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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

F.D.A. Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster for Ages 65+ and High Risk, Rejects for General Public; Pentagon Admits Kabul Attack Killed 10 Civilians, not Terrorists; Senior Law Enforcement Official On Saturday's "Justice For J6" Rally: "We're Ready". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 17, 2021 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us. Don't forget you can watch "Out Front" anywhere on CNN Go. Anderson starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. It is safe to say that no one tonight in the Biden administration is saying "Thank God it's Friday." For them, it has been a brutal Friday.

In the space of just a few hours late today, the White House got unwelcome news on COVID boosters, and saw the Secretary of Defense admit that a drone strike in Afghanistan, which was supposed to have targeted an ISIS-K terrorist actually killed an Afghan aid worker, two other adults and seven children and was, in his words, a horrible mistake.

And on top of that, the administration suddenly finds itself in the middle of a diplomatic war with America's oldest ally, France. So, there's a lot to get to tonight.

We begin with the F.D.A. advisory panel's highly anticipated recommendation on COVID booster shots, which was not exactly what a lot of people had been expecting. Third doses of Pfizer's vaccine not recommended for most people younger than 65 years old, only for seniors and others at high risk of illness.

Now, whatever the public health merits of today's decision, and we'll obviously discuss those with our health experts in just a moment, it certainly differs from what the administration has been signaling for weeks.

It also comes as the country faces the dire consequences of too many people not even willing to get a first shot, let alone a third. Nationwide deaths are now averaging more than 1,800 a day and even though cases have finally started tapering off in Florida, the state today crossed a terrible milestone, 50,000 fatalities since the pandemic began.

Only Texas, California and New York has lost more. And in West Virginia, a small state with a growing death toll, there was this today from the Governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): Seventy four more people have died since

Wednesday, and they'll keep dying. It's all there is to it.

We're going to run to the fire and get vaccinated right now or we're going to pile the body bags up until we reach a point in time to where we have enough people that have natural immunities, and enough people that are vaccinated.


COOPER: There's no reason for people to be dying in this country. You have access to vaccines that will prevent people from dying. Those are the stakes and they are sadly familiar.

More now on the booster recommendations. Joining us, CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta; also former C.D.C. Director, Dr. Tom Frieden.

Sanjay, so the original vote was whether or not to approve a Pfizer booster dose for ages 16 and up. Why did committee vote no on that question, not to recommend that? And do you think it's something that they may vote yes on in the future?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of the first question, I think, there just wasn't enough scientific evidence to support that that was necessary to provide boosters for healthy people under the age of 65.

You know, that's been the concern for some time. I mean, I think even before this meeting today, scientists have been going back and forth on this. And as you point out, Anderson, it seemed preordained that everyone was going to have a booster, you know, recommended for them and the F.D.A., their committee, at least, has advised not to do that. It has recommended not to do that.

So, whether it happens in the future or not, maybe. I don't know. But at this point in time, the evidence just wasn't there.

Dr. Paul Offit, who you've interviewed a bunch of times sits on the committee. Here is how he put it.


DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: You know, we're being asked to approve this as a three-dose vaccine for people 16 years of age and older, without any clear evidence that a third dose for younger person when compared to an elderly person is a value.

If it's not a value, then the risks may outweigh the benefits.


GUPTA: SO instead of an approval for everyone, 16 and older, Anderson, what you got was an emergency use authorization for those 65 and older, people who are at high risk and healthcare workers. Again, this is a recommendation from the Committee. The F.D.A. usually

listens to that. But that's the next step.

COOPER: Dr. Frieden obviously, in Israel, it is a different situation. They are giving out booster shots to people in a wide range of ages. Why is that the wrong answer?

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: Israel is trying something extraordinary. They're trying to actually stop infections, control COVID. We're a long way from that here.

The reason our hospitals are filling up has nothing to do with the possibility that immunity from vaccines is waning. Our hospitals are filling up with COVID patients because people aren't getting a first and second dose of the COVID vaccine.

We need to reach the unvaccinated in this country, and we also need to look around the world because fundamentally, we're faced with a decision that is ethically inexcusable, but politically inevitable.

We do want to recommend what's best for Americans. But the fact is, we're in a zero sum situation. There isn't nearly enough vaccine for the world. That has nothing to do with the decision of the F.D.A. committee not to recommend this for healthy people between the ages of 16 and 65.

But it is relevant for our ability to stop this pandemic from continuing to rule the world, which is what's going to happen until we ramp up vaccinations, not just in this country, but globally also.


COOPER: Sanjay, I think that's a really important point that he just made that I just want to reiterate. Hospitals are filling up not because of breakthrough infections, not because people's immunity is waning. Hospitals are filling up and people are dying because they have not been vaccinated or vaccinated fully.

GUPTA: Yes. Absolutely. I mean, it's pretty -- it's not even close, right? I mean, if you go to hospitals, around 95 percent of the COVID patients there are unvaccinated.

Let me show you just another point Dr. Frieden is making. If you look at Israel, which we have done from, you know, throughout this pandemic, they're a bit ahead of us in terms of vaccinations, some 65 percent of the country. They've been boosting since August, Anderson, and they have some of the highest coronavirus case counts that they've ever had throughout this entire pandemic right now.

Now, hospitalizations and deaths have not been as proportionally high, which is good. That's the focus of the vaccines. But remember this, you know, even with high vaccinations, and even some boosting, they still have high cases. That probably shouldn't be the metric.

This is hospitalizations in this country. Unvaccinated is the top line, and you can barely see the vaccinated line, that's the flatline near the bottom. That's about five percent of hospitalizations. And if you look at who are those breakthrough infections that end up actually being hospitalized, they are people typically who are 65 and older, who have preexisting conditions.

Eighty seven percent of the ones who were in the hospital or died were people who are 65 or older. So that takes us right back to the beginning. That's why this decision makes the most sense. A muddy way to get there, but it seems to make the most sense.

COOPER: So Dr. Frieden, tonight, the White House calling tonight today's decision a quote "important step forward," as you know, it's certainly been a messy process to say the least. The White House planning, you know, a booster rollout starting on this Monday, September 20th, caused a lot of problems.

Do you think what happened today underscores that the F.D.A. is independent of the White House for people who are concerned that, you know, these are political decisions that this is something that the administration has their thumb on. The F.D.A. essentially is not doing what the White House anticipated they would.

FRIEDEN: I think it's encouraging that we're following the science, and I think that's been the general approach of this White House. We also need to recognize that just as we're saying that it is not the waning that's causing the hospitalization, it is the lack of vaccination, even a first and second dose that's causing this.

At the same time, delta is really infectious, and even in communities with lots of vaccination, you have to also take care to avoid spread of COVID. Otherwise, not only will we have death and dislocation and disruption, but our kids won't be able to stay in school learning. There's a lot at stake here. Lives are at stake, jobs, our economy, our livelihoods are at stake, and our kids' ability to learn in person. That means a multi layered system.

Vaccinate everyone who can be vaccinated, mask up indoors where COVID may be spreading, and increase ventilation, testing and support for people with COVID. So we can stop COVID. We can control it, so that it isn't controlling our lives.

COOPER: So, Sanjay, can a person now 65 or older or who is in a high risk category just go out and get a booster now at a pharmacy? Should they wait for six to eight months? And what about people who receive Moderna or Johnson & Johnson who are over 65, should they get a dose of Pfizer?

GUPTA: Well, first of all, this was purely for Pfizer today. And so that that's what this particular advisory committee is recommending for Pfizer, for people who received two doses of the Pfizer in the past. So it technically does not cover Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

As you know, a lot of people have been getting boosters anyway. So you know, it's a little bit of a loose sort of guideline there. Some pharmacists and doctors are going ahead and giving some of these boosters. But to answer your question, there is a process. The F.D.A. still has

to actually take the advisory committee's recommendation. Actually, emergency use authorize these boosters. And then the C.D.C. is meeting next week. Dr. Frieden used to run the C.D.C. He knows better than most how that would work.

But I think on their agenda will be to say okay, now we officially recommend this to the population, define more precisely what it means to have a risk of severe illness. Who are those people? Healthcare workers may be part of that authorization as well.

So we'll hear that formal recommendation from the C.D.C. But to be clear, Anderson, I think some two million people more than that have gotten boosters already just because they went out and you know, asked for them. Some of them immune compromised, but some people who were just worried.

COOPER: Dr. Frieden, what do you recommend for people out there? Let's see what the C.D.C. says. There are complicated decisions to be made here. It's only as Sanjay says, Pfizer that's been recommended. There is emerging evidence that maybe Moderna is a little bit more effective than Pfizer. There are a lot of people who got J&J. They probably should get an mRNA dosage as a follow up to be better protected.


FRIEDEN: These are complicated issues and what's important is that independent scientific expert regulatory bodies and advisory bodies look at this -- transparently look at the data. It's encouraging the way both the F.D.A. and C.D.C. committees work. It's all public. You can see every consideration that's being had.

It's not a company trying to sell more vaccine. Its scientific experts, pediatricians, internists, infectious disease specialists coming up with the best decision to guide doctors and other clinicians around the U.S.

COOPER: Yes. Sanjay, Tom Frieden. Appreciate it. Thanks.

Coming up next, the administration admitting that the drone strike which was billed as a lifesaver killing a terrorist was in fact the worst mistake imaginable in war time.

Later, a couple went out on a trip, only one of the two returned and so far, he is not talking. Now, there is new information in the case, we'll bring it to you, ahead.



COOPER: As we mentioned at the top this afternoon, we saw a rare admission from The Pentagon, namely that the military made a terrible mistake and innocent people died. Ten civilians killed by an American drone strike in Kabul, the head of U.S. Central Command had this to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed. This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport. But it was a mistake. And I offer my sincere apology.

As the Combatant Commander, I am fully responsible for the strike and its tragic outcome.


COOPER: Well, the strike was launched days after an ISIS-K suicide bombing at the Kabul Airport, which as you'll remember killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 Afghans.

Now Central Command initially said that the targeted car was carrying explosives. Now, after conducting an investigation, and a lot of investigation by reporters, it admits that the assessment was wrong. CNN's Anna Coren reported on the strike and the questions surrounding it. Here's a small portion of it, which comes with a warning, it's not easy to watch.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "I saw my father lying in the car. There was shrapnel in his chest, throat, everywhere. Blood was flowing through his ears."

But the strike didn't just take out the 43-year-old father. According to the family, two other men were also killed, along with seven children, three of whom were toddlers.

"Our children were in such a state that we tried to identify them from their hands, ears or nose," says Zemaray's (ph) cousin. "None of them had their hands and feet intact and in one place. They were all in pieces."

Charred body parts, pieces of skull with chunks of hair, and a foot melted into a sandal were among the remains taken to the morgue. Zemaray's (ph) two-year-old nephew lies on a gurney as a relative gently strokes.

Ten coffins filled with only partial remains, their names written in black marker, the only distinguishable feature.


COOPER: And joining us now is CNN military analyst, retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. General Hertling, obviously this -- I mean, those images are horrific. How does something like this happen?

Obviously, you know, given the fact that the U.S. doesn't have the assets or didn't have the assets on the ground that they once had. Is this -- does this happen all the time and we just don't know about it?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Anderson, I wouldn't say it happens all the time. First of all, I mean, you used the right word. War is horrific. And the most horrific part of war is when innocent people are hurt or killed because of mistakes.

I think what we see sometimes, what the American public sees are the perfect precision strike weapons when -- and we do this to ourselves from the military perspective. We show these great bombs hitting smack on a target. They're always -- the films we show always imply that there is perfect intelligence, and an unrealistic expectation of precision strike weapons. But that's just not true.

There are problems when strike weapons occur and there is a myth of perfect intelligence in combat. Now, it's unreal what we can do with some of our technology. But the films and the belief that this is something like a video game just isn't true. It doesn't happen all the time.

It happens rarely. Unfortunately, it happened in this case. I had an incident, my worst day ever in combat was a mistake like this where an innocent man was killed because of bad targeting information. So yes, commanders live with this and it does happen because it is combat.

COOPER: It seems like -- I mean, when you look at sort of the details of this kind of, you know, one of the people was driving around in multiple spots. This was after that -- you know, this was just two days after the suicide bombing at the Kabul Airport, they saw a vehicle being loaded with things. It seems like it was water bottles, not explosives as they thought.

It seems like an initial determination was made, and then a whole bunch of decisions were made based on the initial determination, which was faulty that this person was an ISIS-K terrorist. And then everything they did that day over the next several hours looked suspicious, once that was the base assumption.

HERTLING: Yes. And what we warn our commanders about, what we warn our soldiers about, what you've just described as cognitive dissonance, believing that what you're seeing is exactly what you want to see. That's the hardest part when you have such great technology and you get caught up in believing that you have the right target, that the Intel the day before said, be wary of a white Toyota pickup truck, that you've just had a strike that's killed 13 American soldiers and literally hundreds of Afghan civilians.


HERTLING: So you know, the Intel is saying one thing is about to happen. You know just what happened days before. You put the two and two together and you say, hey, I'm going to be on the lookout for a white Toyota pickup truck. And as soon as it meets any kind of description of what you anticipate the intelligence told you to anticipate, the feeling is, hey, I've got to protect my force at any cost, and sometimes you make a bad decision. So you know, what I was saying about Intel sometimes is wrong.

Cognitive dissonance is wrong. Perfect intelligence is never there. The fact that we can strike any target at any given time, all play a part, you still have human beings in the loop, and it is someone making a decision to say strike, and that's where problems occur.

COOPER: Also, I mean, the U.S. military did sort of continue to maintain this had been an accurate strike.

HERTLING: They did.

COOPER: Really, until there was a lot of reporting by news organizations, and then which they admit they actually used in their investigation to come to this determination. The Biden administration has touted, you know, this, quote, "robust over the horizon capability" now in Afghanistan, and the idea that we have such great capabilities, you know, I guess, which is an argument to try to lessen the fact we no longer have boots on the ground, eyes on the ground in the same way that we did.

This certainly does raise questions about our ability to actually have over the horizon capabilities without people on the ground, without better Intelligence.

HERTLING: Yes, it depends, Anderson. What I'd suggest to you is, yes, you're absolutely right, and I've been saying this from the beginning. The touting of an over the horizon capability comes with a caveat.

It may be an over the horizon capability for major targets, but because you don't have the kind of Intelligence collection that we used to have an Afghanistan, that we were feeding to the forces on the ground, both U.S. and Afghan forces, you're not going to be able to strike all of the targets.

But you may still be able to strike because of specific strategic Intelligence, some of the big targets the financiers, the head of cells, the head of organizations.

But, you know, I asked Paul Cruickshank the other day to give me a feel for how many suicide bombs went off in Afghanistan in 2021. And his team at the Counterterrorism Center at West Point said, there were 280 suicide bombs that went off in Afghanistan this year. So, when you think about that, how many of those do we know? How many of those kind of suicide vest wearers or car bomb drivers could we have struck? Or do we really have to focus on the big targets, the strategic targets with this over horizon -- over the horizon capability?

COOPER: Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, appreciate it. Always a pleasure. Thank you.

HERTLING: Thank you.

COOPER: In just a moment, we're going to check into the White House to see how President Biden is handling what's been certainly a rough week for his presidency.



COOPER: As we reported tonight, it has been a tough week for President Biden and his administration. The latest, an F.D.A. vote that fell short of the President's promise of a booster shot for every fully vaccinated adult American. This is what the President said last month mentioning the need for experts to sign off on boosters and clearly suggesting that we'd all be rolling up our sleeves in the days to come.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The plan is for every adult to get a booster shot eight months after you got your second shot. Pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the C.D.C.'s Committee of outside experts will be ready to start these boosters -- this booster program during the week of September 20th, at which time, anyone vaccinated on or before January 20 will be eligible to get a booster shot.

Just remember, as a simple rule, eight months after your second shot, get a booster shot.


COOPER: Well, that is not the case now. Clearly, the F.D.A. did not approve that. Other problems of the administration has had as well this week, as we reported earlier, the admission by the U.S. military, who killed 10 Afghan civilians in a Kabul drone strike.

And now France is recalling its ambassador to the U.S. over its anger about a new national security pact involving the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia. Our chief national affairs correspondent, Jeff Zeleny joins us now from Washington.

First of all, how much of a blow was this F.D.A. vote or a surprise to the administration on boosters? How much of a surprise was it?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN U.S. CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it was a surprise because the White House is generally in control of most things and the President you heard him say there, after September 20th, Americans can get a third shot. Well, that simply is not the case.

If you're 65 and older, you can, but for the vast majority of Americans, millions and millions they cannot.

So this is one of the curious things when he announced it at the very beginning a month ago, why was the White House getting ahead of the F.D.A.? Those questions are still unanswered.

Now tonight, the White House is saying this is a step forward that those 65 and older can get a third shot, but Anderson, this not what the White House was expecting at all. They're trying to use the momentum for this third shot to also encourage others to get their first shot, but that is not going to happen.

So this is one of the rare instances where the White House is simply not in control of a very specific policy like this, the F.D.A. is.

COOPER: And in terms of this mistaken airstrike in Kabul, you know, the President was clearly briefed on it. He touted it as a success of U.S. Intelligence when it happened. You know, the military said, well, there were secondary explosions, which were likely the explosive devices. They now believe those may have been the gas tank or propane tank in the courtyard.

What are they saying about this?

ZELENY: Well, President Biden is saying nothing about this, Anderson. We did know he was briefed early today here at the White House before leaving Washington to go spend the weekend at his beach home in Rehoboth, Delaware and he has not said anything.


The White House has not put out a statement. They have not commented on this. Of course the Pentagon has but the reality is the commander in chief has the responsibility for those drone strikes. And this was probably of all of the bad news here for the White House today. Certainly the worst the tragic killing of 10 civilians there.

So certainly, it raises questions about the drone program going forward. But as of now, the White House has been absolutely silent about this.

COOPER: And I've shed some new reporting on this rare move for France to recall their ambassador to the U.S.

ZELENY: Yes, this is very bizarre, almost that there would be a row between the Biden administration and the French government. That's exactly what has happened never in modern times, has the French government recalled its ambassador, which means send them back to Paris for consultations with the president Emmanuel Macron all over that submarine deal with Australia. The French government believes it was blindsided by the Biden administration.

Now we're learning tonight that the administration or the Secretary of State and others are trying to smooth this over with France. But Anderson this is certainly a very unusual, you know, a disagreement spilling out in public with a very close ally. All of this coming into next week as the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly when all leaders will be focused here on diplomacy. So certainly one of the most difficult Fridays, I would say, for this president. Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks very much.

Want to get perspective now from Maggie Haberman, CNN political analyst and Washington correspondent of the New York Times.

So Maggie, how do you think the administration, you know, is navigating all these fires? Are you particularly the drone issue, you know, clearly, you know, there have been a lot of concerns raised about civilians, deaths from drone strikes, over the 20 years that that the U.S. has been involved in Afghanistan.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, the drone strike is terrible. It's a tragedy. It involves not just up to 10 civilians, but up to seven children in that group of people. And so, it is deeply problematic, you know, just as a catastrophe, a human catastrophe, it's also problematic for the White House, not just Anderson because of the drone program, but because it underscores and reminds people about the chaos around the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which the administration have been hoping to move past and believed that the public would not really care.

We'll see if the public does care here. But this is certainly a problem. And then you have secondarily the FDA issue.

COOPER: It's also a problem for the future of, you know, events in Afghanistan. And, you know, the, what the administration was saying, well, we have these over horizon capabilities --


COOPER: -- you know, we weren't able to get a drone strike, right in Kabul, where U.S. forces were still at the airport and where they did have, you know, some intelligent capability.

HABERMAN: That's right. And Anderson, like, I think they've been trying to say the administration today that this was not part of the over horizon capabilities. This was something different. I think, when they announced this drone strike, they call it as part of the over horizon, over the horizon capabilities, it does raise questions about the kind of intelligence gathering and operations, counterterrorism measures that will take place going forward now that the troop withdrawal has been completed.

I do want to say there is another element here, which is just that the fundamental fact that the strike was described one way to the public. And it turned out to be something else. And it was revealed to be something else by the administration, after CNN and the New York Times, and possibly other media outlets reported on what had really happened. I don't know that they would have talked about what happened without those reports.

COOPER: There's no doubt about that. And it also, again, raises questions about well, how many drone strikes have taken place where people were killed and what the military said about them? You know, had there been reporters able to do the kind of investigations that the New York Times, CNN and others may, you know, were able to do, how many of those drone strikes would have turned out to, you know, I know there are organizations which have looked at the high number of civilian casualties, but it's just an important thing to think about given there's been 20 years of drone strikes in Afghanistan.


COOPER: Let's talk about the former president asked about Congressman Anthony Gonzalez announcing he won't seek reelection. He was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president earlier this year. His statement read in part, while my desire to build a fuller family life is at the heart of my decision is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics, inside our own party is a significant factor in my decision. He called President Trump a cancer for the country. Obviously, the foreign president responded. You say this is how Trump wins in small increments.

HABERMAN: I did say that and I think it is true. I think that you were looking at Trump trying to take out the one by one he I don't think he's going to have total success, but he will have some success, Republicans who voted against him on impeachment and he is able to do that because he has basically a complete control over the primary process right now in various states and he has control over many of the primary voters.


You know, there are a lot of people who have said they don't want to see him as president again in within the Republican electorate. It's about I think it's about half in the CNN poll. That doesn't mean that they are objecting to Trumpy candidates appearing in these districts. But I think that you have to listen to what Anthony Gonzalez said about why he's leaving. And what he said about why he's leaving is this was not just this is for my family, which is what we often hear from politicians. He claims that he was facing threats, he claims that his family was facing threats.

And so, that is something of the new, modern political moment that Donald Trump helped usher in and has used to his advantage and to help candidates who he likes. And that's what you're seeing here. It will not stop, it's going to continue.

COOPER: Especially though, because when you have no morals, and you are relentless, and shameless, you can wear down everybody else around you over time, because you are willing to do things that people who have a spine are people who have some sense of shame or morals are not willing to do which is one of the great strengths of the former president to be completely shameless and essentially immoral.

HABERMAN: I have said before that, when you when you are shameless about how you conduct yourself in public life, it is an edge. Because if you have a willingness and something of a glee and a reveling in grinding the opposition down, which he does, and we've seen it over and over again, you are probably going to outlast the opposition.

Now again, what does that mean for him personally, politically? I don't think we know yet. But it certainly means that he remains a force. He remains the leader of the Republican Party, and I think people who want to tell themselves that that's not the case right now are getting themselves.

COOPER: Yes. And he has plenty of time sitting amongst the mosquitoes in Mar-a-Lago.

Maggie Haberman, appreciate it. Thank you.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, a live report on preparations tonight to make sure tomorrow's rally in support at the Capitol insurrectionists does not turn into some sort of a repeat of January 6.



COOPER: The second time in as many weeks I'm in charge and awaiting trial and the capital insurrection was sent to jail. According to officials, the defendant Pauline Bauer was already not abiding by conditions of her release. That was before she erupted at a court hearing in Washington today and the judge ordered her taken into custody. Prosecutors say that during the January 6 assault she tried to force her way past police in the Capitol rotunda telling the officers quote, bring Nancy Pelosi out here now we want to hang that F-ing bitch.

And now the Capitol is bracing for tomorrow's right wing rally and sympathy for people like her.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is there, for the very latest for. So walk us through some of the security preparations for this thing tomorrow.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, you can see behind me this black fence, this wraps all the way around the Capitol. This was put up late Wednesday night. Now this is something that isn't normally here. And it's also something that wasn't in place ahead of the January 6 rally. This is perhaps the most visible and obvious sign that Capitol Police are taking things seriously tomorrow.

But it's not the only thing. There will be some 100 National Guard troops on standby not far away, ready to deploy if need be, plus a ton of local law enforcement that are ready to serve as backup as well. So Capitol Police telling us today that they are preparing for the worst, but they also said that they're very confident that they will be able to pull this off safely. And in fact, at one point, the Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger described their activity tomorrow is almost an opportunity that for them to practice, to employ all these new security precautions that they have put in place in the wake of the January 6 rally.

And I talked to one senior law enforcement official who kind of downplayed this group this that is rallying here tomorrow saying that they'd never even drawn a crowd of more than hundred people at some of their other events. And they expect the crowd here tomorrow to be less than thousand people. So this is really more than anything, a show of force by Capitol Police and law enforcement here in Washington D.C. to show that they're not going to tolerate what happened on January 6, ever again. That they're going to put the resources in place to prevent something like that from happening.

And Anderson something as simple as having this fence in place. That's going to go a long way to preventing something serious from happening tomorrow.

COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate it. Thanks.

Perspective now from CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.

You know, this may be very overblown. I mean, this, this might just be, you know, a small number of people who have shown up to this thing. As we discussed, law enforcement at this stage has to take it seriously though.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's absolutely right. You know, the job of law enforcement is to prepare for the worst. And they've clearly done that in this situation. I have to tell you Anderson, it's, it's almost a little bit frustrating for me having participated in so many of these events, national security, special events, like inaugurations and State of the Union addresses, this law enforcement community in Washington D.C. knows how to do this right? Then they do it routinely in exactly the way you're seeing now. Partnerships are established people, law enforcement agencies, or they come in to back each other up the right resources are on the ground, the communication, the coordination is there.

And so, it all raises the question of like why did that not happen in the lead up to January 6? That's not really relevant for tomorrow. I think tomorrow, it looks like we're in good shape. But obviously, we'll see how it goes.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, obviously, it's, you know, even compared to, as has been reported, compared to the preparation for, you know, the Black Lives Matter protests the previous summer, the response was extraordinarily different. And so, obviously, a lot of questions on why that was remain.

MCCABE: That's right.

COOPER: You know, you can plan for all types of contingencies. Then again, there is, you know, one, it takes one person to do something. You know, just this week, a guy showed up near the Democratic National Committee headquarters, and they had with a bayonet and machete according to law enforcement. And when you think about the Capitol attack, there's still this person who is, you know, planting pipe bombs who's out there?

MCCABE: That's absolutely right. So, you know, you do your preparations for the crowd that you anticipate, but the wild card are the lone actors, the -- you know, the so called lone wolves. So we have our attempt Capitol Hill bomber who plays two incendiary devices in front of the RNC and the DNC on January 6, that person has not been apprehended yet.


You know, we had in just the last few weeks, we had an individual who tried to crash his vehicle through the gates and ended up killing a Capitol Police Officer, we had an individual who drove up and threatened to blow up a bomb in his vehicle, it looks like you didn't actually have one, but nevertheless.

So, this message about rallying for the, you know, people who stormed the Capitol on January 6, is resonating with that extremist community. And it only takes one person to bring an explosive device or weapons or that sort of thing to a crowd really turn it into a very violent incident. So we're not out of the woods.

COOPER: Does it -- I mean, you were given your history in law enforcement. Does it surprise you that this that the alleged pipe bomber has not been apprehended? I mean, it's just on paper without looking at any of the details to think that somebody in this day and age could plant devices in Washington D.C., you know, near the Capitol at, you know, locations of nodes and still be out there is that. It's kind of extraordinary, isn't it?

MCCABE: It really is, especially when you see the video coverage that the FBI has released in the wake of the -- that attempt. So there's, you know, this individual was caught on video surveillance from residences and businesses in the area. So there's lots of images of them, just not enough to identify them.

But historically, if you look back at bombers, they are typically the cases are built against them by their multiple attempts at bombing. So it's the forensics that you collect off of those devices that typically lead you those people. If this is his first run at these things --

COOPER: Interesting.

MCCABE: -- which might have been because they certainly didn't work. We may be having to wait until he tries it again.

COOPER: Yes. Come to think of it. It reminds me there was a bombing in New York years and years ago at a U.S. recruitment center. I think it was somebody wrote up in a bicycle. And I think --

MCCABE: That's right.

COOPER: -- that it still is unsolved. So it's just (INAUDIBLE).

MCCABE: Still unsolved.

COOPER: Yes. Andrew McCabe, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next --

MCCABE: Thanks Anderson.

COOPER: -- breaking News involving the investigation of the missing 22-year-old Florida woman of a live report an unfolding situation outside the home of her fiance when we continue.


[20:50:46] COOPER: It's breaking news reported this hour. In the case of the missing 22-year-old Florida woman Gabby Peitto, police outside the home of her fiance, investigators previously vindicated to believe he's withholding critical information.

Randi Kaye joins us now from Florida. Randi is outside Brian Laundries family home So what's going on?

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson is with quite a scene here all night. The police from North Port Police here showed up about 6:30 this evening. So they've been here. Well over a couple hours. A group of them just left there's also a lot of protesters here neighbors yelling at the house where is Gabby? So we've been here now for a couple of hours and it turns out that the Laundrie family attorney called North Port Police and said that Brian Laundries' parents, the fiance in this case would like to talk with you so they came over they've been inside talking with the parents.

Apparently the chief says, he's telling CNN that Brian Laundrie is not in this house. But they were going in and out of the house several officers for quite some time now carrying some paperwork. They also looked very closely at a car that is in the driveway.

So certainly looking for answers looking for clues. But the search for Gabby Petito continues.


GABBY PETITO: Hello, hello. Good morning. It is really nice and sunny today.

KAYE (voice-over): Twenty two-year-old Gabby Petito in happier times, documenting her travels with her fiance cross country on social media.

PETITO: Gabby feed up, never goes outside.

KAYE (voice-over): But along the way the trip turned into something else. Police in Moab Utah released this body cam video after someone called them August 12th to report disorderly conduct involving Gabby and her fiance Brian Laundrie. The police report noted the couple engaged in some sort of altercation. Gabby told police she struggled with OCD.

PETITO: And he wouldn't let me in the car before and then I --



PETITO: He told to calm down. Yes. But I'm perfectly calm.

KAYE (voice-over): The police report described her as confused and emotional and manic. The officers didn't file any charges, but suggested the couple separate for the night.

TODD GARRISON, NORTH PORT POLICE: Yes, they added disturbance. Yes, it was captured on body camera their interaction with law enforcement. But beyond that, you know, I don't know what it has to do with the disappearance.

KAYE (voice-over): It all began on July 2nd when the couple set out from New York and Gabby's converted white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida plates. Their plan according to police was to drive all the way to Yellowstone National Park, but they never made it. We've also learned Gabby was reportedly last seen at this Salt Lake City hotel on August 24th. That same day, the family's attorney says she Face Timed with her mom telling her she was leaving Utah and heading to the Grand Tetons.

The following day, Gabby texted multiple times with her mom, likely from the Grand Tetons. On August 30th, a final text from Gabby's phone, though the attorney says her family doubts she actually wrote it.

Then on September 1, her fiance showed up at the home he and Gabby shared with his parents in North Port, Florida in Gabby's white van. Ten days later, on September 11, Gabby's family reported her missing.

GARRISON: Two people went on a trip, one person returned, and that person that returned isn't providing us any information.

KAYE (voice-over): Gabby's family is desperate for answers.

JOE PETITO, FATHER OF GABBY PETITO: Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home. I'm asking for that help. There's nothing else that matters to me now. This girl right here, this is what matters. That is it.

KAYE (voice-over): Brian Laundrie, Gabby's fiance isn't talking. He's hired a lawyer and has not spoken with Gabby's family or police. His own sister told ABC, she hasn't even spoken with her brother.

CASSIE LAUNDRIE, SISTER OF BRIAN LAUNDRIE: All I want is for her to come home safe and sound and this could be just a big misunderstanding.

KAYE (voice-over): Cassie Laundrie told ABC her brother and Gabby had been known to fight.

LAUNDRIE: Typical of both of them, they whenever they fight, they will take a little break and come back and be fine.


KAYE (voice-over): The FBI in Denver has also joined the search aiding FBI and local authorities in Wyoming and Utah. But as the hours and days tick by, the search for answers grows and doubts are beginning to creep in.

PETITO: My gut tells me something bad and I never, I'm never going to be able to hold my bead croak.

KAYE (voice-over): Right now, it is still a missing person investigation since police have no evidence of a crime.

GARRISON: We don't know what happened. You know, we don't know where she's at. We don't know if a crime has been committed.


COOPER: And Randi if the fiance isn't there the house, do police know where he is?

KAYE: No. That's the thing Anderson. As we said the chief had said he's not here while they're talking to the parents but they -- he's saying that they also don't know where Brian Laundrie is. And this really is still a missing person case. He hasn't been charged with a crime so they can't question him. So he's taking the fifth and he's not speaking to police. But of course they also don't know where Gabby Petito is, his fiance.

So they are certainly looking at every avenue to try and find her. The question is, was she with Brian Laundrie? When he came back here he brought her van back here to the family home. Was she with him for any part of that journey or is she somewhere in the Grand Tetons or elsewhere Anderson.

COOPER: Randi, appreciate it. Thank you.

Still to come, investigating the origins of COVID and details to Dr. Sanjay Gupta special report.


COOPER: Quick programming. Don't miss Dr. Sanjay Gupta special reports Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. "THE ORIGINS OF COVID-19 SEARCHING FOR THE SOURCE." Sanjay looks at the leading theories and talks a scientist has been decades studying viruses to try to uncover what's known about the origin with the virus that launched this global pandemic and changed our lives forever. Again, that's 8:00 p.m. Eastern Sunday night right here on CNN.


The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris.