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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Interview With Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA); Sen. Manchin Says $1.5 Trillion Is His Limit On Biden Economic Plan; Sen. Sinema Says Talks With White House Has Been Productive And They Are Making Progress; New Bodycam Video: Gabby Petito Describes Physical Encounter With Brian Laundrie; Laundrie Lawyer: FBI Collected Personal Items Belonging To Brian To Assist IN K-9 Search; Why Do Some Healthcare Workers Not Want The Covid Vaccine?; Trump Super Pac Severs Ties With Longtime Adviser After Allegations By Donor Of Unwanted Sexual Advances; Sandy Hook Families' Legal Victory Over Conspiracy Theorist. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 30, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: She talks about that.
And you have to hear more from her on David's podcast, "The Axe Files."
And thanks for joining me. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. We could be just an hour away from a vote in the House of Representatives that will pave the way for Democratic lawmakers to deliver on many of the promises that got them and the President elected or we might not. The whole thing could crater. It is truly minute by minute at this time.
We'll be joined tonight by one of the key players, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. She and her Progressive Caucus members certainly made those promises to make raising kids more affordable, to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs, to make paid family leave the law of the land. It's all contained in a social spending and green energy bill that according with -- agree with the politics or not, I should say, would map out the most significant expansion of social benefits since Medicare.
And what happens in the next hour or so could pave the way for that or it could scuttle those programs, hurt the people who would benefit from them, perhaps cripple the Biden presidency and leave Democrats deeply vulnerable in next year's midterm elections. That is all on the line tonight.
As the House gets ready to vote on a separate bipartisan infrastructure bill already passed by the Senate, moderate Democrats say it must pass before taking up the social spending bill that progressive Democrats say they won't vote for it without commitments on social spending. And two moderate Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema
are the key figures who have been holding things up, dealing with them has been a challenge for the President, not to mention a puzzlement for some fellow Democrats, and now House Speaker Pelosi who earlier today describe this stage in the negotiations and as I quote, "constant invigoration" end quote. She seems determined to bring them to a close whether or not she succeeds. That, of course is anyone's guess.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, as we mentioned chairs to the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She has been keeping up pressure from her wing of the party. She joins us now.
Congresswoman, good to have you on again. Where do things stand right now with the infrastructure vote? Is it still on?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Anderson, it's good to see you. I do not think that the infrastructure bill is going to come to a vote tonight because I don't think that there is a deal yet on the reconciliation bill, and that is what we have been very clear that we need if we're going to vote yes on the infrastructure bill.
The reality is that there is a whole group of people, people who need childcare, people who need paid leave, people who need housing, people who want to see action on climate change. This is all part of the Build Back Better agenda, which is the President's agenda, and so we've got the President's back here.
I know he's been working very hard to try to negotiate with people in the Senate, who -- the four percent who don't agree with this agenda that we, as Democrats ran on, and won on, and delivered the House, the Senate, and the White House. So, if I had to bet I would say there's not going to be a vote tonight.
COOPER: So one source told CNN that Speaker Pelosi has had success today flipping some Democrats to the yes column. Do you think you and the Speaker are on the same page at this moment?
JAYAPAL: I just don't -- I think there's a lot of rumors swirling around. I can tell you about five that I already have confirmed are not true.
COOPER: We don't want to spread rumors. So, no, you don't have to.
JAYAPAL: So you know, I wasn't going to tell them to you, I was just saying there's at least five in the last 45 minutes that I've had to dispel, so -- and I have dispelled, so I can just tell you that right now, there are not the votes. There is no pressure coming from the Speaker to this because she understands this is -- as she said, this is for the children. She wants this Build Back Better agenda just like the President does, and just like 96 percent of Democrats.
COOPER: So, you don't think she will bring it to a vote tonight?
JAYAPAL: I don't think so, Anderson. Of course, anything could change, you know -- but even if she does, you know, there just aren't the votes there. And you know the Speaker, she does not bring a bill to the floor that's going to fail. So, I would highly doubt it, and I think that's an opportunity for us to get back to work and figure out how we are going to get to agreement on this Build Back Better agenda.
And then of course, all of us will vote for both bills and deliver to the President's desk the agenda that he laid out to us when he came five months ago to Capitol Hill and asked us to help him deliver on that agenda.
COOPER: So, I mean, there's a lot of -- you know, there has been a lot of talk that Senator Manchin has been closed off about what he wants for the spending package. I think the last time you and I spoke, you said and I don't want to paraphrase you incorrectly, but -- or even quote you incorrectly, but you said you know, they haven't really come forward with what they want.
Manchin floated a $1.5 trillion price tag earlier this month to Dana Bash. POLITICO obtained a copy of an agreement that Manchin proposed to Majority Leader Schumer back in July to limit the cost of the spending package to $1.5 trillion, which he and Schumer signed. Does it -- I mean, do you accept that that's the figure he has been putting forward and if so, what do you think about that figure?
JAYAPAL: Look, there is just no deal on the table and I talked to Senator Schumer today about that piece of paper because I want to know what was going on. And the senator made it clear to me that that was just what Joe Manchin wanted him to see and he saw it and he signed that he saw it, and I believe the senator.
So there is no deal on the table. Remember, this has to be a deal, not only that Manchin and Sinema will agree to, but that all of us in the House will agree to, and you know, all of the rest of the senators.
COOPER: Is anything -- is anything near $1.5 trillion acceptable to you? Because I mean, you're talking about $3.5 trillion.
JAYAPAL: Anderson, why would I negotiate with myself? There's no offer on the table?
COOPER: Or with me? Why would you give away you're negotiating point with me? I know, but I have to ask these questions. Can you just take us behind the scenes right now? I mean, how -- just for folks watching at home, what is going on now?
I mean, is it Speaker Pelosi calling people? You calling people? You know, House members? How does this work?
JAYAPAL: No, I mean, really, the Speaker had some meetings with us. I know, I and a group of progressives met with her earlier today. I've spoken to the White House today, a couple of times. I've spoken to a lot of my members today, you know, the Progressive Caucus members who want to know what's going on, and that's really what it's been about.
And, you know, and I think that the real negotiating is happening between the White House and between those two senators, and perhaps with the Speaker's office, and those two senators.
COOPER: So that's where the negotiation is, it's between the White House, Machin, Sinema, perhaps Speaker Pelosi as well. That's where the heat of this is right now?
JAYAPAL: That's right. That's right. And I've spoken to a number of senators as well. You know, I think we all understand that this -- the transformation that we can offer to the country is why people came out to vote for us in November. If we just go back and we deliver a very small sliver, because the infrastructure bill is only like 15 percent of the President's agenda, 85 percent of the President's agenda is contained in the Build Back Better Act.
And Anderson, I want roads and bridges in my district, too. Those are important. We're going to support the infrastructure bill. But let me tell you what people are going to remember. They're not going to remember the road, they are going to remember that they could wake up and have childcare where they couldn't afford it before, or that they have 12 weeks of paid family leave, or that their kids are going to have a planet to live on because we're actually taking action.
Those are the things that are in the Build Back Better agenda, and it's why we're not going to leave that behind.
COOPER: Congresswoman Jayapal, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, we're going to check in with White House shortly. Right now, perspective from CNN political commentator, former special adviser to President Obama, Van Jones; also CNN chief political correspondent, "State of the Union" anchor Dana Bash.
So Dana, you just heard Congresswoman Jayapal. I just want to play a bit of what Senator Manchin told you earlier this month about the top line number, in the trillions of the reconciliation package.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: How do you know that it is not 3.5?
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): It is going to be at one, one and a half. We don't know where it's going to be.
BASH: So you think ballpark one, one and a half.
MANCHIN: It's going to be at three and a half, I can assure you. But with that, whatever it is, once you have a competitive tax code that you can compete globally, and then you should look at what the need is, what's the urgency and the need that we have.
BASH: You just said 1.5? It sounds like $1.5 trillion is your number.
MANCHIN: I'm just saying that basically -- well, I've looked at the numbers. If we have a competitive tax code from a noncompetitive -- it doesn't help the working person that was done in 2017. That's in the one to one and a half range, okay. If that's where it is, shouldn't you be looking at what does it take now to meet the urgent needs that we have that we haven't already met?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So that was September 12th. Is it fair for progressives to continue to say that he and Senator Sinema have kept them in the dark about what they want, plus this new POLITICO reporting about, you know, Manchin in writing, which Senator Schumer, which Congresswoman Jayapal says, it doesn't seem to amount to much?
BASH: Right. I mean, it sounded now that we know about that memo that what Senator Manchin was telling me almost three weeks ago was what he had told his leader, about $1.5 trillion.
But the thing that we have to remember is that we're talking about one big, as they say, in Washington, top line number. The thing that progressives do have a point about is that they have not been clear about what he wants in terms of what matters, which is the policies that add up to and make up that so-called top line number.
So one of the things that they have realized in these behind the scenes negotiations and it has taken a while, and I'm not really sure why is that what Senator Manchin doesn't want is a broad so-called safety net package. He wants it to be means tested, meaning he wants whatever that they put into this to be as targeted as possible to those who need it the most.
Talk to progressives like the one you were just talking to, the chair of the Progressive Caucus, they say well, wait a minute. How can we be sure that if we keep it too narrow and too targeted that we're going to get everybody who needs it?
And then bigger picture and Van Jones knows this better than the three of us together, what you're seeing here is progressives using their numbers and their leverage in a way that I have not seen in the Democratic Party and as part of the Democratic Congress since I've been in Washington.
COOPER: So, Van, talk to me about that because I mean, listening to Congresswoman Jayapal, her vote counting, the strength of the progressive bloc Democrats talking about their position in all of this and how you see what's happening right now.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, for once, the progressives have the numbers and also the polling data on their side in ways that is, you know without precedent. Everybody in D.C. is talking about the numbers.
But in the country, what people are talking about is the opportunity to actually get some help out here. People are hurting. This is not going well. People are having a very hard time putting food on the table, and people who have jobs are being squeezed between not being able to take care of seniors who have got -- who need a hearing aid and can't get it, who need dental care and can't get it. There are kids that need daycare and can't get it.
And so, you know, while people are playing these games with these phantom numbers, people are out here hurting, and progressives are hearing from the grassroots and in a really major way.
Also, this is not the Democrats being dysfunctional. That really is not what's happening. The Democrats are united. Kyrsten Sinema is being dysfunctional -- it is dysfunctional not to tell people what you want, and what you don't want. It is dysfunctional not to give any number at all this far. And so there is a Democratic senator who is being dysfunctional, but the Democrats are being quite functional, and they're responding to what the people want, and I think they understand it is a once in a generation opportunity to deliver on stuff that has not been delivered on before, and they would be, I think, quite foolish to back down at this point.
COOPER: I mean, Dana, you know, Van is saying, Manchin and Sinema not functional, looking at it through the lens of, you know, the vote count that they received, the number of Republicans in their districts, you know, they want to be reelected, I assume, or continue in power. I mean, you know, Manchin is coming from a state that Trump won. I mean, is that what -- is this -- Is that really what's going on here? Is it just, you know, the people they represent are far more conservative, and they wouldn't survive this?
BASH: It's that, but I can say in the case of Senator Manchin, it's also that it's his personal philosophy. I mean, you heard him out talking to reporters earlier today, and he was saying, look, if progressives want more progressive agenda items and policies, then they need to elect more progressives.
I mean, he is being very open about it. Yes, it is the fact that he represents ruby red West Virginia, and it is an anomaly in some ways that he represents that state, and it is because he is so well-known, but it is also because he believes it.
And what's really interesting, Anderson, is that if you look at the State of West Virginia, there are so many of his constituents who could benefit from a lot of these programs ...
COOPER: Yes, that's what is so interesting.
BASH: ... that the Biden White House wants to put forward. But they also fundamentally, ideologically don't believe a lot of them, at least the ones that Joe Manchin is talking to, and that he is one of these, that it's the government's job to be this expansive, and that is the ideological and philosophical conversation they have had.
COOPER: But Van, what's so interesting about that is, you know, you hear people say, well, look, I don't believe in socialism and stuff, but Medicare, don't take that away from me and don't take you know, Social Security. I mean, there are things which now are looked at through a certain lens as just being what, you know, is totally acceptable and part of democracy that might, you know, when it was first instituted, there were people just like the folks Manchin are talking to who said, well, this is a government overreach.
JONES: Yea, it's true. And I think that that is the opportunity for Joe Biden and the modern Democratic Party is to upgrade those middle class programs that everybody now believes in. I remember during the Tea Party era, it was that, you know, keep your government hands off our Medicare.
So at some point, these programs will be in place and they'll be seen as American as apple pie.
COOPER: Van Jones and Dana Bash, I appreciate it.
Next, as we wait for the vote, if there's going to be one, a live report from the White House. Plus, what Kyrsten Sinema's Arizona constituents think of the stand that she has been taking whether she's still the kind of Democrat they voted for.
And later, newly released, or I should say revealed video of tense and perhaps telling moment in Utah between Brian Laundrie who is a fugitive tonight and his fiancee, Gabby Petito who was killed, that and the latest in the manhunt ahead.
COOPER: Talks still underway right now on Capitol Hill. Heads being counted, arms twisted and a crucial vote possibly looming, although Congresswoman Jayapal who we talked to earlier said she didn't think it would be tonight. President Biden signed legislation today averting a government shutdown for a couple months. He did it off camera behind closed doors, which likely says something about where his focus truly is right now.
Our Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us. So, Kaitlan, what is the feeling at the White House right now? Congresswoman Jayapal said she thought most of the heat right now was in conversations between the White House the two senators and perhaps Speaker Pelosi?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, that's really where the heat has been for the last several days. And so Congresswoman Jayapal telling you that she doesn't think a vote is likely tonight and if one happens, it will fail.
The White House is kind of the thinking that something could happen quickly, if anything ultimately happens at all, and I think the fact that President Biden did sign that government funding bill earlier tonight that funds the government through December 3rd, not on camera is pretty much of a sign of in and of itself of how fluid things really are around here, because the White House had been considering having him do so on camera. That means, of course, he's likely going to get questions from reporters on these negotiations that are happening on Capitol Hill right now.
[20:20:24] COLLINS: But I think, it speaks to the level of sensitivity around
those discussions that they are letting Speaker Pelosi do the work here trying to get those votes, so they could potentially have a vote on that infrastructure bill tonight, instead of having the President appear on camera and talk about this. They're kind of sitting back and watching to see what happens like the rest of us are.
COOPER: So Senator Sinema has met with President Biden and his staff many times even now at this point in the process. Does the White House -- I mean, do they really know what she and Senator Manchin want specifically?
COLLINS: Her office has said that they've made clear to both the President and leader Schumer what they want, but they are not saying that publicly. And I think given this 1.5 trillion number today that Senator Manchin confirmed after it was revealed he had signed a document on that with Senator Schumer earlier this summer really speaks for itself because the White House for several days, we've been asking basically everyday, what is the top line number? Is the White House at least aware without telling us what that number was?
And Anderson, they wouldn't even get to that, and I think that's because President Biden has had one goal over the last several days. That's getting Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema on board and of course, right now here at 8:21 p.m. that is still something they're trying to do.
COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. More now on Senator Sinema whom you heard Van Jones before the break say is being dysfunctional, that's his characterization. The question now is what do her Arizona constituents think? CNN's Ed Lavandera reports on that now.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Under the lights in Scottsdale, Arizona, two of America's pastimes play out, high school baseball and a few swings at talking politics.
We came to talk about Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. She used to represent this area around Phoenix when she was in the House of Representatives.
LAVANDERA (on camera): As you see Senator Sinema doing what she's doing, what do you make of it?
LAVANDERA (voice over): Lou Ziccarelli voted for the Democrat when she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018.
LOU ZICCARELLI, ARIZONA VOTER: The thing about it is, it's one thing to go against your party, but you have to be transparent as to why and let people in your party and your constituents know why.
LAVANDERA (voice over): Confusion has been a constant theme among Sinema's supporters. Answers to questions like this aren't helping.
QUESTION: What do you say that progressives -- progressives are frustrated and they don't know where you are?
SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): I'm in the Senate.
LAVANDERA (voice over): Sinema says she is motivated by being an independent voice and supports a bipartisan approach. Sinema was elected by a thin margin of just over two percentage points.
Emily Kirkland was part of an army of progressive activists who worked to get Sinema elected. Kirkland says she canvassed neighborhoods, knocking on doors to turn out voters for the future senator.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Where are you now with the senator?
EMILY KIRKLAND, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROGRESS ARIZONA: Incredibly frustrated, just so angry and disappointed, in part because it feels like she is just doing what corporate donors want, and she's not listening to voters.
LAVANDERA (voice over): Kirkland points to what happened in March when Sinema walked into the Senate chamber, and with an emphatically expressive thumbs down voted against a bill to create a $15.00 an hour minimum wage. Sinema said she has supported past minimum wage increases, butt the March proposal should not have been tied to a COVID focused relief bill.
Still, progressive activists blasted Sinema for listening more to corporate donor interests, instead of her supporters. The senator then posted this picture of herself on Instagram with a ring that said, "Eff off."
Kirkland believes Sinema was sending a message to activists like her.
KIRKLAND: It seems like she kind of delights in saying, hey, voters don't have to listen to you. And I don't think that's an attitude that's winning her a lot of friends in Arizona.
LAVANDERA (on camera): What do you take away from that?
KIRKLAND: Yes, it tells me that she is really enjoying being in Washington and getting to be this powerbroker.
LAVANDERA (voice over): Kirkland says she won't campaign for Sinema again. She is not alone. Two progressive activist organizations are recruiting another Democrat to challenge Sinema when she is up for re- election in 2024.
Over a happy hour beer, Fran Williams tells us, she has been a lifelong Democrat who voted for John McCain, but she doesn't see Sinema as Arizona's newest political Maverick.
FRAN WILLIAMS, ARIZONA VOTER: She and Joe Manchin are running for Mr. and Miss Congeniality of the Senate. It is the best I can determine, you know, so we're unhappy with what we thought she would bring to the table.
LAVANDERA (voice over): Sinema has caught the attention of Republicans like Kristina Murray. Just before her son came up to bat, she told us Sinema's actions make her open to voting for her in the next election.
KRISTINA MURRAY, ARIZONA VOTER: Well, we want somebody who is independent thinking, right? We don't want somebody to be in lockstep with their party.
LAVANDERA (on camera): The way Senator Sinema is acting right now.
LAVANDERA: You seem surprised by what you've seen.
MURRAY: Absolutely, because like I said, she is not falling in line with the game, you know. It's just -- she is thinking for herself thinking critically and don't we want politicians to think critically and to actually represent their constituents?
COOPER: Ed Lavandera joins us now. So what does Senator Sinema have to say about all these criticisms from the constituents?
LAVANDERA: Well, we reached out to her office today for reaction to this criticism, mostly coming from progressives in Arizona. A spokesperson for the senator says that Sinema had always promised to be an independent voice for this state, and she is delivering on that promise and she is not hiding who she is, but progressives here in the state nonetheless, feel like she has changed dramatically.
Remember, Sinema started out in Arizona politics about 20 years ago as an activist with the Green Party. So, this shift to the middle comes as a real shock to many of them, as they had hoped someone that Senator Sinema would be someone who would take more advantage of this majority the Democrats have in Congress and in the White House right now.
COOPER: Ed, thanks. Ed Lavandera.
Up next, breaking news in the Gabby Petito murder investigation. We've got a new bodycam video that gives kind of a fresh look at what happened when police pulled over Petito and Brian Laundrie in Utah back in August.
We'll also hear her describe what she says he did to her that led to that 9-1-1 call.
COOPER: There is breaking news in the investigation into the murder of Gabby Petito. A never before seen police bodycam video gives us a new angle on what happened when officers responding to a 9-1-1 call pulled over Petito and Laundrie in Moab, Utah on August 12th.
We also hear Petito in her own words describe the physical encounter she had with Laundrie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 that he actually hit you. Because, you know --
GABBY PETITO, VICTIM: I guess yes, but he came first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did he hit you? Don't worry, just be honest.
PETITO: I feel like he gag my face, it's like, like this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
PETITO: He didn't hit me in the face, he like (INAUDIBLE) or anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He slap your face or what?
PETITO: Well, he gag like (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, we also have new information about the search for Brian Laundrie and phone calls that were made to police related to his parents' home. Randi Kaye is in Northport Florida with the latest.
So, talk about this newly released body cam footage. What more do we know about it?
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said it was August 12. Anderson, it's about 52 minutes long, this new body camera video and there were four officers who responded to that call after the 911 call came in four officers were dispatched. So this is a different officer's body camera, but sadly, it's the same disturbing picture of what was going on between them. You could see, you know, she's visibly upset. She's sitting in the back of the car. She's crying at times on the on video. He's sort of joking and smirking with the police officers so he does call her his fiance n the video. He says he doesn't want her to be taken to jail.
But, you know, you have to remember this is August 12th, Anderson, as you said, and just a couple of weeks later, we know from speaking to another witness, there was another incident in Jackson Wyoming restaurant where she was also visibly upset and crying and he was very angry apparently according to the witness, and then just a couple weeks after that her remains were found in the Spread Creek camping area. So you just have to wonder, you know, sort of what track they were on, what was going on with them during this police stuff and how did things go so wrong from there, Anderson.
COOPER: And what's the latest in the search for Laundrie? KAYE: Well, the FBI was back at the house today here behind me in Northport, Florida. They've been to the house before but now according to the family attorney, FBI members came to the house today to get more personal items to help in the search for Brian Laundrie. The lawyer said specifically it was to help with the canines so they could have some items to smell and try and find Brian Laundrie whether or not he's here in this crowd and reserve near the home is still unclear.
But they also brought in a large paper bag into the house, they left without it. So maybe they were returning some other items that they had taken earlier. And they one of the agents did go into the camper, the family's camper that's been parked in the driveway and that they have taken camping. They went in there for just a short period of time and then they all left, Anderson.
COOPER: And I mean, we've talked about a camping trip that Laundrie took with his parents. That was right -- was that right after he got back without his fiancee and what more do we know about it?
KAYE: Right. So we know from the family attorney, the Laundrie family attorney confirmed to CNN that the parents and Brian Laundrie took a trip to Fort DeSoto Park which is about an hour or so north of here on September 6th and 7th. But we now just today we got new records from Pinellas County showing that Roberta Laundrie, Brian Laundrie's mother had actually made a reservation for two people to go camping on September 1st to 3rd. We got the paperwork and looked at it. That reservation was made on August 24th. And then it was canceled on August 31st. And that's a key date because we know he returned home from Wyoming in Gabby's van without Gabby on September 1st. So it makes sense that he would have been on the road driving from Wyoming to Florida on August 31st. So that's the date that that reservation was cancelled for two people.
The question is why was it canceled? Did he call and tell his parents he was coming home? Did they know he was coming home without Gabby? Did he tell them why he was coming home without Gabby? So, do they want to be at the house when he arrived home? So these are all questions of course that need answering, but we know they made a new reservation on September 3rd to go on the 6th and 7th again.
COOPER: Randi, thanks. Appreciate it.
Lenny DePaul joins us now, he's the former commander of the U.S. Marshal Service Regional Fugitive Task Force for New York and New Jersey.
Lenny, thanks for being back with us.
So the police were responding to the Laundries home as Randi just reported around the time that Gabby Petito was reported missing. Does that help investigators at all?
LENNY DEPAUL, FMR COMMANDER, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE REGIONAL FUGITIVE TAS FORCE NY & NJ: Well, good evening Anderson and thanks again for having me on. I mean, I apparently it was the Petito family that was quite concerned about Gabby and I've -- and, you know, rightfully so. She wasn't responding to any communications any phone calls. So they called I'm assuming Brian or the family to try to locate her with no response. So they call --
COOPER: Of course (ph).
DEPAUL: -- the 911 emergency number.
DEPAUL: Police responded a few time. So, that's the way that the, you know, that went down. So --
COOPER: So --
DEPAUL: -- it shouldn't help police.
COOPER: Clearly, I mean the FBI back were bought back at the Laundries house today according to the Laundrie family attorney collecting evidence they said to us for perhaps canine searches. I mean, we're just big picture where do you see this investigation? Does it seem from the outside that they really have a sense of where that he may be?
DEPAUL: I mean, I think they're just you know, leaving no stones unturned. I mean, if they believe or if they got another tip or their investigation is leading them back to the Carlton reserve, you know, they want to be prepared so they want to get a canine especially a bloodhound to sniff some clothes to get that scent. Inside these dogs who are fabulous. I mean, they hold the scent for over a week and they can pick up a scent that 100 miles and then track them for over 100 miles --
COOPER: Wait, they can they can hold -- they can hold a scent for a week. That's incredible.
DEPAUL: Bloodhounds do. Bloodhounds over a week I think it's close to one week --
DEPAUL: -- once they enter that (INAUDIBLE) it gets into their skin yes remains with them for quite some time. So they're phenomenal to work with and, you know, heavy terrain wooded areas if he is still in this reserve, like they think he is, you know, aviation support, thermal imaging, night vision, that stuff's not going to work well. So canines are, are much needed.
COOPER: In your experience, I mean, I guess every I mean, every case is different. Someone on the run though, do they nearly always have help? Or someone they talked to or someone they contact? DEPAUL: I think the guy, I think this particular fugitive, he's off the grid, he's gone dark, if he's in the woods, he's trying to lay low, not communicating, he certainly sleeping with one eye open. He's not going to call anybody at this point. I wouldn't think so I'd be quite shocked because fugitive investigators, they're all over that trusted circle of friends.
As I've said, the family the parents, they're looking at everything. They're turning their worlds upside down. So, if he makes that mistake and makes that call that's a home run for law enforcement.
COOPER: There's a lot of locals who know those that area that reserve well who doubt that he'd be able to stay in there this long.
DEPAUL: I agree with him. I think that whole deal behind the Ford Mustang, he tells his parents I'm going to go up to this reserve. He knows it well. He jumps in his Ford Mustang. He goes up to the Carleton Reserve. He knows the area has been hunting, he's walking down a deer trail, he triggers a camera on a deer track takes a photo, hey, world, this is me. I'm with my backpack. And then he, you know, he disappears. However, two days later, the parents show up and they take the Mustang back home. I mean, what did they want him to walk home after he was done meditating? He didn't make sense to me.
So, that whole time that he might have backed you know, once he grabbed that photo and turned around, he might have jumped in a buddy's car and he's in the wind. So, it's anyone's guess.
COOPER: Lenny DePaul, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Up next, California braces or I should say becomes the latest state to require healthcare workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Most complied, there are still thousands though of holdouts. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, talk to a nurse who has not gotten her shot and why -- she talks out why she's waiting, and if she's willing to lose her job over it. He joins us next.
COOPER: A vaccine mandate went into effect for health care workers in California today and appears to have compelled tens of thousands of unvaccinated employees to get shots in recent weeks. According to The New York Times, a survey of more than a dozen of the state's major hospital system shows that vaccination rates this week of 90% or higher, but that leaves as much as 10% who are refusing to get the vaccine. So the question is why, why are so many medical professionals on the frontlines the virus are reluctant to actually get vaccinated.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta talked to one nurse about her hesitation while she has made that decision. He joins us now.
It's fascinating. So the nurse she spoke to in Wisconsin, were you surprised what she told you? SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I was surprised Anderson. I think, you know, part of the reason I was surprised was because I kind of feel like at this point with everything that I know about the vaccine that I can, if I have enough time with somebody, I can convince them I can answer their questions I can convince them. And especially when it comes to a healthcare worker, as someone who lives in an environment where they're continuously surrounded by good information and good knowledge about this. But what I learned talking to her is that there's a lot going on here. So listen to part of the conversation.
ANDREA BABINSKI, NURSE, GUNDERSEN HEALTH SYSTEM: That shouldn't be a choice between a personal healthcare decision and, you know, the job that we love.
GUPTA (on-camera): You would lose your job over this.
BABINSKI: Obviously, it's heartbreaking. It's almost like a grieving process to tell you the truth.
GUPTA (voice-over): Andrea Babinski is among the tens of millions of Americans who are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 but haven't. And what's more, she's been a nurse at Gundersen Health System in the Cross, Wisconsin for more than 12 years.
BABINSKI: Ever since this mandate came down, many, many more people are quitting and leaving healthcare in our specific hospital. And we're not just talking nursing department, we're talking the EAs which is the housekeeping department, we're talking dietary, laundry, respiratory therapy department.
GUPTA (voice-over): At Gundersen, about 85% of the staff have been vaccinated. But a small group has instead staged protests at the hospital, including Andrea herself. One of her specific health concerns, blood clots.
(on-camera): If you were my patient, let's say we were having this conversation in a patient room instead, I would tell you look, I hear your concern about clotting. But if you have a clotting disorder, you should get the vaccine because you'd be an increased risk of clotting if you got the disease.
BABINSKI: You know that very well with this pandemic, this vaccine, this virus, the science is constantly changing. And I understand that science is changing as we find out more things.
GUPTA (on-camera): But I think what the vaccines I think when you have close to 6 billion shots that have not been administered around the world, and you have data, you know, trial data from last year that shows the safety and the effectiveness of these vaccines and then real world data over the last nine months. It really does make a strong case.
BABINSKI: I'm not anti-vaccine, I'm not anti-COVID vaccine, but at the end of the day, informed consent is what we all honor in nursing. I've stood up for a lot of my patients over the years that we're feeling pushed into something and, you know, it's their body, it's a choice that they should make for themselves. And that I should make for myself.
GUPTA (on-camera): Certainly, as a doctor, I'm very familiar with informed consent. But don't you again, with all your knowledge, as a nurse, don't you draw a line when it comes to a contagious disease? I mean, the idea that you're working in a hospital where there are sick people and vulnerable people, and you could potentially be a carrier of a virus and not know it, because you might not have any symptoms.
BABINKSI: I have had multiple co-workers test positive for COVID in the last few weeks that are fully vaccinated. And so, I think a much safer option would be, you know, regular testing for all of us vaccinated and unvaccinated the like.
GUPTA (on-camera): I'm not saying that this obviates testing or, you know, wearing PPE and all those things. I don't think you would say hey, I'm never going to wear a seatbelt. And that's unless I also have an airbag, you know, of course, you'd wear a seatbelt. You know, it just, I've never gotten a car accident. Therefore, I don't need to wear a seatbelt. I knew a guy who wore a seatbelt and still died. Therefore, we don't need seatbelts. They obviously don't work.
It's scientifically grounded evidence that you as a nurse are more equipped than most of the country to understand and learn and preach frankly, rather than selling this doubt. It just -- it worries me, it worries me about where we go now. And it worries me about where we might go. If there's another pandemic.
I got to leave it with just saying I think you should get vaccinated. And I don't know what you think about it?
BABINSKI: Well, I think about getting vaccinated?
GUPTA (on-camera): Yes.
BABINSKI: I feel like I've put a lot of thought into this already. As far as right now, I'm -- I have no plans to get vaccinated. But I'm willing to keep the conversation open to with listen, still listening to others point of view.
GUPTA (on-camera): Is there anything that would convince you to get vaccinated?
BABINSKI: Not at this point, but I mean, I guess never say never.
COOPER: It's fascinating. I mean, just factually speaking. First of all, I don't quite understand what her argument is to not get vaccinated. I mean, you mentioned the blood clot thing, but which doesn't make sense. But also just -- I heard when you asked her, would you be very rational question of, well, you're around people who, you know, could be infected, if you're positive and don't know it. She said, well, that's why I think regular testing is far safer.
But as you said, you can be vaccinated and still get regular testing, just as she said, People get a vaccinated habit. But even if she got COVID, if she's vaccinated, she is less likely to transmit it to somebody else. And they'll COVID she has is less likely to harm and kill her.
GUPTA: No question, she's less likely to get infected, she's less likely to transmit it to someone else. And one doesn't necessarily preclude the other. I mean, you could do both. And, you know, I think she's a rational person, you know, which is that the conversation was a long one Anderson --
COOPER: Yes, of course.
GUPTA: -- 40 minutes long. And it's worth pointing out that the vast majority of healthcare workers at her hospital and most hospitals around the country are vaccinated. I mean, some 90 in some places, 99%. So this is a small group of people that we're talking about here. But it was so interesting is that ultimately, after really dancing around this, for some time, I really thought I was going to be able to convince her. I felt like how could I not be able to convince this person? It really came down to the mandate for her. The idea that it was it felt too authoritarian that she was told what to do. That I think was what really was bothering her about this.
COOPER: That's my sense of what came out of it is like she kept coming back to the idea of a mandate and being forced to do it and seem to object to that rather than the vaccine itself. Anyway, Sanjay, appreciate it. Thank you. Really fascinating, important what you're doing.
Coming up next, a longtime adviser of the former president is out again. Feel like he's been out a couple of times, then they're always bringing back doesn't the former president. Allegations, new allegations against Corey Lewandowski, next
COOPER: A once well known member of the former president's inner circle, often controversial in his own right back in the day has been removed from a key position atop the 45th president's political operation. Corey Lewandowski was always there with the former president on the campaign trail, and the White House most recently leading the former president super PAC until now.
Tom Foreman has the details other than the allegations that have led to his ouster.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He repeatedly touched me inappropriately, said vile and disgusting things to me, stalked me and made me feel violated and fearful. That is from a statement Politico says it obtained from Republican donor Trashelle Odom, allegedly describing an encounter with Corey Lewandowski at a charity event in Las Vegas over the weekend. Politico says four eyewitnesses confirmed the account of him touching her leg and buttocks and making obscene comments about his genitals. Even as an attorney for Lewandowski calls it all accusations and rumors.
Still, Trump super PAC moved fast to push out the insider. Corey Lewandowski will be going on to other endeavors. And we very much want to thank him for his service, he will no longer be associated with Trump world.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FMR TRUMP ADVISER: Are you a journalist, or you not? I mean, is that what you want? Are you a journalist --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE : Hey Corey, listen --
LEWANDOWSKI: -- or you're a top 10, which one?
FOREMAN (voice-over): The combative former aide to Donald Trump has long been a lightning rod. In the 2016 race as campaign manager, he was accused of yanking a female reporter away from the candidate. He and Trump denied it. Then video appeared.
COOPER (on-camera): He clearly did touch this person whether or not you think it was battery or not --
DONALD TRUMP (R) FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Touch, I don't know what touched means.
COOPER (on-camera): Well he said I never touched this person.
TRUMP: And then she says, oh, look at my arm.
COOPER (on-camera): Did he mislead you as well, because --
TRUMP: Not at all. No, not at all.
FOREMAN (voice-over): A few months later, Lewandowski was fired anyway.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): From your perspective. What happened? Why were you fired?
LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, I don't know.
FOREMAN (voice-over): But the next year he was back in the circle where singer Joy Villa accused Lewandowski of swatting her bottom during a party of the Trump hotel in D.C. Yet he's steamed on is a prominent defender of Trump raging about the Russia probe, jousting with Congress and like his boss frequently and publicly eviscerating the truth.
LEWANDOWSKI: I have no obligation to be honest in the media just because there's just as dishonest as anybody else.
FOREMAN: And now it is not at all clear that he can come back yet again. Amid such damning accusations from such a big donor, it appears Lewandowski may have finally gone too far for even team Trump. Anderson.
COOPER: We shall see.
Just ahead, families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre just won a major legal battle against well known conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Details on that next.
COOPER: Major legal action against conspiracy peddler, Alex Jones tonight that will cost him. Huffington Post reports the Infowars host has lost two of several lawsuits brought in Texas against him by relatives of Sandy Hook victims after routinely failing to comply with records requests related. These default judgments are rare in the legal world and they're related to the lies that Jones has spread about the deadly 20 -- 2012 shooting, 20 children and six adults murdered that day.
We won't repeat Jones's 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' attorney has declined to comment.
News continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.