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Don Lemon Tonight
Setback for White House as FDA Panel Rejects Boosters for General Public, Recommends for Ages 65+ and High-Risk Only; Capitol Braces for DC Rally in Support of January 6 Rioters; Idaho's Struggle to Keep Up with COVID-19 Surge Puts Pressure on Washington State Hospitals; Police Say Three Tourists Attacked NYC Restaurant Hostess Over Vaccine Proof; Family of Gabby Petito's Fiance Tell Police They Have Not Seen Him Since Tuesday. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired September 17, 2021 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Lots of news ahead tonight. An FDA advisory board recommending a booster dose of Pfizer, the Pfizer vaccine, people 65 and older and for those at high risk but saying no to boosters for everyone else.
And we are now just hours away from the far-right rally at the Capitol in support of the January 6th rioters. The head of the Capitol Police force says his apartment is prepared to move in as quickly as possible if violence does break out.
And a big development in the search for Gabby Petito: Gabby Petito is a woman who disappeared while on a cross-country trip with her fiance, Brian Laundrie, who is refusing now to talk to police. And tonight, police speaking with his parents, his parents at the family's request.
Also tonight, Gabby Petito's stepdad was on with Chris Cuomo just a little bit earlier when he learned that Brian Laundrie's family hasn't seen him since Tuesday. Here's his reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM SCHMIDT, STEPFATHER OF GABBY PETITO: Yeah, it's the first time we're hearing it. I don't think I even had a moment to fully digest it yet. Yeah, I don't even know what to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Much more on that breaking news story just ahead. I want to bring in now, though, Mark McKinnon, the former advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain, he is the executive producer of "The Circus," and CNN's senior political analyst Kirsten Powers. Good evening to both of you.
Mark, there is a lot of news that has happened and happening today. The FDA rejecting recommending a booster vaccine for most Americans, which is what President Biden initially laid out. There are the images of thousands of migrants under a bridge at the border. The military admitted that it has mistakenly killed 10 civilians in the Kabul airstrike last month.
France is recalling its ambassador to the U.S. over a national security partnership.
I mean, is it fair to say that today wasn't a great day for President Biden?
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF "THE CIRCUS": Not only not a great day, Don, really a bad month, August, and now that is going into September. For a guy who started off with, you know, a lot of upside, with getting COVID under control and a booming economy, we thought Joe Biden would usher in the roaring twenties or at the very least the boring twenties.
And then we just had all these calamities with Afghanistan, COVID, the economy, fires, floods, and now France. I mean, it's really turning things on its head. The guy that we expected with a steady hand, particularly on the foreign policy side -- look at what's happening with France and with Afghanistan, of course.
So, it's a pretty rough ride right now. This is something that makes us redo our entire show on Fridays.
LEMON: Yeah, right on. I mean, Kirsten, I can see your reaction there. He is talking about the steady hand on foreign policy with the president's domestic agenda.
Progressives are sticking to their guns, saying that they will vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill later this month unless the House and Senate have already passed the massive democratic spending plan. Meanwhile, Manchin and Sinema, they are against that. So, is infrastructure at an impasse?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I think it is too soon to say that it's an impasse. I think this is basically the way things get done. There is give and take. Both sides will stake out their positions and they will often take positions that are a little further out from what they will be willing to negotiate on. They will get in a game of chicken. They will have to be negotiated.
My expectation is that they will be able to negotiate something that maybe is not exactly what everybody wants, but that is kind of the point of these negotiations, is that people have to come to the realization that yes, you fight as hard as you can to get what you want but with the realization that ultimately people are going to have to give and take in order to get something that will be "A," be good for the country, and "B," will give Joe Biden a win, which is something the Democrats are interested in seeing happen.
LEMON: Mm-hmm. Kirsten, then there is this flap about General Mark Milley and his calls with China. CNN is learning that a deputy to Trump, acting defense secretary, talked to his counterpart in China on January 6th, two days before Milley's controversial call. Does this undercut the criticism that Milley was out of line?
POWERS: Yeah. And I think the criticism was farfetched anyway in the first place but this absolutely undermines it. Clearly, you want someone in that position, if there are concerns that are raised, to do something about it, not just to say like, oh, I have no power, there is nothing I can do. He was just doing what irresponsible patriotic American would do in that situation.
LEMON: Yeah. Is it -- did it seem a little overwrought, the criticism, Mark, of Milley?
MCKINNON: Don, I don't think it's overwrought.
MCKINNON: But I think for most of us, it is a measure of comfort to know that we have people in the military and government who are willing to exercise common sense and good judgment under really dire circumstances. So, I am really glad to hear about it.
LEMON: When I say the criticism, maybe overwrought wasn't the word, but that's what I'm saying, considering the alternative.
LEMON: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, listen, you are out with a new episode of "The Circus" this Sunday and your colleague, Jennifer Palmieri, interviews Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and he says this about the Republican Party. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): We need to be the party of the truth that probably takes some explaining. We need to be based on fact. We need to have people that have confidence in what we say.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND HILLARY CLINTON: In your day-to-day life in
Arkansas, do you see evidence that that can work?
HUTCHINSON: I've always say that you're going to have 15 percent that is just hardcore, not going to listen, angry, but you've got a large number of others that when you talk common sense to them, they understand it and they give it. And to me, that's leadership. You just can't give in to just because somebody is loud and angry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Okay. The words sound good, but isn't he contributing to exactly what he is saying? I mean --
MCKINNON: Yeah, Don.
LEMON: He talked about common sense in leadership, but he's also calling the vaccine mandate counterproductive. Go on.
MCKINNON: Exactly, right, and that's what the same goes on to talk about. I mean, there is a real contradiction there. But governors like Hutchinson and -- in Alabama, we are saying that you got to get the vaccines. They were being very proactive about that. But as soon as the vaccine mandate came down, they went ballistic, said you can't do that, that's not going to work well.
If you're going to be the party of science and truth, be the party of science and truth and understand that, you know, any other measures have been working. We have got to get this virus under control. It requires a mandate.
Biden and company didn't want to do that. They said they didn't want to do it. They (INAUDIBLE) they weren't going to do it. Obviously, they had to break the glass this week because Republicans and because of their denial of science are the ones that are creating the problem and compounding the virus.
So, it really is a contradiction and that's the point we will make in the show on Sunday night.
LEMON: I can't wait to watch. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you, Kirsten. Thank you, Mark.
POWERS: Thank you.
LEMON: Okay. Now, the FDA Advisory Committee recommending COVID booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for people 65 and older and for those at high risks but rejecting boosters for everyone else.
I want to bring in now CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Doctor, good evening. Good to see you. FDA voted to recommend COVID vaccines, as I said, 65 and older, those at high-risks. What about the boosters for most Americans? What happened?
JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION PROGRAM AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: We didn't have the data. And one of the things that really struck me about today, and many of us were predicting that the FDA committee would do exactly what they did today, which was approved it for older Americans and maybe health care workers. I think it is worded in a way that will include health care workers.
But what struck me today was really how bad the messaging has been, coming from the administration recently and how badly this administration misses Andy Slavitt.
The president of the United States over the summer came out with a lot of fanfare and told the United States that essentially all Americans over the age of 16 would start getting boosted come this Monday. And whoever or whatever group advised the president to make this big announcement really got way out ahead of their skis and the person that took the big hit was the president of the United States. So I expect there are going to be some repercussions of that.
I think the FDA panel got the science right today. The data from Israel really does show that the group at highest risk of adverse events from breakthrough infections are older Americans, although I think most people think they should have come out in favor of extra doses for people over the age of 60, not 65. So they got that right.
My guess is that as we start to see younger people get past five, six, seven, eight months after their second dose, we will start to see more evidence for boosters in that group.
REINER: Most of the younger people in this country were vaccinated in the late spring. So, there isn't a lot of reason to start vaccinating them now.
LEMON: I had Dr. Peter Hotez on earlier. He believes a compromise should have been 40. I don't know if you've heard that but --
LEMON: -- it should have been at least 40 because he said long haul COVID, right? And the symptoms or the things that happen in the long run like mental decline and so forth. Do you agree with that?
REINER: Well, I think we need more data. One of -- another shortcoming of the last year is that despite massive amounts of infection in the United States, right now averaging about 150,000 cases a day, we just don't have the data to confidently say which groups the vaccine is starting to wane.
We don't have the data, vaccine specific data. We don't have necessarily a lot of specific age data. And for that reason, the FDA panel today relied on a group of Israeli experts because they do have the data.
So I am hoping that over the next few months, the CDC will get their act together and really accrue a solid data set that can inform the FDA committee on exactly where we need to start boosting and which other groups should start to get boosted and when.
LEMON: Well, I'm just looking here because I'm wondering if the administration got ahead of the science and the process, the FDA process, because they are saying that their decision to roll out their booster plan was for transparency and planning. Did they get ahead of it?
REINER: Yes, they definitely got ahead of it. But again, I think they got it right about the elderly. When you look at who is getting sick, you know, 70 percent of the breakthrough infections that are being hospitalized are in patients over the age of 60 or 65. Eight-seven percent of the deaths are occurring in that group. So the older Americans are the group that appeared to be suffering when they get a breakthrough infection. We are seeing plenty of breakthrough infections in younger people, you know, where they are able to pretty much ride it out like a bad cold or a bad flu at home. Time will tell whether waning vaccine efficacy in younger people translates to more severe infections. Right now, the data doesn't support that.
But this is a dynamic process. So, it's very possible and the pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer in particular, basically are expecting to start to see evidence for more severe infections in younger people as vaccine efficacy continues to wane.
So this is far from over. This is not a static process. I bet a month or two from now, we are talking about the rollout of boosters for younger people.
LEMON: Oh, wow. Okay. We will be here to report on it. Thank you, Dr. Reiner. I appreciate it.
REINER: My pleasure.
LEMON: Absolutely. I want to turn now to the far-right rally at the Capitol tomorrow in support of the January 6th rioters. Capitol Police say that the department is prepared for any violence that may break out.
But right-wing media is heavy in the spin cycle tonight, downplaying it as no big deal, just as all these months later, right? They still are saying that the deadly insurrection in January was no big deal. And their audiences, well, they're buying it, eating it right up.
More tonight from CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: It's being built up, January 6th (INAUDIBLE). But who has even heard about it? Do you know anyone who's actually attending this?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pro-Trump media power players are trying to spin away Saturday's rally.
INGRAHAM: The hysteria has reached such a pitch.
STELTER (voice-over): And the former president is telling fans that is is, quote, "a setup," basically advising them not to go, even though the organizer of the so-called "Justice for J6" rally is a former Trump campaign staffer.
MATT BRAYNARD, ORGANIZER OF JUSTICE FOR J6 RALLY, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STAFFER: We've got a largely peaceful crowd. No one is going to be bringing in a weapon who's going to be part of our crowd. I can assure the police that.
STELTER (voice-over): The police are not assured.
UNKNOWN: We don't know how many people to expect.
STELTER (voice-over): It might be a dud, but the pro-rioter rally has already rattled the Capitol and succeeded in stirring up support on the far-right. If the big lie was the Trump won the election that he really lost, then this is the big deny, desperate attempts to deny the violence in the shame of January 6th.
But here's the thing, it is working. A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute outlines how Republican views of the riot are strongly influenced by media diets. Those who trust Fox News or even further right media outlets and who falsely believed the election was stolen are way less likely to blame Trump for the insurrection. They keep hearing stuff like this.
REP. PAT FALLON (R-TX): The BLM Antifa riots for hundreds of riots and we are supposed to worry about January 6th?
STELTER (voice-over): And that was a GOP congressman. So, in other words, the other side is worse, if not downright evil. That's what Trump TV viewers are hearing all the time. The Democrats are sick.
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Let's be very clear, the Democrat Party, the Democrats in Washington are sick and twisted individuals that are destroying this country right now.
STELTER (voice-over): Polling shows the impact of all this. Republicans who rely on networks like NBC, ABC, and CBS are more likely to assign 1/6 blame to Trump, to white supremacist groups, and to right-wing media misinformation. But folks who are fully committee to the far-right media bubble think left-wingers are really at fault. And as for Saturday --
REP. TROY NEHLS (R-TX): I think that the liberal media is going to make it look like a bunch of people up here just trying to cause problems.
STELTER (voice-over): There are fences surrounding our Capitol to protect from another attack. But some GOP lawmakers think the real problem is the media.
(On camera): Now, networks like Fox are barely covering the security precautions leading into Saturday's rally. They're almost acting like the rally is not happening at all. That is why I say the big lie is now being joined by the big deny. Don?
(END VIDEO TAPE)
LEMON: All right. Brian, thank you so much for that.
The COVID surge in one state is forcing hospitals to make excruciating decisions who gets care and who has to wait.
Plus, breaking news in the search for missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito: The family of Brian Laundrie, Gabby's fiance, telling police they haven't seen him since Tuesday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Right now, currently, I don't know where he's at right now. He could be anywhere. I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A huge coronavirus surge in Idaho is putting immense pressure on the state's health care system. Hospitalizations there are so high, medical centers now have to take extreme measures to make sure they are able to treat everyone. And anger is mounting in neighboring Washington State as hospitals there are under pressure to take in patients from Idaho.
Here's CNN's Dan Simon.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNKNOWN: We are being absolutely crushed by COVID.
CHRIS ROTH, PRESIDENT/CEO, ST. LUKE'S HEALTH SYSTEM: I am scared. I'm scared for all of us.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Idaho, health care workers are beginning to triage the worsening COVID-19 crisis.
ROTH: We are going to have to start and are starting ranking how things are being done.
SIMON (voice-over): State officials say hospitals are now all out to ration treatment in order to meet an overwhelming surge of unvaccinated COVID patients.
UNKNOWN: They get the question, if my husband, if my wife, if my son, if my daughter had been vaccinated, would this have happened? And the answer, of course, is no.
SIMON (voice-over): The influx is forcing providers to make unimaginable decisions, determining who gets care and who must wait.
ROTH: While we are currently able to tread water, it's going to decline simply because a caregiver can't get to a patient fast enough.
SIMON (voice-over): Everyone from cancer patients to people on the transplant list could see delays in treatment as resources are diverted to urgent COVID cases.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): The new delta variant is spreading twice as fast.
SIMON (voice-over): Despite a months-long push of public service announcements like these from the state health department.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Protect yourself and others. Get vaccinated today.
SIMON (voice-over): Barely 40 percent of the gem state is fully vaccinated, nearly 14 points less than the national average, a statistic health care providers blame on misinformation.
And in a state where some residents and their children staged a fiery mask protest in March, there is still no statewide mask mandate. There is a strict mask mandate just across the border, in Washington State, and frustration is spilling over.
UNKNOWN: Get the damn shot. We need to be safe.
UNKNOWN: Health care is not an unlimited resource.
SIMON (voice-over): As some of Idaho's patients arrive in Spokane and Seattle area hospitals.
UNKNOWN: People are just counting on Washington hospitals to be available to them. Their own hospitals are overrun. To rely on our state and our state's hospitals is the backup plan. This is really unacceptable.
SIMON (voice-over): The Idaho Hospital Association says some 400 health care workers are out this week due to COVID exposure, worsening a dire situation.
UNKNOWN: I think the only thing that could make things worse is to act like this is not happening. If you went out and got a vaccine today, it's not going to help us for weeks, but it would be a start.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
LEMON: Dan Simon joins me now from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho near the border of Washington State. Dan, good evening to you. Thank you so much for joining.
This reminds me of when I went down to Louisiana to visit the hospital where I was born. Louisiana has an indoor mask mandate but nearby states don't. And the governor told me that he had to decline requests from out of state patients. Do you know if that's happening in Washington?
SIMON: Hi, Don. Deja vu is happening here again and we have a situation where you have so many COVID patients here in Idaho that some of the hospitals are reaching out to other hospitals on the West Coast to see if they will accept some of their critically ill patients. In some cases, they're being told no.
One hospital official in Spokane told CNN that he cannot accept the patients because they are dealing with their own issues. And let's not pretend that we know why this was happening or why this is happening. Less than half of the population here has gotten vaccinated. And so it is very clear why this is occurring and it really harkens back to a period of time early in the pandemic when we saw some hospitals that were like turning their parking garages into triage centers. We are actually seeing that with the biggest hospital here in Coeur d'Alene.
SIMON: The biggest difference is now we have vaccines. Back then, we didn't. Don?
LEMON: Dan Simon, thank you very much for that. Dan, I appreciate it.
Anger over vaccines is getting violent yet again, this time in New York City. Three Texas women arrested for assaulting a restaurant hostess after she asked for proof of vaccination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Around the country, people are still getting out of control over health measures. We have seen it over and over again on airplanes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: No! Hey! Hey! Chill out!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We are seeing it happened at school board meetings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Okay, right here, look, right here. So as you can see, fists are now flying. All of these on live television. Fists are flying. Unbelievable, what we are seeing here today, unfold live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And on Thursday in New York City where police arrested three women from Texas for allegedly assaulting a 24-year-old restaurant hostess, who is asking for proof of vaccination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Oh! (bleep). UNKNOWN: Oh, my God! (bleep).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: CNN can't confirm from the video who is making the attacks but the police report says that the hostess received several bruises and scratches to her face, chest, and arms. Police say all three women have been charged with assault and criminal mischief. CNN has not been able to reach their attorneys.
Joining me now to discuss is Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. It is really disgusting. Madam President, thank you for joining. I really appreciate it.
GALE BREWER, MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT: Thank you.
LEMON: This video was given to your office by a patron who saw this happened at Carmine on the upper west side of Manhattan. What did you think when you saw these women attacking this hostess?
BREWER: Well, not only did I see the video, but also I have been to the restaurant today. It's a wonderful restaurant. I was shocked because here, we, in New York City have a very strong mandate that if you are entering indoors, you have to show your vaccination proof and ID. If you don't have that, it is understandable.
And guess what? At Carmine, right there, there is a beautiful, outdoor venue which people take advantage of. So that could have been the answer. I don't know because it is a very swift moving video. I assume it is not the entire situation, an incident, but it looked pretty awful to me. It became nationally known.
And of course, in the city of New York, where we're trying to keep patrons safe, healthy and also of course all of the staff at the restaurants, it sent a message of fear because these hostesses and frontline restaurants staff have to do this. It's the law. You have to ask for some kind of proof of vaccination or some kind of ID. I don't know what it is like elsewhere in the country. That's the law.
LEMON: In New York City, we are doing the right thing. And if you don't want to do it, don't go out to eat. I'm saying this. The Borough president is not saying that. Or you can -- there is another alternative. You can eat outdoors. But if you want to eat inside of a restaurant --
LEMON: -- if you want to be in a venue indoors, you have to show that you are vaccinated. It is the law. You can't attack people. Take that back to some place where you can run free and it's a Wild West (ph) (bleep) not here. Is there anything being done to help this young woman who is attacked? What consequences will these three women face?
BREWER: First of all, the restaurant is making sure that the young woman is going to be healthy in the future. They issued two things. Number one, I called the tourism agency, NYC & Company, and the mayor's office today to say, you need to tell tourism, if that's what it is, people from other parts of the country, that in New York City, we have a law, which is vaccination proof and identification to get inside a venue.
Number two, the individuals return to court on October 5th. Right now, there is a desk appearance ticket. That's what they've been issued. They will be back then. But I do think that we have to have consequences after we find out the facts. Obviously, that is the purpose of a hearing on October 5th. But, if in fact, what we saw on the video is what happened, again, facts matter.
BREWER: There should be consequences.
LEMON: And not a slap on the wrist, we hope.
BREWER: We hope. I have to say that I want to give the possibility that this could happen often if in fact we don't have consequences and if in fact people don't hear loud and clear --
LEMON: The restaurants are afraid. The owners and the managers of restaurants, they are afraid that it is going to happen again.
BREWER: They are. In fact, they are very concerned for their staff. They aren't cops. They aren't security. They are simply hostesses and frontline restaurant workers who are following the law so that we can all be safe in the city of New York. Nobody should be pushed around. Nobody should be dealing with this incident that we saw today.
LEMON: Listen, I want to thank you. I just want to say, if anybody is -- if you're planning on coming to New York and you're watching this, these restaurants now, some of them, Carmine at least, Carmine is saying that they are hiring private security for their hostess booth for the weekend after this assault. The NYC Hospitality Alliance is calling for increased penalties for assaulting restaurant employees. So, I hope that they get it.
Thank you, madam Borough president. I appreciate you joining us. Have a good weekend and stay safe.
BREWER: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you.
So, authorities are still on the lookout. They are still looking for any sign of missing 22-year-old Gaby Petito as the FBI asks the public for tips. And police in Florida say they have no idea where her fiance is now either.
LEMON: Okay, so, breaking news in the search for Gabby Petito to tell you about. Gabby Petito disappeared last month while on a cross- country trip with her fiance, Brian Laundrie, who is refusing to speak to investigators.
Tonight, police in North Port, Florida is speaking to his parents at their home at the family's request. Police is saying Brian Laundrie was not present. His family says they haven't seen him since Tuesday.
More on the desperate search for Gabby Petito from CNN's Athena Jones.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the search for Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito, missing for weeks, continues in Wyoming --
UNKNOWN: What I need from everybody here is help.
JONES (voice-over): And Petito's family pleads with her fiance, Brian Laundrie, to tell them where he last saw Gabby. Laundrie's sister telling ABC --
CASSIE LAUNDRIE, SISTER OF MISSING WOMAN'S FIANCE: Me and my family want Gabby to be found safe. She's like a sister and my children love her. All I want is for her to come home safe and sound and this to be just a big misunderstanding.
JONES (voice-over): Gabby Petito's father wants more from her.
JOSEPH PETITO, FATHER OF MISSING WOMAN: She is a mother. She has got kids. So, I am hoping that the police and the banking (ph) and the community and the, you know, the entire damn planet knock some sense into her.
JONES (voice-over): Petito and Laundrie had been traveling cross- country for months in her white 2012 Ford Transit van.
GABBY PETITO, MISSING WOMAN: It's only 10 o'clock in the morning but it rained all afternoon yesterday.
JONES (voice-over): They documented their journey on social media, including YouTube.
PETITO: All the chocolate melted!
UNKNOWN: It's so melted, I know. It's a river of chocolate. Be cautious.
PETITO: You can't keep chocolate in Utah. Not in July.
JONES (voice-over): Petito's family last heard from her in late August. They believe she was last in the Grand Teton Yellowstone area of Wyoming. According to a lawyer for the family, Petito spoke with her mother, August 24th on Face Time, saying she was leaving Utah and heading to the Teton.
CNN affiliate KSTU reported Petito was last seen checking out of Fairfield Inn and Suites in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 24th. The family's lawyer says Petito and her mom exchanged multiple texts on August 25th and August 27th. The last text from Gabby was on August 30th. But her family doubt she wrote it. It read no service in Yosemite. The family hasn't said why they are convinced Gabby didn't send it or who they believe did.
Local police found Petito's van and her fiance, Brian, at the home they shared with his family in North Port, Florida. florida. He returned there alone on September 1st without reporting her missing. Laundrie, officials say, is not cooperating with police. Petito's family reported her missing on September 11th.
UNKNOWN: We have never spoken a word with Brian.
JONES (voice-over): Weeks earlier, on August 12th, police Moab City, Utah were called to a possible disorderly conduct situation, captured in this body camera video.
UNKNOWN: What's going on (INAUDIBLE) crying?
PETITO: I've been crying (ph). We've been fighting this morning. Some personal issues. He won't let me in the car.
JONES (voice-over): Petito described in the police report as confused and emotional and manic.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Don't text each other tonight.
JONES (voice-over): 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.
North Port police say they don't know what, if anything, the incident had to do with Petito's disappearance. A lawyer for the Laundrie family saying earlier this week, they would not be commenting. Petito's stepfather, who was in Wyoming to help look for her, begging Brian Laundrie to help.
SCHMIDT: This is the love of your life. If that is true, then do the right thing.
SCHMIDT: You need to do it now. Stop waiting.
JONES: At this point, multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating Gabby Petito's disappearance, including several FBI field offices.
Meanwhile, North Port, Florida police are asking anyone who interacted with or saw Brian or Gabby of their van to get in touch. Don?
(END VIDEO TAPE) LEMON: Athena Jones, thank you very much.
We have some new information just coming in now on Gabby's fiance, Brian Laundrie. We'll get to it right after this break.
LEMON: Okay. So we are back now with our breaking news, the desperate search for Gabby Petito. Police in North Port, Florida is speaking tonight to the parents of her fiance, Brian Laundrie, at their home. His family says that they haven't seen him since Tuesday. And now, there are new details just coming out right now.
So, I want to bring in now the public information officer for the North Port Police in Florida and that is Josh Taylor. Josh, thank you so much for joining. We appreciate it. So, you have new information tonight. What can you tell us?
JOSH TAYLOR, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, NORTH PORT, FLORIDA POLICE: Right. So, you know, all week, we've been asking Brian's family for information, for Brian for information. And now, this evening, we were called by his family who now informs us and says that they have not seen Brian since Tuesday and don't know where he is and are filing their own missing-person report.
LEMON: Okay. So, that -- was that the reason they wanted to speak to you? Because before when we spoke to your chief last night, he said that, you know, the family hadn't spoken. The attorney -- um -- you know, that they were communicating through an attorney but nothing from the family. So, was that the reason that they were available tonight is because they wanted to report him missing?
TAYLOR: That's correct. This is our first in-depth conversation with the -- with the family at all.
LEMON: Okay. Um, can you tell us anything about the circumstances of the last time the family saw him?
TAYLOR: They just said that -- that he left. He had a backpack on. Um, they expected him that he was going on a local hike and that he would be returning. Of course, that was Tuesday. It's now Friday. They had not heard from him. You know, you can make something of it, Don, would be great because it is certainly another twist in this story.
LEMON: Do you feel they should have come forward sooner, considering what's happened now?
TAYLOR: Considering that we've been pleading and begging for information about Gabby, our focus has been on finding Gabby.
TAYLOR: -- and bringing her home and trying to get information from him certainly because we believe he has some key information on where she may be. But again, our focus has been on finding her. You know, the fact that we're now getting told, four days later, that he's been gone certainly isn't helpful.
LEMON: Yeah. So, listen. Before that, I just want to -- if you are just tuning in, there is new information now about Brian Laundrie. Brian Laundrie is still a person of interest right now, not a suspect, am I right, Mr. Taylor?
TAYLOR: Yeah, that's correct. You know, we have seen some comments about why didn't you know exactly where he was? We're not working on a criminal investigation. We are working on a missing-person investigation and we are working alongside, you know, the FBI and multiple jurisdictions. He was free to go and do what he wanted out there in the community. You know, certainly, finding out three, four days later that -- that he's been gone is interesting, unfortunately.
LEMON: There is a number up on the screen. It says 1-800-call-FBI. That's because you are working with the FBI now. And so you are looking for him. He is a missing person now, correct?
TAYLOR: There is a missing-person report filed by family for him.
LEMON: So he is described white male, 5'8", 160 pounds, brown eyes, short brown hair, trimmed facial hair, last seen wearing a hiking bag with a wrist strap or you said a backpack.
Um, listen -- and in the -- the information that you put out, you said we understand the community's frustration. We are frustrated, too. For six days, the North Port Police Department and the FBI have been pleading with the family to contact investigators regarding Brian -- Brian's fiancee, Gabby Petito.
Friday is the first time that they have spoken with investigators in detail. It is so important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime. We are not currently working a crime investigation. We are now working a multiple missing-person investigation.
I mean, look, you are the law enforcement expert, Josh Taylor. This is odd.
TAYLOR: We've said it's odd from the beginning. We know Brian was back here for 10 days and did not report anything. It wasn't until his family who grew concerned and reported it to law enforcement. And then, you know, we then learned the fact that he had been here in this community for 10 days.
LEMON: I really do have to run but I have to ask you, did they take anything from the house, any evidence? Can you tell us about that?
TAYLOR: Don, I really can't honestly answer that. This -- they have returned here back just in the last hour.
TAYLOR: So, we can work on that.
LEMON: Thank you, Josh Taylor. I appreciate it. We will follow up.
And thank you, everyone, for watching. Before we go, I want to tell you about our special "Champions for Change" series happening all next week on CNN, stories that spotlight everyday people who may not make headlines but still inspire others. Quick preview now.
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