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Capitol Police Chief: "There Have Been Some Threats Of Violence" At Tomorrow's Rally For January 6 Rioters; FDA Committee Rejects COVID Boosters For Most Americans, Limits Pfizer Recommendation To Ages 65-Plus & Certain High-Risk People; Police: Petito Fiance's Family Hasn't Seen Him Since Tuesday. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 17, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Again, that's 8 P.M. Eastern, Sunday night, right here on CNN.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you, Anderson. Appreciate it. Have a good weekend.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

We just got new information. Tonight, we are being haunted by the unknown. And we have a big development in the case of that missing New York woman, Gabby Petito.

At this hour, according to police, and according to an attorney, for the fiance's family, they don't know where Gabby Petito's fiance now is, Brian Laundrie. They don't know where he is.

We have the developments. And we will get to the police. And we will piece together, where we are now, and what this could mean. They are looking for him right now. And by "They," I mean, the FBI, not just the family.

Now, back to the agony of the unknowns, the Military, didn't know, who they actually hit in Afghanistan, they say, when targeting ISIS there, during our pull-out. The fact? They killed no ISIS member, only innocent civilians, and mostly kids.

A tragic mistake, says the Pentagon. Questions, will the Taliban take revenge on the people we promised to get out? And what does this mean, for our ability to get them out, and to control the enemy, from afar, as promised?

Also, we know that the immune-compromised, and the elderly, as of today, can get a booster shot. But what about the rest of us? Unknown!

President Biden told us "Next week." He was wrong, apparently. And because he was wrong, the Right is already using this, as fuel for anti-vaxxers, turning vaccine protection into political projection. And the most dangerous unknown tonight is what tomorrow may bring. No patriot confuses a riot as being righteous. Violence is not strength. Those who broke into our Capitol were not victims. They victimized our democracy.

Fact, obvious sentiments I just made, right, we all believe that, unless you're one of the people who broke in, we've heard none of them, from the big players, on the Right. Why not? On the eve of another situation, why not?

We're on watch tonight, for any potential early unrest, ahead of this twisted rally tomorrow, in support of those, who attacked our Capitol. Homeland Security picked up chatter, they say, encouraging violence, on the eve of the rally. But thankfully, so far, all is quiet.

Capitol Police say, this time, they are prepared.


CHIEF TOM MANGER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: There have been some threats of violence associated with this - the events for tomorrow.

We are hearing - we are hearing some chatter that I think would be responsible for us to plan the way we've been planning.

We're not taking any chances.


CUOMO: Good! Fencing is up, all around the compound again.

And for all, the unknown, of tomorrow, we already know one thing too well. Trump was in no hurry to stop the chaos of January 6.

And if you had any doubt, he is baiting his brothers once again. "Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly," Trump says, before this "Justice for J6" travesty.

They are not being persecuted, Mr. Former President. More than 600 arrested are being prosecuted, for what unfolded right before your and our eyes.

Again, why is no one in that party saying anything like what I just said? Because Trump is right. His party's hearts and minds are with the rioters.

Think about it. These senators that, are dead-set that General Milley violated the Constitution, but no interest in the constitutional protection of our election, or the people, who wanted to scuttle it?

Senator Ted Cruz and Co. jumped on revelations, from this new Woodward book that our Joint Chiefs of Staff had calls, with his Chinese counterpart, in the waning days of the Trump presidency. Why? To assure the Chinese that we weren't going to start a war.

They hate it. They hate that he did it. But then, when, it turns out, 15 others were on those calls, the Secretary of Defense was looped in.

Tonight, we're learning a deputy to Trump's former Acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, held his own call, with his Chinese counterpart, on January 6th, two days before Milley's second call, further undercutting criticism that Milley went rogue.


Do any of them back off? None. Especially Senator Cruz, if he is about law and order, and protecting the Constitution, why did he want to be the face, of the big lie, and efforts to stop certification, without cause?

Remember this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hawley, Cruz. I think Cruz would want us to do this, so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're good.


CUOMO: That's what you want to be the face of?

Why is the Senator silent about tomorrow? No warnings, to those coming, to support those who attacked the Capitol?

In fact, you are more critical of the media, than of those responsible for the infamy of January 6, the same media that you cited as the only proof, about your election concerns, by the way. And that's not irony, because it is all a sham.

Remember this guy?


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I'm going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a pathological liar. He doesn't know the difference between truth and lies.


CUOMO: Do you? What happened to that guy? I think we know.

Cruz and Co. are not about real law and order. Their law is to do as ordered by Trump. And now, there is a cadre of Cruzs in Congress, and even a QAnon kook. And if you don't go along, you got a target on you.

Just ask Ohio Republican Anthony Gonzalez, one of only 10, in the House, on his side of the aisle, to vote to impeach Trump, for the Insurrection. He just announced he won't be running again for re-election, citing "Toxic dynamics," in his party as a significant factor. He says he has feared for the safety of his family, since the vote.

In a new interview, Gonzalez calls Trump "A cancer" for the country. Well, won't it only metastasize without people in that party willing to speak truth to power?

Let's turn to a member of the Grand Old Party, a real one, and a better mind, conservative radio show host, Mike Broomhead, of "The Mike Broomhead Show."

It's good to have you back on PRIME TIME, brother.


CUOMO: Heading into tomorrow, would you have liked more members of your party, to say "Look? You want to protest? Fine. But do not do blah, blah, blah. This is not patriotism, blah, blah, blah," any of the obvious things?

BROOMHEAD: Yes, I mean, I think - I don't - first of all, I don't think that the fence needed to go up around the Capitol again. I don't think that needed to happen.

But I will say this. Anybody, who was inside the Capitol, that day, doing damage, should be punished.

I had tears in my eyes, watching members of my party, people carrying the American flag, and the Trump flag, hitting police officers, with them, being inside, doing damage. I think every one of those people should be punished to the full extent of the law.

But I don't think we needed a fence around the Capitol again. And I would not go to that rally. I will tell you that Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, whatever they are, I'm - it's not my - I would not go to that.

And I wish more people would stand up and make the distinction. Wrong is still wrong. It doesn't matter which side of the aisle is doing it.

CUOMO: Why don't they do it? You think it's just simple fear of the base?

BROOMHEAD: I don't know if it's fear of the base. I think that - I think people are staying out of it, because it's ugly. I mean, it's just an ugly thing.

When you are out there, doing damage, it's ugly. And when it's hard to defend, like, again, it's hard for me to come on here, and tell you, I don't think that we need to have a fence around there.

I don't think we need to put the barriers back up, because immediately it sounds like I am defending the people that will be there. I'm not. I just think it's going to be a protest. It should be peaceful. People have a right to be peaceful. I just wouldn't be a part of it. CUOMO: The idea that Gonzalez won't run again, because the Trump folk or really it's - I really think that that's giving Trump too much credit, the right-fringe of that party, and really beyond the party, was coming after him?

What does that mean to you that a member of your party, who was elected to Congress, doesn't want to serve, because he's afraid?

BROOMHEAD: We had this same thing happen, here in Arizona, when Jeff Flake was not - decided not to run for re-election. I've known Jeff Flake for a long time. And I know him to be a good man.

As a matter of fact, what's funny about that is when Jeff Flake was in the House, and the Senate, he was the most fiscally-conservative member. But he did not want to fight against that juggernaut.

And I don't blame people for not wanting to get involved in the ugly battle. And I don't know about this Representative. I don't know him at all. I've never met him. But there comes a point, when you say, "I don't want to get - I don't want to wrestle."

The old saying is, you don't want to wrestle in the mud, with a pig, because sooner or later you figure out the pig enjoys it. Maybe you just don't want to get involved in the ugly.

CUOMO: Is the truth that for now, at least, your party is the Party of Trump? And the guys, who went after him once, will not go after him now, because they don't want to be punished, by him and that base?

BROOMHEAD: I don't know that our party is the Party of Trump. I will tell you that there have been a lot of candidates that the former president has supported that have not been successful.


There is an element of battle, within our party, like there is within the Democratic Party. I just think there are a lot of people that don't want to face - again, for me it doesn't hurt so much, when opposition says something negative about me.

But with some of my colleagues or people that I align myself with, when they say it about me, it seems to hurt more. And I just think there's people that don't want to deal with that.

CUOMO: But don't you see, I mean, in these guys, Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Hawley, I don't know as well, but these were independent-thinkers. These were people, who were trying to stake out their own claim. They're all echoes now.

Look what they did with Milley. The facts changed. Their positions didn't. Nothing about the rally tomorrow, none of the prescriptions about thinking about the Constitution, and Country First, the way they said with Milley, about tomorrow.

BROOMHEAD: All right, well, to be fair with that, I just want to talk about American politics, and the way things work. When you were talking in your intro, about Ted Cruz, and the things he said in the primary, about Donald Trump that he doesn't say anymore? Remember, the Vice President of the United States called Joe Biden, "A racist," in the primary, and then later on said that "Well, that was just a debate. That was the way it was."

There is a certain amount of what happens in politics, when you're trying to win a race, right or wrong that happens.

I don't know that Ted Cruz and I don't know that Marco Rubio are echoes. I do think that they are - there's a part of a partisan politics that they are a part of. And I don't know that I would call them an echo.

I know that both of them have disagreed with the former president before. And I don't know why they're doing what they're doing now. And I don't know which part of it I disagree with exactly.

CUOMO: They haven't disagreed with him overtly, nearly with the volume that we see with them, when it's not about him. But fair point to you.


CUOMO: Fair point to you, Mike. I agree. What Harris did with Biden, in that primary, I thought was way over the line, or actually, I guess--


CUOMO: --was way under the bar, of where people should be in a primary. And you're right, that is politics. The question is do we accept it? Or do we call it out and reject it?




CUOMO: So, let's keep doing it, brother.

And again, to remind people, that is not Mike, in the picture, over his shoulder. It's his brother, who gave his life to this country, and the American flag.

Mike Broomhead, be well, brother. Have a good weekend.

BROOMHEAD: Hey, man, always a pleasure to come on. Thanks again, man.

CUOMO: Thank you, sir.

BROOMHEAD: All right, let's turn back to that important news tonight, on the COVID vaccine boosters, OK?

The FDA met today, the advisors, the advisors. There are few layers to this. But this was big. The advisors recommended a booster Pfizer dose, for those 65 and up, and certain other high-risk, meaning, immunodeficient people.

We have Andy Slavitt here. He was one of Biden's top voices, on COVID, early in the administration. What does the announcement mean? What do we know about when, for the rest of us, if at all? And what are the politics of this? Next.









CUOMO: It seems most Americans will not be getting a COVID booster shot, at least not right now. That's because of FDA recommendations from their advisors today. If that holds, there are layers, but this is pretty persuasive, what they did today.

It was a day-long contentious meeting. Key advisors, to the FDA, unanimously voted, to recommend Pfizer's booster, for those aged 65, and up, and anyone high risk for severe COVID, six months after you get your first two shots.

This is not what was expected, if you were relying on what the Biden administration had said. They were 16-2 against a booster for people aged 16-plus.

Several members raised concerns there wasn't enough data on young people, especially since they are at higher risk, for a rare complication called myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart. That's something you've heard, almost nothing about, from the Biden administration.

So, how do we process this? What does this mean about, if a booster is in our future? What does this mean about what was said, and what will be delivered, by the Biden administration?

Let's bring in someone, who - actually couldn't ask for a better guest, Andy Slavitt, former Senior Adviser for Biden's COVID Response. He's here. But he was a trusted guest on this show, even before he entered the administration.

Good to see you. I hope you had an easy fast.


SLAVITT: Well, I'm not sure why they even voted on 18, and over, given that most people that are aged between 18 and 30, and 18 and 40, it hasn't been six months. And there's not a lot of data yet.

And the emerging consensus seems to be that they're - boosters are important. Boosters do work. Boosters are needed. And that there's probably some number that's either 65 or above, or possibly lower, I think, personally, lower, maybe as low as 40.

And so, this was the first step in the process. As you said, there's layers. I suspect I wouldn't be surprised if when all is said and done, we end up with a more concrete recommendation that has a lower age.

Even if we don't, I think what will happen is as time spools out, and we get to the point, where more and more people, are at that six-month mark, they'll expand boosters even further.

So, it was a strange way to operate. I think we had a microscope on a messy process. But I think we'll end up in the right place.

CUOMO: "Messy process," does that apply to the politics as well? Do you believe it's too early to say that Biden got out over a skis on this?

SLAVITT: I think what - I can't remember exactly the words that the President used. But I - but I think he said something - said, or should have said, or later said that this is all subject to the FDA's review, and that he wanted the nation to be prepared.

CUOMO: He made it sound like he was going to be bringing us booster shots, September 20.


SLAVITT: Yes, there could have been more emphasis on what I think he came back, and said, later, which is that - which is that just waiting - just waiting for an FDA review.

So, I think that's a fair comment, if he didn't emphasize that enough, the first time. I think the second time he came back, and was a little clear. And that's - and that's right.

I don't think - but I don't think he had the intention of trying to front-run the FDA. I think, in the end, I don't think it was - it was politics, so much as he was trying to be proactive, and show that we were going to be ready and proactive.

I do think, for what it's worth, the data, can allow you, to reach either conclusion, either 65, and above, or something lower, depending on what you're trying to sell for. If what you care about is keeping people out of the hospital, there's really compelling data, above 65, maybe above 50. But if what you care about is keeping schools open, and what you care about is reducing the spread, and what you care about is keeping businesses open, you can really justify dropping that down to a lower age.

CUOMO: Well, it's just you got to be clear on the messaging, for two reasons. One, doubt sows division. And second, it's literally being weaponized, by your enemies.

That takes me to the last aspect of this, for me, at least, Myocarditis. I got a 15-year-old. I got an 18-year-old. I have never heard the administration discuss this at all, about any teenager getting the shot.

It was always a fringe belief, basically from the Left, really, the Left anti-vaxxers, saying, "What about myocarditis?"

Now today, they bring it up. Why have we never heard about this before?

SLAVITT: Oh, this has been - this has been kind of an ongoing item that's been reported that there have been very rare instances of myocarditis, and by the way, rare and treatable, so.

But important, and I think it's important, if it didn't get out to you, then something's wrong, because you've got your ear to the ground, on everything. So, it should--

CUOMO: No, I've seen reporting, Andy. I've just never seen Fauci, or Francis Collins, or Walensky, or any of the big names, saying this to America. "This is something we've got to look at. This is something you may have heard."

SLAVITT: I think--

CUOMO: "Here's what we think." Never.

SLAVITT: I think Tony has talked about it. But it's a fair point, if they haven't talked about it enough.

Look? I think your only obligation, and having sat in that role, in the Biden administration, your number one obligation is just tell the truth. Don't spin it. Tell the truth, as you know it. The people aren't always going to like it.

We know that there are modest side effects that happen, from time to time. We shouldn't pretend that there aren't any. But then we should talk about what that risk is and what the benefit is.

I think people are overly concerned about myocarditis. And maybe that translates into people being too sensitive to talk about it. They shouldn't be. This is a very rare occurrence.

And yes, the other side's going to weaponize everything. But you can't let that dictate your obligation to tell the public the truth. And I think the administration does that, for the most part. And I think, in this particular case, this is not - that's just not that big of a concern.

CUOMO: Well, look? I'll tell you, it's not that big of a concern. But see, that's the thing. When you don't talk about it, now I get to talk about it the way I want to, and there is a little bit of truth.


CUOMO: It is something. It is a possibility. And that's what keeps happening in this, is that gaps, or messaging inconsistency, now gets weaponized.

And you turn what I keep using, just because it's alliterative, and catchy, they keep talking about vaccine protection, in terms of political projection. And every time something, like this happens, they get to weaponize it.

And, by the way, Andy Slavitt, that's why I love having you on the show. That's why I thought it was so great for the administration that they asked you to go in. You know what you're talking about. You do not BS. And you will deal with whatever, anybody wants to, put in front of you. And that is key, especially, right now.

Thank you, brother. Appreciate you.

SLAVITT: Thanks for having me on, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. We need to know exactly why an American gave an order that killed those 10 innocent Afghan civilians. Two reasons, one, you're America, two, you got to be worried about what happens, in response now, especially when we have Americans and allies that are still there.

So, we need to understand, the groundwork, laid years ago that helped make what the Pentagon calls, a tragic mistake, more likely to occur.

I'll tell you what I'm talking about, next.









CUOMO: Let's start here. All of this was wrong.




KIRBY: The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the Earth, that's a good thing.


CUOMO: The truth? 10 civilians, seven of them kids, not a good thing, all killed by the American Military. Not a good thing. None of them had anything to do with ISIS-K.

When you look at the damage done, keep in mind this was in the middle of a neighborhood. So, that secondary explosion, what the DOD said was proof they stopped a terror attack, turns out, it was likely somebody's propane tank.

The Pentagon today, admitting what reporters on the ground, have been saying, for weeks. Here it is.


GEN KENNETH MCKENZIE, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: It was a mistake. And I offer my sincere apology. As the combatant commander, I am fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome.


CUOMO: Look? It's good that that came out, but not this way.

These things happen in war. War is hell. And that is not an excuse. But it is a reality. That's why America has to try very, very hard, to be better than the norm, and certainly better than this.

We got it wrong. That's clear. What's also clear is this wasn't the first time, and it won't be the last. I'm telling you that.


Strikes like this are the only option we have, in Afghanistan. And that's why people were arguing, to keep a force there, not everybody, but enough, so that you can have Intelligence gathering, on the ground. There is no substitute.

Remember, Biden said, "We're not done fighting terrorists there."


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Anyone who wishes America harm, know this. We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.


CUOMO: It's just not as easy to do that, from abroad. We can only do that using now, what they call, over-the-horizon capabilities, over- the-horizon. In other words, what? Drone strikes, really.

The reality is some 71,000 civilians died, in the 20 years, international forces were in Afghanistan. And our forces have even fewer resources now to make sure they're doing it right. And, simple reason, again, we're not there.

A big part of that equation is the fact that in 2017, we made it easier for exactly this kind of mistake to happen.

The Trump administration, in 2017, relaxed the rules of engagement, for airstrikes in Afghanistan. And from the end, of the Obama administration, to the last full year of data, we have, during Trump's time, civilian deaths increased 330 percent.

How many press conferences, at the Pentagon, or comments by Congress, did you see about those deaths? You never heard me talk about it. Everybody that matters fell asleep, just like you didn't hear much in 2019 when Trump weakened rules, about disclosing how many civilians are killed by drones.

For 20 years, both parties accepted thousands of civilian deaths as the price of preventing another 9/11. The question for anyone in power is, is that America at her best?

We're going to take a break. When we come back, there is new information, in the search for 22-year-old Gabby Petito. There is a new twist.

Her last contact with her family was weeks ago, vanished after a cross-country trip, with her fiance. He did not talk about it. He did not lead the search, as far as we know. And he was not cooperative with police.

Tonight, new information that absolutely changes the face, of this, next.









CUOMO: All right, we have new information, on the case of the missing young woman, from New York, Gabby Petito. She was with her fiance. They were doing the van thing, going across the country, and hiking. She is now missing.

The FBI is now involved in the investigation. That's according to the attorney for Gabby's fiance, Brian Laundrie. And he is where we find the major twist.

Obviously, there's been a lot of curiosity, about why he hasn't worked with police yet, why he hasn't said anything, frankly, why he isn't leading this effort, to find his fiance.

Law enforcement says Laundrie has refused to speak or cooperate with them. They now say they don't know where he is. North Port, Florida Police, and the FBI, searched his family home, early this evening, as demonstrators gathered outside.

Earlier this evening, the Police Chief, spoke to CNN. Listen.


CHIEF TODD GARRISON, NORTH PORT, FLORIDA POLICE: He's physically not in the home, as far as I'm aware right now.

He could be anywhere.


CUOMO: Laundrie's attorney says the FBI removed items from the property. We don't know what.

You'll remember Laundrie and Gabby were traveling together, in a white 2012 Ford Transit van. He returned home, with the van, but without her.

A staff member from a Fairfield Inn & Suites, in Salt Lake City, told CNN, FBI and Police officers, visited the hotel recently, where Gabby was reportedly seen, checking out, on August 24. She was reported missing on September 11.

Joining us now is PIO, Public Information Officer, for the North Port, Florida Police, Josh Taylor.

Thank you, sir.


CUOMO: So, let's begin at the beginning, for these latest events. The Laundrie family asked police to come to the home. Is that accurate?

J. TAYLOR: That is accurate.

CUOMO: Why? J. TAYLOR: So, they called us there, this evening. Once we've gotten there, they are now claiming that they have not seen their son, since Tuesday.

CUOMO: Is that why they asked you to come? That was what they wanted you to know?

J. TAYLOR: Yes, sir.

CUOMO: What were the circumstances, surrounding their understanding, of where he had gone, and why they had waited three days? How do they explain it?

J. TAYLOR: Yes. I think some of that is this is Chris, literally, these - our detectives were at that house, less than 45 minutes ago. They left there. Some of this, we're still trying to figure out.

We've been trying, all week, to talk to his family, to talk to Brian. And now, they've called us here, on Friday. We've gone to the home. And they are saying that they - now, they have not seen their son.

So, we are working through those details, as we speak. So it is - it is another twist, in this story, for sure.

CUOMO: Do they explain it as him just disappearing? Was he angry? Did he leave a note? What was the last message? Anything like that?

J. TAYLOR: Right. I - we do have some details on that, Chris. Respectfully, I just cannot release those yet. I think that that will come out here very shortly.


We just want to get our ducks in a row a little bit. This is a - this has been a very quickly developing situation, here, in just the last hour, really, for the most part. So, we're working through that. We want to make sure that we're accurate in everything that we're saying.

CUOMO: But let's do it this way. Do you have any indication to work off, off of what his state of mind is, and where he may be?

J. TAYLOR: We do not. We have not - we have - we tried to talk with Brian, on Saturday. We were refused being able to speak with him. His parents essentially handed us a note, for their attorney, which we have reached out to, on multiple occasions.

This is our first interaction with them, here, Friday.

We know that this young man was back here, in our community, on September 1st. She was not reported missing by her family, until September 10th, or 11th, I'm sorry. So, there's already been a huge amount of time that he's been back here in this community.

CUOMO: To your knowledge, has Brian Laundrie explained anything, to anyone, about Gabby's disappearance? Did the family know anything? J. TAYLOR: What the family knows, we need to know from them. It is very possible that he shared some of these details with them. They obviously weren't there. So, they would be getting his rendition, potentially, of whatever took place. So, but certainly, we would love for them, to share with us what he shared with them.

CUOMO: They still haven't?

J. TAYLOR: Not to my knowledge, sir.

CUOMO: A search of the van, is there any indication, other than the curiosity of his noncompliance that indicates foul play?

J. TAYLOR: I don't know that there's anything definitive on that. I'll say that the FBI, along with our team, went through that van, I think, Tuesday, of this week.

Sometimes, you only get one shot at it. So, it was done with a team full of experts, who do this, all over the country. I can tell you that there were items taken, from that van. And certainly, they are going through the process.

CUOMO: Have you guys developed a timeline yet, in terms of when Brian left, and what his movements were?

J. TAYLOR: Yes, I think we have an idea. With every tip that comes in, again, 1-800-CALLFBI. That van made it across this country. It certainly didn't do it on one tank of gas. There were people that saw this van, all the way down, here into Florida.

I don't know that I fully answered your question, Chris. But we're certainly putting that timeline together with every call that comes in with people who say, "I saw them."

We've worked to confirm it. We've worked with agencies across this country, in little towns, and big towns, and just trying to corroborate the information that comes in. We get a lot of information that is simply isn't credible.

CUOMO: Right.

J. TAYLOR: But those nuggets that helped that timeframe, you think you've got it, you think you've got what's going on, another piece of information comes in, and now all of a sudden that's not credible. So, it is fluid.

CUOMO: Does the FBI have better capabilities to try to locate Gabby's cell phone?

J. TAYLOR: We are working in collaboration with the FBI. Certainly, I mean, the answer to that question is, yes.

Well we are working and collaborating with them, not only the FBI, out of Tampa, the FBI office, out of Denver. So, there's no shortage of collaboration, and us utilizing every tools, every tool that they have. At the end of the day, we do not believe if there was a crime that was committed that it happened here in our community, in North Port.

So, it will ultimately, if we get - we're still hoping for the best. Don't get me wrong. But we have to plan for the worst. And ultimately, that's probably going to rain down on some other community, here in the United States.

CUOMO: Josh Taylor, thank you very much, for giving us information, from the North Port, Florida Police. Appreciate you.

J. TAYLOR: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, be well and good luck.

All right, I want to also make sure everyone sees the new Missing Person poster, for Gabby that the FBI released today. Again, you can call the FBI, if you have anything, 1-800-CALLFBI. That is 1-800-225- 5324.

Now, finding is the job. But missing is the agonizing reality, for the Petito family. The 22-year-old's stepfather is here. And every day is hell for them, until they find out where she is, and God willing that she's OK.

What does he want us to know? What does he make of this twist? Next.









CUOMO: Let me show you the good news. The FBI is now heavily involved in this investigation, nobody is better in our system at finding people.

They have a Missing Person poster now, for Gabby Petito. They are involved in the case, of course, with local police, and there're going to be different jurisdictions involved, as they find places to look.

I want to bring in Gabby's stepfather, to see what the family makes, of the new developments.

It is good to see you again, brother. I'm sure the information that the family says they haven't seen Brian, since Tuesday, is tough to hear.

JIM SCHMIDT, GABBY PETITO'S STEPFATHER: Yes, it's the first time we're hearing it. I don't think I even had a moment to fully digest it yet. Yes.

CUOMO: So, they called--

SCHMIDT: I don't even know what to say.

CUOMO: They called the police, and asked them to come, and then told them that, and that they don't know where he is.

Do you believe that?


SCHMIDT: I'm not sure. We're happy that they called the police in, and they want to cooperate. But until I hear something official, from the law enforcement, I'm not going to - I'm not going to speculate. I don't know what to believe.

CUOMO: In your head, and your heart, is there any good reason, for someone, who cares about Gabby, to not be participating in the search?

SCHMIDT: I think we've gotten over this over and over again. And I don't think anybody has an answer for that. There's - it doesn't make sense.

CUOMO: In the time that you knew them together, was he ever somebody that you were worried about?

SCHMIDT: At this point, I'm not going to comment on their relationship anymore.

CUOMO: All right. In terms of what you can control right now, what is it that matters to you, and what you're able to do, and what you need help with?

SCHMIDT: All that matters is, is finding her and bringing her home.

We're still trying to get the word out there, you know, and try to find that one person that might have some details that we need, and just trying to get out there, and find that person. And hopefully, they can help us with anything, that'll - that'll bring her home.

CUOMO: When you go back now, and look at the last couple of times that you were in contact with Gabby, is there anything there that you didn't see during those communications that is helpful now?

SCHMIDT: I'm not sure. We've been analyzing everything as much as we can. And your mind races in a million different directions, when you're - when you're trying to put something like this together. And it's - we're just still trying to get a full grasp on the whole situation.

CUOMO: Look? You're a dad, not an investigator. And nobody expects you, to be the person, who puts the case together, to find out where your daughter is.

How are you holding up? How's your wife? How's the family?

SCHMIDT: Yes, we're - we have each other right now, and we're keeping each other up, remaining strong. We have our moments. We're human. But we're still focused on what we need to do. And that's to find her. And we're determined to do that.

CUOMO: All right, listen, I'm not going to belabor this. What can we do?

SCHMIDT: Just keep getting the word out. The FBI put a new poster out with some different photos.

CUOMO: We got it up on the screen right now, Jim.

SCHMIDT: Yes, that's huge. It's some different photos, not just the ones that have been out there. So, maybe that sparks something in the public that somebody didn't recognize before. And just keep getting that word out there, and keep this fresh, in the media, so it keeps going, until we find her.

CUOMO: We intend to do just that. And, as we said in the past, you got my number. You can use it whenever you want. Things that you hear, things that you haven't heard, whatever it is, that helps, that's our job, all right?

SCHMIDT: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: All right, I wish strength, and togetherness, right now, for the family, as you get through this.

SCHMIDT: Thank you so much. I'm sorry that I've just - very caught off guard, by just hearing what we heard, so.

CUOMO: Hey, Jim? You should be.


CUOMO: This is not a good development. The way it developed is not good. And it should be upsetting.

It's upsetting to people, who never met Gabby, who were following this. It certainly should be upsetting to those who love her most. So, you have nothing to apologize for. And I'm sure everybody's going to do the job. I know we will.

Jim Schmidt, strength, and I know that you guys are praying, and I'm sure a lot of people are praying with you. And we're here. We're a call away. God bless.

SCHMIDT: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. That is Jim Schmidt. That is the stepfather of Gabby. That is her father. He loves her very much, trying to find her.

1-800-CALLFBI, if you have any tips, 1-800-225-5324.

We'll be right back with the handoff.









CUOMO: Quick program note. Sunday night, there's a special, "THE PRICE OF FREEDOM," a CNN Film that explores how the NRA went from a non- partisan sporting-enthusiasts' organization, to a politically- influential force, shaping American policy, and culture, for more than five decades. There are a lot of surprises in there.

And after that, we have a special edition of CUOMO PRIME TIME. We're going to look at the issues examined, in the movie, with some key players. It's Sunday 9 P.M. Eastern.

So, look? Let me just take one step back, to Gabby Petito. We're getting a ton of questions about it. This is a big question mark.

And absolutely, it is fair scrutiny, to say the person who has to know, the most has participated the least. And no, in my 20-plus years of doing this, I've never seen anyone, who cares about someone, who goes missing, not having anything to do with the search.

That cannot be seen as dispositive or even indicative of guilt. There is no crime here. This is a search. It just has to be really discomforting for the loved ones of Gabby to hear that the person they need, to hear from most, is gone.

And his family didn't know for three days. You think all the strain all the stress, if he did nothing, anything here, to be culpable about, they must be keeping tabs on him. They must be worried about him. Three days? And then you call the police, and say, "We don't know where he is?"

It's very upsetting. It's very curious. And the search will continue.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT," with its big star, D. Lemon, right now.