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Police: Alec Baldwin Fatally Shoots Crew Member With Prop Gun; Pelosi: Spending Bill Deal "Very Possible" After Meeting With Biden; Fauci: Original Shot Recommended For Booster, But You Can Mix & Match. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 22, 2021 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Here's what we are watching at this hour. Tragedy on a movie set, a filmmaker is killed, another injured after Alec Baldwin fires a prop gun, so many questions this morning about how this happened.

Close to a deal, President Biden reveals details about his long negotiations with Democrats on that massive spending bill. Why the President now says he's open to eliminating the filibuster?

And big boost, CDC green lights booster shots for millions of Americans as Pfizer reports new data on the effectiveness of their vaccine on younger children.

Thank you for being here. We begin with the breaking news. A tragic accident on the set of an Alec Baldwin movie killing one crew member injuring another, police say Baldwin fired a prop gun during the filming of "Rust" that's the name of the film. In New Mexico, the film cinematographer died and the director was wounded. No charges have been filed. Police are investigating.

We are also following new developments in a very different story, President Biden's domestic agenda. Speaker Pelosi was at the White House already this morning after CNN's Town Hall last night, where the President revealed specifics of the negotiations with Democratic lawmakers on his massive spending plan. The President also made his most forceful comments yet in support of scrapping the Senate filibuster in order to protect voting rights. We're going to have much more on that and what it means for the path forward in Washington in just a second.

But I do want to begin with the breaking news. CNN Stephanie Elam is live in Los Angeles following all of this on the deadly movie shooting involving Alec Baldwin. Stephanie, what is the latest that you're hearing this morning?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's still a lot of questions on how this could happen. A lot of people wondering, Kate, how exactly could have this fire, prop fire gun been used and been directed toward the director of photography and also the director. Here's what we do know that this happened just before 2:00 p.m. local time, that there was a 911 call saying that there was a shooting on set.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department did respond to this shooting. And this is the way they put it. They said there was a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin. Now this is on the set of the movie "Rust." It's a Western based in the 1880s in time, it's a film about a 13-year-old boy who goes on the run with his long estranged grandfather after the boy is accused of accidentally killing someone. That's the plot of the film there.

We do know that Halyna Hutchins who is the director of photography that she was hit, she was airlifted by helicopter to the University of New Mexico, where the hospital pronounced her dead. We also know that the director Joel Souza was also hit. We know that he was taken by ambulance to a different hospital. Still no word exactly on how Souza is doing at this point. But what we do know is that this investigation is ongoing. No one has been charged.

And we also know that they are asking everyone who was a witness questions about what could have gone here -- gone on here. But we've seen these pictures of Alec Baldwin looking completely distraught after this incident yesterday, Kate.

Absolutely, those pictures are really heart wrenching. It's great to see you, Stephanie. Thank you for bringing us these details. Joining me now for more on this is CNN's chief media correspondent anchor of Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter, and also with us is Charlotte Triggs. She's the managing editor for People Digital. Brian, do we know anything more this morning about just how this actually could happen? I mean, I'm really curious how two people got hit.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. And it makes you wonder if this was literally during production, when they were actually filming, whether this was something that happened elsewhere in on the set, they're on this Western lot there in Santa Fe, producing a Western movie. And, you know, for some reason, you know, this was able to hit two people and kill one of them.

The reality is, Kate, we know very, very little and I think it's very -- it's kind of somebody is revealing how little we know right now it's been more than 12 hours since this death was confirmed, since Baldwin was, was speaking with authorities and was not charged and was not held. And so it has been radio silence overnight into the morning. And now, you know, as the dawn rises there in New Mexico, Baldwin has not said anything publicly, nor have representatives for the film.

So there are, you know, there's chatter in Hollywood communities about whether this was a live round that was fired from the gun by accident. And, you know, maybe that helps explain what could have happened here. Were they shooting a scene where the gun was pointed at the camera that would be a logical possibility given to the cinematographer was killed, but we just don't know.

[11:05:09] And I think unfortunately in an environment like this where there's a void of information, that's where rumor and speculation and innuendo end up filling, so the sooner that authorities can give us more details, the better.

BOLDUAN: That's a good -- yes, that's so true. And Charlotte, I mean there are very strict guidelines and protocols for weapons on any set. I heard one expert this morning say that, one weapons expert who's worked on multiple movies, say this morning that he had no idea how this is possible, unless the gun was like a one foot away from the camera. And you know, the cinematographer would be -- they would both be near the camera, which he says was highly unlikely that they would set it up that way. What does a prop gun include? Like, what should people know about this?

CHARLOTTE TRIGGS, MANAGING EDITOR, PEOPLE DIGITAL: Well, so and there's really a lot of protocols when it comes to even dealing with fake firearms on set, typically, the prop master is in charge of this and they'll come and they'll actually present the weapon in front of the actor, show it to them, give them kind of like a tour of how it's used, show it to the directors, everybody on this set gets comfortable with it understands exactly how it works. That being said, blanks are actually quite dangerous. And if you were shooting it at close range, somebody could be injured.

However, the local union that represents a prop masters on movie sets, actually sent a letter. And in their letter, they indicated that there was one live round in the prop gun, how that could have happened. Nobody knows. But they apparently the bullet actually hit both the cinematographer and the director in one shot. That seems to indicate that it might have been rehearsal scenario, and less like live -- a live action shot.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and we always want to be careful because there are those reports of that letter. But we CNN has not independently kind of confirmed that it would be a big deal when it comes to a live round being in there. A lot of moving parts early on in this and so we are trying to weed through it as carefully as we can. I know we can all appreciate that. You know, Brian, I heard the local Sheriff's Department said yesterday and let me read the quote I saw in "The Times" had it which says we're trying to determine right now how and what type of projectile was used in the firearm, which leads to look, this is just -- this adds to questions, right?

Why was the gun loaded with projectiles? Everything you always hear is it's, you know, they use dummy rounds if -- during filming, you need to be seen loading a gun, dummy rounds, which wouldn't have any black powder in it or blanks. So it just -- there is a lot of -- there's just a lot of questions, unfortunately, in this tragedy right now.

STELTER: Yes. And, you know, Baldwin has some of the answers, but probably not all of them. The prop master has some of the answers, but probably not all of them. And the cinematographer who was longer alive to tell us may have some of the answers, may have had some of the answers and cannot share them. So it's a tragedy all around. And it reminds us of the case of Brandon Lee from the 1990s, who was killed on a set and now his family, you know, more than 20 years later saying, you know, one should die. Obviously, no one should die from a weapon on a movie set. That's obviously a simple truth, and something that is taken so seriously in all these productions. And yet this tragedy still, you know, now unfolds before us,

BOLDUAN: It does, much more to come on this, thank you both very much.

I want to turn to our other big story that we're just talking about now to CNN's and it's news making town hall with President Biden, the President made headlines on key issues like the filibuster, defending Taiwan from a Chinese attack, and a lot on the ongoing negotiations on his massive spending bill. Take a listen to this.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Are you close to a deal?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think so. You know, look, I've been -- I was a senator for 370 years. And I was never -- I was relatively good at putting together deals. Look, it's all about compromise. You know, it's compromise become a dirty word. But it's bipartisanship and compromise still has to be possible.

COOPER: You're also proposing for the first time ever federal paid parental leave. The one point you talked about 12 weeks, now there's reports it's down to maybe four weeks.

BIDEN: Yes. It is down four weeks. And the reason it's down to four weeks. I can't get 12 weeks.

COOPER: One of the other things that Democrats are looking to do is to expand Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing. Will all three of those still be covered?

BIDEN: That's a reach. And the reason why it's a reach it's not this -- I think it's a good idea. And it's not that costly in relative terms. But here's the thing, Mr. Manchin is opposed to that. So far, Mr. Manchin and one other person as indicated they will not support free community college.

COOPER: There's a lot of Democrats in the House and Senate who are confused about where Senator Sinema actually stands on things. Do you know where she stands?


BIDEN: First of all, she's smart as the devil, number one. Number two, she's very supportive of the environmental agenda in my legislation, where she's not supportive if she says she will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and or on wealthy people.


BOLDUAN: Joining me now, CNN's John Harwood, he's live at the White House and CNN Manu Raju on the steps of the Capitol as people are heading for the exits on a Friday morning. You just heard from the speaker as she was coming back from the White House. What did she say about all of this?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she did have a meeting with the President this morning, along with Chuck Schumer, the majority leader. She sounded optimistic, but also acknowledged they are not there yet. I asked her about that one thing that Joe Biden made clear last night that perhaps in this expansion of Medicare, which is a central promise that Democrats have made that was central to this larger social safety net package that may not get in to the proposal.

She acknowledged that there are still discussions ongoing on the health care issue. Now she said, it is still possible, very possible in her words that a deal could be reached. But she didn't commit to exact timeframe. She said those discussions are happening. And they wanted to have a vote potentially by next week on both the separate infrastructure bill that has already passed in the Senate. But as waiting action in the House, as well as this larger package, but there are just so many details that still need to be sorted out.

Now I asked her about Manchin and Sinema and whether or not there's any agreement between those two members who have of course raised a number of concerns. Those negotiations are ongoing. She punted that issue to the White House. He said that is up to the White House and the Senate to decide. So Kate very clearly, there's still a lot of discussions, a lot of moving parts. Uncertainty, a deal can come together, but still the positive tones that they are making right now, but does it amount to a law? That is still the big question.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's exactly right. But definitely giving a signal there is for motion. John, as Manu is laying out, a lot of details came out. We learned a lot about a lot last night, but a lot of details still need to be worked out. But from the White House perspective, why do you think President Biden spoke out so publicly about what has been until now behind the scenes of negotiations?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think a couple of things, Kate, one is that the White House has faced a long period of stories in the press about gridlock and how hung up the Democrats are with their infighting and speculation that maybe they'll never get a deal. He decided, I think last night to pull back the curtain and explain what was happening, but also explained the way he saw getting to the finish line.

And I think the President reflected some rising confidence that he feels that they're going to get that deal. And as Manu just indicated, I think, Nancy Pelosi feels that, Chuck Schumer feels that, there's difficult things they've still got to get. They haven't secured the votes of Manchin and Sinema yet, but they're pretty confident they're going to and it's just a matter of figuring out.

Well, if not that kind of revenue, this kind of revenue, if not that length of a paid leave program, this length of a paid leave program, they seemed to be in the process of fitting those jigsaw puzzles together.

BOLDUAN: Manu, Biden on the senate tradition of the filibuster, not now but maybe in the future. What does he mean? What was he getting at last night?

RAJU: Yes, that has been the big question about what will happen to some of the signature initiatives that Joe Biden has pushed, namely to overhaul voting laws, as well as a major fiscal deadline that's coming up in December raising the national debt limit to get that -- to get either of those they need 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Republican led filibuster. That means 50 Democrats, along with 10 Republicans breaking ranks. Both of those issues, neither of which are there close to getting. And is raising questions about how they will actually accomplish those.

Now Biden signaled an openness to supporting changing the Senate's filibuster rules to reduce that threshold from 60 votes to a simple majority. But Joe Biden does not have a vote in the United States Senate. He needs the support of Joe Manchin who is steadfast against any changes to the filibuster rules, worry that's going to change tradition to the Senate, trample on the minority rights, could harm the Democrats if they fall back in the minority.

Also Kyrsten Sinema and some other the moderates also are opposed to change the filibuster rules. So there's some positive discussion for folks who want those changes, but does not mean it's actually going to happen here. But he indicated he didn't want to push on that because he didn't want to alienate some key votes, such as Manchin and Sinema as he's trying to court them for the larger economic agenda.

So perhaps there'll be more discussion about this in the weeks ahead. But again, there's a amount of legislative achievement still highly uncertain, especially on those two issues at this moment.

BOLDUAN: Yes, fascinating. It's great to see you guys. Thank you very much.


Coming up for us, new data from Pfizer on the effectiveness of its vaccine on younger children as the FDA is weighing recommending shops for five to 11 year olds, the details ahead.


BOLDUAN: So we may be one step closer to getting younger children vaccinated against COVID. The FDA is meeting next week to consider vaccines for kids ages five to 11 years old. This morning, they just posted the data from Pfizer that they will be reviewing. Pfizer reporting that its vaccine is 90.7 percent effective against symptomatic COVID infection for kids in that age group.


It comes as the CDC expands its booster program for adults to include now, all three vaccines in the U.S. Joining me now is CNN medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen. She's the former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore, 90.7 percent effective against symptomatic COVID, Dr. Wen. What do you think of this data? And how does it compare to the vaccines effectiveness in other age groups? DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This is good, Kate. So I am reassured that there -- well, at least be some real life effectiveness data that's going to be presented ahead of the FDA meeting next week, because previously, Pfizer had said that the vaccine for younger children is safe, which is great. And also that it appears to be effective based on antibody response. So there was a strong antibody response.

However, we didn't know how well it actually protected against symptomatic disease. And so this new study in more than 2,000 children with the same study but now they have results in these children found that there were 16 cases of COVID-19 in children who got the placebo versus three cases in the children who got the actual vaccine, so more than 90 percent protective, although this is still a relatively small study.

And so I think we need to keep in mind that when the FDA reviews the data next week, they may not come out with as full throated of a recommendation as they came out for older age groups. And it might be a more limited recommendation, once the FDA and CDC make -- look at all the data based on the fact that this is still a relatively small study.

BOLDUAN: It's interesting. There's also, Dr. Wen, continued questions about boosters for adults who should get them and which shot. I want to play for you what Dr. Anthony Fauci told John Berman just this morning. Listen to this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR: It's generally recommended that you get the booster that is the original regimen that you got in the first place. But for one reason or other, and they may be different circumstances for people, availability, or just different personal choices, you can as we say mix and match. You can now mix and match one with the other. But in general, it just makes sense to go with what your original regimen was.


BOLDUAN: Now in contrast to previous guidance with COVID shots, which was pretty concrete, there's more wiggle room here with boosters, more kind of do what you want. Why do you think that is?

WEN: I'm very glad that there is a lot more latitude, including to mix and match the second booster or the third booster, depending on which vaccine you got because we're at a different point of the pandemic compared to before. At the very beginning vaccines were in limited supply. We also had very little information comparing one vaccine versus another. And so the recommendation at that time was get the first vaccine that you have access to.

Now we have a lot more information. So I think that the information Dr. Fauci gave was relevant for the mRNA vaccine. So if you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, there's no particular reason to switch to a different vaccine unless there's something very specific, for example, you had a severe allergic reaction, or you had myocarditis to the mRNA vaccines, then you might consider switching to the Johnson & Johnson for your booster dose.

On the other hand, if you've got the J&J vaccine for your first dose, first of all, it's really important that you get the booster. Now, if it's been at least two months, this is different from the mRNA vaccines, which are the boosters recommended only for individuals who are in higher risk categories. But now we know that J&J recipients, they probably did not get as much protection as the two doses of the mRNA vaccine. So they really should be getting a booster dose.

But the CDC very specifically yesterday in the recommendation, did not say that people who got the J&J should then get the J&J second dose that that's preferred. And in fact, for women under the age of 50, they should really consider getting an mRNA second dose instead of a second dose of the J&J vaccine. That's what I decided to do.

BOLDUAN: And you've wrote about a very eloquently folks can read about that and your decision and all of your considerations, which is always so thoughtful. President Biden has actually was asked about vaccine requirements last night, I want to play what he said.


COOPER: Should police officers, emergency responders be mandated to get vaccines and if not, should they be stay at home or let go?

BIDEN: Yes and yes. By the way -- by the way, I waited until July, to talk about mandating because I tried everything else possible. The mandates are working.


BOLDUAN: You know, as we've seen with the requirements, we've seen requirements work for teachers, for healthcare workers, for the airlines. Do you think there's something different here when it comes to police and emergency workers or there just needs more time? What do you think?


WEN: I think for people who are protecting health and safety and wellbeing as police officers, EMS, and so forth, it's even more important for them to demonstrate and to model to the communities that they serve, that their first priority is the other people around them. We really have to level set and talk about what it is that the vaccines do.

Yes, the vaccines protect the individual. But getting vaccinated also protects other people around you as well. If you are a paramedic, and EMS personnel, police officer and you're helping someone, you have no idea if that individual is someone who is immunocompromised, you have no idea of they live at home with someone who has cancer or has a kidney transplant, and they need your help to protect them.

And so I think it's really important for all of us to be modeling that we care about one another. But it's especially important for people in healthcare, who are teachers, who are police officers whose job it is to take care of the most vulnerable.

BOLDUAN: Dr. Wen, thank you for coming in.

Coming up for us, a Haitian gang leader is now threatening to kill the group of missionaries that they kidnapped nearly a week ago now. So what does the United States do? A live report from Haiti, next.