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Pelosi Scrambles For Votes On Infrastructure Bill As Progressives Hold Line On $3.5 Trillion Spending Bill; FBI Visits Laundrie Home; Army Veteran Captures Gator In Trash Can Outside Florida Home And Releases It Into Nearby Pond. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 30, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We won't repeat Jones' lies here, only to say that they were lies, and horrible.

Nine families, who lost loved ones, filed lawsuits, against Jones, and Infowars. A jury will be convened to determine what Jones must now pay in damages. CNN has reached out to attorneys, for the plaintiffs, in the case. Alex Jones' attorneys has declined to comment.

News continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Interesting aspect of default judgments, Anderson, is that ordinarily the relief sought is what's granted. That's the risk in not doing what you're supposed to do, in other words, defaulting. So, we'll see.


CUOMO: Appreciate that. Let's see if there's history on our watch tonight, my brother. This is a big night!

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Are we going to see history? Will President Biden get the biggest infrastructure spending bill done ever, certainly since the New Deal?

Does he get that and the largest spending bill ever, on a raft of rescue money, for working families that is popular everywhere, all places, or faces?

Or does he get nothing, at least tonight?

The progressives are now in charge of that party. Often dismissed as the fringe, radical, socialist wing, they're in control. They are the stewards of President Biden's agenda.

The Speaker has three hours left, to unify her party, around this $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. And she is still signaling there will be a vote tonight. In fact, she's been optimistic all day.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We're on a path to win the vote.

Think positively.


CUOMO: How strong is the power of positive thinking? Because Pelosi said she'd only bring the vote to the floor, if she had the votes to pass it. And the progressives are being pretty clear about how any vote would go tonight.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're not worried some of your rank-and-file members of this Progressive Caucus--

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): No. The Caucus can - I have never--

RAJU: --will break ranks?

JAYAPAL: --I am so proud of our caucus. I have never seen our caucus so strong.


CUOMO: No deal on the "Build Back Better" bill, meaning the spending bill, no infrastructure. That's what the progressives are saying. And Jayapal, who you just heard, that is the Head of the Progressive Caucus in the House.

She also put out a tweet that was basically a smack-down, to the Speaker, reminding her caucus, "Stick to the plan. Pass both bills, together."

Now, to show how far apart this party is, you got Jayapal here, right? You have Josh Gottheimer, who is a leading moderate. He's one of the Problem Solvers Caucus. He says he's 1,000 percent certain that the infrastructure bill is going to pass tonight.

Are they in the same party? Are they in the same universe?

Let's go live, to Capitol Hill, with the very latest, to Chief Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju.

Manu, where are we?

RAJU: Well, I just spoke to Bernie Sanders, the Senate Budget Committee Chairman.

He was in a meeting, inside of Chuck Schumer's office, with top White House officials, as they've been scrambling, the White House Democratic leaders, to cut some sort of deal, an outline of a deal, on that larger bill.

And he told me, just moments ago, that the infrastructure bill, if it comes up for a vote, in the House, tonight, should be defeated. He's calling on progressives to defeat that bill.

And he calls it absurd that there is late-night deal-making on this massive large package that they're trying to move, and expand, the social safety net.

He said, this has been negotiated for months, and we shouldn't be working at the last minute, before a major vote, on this - on this larger package. We should continue to discuss, get a deal that we're all comfortable with and move both pieces of legislation together.

Now, that is significant, because what the White House and Democratic leaders had hoped was to get the deal, sort of an outline, that'll be signed up on, by all the major players, Manchin, Sinema, Bernie Sanders, Biden.

Get Pelosi and Schumer on board that could sell it to the Progressive Caucus, and they could say, "OK, we're going to move forward on that larger plan. We'll now green-light and approve that $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, send it to Biden's desk, because we know that other bigger bill, eventually will come forward."

But what Bernie Sanders just signaled, he said, "I'm not ready to do that right now. Let's defeat the bill."

And that's a real challenge to Pelosi, as she is pushing forward, for this vote, to still happen tonight, Chris. But it's really hard to see how she gets enough votes, a majority of the House, to approve it.

CUOMO: I have two questions, brother. First, it's interesting, right, because everybody's trying to put the stink on Manchin, but it is Bernie saying "No, don't even vote for that bill tonight."

Now, was Manchin and/or Sinema in the meeting that you're talking about right now, with Sanders, in the White House?

RAJU: So, they were not in the meeting. But Manchin and Sinema did meet, for about 45 minutes, together.

And then we know that they've also been having discussions, with various White House officials, Schumer's staff as well, through the course of the last several days, and including into today.

So, there had been some communication back-and-forth. But they were not at that meeting.


This was a meeting between Chuck Schumer's staff, with the White House staff, including Susan Rice, who's one of the top White House officials. She also is in the House side of the Capitol, trying to sort out some sort of agreement.

And Chris, the House was supposed to come back into session, this hour.

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: Because they thought they could get to a vote. They've delayed it to the next hour. So, there's still scrambling to get a deal. Nancy Pelosi is just not ready to pull the plug quite yet.

CUOMO: All right, so let's talk about Pelosi. That was my second point here.

People can say they like her, they don't like her. It is hard to find somebody, who knows the rules, and knows how to use power and leverage, within their party, better than Speaker Pelosi.

So, given how obvious the state of play is, to Bernie Sanders, to Jayapal, to Manchin, and many others, what are you hearing about the thinking, behind this forced timetable, by Pelosi?

RAJU: Well, she feels like she has to do it, in a lot of ways, because of a promise that she made, to the moderate Democratic members, and concerns that if they don't get this infrastructure bill out now, they may not get either, because some of those moderate Democrats may potentially walk away from that larger bill.

So, they wanted - they believe, if they can get some assurances that that larger bill could eventually move forward, that could be, at least they can get this one victory tonight, and get the second victory later on.

Now, the problem that she is facing is something that she can't really control. A lot of these progressives simply don't trust Joe Manchin. They don't trust Kyrsten Sinema.

They say they trust Nancy Pelosi, but they don't - Nancy Pelosi has no votes in the Senate. They need all 50 votes in the Senate, including Manchin and Sinema, to agree to that larger bill. So, that's where that trust deficit is coming from.

And you're talking to Democratic members, in the Progressive Caucus. They want that bigger bill approved, in both chambers, before they even vote yes, on the infrastructure bill.

So, even a framework, an outline of a deal that's signed off on, in principle, that's not passage of a bill that can become law. That is just a beginning of the process. And that is just simply not enough for a lot of those progressive members.

Now, can she - can change their minds? Can Biden change their minds--

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: --before tonight? It seems doubtful. But they've been working all day. So, we'll see if anything has changed here, Chris.

CUOMO: So then, it's fair to give a little bit of criticism, about the timing, because making the promise, to conservatives - to the moderates, what, are they going to really walk away from the biggest spending bill ever? What are they going to have to show for the midterms?

But it is not fair to say, "Oh, I guess Pelosi has lost her touch or her power, because she can't twist the arms of the progressives." They don't have a problem with her. And she doesn't have the leverage, because it's about the Senate.

RAJU: Yes. And the question, the criticism that I'm hearing about her is agreeing to that date, September 27th, to bring up this infrastructure bill.

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: Yes, she had to do that, because they needed to actually pass the first part, the first of the budget resolution, which actually sets the stage for that larger bill. That had to be approved first in the House.

To get into agreement, for those moderates, she had to agree to bring up the infrastructure bill, by September 27.

But she is now - I asked her today, was it a mistake to make that September 27th agreement? She said, "No, it wasn't," because tomorrow, at Friday, midnight tonight, highway funding will expire, all across the country.

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: Transportation programs will expire. So, she says this bill is needed to extend transportation funding.

But Chris, the reality is that they could potentially, and they probably will, pass a simple extension, for a couple of months, of existing highway funding, so there would not be any lapse of funding.

So, there is some criticism that this date has put them in this awkward position, where they can't get a deal, and they look like they're unable to govern. And they're facing a lot of criticism for not being able to deliver. And some folks, especially in the Left, call it an artificial deadline.

CUOMO: You are a fair and fearless questioner. Have you ever spoken to a leader, or a speaker, and asked them if they had made a mistake, and they said, "Yes?" Never!

RAJU: I - very rare.

CUOMO: Never!

RAJU: I can't remember.

CUOMO: Never! Yes, you can't recall, you mean?

RAJU: Yes.

CUOMO: That's the operative phrase!

RAJU: Yes.

CUOMO: Manu Raju, do me a favor. Get in my ear, and let me know if there's something happening that we have to update, on our watch. I'll come right back to you, OK?

RAJU: OK. Sounds good, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna, OK? He is in the mix. He's the Deputy Whip, on the progressive side, that caucus, within the party, up there on Capitol Hill, very active. He's seen as a fair broker. And it's been really good to have him on this show.

Congressman, thank you very much, for joining us again.

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Of course, Chris. Good to be on. Action-filled day!

CUOMO: So, does Manu have it right?

KHANNA: He does. He has it right. We have a progressive meeting coming up. I spoke with Senator Sanders.

Here's the thing. Progress seems to have been made today. At least Senator Manchin now has offered a framework. I actually hear that Senator Sinema is engaged. But we can't approve everything at midnight.

CUOMO: Right.

KHANNA: I mean we're going to have to see what the framework is. We need to have progressive input into the framework. But if the deadline has created a forcing function, to move the debate forward, that's good.

I just don't expect that the bill is actually going to pass today.

CUOMO: Right.

KHANNA: There's no way we can vote on something.


CUOMO: OK. And look, let's be honest. The timing, the urgency, the confusion, that's catnip for the media, you know? Will it happen? Won't it happen? To me, it's really like tertiary. It's not first. It's not second. It's like a third consideration.

Really, what matters here is what does framework mean?

When you say - because Manchin will say, "Look, I told Chuck Schumer, in July, what my number was, and what my concerns were, with how you pay for this," that beyond what your tax rates are, and what revenue you'll get, everything else, is, to him, magic, that it doesn't really exist, dynamic scoring and the rest. So, when you say you have a framework, what is that?

KHANNA: I don't think--

CUOMO: What's the framework?

KHANNA: I don't think we have one. We're working towards one. But I'll tell you what Senator Manchin has done that's constructive.

He said that we need to repeal a lot of the Trump tax cuts. That means he's open to raising the corporate tax rate. He's open to raising taxes on the very wealthy. He's open to raising certain capital gains taxes. You can get about $2 trillion of revenue by just doing that. And that's a solid base to start with.

He's also said he's open to expanding the child tax credit. He's open to preschool. He's open to investing in our seniors.

So, there are areas of disagreement. I don't think we ought to be means testing some of the things. There are areas, where we want to--

CUOMO: Wait let's talk about that, Ro, because again, a lot of people, we don't use this vocabulary, all the time.


CUOMO: So Manchin says, "I'm open to giving money." And they'll say - because people say to him, "Everybody in West Virginia wants this." First of all, they vote on culture issues down there, too, right? That's why Trump won it by 40 points.

He says, "Not everybody in West Virginia is equal. Not everybody in this country is equal. You must means test." And that, he says, is taking a look at who needs, this kind of help, and who doesn't, drawing a line, and then figure out how much to spend.

Why don't you like that?

KHANNA: For some things, I think, it makes sense. If you're going to talk about the child tax credit, to help working families, that makes sense, to give that to working families and middle-income families.

For other things, it makes no sense. For example, we don't means test school. When I went, to first grade, I had working-class kids there, and there were some rich kids there. And it would be awful, for this country, if everything was based, on economic class distinctions, we'd be more polarized.

So, when it comes to universal preschool, I don't think that should be means tested. And that's why we have to look at the framework, where we may agree, or not agree. There may be places where Senator Manchin is right. So, I get that.

CUOMO: Why should rich people get free preschool?

KHANNA: Well, just like rich people can go to public school. I think public school ought to be universal. I think public college ought to be universal. What I don't want is rich--

CUOMO: Why should rich people get free college?

KHANNA: Well, because I want people still to go to public college. I mean, do you want - first of all, most of the rich folks go to Ivy League schools anyway, or other private schools.

But if there've got to be places, in this country, public schools, public colleges, where we have a mixing of economic class, where everyone can go, there've got to be some universal programs like Social Security, Medicare. I mean, we're all in this together, Chris, as American.

CUOMO: Why can't you means test Social Security?


CUOMO: Just because you pay in, if you don't need the money, why don't you figure out a mechanism, where, above a certain amount, you get some kind of tax deduction, or something, but you don't get the money, because you don't need it?

KHANNA: Well, you know, what you could do is you can scrap the cap. So, if you're paying tax, over $250,000, you're going to pay in a lot more to Social Security. But I think it's important as a principle that every American participate in that program.

CUOMO: Me too!

KHANNA: Because it's a - it's a--

CUOMO: So, why don't you raise the cap? That would get you a ton of money.

KHANNA: Well I'm for that. Obama ran on that actually--

CUOMO: Right.

KHANNA: --back in 2000s.

CUOMO: Is Manchin in favor of that?

KHANNA: I don't know. I mean, that would be something worth talking.

You know what I don't understand, Chris, like one of the things is why can't you get - we have these siloed conversations. It's sort of like Manchin and Sinema, are talking to the White House, and the Speaker.

CUOMO: Right.

KHANNA: The progressives are talking to the Speaker. Why not just get everyone, have Manchin, the progressives, the White House, the Speaker, in the same room? They always do these in-silo meetings. And that--

CUOMO: I don't know. KHANNA: That I think--

CUOMO: I don't know.

KHANNA: And maybe that's what happens here. You get--

CUOMO: Why don't you get 50 of you guys, and go to Camp David?

KHANNA: Well, I mean, I think what will happen here is we'll have a framework, and then the progressives should get on board. But I think we should just get the key folks, in one room, and say, "OK, where do we agree, where do we disagree?" We get an agreement.

But this tonight is going to move us forward. I mean, it's what Manchin has done is constructive in saying that even Sinema voted against the Trump tax cuts. At the very least, we can have about $2 trillion of revenue, just by the repeal of the Trump tax cuts. And every Democrat is on the record, opposing those tax cuts.

CUOMO: I got to tell you, Ro Khanna, this is helpful, because you're explaining it in a way that will make sense to people, who don't follow, parliamentary minutiae, of what happens with the budgeting process.

But you don't believe there's going to be a vote today on the infrastructure bill. And who knows, maybe that's a good thing, if it allows you to get even more done.

So, good luck to you going forward, with doing the business of the people.


KHANNA: Thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.

CUOMO: Thank you for taking it.

All right, stay with us, because Ro could be wrong. Pelosi may put a vote out anyway, although again, why would Nancy Pelosi, right? I mean, strategists' strategist, why would she put something on that's not going to win?

Would that send some kind of message that she wants to send? I don't know. I've never seen her do that before. But that will happen on our watch.

We are seeing the Biden agenda face its biggest test, unfolding, on our watch. What happens tonight could make a very big impact, on his presidency, and on your life.

Our political A team on whether or not the Democrats are doing this, the right way, the wrong way, and what is likely, to come, as a result, next.









CUOMO: As Democrats scramble to break this stalemate, I got to tell you, I didn't even know that that's the right word. I mean, they weren't even really in the same time zone, about this.

They were talking amount. But they were worlds apart on amount. Bernie Sanders wanted $6 trillion to $9 trillion. Then they came to $3.5 trillion, which they thought was like a grand bargain.

And then you have Manchin at $1.5 trillion. And that's not new. I don't care who tells you, it's new, or who reports that it's new, or who suggests that it's new, who's an elected. It's not new. It's been around since July.

And, in fact, if you need proof of it, one of the guests that we're about to have on, brought it up, just weeks ago, about where it came from.

Take a listen to this.



SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): You know, I think that you're going to have to look at it and find out what you're able to do through a reasonable responsible way.

BASH: So then, how do you know that it's not 3.5?

MANCHIN: And if that's going to be at 1.5, if it's going to be at 1, 1.5 - we don't know where it's going to be.

BASH: So, you think, ballpark, 1, 1.5?

MANCHIN: It's not going - it's not going--

BASH: You just said 1.5. It sounds like $1.5 trillion is your number?

MANCHIN: I'm just saying that, basically - well, I have looked at numbers. If we have a competitive tax code from a noncompetitive, doesn't help the working person that was done in 2017, that's in the 1, 1.5, range. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Look, I get why the media is more interested in price tag politics than a politician is going to be, because it is about how do you pay for it, and what he thinks.

But Manchin is clearly out of step with the rest of his party. He said it today. "You have to elect more liberals, because this is crazy liberal, and I'm not that liberal."

So, we got your best, here to analyze it, Dana Bash, who you just saw, sticking it to Manchin, to get that number out of him, and Paul Begala.

So, in terms of, having seen, this kind of thing before, Paul? You were in the game with Clinton. You know about making deals. Have you had other than maybe Obamacare, Democrats going at Democrats, and seeming like they're not in the same party, as we're seeing now?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh, yes. Look, that's the - that's the oldest game in the Democratic playbook. We do that to ourselves all the time.

I was really struck though, Chris, in your interview with Ro Khanna. Ro is one of the smartest people in the Congress. He was a Co-Chair of Bernie Sanders campaign. So, no moderate he.

Listen to what he did. He wasn't blasting Joe Manchin. In fact, he was respecting him. He was listening. He heard the right thing.

Manchin is sending a signal here. He's saying, "Look, I don't like the Trump tax cuts. I do want the rich to pay more. I want to spend at least $1.5 trillion," is how I hear him. People are calling it a topline. I'm not sure what that means. What it is, is a floor.

The least that the Democrats are going to get out of this is $1.5 trillion bucks over and above $1.2 trillion for infrastructure. This is going to be the most remarkable win for progressive they've ever had if they can just accept it.

CUOMO: That's right.

BEGALA: Khanna looks like he's ready to accept it.

CUOMO: It's like take the win, Dana, right?


CUOMO: I mean they really are pooh-poohing that even if the numbers are what everybody wants least, it will be the most spending, since the New Deal. And almost all of it is in categories that the American people have said, from everywhere, on every level that they want.

BASH: No question about it. But so many of the Democrats, who are serving, especially in the House, right now, first of all, some of them, a good number of them have not done this kind of thing before. The freshmen and, even those who are in their second terms were--

CUOMO: Good point.

BASH: --not familiar with having, and having been in office, when there has been a president of your own party, where you have the ability to actually get things done that you campaigned on.

And for them, what they argue is "We've waited too long. We've waited generations. And we've kicked the can down the road, to say "Well, we'll run on it in the next election. And we'll just take a little bit now." And they're saying "We're not going to do that." I mean--

CUOMO: Now or never.

BASH: Now or never also. I mean, I'm just sort of looking at Paul Begala, and thinking of how far the Democratic Party has come, since the DLC Democrat, the moderate Democrat, Bill Clinton became president, and he was campaigning, and he governed, from the center.

And now, the Democratic Party is in such a different place. You hear Pramila Jayapal, the Progressive Chair, talk all the time, about how it's just 4 percent of the Democratic Caucus, who don't want this. I don't know if that actual figure is right. But she's not wrong, that the moderates have either retired or lost.

And, for the most part, what you have is the so-called moderate president. That's the guy who they thought Joe Biden was. He is the one pushing this progressive agenda. And it really is remarkable.

CUOMO: Yes. Paul, you know, I love you. I had you on the radio show today. You're a spin doctor, baby!



CUOMO: This is a sea change for your party. Your party is now controlled by the progressive wing. Maybe you'll go back to saying, liberals. You guys used to like that word.


And Jayapal, forget about AOC, Pramila Jayapal is the adult in the room, who just told Speaker Pelosi tonight, "Yes, no, no, I hear you," and then she sent out a tweet, saying "Stick with the plan, guys." I've never seen a flex like that on Pelosi, let alone any of your speakers.

You really believe this is status quo?

BEGALA: Well, it's not status quo. I think Dana is right as well.

If you think back, put it this way, a couple of years ago, Hillary Clinton, my friend, is running for President, 2016, way back in the Dark Ages, she proposed the biggest infrastructure plan in history, $275 billion. Are you kidding? Joe Manchin has now called for as much spending as the entire Obamacare package, plus the entire federal highway system, if you put it in today's dollars, from Eisenhower's days.

CUOMO: Right.

BEGALA: That's how vast this is. So, in that sense, on the substance, the progressives are getting the W.

But if you look at the elections, which a lot of people are looking at, and I used to do, for a living, the moderates have won almost every important primary against a leftist, New York City, the Cleveland House District, the Louisiana House District that Cedric Richmond used to hold.

So, the moderates have, I think, the better, the political argument, and they're actually giving the liberals much more than the liberals want to even realize.

CUOMO: Let's--

BEGALA: Good lord! Joe Manchin is where Bernie Sanders was 10 or 20 years ago.

CUOMO: Yes. Let's see what happens. I mean, I think one of the things we're learning about our culture, I really do believe that this is going to be a studied time, in our history. We are seeing a pendular swing.

Do you remember that the era of big, with you Begala, the era of big government--

BASH: He voted.

CUOMO: --is over. Now, it is bigger than ever, a couple of cycles later.

Dana, thank you so much, for setting the table with Manchin, and getting that number out there. If people wanted to pay attention, it's been out there, for weeks, if not months.

And Paul, we'll see what your party's about. If they blow this, it will be the most epic, stealing victory, out of the jaws - stealing defeat out of the jaws of victory, we've ever seen. So, we'll keep an eye.

Dana Bash, Paul Begala, thank you.

Again, this will likely happen on our watch tonight, and that means even if it doesn't happen, because that's going to mean something about the state of play, in that party.

We have more breaking news, also, on the manhunt for Brian Laundrie. There is a reason to analyze this. This is not just about morbid curiosity, OK? We have to understand what doesn't make sense in this story. And there are two things. One of them is helped by what we're going to show you, right after the break. Stay with us.









CUOMO: All right, there is new bodycam video in the Gabby Petito situation, and it is helpful. It's not just about a morbid curiosity.

We need to get a feel for what the dynamic was between Gabby and, her fiancee, Brian Laundrie. And we get a better sense of it before Utah police pulled them over for a traffic stop.

It's a long conversation. But I think it matters because the police ask about a mark on her face.

Now, watch and listen, and then we'll discuss its relevance.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there something on your cheek here? Looks like - did you get - did you get hit in the face? Kind of looks like someone like hit you in the face.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then over on your arm.

PETITO: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoulder, that here? That's new one, just kind of a new mark?

PETITO: Oh, yes, I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I see the other side of your face? So, what happened here and here?

PETITO: I'm not sure if it's--



PETITO: I was just training in (ph) on the back of the car. Backpack is on the--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the backpack got you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, there's two people that came to us, and told us that they saw him hit you. There's two people saying that they saw him punch you, were just independent witnesses by Moonflower.

PETITO: Well, to be honest, I only hit him first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you hit him?

PETITO: I slapped him in the face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You slapped him first? And then just on his face?

PETITO: I mean, he did tell me to shut up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times did you slap him?

PETITO: I guess a couple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then what, his reaction was to do what?

PETITO: Grabbed my arm, until I moved to slap him (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just grabbed you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he - did he hit you though? I mean - I mean it's OK, if you're saying you hit him, and then I understand if he hit you. But we want to know the truth, if he actually hit you.

PETITO: Well I guess--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you know?

PETITO: --I guess, yes, but I hit him first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did he hit you? Don't - don't worry. Just be honest.

PETITO: Well he like grabbed my face just like, I guess. He didn't like hit me in the face, like really (ph) anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He slapped your face or what?

PETITO: Well like yes, he grabbed me, like it is now, and I guess that's why it looks, that's why I have a cut right here, it's like a peel--


PETITO: --Brian's (ph).


CUOMO: All right, now why does this matter? One, forget about everything that we're looking at. It's an interesting look at how police deal with these situations, or at least this situation.

Everything that you just saw, if you talk to any expert, and you will hear them commenting, on this, and you probably have already, this is an abusive dynamic, OK?

Gabby is evidencing all the signals, of somebody, in a situation, where she is afraid, of getting Brian in trouble. She is afraid of what that might mean for her. And she is aware of what happened. And instead of, tell the truth, she tries to take the blame. That happens all the time.


And the reason it matters is that if that is the dynamic, when police get involved, in those dynamics, and then the two parties are separated, which happened, in this one, it is not unusual, for an abuser, to become incensed, at the loss of control, and what they perceive as betrayal.

So now, when they get out of those hotel rooms, and they're back together again, there can be a very ugly re-establishing of a control dynamic.

What can that look like? Let's get perspective from retired FBI agent, attorney, and forensic investigator, Bobby Chacon.

Now, Bobby, I know this chapter and verse, because guys like you have been teaching me this, for 20-plus years.

BOBBY CHACON, WRITER & TECHNICAL ADVISER FOR CBS' "CRIMINAL MINDS," RETIRED FBI AGENT, FORMER LEADER, FBI DIVE TEAM: Yes, Chris, you're right on the - you're right on the money that with this one. I mean, you hear the officer, in that video, say, "We just want the truth," and he's trying to talk to Gabby.

You're not going to get the truth, from a woman, in abusive relationship, when the guy is 20 feet away, talking to other cops. They have to be removed from there, bring them down. Separate them physically. I mean, bring her down to the station. Bring him somewhere else.

I mean, you've got to - and there are jurisdictions now because this is such an epidemic. I think over 50 percent of women, homicide victims, are victims of an intimate partner.

And so, I think some of the laws have changed, where if there's a complaint, or if there's a domestic violence call, and one of the parties has a visible injury, the other party has to be arrested.

There is no discretion, because they know that these partners tend to make excuses, for the other person, particularly the woman, in these type of abusive relationships. And so, a lot of jurisdictions, the police don't have that discretion. Because we often see the woman, not want to press charges--

CUOMO: Right.

CHACON: --or they change their story, or they cover for the other person. So, the laws are being changed to say, "You know, what? If somebody has a visible injury, someone's got to go to jail."

CUOMO: Right. Now, look, you and I - that's true. And we'll figure out the jurisdiction here. But it's a sidebar.

Although, God bless the Petitos and the Schmidt families, for wanting to talk about abusive relationships, and putting a message, out to women, who might be in a situation like that. Them being able to think outside themselves, in this kind of moment, is a real demonstration of what they're about.

But why do we care? We care because if that's what this dynamic is, and they were then separated, now they're back together, and remember, they're in the middle of nowhere, they don't go back home, right? They're out.

CHACON: That's right.

CUOMO: And they wind up at that campsite, most likely. Next, how reasonable is it that in the re-approachment, it's going to get ugly, first?

CHACON: Oh, it's very likely. I mean, Gabby even says that they've been fighting for weeks. And it's been getting worse.

And I believe she relayed it to her mother, in some of her conversations, in the weeks leading up to that, that she was getting more anxious, because things were getting more uncomfortable and awkward with the two of them.

You have two people that are living in a very, very close situation. They're not living in a house. They're living in a van. I mean, they are on top of each other.

CUOMO: And arguably, codependent.

CHACON: So, in--

CUOMO: People say they didn't have a lot of other friends.

CHACON: Absolutely.

CUOMO: They were really about each other.

CHACON: Absolutely. And when you take off in a van like that, the controlling party is going to have even more control. And if they lose that control, or if the other person starts exercising independence, it's going to be trouble.

CUOMO: Right. And look, people will say, "Oh, yes, but it's not like, she went missing, the next day." It doesn't have to be the next day.

These are periods of constancy, and pressure, and building, in the fight, at the restaurant, and then they're at the campsite. I'm just saying that circumstantially, it's going to be a familiar pattern for prosecutors.

And then Gabby's body being found not hidden speaks to a suddenness. If the cause of death is evidence of a crime of passion, this plays to a pattern that then you put together, with someone, going home alone, and saying nothing to the family, of the loved one, and neither does their family, for 10 days, under advice of counsel. Highly suggestive!

We'll see what the case is.

CHACON: Absolutely.

CUOMO: But we're trying to tell the story.

So, we now catch up to the current. Now Bobby, what's your take on the FBI going back to the house, saying they want some more scent material and the suggestion reportedly that they may be narrowing things down.

CHACON: Well, I think people should understand that we're in a period, where no stone is going to be unturned. And so, if they are taking that scent material, to give to scent dogs, tracking dogs, so that they can finish the swamp search, or go up to Fort De Soto Park, and search there.


Again, we have to cover every single lead. We don't have the luxury of just picking and choosing what we want to do. So, they're going through every single thing, to determine, and then rule it out, if they don't find him.

So, I think that they probably have some tracking dogs. They want to use some other techniques, so they go back.

And the best thing to use on a tracking dog is an item of clothing that the person has used, worn directly against their skin. So, that's probably what they took out of there, in a bag, today, when the - when the agents were there.

CUOMO: Spitballing it for us, two-plus weeks, with a head start, what is the percentage chance that you find somebody, in these situations?

CHACON: Unfortunately, I want to - I would love to say it's higher.

But I think it's, if they do it right, if they had the time to plan, they had the time to get the funds together, we're in kind of an almost a post-pandemic environment, where everybody's wearing masks, and every - less people are out and about, I think that there's a chance that he could be successfully off the radar, for a little while.

CUOMO: Bobby, thank you very much.

CHACON: And it pains me to say that.

CUOMO: Look, absolutely. But you got to deal with the realities.

And it is not easy to evade authorities, especially in a confined area. I know it's a swamp. But unless an alligator tucked him under a tree trunk, it's not easy to hide in that kind of place, with this kind of pressure on you. And it's been a long time.

Thank you very much, brother. I'll give you another shot at it--

CHACON: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: --when we get an update.

Busy night here, we're keeping watch on breaking news. We will turn though, however, do a story you just got to see, speaking of alligators.

Have you ever seen a guy do what this guy did? Did you see this?




CUOMO: I have - this guy, forget about superheroes. This is my man, right now. He had never done anything like this before. He figured out that trapdoor thing, taking on that alligator.

And then did you see what he did afterwards, down in Florida? He's not even from Florida, by the way.

He then - and he's in flip-flops, by the way. He's in like slides or something. And did you see what he did after? I have it for you.

We're back with the man himself. This is who I want to be. The Reptile Wrangler! Next.









CUOMO: Football game's lousy anyway tonight, so it is good for you to watch the next two things. I guarantee you it's going to change your disposition.

Have you seen this video that came out of Florida, this epic showdown, between a man and an alligator?




CUOMO: Of course, like all good things, in America, these days, his buddy decides to just video it, with his phone, than help the guy.

But he is taking on the alligator with the trash can. He has never done this before. He knows nothing about alligators. He's not even from Florida. He's from North Philly.

His kids were playing outside, this week. They heard hissing, realized it was the Gator. He springs into action. He doesn't - there's the boy right there, with the cell phone, like he couldn't help.

He even uses the lid, as a trapdoor, on this.




CUOMO: And it works! Amazing! And then he lifts it up.




CUOMO: I mean, what else do you need to see, to make this man, someone you absolutely call, whenever anything happens in your life that needs help?

He then, this is the even more beautiful part, what do you think he does with the alligator? Look what he does.



CUOMO: Right. I mean, you'd be thinking, kill it, or call the cops. You know what I mean? Leave it somewhere, put a big rock on the top. Nope!




CUOMO: He goes across the street, down upon, with a big ass angry alligator, in there, OK. In slides, walking backwards, goes to the pond, taking his sweet time, and then he lets it go, and takes back his garbage can. Because they're expensive!

Eugene joins us now. And I finally figured out why it makes sense. Eugene's last name is Bozzi. B-O-Z-Z-I. Italian blood! I knew it had to be in there.


CUOMO: North Philly Italian blood? That alligator never stood a chance!

It is great to see you. What do you make of the celebration of that alligator sensation?

BOZZI: Basically, I'm going to take it like this. I think the alligator was really deprived, and tired, as he was going through that ordeal. I just really wanted to make sure all parties were safe. That's why I put the alligator back in the lake, because I love animals, and I respect the wildlife, and all that.

That's why we kind of went down to Florida, just to change the environment, for my children, and get them out of that concrete jungle. And for those kids, it's kind of rough right now. So, that was the decision we made on the behalf of our children.

CUOMO: Listen, obviously you love your kids, because who takes on an alligator? What made you think this is the way to capture the alligator?

BOZZI: I had - all right, I had a few encounters. My daughter like riding the bike. They ride the bikes, all day. My neighborhood has no cars come to the street at all, like literally just parked in the garage. So, they ride all day.

They were like seeing a small one a few weeks ago. I threw it. It was a small one, I wrangled by its tail, it was like a little wranged up (ph), threw it back in their side. It was like a big scares game (ph) like "Oh, really alligator!"

So, fast forward to that day, my daughter actually came, and got me, and said, "Dad, you're really going to talk (ph)." And I said, "What are you talking about?" She showed me. I didn't see it at first. And then when I got close enough, I've seen it, and I was like I am going to get the trash can.


I used it, slowed myself down a little bit, used my warring techniques, and the Steve Irwin came out a little bit, in me, because Steve Irwin, before YouTube, and when you watch Steve Irwin, he goes back, then you absorb the wing (ph), because it wasn't a rewind, unless you want rewind the tape.

So, fast forward to the situation, I got him up. I treated like a Hungry Hippos mouth.

CUOMO: That's exactly what it was.

BOZZI: And--

CUOMO: That was--


CUOMO: --absolutely Hungry Hippo all day long.

So, you say your military training.

BOZZI: Right. And I--

CUOMO: How did the military help you in this situation? Dealing with the adrenaline?

BOZZI: I was in the military, but in the military, I'm not saying it's really training like that, actually, attack, or apprehend alligators, but to be under pressure, to not panic, and approach the situation, and just finish the task, and eliminate the threat. So, you can make the environment around you safe.

And that's kind of what I did in Afghanistan with my other veterans. And I'm proud that I served this country. And I hope the country is happy for me serving them. And so, I did my time. And I embrace that. My kids, I got seven daughters, they embrace me, and they love me to death. I only--

CUOMO: Seven daughters?

BOZZI: Yes, yes. Listen, I'm making this to be kind of tough (ph) but it's tough. But we make it. We're happy. We're comfortable. Just my ancestors' extra blessing.

CUOMO: An alligator--

BOZZI: Yes, it's actually-- CUOMO: An alligator is the least of your problems with seven daughters!

BOZZI: Yes. Oh, yes.

CUOMO: And look, I know you know this is dangerous stuff. And you got to be careful. Next time, God willing--

BOZZI: OK. Never--

CUOMO: --just called wildlife cops.

BOZZI: Never again. Absolutely. I'll tell "Everybody, go in the house," and just call the police. I appreciate that. Thank you.

CUOMO: No, I appreciate it. Eugene, thank you for giving us a good story--

BOZZI: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: --with a happy ending. God bless you, and your seven daughters, and your entire family. And thank God, you're safe. Thank you for letting us see--

BOZZI: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: --somebody do something remarkable.

BOZZI: Thank you, sir. I appreciate that. And thanks. Hey, I'm a big fan of you, and your brother. I think you're doing a good job in the world, man. I appreciate you.

CUOMO: Well, let me tell you something. Neither one of us would have been within a ZIP code of where you were, with that alligator. You win. But we're all Italian. So, there's hope for us yet.

Eugene, be well.

BOZZI: Well, I'm - I'm half and half. I'm Black and Italian. But I appreciate it. Thanks a lot, man.

CUOMO: It's all right. That's - I'll take half. Take care.

BOZZI: I'm going to - that's the narrative we got to change. Black fathers, we're going to step up, and start taking care of kids. We're changing the - we're changing the - we're changing the future, from this point forward.

CUOMO: Well.

BOZZI: We're going to take care of these babies, going forward.

CUOMO: Let me tell you, it doesn't get any tougher than what you did. You lead with your heart and your head.

BOZZI: Absolutely. CUOMO: Be well.

BOZZI: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: Seven daughters!

BOZZI: Thank you. Appreciate you.

CUOMO: We'll be right back. We'll take a quick break.









CUOMO: We've got the brawn and now have the beauty and spirit. You want an update on Nightbirde? Here it is.

She is doing what she promised. She is fighting.


CUOMO: The amazingly talented singer, whose performance on "America's Got Talent," made me just have to reach out to her. And Simon Cowell finally did the right thing and gave her a pass. And it's incredible.


CUOMO: And she has cancer. She has a really tough case. And she started a 10-or-so week course of treatment. And let me tell you, she is fighting. And she is doing well.

Take a little listen.


JANE "NIGHTBIRDE" MARCZEWSKI, MUSICAL ARTIST: Just think about, like, don't you want to see what happens if you don't give up? Like, don't you want to - don't you want to see what happens?

And that's what I keep saying to myself. And that's what I say to everyone watching tonight. Don't you want to see what happens if you don't give up?


CUOMO: I just I love everything about her. I love being in touch with her. And she is fighting. And she believes. And she's doing better.

So, here's the update today, OK? Look, the cancer is bad. She'll be the first one to tell you. But it's about how much quality, how much time, and how she uses it.

So, here's a picture of the update as she's going through.


CUOMO: There she is. There's that big, beautiful smile.

I keep telling her, "We got to work on those guns. We got to work on those guns." It's not easy for her to put on weight right now. But she's trying.

The results they're getting are good. The blood work came back. And the doctors are happy with the numbers.

So, God bless. Keep going. "Nightbirde," we're thinking about you. We're praying. You are a gift to us. And we can't wait to have you back.

All right, we'll take a quick break with the handoff.


CUOMO: All right. Thank you for watching.

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

What do you want to start with?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I want to talk to you about the alligator because you're obsessed--

CUOMO: The Italian guy?