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Military Searches For Missing F-35 Fighter Jet; Today Stellantis Meets With UAW As Strike Enters Day 4; Gas Prices Hit 2023 Hights As Oil Surges; Drew Barrymore Reverses Decision, Won't Resume Show. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 18, 2023 - 15:30   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Listen to this. The U.S. military is asking for your help in trying to find an F-35 fighter jet that went missing on Sunday near Charleston, South Carolina in what they're describing as a mishap. So how did this happen? The military isn't really offering too many details, only that a pilot was able to safely eject and then taken -- was taken to a local hospital. The plane's location though remains unknown as joint base Charleston says anyone with information should immediately reach out.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann has been tracking this story. So, Oren, you've been reaching out to your contacts. What are you hearing about this?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, it's not often the U.S. military can't find one of its own fighter jets, but that looks like exactly what happened here. On Sunday afternoon a Marine Corps F-35B fighter jet was flying over South Carolina when something happened during this flight, and the pilot ejected -- as you pointed out. The pilot landed safely. He was taken to the local hospital. He is stable, according to the Marines.

The question what happened to his jet? Take a look at this graphic from flight radar 24. This is the ongoing search for the jet which has multiple aircraft, including from the Civil Air Patrol and the military looking for this over a fairly large swath of South Carolina, sort of north and northwest of Charlton -- Charleston. It looks like it's expanded more up towards Myrtle Beach as planes zigzag back and forth in a search pattern, looking for a fighter jet, a Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning tooth. This is a $100 million jet. It goes about Mach 1.6, so it is a supersonic jet, a fifth-generation fighter and costs about $42,000 an hour to operate.

And that leads to the question, well, where is it? Another jet operating with the jet during this mission returned safely, and yet the search is ongoing for this F-35. The key question here that Congresswoman Nancy Mace asked on Twitter or X as this was going on -- and this is a question I think all of us are thinking. She asks:

We know the F-35 was stealth, but this is ridiculous. Earlier, she said. How in the hell do you lose an F-35? How is there not a tracking device? And we're asking the public to do what? Find a jet and turn it in.

As of right now, the answer to that question is yes, that's exactly what the military is doing, asking for the public's help in finding this F-35. The search area doesn't look like it's been narrowed down at all. The part that's supposed to help you track the jet is a transponder.


It's unclear if that was or wasn't working, if it was turned on or off, and how much fuel was left that could have kept this plane going essentially, after the pilot ejected. Boris, those are all under investigation, according to the Marines, as they try to find their fighter jet and figure out what happened to it.

SANCHEZ: No Apple air tags in that $100 million jet, I guess. Oren Lieberman, thanks so much for the reporting -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Well, the 4th day of the United Auto Workers strike is well underway. Members are fighting for a 40 percent pay hike over several years. Pensions retirement, healthcare and more as the big three U.S. automakers are seeing record or near record profits. Today, nearly 13,000 picketers are demonstrating at a GM plant in Missouri, a Ford factory in Michigan and Stellantis facility in Ohio.

That is where Gabe Cohen is in Toledo. Gabe, today the UAW sitting down with Stellantis, I wonder, are you here of any narrowing of the differences between the two sides here?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what everyone here is anxiously waiting to hear. How the progress is going at the table today between the Union and Stellantis. We know there has been this big divide between really the Union and all three of the major -- the big three automakers here in the U.S.

Let's bring in Mike Sawaya actually right now. Because that's a good question for you. He's the chairman of all of the Union workers here at Stellantis Jeep. First of all, any progress today on the conversation?

MIKE SAWAYA, UAW LOCAL 12 CHAIRMAN/JEEP UNIT: We haven't heard anything back from anyone yet, but hopefully soon we'll have some updates.

COHEN: How long do you believe this is going to last?

SAWAYA: I hope not too long. I'm hoping at most a couple of weeks, but we'll have to see. We're in it for the long haul though. No matter what. We got this.

COHEN: But 5,800 members here in Toledo making strike pay now -- $500 a week. Is the Union offering any support to parents, people who are struggling to live off that.

SAWAYA: Yes, we have pantry that our community service chairwoman does, and she's been building it up. She's been gaining connections all over Toledo, and that's what we're trying to get. And we have like Pete Gurkin, we have Bruce Maher. We have everyone that's coming in and supporting us all.

COHEN: Local officials.

SAWAYA: Oh yeah, absolutely.

COHEN: What message do you have for the Union leaders, your Union leaders, who are right now in Detroit at the negotiating table?

SAWAYA: You guys got to get them. We need -- we need what we deserve.

COHEN: Thank you so much, Mike. Really appreciate it.

And we know there has been additional trouble, Jim, for the big three automakers with 5,000 -- more than 5000 Ford workers in Canada who may be set to go on strike tonight at midnight, part of another union their president saying there is a big gap in contract negotiations. So again, causing more problems for auto manufacturing here in North America.

SCIUTTO: Yes, a whole bunch of pieces to this, including the transition to electric vehicles. Gabe Cohen in Toledo, Ohio, thanks so much -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Well, gas is more expensive now than it's been all year. So what is driving up the price? We'll have that next on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.



SANCHEZ: Here's some of the other headlines we're watching this hour.

Investigators are looking into the cause of a deadly crash at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada. Two pilots identified as Nick Macy and Chris Rushing were killed. Organizers are said to be cooperating with the NTSB and they cancelled the remaining races. This is actually not the event's first fatal crash. A pilot was killed last year in a plane crash there, and in 2011, eleven people were killed when a plane veered out of control and actually crashed into spectators.

Also, nine teenagers who escaped from a juvenile detention center in Pennsylvania have been captured. The teens fled after a riot at the detention center. All nine will be charged with escape, riot and aggravated assault. The juvenile facility is just 15 miles west from where escaped murder convict Delano Cavalcante was captured on Wednesday.

And a bittersweet moment for Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett. He dedicated his pick six in the team's win over the Chicago Bears to his late daughter. Barrett's two-year-old child died tragically after drowning in a swimming pool back in April. His family was in attendance as his interception helped seal the win for the Bucks. Watch this.


SHAQUIL BARRETT, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS LINEBACKER: I always plead for my family already, but then having like that extra incentive and make me want to go a little harder for. The camera was on me after I made the play. I told her love you, miss you, wish you was here. And so it's -- I'm glad I'm able to still get some spotlight for her.


SANCHEZ: Barrett finished the day with a sack and two tackles -- Brianna.

KEILAR: That is sweet.

Another frustrating reality check for inflation weary Americans. Gas prices on the rise again, hitting their highest levels of the year. This is according to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is now $3.88. Last year it was $0.20 cheaper. We have CNN reporter Matt Egan with more details on all of this. I thought we got a break after Labor Day -- Matt.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Normally we do, Brianna. Unfortunately that is not the case this year. $3.88 a gallon. It's not just the highest level of the entire year. We're actually a full $0.30 above the price on Memorial Day when the summer driving season officially kicked off.


You can see that on this chart. It's been trending in the wrong direction. Of course, you know gas prices, they are still well below that record high of $5.02 a gallon set last June. Still, according to AAA, we have drivers in 11 states who are paying on average $4.00 a gallon or more -- that includes Colorado, Utah, Arizona and, of course, California.

Now all of this is really painful to consumers because it is just further adding to the cost of living. But it's also creating some headaches for the Federal Reserve because it is undoing some of that progress in the fight against inflation. Wall Street is very confident that the Fed is not going to raise interest rates this week. But Brianna, if prices stay hot, the Fed may very well have to at least consider rate hikes later this year.

KEILAR: So all of this is due to a spike in oil prices. What's behind the spike in oil prices?

EGAN: Well, Brenda, the spike in oil prices is no accident. I mean, this is exactly what Saudi Arabia and Russia want. These are the two largest oil exporters on the planet, and they are holding back supply right now. That is a big reason why -- as you can see on your screen -- we have U.S. oil prices above $91.00 a barrel, world oil prices above 94.

A few other factors here. Demand in China has rebounded as they lift COVID restrictions. There's been this extreme flooding in Libya and fading recession fears. All of that is driving up oil prices.

But Brianna, I just want to leave you with one piece of good news. And that is that Citigroup is telling their clients that they think that $90.00 oil, it's just unsustainable. And they're betting that oil prices are going to fall sharply in the coming months, falling below $70.00 a barrel before next summer. Of course, Brianna, that cannot come fast enough for consumers.

KEILAR: No, I'd like to be paying two something. Wouldn't that be nice? It's been a minute since that Matt, but that would be lovely. Matt Egan, thank you -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Still to come, Drew Barrymore is pushing pause on the return of her daytime talk show after backlash from striking writers and actors. She is not the only one. We have details straight ahead.



KEILAR: A fierce backlash, a tearful apology and now a big reversal from Drew Barrymore. The actor and producer now postponing the return of her talk show after writers and fellow actors slammed her decision to restart taping during the writers' strike. It's another dramatic twist in the saga that has shut down Hollywood for months. Writers Guild members have been on strike since May. And SAG, after the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists joined in July. They are fighting for better wages from streaming shows, new staffing requirements, and protections from artificial intelligence.

We have seen CNN senior entertainment reporter Lisa France with the details on this. Lisa, things started to change quickly after Barrymore's pretty tearful apology video on Friday, which curiously has been deleted since. What is she saying now?

LISA FRANCE, CNN SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Well, now after Deborah Messing basically came to her and asked her to not do it, she made a very public apology -- Drew Barrymore did. And lots of people did not believe her apology. They felt it was inauthentic, and there was even more backlash. And I think we have a little bit of what Deborah Messing said to her. Deborah Messing made a very public plea to her, asking her to please, you know, just follow suit and be in agreement with the rest of, you know folks who have paused on their shows.

This has kicked off a bit of a domino effect actually. Other shows including "The Talk" and Jennifer Hudson Show also have decided not to come back. Now Drew has issued a public apology again and she's apologized multiple times. And she pretty much has said that you know, she's sorry. She tried to do the right thing. She apologized to the writers. She said that, you know, she they just wanted to do -- to lead the way and be as effective as possible in terms of, she said:

I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt, and of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward.

So she really has owned it from the beginning. But it's just been an incredible bit of backlash in terms of people saying, you know, there's a strike and you should be in allegiance with the writers and with the actors.

And in terms of other people following suit, like Bill Maher now is going to pause his HBO show. He said that he had made the decision when it seemed like they weren't going to return to work, he said:

My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end insight to the strike.

But now he says that because it appears that the two sides are coming together to negotiate once again, he's decided to also pause now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table, he said, I'm going to delay the return of "Real Time" for now and hope they can finally get this done.

So, what I think we're seeing is that the public has really risen up in support of these strikes and the celebrities are feeling the heat. And so they're trying to give the public what they want.

KEILAR: Yes, there are a lot of pressures coming down on them. Lisa, thank you so much. We're obviously keeping an eye on this. It is continuing on for months and months now -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, signs of life amid the devastation in Hawaii.


New information on the condition of that beloved 150 old banyan tree that was scorched by wildfires in Maui. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Signs of life and maybe signs of relief in Lahaina were a historic 150-year-old Banyan tree badly burned in the Maui wildfires last month, is now sprouting green leaves. Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources released this video showing that welcome sight.

KEILAR: For comparison, you can see how badly the tree was scorched in this video from Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz that he posted back on August 10th.


The Lahaina Treescape Restoration program tells our affiliate, our CNN affiliate KITV, that its volunteers have been working hard to save the soil around the tree and they've been rewarded with as many as 40 new of those green leave chutes.

SANCHEZ: It is great to see.

KEILAR: It really is. It is a beautiful part of Lahaina and it so -- I think it just means so much to the community and anyone who has ever been there.

SANCHEZ: Yes, I'm glad we ate up all that time, and I didn't talk about how I tossed to myself. I supposed to toss to you and tossed to myself.

KEILAR: I'm Boris Sanchez.

SANCHEZ: "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.