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Email Warned Law Enforcement of 1/6 "Mass Casualty Event"; Telecom & Social Media Grapple with How to Respond to 1/6 Select Committee; CNN POLL: Americans More Pessimistic about U.S. & Economy; Chris Christie Takes Thinly Veiled Shots at Trump; Second Passenger Flight Departs Kabul with Americans Onboard. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired September 10, 2021 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Well, CNN has learned of a major red flag that was missed potentially in a law enforcement email drafted two days before the January 6th attack on the capitol. It warned of a possible "mass casualty event."

Let's talk about this. Bring in CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, and CNN congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles.

Ryan, first, where did this email come from, this message, and what did it say?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, this email was derived from a conference all that was held with more than 300 law enforcement officers from around the country that are a part of what are called Fusion Centers.


Which is basically a combined group of law enforcement professionals in different regions of the country whose responsibility it is to communicate with each other, to hold off any type of potential threat.

And they were briefed by the director of Homeland Security for the Washington, D.C., government, who said that there had -- received an increased chatter about the potential of violence that could occur around this Stop the Steal rally that was basically the prelude to the insurrection that took place here on January 6th.

And what's so alarming about this conference call and then subsequent email that detailed what went on in this conference call is that it happened just two days before the rally.

And in the days and weeks after all this took place, many of these different Senate committees, this testimony that we've heard, that runs completely counter to what many of these law enforcement officials have said.

That the intelligence surrounding what could happen here on January 6th lacked a degree of cohesion, that even though they were concerned about a possible threat, they never thought that it would be organized to what exactly happened here on January 6th.

This email and conference call at least gives some indication that there was a real concern about this happening.

So it begs the question, Victor, why wasn't there more put in place to prevent this kind of mass-scale incident that turned out happening here on January 6th?

BLACKWELL: Yes, possible mass casualty event sounds pretty clear. Of course, that will be investigated by this committee that's now looking into 1/6.

And we know they sent out this request to the telecom companies, social media companies, Jessica, and they received -- this committee's received a lot of documents.

What do we know about them?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the committee's being vague, Victor, but the deadline was last night.

The committee now saying they have received thousands of pages in response. And that they're actively engaged in keeping this flow of information going.

It really was a range of requests from the committee very wide- ranging. There were really three sets of demands.

First, an array of government agencies were asked, that includes FBI, DHS, DOJ, crucially the National Archives, which holds the White House records from the Trump administration.

And then there were those demands to telecom and social media companies.

And what we've heard back so far from the actual agencies is that they're saying, really, only they're working to fulfill the requests. They've handed some over.

The tech companies, many aren't responding, but saying that they are cooperating without providing any details.

The National Archives, though, it could be key. That's the -- the committee that called for them to hand over call logs and schedules from Trump's family members on January 6th, and some of his key advisors like the former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, White House counsel, Pat Cipollone.

That's going to be key because it's unclear if the Biden White House could assert executive privilege to avoid this precedent if they did hand over the records. Maybe even Trump or his team could fight this in court.

Regardless, a lot of this could be fought in court, whether it's the government agencies or social media or telecom companies. We could expect a broad legal fight here -- Victor?

BLACKWELL: Jessica Schneider, Ryan Nobles, thank you.

President Biden says his patience is wearing thin when it comes to the unvaccinated and their role in the pandemic. And according to new CNN poll numbers, he's not alone. How Americans are rating the state of the country. That's next.



BLACKWELL: Some breaking news just coming in. A major win for the Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. A state appeals court has reinstated a ban on mask mandates in schools.

Now, what does this mean? It means that schools cannot require kids to wear masks, at least while this case plays out through the court system.

Lawyers for DeSantis filed the emergency appeal this week. This was after a circuit judge paused the ban.

Now, the spread of COVID across the country, it's fueling Americans' concerns about the economy and the overall direction of the country.

According to a new CNN poll, 69 percent of Americans are not happy with the current state of this country.

Now, that is below the pandemic-era high of 77 percent. That was in January before President Biden took office. But it is well above the 60 percent who felt that way in March.

And the rising pessimism is also reflected in Americans' view of how President Biden is performing at his job: 52 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove. And that disapproval number is up several points since April.

Natasha Alford is CNN political analyst and senior correspondent for "The Grio."

Natasha, thanks for being with us.

Let's start with the approval numbers. We expect that a new president's approval numbers will settle or drop, what, eight months after inauguration.

But President Biden has had a rough period with Afghanistan and COVID, crime going up in cities across the country. What numbers stand out to you?

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, Victor, well, I think you make a really great point, which is that this administration has watched crisis after crisis hit the American people.

And we are facing a crisis that's really unprecedented, at least for, you know, modern history, and so the fatigue is very real.

But for me, what stands out is that these numbers are still very partisan.

So Democrats are still broadly very supportive of President Biden and what he has been able to do, the lofty promises and goals that he set and the steps that have been taken towards them.


But we're seeing that Independents are really that group that you're seeing an increase in, in disapproval.

And I think that makes sense when you consider that, you know, we're seeing more issues where the White House and the Biden administration is being expected to take a stand, everything from the Texas abortion law to voting rights.

And so I think that folks who fall along those partisan lines are going to react in that way in terms of negativity.

BLACKWELL: Now, you point out the partisan nature of some of the numbers. But let's look between the parties here at these Independents.

The number of those, April, 43 percent, disapproved of the president's job performance. That's now up 11 percent to 54 percent now in September.

That's not partisan here. This has to be troubling for the White House.

ALFORD: Exactly. So, I mean, you know, issues like abortion and voting rights, those are really divisive, right?

But when you talk about things like the economy, that affects everyone. That's not necessarily a red and blue issue or the reality of COVID, and whether people are -- whether people will be able to recover or not.

And so, I think it's really hard to think about recovery and moving forward when you don't know what the future holds.

And I think, even looking at these numbers, although people are pessimistic, we have to understand that everything is interconnected, right?

So, there may be concerns and criticism about the Biden administration with the economy.

But the economy can't move forward if people can't make plans. If they're afraid to open businesses. If they can't travel. If they don't know when they're going back to the office. And so, I think all of these issues are very much interconnected. And

that's why you are seeing that pessimism come through across the board with, you know, his approval ratings dropping, even amongst some Democrats.

And so I think --


ALFORD: -- shows why September is such a huge month for getting things done.


ALFORD: It's really a now-or-never situation.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Chris Christie. I wanted to get this in before we go. Delivered this speech yesterday. Sounds like clearly he's looking toward 2024, literally, under a banner that says, "A time for choosing."

Here's a portion of his remarks.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: No man, no woman, no matter what office they've held or wealth they've acquired, are worthy of blind faith or obedience.

That's not who I am. And that's not who we are as Republicans. No matter who is demanding that we tie our future to a pile of lies.

See, we deserve much better than to be misled by those trying to acquire or hold on to power.


BLACKWELL: This is like one of those social media challenges. Tell me you're talking about Donald Trump without telling me you're talking about Donald Trump.


BLACKWELL: I mean, there have been people who have clearly named him -- I'm thinking Mitt Romney -- and have been pummeled by the former president's base.

What's the audience for this? What's the potency of something like this?

ALFORD: Well, Victor, I'm laughing because I'm thinking of my girl, Summer Walker, say my name, right, destiny's child, say my name Very clear whose name he is not saying.

And I think that speaks to how Chris Christie is also trying to walk the line. He wants to frame himself as this reasonable Republican, one who is downing the conspiracy theories, and he's very ethical and bringing the Republican Party back to its principles.

But that ship has sailed. And he's speaking way too late on the issue because the reality is the influence does lie with the pushers of the conspiracy theories and those who have chosen to elevate lies over truth.

And so, it feels like a little bit too little too late.

BLACKWELL: Natasha Alford, thank you.

ALFORD: Thanks for having me.


BLACKWELL: All right, another passenger jet took off from Kabul this morning. What we know about who was on board and where they're headed. That's next.


BLACKWELL: In just the past few hours, and for the second day in a row now, a charter flight took off from Kabul airport. A Qatar official tells CNN the flight has on board more than 150 passengers, including 19 American citizens.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Kabul.

Nic, it took a few days to get the first post-withdrawal flight off the ground and now two in two days. Is there any indication this pace will continue?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The indications are that it will. There's a potential for it to speed up if the Taliban keep to their word.

Because it does seem we're progressing towards regular international flights resuming possibly sometime next week. That's what the indications are pointing to.

This 158 people getting out of this charter Americans, Canadians, Germans, Britain's, Dutch and Belgians as well getting out. French had 59 people fly out not sure if they are all on that airport flight.

We know from the spokeswoman of the National Security Council in the United States saying that 11 legal permanent residents of the United States and two U.S. citizens left Afghanistan today by a road route.


So the indications are that the technicalities of making all these things happen there, they in place.

Big questions remain about the many thousands that want to leave who have worked with the United States, who feel their lives are in danger, and who have the correct paperwork to get out of the country if the Taliban will let that happen. That has yet to be really tested in meaningful numbers.

But the place we're at today, it does seem for now these flights will continue -- Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right. Nic Robertson there on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, where you were on the tenth anniversary, keeping the full scope of what's happening there in Afghanistan.

Nic, thank you so much.

President Biden's vaccine mandate will impact up to 100 million American workers. We'll talk about how business leaders are responding.