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Don Lemon Tonight

Capitol Hill on Full Alert; Cybersecurity Lawyer Indicted for Lying to FBI; President Biden Slammed GOP Governors DeSantis and Abbott; FDA to Talk About Booster Vaccine; Petito Family Looking for Answers; Brian Laundrie Uncooperative with Police. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 16, 2021 - 22:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The News continues. Let's turn things over to Don and Don Lemon Tonight.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. This is Don Lemon Tonight.

And the news from Capitol Hill is ominous. An urgent new warning from homeland security about the increasing possibility of violence, the so-called justice for 6 rally, which, let's remember is in defense of the bloodthirsty insurrectionists who on January 6th tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

This is where we are tonight. Newly installed fencing around the capitol, just like after January 6th. Fencing expected to go up outside the Supreme Court as well. Online chatter threatening violence. Homeland security says social media users have discussed storming the capitol tomorrow, the night before the rally, and one commented on kidnapping a member of Congress.

And it's not just the capitol. There has been online chatter about using the rally to target local Jewish institutions, elected officials and so-called local churches.

And with all that, with very real threats to the capitol just eight months after one of the darkest days in American history, the former president is weighing in exactly the way that you would expect him to do it, right, with a disgraceful statement saying, hearts and minds are with the rioters. That's not a dog whistle, that is a full bullhorn.

Sympathetic with them? We all saw what happened at the capitol on January 6th. We all saw those rioters mercilessly beating brave police officers. We saw them put up a gallows. We heard them chanting hang Mike Pence.


CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! hang Mike Pence!


LEMON: That's who the former president of the United States is defending. What do you expect from the man who, while they were still cleaning up the destruction at the capitol, told rioters, we love you.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel.


LEMON: What a slap in the face to the American heroes who risked their lives to defend the capitol. Like officer Michael Fanone, who was beaten with a flagpole, tased with his own taser, who pleaded for his life saying, I have.


UNKNOWN: I got one.

UNKNOWN: All right. Easy.

UNKNOWN: We won't hurt you. Don't hurt him.

UNKNOWN: I got you, I got you.

UNKNOWN: Don't hurt him. Don't hurt him. Don't hurt him.

UNKNOWN: We're better than this!

UNKNOWN: Hold it, I got you, I got you. I got him.

UNKNOWN: You can't do this!



LEMON: Officer Fanone, who told me the whitewashing, the lies about the rioters, ignoring what they did that horrible day, are an assault on every officer who fought to defend the capitol.


FANONE: I'm not a politician, I'm not an elected official. I don't expect anybody to give two shits about my opinions. I will say this. You know, those are lies. And peddling that bullshit is an assault on every officer that fought to defend the capitol. It's disgraceful.


LEMON: Like officer Harry Dunn, who spoke out about the racist attacks he and other black officers experienced, who told me the lies of insurrection deniers, like the former president, are, and I'm quoting him, "a slap in the face."


LEMON: some Republican lawmakers and even former, the former president, they're trying to rewrite history, saying that the riots, that they weren't that bad, that the rioters were actually antifa. I know you have said that this isn't political for you. But how do you respond to them twisting the truth like that?


HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: It's hurtful. It's hurtful, and it's kind of like a slap in the face without even asking us or talking to us about what we went through.


LEMON: Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, who was beaten so badly he thought he might die, who told me the rioters were following what the former president told them.


AQUILINO GONELL, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE: And for them to whitewash this like I'm making it up, like somebody told me that all this is Black Lives Matter or antifa? There was no antifa there, all the people, the sea of people that was there, they were saying, President Trump sent me here, he's our president, he sent us here, and we won't listen to anything that you say that day.


LEMON: While, the big lie exploded into a violent insurrection on January 6, the big lie of bogus election interference, the big lie that's still alive and well today. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans in our latest CNN poll don't think Joe Biden actually won the election. You know who else didn't believe that? The rioters on January 6th. And their defenders today.

That as another attempt by the previous administration and right-wing media to dig for nonexistent dirt, blows up right in their faces. After more than two years, special counsel John Durham's investigation of the investigators digging into the origins, or as the former president said, oranges of the Trump Russia investigation, is apparently ending not with a bang but with a whimper.

More than two long years, longer than the Mueller investigation, and all they've got to show for it as they wrap it up are two relatively minor cases. A cybersecurity lawyer indicted today for lying to the FBI when he said he wasn't working on behalf of any client, yet prosecutors allege that he was representing the Clinton campaign. Even though it is clear from the indictment that he was affiliated with the DNC.

From page four of the indictment, and I quote here, "in or about April 2016, the Democratic National Committee retained Sussmann to represent it in connection with hacking of its e-mail servers by the Russian government. In connection with his representation of the DNC, as the victim of a hack, the defendant met and communicated regularly with the FBI, the DOJ, and other U.S. government agencies."

Durham also brought a relatively minor case last year against the former FBI lawyer who admitted to falsifying information used to obtain a surveillance warrant against the former Trump campaign associate, Carter Page.

Now listen. Don't get it twisted, OK? Because I know how people love to take stuff out of context. I'm certainly not defending breaking the law. But these are two relatively minor cases. After the folks over at the Fox propaganda network hammered on the Durham investigation, over and over and over. The Durham investigation, Durham, Durham, Durham, Durham, telling us that it was going to blow up the election. Telling us it was going to be a massive October surprise. Spoiler alert! Not.


UNKNOWN: Again, we need to see where the buck stops. So, the Durham report is going to be very telling. Hopefully that will come out soon.

UNKNOWN: Mr. Durham is working on his report, and there are some who are suggesting there could actually be an October surprise where the Durham report comes out and it reveals just exactly the extent to which the Obama/Biden administration was involved in this.

DAN BONGINO, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think there's any doubt John Durham has information that's going to be extremely damaging to not only Obama folks who have been hiding their role in this forever, notably John Brennan, but also to media people.

DAVID SPUNT, REPORTER, FOX NEWS: The DOJ official tells me that Durham probe expected to be wrapped up, and I do use the word expected to be wrapped up, sometime in the next month.

UNKNOWN: At any time now, Attorney General Bill Barr telling Sean Hannity last night, there will be news today from U.S. attorney John Durham's review.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: John Durham's investigation into the Russia probe may be coming to some conclusions.

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: The American people need to know what actually happened. And John Durham is an independent man, highly experienced, and his investigation is pursuing apace. There was some delay because of COVID. But I'm satisfied with the progress. And I've said there are going to be developments, significant developments, before the election. But we're not doing this on the election schedule.


LEMON: Weaponizing our justice system to do the bidding of the former president. It is damaging to our country and over and over and over. It is never -- all these things that they talk about over there, never anywhere near what they hype it up to be, what they say it was.


Examples, the State Department inquiry into Hillary Clinton's e-mails came up empty. Remember, unmasking, same for unmasking, the Clinton Foundation Uranium One, unmasking. All that stuff. And now the Durham investigation, you might say a year late and a scandal short, sound and fury signifying nothing.

And you wonder why America is so divided? There's your answer. Those are the examples. But in the face of all that, President Joe Biden is trying to push his agenda ahead. White the GOP and some in his own party -- looking at you, Senators Manchin and Sinema -- dig in their heels.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I know we still have a long way to go, but I'm confident that the Congress will deliver to my desk both the bipartisan physical infrastructure plan and the build back better plan that I have proposed. I've said many times before, I believe we're at an inflexion point in this country. One of those moments where the decisions we're about to make can change, literally change the trajectory of our nation for years and possibly decades to come.


LEMON: President Biden's whole approach to the division in this country is to show that government can work for the American people. I want you to take a look at this map showing the child tax credit by states. OK? Take a good long look at it. Look at all of those red states that went for Trump in 2020 and how they're being helped by the Biden agenda.

Look at the map, look at the map, look at the map. Put it back up, let them see it again. All of those red states and how it's being helped by the Biden agenda. Look at all that money. Right? That as the president today slammed governors, including Texas' governor, Greg Abbott, and Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis for fighting vaccine mandates.


BIDEN: The governors of Florida and Texas are doing everything they can to undermine the life-saving requirements that I've proposed. And some of the same governors attacking mere are in states with the strictest vaccine mandates for children attending school in the entire country.

For example, in Mississippi, children are required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, and more. These are state requirements. But in the midst of a pandemic that has already taken over 660,000 lives, I propose requirement for COVID vaccines and the governor of that state calls it, quote, "a tyrannical-type move." A tyrannical-type move? It's the worst kind of politics because it's putting the lives of citizens of their states, especially children, at risk. And I refuse to give in to it.


LEMON: So, for all of the yelling from GOP governors, the majority of Americans want public health measures in place to fight the pandemic of the unvaccinated. More than half of Americans in the latest CNN poll are in favor of requiring vaccines for office workers, for students in the classroom, and people at sporting events and concerts.

California Governor Gavin Newsom -- I'll say that again. California Governor Gavin Newsom says his win in this week's recall election shows Democrats need to double down on public health measures to appeal to that silent majority at the ballot box.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We need to stiffen our spines and lean in to keeping people safe and healthy. That we shouldn't be timid in trying to protect people's lives and mitigate the spread and transmission of this disease. That it's the right thing to do, but it's also a motivating factor in this election.


LEMON: Still, California's governor, Gavin Newsom, with some common sense, doing the right thing. What does it tell you about where we're at right now, that that seems like a really lofty goal? And just eight months after the capitol was attacked by rioters trying to overturn our free and fair election, a warning tonight from homeland security about the possibility of more violence. Are we prepared this time?


UNKNOWN: It shows that Donald Trump remains not just a threat to our democracy, but an actual physical security threat, a public safety threat to the American people.




LEMON: Back now with our news here, the Department of Homeland Security warning of the potential for violence around the justice for J6 rally planned for Saturday in Washington, D.C.

So let's get right to it with CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd, and CNN contributor Garret Graff.

Gentlemen, good evening to you.

Phil, break it down for us if DHS is putting out this briefing to local authorities -- serious? PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Sort of. Let me give you

two different optics, Don. First, they've got to put out that warning. If you look at the criticism of intelligence after January 6th, everybody said, why didn't you tell us? So, what's DHS supposed to say? They're going to put out a warning saying there might be violence.

That said, I'm not suggesting you don't take this seriously. Look, I'm on the outside looking at this today, Don. I'd say the likelihood of violence, because there's going to be overwhelming security, is relatively low. But let's say there's a handful of people from some state across America who decide, we're going to light it up tomorrow or Saturday.

That's the problem I would be concerned about. Not that 95 percent of the people are going to be intimidated by the government's security presence, but that 5 percent are going to say, this is our chance. And that 5 percent, that's what I'd be worried about, Don.

LEMON: OK. So, the outside answer is, it's on the outside, you think it's relatively low?


MUDD: Yes, but --

LEMON: If you're on the inside?

MUDD: I'd be like why -- if I'm watching CNN now, I'm saying, thank you very much, I don't care. If this goes south, my ass is in the sling, Congress is going to kill me, and somebody might die on the hill. You cannot take probability and make that certainty. I'm not sure what's going to happen.

LEMON: You've got to -- you've got to be prepared, and you've got to show strength. OK.

MUDD: Got to be prepared.

LEMON: You got to. Right, OK. So, Garrett, the fencing is back up around the capitol. We saw that start last night. This is a live picture, right? We're looking at a live picture now from Capitol Hill.

Capitol police have issued an emergency declaration that allows the department to deputize outside law enforcement officers. They have also requested D.C. National Guard assistance. Do you have a sense that officials are much more prepared than they were on January 6th?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They absolutely are. But that's not necessarily saying a whole lot, given how unprepared they were on January 6th. That said, it's clear that everyone involved, as Phil was saying, has learned their lesson and is going to start taking these threats very seriously going forward.

I think one of the challenges from January 6th to now is that we haven't seen the Justice Department, the U.S. government, the FBI, take actions that seem like they would be discouraging the incitement of more rallies, more riots like this going forward.

But I don't think any of the people, you know -- we've seen obviously hundreds of indictments and charges against, you know, what I would consider sort of low-level participants in the insurrection on January 6th. But we haven't seen, I think, the types of actions that would discourage further incitement by the people who wanted to stir up trouble in the first place.

LEMON: Phil, if we could get a shot of the capitol again, I want everybody to see this. All of this fencing, all of these precautions, Phil, this is for homegrown, this is for the possibility of homegrown, domestic terrorism. Right? And it's hard to believe that we're having to take all of this for, you know, people who are supposed to be patriots.

But because this briefing is also saying that social media users are discussing storming the capitol tomorrow night. DHS is also warning that lone offenders and small groups of individuals can, quote, "mobilize to violence with little to no warning." So how do potential lone wolves complicate this, the capitol security?

MUDD: Boy, I'm so glad I'm not in the business, Don. Look, if you're dealing with a terrorism problem, the classic terrorism problems, you deal with a group, you can look at their leadership, you can target their leadership by intercepting their communications, by inserting informants into that organization.

But let's take this, as you say, to the United States, 50 states. Remember, how many people and the varieties of people that showed up on January 6. If you're the FBI and you're saying, how do we look at small groups of people in 50 states? Those groups of people might be two people, three people, five people. Maybe they're on social media. Maybe they're not.

And let's guarantee that in none of those states is a small group of people meeting in a basement, in none of those states is one of those groups of people going to show up at the capitol and do something stupid.

If you're not dealing with a large organization where you can target the leadership, you're dealing with a dispersed group of people who have the same idea and one of them gets a bug up their ass. What do you do, Don? You can't cover that. You can't cover it.

LEMON: The former president, Garrett -- go ahead, Garrett. What were you going to say?

GRAFF: Well, and I was going to say, and let's remember, like this is not a hypothetical threat that we're talking about. This was a guy arrested this week in front of the DNC with Swastikas carved into his pickup truck, saying that he was, quote, "on patrol." I mean, this is something that we are living with not, you know, just this weekend, but any day right now in America.

LEMON: Yes. Garrett, listen. It is, I don't know, maybe it should be surprising, it's shameful, the former president happened to release a statement today in support of the insurrectionists, which is not surprising since he already tried to incite a coup once.

GRAFF: Yes, I mean, it's not surprising at all. And again, we're not seeing the types of actions by the U.S. government that would discourage further misbehavior like this. You know, there are delicate situations around the first amendment with the speech that some of these people are using.

But we have to remember that this is, as you were saying, as Phil as saying, that this is not normal politics, and this is not part of our sort of normal civic discourse in America. This is terrorism. And it's something that we need to deal with in the same way that we would tackle something like ISIS.


LEMON: Phil, you know, for the former guy to speak out in favor of the people who broke into the capitol, some of them violently attacking officers, isn't it a slap in the face to law enforcement? I think of all of the officers that I've spoken to who defended the capitol that day. To them, I mean, this is betrayal.

MUDD: It is. I mean, there's two levels of this. And I'm going to make you uncomfortable in a second. I mean, the first level is someone who worked in national security for Democrats, for Republicans. Republicans typically are the people who said, we believe in law enforcement and national security.

The president, the former president, Trump, crossed swords with every military officer he dealt with. You saw the stories in the past couple of days about General Milley saying, I'm concerned about the transition here in terms of law enforcement, the blue line. The president has said, I respect the people who broke into, trespassed in the capitol, I don't respect the police.

But to be blunt, I think the story is more uncomfortable than that. The president has said today, or yesterday, the past day or two, there's two tiers about the way people are treated in this country, and J6 people are being treated differently. And my sense as a white guy in America what he's saying is, the people from BLM, black people are being treated better.

The president, I think, is make -- is pitting white people against black people. Why would he say two tiers? Who is he referring to? I've got to believe, Don, he's referring to demonstrations in places like Portland, where he is saying black people were being treated better. What's the message to his followers? What's the message, Don? I got it. His message is, that's your enemy. This makes me really uncomfortable.

LEMON: Yes. Well, I'm glad you said it. Because, you know, if I said it, I'm racist.

MUDD: Yes, but it's true. I mean, how else do you interpret that? What's the other tier he's talking about?

LEMON: There's no other way to interpret it. MUDD: Yes.

LEMON: You hit the nail right on. And I appreciate you being so honest and candid about it. Thank you, Garrett. Thank you, Phil. I appreciate it.

The critical FDA meeting tomorrow on COVID boosters, but whether they'll be approved, that's far from certain.



LEMON: Some good news this week amid the Delta surge in the U.S. A CDC forecast predicting new daily hospitalizations will go down between now and October 11th. And tomorrow the FDA is set to hold an all-day meeting to discuss whether or not fully vaccinated Americans should get booster shots.

Joining me now to discuss CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also the author of the upcoming book, "World War C."

Doctor, thanks for joining.

So, when the FDA advisory board meets tomorrow, they're going to have a lot to consider when it comes to these boosters. How do you see this playing out?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I really don't know, Don. It's interesting. I mean, before all these FDA meetings in the past, we had a really good inclination of how it was going to turn out before the authorization of the vaccines and all of that. But there's been a lot of back and forth.

I mean, as you know, it made news when two senior vaccine scientists at the FDA basically said they were going to leave. And we subsequently found out it was over this issue of boosters.

So, I think what's going to happen is there is going to be four big questions that are going to have to be addressed there. We sort of lay them out here. You know, how much is immunity really waning? Pfizer says the immunity wanes about 6 percent every two months but stays steady for severe illness. How severe are the breakthrough infections? I think this is a big one, Don.

I mean, you could have a totally asymptomatic breakthrough infection. You're surprised. I came back positive? I'm surprised. It could be that all the way to people having severe breakthrough infections. They're going to need to break down that data a bit.

How long does the booster effect last? We don't know. Is this something we're going to do every six months? Or is it like a booster and then we're sort of set for a while? We'll have to see what they say about that. And finally, how much do boosters really reduce transmission? I find this so interesting, Don. We often look to Israel, right,

because they're ahead of us in terms of vaccines. They've got about 64 percent of the country vaccinated. They've been boosting since August. So how do their cases look? What would you think their cases are doing?

Let me show you. This is what it looks like now throughout the pandemic. And you can see they're at the highest seven-day average of new coronavirus cases that they've ever been. And that's despite having a very high vaccination rate and starting to boost. I think -- and luckily, their hospitalizations and deaths are low. The vaccines are working.

But I think it's going to be an important question, Don, for tomorrow and going forward. Are we going to -- are we going to pivot and really hinge a lot of our decisions on breakthrough cases? Because they don't necessarily correlate with the level of vaccination or boosting.

LEMON: But I think what you said last was important. That their hospitalization rates and their death rates are down, right? But their case rates are up.

GUPTA: Right.

LEMON: Well, that's good, isn't it? That means that the vaccine is working.

GUPTA: That's exactly right.


GUPTA: And so, there's many people who say, the vaccines are working, so why do we need to boost them? What exactly are we trying to achieve with the boosting?


You ask me, how do I think it's going to shake out? I think maybe people over a certain age, and if I look at the data, it looks like people over the age of 65, you could start to make the case that they are more likely to develop severe illness with vaccination than younger gentlemen like yourself. So, you know, maybe it's going to come down to a specific age, age group.

LEMON: Yes, thanks for that. You know that part is not true, but anyways. So, meaning the younger people like me. I've been wanting to talk to you about this since I read it today, doctor.

COVID patients are still pushing hospitals to, you know, to the brink now. I just want to play this. It's from a father in Florida who says his 12-year-old son's appendix burst while they were waiting to be seen. Here it is.


NATHANIEL OSBORN, FATHER OF 12-YEAR-OLD SETH OSBORN: It was pretty clear. It was awfully full. You know, my wife and I had to stand while we were waiting, ended up being six, perhaps six and a half hours. It was difficult sitting there with him, kind of watching your child, kind of shiver in pain. It was -- I mean, it was -- it was really, really unpleasant.

At that time, it was, you know, something like seven in the evening. He was taken out of the emergency room -- or the waiting room with my wife. And she asked one of the nurses, so what's going on? Why did we have to wait so long? And the nurse rolled her eyes and said something to the effect of, what do you think? We're slammed with COVID. That was a disappointing thing to hear.


LEMON: So, listen, the good news is his son was in the hospital for five days and has recovered. But Sanjay, that hospital says 90 percent of the COVID patients they see are unvaccinated. This is what we're, you know, what we mean when we say, hey, listen, you've got to think about more than yourself when you say I have my freedom, I have my liberty or what have you. It's crippling a lot of hospitals.

GUPTA: It's crippling my hospital too, Don. I was there today. Ninety- five percent of the COVID patients are unvaccinated. The hospital has to go on diversion. We're a level one trauma center, we take care of most of the trauma in a very big city. And we have to go on diversion. Meaning, you know, ambulances will try and get patients to the hospital, sometimes they will, quote, "sit on the wall" is the term that they use, where they're just basically parked outside the hospital, trying to take care of the patient in the ambulance, waiting until a bed can possibly open up.

I've been working at this hospital 20 years, I've never seen anything quite like it. The hospital is full. So, you know, elective cases are getting canceled. You know, when you have a situation like this, it doesn't just affect the unvaccinated anymore. It affects everybody because people going in with heart attacks and strokes and car accidents and gunshot wounds, all of that gets affected. It's a real problem.

I mean, this is a hospital system that I work in that can take care of lots of patients, huge volumes of patients. And they're overwhelmed right now.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I saw it when I went to visit the hospital I was born in my hometown.

GUPTA: Right.

LEMON: The ICU had virtually become just a COVID ward they said. They haven't planned for that. It's happening to hospitals all over the country. Sanjay Gupta's hospital as well.

Thank you, doctor, I appreciate it. I'm very excited, Sanjay has a lot of projects coming up. Sanjay's book again is "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic." It is out next month. And make sure you join him, it's Sunday night as he talks with scientists about the origins of COVID-19. The CNN special report starts at 8. Again, our thanks to Sanjay.

Authorities trying to find any clue to what happened to 22-year-old Gabby Petito, missing after a trip with her fiance. Now he is home without her and not talking to police.



LEMON: Tonight, the family of a missing young woman desperate for information and answers to where she is. And what may have happened to her. Twenty-two-year-old Gabby Petito disappeared last month while traveling cross-country with her fiance. He returned home to Florida without her and is refusing to talk to police.

More tonight from CNN's Athena Jones.


JOE PETITO, GABBY PETITO'S FATHER: What I need from everybody here is help.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A family begging for answers after a cross-country road trip ends in a mystery. Newly released police body camera video raising even more questions. Twenty-two-year-old Gabrielle Gabby Petito from Blue Point, New York, missing for weeks after setting off earlier this summer with fiance Brian Laundrie in a coverted white 2012 Ford transit van with Florida plates.

GABBY PETITO, MISSING PERSON: The pair documenting their journey on social media, including YouTube.

PETITO: Hello, hello, and good morning. It is really nice and sunny today.

JONES: But local police found Petito's van and her fiance Brian at the home they shared with his family in Florida. He returned there without her September 1st.

UNKNOWN: I got a quick question for you, Brian.


JONES: On August 12th, police in Moab City, Utah, were called to a possible disorderly conduct situation, captured in this body camera video. According to the police report, they encountered the couple engaged in some sort of altercation.

PETITO: We've been fighting all morning. And he wouldn't let me in the car before.

UNKNOWN: Why wouldn't he let you in the car? Because you (Inaudible) OCD?


PETITO: He told me I needed to calm down, yes. But I'm perfectly calm.

JONES: Petito, who told the police she suffers from OCD, described in the report as confused and emotional and manic.

UNKNOWN: Don't touch each other tonight.

JONES: At the officer's suggestion, the two separated for the night. One of the officers concluding the situation was the result of a mental health crisis, no charges were filed.

TODD GARRISON, CHIEF, NORTH PORT POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, they had a disturbance. Yes, it was captured on body camera, their interaction with law enforcement. But beyond that, you know, I don't know what it has to do with the disappearance.

JONES: North Port, Florida police say they've talked to the attorney for Petito's fiance, but Laundrie is not talking and many questions remain.

GARRISON: Two people went on a trip, one person returned. And that person that returned isn't providing us any information.


JONES: In a statement Tuesday, a lawyer for the Laundrie family said they are remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment. A lawyer for Gabby's parents, Richard Stafford, saying --

RICHARD STAFFORD, ATTORNEY: Please, if you or your family have any decency left, please tell us where Gabby is located. Tell us if we are even looking in the right place. All we want is for Gabby to come home.

JONES: Petito's family last heard from her in late August.

UNKNOWN: I received a text on the 30th. That was the last communication I had.

JONES: Petito's parents believe she was last in the Grand Teton Yellowstone area of Wyoming. They reported her missing to Suffolk County, New York police on September 11th. According to the National Park Service, multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating Petito's disappearance. Meanwhile, the search continues for a vibrant young woman excited about living the van life.

PETITO: I love the van.

LAUNDRIE: We've been lucky so far at all the places we've stayed. But I'd say this is one of the best so far since --

JONES: Now nowhere to be found.


JONES: Gabby Petito's family is furious that the Laundrie family isn't more forthcoming, calling Brian Laundrie's silence reprehensible. Meanwhile, Petito's stepfather has now traveled to Wyoming to help look for her and he's asked anyone who may have been visiting the Grand Teton Yellowstone area and taking pictures or videos, to go through them and see if they see Gabby. Don?

LEMON: Athena, thank you so much. Gabby Petito's family begging her fiance's family for any information, as you just heard there from Athena. What are police doing to try to talk to Brian Laundrie? That's a question for chief Todd Garrison. He's next.



LEMON: It is a mystery that is deepening by the day. The whereabouts of 22-year-old Gabby Petito unknown tonight, disappearing while traveling cross-country with her fiance. He returns home to Florida without her and won't talk to police.

So, joining me now is chief Todd Garrison of North Port Florida Police Department. Thank you so much for joining us, chief. I appreciate it.

GARRISON: Thanks for having me.

LEMON: so, let's talk about Gabby's fiance, his name is Brian Laundrie. He is now a person of interest we understand. Can you tell us what that means?

GARRISON: Well, you know, we are conducting a missing person investigation and two people went on a trip and one person returned and that person is Brian. And you know, we're looking for Gabby and he is not willing to provide us any information. So you've got to look at what it is and right now he is a person of interest into her disappearance.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, there is -- it's a little bit nebulous, the definition, suspect and person of interest are two different things. You just want some answers from him. Is that what you are saying?

GARRISON: Absolutely. Because we don't know what happened. You know, we don't know where she is at. We don't know if a crime has been committed. So, we just need some answers. So right now, he a person of interest.

LEMON: OK. So, Chief, Brian was traveling alone with Gabby. He could be the last person to see her, or as you said, you know, you want to know what's happening. But he is not talking to you. He is not talking to investigators. No one. Legally, can you compel him to answer questions and will you get a search warrant for his home or his property?

GARRISON: You know, right now he's invoked his fifth amendment right. So, I can't compel him to speak. All of our information has been directed through an attorney. You know, that can change. The attorney can come forward and say, listen, Brian wants to provide a statement now. You know, we are open to that. As far as us getting a search warrant for his house, no, we are not working on a search warrant for the house right now. In order to get a search warrant, you have to be tied to a crime. Right now we don't have a crime.

LEMON: OK. Very interesting. It's not like, the crime shows you see on television, right? You have to go -- you have to meet certain bars in order to proceed forward?

GARRISON: That is correct.

LEMON: Right. Right.

GARRISON: That's correct.

LEMON: I think you have to, what is it called? Not reasonable doubt but there has to be something to compel you. A probable cause --


LEMON: -- to get a search warrant. OK. So, listen, we saw the video of the altercation between the couple in Utah. What can you tell us about the incident and do you believe it is connected to Gabby's disappearance?

GARRISON: W really truly don't know if it is. You know, they are a young couple. It's not uncommon that young couples have disputes. It's not uncommon that young couples cry during an altercation. This altercation, obviously, rose to some level of physical touching, but we don't really know if it has anything to do with her disappearance.

We know that, you know, she was communicating after this disturbance. So, we don't know if it's related yet.

LEMON: OK. So, you said touching. What do you mean by that? Some level of touching. Was there a physical fight?

GARRISON: Yes, well, from what we've gotten from the body camera, she said she hit his face or slapped his face.

LEMON: Now, you said -- and you have spoken to her or that she's communicated -- is this a communication by text you are referring to?

GARRISON: Yes, yes.

LEMON: Are you sure it was her? It was from her device. But do you know if it was her?

GARRISON: Well, we do know that she was having communication with her mom via facetime. So, we know that it was her at that time.

LEMON: Are there any other persons of interest, and what comes next in this investigation, Chief?

[22:55:04] GARRISON: You know, right now there are no other persons of interest. I believe Brian has the information. I believe people around Brian may also have the information, and you know, we are pleading to those people to come forward, provide us the information that we need to find Gabby and reunite Gabby with her family because she deserves it and her family deserves it.

LEMON: Is there anything in this about the evidence that you are talking about, the communications, the contact with the police, any of that, does that somehow, this scenario help you in the investigation? Does it lead you to some sort of conclusion about a scenario that could have happened, something that could have happened to Gabby?

GARRISON: You know, we are analyzing everything. We're keeping an open mind and, you know, we haven't surmised, you know, any ideas exactly what has taken place.

LEMON: So, whose jurisdiction is this case? I mean, you are in Florida where Gabby was living with her fiance's family recently. Gabby's family is in New York and Gabby is believed to be last heard from when she was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. So, is it all of these agencies? Whose jurisdiction is it?

GARRISON: Yes, it's a multijurisdictional case. We are working it jointly with the FBI and the local authorities out in the states of Wyoming and Utah. So, everybody kind of has some involvement in this. The federal partners, you know, allow that jurisdiction to cross state, state lines, and that's why it's important that we're working this together.

LEMON: Chief, please keep us updated. Thank you so much.

GARRISON: Absolutely, thank you.

LEMON: The DHS issuing a warning ahead of Saturday's right-wing rally at the capitol. A memo saying violence could break not just on the day of the event, but possibly tomorrow as well.