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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Leaked Records Show Facebook Knew Its Platforms Were Used For Human Trafficking, Spreading Extremism, Inciting Violence; Anti- Vaccine Mandate Protesters Shut Down Brooklyn Bridge; NIH Letter Raises Questions About Wuhan Lab Experiments; Moderna: COVID Vaccine Shows Strong Immune Response In Kids 6-11; Person Who Handed Baldwin Gun Fired From Previous Film For Firearm Incident; Powerful Haiti Gangs Choking The Flow Of Fuel To Hospitals. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 25, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Good thing I kept my MySpace, right, Tom?

THE LEAD starts right now.

The crisis is expanding. Thousands of pages of leaked internal Facebook documents revealing even more troubling problems from human trafficking to fomenting violence. What did Zuckerberg know and when did he know it?

Then, perhaps not just one but two COVID vaccines could soon be available for your young kids. What Moderna just announced about its shot.

Plus, what went wrong on set? CNN has just learned the assistant director who handed that gun to Alec Baldwin had been fired from a previous movie after a crew member was injured in a gun incident.


TAPPER: Hello and welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We begin with our tech lead today and the damning fallout from the Facebook papers. A vast trove of newly leaked documents from inside the social media giant. These records were provided to journalists by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. They provided alarming new insights into how the company has repeatedly failed to stop the spread of extremism or hate speech or illegal activities on its platforms.

The documents suggest Facebook executives care far more about keeping you engaged and addicted to scrolling -- as one expert calls it, an addiction engine.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins me now live.

And, Donie, one of Facebook's most high-profile failures was the Stop the Steal rally which ultimately became, of course, the deadly January 6th insurrection. DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. And we are

learning from the documents that there are so many missed signals, really missed warnings when it came to the stop the steal movement. We could all see in those months last November, last December that this was getting violent. There was a lot of overlap with violent movements. But Facebook acted too late.

Have a watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook didn't invent hate but it's making hate worse?

FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: Unquestionably, it's making hate worse.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifying before the British parliament today, warning Facebook will keep fueling violence around the world if changes are not made. Haugen spent months photographing thousands of internal company documents before leaving the tech giant in May.

LAWRENCE LESSIG, ADVISER TO FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER FRANCES HAUGEN: What Frances has given us is an extraordinary archive of material that helps us see exactly what's going on and what they know is going on. And it is the biggest and most important contribution to understanding this incredibly important problem that we've ever had.

O'SULLIVAN: Revelations from those documents provided to Congress show how deeply engrained Facebook's problems are.

How did you guys hear about this event today?


O'SULLIVAN: The documents exposing a very different narrative than how Facebook described their attempts to crack down on Stop the Steal. I visited a Stop the Steal protest in Pennsylvania right after the 2020 election.

The Facebook event, Instagram. How have you been --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I created a Facebook event for yesterday's event. And I posted after the fact that we were again coming today. I will be again at another event in regards to tomorrow. But I'm going to continue to use the platform that I have on social media to promote.

O'SULLIVAN: The lies spread at the Stop the Steal rallies generated a movement that helped fuel the January 6th insurrection. But in the days after the attack, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg played down her company's role.

SHERYL SANDBERG, FACEBOOK COO: We again took down QAnon, Proud Boys, Stop the Steal, anything talking about possible violence last week. O'SULLIVAN: However, internal Facebook documents show employees

suggesting the company was at least partly to blame. As stories based on the documents began to publish, Facebook executive Nick Clegg wrote to colleagues in an internal post this weekend obtained by CNN, warning them to prepare for more bad headlines and that at the heart of these stories is a premise which is plainly false, that we fail to put people who use our service first.

But an internal experiment the company ran in 2019 shows the potential harm caused by Facebook's algorithm. A staffer set up a test account designed to look like a conservative mom living in North Carolina. The account started by liking pages such as Donald Trump and Fox News, but within a few weeks, Facebook was recommending QAnon pages and even a page apparently linked to the 3 Percenter militia.

LESSIG: So, these are like potato chips they feed to someone with a potato chip addiction. And that is the reality of the platform. It is an addiction engine and it profits the more it can manipulate us to consume what we want to consume most.

O'SULLIVAN: It's not just politics the documents revealed for years the company struggled to crack down on how its platforms are used to promote human trafficking.


CNN last week identifying multiple Instagram accounts purporting to offer domestic workers for sale including photos and descriptions of women like age, weight and height. Facebook taking down accounts after being asked about them by CNN confirming the accounts broke its rules.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): What we're hearing from Facebook is platitudes and bromide. Facebook is unable to police itself, unable to impose self-moderation.


O'SULLIVAN: Facebook, of course, pushing back on all of this, a lot of this, saying that they do put people over profit. Put safety over profit.

But Frances Haugen, she has receipts. She's got all of these documents, and she now also has the attention of lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic. The question, Jake, of course, will be will these politicians do anything about it.

TAPPER: All right. Donie O'Sullivan, thanks so much.

Joining us now to discuss, "New York Times" tech reporter Sheera Frenkel. She, of course, is also the co-author of the book, "An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination."

Sheera, good to see you again.

So reading through these papers, what is your biggest takeaway? SHEERA FRENKEL, TECH REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think it's

shocking how many times employees within Facebook really did the research and showed their own executives how deep the problems in the company ran. I think as a reporter on the outside we sort of had an inkling to some of this. We had a lot of examples. We've made our own research in a limited way, but the research done by Facebook's employees is incredibly comprehensive.

And to know that they were sitting on all of this really hard date about the harms that a company was doing and didn't change course, I think that's just really startling.

TAPPER: One of the leaked Facebook documents includes details about an internal experiment. A Facebook employee created a fake account for fictitious person who could be a conservative leaning North Carolina mom. Within a few weeks, Facebook was recommending that this fictitious mom check out QAnon pages that deranged cult and even a page or apparently linked to the 3 Percenter militia. This was 2019.

I mean, the calls were coming from inside the house a long time ago.

FRENKEL: Absolutely. And actually, that same researcher, same Facebook researcher created another account where she posed as an Indian national. In the midst of their elections to show as a new person joining Facebook in India, she was led to hate speech, to violence, to misinformation.

I mean, this research was replicated time and time again internally to show how people joining the platform for the first time are driven by Facebook's own algorithms to hate speech. It wasn't a one-off. It was something Facebook replicated again in their experiments

TAPPER: Interesting you bring up India because you have reported that 87 percent of Facebook's budget for flagging misinformation, 87 percent focused here in the U.S. that means 13 percent for the rest of the planet, even though the vast majority of daily active users are outside North America these days. That seems pretty alarming, and I'm sure it has real consequences.

FRENKEL: Right. And I would hope that lawmakers all over the world, including in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar where a lot of real-world violence has broken out because and tied to what they've seen on Facebook. I hope those lawmakers take notice and start to demand more of Facebook. I do think there are precedent being said where companies can say if you want to do business in our country you have to have dedicated a bare minimum of staff to monitoring the content that comes out of this country.

TAPPER: Facebook says it shouldn't be the only company facing this scrutiny. They point to YouTube. They point to Twitter. Do they have a point?

FRENKEL: You know, absolutely a point there and that also plays a role in this. However, I think Facebook can't really -- they have to admit they are the biggest here. It's hard to point fingers at the others when they have such a dominant space in this market. TAPPER: There are a lot of free speech absolutists say this is all an

attempt by the media and people in the government to suppress debate, to stifle dissension. What do you make of that? I mean, obviously, there are free speech concerns here. We don't want people to feel like they can't voice their opinion, even if it's an unpopular opinion. By the same token, there are clear detrimental effects to letting human trafficking or lies about vaccines take root.

FRENKEL: Yeah, Jake, I'm so glad you brought that up because that free speech concern is something Facebook wants everybody fixated on. It means everyone gets stuck in a debate about what you are and are not allowed to say and you can see how lawmakers and the American public can be mired in that for decades to come. What these documents point to and what the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has encouraged people to focus on is Facebook's algorithm, their recommendation engine.

I mean, what this comes to is that people should be able to say what they want to say within the bounds of reason.


But should Facebook have the right to amplify it? Should Facebook be recommending it? If you want to promote a conspiracy, that might be your business, but why should Facebook be allowed to push Americans into conspiracies?

TAPPER: We're going to hear from executives from Snapchat and TikTok and YouTube tomorrow. They're going to testify before a Senate subcommittee. What does the release of the Facebook papers mean for other social media companies?

FRENKEL: You know, I think they're going to be looking at their own internal research. They're going to be asking their own employees not to leak that internal research. I think Facebook is not the only company looking at itself like this. I know for a fact that Twitter has run similar surveys, as has YouTube. And I think all these companies know that eventually the attention will turn to them, and there's a way for them right now to get ahead of it.

TAPPER: How? How do they get ahead of it?

FRENKEL: They can release their own research. They can take the opposite course of what Facebook has been. Facebook has tried to discredit their own researchers which I think is a shame because they really take the time to hire some of the best data scientists in the world.

These are people that come out of Stanford, Harvard, Yale, they've got an amazing background and resume in conducting this kind of research. Why not elevate what they've done? Why not say, hey, look how hard we've tried to look at this problem.

Let's make it -- let's make it open to anyone. Let's make it an academic resource that anyone can come and study. And other platforms can follow suit. I mean, I know there are discussions in some of these tech companies of doing exactly that, and really posing the very transparent alternative to how Facebook has gone about things.

TAPPER: Lawmakers have certainly done a good job bringing attention to this and certainly this is something the public should know about. But beyond that, what can be legislated, if anything, to improve what Facebook does right now? I mean, is there a law that could be written, don't have your algorithm send conspiracy theory videos to people? I have a difficult time imagining what a law would look like.

FRENKEL: Yeah, I think that they are looking for the language around that law right now. I think really the first thing we're going to see laws about is going to be stricter laws around protections and children.

That's something Democrats and Republicans can always get on board with. That they want children to be more protected. And it's something "The Wall Street Journal" series focused on very early on. What are the harms to teens on some of these platforms?

So I imagine the first legislation is going to be around that. But the more complicated and more important legislation is going to be around algorithms. And I think they're going to eventually settle on a model where if Facebook recommends things that they themselves say they don't want to recommend, that they'll be penalties and fines.

For instance, Facebook says they're not going to send people to anti- vaccine misinformation. But if it repeatedly recommends that people join groups spreading anti-vaccine misinformation, there should be some kind of penalty. That's one example of a law I've heard lawmakers discussing right now.

TAPPER: All right. Sheera Frenkel, thanks so much. I appreciate your expertise and your time.

Coming up, a group of New York City workers shut down the Brooklyn Bridge in a protest against vaccine mandates.

Plus, breaking news. CNN has learned that the assistant director who handed that gun to Alec Baldwin last week had been fired before over an incident with a gun.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our health lead, massive crowds of protesters shutting down the fabled Brooklyn Bridge today. They are enraged over New York City's Friday deadline for city workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

This morning, the police union president in Chicago called the mayor there a, quote, tyrant, for enforcing the shots for police officers requirement.

But as CNN's Alexandra Field reports, there is some good news on that horizon with plummeting cases and hospitalizations and vaccines for little ones which could be just weeks away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is called a vaccine.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The smaller dose vaccines for younger children, Moderna releasing new data showing its shots for children ages 6 to 11 are safe and effective. While saying they'll seek emergency authorization from the FDA soon.

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, ASSOCIATE DEAN OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BROWN UNIVERSITY: It shows that that smaller dose is still sufficient for younger kids. That it creates just as strong, if not stronger of an antibody response with potentially fewer side effects because your body is being exposed to less of the immunogenic material.

FIELD: This as the FDA prepares to review Pfizer's smaller dose vaccines for kids as young as 5 tomorrow. Shots in arms could come in the next two weeks.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It's entirely possible, if not very likely that vaccines will be available for children from 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November.

FIELD: Halloween comes even sooner. That's not causing much concern for health officials.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I would say put on those costumes. Stay outside and enjoy your trick-or-treating.

FIELD: Passionate pleas for more people to get vaccinated continue.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS HOST, "YOUR WORLD": No one likes to be ordered to. But if you can get vaccinated and think of someone else, think of what that could mean to them and their survivability from something like this, we'll all be better off.

FIELD: Fox's Neil Cavuto is immune compromised. He tested positive for COVID, and he credits vaccines for saving his life.

Hundreds of protesters including New York City firefighters and sanitation workers shut down part of the Brooklyn Bridge today, protesting the mayor's vaccine mandate for all city workers. They must have their first shot by this Friday.

Over the weekend, outside Brooklyn's Barclays Center, another protest against the Nets' decision to keep basketball star Kyrie Irving off the court. He still refuses to get his shot.

ALEX SCHIFFER, BROOKLYN NETS BEAT WRITER, THE ATHLETIC: As an organization they're pro vaccine. I think they're going to try and keep their stance on this despite, you know, the distraction this could become.

FIELD: The opposite stance from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a vocal opponent of COVID-related mandates. Over the weekend, he made a pitch to attract police from places with vaccine mandates.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: I'm going to hopefully sign legislation that gives a $5,000 bonus to any out of state law enforcement that relocates in Florida.


So, NYPD, Minneapolis, Seattle, if you're not being treated well, we'll treat you better here. You can fill important needs for us, and we'll compensate you as a result.

FIELD: He now denies it has anything to do with vaccines.

DESANTIS: It will be available to anyone who comes. If people are trying to say it's a vaccine issue, it's not. It has nothing to do with that. They've been mistreated for a long time.


FIELD (voice-over): And, Jake, back here in New York City, with the mandate for that deadline now looming just days away, the union representing the NYPD has filed a lawsuit opposing the vaccine mandate. In it they say that enforcement of the mandate which results in fewer officers on the job would threaten morale within the department and threaten public safety. The mayor was asked about this last week. He says there are contingencies in place -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Alexandra Field in New York, thanks so much.

Coming up next -- it sparked a new feud between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul. The facts about the research that the U.S. was funding in Wuhan, China. That's next.



TAPPER: In our health lead, we now know that a bat coronavirus was enhanced in a lab. But not the one you're thinking of. The National Institutes of Health acknowledged it funded research of a virus studied at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The experiment unexpectedly, we're told, made a bad coronavirus more contagious than the original naturally occurring one.

But we're also told this was not COVID-19. Dr. Fauci says it's, quote, molecularly impossible that the virus, which has killed almost 5 million people worldwide, was the same one funded by the NIH.

CNN's Kristen Holmes breaks down now all of this debate that started between a fiery exchange between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Fauci which also then led to the NIH disclosure.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new letter raising questions about experiments in a Wuhan lab and sparking Republican outrage. For years, the National Institutes of Health provided grant money to the EcoHealth Alliance Research Group, which conducted experiments with bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China.

Republicans have claimed that this federally funded research could have started the coronavirus pandemic, an allegation health experts say is impossible.

FAUCI: Anybody that knows anything about viral biology and phylogeny of viruses know that it is molecularly impossible for those viruses that were worked on to turn into SARS-CoV-2 because they were distant enough molecularly.

HOLMES: Dr. Fauci has also defended the grants provided to the Wuhan lab and denied any federal dollars were spent on so-called gain of function experiments conducted there which can make viruses more infectious.

FAUCI: The NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded gain of function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

HOLMES: Leading to heated exchanges on Capitol Hill.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Dr. Fauci, knowing that it's a crime to lie to congress, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11th where you claimed that the NIH never funded gain of function research in Wuhan?

FAUCI: Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about.

HOLMES: Now in a new letter, the National Institutes of Health says EcoHealth Alliance conducted an experiment that found mice infected with an altered bat coronavirus became sicker than those infected with the unchanged virus -- in unexpected result, that was never reported to NIH despite the terms of the grant.

A spokesman for EcoHealth Alliance told "The New York Times" the group reported the findings, quote, as soon as we were made aware.

But Republicans claim this proves Dr. Fauci lied about the type of experiments conducted by the lab.

PAUL: He's going to continue to dissemble and work around the truth and massage the truth.

HOLMES: Health officials stress this is about accountability, not about any possibility the pandemic started in the lab.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Yeah, they messed up. We are going to hold them accountable. But let me be clear. This was in no way, no way connected with the advent of SARS- CoV-2 and COVID-19.


HOLMES: And, Jake, of course, we hear what the health officials are saying, but this raises a lot of questions. If there were more things that EcoHealth Alliance did not actually report, were there more things that the NIH was unaware of. They didn't learn about these experiments until years later. It raises the question, what else could have been going on at this lab that went unreported or that NIH just wasn't aware of.

TAPPER: All right. Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.

Let's bring in Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He's a CNN medical analyst, a cardiologist and professor at George Washington University Medical Center.

So, Dr. Reiner, it seems clear that EcoHealth was doing gain of function -- meaning making a virus deadlier, more contagious. It was doing that, but it wasn't necessarily -- that wasn't necessarily the intent of this experiment.

So, when conservatives say this all proves that Fauci has not been honest, is that right? Is that what it proves?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No, that's not how I look at it. I think it's important to understand the intent of the research and the effect of the research.


So the intent of the research was to understand whether certain bat coronavirus spike proteins could infect human cells. And the way they did the experiment was they took a well-known bat coronavirus called WIV-1 and they added to that some other bat coronavirus spike proteins. And they gave that to mice altered to have the receptor, the ace-2 receptor that the virus uses to enter human cells.

And what they found was, yes, they could. Those spike proteins could enter human cells, but they also noticed that the enhanced virus then was more virulent.


REINER: So they proved that those spike proteins could enter human cells but in so doing they made the virus they used more deadly essentially. The mice were sicker. So, yes, the net effect was to gain function for the virus that they altered but it does not appear, at least from the documents provided by NIH, that that was the intent of the research.

So the way I look at it, Dr. Fauci and his colleagues were answering truthfully. It has to do with the intent and the effect.

TAPPER: You have been vocal about your disappointment in health agencies throughout this pandemic when it comes to communication and messaging and trust. Do you think this adds to those problems even if Fauci and others have been telling the truth because there obviously was something there. It wasn't as bad as others were depicting it, but there was gain of function experiments going on. Maybe NIH didn't know about it, but it was going on.

REINER: Absolutely. Look, things are very rarely black and white. Yes or no. And understanding the nuance helps the public to understand what the truth is. And we see on Capitol Hill all the time, witnesses are asked yes or no, did you -- when it comes to science, it's rarely a question that can be answered yes or no.

And if NIH came out and -- or Dr. Fauci or Dr. Collins, months ago and in response to these attacks from Republican members of the Senate, particularly Rand Paul, explained this difference between the intent of the research and the effect and really described that kind of nuance. I think the public would understand that.

And it would not appear that NIH was sort of withholding information. But that becomes the effect of lack of clarity at the outset. So I think in the end, Tony Fauci was being truthful, not artful in his testimony

TAPPER: Let's talk about the Moderna announcement. They just released their own data on kids 6 to 11 saying it produced a, quote, robust immune response. That has not been peer reviewed yet, we should note that, but it does seems like promising initial information.

REINER: And not surprising. So, we know that Pfizer has a vaccine that's very likely to be signed off this week by the FDA committee. Next week by the CDC committee, and maybe the week after that, in your pediatrician's office. And the Moderna vaccine is very similar technology to the Pfizer vaccine.

So, it's interesting. That vaccine has -- using basically half the dose. And half the dose given in two shots to kids produces about 1 1/2 times the neutralizing antibodies that kids get. So, a very potent vaccine. But again, the proof is in the details.

TAPPER: So, the Moderna dose for kids is 50 micrograms for kids. The Pfizer dose for that age group is 30 micrograms. I know -- I'm not a scientist. Does that mean the Moderna dose is better for kids because it's 50 versus 30 of Pfizer?

REINER: Actually, the Pfizer dose for young kids is 10. It's 10 micrograms. So it's one-third of the adult dose. The adult Pfizer dose is 30.

TAPPER: So even more so. So if the Moderna one is 50 and Pfizer is 10, doesn't that mean -- would that mean the Moderna shot for kids is stronger?

REINER: It might be stronger. We'll have to see the data. We'll have to see what neutralizing antibody titers it produces.

TAPPER: Lastly, we've talked about this over the life of the pandemic, communications issues. The Biden administration does not have an FDA commissioner. They clearly need somebody and they need somebody who can speak effectively about vaccines, public health.

Sources tell us President Biden spoke with Dr. Robert Califf, former FDA commissioner from 2016 and '17. Would he be a good pick? Would he be a safe pick? REINER: I know Dr. Califf. He'd be a phenomenal pick. He'd come to FDA

after already serving for relatively brief time as FDA commissioner. He doesn't have to learn the ropes.


He knows the institution well. And right now, that's really an embattled agency. They had two senior members of their vaccine group abruptly announce their retirement about a month ago. And they need some stability. Rob is a really brilliant researcher. He's a -- I'm proud to say he's a cardiologist, a world renowned cardiologist who understands the playing field very well and understands, I think quite well, the importance of effective communication. So I think he would be terrific.

TAPPER: Very important. Thank you so much, Dr. Reiner. Good to see you as always.

A disturbing new development in the fatal movie shooting in New Mexico. CNN has learned that the assistant director who handed that gun to Alec Baldwin had been fired before from a different set over a different incident involving a gun. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Breaking news in our national lead on the tragic deadly shooting on that new Mexico film set last week. CNN has just learned the person who handed actor Alec Baldwin the gun, the assistant director on the movie "Rust", had been fired from a previous film after a gun incident injured a crew member there.

As CNN's Stephanie Elam reports, there are new reports today of at least two accidental prop gun discharges on this film set, "Rust" in the days leading up to the shooting.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alec Baldwin thought he was firing a cold gun during rehearsal. Instead, it was a shot that proved fatal. A newly released affidavit shows. Director Joel Souza told investigators Baldwin was sitting on a wooden pew, cross-drawing his weapon and pointing the revolver toward the camera lens when he heard what sound like a whip and then loud pop, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Souza remembers seeing blood and hearing his director of photography Halyna Hutchins complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection. Souza was shot in the shoulder and Hutchins was killed. This is all raising questions about on-set gun safety.

STEVE WOLF, THEATRICAL FIREARMS SAFETY EXPERT : The first thing that went wrong is that they used a gun that was capable of having live ammo put in it. ELAM: On the "Rust" set, there were concerns. The armorer, or person

responsible for prop weapons, was 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez. On a podcast last month, Gutierrez said she'd recently finished her first job as head armorer on a film titled "The Old Way" with Nicolas Cage and that her father, an industry vet, had been teaching her about guns since she was 16.

HANNAH GUTIERREZ, ARMORER: I was really nervous about it at first and almost didn't take the job because I wasn't sure if I was ready, but doing it, like it went really smoothly.

ELAM: The affidavit says Baldwin was handed the weapon from a cart by assistant director Dave Halls who did not know there were live rounds in the gun. Souza told investigators he heard halls yell "cold gun" on set, meaning the firearm should have been empty.

DUTCH MERRICK, PROP MASTER FOR FILM AND TELEVISION: The ultimate arbiter of safety on a film set is the first AD, the first assistant director. But they know they can inspect the gun but they can't go take the gun.

ELAM: Halls had been the subject of safety and behavior complaints during two different 2019 productions.

Propmaker Maggie Goll said Halls neglected to hold safety meetings or announce the presence of firearms on set.

And the "Los Angeles Times" reports there were accidental prop gun discharges on the "Rust" set before Thursday's shooting.

On October 16th, Baldwin's stunt double fired who rounds after being told a gun was cold, witnesses said. No charges have been filed but as a producer on the film, Baldwin may have some civil liability.

WOLF: There are two views on that. One would be that, you know, an actor's job is just to act and they rely on the people around them to make things safe. The other point of view is that if you have a firearm in your hand, you are responsible for what happens.

ELAM: Hutchins' best friend is standing by the actor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is so not responsible for this tragic, horrific nightmare of taking the life of my friend. And I wanted him to know that I felt that really strongly because I know he's a decent human being. And he feels terrible.


ELAM (on camera): Now that film that you referenced, Jake, is a film being shot in 2019. It was called "Freedom's Path." this was when a gun unexpectedly fired and it caused a sound tech to recoil. The person had to be left -- removed from the set and also from what we've learned now is that Halls was also removed from the set at that point. And that he was fired after that accident happened.

Now we have reached out -- CNN has reached out to Halls, as well as to Gutierrez to get their comment but we have not heard back yet at this point, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Stephanie, we also just learned the "Rust" film set has been shut down, apparently indefinitely?

ELAM: Yes, that's what we're learning. A letter sent to two members of the "Rust" crew team received a letter yesterday letting them know that for show they are cooperating with the investigation and they are planning to just wrap the set while the investigation continues. And the way they put it is that until the investigations are done, it's going to be a pause rather than an end, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Stephanie Elam in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with the latest, thank you so much.

A fuel shortage so dire that doctors are left without electricity. They are treating patients in the dark. We're live on the ground in Haiti with an escalating crisis there, next.



TAPPER: Topping our world lead -- Doctors Without Borders is warning that the human rights group may need to cut back operations in Haiti as the country's capital struggles with a crippling fuel shortage. UNICEF says hospitals are begging for help, predicting hundreds of women and children could die if facilities cannot get gasoline to run generators.

CNN's Matt Rivers reports, powerful gangs in Haiti are making a bad situation even worse.



MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spot protests across Port-au-Prince, burning tires below sending black smoke into the sky. The country is in crisis once again in part fueled by a lack of fuel.

A crushing shortage of gasoline has crippled the capital city. Here taxi drivers protesting, arguing with police outside the gas station, with no gas.

We don't have a government, this man says. If we don't demand change, who will?

Tires set on fire and debris thrown into the street are desperate attempts to cause enough chaos that the government tries to fix the problem. But it won't be easy. Not only is the government so broke it often can't buy enough fuel, but when some arrives, it can't get delivered. The vast majority of fuel is imported at these two locations but gangs in Port-au-Prince are so powerful they have near complete control over this crucial stretch of highway which means they control the flow of fuel into the capital.

A gas retailer, identity hidden due to security concerns, told us what happens if you try and drive a tanker truck in to pick up fuel.

So I might get kidnapped.


RIVERS: I might get shot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, if you don't stop.

RIVERS: I might get killed?


RIVERS: Or at the very least I'm going to have to pay an exorbitant bribe to get past?

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Yes, of course.

RIVERS: Haiti's government and law enforcement are either unwilling or unable to secure a flow of fuel from the ports.

But not having enough fuel doesn't just mean you can't use your motor bike. Consider this. Here in Port-au-Prince, the electricity grid is not reliable. So, let's say you own a small store and sell cold drinks. In order to keep that refrigerator running, you need to use a generator. And if the fuel going into that generator is way more expensive than it was before, that means you need to charge your customers more for those cold drinks.

Not having enough fuel makes all kinds of things more expensive and that's brutal in a country already dealing with so much poverty.

Because you don't have gasoline, do you think that that is risking the lives of some of your patients because they can't get the treatment that they need?


RIVERS: Kedner Pierre runs Haiti's largest cancer treatment center at Innovating Health International. He showed us this X-ray machine like other equipment here sitting idle because there's not enough gas to run the facility's generator full time. In another darkened room nearby, we use our phone's flashlight to see a bank of refrigerators with medicine for chemotherapy all turned off.

So you put ice in there to keep this cold because you can't -- you don't have enough gas.

PIERRE: I don't have enough gas.

RIVERS: To run a generator to keep these refrigerators up.

This clinic is still treating patients, something that is barely happening inside the empty hallways of this hospital. Normally packed with patients. Just a few are inside now. Most days only a handful of doctors make it to work either because there's no gas or they fear being kidnapped by gangs.

Ketia Estille's son almost died during an asthma attack overnight. She says the doctor was using his flashlight on his phone to put my son on oxygen because there is no electricity. It's so bad, I almost lost him.

Normally, all of those cribs would be filled with sick kids but the hospital is turning away nearly every patient that comes here because right now there's simply not enough doctors, nurses or electricity to take care of them. That means that one of Haiti's largest hospitals is essentially not functioning.

The doctors are trying, she say, but they cannot do anything. They have no help. Only God can help at this point. Perhaps God and gasoline.


RIVERS (on camera): And, Jake, as a way out of all of this, well, what is that going to be? According to a tweet from one of the leaders of the gang that is responsible for blocking these deliveries, he's saying he's not going to stop unless the prime minister of Haiti resigns. The prime minister is saying he has no plans to do so.

TAPPER: All right. Matt Rivers in Port-au-Prince, thanks so much.

Could this week finally be the week for President Biden and the Democrats to plan for his massive agenda? That's next.



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

This hour, it's a life-saving treatment for COVID-19, but a CNN investigation found many doctors don't even seem to know it's an option, so patients are missing out on this miracle treatment.

Plus, a so-called bomb cyclone may just be the start of the bad weather threatening tens of millions of Americans.

And leading this hour, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling me the plan is for the legislation the Democrats have been fighting over to get done this week. This afternoon, President Biden making yet another pitch for his agenda. The bipartisan infrastructure bill as well as Biden's plans to expand the social safety net and combat climate change.

A vote on the bipartisan infrastructure plan could happen theoretically as soon as Wednesday, a source tells CNN.

And as CNN's Phil Mattingly reports for us now, there's growing pressure on Biden to close the deal before a big foreign trip later this week.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It'd be very -- very positive to get it done before the trip.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden for months loathed to set deadlines, now explicit. The time for a deal is now.

Biden set to depart for Rome and two global summits in just three days, pressing for Democrats to deliver an agreement on his sweeping economic and climate package.