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NYT: Trump Campaign Knew Lawyers' Voting Machine Claims Were Baseless; FBI: Autopsy Confirms Remains Found Are Gabby Petito; DHS Secretary "Horrified" Over Images From Border. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 21, 2021 - 21:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Breaking news out of Capitol Hill.

Moments ago, the House voted, to pass legislation, preventing government shutdown, to the end of the month, and suspend the nation's borrowing limit. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Republicans have vowed to block it.

This is not over. Neither is the news. So, let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That vote is a suggestion of hard times, to come, for President Biden.

John, thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

First, we have breaking news tonight. An autopsy has confirmed that the body, found by the FBI, is indeed 22-year-old Gabby Petito. And someone definitely killed her. The coroner ruled out natural causes, or suicide, and ruled the death a homicide.

First, my sympathies to the Petito family. I know they have had 10 days of desperation, since reporting their 22-year-old missing.

And now, there are two big questions that must be answered. How did Gabby die? And what does that, and all the other circumstantial evidence, tell us about who killed her?

Tonight, we have all the best clues the FBI is working with, as well as the biggest unknown. Where is Gabby's fiance, Brian Laundrie? The FBI now, asking for the public, to help, and still no help from his family.

But first, we got to talk politics. We are in a real political pressure point. Do you realize how precarious a position the President is in, and not with the "Big lie," not with people, who wanted to steal the election, not with people, trying to convince people that it's freedom, to not take the vaccine? His own party! Tonight's vote on moving the debt ceiling, that's just a stray shot. The real risk, the real risk is that the Democrats may hand power back to the Trumpers. How? These internal divisions are real and really threatening Biden's agenda. It may not get done.

Pelosi pushing, the 27th, as a drop-dead date, for a spending bill that has no agreement, only makes things worse. The House is voting on legislation that could help avert a government shutdown, right?

The division though within the party is the problem. And it's real.

The center-left, the moderate Democrats are increasingly at odds with what the progressives want, which is what President Biden, that's his starting point. So, he's with the farther-left, on his spending bill. It's very aggressive.

The center-left, where he used to be, and the moderates, they really don't want it. And they're starting to almost sound like they're from different parties.

Here's the problem. If the Senate, the Democrats there, if they won't give, on the reconciliation price tag, in a way that appeases the far- left/the President, and the response from them, from the fringe, is to stall the infrastructure bill that's been agreed on in the Senate, President Joseph Biden could literally go 0 for 2.

You stave off the "Big lie." You stave off an insurrection. You beat the most poisonous president, in a generation, only to have your own party leave you vulnerable? Are you serious?

We have a master Democrat, Clinton strategist, with us tonight, to handicap the outcomes here.

And we have a real player, on the Democrat side, to see how deep the trouble is. That's Jamie Raskin. Now, he's also on the January 6 committee. And they got some more evidence to work with today.

And this also feeds in to the outlined problem, above, of what Biden is facing, because there is now more proof that Biden can't afford to have his own party in-fighting, when they have a real enemy on the other side.

How real? Enough to try to take down the democracy. Bold statement, backed by proof.

Tonight, we have proof that the people still on power, in the Right, pushing the new "Big lie," right, which is about "Hey, you got freedom. You don't have to take the vaccine, just because it's good for you, you know?" They really did have a plan to steal the election with Trump's "Big lie" about fraud.

Do you remember this?


SIDNEY POWELL, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: What we are really dealing with here, and uncovering more by the day, is the massive influence of Communist money, through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China, in the interference with our elections, here in the United States.

At the direction of Hugo Chavez.


RUDY GIULIANI, (R) FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: All you had to do is go online, and find out that Smartmatic is owned by Venezuelans close to Chavez.

There's nobody here that engages in fantasies.


CUOMO: The BS literally dripping down Mr. Giuliani's face!

Now, it turns out, this was not just these two freelancing fraudulently. This was part of a plan.

We're now learning, by the time of that news conference, on November 19, the Trump campaign had already prepared an internal memo, on those baseless claims, about voting machines, and they wanted to get energy, from the rank-and-file, to support this.

This comes, according to court documents, obtained by "The New York Times." We also learned that staffers determined that what was being cooked up had zero merit. So, what does that tell us?

Team Trump, knew Team Trump, was full of it, and still went full steam ahead, to overthrow our democracy, and got buy-in, from many of the people, who were still in positions of leadership, in fact, almost all of them, right now.

Now, Powell's defense, Sidney Powell, who you saw there, it makes more sense, now that you know that. The defense was "No reasonable person could believe what she says." Now, that makes sense, because she and her lawyers know that Trump's own staffers thought it was ridiculous. So, why wouldn't everybody else?

Giuliani and Powell have both been sued by Dominion and Smartmatic for defamation. Let's see if this tried-and-true Trumper-type defense saves them.

Now, I call it that not to be pejorative, but to point out a pattern, with big mouths on the Right, shouting that everything they don't like is "Fake," only to then beg courts, to see that they were clearly fake themselves. So, if they get sued, they can't be trying to defame anybody. You're not supposed to take them seriously.

Powell did it. Alex Jones, remember? He said he was only acting when he was held to account for his behavior in court. Fox's Tucker Carlson, what did his lawyers argue? "Oh, no, no, no, no, he can't be slandering you. He's not to be seen as credible." That's their basic argument. Now, of course, their audiences, and people, on the Right, they don't get this. But the reasonable do. And that's what Joe Biden should be worried about, not his own party.

So, we have questions. First, these lies, and the depth of them that keep coming out, from the Right, of what they wanted to do, to the democracy, will there be accountability? And the other big question is, are Democrats, going to make their own luck, or their own downfall?

We have a guest, to answer both of those questions, Chairman of the January 6 committee, the former Lead Impeachment Manager, of Trump impeachment number two, Democrat Congressman Jamie Raskin.

Good to see you, sir.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): And it's great to be with you, Chris.

I'm actually not the Chairman of the Committee. That's Bennie Thompson. But I'm a proud member of it.

CUOMO: Wait, you're not Bennie Thompson?

No, I'm sorry. You're right. Thank you very much, Jamie. And I hope you had an easy fast. And I hope the family is well.

Let's talk about these things. And tell Bennie, I said sorry. I'll have to tell him myself. The--

RASKIN: No problem. And our Vice Chair is Bennie (ph).

CUOMO: Yes. And thank you for that as well.

The stakes are this. On the accountability side, what do you think the chance is that the outcome, of your efforts, and the committee's efforts, will be anything more than what we've seen in the past, when it comes to try to hold Trump, and his people, to account?

RASKIN: Well, let's see. But let's start with the trials. I mean, in this second impeachment trial, we had concurrent robust bipartisan majorities, in the House and the Senate, declaring as a legislative and constitutional fact that Trump incited a violent insurrection against the Union.

It's true he beat the constitutional spread of two-thirds, so he wasn't convicted. But you had an overwhelming majority of members, of both the House and the Senate, declaring that he did it. And so, we established that. But that's just about one guy.

What we're working on now, in the select committee, is trying to determine what was the pattern of relationships, among the Trump entourage, and all of his political flunkies, like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon, with the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, the Aryan Nations, and the other violent extremist groups, who were mobilized?

There's an insurrection, to surround the political coup. And we usually think of coups as something taking place against a president.


This was a coup orchestrated by the President, against the Vice President, which is why they were chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" And trying to get him to reject Electoral College votes, exercising a power he obviously doesn't have.

CUOMO: So, because you have more players, and permutations, you have more possibilities, in terms of accountability, fine.

Is it true that subpoenas may start going out next week?

RASKIN: The Chairman has said that subpoenas are going to be going out very soon. And I think that's probably not unrealistic to expect it. But understand that we have tons of people coming forward.

We've got a great tip line. Most Americans understand it's not only a civic duty, to testify, about people, who participated in a criminal attack, on the Congress, but it's an honor, and a privilege to do so.

And we also have tons of information, from the social media, and what people were posting, on Facebook, on Twitter, and so on.

So, there might be some politicians out there, who think that they're really clever, and they're going to be able to destroy the evidence. They should think, again, because, we have lots, of what we need, to begin to put this story together, about what really took place, on January the 6th.

CUOMO: Well, and look, I mean, there's more and more proof coming out. I mean, even just these memos that have been revealed, show what we used to call in the law, scienter, right? There was malice aforethought, in terms of planning about things they knew were fraudulent, and trying to get them done.

All right, so now we shift to the other side of the ball, which is the straight politics of this situation.

What I'm outlining here, about what I see and hear, about going on, in your party, how worried are you that the President may not get an infrastructure bill, and may not get a spending bill, because your party cannot come together?

RASKIN: Well, I haven't been spending all my time on it. But I got to tell you, I'm not worried about the final analysis.

I think in the final analysis, everyone is going to come around, and get behind President Joe Biden, who represents the progressive mainstream, not just of the Democratic Party, but of America. And he is really the perfect President, for this moment.

And so, the progressives are saying, rightfully so, "We don't want half of the Biden program. We want the full Biden program." And yet, President Biden, I think, understands that there may have to be trims taken in, here or there, in terms of the program. Hey, I mean, that's in the nature of politics. That's in the nature of life. People make deals--

CUOMO: It's like a 50 percent haircut, on the Senate side, Jamie. It's not a--

RASKIN: Yes. I--

CUOMO: --it's not a trim.

RASKIN: Right. And the point we want to make is that the original number that we started with was a number, which was already a compromise. And we needed to invest in the working families, of America, to invest in daycare, for working families, to make that child tax credit, permanent.

We've just got to remind people of the substance of what's going on here. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make the extraordinary investments, in the American people that we need, that we've been waiting for.

So look, I think Joe Biden is a master politician. And I think, in the final analysis, he's going to be able to bring everybody together.

And the bottom line is that our constituents want us to find that moral center, of gravity, and move things forward. And so, all of us have an obligation to remember just what you were pointing out, which is that democracy is in the balance here.

I mean, we can't fool around with these people. They tried to overthrow the election, in 2020. They tried to reinstall Donald Trump, as president. So, that's what we have to keep our eyes on.

And whether we end up with $3.5 trillion, or $3.25 trillion, or whatever, we're going to be able to rally around the President's leadership, and our Speaker's leadership on this.

CUOMO: You think there's a chance, just quickly, that Pelosi moves the date from the 27th?

RASKIN: Again, I think all of the relevant actors would have to be in on that. She obviously had spoken, to a bunch of members, who were looking for that date. At the same time, anything can be done by unanimous consent. Put it like that, a lot of Congress operates on that principle.

So, if you get everybody's, you know, together, at the table, the bottom line is we want both of these pieces of legislation, both halves of the Biden program, to be enacted here. And I think that's where the vast majority of the Democratic Caucus is. In fact, I haven't spoken to a single member, who doesn't want both of them to pass.

CUOMO: Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you very much. Member of the January 6 committee, appreciate your input tonight.

RASKIN: Thanks so much for having me.

CUOMO: All right. Now, look? Jamie Raskin is an optimist, rightly so.

For his party's sake, he's hoping he's right, because if Democrats don't start getting on the same page, that agenda could be in real trouble. And if they don't have the deliverables, what happens in the midterm?


The House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said tonight, he hopes Biden has the "Secret sauce," to bring all factions of the party together.

Does a veteran Democratic Strategist see that happening? Does he know what the "Secret sauce" is? He's Cajun! Next.








CUOMO: Tomorrow, President Biden is hosting a meeting, with members of his party, in an effort to get his domestic agenda, back on track.

In just six days, the House is set to vote, on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. But so far, there's no deal, between progressive and centrist Democrats, on a larger budget bill.

"Well, why'd you - why? Well, I thought this was about infrastructure." No. They want them linked. And that's a big part of the problem here. Do you really care which bill comes first? Do you care if they both come at the same time? No, right? The politicians do.


Progressive say they won't vote on infrastructure alone. Biden obviously wants to pass both. So, he's sitting down with both sides of his party. Can he get them on the same page?

Let's get some perspective, of what all this, means, for the Democrats' chances.

James Carville, good to see you, sir.


CUOMO: What's the secret sauce? And do you think Biden has the secret sauce to mend fences? I know that's a mixed metaphor, but go with it.

CARVILLE: Well, right, right.

Benjamin Franklin said the "Secret sauce." We bet - we surely hang together. If we don't, we're hanging separately. And I think every Democrat, every American, needs to know what's at stake, at this meeting, tomorrow.

And Ken Burns, who allegedly knows, something about American history, says we're 1941 - 1861 territory here right now. So, I think the President has got to do this.

And I think the Democratic Party expects Democratic Members of Congress, to forge ahead, and vote on something together, or vote for it first, or vote for it second, but show the American people that you can do something, because if you don't, you're going to end up with 240 House Republicans, and 55 Senate House - Senate Republicans.

So, and our country's at an inflection point here. And people got to have some patriotism, and some can-do attitude, I think. It's bad.

CUOMO: An inflection point.

CARVILLE: And no question about it.

CUOMO: And an infection point.

Here's what I don't get, James. Help me understand this.

CARVILLE: Right, right.

CUOMO: They know, they're up against probably the most politically poisonous and powerful opposition, they faced, I think, in our lifetime, OK? They know that.


CUOMO: They know the "Big lie" was real. They know they'll double down on it. They see what they're willing to do, when it comes to the vaccine, and keeping people engaged in animus. And still, they decide to have this kind of fight?


CUOMO: About the one thing that can secure their power base?

CARVILLE: Well, they're going to have to step up. And I mean, President Biden, he was elected. He's very experienced. He knows Congress very well. He has good relationships. And this is a critical meeting we're having in Oval Office.

And look, already, they want to have a bill to control - control prescription drug prices, which is enormously popular, a bill to raise taxes, on incomes, over half a million dollars a year, which is enormously popular. And you have Democratic operatives working, the hedge fund, and pharmaceutical companies, run around Washington, killing this stock. Somebody needs to name these people, right?

They need to say "This guy professes to, and this woman professes to, be a big Democrat, and they're keeping drug prices high. They're keeping taxes low on wealthy people." I mean, it's time to step up here, because the country is in trouble, and people are looking to get something done.

And that enormously popular proposals we have that are just that, proposals that are sitting there, and being killed by the Washington lobbyists. And this has got to end, and somebody's got to speak up to this. These are popular proposals. And, of course, we got to get some infrastructure thing.

If you get - if you don't get nothing, you can imagine what it's going to be like in 2023. If you get $2.3 trillion, well you get - keep the House, and get to 52 Democratic senators, and you can get another trillion.

But the biggest event we got coming up is the election in 2022, and to save the country, because we know what happened - going to happen, when they get in there. It's going to be a catastrophe.

CUOMO: You have a more sophisticated sense of what the problem here is, and what the holdup is than simply Joe Manchin. Because that's all you hear from the Democrats, "Oh, it's Joe Manchin! Joe Manchin is the problem!" But that's not true.


CUOMO: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said, "I'm not voting for that infrastructure bill, if we don't get the full amount of spending."

You're not getting the full amount of spending. That seems pretty clear right now. So what does that mean?


CUOMO: What do you say to that faction?

CARVILLE: Right. Well, I say we got Speaker Pelosi, and President Biden.

Chris, a lot of times people will take a hard line, right up to the point of negotiating. And no one wants to walk into a negotiation, walk into a meeting, and say, "Well, I'm willing to give up, 35 percent of what I got."

I think that Congresswoman Cortez is a patriotic person. I know - I think Senator Manchin is a patriotic person. I think Senator Sinema is a patriotic person.

And patriotism requires some sacrifice, requires giving something up, for the larger good. I mean no one's asking them to get shot at. We're just saying, "Sit down and do."

And these things are popular. It's not like you're taking an unpopular stand. And the President's not asking you to do something that's unpopular. And he's popular, in progressive districts. And he's popular, in the Democratic Party.

So, we got to be grown-ups here. This is - this can be - this could end very poorly. And I'm not being overly negative here, or pessimistic. But it's that tomorrow's a big day. And it'll take some wrangling.


But I think - I think Speaker Pelosi is very, very skilled, as is Senator Schumer. And they're just going to have to land this airplane. And I'm not a legislative strategist. And I don't know how. But if they don't, I know politics, and it's going to be ugly, very ugly.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, and I don't understand that 27th date, put up by Pelosi.


CUOMO: I mean it seems like you guys need more time, not less.


CUOMO: But we'll see what happens, James. And I'd love to have you come back.

CARVILLE: They do, yes.

CUOMO: Because there's nobody I'd rather listen to--

CARVILLE: Well, thank you there.

CUOMO: --more, about that party.

CARVILLE: OK. Well, thank you. That's very kind of you.

And Congressman Raskin was very good. And he was more optimistic than me. I hope he's right.

CUOMO: He is. I mean, he's a very sober guy. He believes in his party.


CUOMO: I also think he's not really--


CUOMO: --paying attention to it as much either. He knows that he'll vote to make it all happen.

CARVILLE: Right. He's--

CUOMO: He's worried about the other side. And he should be because that is an existential threat.


CUOMO: That's the part of this that makes no sense.

CARVILLE: And he should be, yes.

CUOMO: You dealt with this in the Clinton years. It's not that you can't have problems within your party--


CUOMO: --and find a way through it. You got people willing to go all- in to beat you. And they don't care what they break and what it means.


CUOMO: And you still fight with yourself? Doesn't make sense.


CUOMO: James, let me jump.

CARVILLE: Yes, well you're right.

CUOMO: Be well. Take care.

CARVILLE: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

CARVILLE: Thank you.

CUOMO: Look, let's go back to Gabby Petito.

We're going to stay on this. And I know that it's not a popular thing to do, to kind of go at the Democrats, and how they're doing it. I'm telling you, right now, as things stand, they are their own worst enemy.

And that's saying something, when you've got these Trumpers, and we have proof, they were willing to submarine the democracy, to be quiet, when people attack the Capitol, to still decertify the election, even after they watched that.

And you're going to mess around with yourselves? Crazy!

Now, to Gabby Petito, and something we can all be on the same page about. We know for sure, the body found near Grand Teton, this weekend, was her. She was killed. Was not natural causes, she did not kill herself. What does this mean for the investigation?

There are key things that we need to know. The biggest is obviously where's the fiance? The search intensified. But they don't know where he is.

You're about to hear from someone, who says she was with Brian Laundrie, after Gabby was last heard from. Our best clues, next.









CUOMO: All right, let's talk about Gabby Petito, and let's talk about what we know. The newest information is sad, but necessary, to know for the investigation.

An autopsy has confirmed that the body found, two days ago, in Wyoming, is Gabby Petito. We're still waiting on details. And that will be important. Now, the coroner gave a preliminary finding that this is a homicide. That means death by person, meaning someone did it. Wasn't natural cause, Gabby didn't kill herself.

But how she died has not been determined. That will be very important, because it will shed light, on what the circumstances may have been, maybe even what the motivations may have been. The idea that it was some random versus someone she knew maybe very, very well.

The 22-year-old disappeared, at some point, in late August, while on a trip, exploring national parks, with her fiance, Brian Laundrie.

On September 1, Laundrie returned to his Florida home, in their white van, without her. And then, vanished, himself, after an investigation, into her disappearance began ramping up. Most notably, he did not help, in that investigation, neither, did his family.

It's been one week since he went missing. Police have been searching a vast and swampy nature reserve in Florida. No answers.

More of what we do know, about his final days, out west, is coming from witnesses, specifically, a young woman, named Miranda Baker.

Now, she claims she picked up Brian Laundrie, on a road, in the same general area, in Wyoming, where Gabby's body was later found, on August 29th, just days after their last video correspondence, Gabby, with her mother.

When she picked up Brian, he was alone. And there's more to it. And here is Miranda Baker, explaining, in her own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIRANDA BAKER, CLAIMS SHE PICKED UP LAUNDRIE HITCHHIKING: He approached us, asking us for a ride, because he needed to go to Jackson, which we were going to Jackson that night. So, I said, you know, "Hop in."

He hops in the back of my Jeep. We then proceeded to make small talk. But before he came in the car, he offered to pay us, like $200, to give him a ride, like 10 miles. So, that was kind of weird.

He then told us he's been camping for multiple days, without his fiancee. He did say he had a fiancee, and that she was working on their social media page, back at their van.

Then, once like, in conversation, I brought up, yes, like "We're going to Jackson." He freaked out. He's like "Nope, I need to get out right now," you know, like "pull over."

So, this is where we picked him up. We picked him up in Colter Bay, and we dropped him off by this dam. He was hitchhiking. There was no van. Gabby was not with him. It was just him.

He said he was hiking along Snake River, which is up here, and it kind of like goes down a little bit. And he said he was gone for multiple days, and he had left his fiancee, never called her by her name, back at their campsite.

He was gone for multiple days without her, and he was sleeping on a tarp.


When we picked him up, he had a backpack, long sleeves, a hat on, and scruff. He wasn't clean-shaved, and he had hiking boots on. But he didn't look dirty. The only, thing, dirty about him, were his shoes.


CUOMO: All right, now police in North Port, Florida, confirmed to CNN that Baker spoke with the department, before posting the videos, on TikTok, and that her account seems plausible to them.

It would be a very weird set of circumstances. Now, Miranda says this encounter happened, August 29, in the Tetons area. That's the right area. What about the date? Gabby's body was found, Sunday.

Every detail matters. Where he was? How he was? What was his demeanor? What was he saying? What was his story? Does it line up? Does it add to what investigators know, so far, specifically about the timeline?

Now, again, Laundrie has not talked to police, in the days, since he came back, hasn't happened. Neither is his family. He has not been charged with a crime. In fact, only now do we know that somebody killed Gabby. So now, we know a crime was committed. Will he be charged? We don't know.

The question is where does it go from here? We have the perfect guest to discuss this with. Our brilliant legal mind, he's been through many of these investigations. Where do you need to go from here? Next.









CUOMO: We now know that Gabby Petito is dead, and that she didn't kill herself. She didn't die of natural causes. Somebody killed her. Her fiance is still nowhere to be found.

So, where do we go from here? Let's bring in top legal mind, former criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson.

Good to see you, brother.


CUOMO: Now, how long, Gabby Petito was out there, and no longer alive, how much does that matter, in terms of them, deciding cause of death?

JACKSON: So, everything matters, right? Any investigation, you're going to undertake a number of things, like what? You want to know, the where, what, when, how, why. All of those are significant. Some, we know. Some, we don't.

We know where it happened. The police have isolated that fact, right. Now that we have the where, when it happened? They've isolated to the extent that they think they have sort of the parameters, of when it would have occurred.

How it happened is yet to be determined. We're going to learn that, as it relates to the autopsy report, right? And so, the circumstances, under which it happened, we don't yet know.

But I think the police have an awful lot. At the end of the day, even in the event, right, and you have a body here, right, as tough as it is to say that, Chris, and that's going to give them a ton of clues with respect to exactly what occurred.

What did he do? What was the cause of death, right, perhaps isolating it down to, well, not to get graphic about it, so we'll skip that.

But the bottom line here is that you look at everything there, and then you look and assess his conduct. And what you find, when you have the conduct, is a lot of circumstantial evidence.

A critical fact, in this case, is the fact that he ran. Why? It then - it evidences consciousness of guilt.

You could explain away the hitchhiking. "Oh, he went somewhere. He was gone for a brief period of time." You could explain the indication that he was hiking alone, or at least so he said, to Ms. Baker, right? "OK. They separated for a little while. He was hiking alone."

What you can't explain is where the guy is, why did he run, and why did he really feel that he needed to evade authorities? And those are going to be questions, in the event he's brought back safely that everyone is going to want to know. If there's an innocent explanation, you stay and explain. You don't run and hide.

CUOMO: Now, in terms of them, not immediately being able to say, how Gabby was killed, I am told, by several different forensic experts that you and I both know that that makes it very likely that it wasn't an obvious thing.

It wasn't a gunshot to the head, or a massive chest wound, or a multiple stabbing that it probably goes to the categories of blunt force trauma, and ligature marks, meaning some form of strangulation, which are also particular crimes of passion.


CUOMO: And if it is something that is a more relatable idea of passion? That starts to point at the fiance, because it suggests--


CUOMO: --well who would have been that angry with her? Probably someone she knows.

JACKSON: Yes, I would agree with that. But, I think, at the end of the day, prosecutors are going to just focus the public, not on splitting hairs.

We can argue about whether it was strangulation. We could argue about whether it was blunt force trauma. We could argue about the specific circumstances surrounding her death.

I think prosecutors are going to remind any jury, in the event it gets that far, of one thing. She's gone. Who was with her at the time? He was. How long were they together? Why were they documenting and recording everything that they were doing, up until the point, where they were not?

Why did it come to the point, where he left her? He goes home. She's not there. Why did it come to the point, where he then leaves? And, of course, they subsequent, when he didn't cooperate, with the authorities, find the body.

So, we could talk about the niceties, or the indelicacies of the fact that what exactly it was. But the end result, let's keep our eye on the prize, no matter what it was, she's gone.

CUOMO: Right.

JACKSON: Whose hands did that? It was - the prosecutor will argue, "Your hands. And we have all the circumstances leading to you."

CUOMO: But, last point? And we're still very preliminary on this. There is no crime. There is no charge. There is no named suspect.

But, on that level, if Brian Laundrie is found, and he says, "I ran, because I couldn't take the pressure. And I didn't say anything to cops, because my family lawyer told me not to. And I didn't do it."


And where does that lead you, other than the fact that he ran, and that he was around her, at around the time that she died? If that's all you have, is that enough?

JACKSON: It's playing. So understand this. Before you can allege all those things, right, you have to, what's called testify. And when you're on the stand, you'll be savaged.

"Sir, it's fair to say that you were with Ms. Laundrie (ph) correct? You were traveling around together? Is that right? And you went on a country trip, across the country, right?"

CUOMO: Why would he testify?

JACKSON: Because how would you--

CUOMO: You know you wouldn't let him testify.

JACKSON: --how would you get that information out there? Oh, how would you, if you're--


JACKSON: --otherwise defending him, and you want to tell the jury that "Oh, I ran. I could explain this. I could explain that." Someone has to explain it. Your attorney can't just give opening statements saying anything.

You have to substantiate, corroborate and explain. And the only one who could explain is him. And if he does go the route that you're suggesting, to make these convenient excuses, he has to expose himself, to an attorney, who's going to want answers.

We, Chris, can say anything we want. "The sky is green. The sky is yellow." But when you get on that stand, and have to explain, and be subjected to questioning, it becomes a whole different matter.

CUOMO: No, well-said. And true.

Joey Jackson, appreciate you, as always.

JACKSON: Always. Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, to something we know all too much about, the humanitarian crisis at the border. What is the Biden administration going to do? It's not enough to be horrified. It's on your watch, OK?

The problem isn't that we have CBP people on horseback. That's something that they do. How they act when they're on horseback? That's something else. But what you do about this, the rules, the resources? What is the plan?

I want to bring in somebody. CBP is a very unique law enforcement. They have a connection to the people that they're policing. They have a humanity that is unusual. I've seen it many times, for many years.

I want to bring in the Head, of the National Border Patrol Council, to talk about what they're up against, and what would really help? From the people who do the job, next.









CUOMO: This picture has been everywhere, because it's an ugly image.


CUOMO: But it's an ugly reality as well. And we have to be better than this.

We have to be better than this, for the image it sends, of this country, what it means, for the people, who are desperate, to get into this country, and how we feel about them, and how we take care, of the men and women, who keep us safe, on the border.

You're going to have accountability. Capitol Hill, Secretary of Homeland Security, they're going to talk. The video of border patrol agents using their reins, to turn back hungry migrants, has triggered an investigation.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I was horrified to see the images. And we look forward to learning the facts that are produced from the investigation. And we will take actions that those facts compel. We do not tolerate any mistreatment, or abuse, of a migrant. Period!


CUOMO: It's not about just that, OK? It's about the entire situation, this mass of humanity, under the Del Rio Bridge, in Texas. Do you know why they're there? I know there are all these conspiracy theories, online, about it. I'll tell you why they're here.

Most of them are Haitian, OK? After the problems in that country, the assassination of the Prime Minister, the devastating earthquake, the Biden administration granted, what's called, TPS, to Haitians, Temporary Protective Status. But that ended about three weeks ago.

So, a lot of Haitians had left already, and did leave, and were in Central and South America. They were trying to get here, in time for that. When it ended, people didn't make the deadline. That's why there's been this big influx.

Now, what do we do about it? Let's bring in Brandon Judd, President, National Border Patrol Council, in Del Rio, tonight.

Good to see you, sir.


CUOMO: I want to be very clear. The image, and what individual officers do, they're going to be held to account. That will be investigated.

But I've said it many times, and I'll say it, in front of you, tonight.

I believe that CBP officers, the men and women, I've been with, over decades, many times, and many situations, have more of a connection to the humanity, of their mission, than any other law enforcement, I've ever been around.

So, I'm not here to demonize the men and women. I'm here to plead the case that they are being victimized, by the politics of this situation, that they have too much land, not enough people, bad rules, and not enough resources, to take care of the people that they have to hold.

What's your impression?

JUDD: Yes, when you look at, in the past, everything that Border Patrol agents have done, as far as crisis to crisis, we have brought in our own resources. We've purchased diapers. We've purchased formula. We've purchased toys. We've purchased books.

We have played with the children in our detention facilities. This is absolutely some of the best men and women, in law enforcement. They do the best job that they can every day, under circumstances that are just completely catastrophic.

When you look at 15,000 people, under a bridge? That is not humane. When you look at the squalor that they're living in? That's not humane. When you look at the temperatures, everything that they're dealing with? That's not humane.

And we're doing the best job that we possibly can. And, at the same time, we're being given orders, which we have to do, to actually enforce our laws, which is exactly what those horse patrol agents were doing.

The images, as long as you're showing every single one of the images, I'm not saying you, personally, but as long as everybody's showing every single one of the images, those images are very different, from the different angles that you see.

So again, I think that people are jumping to conclusions way too fast, on what took place, with those horse patrol agents.


But again, if you look at the humanitarian mission that we do, we're trying to do the best that we can, every single day.

CUOMO: I hear you. And look, everybody's an individual. You whip somebody with reins? You're going to have trouble. But again, it has to be investigated.

Quickly, tell me what is needed, to do the job, the right way that you don't have now?

JUDD: Well, when you look at, what has worked in the past, when the Biden administration came in, and said that they're not going to continue with the "Remain in Mexico" program, that's fine. If you say that that's inhumane, that's fine.

But you have to have a policy in place to deal with it. You must hold people in custody, pending their asylum or deportation proceedings. If you don't do that, you reintroduce the catch-and-release magnet.

Once that magnet is reintroduced, you have all the people, come into the United States. It is inhumane to leave people, in limbo, for years, until their court appearances. You have to do those quickly.

It's the burden of proof is on those individuals to show that they have a right to be here, in the United States. Hold them in custody, pending their hearings. And if they do have that right, then you release them into the United States. You don't release them before that.

CUOMO: Brandon Judd, this conversation is to be continued. Thank you, brother, and be well.

JUDD: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll be right back with the handoff. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)