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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Pelosi Says Infrastructure Vote Is On, Despite Worries It Will Fail; Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA) Is Interviewed About The Infrastructure Vote; CDC Forecasts New COVID Deaths Will Fall Over Next Month; More Republicans are Embracing Racist Conspiracy Theory; Facebook Grilled Over Its Platforms' Negative Impact on Kids; FBI Returned to Laundrie Family Home Today. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 30, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Is speaker Pelosi about to make a $1.3 trillion bet?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin finally makes his counteroffer public and no one knows what's going to happen next.

Will there be a vote on this huge piece of Biden's agenda or is this all going to come crashing down?

Plus, one senator says Instagram is like cigarettes designed to get teens hooked while another senator creates a fake account to show the destructive influence that the popular app can have on children.

Plus, some Republican lawmakers are now openly pushing a wild racist conspiracy theory. The latest dangerous lie to make its way from fringe message boards to mainstream Republicanism.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We start today with breaking news in our politics lead. There is no deal and there is no framework but there is a major development on Capitol Hill today. The moderate Democratic contingent has finally publicly made a counteroffer to the progressives' $3.5 trillion proposal to expand the social safety net.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a key voice in Democratic negotiations, went in front of the cameras today to announce his top line number, $1.5 trillion he says. Progressives have for weeks been urging moderates to make a counter offer. But $1.5 is less than half of what the progressives want and hearing it out loud may make it more likely that the planned bipartisan infrastructure bill vote tonight will fail.

As progressives have linked the two plans saying they want both or neither. Now, if Speaker Pelosi ultimately pulls this vote today it will be against the wishes of some of the moderate Democrats. One of them will join me in just minutes with the reality check on where negotiations stand.

But, first, as CNN's Ryan Nobles reports from Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers are still moving forward with a plan for a vote on infrastructure this evening.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a high stakes staring contest on Capitol Hill.

REP. SHANICE DAVIDS (D-KS): If we weren't making sure we're actually getting into the nitty-gritty of it, we wouldn't be doing our jobs.

NOBLES: Members on both sides of the Capitol haggling over close to $5 trillion in government spending but without a clear path forward in place.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're on a path to have something that I can say to my colleagues with integrity and certainty is the path we're on and in terms of timing and the rest I wish we had more time.

NOBLES: At issue, progressives still are unwilling to budge on passing a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal until they can get a guarantee that the much bigger $3.5 trillion social safety net expansion is passed as well. After a lengthy meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, progressives are holding firm.

She is maintaining that the vote could take place today still. What is your stand (ph) about that?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): There's always a chance as I said to you yesterday.

NOBLES: Part of what is holding progressives like Pramila Jayapal back is the massive difference in a top line spending number between her caucus and the desires of holdout moderates like West Virginia's Joe Manchin.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I don't fault any of them who believe they are much more progressive and much more liberal. God bless them. All they need to do is we have to elect more I guess for them to get theirs elect more liberals.

NOBLES: A new document reveals what Manchin told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer he wanted several weeks ago. Manchin didn't want the debate to begin on reconciliation until October 1st and said he was only willing to spend $1.5 trillion. That's a big difference from what progressives want and part of why both sides are at an impasse.

JAYAPAL: Somebody has a different offer then they can put it on the table. You don't negotiate against yourself. If you go to buy a house, you don't put town an offer and before an offer has been put on the table suddenly say, okay, I'm willing to go down another hundred thousand. Anybody done that? I don't think so. That's not how we negotiate.

NOBLES: Still, Pelosi refuses to concede defeat and has yet to delay the vote on the infrastructure package but has also vowed she won't bring the bill to the floor without a vote. Her message? Stay tuned.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Moment by moment hour by hour.


NOBLES (voice-over): While we're moment by moment on this debate over the infrastructure bill the house and Senate actually did make some progress today passing through a continuing resolution that guarantees the government will remain open. The final vote, 254-175 in the House, 34 Republicans voting yes for that, Jake. A crisis about the government shutting down has been averted -- Jake.

TAPPER: For now. Ryan Nobles, thanks so much.

Let's discuss this all with Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia. She's part of the original group of moderates who negotiated with Speaker Pelosi to get the deadline set for an infrastructure vote this week.

Congresswoman, thanks for joining us.

So, we're obviously past the September 27th deadline for a vote on infrastructure which was supposed to be Monday. Pelosi promised that. But is the vote going to happen today? If it doesn't, what would your reaction be?

REP. CAROLYN BOURDEAUX (D-GA): Well, first of all we're feeling very optimistic about getting this done. Back in my prior life, I used to work on state budgets and worked on those during the great recession when it was really tough. It would take a while. It takes negotiation to get through some of the really tough things and we are in the middle of a very intense negotiation. I have a lot of confidence we'll get the bipartisan infrastructure bill done today or maybe in the wee hours of the morning. And then we're going to turn around and work on a good reconciliation bill.

TAPPER: Well, in order for that to happen, progressives say to avoid them tanking the infrastructure bill, 45 of them or so at least will vote against it unless there is an agreement on a way forward when it comes to the social safety net welfare programs, so-called Reconciliation Act. Now, Senator Manchin said this afternoon he acknowledged that his top line number is $1.5 trillion. Progressives are at $3.5 trillion.

Where are you? Is $1.5 trillion about where you are?

BOURDEAUX: What I tell everybody is here is what I want to look at. I want to look at what the needs are, what the costs are, and now we pay for it. By building that way we'll get to a top line number. I don't think it is $3.5 trillion. I think we'll get to something between that and the 1.5 probably but I want to see what is in it and what programs we're funding and we'll build from there.

TAPPER: Is your objection to the $3.5 trillion bill as it exists right now more about what's in the bill or more about the tax increases that would be necessary to pay for that?

BOURDEAUX: Well, really what I said to people is I want to make sure it's paid for and right now we're not quite there yet.

I also want to make sure they're not budget gimmicks in there. The bill is currently crafted. We have three years of the child tax cut in there. But if we're going to do the child tax cut, we need to do it for the full period of time, not just have these fiscal cliffs that are out there. And what that means is we're going to need to prioritize. We're going to think very carefully about what we're doing.

I also prefer we focus on needs and make sure we are targeting where there is a serious need in this country. I think there are a lot of great things we're going to do but need to build it around that kind of criteria.

TAPPER: Your moderate colleague, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Florida, she made an interesting argument which is that she doesn't even think that the way the Congressional Budget Office scores these bills, which is, explains what is in them and how to pay for them, makes any sense when it comes to the climate change provisions because they can't count the cost of not addressing climate change. All of the billions and billions of dollars in destruction we see happening out west or in Florida, et cetera. That makes a conversation about how much these things cost when it comes to climate change difficult I would think.

BOURDEAUX: I think that is a fair point. There's been a lot of discussion about how you think about climate change, how much you submit it to those paygo provisions. I think that is all part of the negotiation we work through. But I think all of us are really committed to not having budget gimmicks, making sure we are thoughtful about what we put in this, making sure that we pay for it. If we meet those criteria, I think we'll have a fabulous bill.

TAPPER: The head of the progressive caucus, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, was asked why Speaker Pelosi's commitment to getting a big spending bill done wasn't enough for progressives to vote yes on infrastructure. Take a listen to her answer.


PRAMILA: Going beyond trust to verify is about unfortunately some senators and some of our colleagues in the House, 4 percent. Just want to make sure you all got that number, 4 percent of Democrats who are opposing the passing of the president's agenda right now. That is the group we're concerned about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Four percent. It seems like you might be part of the 4 percent she is talking about.

BOURDEAUX: I think there are a lot of us. Again, I am a member of the New Dems, also a member of the Blue Dogs, so several different caucuses. And -- both have really outlined their priorities and are very much along what I was talking about before. We want to see this paid for, we want to make sure it addresses needs, we want to make sure there are no budget gimmicks.

Just one thing to add is I was the only Democratic pickup in the country in 2020. And so I have a lot of thoughts about what it means to deliver on the promises that we made in 2020. When I ran my ads, my closing ads were that I was going to work in a bipartisan way, I was going to be fiscally responsible, I was going to focus on key things like getting the economy back on track and making sure everybody has affordable health care.

TAPPER: When you hear progressives in the media or in the Congress suggest that people like you or Senator Manchin or Senator Sinema or Congresswoman Murphy, individuals who come from a more moderate position than they do, not just that you disagree with them but that you are inherently corrupt, that you were doing the bidding of corporations, that you are listening to special interests and not your constituents.

[16:10:24] How do you take that and how do you respond?

BOURDEAUX: I tell everybody I have placed my feet firmly with the people of Georgia's 7th district which is the area I represent. You can go look at the ads I closed my campaign with where I was the only Democrat to flip a seat in the country in 2020. And again, really what I ran on was that I could work in a way that was bipartisan, that was fiscally responsible, and could really deliver for the American people.

It was a very pragmatic message and as I go through this process, I'm very intent on delivering what I promised.

TAPPER: And you still think infrastructure is going to happen tonight or early tomorrow morning and there will be some sort of agreement on the reconciliation bill?

BOURDEAUX: I am very optimistic that we're going to get the infrastructure bill done and I'm very optimistic that we're going to make great progress on reconciliation throughout the day. But that bill has a lot of work that remains to be done and I think that negotiation will continue on for the next few weeks.

TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia, thank you so much. Good to see you.

BOURDEAUX: Good to be here.

TAPPER: Multiple vaccination mandate deadlines are happening now. Are they working? We're going to take a look next. Plus, a sobering trend among our men and women in uniform. The crisis hitting the military. That's coming up.



TAPPER: Topping our health lead, some rare good news in the fight against COVID. For the first time since June, the CDC is forecasting the rate of COVID deaths will fall over the next month. Right now, an average of nearly 2,000 people a day are dying from COVID in the U.S., and about 114,000 are infected. That's good news.

That good news rather comes as CNN's Jason Carroll reports the deadline has arrived for many government employees to get vaccinated or get fired.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is deadline day in the nation's most populated state. All 2.5 million health care workers in California must be fully vaccinated by today or risk losing their jobs.

Cedar Sinai and UC-Davis both show more than 90 percent compliance.

DR. MONICA GANDHI, UCSF HEALTH: We are around vulnerable, older patients, immuno compromised patients. These are safe and effective vaccines and have to be mandated for health care workers.

CARROLL: In other parts of the country, we are seeing the impact of workplace vaccine mandates, states including Rhode Island and New York set vaccine mandates for health care workers that take effect this week. New York's governor says the state has not seen major staffing shortages following the health care worker vaccine mandate.

She says more than 90 percent got the shot.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D), NEW YORK: You will see that number go higher quickly. Because what we're finding is more people are furloughed or suspended. That that number is going to go up.

CARROLL: The governor is working to expand its mandate to include health care workers not regulated by the Department of Health like some prison employees.

What could encourage more work place vaccine mandates? A rule from OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for businesses with more than 100 employees.

President Biden announced it was coming weeks ago but so far, it's not out.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Obviously, it takes some time and we want to make sure when we put this out, they are clear and they provide guidance necessary to businesses. I can't give you a timeline. OSHA is working on them. But, obviously,

we'll hopefully know more in the coming weeks.

CARROLL: Tyson Foods not waiting. Meat processing plants were especially hit hard by COVID during the height of the pandemic. In August, Tyson announced a vaccine mandate and now it says 91 percent of its U.S. employees have at least one dose of the vaccine.

West Virginia, which at one point led the country with a highest vaccination rate, now has the lowest. The governor pleaded with people to get vaccinated but also says he won't force anyone to do it

GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R), WEST VIRGINIA: I do not feel comfortable with this mandate stuff. First and foremost we are Americans. And we do have our freedoms. And we do not want to divide us even more.

CARROLL: Some positive news. Daily cases have started to drop or are steady in the majority of the country. Hospitalizations are trending down. And death rates are projected to as well.


CARROLL (on camera): And, Jake, late today this development. New York City public school employees are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to put a stop to the city's vaccine mandate in court papers filed late today basically saying lawyers are arguing that instead of allowing employees to opt-out of getting vaccines through weekly testing, instead, the lawyers argue saying, quote, the mandate forces unvaccinated public school employees to go on unpaid leave for nearly a year. This places an un-constitutional burden on public school teachers -- Jake.

TAPPER: Jason Carroll, thanks so much.

Joining us now CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, for the first time since June, the CDC's ensemble forecast is projecting new COVID deaths are likely to decrease over the next month. Decrease. That's good news if it happens.

How much do these forecasts matter though?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, they are all based on assumptions still. You have to put in certain assumptions and it counts on how humans will behave -- their behavior and their reactions to this. I think if you look at the trend lines overall, we've known cases are followed by hospitalizations in terms of a lagging indicator and then deaths.


Cases have gone down about 12 percent over the last week, hospitalizations down about 25 percent since the beginning of the month. Deaths are still high, right around 2,000 people per day. But it is a -- based on the fact, it is a lagging indicator, is likely to go down as well. The two big things, Jake, is that still about -- over 90 percent of the country still in high transmission areas. That means that still a big blaze and that blaze can, you know, spread quickly if numbers start going in the wrong direction.

And also, we're going into winter. And COVID or not, respiratory viruses spread more in the winter. So, those are the two big unknowns still.

TAPPER: Right, people are worried about not just COVID but also the flu.

GUPTA: That's right.

TAPPER: Can a positive forecast, optimistic forecast and really any good pandemic news, can it have an effect of making people less cautious?

GUPTA: Yes. This is a really good question. We've seen that at various times through the pandemic. Everybody wants to share good news understandably. I think even over the summer, Jake, in June, it was the lowest the cases had been since March of 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic. Numbers got down to 11,000 or so cases per day.

And you saw a lot of things lifting at that point, including people -- you know, CDC coming up and saying you don't need to wear to mask if you're vaccinated. They then changed their stance on that sometime later. I think it's safe to say that it is important to have the good news but you don't want to do things and then pull them back like we saw with masks.

You've got to make sure the trend lines are positive and stay positive for sometime before making those decisions. I've talked to lots of policy makers about this over the last couple month. That has been a theme that has always emerged.

TAPPER: Yeah, it seemed unwise when President Biden came forward and declared independence from the pandemic and took off the mask and here we are back at 2,000 deaths a day again.

GUPTA: Yeah. I mean, that's s the humility of this virus. Even now as we are having this conversation, I'd like to look at these positive trend lines but you can hear, Jake, I'm being cautious here because we can be surprised and if we let down our guard, there is enough of a fire still burning that it can start to spread again very quickly.

TAPPER: There was a hearing today with Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra where Republican senators were specifically criticizing him on the topic of naturally acquired immunity. Some folks say if you have survived COVID and therefore have those antibodies, vaccine mandates should not apply to you. Take a look.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): This is an arrogance couple with an authoritarianism that is unseemly and un-American.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): We tell Americans that natural immunity does not confer immunity. That goes against the science.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I concurred with Senator Paul, his concern about natural acquired immunity with regards to COVID-19. And I was disappointed in your response.


TAPPER: I want to note the second and third voices there have been very pro-vaccine, very pro-medical community voices.

But let's just talk about the facts here. Does it make sense scientifically to require even those who have had COVID to get vaccinated because the argument goes, they do have more immunity than those who are unvaccinated and have not had the virus?

GUPTA: Jake, there is a nuance here and I think it is always sort of lost. One is that yeah you are absolutely right people who have had COVID, there is, studies have come out showing not only do they have good protection, that that protection can be higher than vaccinated immunity.

Two problems. One is that we still aren't doing enough testing, so we still don't know out of all the people who have had it in the past who in fact has these antibodies and how many of these antibodies they have. How protected they are. There are some people, Jake, who have COVID in the past and they develop significant antibodies. Some who don't. We still don't know who they are.

It's a problem. It's been a problem with regard to testing since the beginning of the pandemic. And now you're seeing another manifestation of that problem.

The other issue is that you have the Israeli study which I think Dr. Paul and Cassidy were talking about there which it can show the additional protection, but there's other studies that have shown people who had COVID in the past and then get at least one shot are far less likely to get reinfected versus those who had COVID alone.

So, there is a nuance here. The best strategy I've heard from a lot of people is you should still get at least one shot after it. Think of the COVID disease as your prime and at least one shot after as a boost. Many countries around the world are doing that.

TAPPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much as always.

Coming up, a look at an insane and racist conspiracy theory that too many Republican lawmakers are now openly espousing.


Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our politics lead today, the editorial board of "The Albany Times Union" newspaper recently noted that its local congresswoman, the number three House Republican Elise Stefanik, had taken to alleging, quote, that Democrats are looking to grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants in order to gain a permanent liberal majority or as she calls it a permanent election insurrection, unquote.

Now, in addition, to condemning what the editorial board called, quote, hateful rhetoric, that Ms. Stefanik and far too many of her colleagues so shamelessly spew, the board noted that this is just the latest example of Republican elected officials embracing and main streaming a racist conspiracy theory, the deranged idea that Democrats are trying to replace white people with black and brown people for political reasons.

And as CNN's Sunlen Serfaty reports, this is a theory that started in white supremacist circles and has inspired numerous acts of mass murder.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What was once a fringe white supremacist conspiracy theory has now become mainstream.

CROWD: Jews will not replace us!

REP. BRIAN BABIN (R-TX): We know what the Democrats are up to here. They want open borders. This is exactly their strategy. They want to replace the American electorate.

SERFATY: With a growing number of Republican lawmakers now openly promoting the far right's so-called great replacement theory.

REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is what appears to them as we're replacing national born American, native born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation.

SERFATY: The racist anti-immigrant theory that says nonwhite immigrants are being brought to replace America's white population.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): This administration wants complete open borders. You have to ask yourself why. Is it really they want to remake the demographics of America?

SERFATY: The white nationalist conspiracy theories detailed in French writer Renault Camus 2011 book called "The Great Replacement." elements of replacement theory appear to have motivated some of the most heinous recent mass murders in the U.S. and around the world.

The gunman a accused of killing more than 20 people at an El Paso Walmart in 2019 allegedly uploaded a document to the internet before the shooting saying: This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by the invasion. The man who allegedly killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in

2018 spouted nonsense on social media about Jewish people being somehow responsible for immigrant, quote, invaders.

The shooter who killed 51 people at a mosque in Islamic center in Christchurch, New Zealand, named his own manifesto "the great replacement".


SERFATY: The theory amplified again by the former president this weekend.

TRUMP: Our country is being turned into a migrants' camp. Joe Biden has thrown the border wide open and our country is being invaded by hundreds of thousands of people every single month.

SERFATY: Voices on Fox News and openly defended by name by sitting members of Congress this week.

LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R), TEXAS: Who do you think they're going to vote for? So, this is -- this is trying to take over our country without firing a shot.

SERFATY: Republicans normalizing the theory leading some to fear that could prompt even more violence.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): It is an insurgency. It's an invasion.


SERFATY (on camera): While some of the Republican lawmakers reject the idea this rhetoric is racist, the Anti-Defamation League is calling it out for being exactly that as well as anti-Semitic, Jake, and anti-immigrant.

TAPPER: Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much.

Let's talk about this with conservative writer Bill Kristol.

And, Bill, we just heard Republican members of Congress, Matt Gaetz, Brian Babin, Scott Perry, Louie Gohmert, Senator Ron Johnson all pushing elements of this replacement theory that is on its face nonsense and on its face racist. If Republican leaderships don't hold them accountable and their voters don't, who will?

BILL KRISTOL, CONSERVATIVE WRITER: Well, maybe the general electorate will because it is such a bad, toxic combination of traditional American racism, unfortunately, but then this European style blood and soil nativism. This did come out of Europe, the great replacement term from France comes from a long tradition often used in an anti-Semitic way in the late 19th century, the Jews trying to replace us, then the Muslims trying to replace us and the globalist elites are doing it on purpose because it helps them somehow take over the country.

So, it's really a toxic stew fed by Fox News and other parts of the right wing infotainment complex.


And what my colleague called this Republican triangle of doom, the infotainment complex promote something, the base gets all worked up about it. Republican politicians test it out. They get a good response from the base. And we're in this kind of triangle of doom that can only be broken if it is, well, two ways. Voters have to repudiate it.

But you would think some responsible elites would repudiate. Fox News is owned by certain people and has a board of directors. The Republican Party has leaders both in the House and Senate and governors. You know, it is kind of important the people who are closest to this repudiate it the most firmly and strongly I would think.

TAPPER: And as you note it is a toxic ideology and has gotten people killed pushing this ideology. Just today, we learned that the man who opened fire at a California synagogue in 2019 killing one person was sentenced to life in prison just to remind people he pleaded guilty. He told police officers at the time, quote, I'm defending our nation against the Jewish people who are trying to destroy all white people, unquote.

Again, this idea of Jews being part of this cabal, bringing in black and brown people to replace white people, that's the replacement theory. And whether it is in a manifesto from a psycho or a member of Congress, literally people are being killed because of this nonsense.

KRISTOL: Yeah, and then the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, I believe one of the charges specifically was that the synagogue had contributed to the Hebrew immigration aid society, long standing society, not sure that is the right name, helping raise money for refugees basically. So this synagogue was attacked partly out of I'm sure just classic anti-Semitism but partly because the synagogue was trying to help out some refugees who had recently been settled in the United States.

TAPPER: And we know that white supremacists only feel more emboldened when their talking points go mainstream, when they are embraced by politicians like Donald Trump or others. This problem does not seem to be getting any better. It seems to be getting worse. Do you worry about what's to come?

KRISTOL: Yeah, very much so. Let's mention Donald Trump.

So he is not just -- he is kind of a prominent guy. He is the most recent president for the United States and the leading Republican of the United States, the most likely Republican nominee in 2024. This isn't just a, gee, a few people, couple crack pots, you know, in the House of Representatives and some local talk radio hosts that do damage.

This is Trump himself echoing it, amplifying it and urging basically his followers to amplify and echo this as well, which is why people like me have said so often, people say you are obsessed with Trump. This is why Trump needs to be repudiated. If you don't repudiate Trump, then you're sort of getting opening the door to all of this really toxic sort of message which can cause violence and death and just the amount of bitterness, resentment, whipping up of hatred -- really whipping up of enmity and hatred in a way that is so damaging to the country.

TAPPER: Centuries-old hatred in some cases.

Bill Kristol, thank you so much. Appreciate it as always.

Insta-harm? The experiment that the lawmaker showed how the popular app might be hurting your children.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our tech lead today, comparing Instagram to a cigarette and Facebook to big tobacco. That is what one Democratic senator did today during a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill on the impact the social media apps have on your children.

Take a listen.


SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): Instagram is that first childhood cigarette meant to get teens hooked early. Facebook is just like big tobacco, pushing a product that they know is harmful to the health of young people, pushing it to them early.


TAPPER: Let's bring in CNN's Donie O'Sullivan who covered this hearing for CNN.

Donie, another senator came with receipt in a way, showing what Instagram promotes to some kids. Tell us about that.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. Senator Blumenthal has said that his staff did a pretty simple experiment, but very, very effective. They set up a new Instagram account, and in that dropdown menu when you're setting an account on social media, they said they were a 13-year-old girl. They then said they were easily able to find accounts about extreme dieting.

And once they started following a few accounts, in this new Instagram account, Instagram's algorithms, Instagram itself within a day, Blumenthal said, began recommending to that account to that 13-year- old girl, for all Instagram knew, accounts that promoted self-harm. So, I think this was an effective way of really showing these aren't outlier problems. These are real issues that a senator's staff can set up an account like a teenager might and begin getting recommendations for dangerous accounts like this -- Jake. TAPPER: That's so dispiriting. What did Facebook have to say about

Blumenthal's experiment?

O'SULLIVAN: Well, Facebook had their standard response where she said, we don't allow accounts that promote self-harm, but there in lies the issue, right? I mean, we come across things every day on platforms the companies have supposedly banned but are so, so easy to find. I think it was an efficient way the senator's staff did this and was able to point out this problem is so widespread across the platform that it is not something that are just these isolated instances.


And for Facebook and Instagram, the executive who went to Congress today really didn't have a lot of answers and the senators were quite frustrated.

TAPPER: Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much, appreciate it.

Turning to our national lead, a tragic trend for the uniformed men and women defending the United States, the suicide rate among active duty service members jumped by more than 41 percent in the last five years, according to a new Pentagon report which showed a 9 percent spike in suicide in 2020 alone. This report also found those service members were largely male, in their 30s, and enlisted.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement, quote, trends are not going in the right direction. We must we double our efforts to provide all our people with the care and services they need to reduce stigmas and barriers to care, unquote.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, 1-800-273- 8255. Or you can text "HOME" to 741741.

Coming up, the FBI was back at Brian Laundrie's home today. Why? We go outside that Laundrie home, next.



TAPPER: In our national lead as the dramatic and mysterious search for the fiance of Gabby Petito continues, the timeline of events since her murder is becoming more clear. We now know that Gabby's fiance, Brian Laundrie, bought a phone at an AT&T store on September 4th after returning the Florida from his trip with Gabby in Wyoming where her body was later found. Two days later, the Laundrie family went camping. They returned on the 8th. On September 11th, Gabby Petito's family reported her missing. Sick days later, Laundrie's family reported him missing and he remains missing.

Let's bring in CNN's Randi Kaye. She's outside the family home in North Port, Florida.

And, Randi, we're hearing the FBI was there today. What were they looking for?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the FBI has been here a few times now already, but they did return this afternoon. We reached out to the lawyer for the Laundrie family, and he told CNN that the FBI agents had come here to collect some personal items of Brian Laundrie's to help in the search for him.

We are told they collected those personal items to assist the K-9 dog in the search for Brian Laundrie. The lawyer said there's nothing more to it. But what we saw were agents arriving with a large brown paper bag. They went inside. They left without the paper bag, so perhaps they were returning some items.

Also one of the agents briefly went into the camper that was park here in the driveway, but then left that camper. Just so you would know, that would be the same camper -- you mentioned the camping trip. They went camping 6th through 8th. That would be the camper they took.

So, we know Brian Lauren was likely in that camper pretty recently and certainly in the house until he disappeared, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Randi, what else do we know about the overall police response there?

KAYE: We're getting new information, Jake, just this afternoon about this flurry of police calls and police activity here related to the Laundrie home. Someone has been calling the police related to this house on some very key dates in the case. Let me mention some of them.

The weekend of September 10th and 11th, Gabby was -- named missing on September 11th. On the 10th, the day before, two police calls to the Laundrie family address. On the 11th, the day she was three police calls. On the 14th, which is when the family says they last saw Brian, one police call, and on the 17th, which was the day the family reported him missing, four police calls.

We don't know if these were calls in to 911 or the non-energy line or mixed. We're looking to get clarity on that. We know these calls were made. We don't who was making them, but we're getting information there was a flurry of calls here as this case is unfolding, Jake.

TAPPER: CNN's Randi Kaye, thank you so much.

Today, renewed focus on keeping kids in school during the pandemic be the key tool that is hard to come by.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, a look at the child care crisis in the United States fueled by low wages and a dire shortage of staff. And then, less than a third of one critical group is vaccinated against the coronavirus, even though they are 70 percent more likely to die. We'll dig into the facts with an expert on that.

And leading this hour, a critical day for the future of Joe Biden's presidency with the possibility that Democrats, his own party, will blow up his entire agenda. Everyone is watching to see whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will move ahead on a planned vote for the bipartisan infrastructure plan. That's despite the fact that there as of now is no deal to pass the massive social safety net package that has been paired with infrastructure.

This afternoon, moderate Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia publicly announced his counteroffer on that social safety net package, $1.5 trillion, he said, $2 trillion short of what progressives want.

In moments, I'm going to talk to a deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who predicted this would be a week of hell.

But, first, let's get straight to CNN's Manu Raju for all the latest.

And, Manu, Speaker Pelosi is still moving forward with the infrastructure bill? Does she have the votes?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At this moment, it appears unlikely there are the votes but she is working behind the scenes. She is making phone calls, and she's not delaying this vote yet. In fact, she's conveying the opposite, that they are moving ahead. Now, ultimately, could she change her tack? Possibly.