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Don Lemon Tonight
Democrats Fight Over Infrastructure Bill; Sen. McConnell With New Bill; FDA Approves A Booster Shot; Vaccine And Mask Mandates Creates Division; Manhunt For Brian Laundrie Continues; FBI Taking All Information About Laundrie. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired September 22, 2021 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): All right. Forget about what the intent of the law is. What was the effect? You never forget about the intent.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Intent. Exactly.
CUOMO: -- of the law when analyzing whether it's discriminatory nature.
CUOMO: Look, he knows these things. What bothers me about these guys, I'm never going to call him stupid, he's not stupid. You know, that's the game of the cheap. If I don't agree with you, you're dumb.
LEMON: But that was a cell phone. Not that line of questioning was stupid, doesn't mean that he is a stupid person. But go on.
CUOMO: Right, but he's doing it. It's gratuitous.
CUOMO: See, because what he is playing on is the obvious -- the optic of it. What's wrong with showing an I.D., everybody has an I.D., isn't it? What's wrong with that? Should people know who you are?
LEMON: Well, he should know, he showed one to go to Cancun, but go on.
CUOMO: That's right. That's right.
LEMON: To get on that plane.
CUOMO: And you know, what he is leaving out is of course the pernicious part.
CUOMO: Which is, if you ask somebody hey, do you think you should have to show an I.D. and prove who you are when you vote? Well, yes. That sounds pretty good. I mean, people should know who you are. But you're not discussing what it takes to get that I.D.
CUOMO: And who has them and who doesn't, --
LEMON: Which is what (Inaudible) said.
CUOMO: -- and why they don't have them.
CUOMO: Because that is where the truth lies. But he's not about the truth.
LEMON: I try to explain that to people all the time. And what is accepted as an identification card. And I get -- as I.D. And I'm glad he said that. Because you know, you can't if you have license to carry, that card, you get -- you can do it. But if you're a student, your I.D. doesn't work. I mean, you know, or an EBT card.
CUOMO: Public assistance.
LEMON: Public assistance.
CUOMO: Yes, I wonder who has public assistance cards.
LEMON: Well, you know who has public assistance cards? Poor people.
CUOMO: White and black.
LEMON: Right. White and black. And I think you have to look as you said into the intent, and you have to do your research. Because people say that all the time. Why shouldn't you have to show an I.D." And I say, do your research and figure out what kinds of people don't historically have I.D.s or who tend to have -- tend not to have I.D.s as to the rest of the population.
And so, you got to look at all of those things and not just at the surface as you said. Ask a question or you know, some summary question like, my gosh, yes, of course. Everyone is going to say yes until you actually get down to the nitty-gritty and they know exactly what they're doing.
CUOMO: That's right.
LEMON: And yes, is it racist? It is racist.
CUOMO: You know who doesn't know what they're doing? The Democrats.
CUOMO: Because when you know that that's what you're up against that they are willing to do anything to get power back and you're going to fight with each other?
And now look, I know people on the left will say, stop. Stop saying the Democrats are fighting with each other. No, they're not, it's just Joe Manchin. That's just not true. OK? Biden met with a whole bunch of House members today.
LEMON: Manchin and Sinema. Yes.
CUOMO: You just had a House member say half the progressives won't vote for the infrastructure bill on Monday if it's not with the reconciliation bill. And it won't be.
CUOMO: They have real problems. They've got to get it straight or they're going to lose.
LEMON: I agree with you on the larger part again as we said. But also, when you dig deeper into it what the progressives' agenda, not all of it is bad.
CUOMO: I'm not saying any of it is bad.
CUOMO: I'm saying they're not going to get both bills.
LEMON: But you get to a certain point where your -- where I think that what progressives are saying, and again, I'm not a politician here, but I think what they're saying is enough is enough. We've been asking for these things. We've been asking for -- to get the voting laws, to fix the voting laws, to get those on the books. We've been asking to help kids, --
LEMON: -- and to help families.
CUOMO: And Biden has been asking for it.
CUOMO: he's with them.
LEMON: To help families with child care.
CUOMO: That 3.5 trillion is his number.
LEMON: And all of those things. And you're not going to -- we keep compromising and we keep compromising. Well, the whole idea of politics is about a compromise. So, I understand what you're saying.
CUOMO: Fifty percent of something is better than?
LEMON: Than zero, but I think at this point they've got to put up a strong fight and a strong resistance and say, hey, look, this is what we want. I think at the end of the day, I think there will be some relenting, a lot of relenting from all parties involved. But I think at this point even the progressives have to hold firm to get as much of what they want as possible, and it's the same thing with those who are more conservative in the Democratic Party.
They have to do it and with the Republicans. Everybody has to say, OK, at this point this is what I want, and I'm not going to back down. And then you know, when it gets to that point, to the finish line, the closer they get, I think that a lot of people will be compromising. That's how I think. That's what I think.
CUOMO: Well, first of all, we should want that, period.
CUOMO: Because deals are progress. And then the nature of the deal would become the basis of the next election.
CUOMO: But we should have deals because inaction is death.
LEMON: Yes. Well, we need a lot of stuff. I have got to --
CUOMO: Well said, D. Lemon, that's why I love you.
LEMON: Thank you. You more. I'll talk to you soon.
This is Don Lemon Tonight.
And, OK, so this is a question for you right off the bat here. Is Joe Biden going to pull it off? Is he? Is he? Can he get his warring party singing from the same page of the hymn book to push his agenda across the finish line? Can he? There may never be a better time because Democrats right now have the House. They have the Senate. They have the White House.
[22:04:55] Now after everything this country has been through, everything we endured for the past four years. This is their chance to get their act together. This is their chance to hammer out a deal with a key vote on infrastructure just days away.
President Biden in meetings all day with Democratic leaders, conservatives, conservative Democrats and progressives. The message here, don't take my agenda. Joe Manchin says the president told them please just work on it. Give me a number and tell me what you can live with and what you can't.
Bernie Sanders says, quote, "this is a slow and torturous process when you have 50 people and no votes to spare." And going on to say that he thinks at the end of the day that they're going to work it out.
That, with a battle rages over what should be a slam dunk. And that is the vote to raise the debt ceiling. It should be a slam dunk, I should say. It should be a slam dunk. It should be a moment of bipartisan unity.
The treasury secretary is warning of economic catastrophe. And anxious Democrats are floating a plan B. Raise the debt limit themselves on a party line vote.
Now that is happening as Mitch McConnell putting his hypocrisy on full display. Shocking. Mitch McConnell is refusing to vote for something that he has voted for 32 times in the past. That's according to the Washington Post.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I think the debt ceiling legislation is a time that brings us all together.
In the case of the debt limit, we need to act quickly given the new uncertainty from the large costs of storm recovery.
Secretary of the Treasury, Senator Schumer and I had a good meeting this morning in my office to discuss the raising of the debt ceiling, which we all know will need to be done sometime in the next month or so, and we're going to be looking for a way forward to do that together to make sure America continues to never, ever default.
A time that we got serious on a bipartisan basis to try to work this out and not have the kind of chaos that goes along with our inability to come together on this kind of important issues.
You may or may not recall I said that during the years when I was the leader of the minority in the Senate. I don't think there's any chance we'll allow the country to default.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Basically, the same people every time, did you notice that? Gee, what happened to all those calls for bipartisanship? What happened to not allowing the country to default? That was then. This is now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: The debt ceiling will be raised as it always should be, but it will be raised by the Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): There's always the videotape. So, big picture here, what does all this say about the president's agenda really? He ran on bipartisanship but he is running into strong headwinds from his own party.
Now the fact is that Joe Biden has brought things back before. He has. But if Democrats can't get together and sort all this out, how are they going to deal with all the other challenges we face? What does it say about the other things that he wants to get done? As I just discussed with Chris, what about voting rights? Remember the president told me this in our CNN town hall, this was over the summer.
LEMON: This is important for people who look like me, my grandmother would sit around when I was a kid, fifth grade, --
LEMON: -- had a fifth-grade education. I learned that she couldn't read when I was doing my homework. She would tell me stories about people asking her to count the number of jelly beans in the jar --
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Yes.
LEMON: -- or the soap. So why is protecting the filibuster, is that more important than protecting voting rights? Especially for people who fought and died for that?
BIDEN: It's not. I want to see the United States Congress, the United States Senate pass S1 and S4, the John Lewis Act and get it on my desk so I can sign it.
LEMON: And we are still waiting. That as there's news on COVID boosters tonight, the FDA granting emergency use authorization for a Pfizer booster dose in people 65 and older and those at high risk. A rare bit of good news as the pandemic of the unvaccinated is raging in hot spots across the country.
Deaths from COVID have exploded over the past few months. Sixty days ago, pay attention to this, we were losing 272 Americans each day. Right around the time that Texas Governor Greg Abbott refused to impose a mask mandate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): It would be inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask, but also, what we know, Chris, is this, and that is everyone watching this show, everyone in the state of Texas as well as the United States, they know exactly what the standards are, what practices they want to adopt to help protect themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Forty days ago, we were up to 535 deaths per day, and this kind of thing was happening at school board meetings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Your children and your children's children will be subjugated. They will be asked how many vaccines have you had? Have you been a good little Nazi? Hail Fauci! Hail Fauci! Hail Fauci!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Thirty days ago, 1,000 deaths per day, and this was the line for monoclonal antibody treatments in Tampa. Ten days ago, 1,655 deaths per day, right around the time that the president announced new vaccine mandates for workers at companies with 100 or more employees, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You should not lose your job just because Joe Biden is having this hissy fit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Actually, you should not lose your life because irresponsible people are playing politics. And now we are at 2,031 deaths every day. So, we've gone from 60 days ago, 272 American deaths, 40 days ago, 535 deaths per day, 30 days ago, 1,000 deaths per day. Ten days ago, 1,655, and now we're at 2,031 deaths per day. Horrifying.
In the space of 60 days we've gone from some 200 deaths a day to over 2,000. A University of Washington model forecasts nearly 100,000 more Americans will die before the end of the year.
And in the face of all of that, all of those completely unnecessary deaths, the vast majority in unvaccinated people, the first national security adviser for the former president of the United States says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Somebody sent me a thing this morning where they're talking about putting the vaccine into salad dressing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Can we -- I want you to hear that. Please play that again for me. Please.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLYNN: Somebody sent me a thing this morning where they were talking about putting the vaccine into salad dressing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): OK. So, you heard him. That was Michael Flynn spreading the ridiculous lie this some unnamed somebody is talking about putting the vaccine in salad dressing, you know, the cousin of a cousin of somewhere friend.
It's actually un-American to do that, spreading absurd conspiracy theories while people are dying, dying because they believe garbage like that. So that brings us to tonight and the latest in the front on the mask wars. Palm Beach County, Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: COVID is not about health because more than 99 percent of us have actually failed to die from this thing. It's being used by global elites and our own government to destroy the United States of America because we're based on individual liberty and God, and that is in the way of the new world order of Marxism.
UNKNOWN: More and more people are waking up because you can't keep your own lie in check, flip-flops, flip-flops, we are the storm, and we are here already, and when this whole thing crumbles to the ground, we will be here to hold you accountable for your crimes against humanity, and we will have our freedoms once again. You go to prison.
UNKNOWN: You treat the parents of these children as domestic terrorists using our men in blue against us. Your power-hungry dictatorship has gotten out of control. This is no longer about our safety. It is about control.
UNKNOWN: This report reads like a Nazi Germany experiment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): I mean you saw it. I wonder if people see themselves in these videos and then -- who knows. Did someone say dictatorship? Did they not live through the last administration? I've said it before, the lies and misinformation killing us, just as
surely as the virus. So back to the question that I asked at the top of this broadcast, is Joe Biden going to pull it off? He says failure is not an option. But can he actually get all of this done?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has always been open to negotiations and discussions and knew that he was not going to be alone able to wave a magic wand and pass a proposal, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): So, President Biden holding three meetings with Democrats today spending five-plus hours trying to unify the party to get his agenda passed. But will the party in control of both Houses of Congress and the White House hold themselves hostage to their own divisions?
Joining me now, Matthew Dowd, the former chief strategist for President George W. Bush.
Matthew, good evening to you.
Democrats have the possibility of delivering a massive infrastructure and social program fulfilling Biden's promises and giving themselves something to campaign on come 2020 and beyond, and yet the whole thing could fall apart. How does this happen?
MATTHEW DOWD, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, it's -- I guess I should say I'm never surprised at politics, but I always seem to be constantly surprised these days. I mean, it happens when people are, one, look at the long-term and the long-term gain of the common good in the country, they don't look at it that way and they have some sort of short-term political considerations of this.
I actually think in this case the so-called moderates in the House and the Senate are making a huge miscalculation in this because the more successful Joe Biden is, the more apt they're going to be to win their election. So, the more they can help Joe Biden get his programs through, the more apt it's going to help them.
The idea that they're going to somehow undercut Joe Biden and that's going to help them with voters in their state, is just, it never pans out. And so, if I were giving them advice, is they're going to rise or fall on how -- at the federal level, it's federal level, at how well Joe Biden does, what he delivers to the American public and where he stands. And the best way to do that is deliver the package that he's presented that the majority of American people in every poll want. LEMON: OK, so, are you speaking directly there to the Sinemas and the
Manchins of the world? Because they're going to say, well, that doesn't play in my district.
DOWD: I'm speaking -- I'm speaking to the Sinemas -- I'm speaking to the Sinemas and the Manchins of the world, and I'm speaking to those House members, whatever, there are seven or eight who have raised objections to this. Because if you really look at it, Joe Biden -- if they undercut Joe Biden and Joe Biden's numbers drop, it makes it hard on every Democrat, especially the moderates.
The first people to lose in line in an election when Joe Biden's numbers fall and he doesn't fulfill his promises isn't the progressives. It's the first people to fall are those people in swing states or swing districts and those are the people who are objecting to this when in reality they are the most vulnerable if Joe Biden doesn't succeed. That's why it doesn't make --
LEMON: Why don't they know that, Matthew?
DOWD: First of all, it doesn't make sense. Every single election when you look at that, every time somebody says I can't compromise, I live in a moderate district, I'm going to go against what my president, what the president says, and this, I'm not going to this. Every time they do that, they've lost. And every time those people realize that as the president goes so goes the federal office, they've won.
Look at almost every single election. The ability to distinguish yourself by saying I'm against the president and that's why I'm doing this and the president suffers doesn't happen. So, I don't know what example they're looking from. But this is a constant thing in Washington, I'm some guy is going to do this and I'm going to rise and the president will fall and everything's going to be OK. It never happens that way.
LEMON: Interesting perspective there. We saw the bipartisan deal on policing fall apart today as well. Republicans are largely against voting rights. Is this just more evidence that Democrats need to go at it alone and drop the filibuster?
DOWD: Well, you know, Don, you and I have had this conversation before. Bipartisanship, which I'm all for and I know you're for in any normal circumstance, we're not in a normal circumstance. And bipartisanship only works, only works as a process to an end.
And in order to have bipartisanship, you have to have trust that the other people accept truth and trust that they're willing to work in the benefit of all Americans, not just a select few. And when you have a situation where the Republicans don't believe in truth, don't believe in science, and don't believe in the common good, you have no partner you can deal with, and so when you have no partner as it is in life, you have to go it alone. And in my view, the days of sort of counting on like the Republicans to go along with some bipartisan agreement in this kind of things is gone, so go it alone. When you don't have a partner you can trust, you need to walk out the door on your own.
LEMON: I want to ask you a yes or no question, but you know, that's dangerous to ask an analyst or a consultant or contributor because you have to give --
DOWD: I'll give you a yes --
DOWD: I'll give you a yes or no answer.
LEMON: OK. So, if Republicans had the same control, Democrats do right now, would they have dropped the filibuster to get their agenda passed? Would they, you know, be in -- would they be more ruthless and be in lockstep?
DOWD: In a heartbeat.
LEMON: OK. That wasn't yes or no.
DOWD: How's that?
LEMON: That was close enough.
DOWD: It was -- it was -- (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: It's obvious. Go on.
DOWD: In a heartbeat. That's three words.
LEMON: That's three words, yes.
DOWD: Only three words.
LEMON: Go on. Go on, why do you -- why do you believe that?
DOWD: Because they've demonstrated. Mitch McConnell and the Republicans have demonstrated that they'll herd -- they'll herd their cats all in a row and do whatever it takes. They believe in doing whatever it takes to win. Democrats are still playing by an old set of rules that we're going to somehow keep the norms.
Republicans have abandoned those. Democrats can act ethical and can legal, but they need to give up on the old days that they can somehow do this and succeed. They need to absolutely go it alone when the American public wants --
DOWD: -- action on all of these, especially voting rights.
LEMON: Yes. The norms are gone. You're absolutely right.
DOWD: The norms are gone.
LEMON: And look at the example of what's happening with the debt ceiling. I mean, look how many times Senator McConnell voted to raise the debt ceiling, now he's saying yes, the debt ceiling will be raised but it will be the Democrats who is doing it and he doesn't want to raise it.
McConnell has introduced his own bill to fund the government, but not to raise the debt ceiling despite him in favor of it before. He's also blasting Biden's handling of the border.
DOWD: Well, and --
LEMON: I mean, he certainly doesn't mind turning the screws.
DOWD: I mean, and look what they did just reflect back all along and go on Merrick Garland. I mean, they wouldn't allow Merrick Garland so we ended up, the Democrats ended up having, you know, two or three Supreme Court nominees in the case of this. Because Mitch McConnell just abandoned it all and did what it did anyway. And the Democrats in many ways allowed that to happen and didn't fight back in a strong enough way.
So, we've already seen that McCarthy and McConnell will do anything for power sake and anything to achieve their ends. Anything. Democrats, I'm not saying they'd do anything, but they can play -- they can follow with the law and follow ethics and get something done, and the filibuster is not part of the law and is not part of the Constitution.
LEMON: Yes. A source tells CNN that former President George W. Bush is going to hold a fund-raising event for Wyoming GOP Representative Liz Cheney. It was -- it was two weeks ago that President Bush made these remarks on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Malign and force seems at work in our common life. That turns every disagreement into an argument and every argument into a clash of cultures. So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear, and resentment. That leaves us worried about our nation and our future together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Look, as you very well know he has made an effort to stay out of politics and really to stay out of criticizing, you know, former presidents or even the current president. He is very publicly putting himself in the opposition to former President Trump. Why is he more forcefully coming out now? And by the way, former President Trump is trashing him tonight in one of his pathetic statements, which I won't read.
DOWD: So, again, as you know full well, I had a major break in the front page of the New York Times with President Bush over the war and many other things. I had a major break, but I think he's tried to play by the old rules, which is George Bush has said I leave office, I'm not going to comment on this.
But I think my impression and having talked to people around him, very people close to him, he's tired of this. He's tired of how it's conducted. He's tired -- he was very upset after January 6th. He's watched the Republican Party that he knew and was a part of and his father was a part of basically disappear.
So, I think he's beginning to sort of finally engage in this. And the other part about that, I think is funny about his speech, is he didn't mention Donald Trump, and he didn't mention the Republicans but all of them took offense at it. All of them thought he was talking about them, which is so telling about what they think about themselves. So, when he mentioned all these awful things going on, they all took it personally.
LEMON: How do we say in the south, a hit dog will holler.
DOWD: Yes. The hit dog -- the hit dog hollers the loudest.
LEMON: There you go. Thank you, Matthew Dowd. I appreciate it.
DOWD: Take care, Don.
LEMON: So where is Gabby Petito's fiance? Underwater divers now involved in a search for Brian Laundrie. The latest on the investigation into Gabby Petito's death. That's next.
LEMON (on camera): A police dive team now part of the search for Brian Laundrie at a giant swampy nature preserve in Florida. He is the fiance of Gabby Petito whose remains were discovered in Wyoming this weekend. A coroner ruling her death a homicide.
Laundrie's parents say that he has been missing for more than a week.
Now I want to bring in now Chris Swecker, the former FBI assistant director for the criminal investigative decision, and CNN law enforcement analyst, Charles Ramsey, the former Washington, D.C. police chief.
Thank you, both, for joining. Good evening.
Chris, let's start with you. Today authorities brought in a team of highly trained underwater specialists to search for Brian Laundrie in that Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida. Let's put up some video now of the search. This is a search area now,
this is rugged swamp with alligators, poisonous snakes. Tell me about the challenges in searching a location like this and also for him to be able to live there, but just for searching it.
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: Yes, Don, physical searches like that in that type of remote area present all kinds of problems. I mean, it's marshy area. It's thick with foliage. It's very hard to get into certain spots so you can't be confident that you've searched every single part of the area. I don't know if you can set up a traditional perimeter around your search area because of all the water.
But I really don't think that they feel he's in the water. They said this was part of the overall search process. And I don't disbelieve then on that. I think they're simply ruling out all possibilities here.
LEMON: So Laundrie, he's been described as an experienced camper. Do you believe he's still out there in that vast expanse of swampland? Or do you think that this is just to rule that out?
SWECKER: I don't think he's an experienced outdoorsman. I think there's a big difference. I was part of the search for Eric Rudolph, he was an experienced outdoorsman. He hit in the same area, general area for almost five years. I don't think Brian Laundrie is in that category whatsoever. I don't think he has the means. I don't think he has the sophistication to elude a nationwide manhunt, let alone a manhunt in that area there.
LEMON: Chief Ramsey, a witness told CNN today that she and her boyfriend saw Brian and Gabby at a restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming, causing a commotion. Petito was in tears, Laundrie was visibly angry according to her. Now this was one of the last sightings of Petito before her disappearance. Does it give investigators any insight, do you think?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, if you looked at social media you would think that they had a storybook romance going on, on their cross-country trip, but obviously that wasn't the case.
We do have video both from the police that responded to a domestic dispute that really showed us a whole different side of things. So, it does, it really does change the picture a little bit. We know now that they did have some problems. They did have some issues. It's also alleged that he physically struck her. One witness said that he saw them arguing on the street and so forth.
So, it does, I mean, every little bit helps in an investigation like this, but right now the focus has to be on trying to locate him, dead or alive. You try everything you can to try to locate him.
LEMON: You know, Chris, police have and the FBI have repeatedly pleaded with the public to provide information here. Internet sleuths have been posting video, alleged sightings of Brian, tips on social media. Some are helpful and they should be shared with authorities while others, you know, as always, right, they're completely bogus.
Does all of this help or hinder the investigation? I would imagine even the bogus things coming in they're willing to sift through those because you never know where the real clue is going to come from.
SWECKER: Yes, I think you're right, Don. They have to balance out, you know, whenever you open it up to the public like this, you're going to get -- you're going to go down rabbit holes. You're going to get extraneous information, people that just want to be involve in some way.
But you're also going to get that nugget in there somewhere. And if you got enough manpower to search through it and corroborate the information that comes in, you know, it is a great force multiplier, and I think the internet is a game changer here.
There are quite a few internet sleuths out there that are able to do internet dark web, you know, and pretty broad internet searches that dredge up information that law enforcement may miss. So, they're right to go after the public in a case like this. I think they're going to get -- they are getting leads and have gotten quite a few good leads out of it.
LEMON: Yes. Well, here's one, speaking of from social media. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA SCHULTZ, CLAIMS SHE SAW LAUNDRIE & VAN NEAR WHERE PETITO'S BODY WAS FOUND: So, I saw Brian Laundrie parking his van August 26th at Sprite Creek. So, I already reported to the FBI what I had seen, so I -- and I wasn't 100 percent sure but now that there's dash cam footage of the van where I saw it. I'm 100 percent certain that I did see him parking his van, and he was very kind of awkward and confused and it was just him.
There was no Gabby, but that's only because as a van lifer, I was checking out their van and I was checking out to see if it was a couple or a solo dude. So, it was a solo dude as far as I could see unless she was in the back somewhere. But when I pulled up he was driving still and hadn't yet pulled over. So, and I was like hey, what are you going to do? Are you going to get over? Are you going to let me pass? Because it's only one car width of a road.
And he kind of pulled over like halfway and made me drive out of the road to go around him. So, I thought it was really weird. The van was there for several days and nights and it did not get booted.
The weirdest part about it was, was that there was no indication that there was anybody actually at the van. Usually a small van people have their doors open, they're outside, they have a hammock, something, but we didn't see any signs of actual life at the van.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Interesting. That was Jessica Schultz who spoke to San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle posted that to TikTok. And we should note that she has declined to comment to CNN, and the FBI tells us that it won't comment on the report in the Chronicle citing privacy. But can we unpack -- can you just unpack what -- what we mean for -- what this means for the time line here? Chris?
SWECKER: Yes, I mean, that -- that -- I will point out they would not have found the body without a tip from the public, so it puts him in the area where her body was found in a very critical time frame in the 20 -- August 26th, 27th time range. She was last heard from on about the 25th, I believe, so she's -- he's alone at the time. It is the van, so it does establish a very good time line for the investigators to work with.
LEMON: Chief, I have to ask you about this because this case has really riveted the country. Lots of coverage, lots of interest, right? Social media, everywhere. It is worth a reminder, though, that lots of women and children of color go missing all the time. We don't always hear as much about them. So, talk to us about that, and how this really affects law enforcement resources.
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, it's true. I mean, you have a lot of missing persons, and not all of them get the kind of attention that this one did. There's no question about that. You know, we can all make our own assumptions as to why that is. But this is one that really caught the attention of people for whatever reason, and as a result of that, it's really led to an awful lot of information flowing in, which puts an awful lot of stress on a department because you do have a lot of information.
You want the information, don't get me wrong, but then it takes a lot of people to be able to sort through it in a timely fashion and then act upon it. But it's just unfortunate that more attention isn't paid to missing women in particular, but just -- and children. And unfortunately, we have like thousands of them that are still open cases and no one knows exactly what happened to them, and they don't get the kind of intense investigative response that you see in this case either.
LEMON: Chris, you're shaking your head in agreement. Why is that?
SWECKER: Yes, I've been involved in many missing person cases and missing is one thing, but missing with indications of foul play is another, and that's when you start to bear down a little bit more when there are reasonable indications that something is amiss here and that there may be foul play. And when you're -- when somebody shows up driving another person's van, they're supposed to be together. They wait 10 days to report missing, I say that's indications of foul play.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. So breaking news on the booster shot tonight, the FDA authorizing
Pfizer's booster shots for some Americans. Are you one of them? Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us next.
LEMON (on camera): Breaking news, the FDA granting emergency use authorization for a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID vaccine for the at- risk and people 65 and older. The CDC will reconvene tomorrow to decide what to recommend. Once they make that decision, if approved, eligible people could start getting booster doses right away.
So, let's get the latest on the breaking news from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Doctor, thanks for joining.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don.
LEMON: The FDA has made its decision. What happens now?
GUPTA: Well, so the FDA authorization typically takes us now to the CDC, which then officially recommends this. So, it's two part of the process here. We saw that before with the emergency use authorizations. It's the same sort of thing here.
What the FDA has said -- and you can take a look at the list -- is people over the age of 65, just like their committee recommended. People who are high risk for severe COVID-19, and Don, that could be a lot of people. You think about people who have risk factors, you're starting to talk about potentially up to 100 million people there.
GUPTA: Forty-five million people in this country 65 and above, and then this last category, people 18 and older who are at risk of exposure. You know, that's a big group as well. Health care workers, for example, teachers and teacher's aides, grocery workers. Think about people who are front line who are potentially at risk.
When you start doing the math on this, Don, you're potentially talking about, you know, half the country that might be eligible for boosters. We'll see what the CDC recommends specifically who are those high-risk people, but you get an idea of just how many people this might affect.
LEMON: So, and if the CDC approves, eligible people can get shots right away?
GUPTA: Yes, I think it would happen very quickly. I mean, we know there's plenty of supply of the vaccine out there, so this is in part, I think, why the White House was talking about this several weeks ago, Don, to basically say we're going to be ready for this. And part of that's been happening now, getting these shots in place so that people as they start getting these boosters, we'll have them ready.
LEMON: So, so far in September almost 40 percent of COVID deaths are in people 18 to 65. Overall, virtually all COVID deaths are now happening with the unvaccinated. This doesn't need to happen, and it really highlights, Sanjay, the importance of getting these vaccines.
GUPTA: Yes, you know, Don, as much as we talked about the boosters and that's going to be the news of the day certainly, but the vast majority of the problem right now is, as you point out, the unvaccinated. I mean even in our hospital I was talking to our chief medical office, over 90 percent of the COVID patients that are in the hospital are unvaccinated. It's a really important thing to remember.
I mean, on one hand, it's a good story in that the vaccines really work.
GUPTA: There's not many people who are showing up at the hospitals who are vaccinated with COVID. And on the other hand, you know, we're still in this position, we're only about 53, 54 percent of the country is fully vaccinated. We should be much further along by this point. And it would make a difference, you know, in hospitalizations and all sorts of things.
LEMON: I want to ask you this before we go, Sanjay. Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis just appointed a new surgeon general who is critical of mask wearing, lockdowns and vaccines. He's also revising some quarantine procedures and now parents are the ones to decide if their asymptomatic children who have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus should quarantine or not. Sanjay, should parents be making these decisions?
GUPTA: I think that's a lot to put on the parents. I mean, the thing is that they don't -- they don't know. So, your child has been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID, so, I mean, what is a parent supposed to do with that information? Right now, I can tell you the CDC says even if a kid's vaccinated, depending on their age, they might be vaccinated, they should still get tested within three to five days after that exposure. If they're positive, they should be quarantined.
We know, Don, we've known for a long time, that people can spread this virus even if to simply say to parents, look, if your child has no symptoms, don't worry about it. I mean, it defies what has been, you know, significant learning about a new disease over the last year and a half. So, it's a bad idea. You keep hearing ideas like this, you know, and they're flying in the face of what we know would actually work.
LEMON: Yes. Dr. Gupta, thank you, sir.
GUPTA: You got it, Don. Any time.
LEMON: So, they had a statue honoring confederate General Robert E. Lee. But take this. Virginia now has one honoring emancipation and freedom instead.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON (on camera): So, take this. Tonight, South Carolina's Supreme Court upholding a law which prevents the relocation, removal, renaming, or rededication of monuments and memorials. That means that the state's Heritage Act will continue to stop local governments or schools from removing memorials honoring confederate icons and traitors to the U.S.
But elsewhere in the former confederacy, old monuments to traitors are coming down. And new ones to heroes are going up. Earlier this month, we showed you the removal of a statue of confederate general, Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, the same city where a new monument to emancipation was made public today.
The newly unveiled monument features two 12-foot tall bronze statues representing a man, woman and infant newly freed from slavery and is dedicated to African-American Virginians in the centuries long fight for emancipation and freedom.
Those historic figures include Mary Elizabeth Bowser, a spy for the union and the confederate White House, and Dred Scott, an enslaved man who unsuccessfully sued for his and his family's freedom.
So many times, on this show we have covered the controversy over confederate memorials around the country. And have questioned why statues for losers, traitors and proponents of slavery still stand. Now there's a memorial to those who fought for freedom from slavery and what was once the capital of the confederacy. Progress.
Next, a make or break moment for the Biden administration. Democrats at odds putting Biden's entire presidency on the line.