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Don Lemon Tonight
Crumbley Couple Now Wanted By Authorities; Sheriff Uninformed About Many Things; Teacher Saw Signs From Ethan Crumbley; CDC Issued A Warning On Omicron Spread; Vaccines Are Better Than Nothing. Aired 10- 11p ET
Aired December 03, 2021 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): All right, there is big news on a Friday night. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. Thanks for joining me.
The breaking news. Fugitives, where are the parents of Michigan school shooting suspect? Where are they? James and Jennifer Crumbley didn't show for their arraignment today on four counts each for involuntary manslaughter for the four teenagers their son is accused of shooting to death.
Now officials say that they are on the run tonight. The Oakland County sheriff's office is putting a be on the lookout or BOLO alert, releasing images. There they are on your screen. Wanted. Images of James and Jennifer Crumbley. And there is a photo of a license plate number of the vehicle they may be driving. A black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV that Michigan license plate number is DQG 5203. DQG 5203.
They were last seen publicly, apparently in a vehicle making a brief virtual appearance at their son's Wednesday arraignment. Now law enforcement officials telling CNN the couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM in Rochester, Michigan just today. And their cell phones are turned off now, so they can't trace the cell phones.
We are also learning tonight that Jennifer Crumbley took her son, Ethan, took a shooting range the weekend before the Oxford High School shooting. That as source says prosecutors were worried about Crumbley's evading law -- the Crumbley's evading law enforcement because they didn't have ties to their community.
And officials had trouble locating once their son was being arraigned. Two attorneys working with the Crumbleys say the couple left town on the night of the shooting, quote, "for their safety." And that they're not feeling. But where are they? Why has no one heard from them?
So that doesn't explain why they didn't show up for their arraignment. Prosecutor Karen McDonald laying it out absolutely in chilling detail the red flags Tuesday morning just hours before the shooting started. Hear it for yourself right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KAREN MCDONALD, OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR: On November of 31, '21,
the morning of the shooting, the next day, Ethan Crumbley's teacher came upon a note on Ethan's desk which alarmed her to the point that she took a picture of it on her cell phone.
The note contained the following. A drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words, quote, "the thoughts won't stop, help me," end quote. In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet, quote, "blood everywhere," end quote.
Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding. Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words are the words, quote, "my life is useless," end quote.
And to the night -- right of that are the words, quote, "the world is dead," end quote.
As a result, James and Jennifer Crumbley were immediately summoned to the school. A school counselor came to the classroom and removed the shooter and brought him to the office with his backpack.
The counselor obtained the drawing of the shooter had already altered it. The drawings of the gun and the bloody figure were scratched out along with the words, "help me. And my life is useless. The world is dead. And blood everywhere." Those were all altered by him.
As the meeting -- at the meeting, James and Jennifer Crumbley were shown the drawing and were advised that were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours.
Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask their son if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun, which he had with him.
James and Jennifer Crumbley resisted the idea of then leaving the school at that time, of their son leaving the school at that time. Instead, James and Jennifer Crumbley left the high school without their son. He was returned to the classroom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): And let's remember the victims in the shooting. Seventeen-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Justin Shilling. Remember that candlelight vigil in downtown Oxford just tonight.
I want to get the very latest now from the sheriff, Michael Bouchard, he joins us live. Sheriff Bouchard, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us here on CNN.
So, give us the very latest. Where are the Crumbleys? MICHAEL BOUCHARD, SHERIFF, OAKLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN: Well, we
actually have our fugitive team out and we are working in conjunction with the United States marshals and the FBI, both regular and great partners anytime we're looking for people that don't want to be found.
So, that's the process right now. As soon as we were told that the prosecutor had issued charges, we put our folks into motion.
LEMON: Now you, the prosecutor says, and I saw you at a press conference last night, yesterday some time with the prosecutor. She alluded to charges. She said there were going to be charges. You said that there were eyes on the Crumbleys. What happened, sheriff?
BOUCHARD: No, I never said there were eyes on the Crumbleys. What she said last night was that she would make a charging decision. I didn't learn of any charges until this morning when the media outlet called, she said that she had announced the press conference.
And then I called my commanders and the officer in charge of the investigation and I said, apparently there is going to be a press conference and charges today. We better, you know, get our folks out and try to find these two before she announces charges because, as we know, when charges are announced or somebody is ordered into custody in a courtroom, if we are not there, there may be a gap in taking them into custody.
This is, honestly, the first time I've been sheriff for 21 years where charges had been announced before we had somebody in custody. And we didn't learn of the actual charges until the media called us.
LEMON: Now, listen, you said that you weren't notified of the charges, but the media, but I mean, should your office have been ready for that since the prosecutor had been talking about it openly? That was one of the first things that people ask about? And she was even questioned about it, will the families --
LEMON: -- will the parents face charges?
BOUCHARD: Yes. We were absolutely ready. We anticipated -- we would get hands up like we always do, and we would activate our team to go out and start looking for somebody if the charges were imminent or charges were anticipated, but the last thing we had heard was that she was going to make a charging decision.
That's very different than, hey, you guys should start looking for them probably tomorrow. I'm going to issue a warrant.
LEMON: No red flags to you when they had trouble, you know, showing up for their son's arraignment? Or that they had no ties to the community? That wasn't a red flag for someone who has been a veteran in law enforcement?
BOUCHARD: Well, they have ties to community. They have lived here for years -- (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: And they were in a car for it.
BOUCHARD: Yes. But the arraignment was via Zoom. So, you know, the fact of where they were sitting for to watching an arraignment wasn't a flag by itself. And understand too, that at that point, there was no charging decisions, let alone the fact that it might be a serious charge and that some kind of negligence or misdemeanor.
You know, the first that we heard that there were going to be felony charges was when we heard it from the media. That's something that has never happened in 21 years.
LEMON: Listen. I understand that. As a lay person, though, one would think, I think most people would think that you would at least have some sort of eyes on them or that there would some sort of surveillance so you would know their whereabouts as a sheriff. But let me move on. Because --
BOUCHARD: Yes. But let me answer that. Let me answer that.
BOUCHARD: So, if we are going to set up a surveillance, Chris, unlike TV where one person goes out and sits in the rearview mirror, that's not how it works in the real world. A surveillance team is quite a few people and they work around the clock. Those people are working the actual homicide.
So, I would've had to pull them off of investigating the deaths at the school to put them on a surveillance of somebody she says she might charge. She said she's going to charge them with --
LEMON: Well, that's why I'm asking you. Because --
BOUCHARD: We have the team on --
LEMON: -- as I said as a lay person, sheriff, that one would think that. But also, I remember sitting in this very seat reporting that there was a search warrant on the house. And the house was part of the investigation.
And one would think if the house is part of the investigation and the family lives at the house, that someone would be there checking on the house, or surveilling the house. I mean, it just seems like common sense.
BOUCHARD: Well, we did the search warrant and everything of evidential value was seized. And the house was released. There is a tally she created. There is nothing left in the home to seized. There is no reason to surveil it. And again, every time you put somebody somewhere to watch an empty house, you're taking them off the investigation.
We have to interview thousands of people that were in and around the school. We have to go through hundreds and thousands of hours of digital evidence for us to sit on the if come, she may issue charges, that's not something we have the luxury to do when we are, you know, running all these different things to ground.
Had we simply been told, charges are coming so, you know, get ready. A simple phone call. That's way we've operated for 21 years since I've been sheriff and for 44 years since my undersheriff has been there.
LEMON: OK. So, listen. Let's try to find these folks because something happened, there was some miscommunication.
BOUCHARD: We're going to find them. Let me be clear. Let me be clear. We are going to find them. One way or another, I am confident that we are going to find them. It's frustrating that we had to pull resources from the investigation to do this, rather than just be ready to do it when it was happening. In any event --
LEMON: You have the marshals and the FBI helping you as well.
BOUCHARD: And I have a full-time fugitive team that we pulled off the investigation and sent after them.
LEMON: You have a fugitive team that you pulled off. Well, the fugitive team, aren't they -- is it a job --
BOUCHARD: They are specialized, trained to investigate. They were working the homicide but they are super skills, if you will, to find people that don't want to be found.
LEMON: OK. Let's talk about with the, again, so you said they are going to be found.
LEMON: They may be driving -- I'm going to put it up here -- a black Kia 2021 Kia Seltos SUV.
LEMON: Do you have any leads, sheriff? BOUCHARD: Not at this point. No.
LEMON: So, again, they appeared at this, during a video, appeared by video during their son's arraignment, right? Because it was by Zoom or by video.
LEMON: And it looked like they were in a car. I think I see, look, the monitors are really small here. I don't know if that's a seat belt of whatever. I'm not watching the -- I don't have the giant TV that you guys have. No, it's his car.
UNKNOWN: A mask.
LEMON: Or a mask. OK, I got it. But anyway, it looks like they're in a car. Did that, you said there was not red flag to you because this was by Zoom. Right?
BOUCHARD: Right. The whole arraignment was by Zoom. So, where they were sitting, frankly wasn't something that we were necessarily watching. Especially given at that point that the prosecutor only said she was considering charges against the parents.
At that point when the arraignment occurred, and then fast forward, when she said she would be making a charging decision, those are all words that I'm going to bring charges, you are our partners, you should go look for them in advance. There has never been a time in my career or in the undersheriff, who is 44 years there, where charges have been announced at a press conference when the person is not in custody. Ever.
LEMON: Look, the reason I'm asking you is because every person, I think in this country, especially those who are not in law enforcement and they're not close to the investigation are going, what, the parents are gone? How did they get away?
You know, four people are dead. Many more injured. I just don't understand. And that's the reason I'm asking you, I'm being tough on you with these questions because I just don't understand it. Whether the prosecutor said or not, I just don't see how a case this big and this important, all of a sudden, the parents are missing.
When the dad, as you told me on this program and as you said in your press conference bought - bought the gun four days before --
LEMON: -- and we had all these questions about what was the parents' involvement? Is there some culpability from the parents? Is just -- I am flummoxed and I'm sure people around the country are flummoxed by this as well. They just don't understand it.
So, why do you -- why do you think that the parents would do what they did, right? And then, runoff, take out $4,000 from the bank, and then off in their car if there is -- if they don't feel that they did something wrong in this case?
BOUCHARD: Well, I'm not sure who reported the $4,000 on your network. It didn't come from us. But that aside, it's kind of like, if you are the quarterback, and let's call the prosecutors the quarterback for the moment. And you just throw the football down to the end zone without telling the receiver where to go or that it's coming.
BOUCHARD: We did not know. These charges were coming --
LEMON: Listen, I --
BOUCHARD: Wait. Let me answer.
LEMON: I understand that, sheriff. Sheriff, I understand that. We are trying to solve this for the victims. I just want to -- I just want to -- and also, I'm just asking questions for the people.
BOUCHARD: Hey. Don't tell me we're trying to solve this for the victims because I live here and we read this. I want these people --
LEMON: I understand this. I just don't want to continue to litigate who is responsible. That there's time for that. But --
BOUCHARD: I'm not litigating at all. All I'm saying is that process and procedure always is inform the law enforcement before discussions of warrants are being issued ever happened in the public realm.
LEMON: I understand that. I think you've made that perfectly clear. That's why I said I want -- we want to solve this and to find the --
BOUCHARD: I agree.
LEMON: -- folks here.
BOUCHARD: We will find them.
LEMON: OK. So, the $4, 000, again.
BOUCHARD: Exactly. We were not told that you need to understand. The attorney for the two parents put out a press release saying she had had conversations with the prosecutor and had talked about bringing them in if there were charges for arrests or to be arraigned. We were never made aware of any of those conversations. So, there was conversations going on about potential charges with an
attorney and the prosecutor without the lead police investigating agency being aware of that.
LEMON: So, you are --
BOUCHARD: So, all I'm saying is, adjudication, whether it happens to be the school or the prosecutors and the police --
BOUCHARD: -- has to be regular in constant. And that's what makes it work.
LEMON: OK, sheriff. Thank you for that. So, listen, you had no idea, you had never heard anything about this $4,000, right? Is that what you are saying? Being withdrawn from the bank.
LEMON: Sheriff, thank you. I appreciate you joining. And best of luck finding them. Again, I really appreciate you joining us. And we'll get to the bottom of who is responsible and all of that. But I hope you find them and --
BOUCHARD: We'll catch them. That will be in the past and they will be held accountable.
LEMON: Thank you, sheriff. I appreciate it.
So, joining me now Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald. Prosecutor McDonald, thank you for joining us.
Listen, so you heard what the sheriff said there. Do you have -- what's your response?
MCDONALD: My response is, I really -- it's just so unfortunate. Because there is a community that's really suffering. And their grief is immense. And we are focused on the wrong thing.
Here's what I know, the day after the shooting I sat down with two extraordinary detectives from the sheriff's department, detective Joe Bryant and detective Tim Willis. And they said to me, we are going to do whatever we can. This is the most important -- important career of our lives.
I've been sitting down with those detectives and my team. I haven't discussed this case of the details with Sheriff Bouchard at all because he wasn't really involved. I will say that we -- we let them know all along what our motive and what our desire was. And they presented us evidence with regards to these parents.
It was the sheriff's department that brought that to us. And we decided, and I decided, that we could not possibly let this stand with just charging that shooter. I know, Don, you've seen -- you've seen the horrible facts here. We have parents who not, they weren't just negligent, they bought a weapon for their son. They gave him free access to it. And they had every reason to believe that he was dangerous.
MCDONALD: And you know, I don't know if you had a chance to look or see the text messages that the mom sent her son the day before.
LEMON: I do.
MCDONALD: He said. Yes. She said, LOL, just next time don't get caught when he was searching ammunition. The next morning --
LEMON: I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught. Jennifer Crumbley sent it to Ethan Crumbley. I have to ask you, though, prosecutor, the same tough questions that I asked the sheriff. Should they have been arrested before you gave the press conference?
MCDONALD: The -- our team, and actually, I was in the room was in constant communication with the detectives who were actually working the case. From the moment, they -- we all knew that this was inevitable. And I think you'll agree, it was the world's worst kept secret. I said it everywhere that this was happening.
We said, do you have eyes on them? And there was indication that they had some pretty good ideas about where they were and we got updates about where a cell phone was pinging. So, we -- we don't breathe people, like, defense attorneys when something is going to happen, where something is going to happen. I've never had a conversation at all. I actually, there was just an unreturned text message.
With a case like this, these things are happening almost in real-time. And the detectives that were actually working the case that has dedicated the entire week, I doubt they slept at all, they were in constant communication with us.
And again, I've mentioned their names and they should be complemented. And --
LEMON: So, did you -- did you check with the -- did you check with law enforcement or anyone to make sure that the parents were in custody before you announced charges so that they had, they knew where the parents were and could get to them before they -- before you announce charges?
MCDONALD: As of -- yes. Yes. There is a fugitive apprehension team. And we were in -- my -- my lead prosecutor was in communication with them.
MCDONALD: And they thought they had a pretty good idea of where they were. So that really, it wasn't on anyone's radar that this was even of a concern. The fact that they had some indication about where they were, coupled with the fact that the actual -- the defense attorney actually reached out to the detectives.
And again, these are the people who are working the case. And they are really working hard.
MCDONALD: So, it's unfortunate that we are even talking about this. But yes, she did say they return themselves in.
MCDONALD: Look, I, this is an excellent law enforcement, and I believe they are going to be apprehended.
MCDONALD: What I really think is unfortunate here is that we are on national television right now talking about who is to blame. I don't care who is to blame. You know what I want? I want some peace for this community. These people are in terrible, terrible pain.
And I'm not -- I just, look, Don, I just don't want to spend any more time talking about somebody's 40 some years, and who did this, and who did that. I know, because I'm in the room. Because that's just the kind of person I am, that's the kind of prosecutor I am. Ask anybody.
I have been in the weeds on this case, slept very little. I have a sister in Iowa who's told me watch me on TV tonight and says I need to get some sleep, which is true. And I am invested in this. And what I really care about is these victims. We have four children who were murdered. We have seven more that were injured by gunshot.
And we have hundreds of other children that were in the halls and ran for their lives, under the desk, out the door, texting their parents I love you. I don't know if I'm ever going to see you again.
MCDONALD: These are real victims. And I -- I'm sorry, I'm just not going to spend one more minute trying to --
LEMON: Well, prosecutor, I don't disagree with you on that. MCDONALD: -- be engaged in this.
LEMON: And that's why I tried to move the sheriff forward, and I want to move you forward. Because again, everything you said for those reasons, and especially the parents and the family members and loved ones of those four people who died and the others who are injured, they deserve answers, as well.
And they deserve to know why people who may have culpability in the shooting in these deaths cannot be found at this moment. That's I'm just trying to get answers. So, again, this is unprecedented. So, tell me about the charges here. So, for these parents, these are unprecedented charges.
MCDONALD: They are. I didn't really consider whether or not it had ever been done before. What I did consider are two things. In a charge where we are charging first-degree murder and assault with intend to murder on the victims that were injured and killed.
We also needed to add a charge that reflected a whole group of kids that were victims as well and who can't eat and can't sleep, and let's just be honest, they are never -- their lives will never be the same.
And then, let's also think about the hundred -- over 100 schools in Michigan have been cancelled due to the fears and threats. And then, in addition, I understanding, I was told, that this is a rare event to charge parents.
And let me be clear, I am not saying that every criminal act on the part of someone's son or daughter should result in criminal charges against parents. I have such compassion for people who have children who are going through a rough time.
My husband and I have five children. Together we've raised five teenagers. The youngest is 20. We're almost -- we are almost at the end. And we've seen a lot. I have tremendous compassion for that.
But these two parents. I mean, the fact that when they found out that an active shooter was at the school, they didn't do what the rest of us would have done. They didn't call large their child. They didn't go to the school and say, are you OK. Dad went home and said and wanted to know where that weapon was because he thought his son had it.
And when he realized that he did have it, he called 911 and said I think my son might be the shooter.
MCDONALD: Mom text son --
LEMON: Can I ask you -- can I ask you something?
MCDONALD: I'm prosecutor. LEMON: If you don't mind me interacting? So, the parents, the attorney for the parents, the attorney is saying that the parents left their home, or want to some other location for their safety, and that he is or she, whomever the attorney is, that the attorney is working for the parents, I guess, I would imagine to try to, you know, have them turn themselves in or to come to some sort of conclusion here.
But law -- but you are saying and the sheriff are both saying that parents are on the run. Do you have any -- have you had any communication with the attorney? Do you -- are they talking anything? Is the attorney talking about --
MCDONALD: I have one on --
LEMON: -- where they are and where they might be, or trying to make some sort of arrangements to have themselves in?
MCDONALD: I have one unreturned text message from the attorney. She -- I know this attorney. I don't know what's she's saying. Here is what I know. There is no person who has any, who's keeping any up with any kind of news that doesn't know that as of 11.45, when the deputy -- when detectives were to this warrant in court, that they were charged.
And if they wanted to turn themselves in, it's now, I think it is 10 o'clock. And we -- this has been going on for 10 hours.
MCDONALD: So, I think that just speaks for itself. And I'm not surprised by that given what I --what the evidence is. People --there are a lot of things that were going on. And they -- they weren't apprehended at the time. And again, I know that they will be, but I think the discussion really has to be about this tragedy.
And it's disrespectful to victims to engage in a back and forth that has no bearing on what's really important. I mean, what's really important is that we hold people accountable for not being responsible gun owners. For allowing that gun to be in the hands of somebody they knew would injure or harm or kill. And that's what we are going to do.
LEMON: Well, thank you for that. Listen, I agree with you on that. But I also agree that the folks who are victims and all of this they deserve some answers, as well. And they want to know, I'm sure, where are these parents? And how can they not be in custody right now.
Thank you, prosecutor. I appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. Have a good weekend.
MCDONALD: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. MCDONALD: Thank you.
LEMON: So, we've got a lot more news to come on the breaking story that we have. Don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.
LEMON (on camera): So, here's our breaking news tonight. The manhunt for the parents of Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, James and Jennifer Crumbley, fugitives at this hour in the eyes of the law. The feds joining tonight search in Michigan and possibly beyond.
So, I want to bring in now Chris Swecker, he's a former assistant director of FBI's criminal investigative division, and also CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Elliot Williams.
Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you so much.
So, Chris, the Crumbleys withdrew $4,000, apparently from an ATM today in Rochester Hills. The sheriff is saying he doesn't know anything about that. But a half hour, about a half hour from Oxford. What's -- what are the FBI, the U.S. marshal and police doing right now to track them down?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: Well, they have entered them into the national crime information system that every police officer in the country will have their photo, their description, their car tag, their car description. Everybody is looking for them.
If they tried to cross the border there is probably an Interpol red notice already, that's pretty close to the Canadian border. You know, the media has done a good job of getting the information out there, getting their pictures out there. They are not going to go far.
I think it was a huge miscommunication between the prosecutor and the sheriff's office. I was a prosecutor before I went to the FBI. I will have to say, they both dropped the ball in this case. The detective should have been on top of this, and the prosecutors should've been communicating better, and the parents got away, but they're not going to go far.
LEMON: Elliot, two attorneys working with the Crumbleys said that the parents did not flee, and that they left town the night of the shooting for their own safety. But, I mean, they would show up for the arraignment, one would think. I mean, that was supposed to happen at 4 p.m. It's after 10 p.m. If that claim was true, why would they have withdrawn, allegedly withdrawn 4,000 bucks.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, look, it defies common sense that they're not fleeing right now, I just want to point that. I wouldn't focus too much on their, you know, the fact that they appeared virtually on the phone or sitting in a car or wherever at they're at, just because the world exists on Zoom right now. Arraignments happened; court hearings happened all the time on Zoom.
So, you know, I wouldn't be too alarmed by that. Now, the other circumstances of this are quite troubling, and frankly, you know, just the back of everything that Chris said, we had every reason to believe that these individuals might have been flight risks.
Certainly, the sheriff has indicated that they were being investigated and were central players frankly to this crime. And so, it is a little bit perplexing. There was a lot of finger pointing in those two interviews we just saw. Now look, they both had a point, things could have been done a little bit better, but there's just a lot of finger pointing there.
And the pushback on the sheriff's point a little bit that, look, if you quarterback threw the ball down the field but didn't tell anybody, the quarterback would've made a mistake. Yes, but your teammates go in the locker room and fix it. But don't litigate it on ESPN or Don Lemon show, or whatever you want to call it. And don't fight publicly.
WILLIAMS: Look, the idea, and Chris knows this too, the idea of prosecutors and investigators having tension over how to run a case is nothing new. These -- it's not a new kind of dispute. But with this kind of sniping that we saw beautifully laid out with your interviewing here, doesn't help anybody.
WILLIAMS: And they both sort of --
LEMON: I think I felt -- I have to be heard on both of them --
WILLIAMS: And you were. No, yes.
LEMON: -- because the families and the people who were involved in this deserve answers. And if my loved one --
LEMON: -- was someone who had been injured, or killed by this young man and the parents had some culpability, I would want to know why the parents are missing and are fugitives at this hour.
That's who I'm asking the questions for --
LEMON: -- not for the people sitting at home keyboard, you know, whatever you want to call it.
(CROSSTALK) WILLIAMS: Absolutely. And getting in the weeds of well, this is how
press conferences are scheduled and this is the day --
LEMON: It doesn't matter.
WILLIAMS: It's nonsense and doesn't matter.
LEMON: Nonsense. Thank you.
WILLIAMS: And it was a failure to the community. So.
LEMON: Chris, you know, a law enforcement sources telling CNN that their cellphones are now off. What challenges does that present with tracking them down?
SWECKER: Yes. Cell phones in this day and age they are an easy way to pinpoint locations. They are savvy enough, and I wouldn't they're sophisticated, but they are savvy enough at least to turn their cell phones off.
That's an indication to me that they don't want to be found. That they don't necessarily intend turn themselves in. The ATM transactions, you can track those. You know, $4, 000, that's a lot of ATM visits. Usually, as we all know, they are cat at a certain amount. So that's multiple visits, probably multiple ATMs, so they can track it.
Cars have GPS in them these days. The low jack, or the current modern equivalent of the low jack. You can track cars. There is a lot of different ways you can find these people. I tell you, Don, the next of answers needs to come from school administrators, as to why they didn't intervene here because there was a huge opportunity that was missed there. And I'm wondering if the prosecutor ought to be looking at them as well.
LEMON: Yes. I am just trying to get the specifics on the $4,000, if it was from an atm if they would do. Because if they withdrew, they could also could've gone inside of a bank, but who knows. Again, we -- again, what we do know, is that they are on the land. And they shouldn't be. They shouldn't -- police, and law enforcement, should know where they are right now. There should be in custody.
Thank you, gentlemen, I appreciate it.
We have more ahead on the manhunt for the parents of the Michigan school shooting suspect. And we're also, we've also got a big warning from the CDC director. She says that the Omicron variant could become the dominant variant in the United States.
LEMON (on camera): The President of United States, Joe Biden, assuring Americans that we have the tools to stay ahead of the Omicron variant. That, as average daily COVID cases surpassed 100,000, for the first time since October. And CDC director, Rochelle Walensky today warning Americans that Omicron could outpace Delta to become the dominant variant. Listen to this.
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ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: What we do know is that early data and even mutation data are telling us that this may well be a more transmissible variant than Delta. And so, it is going to take some time to sort out.
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LEMON (on camera): Let's discuss now with CNN medical analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Doctor, good evening to you. Thanks for joining us.
So, it's not -- it's not just cases. Hospitalizations are also up. The Delta variant is dominant now. But more Omicron cases are cropping up. The CDC director is sounding the alarm. There's a lot we still don't know. But are you worried about what you're seeing at this moment?
JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I'm worried about Delta. And I' worried about the 17 percent of American adults that have not been vaccinated in the United States. The 45 million people that will get infected, if they don't get vaccinated.
There's a lot we don't know about Omicron. It does look like it's probably a very transmissible virus, whether it's more transmissible than Delta, we'll have to see. Whether it has the capacity to outcompete Delta in the United States, we have to see.
Certainly, the dominant strain now in South Africa, but there was very little Delta in South Africa when Omicron started to infect citizens there. And we don't know how every (Inaudible)is. The early indications are that this might be a relatively mild infection and people who are vaccinated. And particularly those who are boosted.
We think that prior infection is not nearly sufficient to protect people to protect them from Omicron. But what we are learning minute to minute day-by-day.
LEMON: So much of this virus has been politicized, doctor, among unvaccinated people nearly 80 percent --
LEMON: -- disapprove of Biden's handling of the pandemic. Our ability to get this under control is a huge part because of people refusing to get vaccinated. So, what do you say to the vaccine hesitant out there, at this moment?
REINER: Vaccines are, wildly, popular in the United States. Eighty- three percent of adults in this country have been vaccinated. I can't think of another issue in this country that has 83 percent approval of the entire adult population. So, the 17 percent, the 45 million adults who refused to get
vaccinated are literally the tail wagging dog right now. And I've been a strong proponent of ratcheting up the incentive for folks to get vaccinated. And I think what the administration missed a big opportunity this week to tell the American people that we are going to mandate vaccinations for air travel in the United States.
We -- we are requiring vaccination for people traveling into the United States. So, why are we mandating vaccination for people traveling within the United States?
I think is -- I think we know that -- we know that mandates work, and, if the unvaccinated in this country start to understand that no one can force them to get vaccinated, but they can be prevented from flying in this country if they don't. I think we'll see many, many people up to get the shot.
LEMON: Dr. Reiner, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us.
REINER: My pleasure, Don.
LEMON: Threats against fellow members of Congress rejecting the science of vaccines fueling the culture wars. The GOP umping up the political divide and Biden seems powerless to stop it. Guess who is here, historian Jon Meacham. I'm going to talk about it with him next.
LEMON (on camera): So, President Biden won the White House on a message of uniting the country. But look at where we are right now. A conservative majority Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning nearly 50 years of settled law on abortion rights. And the ongoing politization of COVID is hammering is really hampering efforts to fight a winter surge.
So, what is happening in America? That's a good question to discuss with presidential historian Jon Meacham. He occasionally, by the way, advises President Biden, and is the writer and narrator of It Was Said podcast. Jon, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.
JON MEACHAM, HISTORIAN & AUTHOR: Thanks.
LEMON: When, you know, when we asked you for your thoughts on the week, you told us that the power of voting was on display. Elaborate on that for me, sir, please.
MEACHAM: Well, think about it. I mean, everything we're seeing this week goes back to the people we elect to office and then the ways we the people incentivize them once in power. And so, there's -- I think there's kind of a running theme here.
One is we saw the Supreme Court arguments. President Trump got three appointments because he was President Trump and that -- if you need any other example of why presidential elections matter and Senate elections matter, there it is. And we can argue all you want about Mitch McConnell and legitimacy and rules of the Senate.
But the fact remains that if Hillary Clinton had been president, you would not have had those arguments that you heard this week. And so that's a primary point there. The terrible shootings, the -- which are all too common, you know, look, I'm a southerner. I own guns. The safest place to be a duck is to be somewhere near me when I have a gun.
But absolutely without question sensible gun laws, which should be passed if the right people are elected are essential because the argument that somehow, well, you know, you can't stop every shooting, that's a crazy argument. The point is you were just saying something like this, the point is what if you stop one? What if you save a single life? Isn't that a moral obligation we have to protect the people of this country?
That's a right to life. That's an essential right. That's a Jeffersonian innate understanding of America. And I think the president, look, what I would say to folks I suspect there are some millions of people who are somehow frustrated by the president right now who are telling pollsters they don't approve of what he's doing, OK.
But you have -- politics is a comparative choice. Right? It's about -- it's not just about is this person good, it's about is this person better? Lincoln once said the question is not can we imagine better, it's can we do better?
And so, in many ways, I think that we need in this depth of crisis, a crisis of trust, a crisis of the efficacy of government, I think it's inherent, I think it's a burden on a lot of folks to say you know what? Presidents get two or three big things right. And if they get two or three big things right, history honors them. And I think we have to, I believe, give President Biden a bit more latitude here.
Now I would say that as you point out, I'm his friend I've try to help him but I believe that historically and I believe that in my soul, really.
LEMON: Listen, the economy, jobs, education, it all comes down to getting the pandemic under control. That's what people really care. You know, we talk about a lot of things. What people, the economy is always number one.
Many Republican politicians are showing that they are willing to put their supporters and the health of the body politics at risk by encouraging them to reject lifesaving vaccines. Have we seen anything like this before, Jon?
MEACHAM: No, I mean, I think what you're seeing there is the triumph of a will to power. Right? It's about appealing to a base of folks who for a whole -- whole variety of reasons are alienated from I think science, reason, argument. And what you have to do then and again, we don't have to get 90
percent of people to agree on something but we do need to get back to where we're at least a 52, 48 countries. Forty percent of the country is always largely unreachable. Right? And that's just, that's what history tells us.
But there are and probably folks who watch you on occasion, there are reachable people. And what we have to do is make the case that this is not just about the health of the public, it's about your health. And democracy is run -- you and I have talked about this before. Democracy is run on a sense of seeing each other not as adversaries but as neighbors. Not that we have to love each other and cut each other's lawns but we do have to help each other when you're in trouble because it's in your self-interest.
If you help somebody else, they're much more likely to help you when you need it. I think that that kind of conversation, that kind of ethos can be the fuel of a democracy that works. If we don't find that, then this experiment two and a half centuries which is counter intuitive, right?
Democracy is a counter intuitive thing. The natural impulse of world history is to go to an authoritarian strong man let them, you know, demonize the other and fight your enemies for you, enemies real and imagined. That's the way the world usually works.
America was built on this idea, founded on this idea that we have these innate rights that in fact we can use our minds as well as simply react from our guts. Right now, there is too much gut and there's not enough mind.
LEMON: I hope some folks will listen to you and I hope we get back to what you were saying. Jon Meacham, always a pleasure, thank you, sir.
MEACHAM: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Thank you.
Our breaking news. A manhunt underway for the parents of the suspect in the Michigan high school shooting. We've got a live report from the ground, next.