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Don Lemon Tonight
January 6 Committee Releases Contempt Report On Steeve Bannon And Rejects Bannon's Executive Privilege Claim; Donald Trump Sues January 6 Committee And National Archives, Seeking To Keep Records From His Presidency Secret; Colin Power, First Black Secretary Of State, Dies At 84; Jury Selection Begins For Suspects Accused Of Killing Ahmaud Arbery; Police Across The Country Clash With Officials Mandating Vaccines; Gabby Petito's Mom Speaks Out About Brian Laundrie. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired October 18, 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: Breaking news tonight, the House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection releasing its contempt report on Steve Bannon, who is now refusing to comply with the subpoena, claiming executive privilege. Tomorrow, the committee is expected to move to refer Bannon for criminal contempt.
Also tonight, the former president trying to block the committee from getting his presidential records. Trump suing both the committee and the National Archives, claiming executive privilege to keep the records secret.
Plus, what maybe the most positive sign yet for President Biden to get Democrats who approve his agenda, senators Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin meeting today to work out their differences. Sanders is saying he hopes for positive action in the next week.
Let's bring in now CNN White House correspondent John Harwood and senior legal analyst Laura Coates. Good evening to both of you. Good to see you.
John, this January 6th Select Committee releasing its contempt report on Steve Bannon, who is now refusing to comply with the subpoena. It lays out a lot of significant information. What are you learning here?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We are learning that Steve Bannon is playing a lot of games to try to avoid testifying. Look, Steve Bannon was not an employee of the White House in the relevant period here. So, executive privilege doesn't even apply. Secondly, it wasn't formally claimed by President Trump that Steve Bannon was relying on or invoking letters from a lawyer from Trump instructing him not to apply.
This is plainly a situation where Steve Bannon and the rest of the Trump team is doing everything they can to stall, delay, to obstruct this January 6th committee. The committee has had enough of it and that's why they're moving towards criminal contempt proceedings that are likely to clear the House. Then the question is, what does the Justice Department do about it?
LEMON: That is the question. Laura, the committee is saying that Steve Bannon's own public words are damning and have nothing to do with executive privilege. The report says, in part, and I quote, "Statements publicly made by Mr. Bannon on January 5th, 2021, suggest he had some fore knowledge about extreme events that would occur the next day. Mr. Bannon noted on January 5th that the country was facing a constitutional crisis and that crisis is about to go up about five orders of magnitude tomorrow.
So, he can't just claim, you know, some blanket privilege. Am I correct?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Correct. And, of course, even if there were a valid privilege that he wanted to assert, if he made the information public, he loses the ability to assert the privilege. Imagine if it was an attorney-client privilege where obviously communications between the attorney and client will be preserved, you could not be able to disclose it. However, if you all of a sudden go out and say things, you can't now try to put the genie back in the bottle.
Even more so, Don, executive privilege is having you can't just assert as a get out of subpoena free card. You have to actually still show up. You could choose to try to argue that you have a valid privilege. It allows you to not answer certain questions, but you can't just not appear.
And more importantly, remember, every conversation with a president or an attorney is not going to be automatically privileged. It has to actually have and be under the umbrella as to why we even have executive privilege.
In advisory capacity, having candid conversation with the president of the United States to get some sort of advice or counsel. Here, even if there was an exchange of information, there is not an automatic assignment of privilege.
COATES: And I remind everyone, of course, that the holder of the executive privilege is the person who is in the Oval Office, the executive branch had, the president of the United States.
Although there is some argument to be made about how successor presidents could notably try to enforce on behalf of the predecessor, here, this one is not inclined to do so because there seems to be the allegation, of course, of dereliction of duty, of behavior that is not constitutional or not in the interest of the executive branch.
And so, all these things go to show you Bannon does not have a valid claim of executive privilege. He will try to assert it, try to get in the course, try to prolong it, but ultimately, there is no privilege to be had.
LEMON: John, we shouldn't be surprised by this, but also tonight, Donald Trump suing, right, the January 6th Select Committee to try to keep his records private. He is clearly afraid that the information is that will get out. The white house is saying, no.
HARWOOD: That is exactly what they are saying. As Laura just indicated, they are not invoking executive privilege and support of their predecessor. And, the White House spokesman put out a very blunt statement tonight, saying, President Trump abused his power in an incident that posed an existential threat to his democracy.
And so, what it shows you is that even though the Biden administration has been concerned from the beginning about not appearing to be politically vengeful against President Trump, Joe Biden has tried to bring the country together and turned down the partisan temperature.
When we get down to the efforts that have gone on so far by the Republican Party within the Congress and the entire Trump team to construct this inquiry, they are simply not going to go along with that.
And the president, you know, President Biden said last week, he thought that the Justice Department should prosecute criminally people who defied valid subpoenas. Now, the White House walked that back a little bit today. Jen Psaki said while the president has said he's not going to tell the Justice Department what to do, but it is very clear that this Justice Department does not have unlimited patience or deference to its predecessor.
And given the gravity of what had happened on January 6th, they are going to -- even if they don't independently pursue legal action apart from what was going on with the committee, they are not going to block the January 6th committee from getting this information. They are going to facilitate that.
And that is a problem for President Trump, although you can run out the clock, and we don't know how long Democrats is going to control the Congress. Running out the clock has worked legally for Donald Trump before.
LEMON (on camera): Yeah. I don't know if it will this time. Listen, I want to ask you something that happened today. Something pretty big on Capitol Hill, one would think. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We're talking.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We're talking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): So, we're talking. Okay. These two, you know, they've been at each other's throats. They sit on opposite sides. Even though both Democrats, they're kind of on the opposite sides of the political aisle, so to speak.
So, we know that they have been fighting over climate change provisions in the spending bill. Could this be a sign of a breakthrough, John?
HARWOOD: Yes. I don't want to oversell the idea of a breakthrough just as I wouldn't oversell the idea that they were at each other's throats. They disagree. They come from very different places politically. But both are politicians who know how to make deals.
Now, we are getting to the last chapter of this negotiation on the hill. The gears are clicking. They are getting closer to a deal. Closer -- they are more able to deal with Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is a traditional politician, though a much more conservative one than other Democrats.
It's easier to deal with him than it is to deal with Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona because the other members of the Congress know less about where she is coming from. So, she's a little bit more mysterious, a little bit harder to make a deal with.
But they're getting closer, and I think there's significant optimism within the White House and among the democratic leadership that, for too long, maybe this week, next week, they are going to get some kind of agreement that will allow them to move forward on a reconciliation bill. Not nearly as big as President Biden and Democratic leaders wanted initially, but something pretty substantial.
LEMON: We shall see. Something needs to happen. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
The nation tonight mourning Colin Powell, the first Black secretary of state, the first and only Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the first Black National Security adviser. The general died of COVID complications while fighting cancer. His legacy spans decades of military and public service that had a huge impact on the country and, quite frankly, the entire world.
So, joining me now is retired Major General Dana Pittard, the former ground commander in Iraq. He is also the coauthor of "Hunting the Caliphate."
LEMON: General, thank you and I'm so sorry for your loss. We appreciate you joining us.
DANA PITTARD, FORMER GROUND COMMANDER IN IRAQ: Good evening, Don.
LEMON: So, Colin Powell was the first Black National Security adviser for President Reagan, the first Black chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff under George H.W. Bush, and the first Black secretary of state for George W. Bush. So many firsts. What impact did he have on the institutions and the country he served? PITTARD: A huge impact. In fact, he was a towering figure. I remember just meeting him as a young captain in Germany when I was at 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and he was the fifth core commander.
And even then, his presence was inspiring. It inspired young officers like myself and multiple generations of soldiers, not just by his leadership, but the way he could connect and communicate with everyone, anyone from the most junior soldier all the way to prime ministers and presidents of countries. He was an amazing man.
LEMON: Yeah. He called himself a reluctant warrior. Explain what he meant by that.
PITTARD: I think that is fair. In fact, so many of us who've been through combat multiple times, I realized that war kills people that we know and wounds people that we know. So, war is something that a warrior, I think, really seeks. So, in fact, he understood how terrible war is. He wanted to avoid war at all costs unless it was a last resort.
He believed in diplomacy first. Then, if you actually had to go to war, make sure you win. That is where the Powell doctrine came from, the use of overwhelming force to win.
LEMON: Look, his tenure included the 1991 Gulf War, his efforts and securing him a congressional gold medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He later developed a rivalry with Donald Rumsfeld during the W. Bush years.
He talks to me about his leadership style, how it evolved and how it affected decades of the U.S. Military strategy because he -- look, they say the sign of a great person is to be able to evolve and change overtime. He certainly did that.
PITTARD: Yeah, I believe he did. In fact, he was very good as a staff officer certainly in the Pentagon, but he also could lead. He led large organizations such as (INAUDIBLE) when I met him in Germany in the 1980s. And then Forces Command, which is largest army command that the Army has. It is in charge of all army forces in the United States.
So, he had that more directive type of leadership. And then as National Security adviser for President Reagan. That was more of a soft power. That was an advisor coming up with plans and advising then President Reagan.
Then, a secretary of state. A whole different kind of leadership was needed. One is certainly an adviser to President Bush on foreign policy, but also being a representative throughout the world, representing the United States. So, many facets of his leadership and his amazing abilities.
LEMON (on camera): Yeah. You know, General Pittard, Powell admitted when he was wrong. Most notably for his support of the Iraq war on the basis of alleged weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be inaccurate. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I turned the dial. There is no question about it.
UNKNOWN: You did. And you regret it?
POWELL: I regret it now because the information was wrong. Of course, I did. But there wasn't a word in that speech, in that presentation, that was not vetted and approved by the intelligence community. That's neither here nor there.
UNKNOWN: Are you ticked?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): I regret it, he said. What did it mean for him to say that?
PITTARD: That is the mark, I think, of a trusted leader, which is you own it when you made a mistake. And he admitted that he was wrong based on flawed intelligence. If he had to do it over again, he would've done something different, obviously. But he owned that. And, again, a respected leader does that.
LEMON (on camera): Well, also, look, he is talking about how he evolved over time. Who can forget the longtime Republican-endorsed then senator and Democrat Barack Obama for president, and not his longtime friend, Senator John McCain? Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming in to the world stage, on the American stage, and for that reason, I will be voting for Senator Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): And the former president, Barack Obana, said in a statement today that he appreciated the manner Powell -- Powell endorsed him by squashing the conspiracies surrounding his fate. Why was his endorsement, you think, so meaningful?
PITTARD: I think it's important because, you know, General Colin Powell was a part of kind of the old guard in government and certainly in republican circles.
He was a moderate Republican but he was well respected. Beyond the Republican Party, he was respected as an American, and throughout the country. So that was a very important endorsement for President Obama at that time.
LEMON (on camera): You know, I had the honor of sitting down and speaking with Colin Powell -- this was in 2009 -- about former President Barack Obama's election and what it meant to race in this country. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: Many people in the world thought America can't -- they're not ready for this. They won't do it.
LEMON: You're emotional about it now. You're almost crying. Why?
POWELL: Every day. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I remember the days when a young Black kid growing up in the Bronx could only look to Joe Lewis or Ralph Bunch or to Jackie Robinson for inspiration. Maybe it was because even though I grew up in an integrated neighborhood in New York City, I knew I was a second-class citizen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Do you think Powell understood the role model he became for Black kids around the country and his legacy, especially as it comes to race relations and Black Americans in this country?
PITTARD: Oh, absolutely. And Don, he never forgot really where he came from. In fact, he benefited from others also. Let's remember, it was Carter administration, in 1977, when the first Black secretary of the Army, Clifford Alexander was there. And in 1977, the Army's one- star list (ph), the brigadier generals came out, and Clifford Alexander asked the question of, is there no one of color who could possibly be a general officer? He really pushed that.
So, the very next year, a Colonel Colin Powell was on that list and three other minority officers were on that list. If there hadn't been for that, we might not have been able to benefit from the great talent and leadership of Colin Powell later on in life.
He might retire as a colonel at that time, but he was given an opportunity by someone who looked at diversity and inclusion as a part of talent management. So, that was very special. He never forgot that. And he looked for others. He looked beyond what a person's gender, color or other affiliations for talent. And he always pushed that.
LEMON: You know, even the last presidential election, Powell had been very open about his politics. He came out strongly against former President Trump. He said the GOP did not represent him anymore. Why was he so disappointed in his former party and really the direction the party was going in, specifically in the Trump direction?
PITTARD: Remember, with General Powell, the Republican Party to him was a party of Reagan. And he had served there as National Security adviser. So many people who supported him in those days were in fact Republican leaders. He went on to serve with President George H. W. Bush, Sr. as well as George W. Bush.
So that was the Republican Party to Colin Powell. And obviously, the Republican Party has morphed since then and has taken a different turn.
LEMON: Well, general, we thank you so much for joining us to share your knowledge about the person you knew, Colin Powell. Our hearts go out to his lovely wife, Alma, and the entire family, and I think you will agree with that. Thank you.
PITTARD: Absolutely. Thank you, Don.
LEMON (on camera): And up next, we're going to set the record straight on Colin Powell's death and what it tells us about why vaccinating everyone is important to protect cancer patients.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL (voice-over): I have multiple myeloma. And I've had it for almost two years now. I think August makes it two years. I have taken all the medication and exams they want me to, and I've never given up a day of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Colin Powell opening up to journalist Bob Woodward about his struggles with cancer and Parkinson's disease in what may have been his last interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL (voice-over): I have to get all kinds of exams and I'm a former chairman, so they don't want to lose me, so they make me come there all the time. I've taken lots of exams and I get there on my own. I drive up in my Corvette, get out of the Corvette and go into the hospital.
I have multiple myelomas. And I've had it for almost two years now. I think August makes it two years. I have taken all the medication and exas they want me to, and I've never given up a day of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Joining me now is a former acting director of the CDC, Dr. Richard Besser. Doctor, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us, especially on this subject.
General Powell was fully vaccinated but also battling both multiple myelomas, a blood cancer, Parkinson's disease. So, please set the record straight for us. He was very fragile, in very fragile health, and his death has nothing to do with vaccine efficacy, correct?
RICHARD BESSER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION: Yeah. You know, what a loss for our country, what a life he led. In the end, it would be a shame, Don, if people took the wrong message away from this in terms of vaccines.
BESSER: The general was fully vaccinated, but one thing it is very important for people to know is that even for people who have are fully vaccinated, the vaccine is not 100%. And for someone like General Powell, who had a type of blood cancer that affects the immune system, the likelihood that he had a good immune response was low.
So, it really supports the value in vaccination even further because we vaccinate to protect ourselves and those around us and we vaccinate to protect those people who may have medical conditions where the vaccines won't work very well.
And you can tell who those people are just walking down the street. But being part of a community, being part of society is that we do things to protect not just ourselves but to protect those around us.
LEMON: Yeah. As I understand here, doctor, Colin Powell was scheduled to get his booster shot this week, but he got sick and he wasn't able to receive it. How much protection do you think two booster shots offer people who are living with compromised immune systems?
BESSER: Well, you know, clearly now, the feeling is that three doses are the way to go for people who have conditions that lower their immune system. There is no guarantee even with a booster shot that your level of protection will be as high.
If your immune system is not responding to the first two shots, maybe you will get a better boost. There are studies that show that it will. But there is no guarantee. That's why it's so important that people around him were vaccinated as well.
LEMON: Yeah. "The New York Times" is reporting tonight that the FDA is planning to allow Americans to receive a different COVID vaccine booster than the one they had initially received.
According to the "Times," the FDA might suggest that using the same vaccine as a booster is preferable but won't recommend one shot over another. Talk to me about that. How significant? Is this significant?
BESSER: I want to wait and see what they say because the science is limited. But a study last week from the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that people who got one of the MRNA boosters, so Moderna or Pfizer, regardless of what they got for the first one, got the best boost. So, people who got J&J, getting a Moderna booster or Pfizer booster gave them a better rise than J&J.
Just for the record, our foundation was founded with money from the Johnson family fortune and we have stock in the company, but the data are saying that the MRNA boosters do a better job.
I'll be interested to see what the FDA says because there is limited data and it is very confusing right now for people who want to get boosters, having them available for some but not for everybody.
LEMON: The former FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, is calling for urgent research into a mutation of the delta variant known as delta plus following a surge of cases in the U.K. I mean, when I first heard this, I said, oh, my gosh, here we go again. Covid numbers in the U.S. have been recently improving recently. So, how worried are you that this could throw us off course again?
BESSER: Well, we need to remain vigilant whether this variant will turn out to be a problem or not. Until this is controlled everywhere in the world, we all remain at risk. And the vaccine numbers in the U.S. have been improving but they are not as high as they should be and they are not uniformly high. Some communities have vaccine coverage rates that are above 80% and some are down closer to 50%.
We need to get everybody the information they need so they can make decisions and get vaccinated. And we need to do more to provide vaccines globally or we all remain at significant risk.
LEMON: Listen, the former acting director of the CDC, I was glancing down at a piece that you wrote in "The Hill" about the impact of the child tax credit on health equity. And here's what you write in part. This is a quote. "The budget reconciliation measure is the best chance in decades to help create an America in which skin color, income level, neighborhood, disability, occupation and immigration status no longer determine how long and how well people live."
Can you talk to me -- talk to us about what those federal dollars have meant to struggling families?
BESSER: Yeah. You know, if you think back to the beginning of the pandemic and the economy was just tanking and you look at who was hit the hardest, it was not a pain that was felt uniformly. Black Americans, Latino Americans, indigenous Americans, rural people, lower income people were hit the hardest.
But even with the loss of 10 million jobs, what we saw in America was a decline in the rate of poverty. And you have to wonder why that happened. Well, the reason for that was that the federal government put money in people's pockets. They increased the unemployment insurance benefits.
And now, with a child tax credit, we expect that child poverty in America could decline by 40%. Forty percent just with that measure!
BESSER: And we have the opportunity now (INAUDIBLE) Congress does in reconciliation to say, we want this to be permanent. We want to be an America where the color of your skin doesn't determine your chances for a healthy life and for opportunity. And that can be done with simple measures. Things like putting a few dollars in people's pockets will reduce hunger and will reduce poverty.
LEMON: Dr. Besser, always a pleasure. Thank you for the information and thank you appearing.
BESSER: Thanks so much, Don.
LEMON (on camera): He was the 25-year-old shot while jogging. Now, three men who said they were trying to perform a citizen's arrest are on trial. The murder trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery starts today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: We expect justice for Ahmaud Arbery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Jury selection beginning today in Georgia in the trial of three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Gregory McMichael, hi son Travis, and William Bryan, Jr. have all pleaded not guilty. Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was fatally shot while out jogging on the streets of Brunswick, Georgia. This was in February of 2020. The incident was captured on video.
The McMichaels claim that they were conducting a citizen's arrest after suspecting that Arbery was burglarizing a house, a burglary, and Travis McMichael shot him in self-defense.
Well, tonight, Chris Cuomo asked Aubery's mother if she is worried that the jury would be fair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANDA COOPER JONES, MOTHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: I have my concerns. Like you said earlier, it took almost 600 days to get to this day. (INAUDIBLE) this is the same community that elected the (INAUDIBLE) office. This is the same community that stood outside today as I enter the courtroom rallying for justice for Ahmaud. So, I do feel confident that we will have (INAUDIBLE). (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): I want to bring in now Ben Crump, the attorney for the Arbery family. Ben, thank you so much. Ben, it's been a while since this happened. You heard Ahmaud's mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, there. She was concerned -- she has concerns about the jury being fair and unbiased because of the amount of publicity and confusion surrounding this case. You were at the jury selection today. Give us your impression, please.
CRUMP: As Attorney Merritt and I told Wanda and Ahmaud's father, Marcus, they are going to try to do everything to deflate from what happened on that video. They are going to assassinate the character of Ahmaud. They are going to talk about a citizen's arrest just like 10 years ago. With Trayvon, they thought about stand-your-ground and it was self-defense.
But unlike Trayvon Martin, we have video, Don Lemon. And it's very difficult (INAUDIBLE) you chase a young man for over two miles who is running for his life and you are in the back of a pick-up truck with a shotgun.
LEMON: How important is it, Ben, that the jury reflect the diverse community of Brunswick where the incident took place?
CRUMP: What we learned, Don Lemon, from George Floyd is that you want a diverse jury because you want people who can understand the life experiences of Ahmaud Arbery, can understand the culture of Ahmaud Arbery and not just identify (INAUDIBLE) of his killers.
And so, it is going to be vitally important. There is an old saying in a legal profession (INAUDIBLE) the verdict based on the makeup of the jury.
LEMON: The three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery weren't even arrested until cellphones video of the confrontation was leaked. You said you had video this time, unlike in Trayvon Martin.
Several prosecutors have had to recuse themselves from the case because of conflicts. The original D.A. was indicted for showing favor to the suspects. Do you think there is a systemic racial problem within this community, maybe within the justice system there, the fact that it wasn't immediately investigated?
CRUMP: Don, I think there is a systemic problem not only in Georgia but in America. So, we have to (INAUDIBLE) how they killed Ahmaud Arbery. It is as much a tragedy, the cover-up by the D.A., trying to say what she saw on that video was not a crime. And so, we have to speak truth to power every chance we get and say that worse to how they killed Ahmaud, worse to how they killed Trayvon is how they used the laws to kill us. It is a systemic problem, Don Lemon.
LEMON: What you saw on the place, on the video was not a crime. Okay. All right. Ben, look, I got to move on and talk about onother cases. This is the case of Christina Nance whose family you're representing. Police found her body in an unoccupied police van in a busy parking lot. This happened on October 7th. Her family had reported her missing on October 2nd, but she hadn't been seen since September 25th.
LEMON: What do you know about so far -- Ben, what happened?
CRUMP: You know, it boggles the mind, Don Lemon. The unbelievable ways that they find Black people are dead and are being killed in America. This is a young Black woman who is mysteriously found dead in a police van in the police parking lot in Huntsville, Alabama, and the police say they don't know anything about it.
Her family isn't accepting it. Our law firm is demanding answers. We're investigating. They released a video that gave us more questions than answers.
And all we can say is, when you think about what happened to Jelani Day who went missing, turned up dead, now you have Christina Nance went missing, turned up dead, how many more Black people are going to go missing and turned up dead in these very suspicious manners before we start to say there's something that we have to do to pay more attention to Black people when they go missing like we do our white brothers and sisters.
LEMON: Ben, we'll be following both of these cases. Please come back and update us. Thank you so much.
CRUMP: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: So COVID is the leading cause of death among police officers. So why are so many officers refusing to get the shot? We'll look into that next.
LEMON: COVID vaccine mandates going into effect in states and cities across the country. And while the vast majority of workers are getting their shots, some police officers and unions are calling for defiance against the mandates, setting up possible showdowns with staff shortages already causing headaches.
Joining me now is CNN correspondent Dan Simon. Dan, good evening. This is a big story. Why is this such an issue with officers leaving their jobs over this?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Don, we've seen this for a while now with police officers reluctant to get vaccinated, but now, it's really coming to a head with these vaccine mandates and some officers have decided that they would rather resign, sometimes in dramatic fashion, instead of getting the shot.
Take a look at what somebody did in Washington State. This is a police sergeant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: It is my personal choice to take a moral stand against poor medical freedom and personal choice. I will be signing out of service for the last time today, after nearly 17 years of serving the citizens of the state of Washington. It has been my honor and privilege to work alongside all of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON (on camera): And whatever you think of vaccine mandates, I mean, that's tough to see, right? This is somebody who had been on the force for 17 years, by all accounts had a distinguished career and made sergeant last year, but obviously, that's a choice that he made, Don.
LEMON: Yeah. Cities like Chicago are seeing a large part of their force defying the vaccine mandates. Look, they need these officers. They need as many officers as they can. So, what are cities facing right now, Dan?
SIMON: Well, Chicago is really the place where this is coming to a head. I mean, take a look at these numbers. Thirty-five percent of the force does not want to provide their vaccination status and that means -- this is a scary number. About 4,500 officers could be placed on a no-pay status in the foreseeable future.
And for those that don't comply, we are told, according to a memo obtained by CNN, that those officers could actually be fired. You know, that could have huge ramifications for staffing and policing in that city.
Let us take a look at Baltimore. The city police union sending a letter to members on Friday, do not disclose your vaccination status due to collective bargaining agreements. And as of last week, only 64% of the department's 3,000 employees were vaccinated.
And let's looks on the west coast, Seattle. Officers are being told that if you are not vaccinated or do not have an exemption, do not bother showing up to work tomorrow and that the city is going to begin the process of termination. But the reality is that the numbers in Seattle look better than in some other places. We learned that 98% of the officers there have been vaccinated or got an exemption. Twenty- three police officers have not reported their status.
That said, officers are being told, any sworn officer is being told that you may have to respond to a 911 call in the event of short staffing. Finally, Massachusetts, the state police experiencing a lack of nearly 600 uniformed members due to the vaccine mandate. And according to the (INAUDIBLE), Don, that is below a safe and manageable level. Don?
LEMON: We'll be watching this vert closely. Dan Simon, thank you, sir. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
LEMON (on camera): An update tonight on the case of Gabby Petito. The funeral director at Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming telling CNN that Petito's family picked up her cremated remains over the weekend. As of tonight, the whereabouts of her fiance, Brian Laundrie, is still unknown. He vanished from his parents' Florida home more than a month ago.
Although he has not been charged with Gabby Petito's murder, her mother telling "60 Minutes Australia" this weekend what she wants to see happen to him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLE SCHMIDT, MOTHER OF GABBY PETITO: Just want to get him in a cell for the rest of his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Gabby Petito's stepfather saying her life was stolen from her and they want vengeance.
Before we go tonight, I just want to remember the remarkable life of Colin Powell, a true American hero who broke down barriers and forged new pathways for Black Americans.
LEMON: The proud son of immigrants from Jamaica, Powell grew up in New York City, rising through the ranks of the U.S. Military, becoming the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and afterward, the first Black secretary of state. Colin Powell is survived by his wife, Alma, three children and four grandchildren.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. A very busy hour ahead as the country mourns the loss of soldier, statesman and pioneering American Colin Powell. We will bring you only on CNN what's believed to be the final interview that he did, a 42-minute-long conversation with Bob Woodward, he joins us, so does former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.