listen to that. It's ludicrous, and it is absurd.

And look, while I think there are some simple-minded people that get distracted and are attracted to the notion of crazy conspiracy theories, it is a small part of the Republican Party. The GOP, the Republican Party is not a party of conspiracy theories. We're a party of conservative principles. And the more we can focus on that and not these conspiracies, the better we have --

ACOSTA: Paul, what about this argument that you're hearing from some on the left, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, who say, OK, this January 6th vote is exhibit A. You can't deal with the Republicans anymore. We can't have the filibuster anymore.

They're not going to work with us on infrastructure. Let's just steamroll right ahead here. Is it time? Do you think Democrats have gotten to point now where they say we are just not going to be able to deal with the Republicans anymore? BEGALA: I think it's like momma used to say. This is why we can't have

nice things. I am a very late convert to doing away with the filibuster, but I'm for it now. And it's because it used to be, when I worked on the Hill, it was a pain in the neck, but it compelled some bipartisanship, and I thought that was a good thing.

It just no longer functions that way. It's an automatic stop to anything and everything, even investigating the breach of the Senate floor, on that same where those terrorists were standing, they filibustered the investigation. So I do think it gives impetus to the reformers.

I saw a quote from my friend, the great Senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, who said, I'm worried I have to save the country. He didn't say he is for filibuster reform yet. He's one of the last Democrats who still supports the filibuster. But I think that this is perhaps a green shoot of spring that you may see --

ACOSTA: It would have passed. I would have passed yesterday.

BEGALA: The had 57 senators for it.

STEWART: Right, exactly. And the smell of jet fumes also helped to get them out of town. Look, I think it's really important --

ACOSTA: Because the argument against the filibuster is that you could just have the slimmest of majorities and you could steamroll everybody. Yesterday showed that you could have, yes, all Democrats, but there were a handful of Republicans who were going to go along with this, in the spirit of filibuster.

STEWART: Sure. The overwhelming thing that I think comes out to the initial question about should Democrats just go it alone, the way I see it, they've been doing that. A lot of these issues they've been passing have been on a partisan line, Democrats only.

And while there has been a lot of talk about bipartisan cooperation, there hasn't been a lot of action on that, and that goes on both sides, but Joe Biden campaigning on being the unified and bringing sides together, there hasn't been a lot of that.

But to you point of your friend Joe Manchin, he has been one of the most vocal people standing up to the administration on these policies, and he is a Democrat. So it is hard to say that it's only Republicans that are pushing back, because here is a strong voice, a strong part of the Democratic Party that is saying enough is enough.

ACOSTA: Yes, if you could bottle the steam coming out of Democrats' ear over Joe Manchin lately, you could solve --

BEGALA: Let me just say, not only do I love Joe personally, he is a great Democrat. He votes with the Democrats 80, 85 percent of the time, in a state where my party has not won a single county in eight years, Jim, at the presidential level. So he's a great Democrat, and he cast the key vote for the COVID relief bill, which every single Republican opposed, which really save the middle class. ACOSTA: You have to have Democrats in the south, as you know all too


BEGALA: Yes, I will defend him to the death.

ACOSTA: All right, Paul, Alice, thanks so much, we appreciate. Great seeing you.

Coming, up, did COVID-19 leak from a lab? My next guest says that theory is a likely hypothesis. Hear his reasoning and what he is doing about it next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: President Biden is ordering the intelligence community to redouble its efforts to uncover the origins of COVID-19. A big question, did the virus jump from animals to humans, or did it escape from a lab in an accidental leaks, perhaps, or maybe both? Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began, is home to both markets where animals were sold, and to a lab that studies coronaviruses. More now on all of this from CNN's David Culver in China.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Biden ordering U.S. intelligence to dig deeper into the origin of COVID-19, putting renewed focus on the Chinese city where it was first publicly detected, Wuhan. The White House says there are two possible origin theories. The first, a natural spread from animals to humans, possibly amplified inside this once crowded Wuhan seafood market. The second, a far more controversial possibility, a leak of the deadly virus from this Wuhan lab.

JAMIE METZL, ADVISER, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We know that China engaged in a massive cover-up starting from day one, including destroying samples, hiding records, imprisoning people in China asking basic questions, and placing a gag order.

CULVER: It has been a well over a year since the initial outbreak, and still no conclusive answers. Former President Trump made claims last spring that it started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab, but never provided evidence. The Chinese along with many scientists dismissed Trump's lab leak theory as a conspiracy.

President Biden took office supporting an international approach in investigating the origin. This week, three sources familiar with the matter tell CNN that Biden also shut down a Trump State Department inquiry into the origins over concerns about the quality of the evidence.

But now with newly reported intel, there are new questions of what China knew and when. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting this week and a U.S. intel report found that several researchers at the Wuhan lab go so sick they had to go to hospital in November, 2019. That is weeks before China reported the first patient with COVID like symptoms to the WHO. It has led to mounting pressure on the Biden administration to find answers.

In January of this year, we were in Wuhan as the WHO sent a field team into China to investigate, visiting a now shuttered market once believed to have been the original ground zero. It has since been wiped clean. We drove by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, heavily secured, and despite multiple requests, we were not granted access to enter.

This was as close as we got. The WHO scientists, however, were allowed in. Their conclusion, that it is very likely the virus spread naturally from the animals, and that a lab leak was extremely unlikely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no evidence of that at all, but it is something that we talked about with people at the Wuhan lab and got really honest and frank and good, informative answers, too.

CULVER: But that is the issue with the WHO investigation. According to some of the scientists who took part, it relied mostly on conversations with the Chinese scientists taking them at their word. Some of the experts complained China has blocked them from crucial data, and those like Peter Daszak have been criticized for their personal ties to the Wuhan lab, having helped fund and take part in research in the facility before the outbreak.

Virologist Marion Koopmans was among the WHO team in Wuhan in January. She is careful to characterize the team's work as research gathering not as an inspection. She also welcomes Biden's efforts to get more intel on the origins, hoping he'll share the findings.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So if there is really something to it, well, then, it needs to be followed up.

CULVER: Meantime, China is pushing back with its own narrative, calling the U.S. efforts a smear campaign. "Their motive is vicious," the spokesperson says. Chinese officials have relentlessly pushed an unfounded conspiracy that the virus began in the U.S., but there is no evidence of that. Chinese state media has labeled the virus as an imported threat, even baselessly suggesting it came from outside China on frozen foods.

From the chaos and confusion of the initial outbreak to the surge and panic as the number of deaths soared and the virus spread, to hopes that vaccines might bring us back to life pre COVID-19, we are still left with the question, how did all this really begin?

David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


ACOSTA: And one of the experts in that piece joins me now. Jamie Metzl, he is a senior fellow for technology and national security at the Atlantic Council and he worked for the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. You were also, Jamie, the deputy staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Joe Biden when he was a Senator.

So you have been looking at some of the issues for a long time. You've and asking for the U.S. to be more involved to find the origins of COVID-19. What do you make of this move by President Biden to call for this renewed investigation by the intelligence community? Is that going to be enough?

JAMIE METZL, ADVISER, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Well, certainly, I fully support this move. It's essential. Most of your viewers, Jim, would be shocked to learn that a year and a half now after the initial outbreak, there is no international process for fully investigating the origins of the pandemic.

The World Health Assembly is meeting now, and this assembly closes on Monday, and I hope that they are going to mandate this kind of full investigation, but it's clear that China is blocking that process. So if China continues this coverup, then our best alternative is for the United States and other countries alone and together to fully investigate what happened, because one thing we need to do is understand how this terrible pandemic started so we can prevent the next one.

ACOSTA: Let me tell you about what former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb had to say about this. He rejects this narrative that's been out there that researchers in China deliberately engineered the virus. He says that he believes that that's politicized and untrue, but he thinks there is a more likely possibility about what could have happened. Let's listen.


SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER. I think that political narrative is conflicting with a more plausible narrative, which is that this was a strain that was found in nature that was brought to the lab for further evaluation, and in the course of evaluating it, and maybe doing research on how to develop countermeasures against that were well intentioned, it became more humanized, more human adapted, and accidentally was walked out of the lab, probably by people infecting themselves.


ACOSTA: It is interesting, but is this just a giant guessing game here, or do you think he is on the something?

METZL: Well, I have been making that case since early, the beginning of last year. I think that is credible, highly credible, as a matter of fact.

And a lot of issues are getting confused. There are some people who think that those of us who have been raising awareness about the possibility of a lab since early last year are the same as the people who are saying there is some ill-intentioned, biowarfare capacity or a deliberate leak. We don't need any of that. As Scott Gottlieb correctly says, as I have been saying for a year-and-a-half now.

What we need is just an accident. And accidents happen all around the world. And it could well be that scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were in the best-intentioned ways trying to develop vaccines, treatments, understanding, and there was an accident. And then that was covered by a criminal coverup in China, and that, at least according to this hypothesis, is what let this stove fire grow into a kitchen fire to a house fire and the world fire that we are now all experiencing.

ACOSTA: Let me ask you about that, because China's lack of transparency, refusal to share critical data has centered past investigations of the origin of COVID-19, as you know. Given what you know about the country and the region, and what you were just saying a few minutes ago, why would China change now? Are they about to just let investigators in and say have at it, let's get to the bottom of this? It doesn't sound like that's realistic.

METZL: I think it's quite unlikely, but that can't be our starting point. On behalf of everyone who was died from this pandemic, everyone who is still suffering, we have to demand the kind of full investigation that we would demand wherever this started. If China wants to thumb its nose at the rest of the world, to say this terrible crisis began in Wuhan, there is death everywhere, and China won't even allow the most basic investigation, they won't allow access to the essential records, samples, personnel to get to the bottom of this, let them stand by that behavior.


but the rest of us can't accept it, and we have to demand the best possible investigation.

ACOSTA: Well, we certainly do need to get to the bottom of the it, and if that means China has to cooperate, I think you are right about it. It is time to maybe ramp up the pressure a little bit. Jamie Metzl, thanks so much for coming by and talking about this. We appreciate your expertise on this issue. Thanks so much.

METZL: Sure.

ACOSTA: Coming up, as fans fill sports stadiums again, disrespectful and offensive behavior is back, including one player being spit on. We'll show you the disgusting video, and have Mike Golic come on. He'll join me live in just a few moments to talk about all this. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ACOSTA: Sports fans are returning to the stands as COVID restrictions continue to be lifted across the country, but also returning, disrespectful and offensive behavior by some of those fans towards athletes. Three ugly incidents in one night of playoff basketball this past Wednesday, including, perhaps you've seen this, a Philadelphia 76ers fan dumping popcorn on injured Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook as he made his way to the locker room the other night. In New York during the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks game at Madison

Square Garden, a fan spit on Hawks guard Trae Young. And in Salt Lake City, Utah, three fans were removed from the Jazz-Grizzlies games for disruptive behavior and abusive comments. By Thursday, the 76ers, Knicks, and Jazz had indefinitely banned the fans involved.

And sports analyst Mike Golic played in Philadelphia for the majority of his career. He knows the reputation that Philadelphia Eagles have firsthand. As a Washington sports fan, Mike, I know how these fans behave, but as we noted, the incidents were not just happening in Philadelphia. First, your reaction to what you saw across the country on Wednesday night. I guess we had to expect this to happen as fans came back.

MIKE GOLIC, SPORTS ANALYST: I guess. But, Jim, to me this is a no- brainer. Listen, you get your ticket, you go into a sporting event, you boo all you want, you tell, you scream all you want at the opposing team, I get it. But you know exactly when you cross a line.

You cross a racial line, you throw something at a player, very simple -- you're gone. You are gone. You want to send the message that that won't be accepted. You are done. There are plenty of arenas where there's waiting lists for fans to come in on season tickets.

You have to be gone. You have to send that message that they are done and they're not coming back, whether it is whoever owns the arena, whether it's the team or somebody else, or from the league, whoever can mandate it, they are gone.

ACOSTA: And Mike, let's listen to LeBron James and how he reacted to how the teams and the league and handling these incidents. Let's listen.


LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: The NBA did a great job, and also the respective teams, Philly, New York, and also Utah as well, protecting our players by banning the individuals that had these instances. That is not a part of cheering for your fans or heckling players or being as loud as you can.

All the heckling, that's great. We don't mind that. We're going to hear the boos, we understand that. Maybe a couple curse words here or there, we understand that as well. I actually, I love that, and I'm absolutely OK with that. But there is a line, and I think we are all grown, and we know what the line is when you cross it.


ACOSTA: Do you think that just banning some of these offending fans, that that is going to make the difference?

GOLIC: Well, yes, I think if those fans are never allowed in that arena again, you know at least those fans aren't going to do anything, and it's a message to anybody else that if you cross the line of racial remarks or throwing something, doing something physical to a player, you won't be back in that arena, whether it's for that sporting event, that sport, or anything else.

I think that would send a very strong message, and I do applaud the league and the teams and the arenas for taking charge of that. You have to do it right away and let the message be known, this will not be tolerated. You will not be back in this arena.

ACOSTA: And Mike, you played in the 80s and the 90s. I remember the infamous ice ball Santa Claus incident there with the Philadelphia. I feel badly about reminding Philadelphia fans about that. Maybe not that badly, but --

GOLIC: I was going to say, you seem to be enjoying it a little bit, Jim.


ACOSTA: I always tease my Philly friends about that. Anyway, has fan behavior gotten worse or better, do you think?

GOLIC: Well, it's tough to know yet because we have been away from it for over a year. Listen, even before we went away with COVID, there were people acting foolish in the stands.


That isn't something new from people not being allowed in the stands for a while. So that's always happened, it is always going to happen, because we know what gets involved, Jim. Alcohol gets involved, or gambling gets involved. Someone is losing some money or somebody is hammered, they are going to do something that's stupid. And like I said, they should have to pay the price if it crosses the line to not be in that arena anymore.

ACOSTA: And let me ask you about this moment at this Yankees, Blue Jays game on Thursday. I guess this is a sign of the times. It is almost like they were at the Capitol on January 6th, but some fans brought a massive "Trump Won" banner and unfurled it during the game. Talk about just disrespecting the event taking place Police officers then intervened. What do you make of that? That is just wild.

GOLIC: Well, I think I make of it are people see an audience, see they have a captive audience in the stadium, and on T.V. if the game is on T.V. to make their point. Again, in this case it was a sign. People have done it in other areas where they know there is going to be an audience, and a lot of eyes are going to be on it, and you with it what you will.

They'll be some people that look at it and say, we love that, and other people that say, that is just ridiculous, and some won't even pay it a second's notice and just move on and watch the game. When you are doing something like that, you are obviously looking for attention, again, not the first time something like this has happened at any venue or about anything, any certain situation. It is going to happen. It's all how everyone is going to end up dealing.

ACOSTA: That is so true. And so much for just sitting down at the game and enjoying some popcorn and some hot dogs and maybe a cold one. A lot of pent-up frustration, perhaps, people who have not been out of the house in a while. By anyway, Mike Golic, always great to talk to you about what's happening in the world of sports. We'll talk to you again soon. Thanks so much.

GOLIC: OK. Thanks, Jim, careful on my ego.

ACOSTA: I will. I'll be careful.


ACOSTA: I'll be nice next time. Good to see you.

GOLIC: You, too.

ACOSTA: Coming up, a big warning, prosecutors investigating Donald Trump tell at least one witness to prepare for grand jury testimony. We'll break down what exactly this means. Our cross-exam segment with Elie Honig is next. And you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ACOSTA: New York prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump and his company have told at least one witness to prepare to testify before a grand jury. That's according to a source familiar with the matter, and it seems a clear signal that lengthy investigation is moving into a more advanced stage. And Elie Honig, CNN senior legal analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, he joins me now to answer your legal questions.

Elie, sure seems like it is moving in that direction right now. One viewer asks, how much evidence does it take for a grand jury to indict? This is a good question. And how likely is it that the grand jury will indict Donald Trump? I, personally, have my doubts because I just think he has 9,000 lives, but Elie, what do you think?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think we're pretty close to the same page here, Jim. So legally, it is fairly easy for a prosecutor to indict. However, that does not mean that it's likely that this grand jury will indict Donald J. Trump.

Here's what I mean. There are 23 members of a grand jury. As a prosecutor, you only need to get a bare majority, 12 of them, to vote for indictment. Of course, that is far easier than a unanimous jury that you need to convict at a trial. And the burden of proof on prosecutors technically is very low. It's what we call probable cause, meaning just more likely than not a crime was committed.

That said, no reasonable, competent prosecutor is going to indict any case, never mind a case like this, just with 50.1 percent of the evidence. If you do that you are setting yourself up for failure as a prosecutor. Important to remember, prosecutors have to prove that there was a fraud at the Trump Organization, but also that Donald Trump himself had criminal intent. That he knew about it, that he authorized it. Now, it's not enough for

a prosecutor to just say of course he knew about it. He was in charge. That may be logically true, but you have to have the proof. Prosecutors have to have documents and/or witnesses to prove that. And ultimately it is going to come down to the strength of the proof whether they're able to indict Donald Trump.

ACOSTA: And Elie, another viewer asks, can the grand jury in New York subpoena Donald Trump and other members of the Trump family who ran the Trump Organization? That seems logical.

HONIG: Yes, it's logical, but it's also unlikely. Here is why. The grand jury, of course, has subpoena power. They can force people to testify or turn over evidence. However, prosecutors typically do not subpoena targets or subjects, meaning people that they believe may have potential criminal liability.

It's cautioned against because the defendant, the subject, the target has certain constitutional rights, including most importantly, the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. So if these prosecutors subpoena Donald Trump, Eric Trump, Don Jr., they almost certainly would invoke the Fifth Amendment, right, which is their right, and refuse to testify.

Prosecutors do have a countermove. They can immunize the person, meaning OK, we promise we will not use your testimony against you. Now you have to testify. But that's pretty costly for prosecutors. So there is a strategic balance that they have to hit there.

ACOSTA: And turning now to the legal trouble for another member of Trump's inner circle, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani is under investigation, as you know, Elie, for his dealings in Ukraine, and late last month federal agents seized evidence from his home in Manhattan and office. One viewer wants to know, can prosecutors use any and all evidence they found during this raid on Rudy Giuliani, or are there legal limits on what they can use? This is a very specific question. He must have some legal expertise here who asked this question.


HONIG: They will be able to use just about anything they found in those searches. Just this week, the other day, a federal judge said that they're going to have an independent, special master, an independent person go through all the evidence, decide what is privileged and what's not.

If it's privileged, if it's an attorney-client communication, prosecutors will not get it. But if it's not, everything else prosecutors can get. And they can use any evidence relating to the foreign lobbying crime that Rudy Giuliani is being investigated for, or anything else. Jim, it happens all the time. You get a search warrant based on suspicion of crime A, and then you find evidence of crimes B, C, and D. You can use all of that as a prosecutor.

ACOSTA: All right, very interesting. Elie Honig, thanks so much. Great to see you. We appreciate it. HONIG: Thanks, Jim. Have a good one.

ACOSTA: Up next -- you, too. And they were victims of the attack on the Capitol, but less than five months later GOP senators blocked an investigation into just what happened on January 6th. See what happens next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.