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Biden Rejects Trump Request To Withhold Docs From January 6 Committee; No Physical Signs Of Brian Laundrie In Florida Nature Reserve; U.S. COVID Cases, Hospitalizations And Deaths Dropping; Pfizer Seeks Emergency Authorization To Vaccinate Kids 5-11; Interview With Former Democratic Presidential Candidate And NY Mayoral Candidate, Andrew Yang; Most Abortions In Texas Banned Again After Court Ruling. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 09, 2021 - 15:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: It's not his call anymore. That falls to the guy who defeated him and President Joe Biden is refusing to assert executive privilege to keep these documents under wraps. This seems all but certain to lead to a legal show down as the House Select Committee investigating January 6th wants these documents.

That investigation is zeroing in on four close Trump associates. A source tells CNN Dan Scavino has finally been served with a subpoena. The former presidential aide to Donald Trump and deputy chief of staff had been MIA earlier this week. Former chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Pentagon official Kash Patel are so far engaging, we are told, according to the committee, but there is a holdout.

In a shocking no one kind of mood here, former White House chief of staff -- excuse me, chief strategist, Steve Bannon, will not cooperate with the investigators. His lawyer telling the committee that, quote, "the executive privileges belong to President Trump." So let's go to CNN's Arlette Saenz in Wilmington, Delaware.

Arlette, what does the White House have to say about this assertion that Trump still holds this power of executive privilege. I assume they disagree with that but I'm curious as to how long this battle can play out.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, the White House argues that these are extraordinary circumstances, and that President Biden wants to ensure that the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection has all the documents and information it needs. So President Biden decided not to assert executive privilege over those Trump administration documents that the former president, President Trump, is trying to do.

The White House counsel Dana Remus sent a letter to the National Archives outlining their reasoning, and she wrote, in part, "The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield from Congress or the public information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself." A reference to efforts to overturn the election. And White House press secretary Jen Psaki echoed that argument as well. Take a listen.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are moments throughout history where presidents and White Houses have asserted executive privilege. We will continue to evaluate those on a case-by-case basis, but this committee is investigating a dark day in our democracy, an attempt to undermine our Constitution and Democratic processes by the former president. And that context I think is important here, too.


SAENZ: Now Psaki would not say what kind of documents this might include, whether it's phone records or visitors logs, but it's also worth noting that this decision applies just to an initial set of documents that were submitted to the Biden White House and former President Trump's attorneys in early September. The White House has said that they are reviewing other documents and that decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

But this all sets up a possible legal fight between the Biden White House and the former president. Many legal experts argue that the decisions over executive privilege sit with the current president, not the former. But it's totally expected that the former president will try to fight this.

But bottom line what the Biden White House has tried to argue is that they want to provide as much information as possible to the House Select Committee as they're trying to get to the bottom of what transpired around the January 6th insurrection.

ACOSTA: All right, Arlette Saenz, thank you so much for that.

Joining me now Republican strategist Alice Stewart and White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief with "TheGrio," April Ryan.

Alice, Trump trying to assert privilege over these documents. It's obviously no surprise. He says it's about defending the Office of the Presidency. It's also about saving his own skin. But it seems like this is really just a ploy for time. It's a delay tactic to see how long we can drag this out.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. The key was that executive privilege is it applies to the executive and he's no longer the executive. And it does apply to Joe Biden and the president -- current president is not going along with it. And this is similar, in my view, to not releasing his tax returns and he does not want people to know what he does not want people to know, and he doesn't want this information to get out.

The problem is we do know this is going to happen. As you say, I expect them to slow-roll this but try and continue to legally challenge this in hopes of Republicans taking over the House and Senate next year, and being able to dismantle this investigation. The problem with this, from a communication standpoint, rule number one with a crisis, you get it out, you get it over and you get on with policy.

And all the time we're talking about this, we're not talking about the important policies that unite the Republican Party.

ACOSTA: Yes. And April, I mean, we're just getting to the point where they're threatening, you know, criminal referrals and whatnot if Steve Bannon doesn't comply with this and we're nine months after the January 6th insurrection. It does not -- it's not a really stretch to imagine that this could play out for months and the Democrats could just run out of time.


APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The bottom line is, run out of time because we have elections coming.

ACOSTA: Right.

RYAN: And there could be a shift in Washington on these -- well, on one end of Pennsylvania Avenue for now. But we have to look at this. Steve Bannon is that man who stood by President Trump at that time. He was the de facto president, if you will. They were in lockstep. So we shouldn't be surprised that Steve Bannon is not offering to talk. What is it, snitches get stitches? He doesn't want that repercussion from the Trump base to come after him like they've gone after Vice President Pence.

But there is something there. I think about a conversation I had early on, nine months ago, with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. She was walking in the halls that day and she ran into someone, after she voted, ran into someone who was lost, who was supposed to be with the group. And she said, young man, how did you get here? He said my trip -- he said my trip was paid for. Something is there.


RYAN: And then she said after that she ran into her office. There is something there.

ACOSTA: And Alice, you would think Republicans would be outraged by this, trying to impede an investigation into a domestic terror attack in which police officers were harmed and killed in some cases. Why is that not the case?

STEWART: It is the case. There are a lot of Republicans, traditional Republicans, myself included, going back to this election. They did not belief there was widespread voter fraud. They believe that Joe Biden was the duly elected president. They did not support the notion to contest the electoral college votes. And they certainly did not support this inciting the insurrection. And Republicans are frustrated with that.

It's a big part of why we lost the two Senate races in Georgia because of so much emphasis on this. And behind the scenes traditional Republicans would like to see this get discussed, the questions be answered, and let's put this behind us because we know that we have the wind at our sail with all of the policy failures of the Biden administration and the disarray amongst the Democrats.

Republicans need to take this opportunity to unite together on policies and put January 6th in the rearview mirror.

ACOSTA: April, last night Bill Maher on HBO, he had a bleak prediction for the 2024 election. Let's watch it and talk about it. It does raise some eyebrows.


BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": Even if they win, Trump won't accept it. But this time his claims of illegal voting by immigrants or mail-in ballots coming in after the deadline or the system was hacked by Venezuela, or whatever Giuliani comes up with on the fly. They will be fully embraced by the stooges he's installing right now.

What happens when two presidential candidates show up on inauguration day both expecting to be sworn in like a bad sitcom pilot? The dingdongs who sacked the capital last year, that was like when al Qaeda tried to take down the World Trade Center the first time with a van. It was a joke. But the next time they came back with planes. I hope I scared the [EXPLETIVE DELETED] out of you.


ACOSTA: What do you think, April?

RYAN: He did scare the fecal material out of me. It is a real concept that could actually happen. You have a man, Donald John Trump, who is an entertainer, who does not have a grasp of history and truth. Who is pandering to a large swath of this nation who believes that he is like them. What is it, familiarity makes you like someone? They feel that they are him and he is them. And it's not the case.

They ran out on his behest and others on January 6th, almost took down the Capitol, our leadership, the nation's leadership. Imagine what they will do the next time at his behest. There is a difference in America, America's foundation has been shaken, and it's scary. Even if Joe Biden -- you've got states now talking about, well, we still need to go certify and audit. It's over.

ACOSTA: Right. The Arizona audit confirmed that Biden won the election.


RYAN: By more points.

STEWART: By even more points than before. But the reality is while this is --

ACOSTA: Wait, is that a plausible scenario, Alice, do you think?

STEWART: No, that's not going to happen.

RYAN: I didn't want to believe January 6th would happen, but look what happened.

STEWART: Look, the Republican Party recognizes the fact that we need to unite behind the fact that we have free and fair elections. There are certainly individual states that are taking an opposing view. But Republicans are rallying behind the idea that we have the policy argument on our side with regard to the policies that were -- there are so many areas of contrast with the current administration, with Afghanistan, and the border, the jobs report. So many areas that we can focus on.


And January 6th, for many of us, we realize that's a very core segment of the Republican Party. Yes, Donald Trump's base really relies behind that, but we understand we have to grow. We're bigger than --

ACOSTA: Well, not everybody understands it because --

RYAN: But you have a lot of Marjorie Taylor Greenes out there.

ACOSTA: And you wouldn't have -- you wouldn't have some of these, you know, primary candidates who are trying to primary these Republicans in various, you know, states and districts, you know, knocking folks out because they've got Trump's backing. I mean, that is --

RYAN: Larry Elder, California, come on. With the recall?

STEWART: But I'm talking about in terms of big picture, the midterm elections and certainly in 2024, the party realizes that we lost the House, the Senate and the White House, under Trump's tone and tenor. That is not a winning playbook moving forward. And in order to regain these valuable seats, many realize that we have to use a different playbook next time.

ACOSTA: All right. Alice and April, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Coming up, the manhunt for Brian Laundrie and new details about his parents' interaction with police. That's next.



ACOSTA: Police have now spent three weeks searching a swampy and gator infested Florida nature reserve for Brian Laundrie and this weekend there are questions as to whether the entire search up to this point has been in vain. Authorities say not only have they found zero signs of Laundrie in the reserve but that the only reason they ever centered their search there in the first place was at the direction of Laundrie's parents, the same couple who refused to talk to police when their son's fiancee Gabby Petito went missing.

CNN's Nadia Romero is in North Port, Florida, outside the Laundrie's home.

Nadia, what do we know about the interaction between the Laundries and police at this point?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, that first police interaction, or one of the first that we learned about, Jim, made investigators really have some suspicions and raised some red flags. So Gabby Petito's family reported her missing on September 11th then North Port police officers came to this house right behind me because Gabby once lived here with her fiance Brian and their parents before that road trip out west.

And when they arrived, they were told that basically they weren't going to answer any questions about Gabby Petito. Instead they handed police officers a card, a business card with the information of their attorney. So they already had an attorney and they weren't going to answer any questions. It was at that point that investigators say they were a bit suspicious and they started to surveil Brian Laundrie at that time.

But, remember, when Gabby Petito was reported missing and the time that Brian Laundrie went missing himself, there's a bit of a timeline that's a little hard to understand, confusing, because the parents told investigators that Brian Laundrie went missing on September 14th. That was the last day they saw and heard from him. But then this week they said, oh, no, actually it was the day before, on September 13th.

And so CNN, we asked Brian Laundrie's family if they were going to take a polygraph test so that we could see if they're telling the truth or not about some of these different timelines and dates and their story and the attorney said not at this time. So all of -- everything that we have right now, all of the evidence or the lack of evidence, or the direction that the investors are going to right now is all because of what the Laundrie parents told them, that their son went missing on September 14th, wait, no, now the 13th, and that he went to Carlton Reserve.

And Chris Laundrie went with them to show the FBI some of the areas in that reserve where their son liked to go, some of the hikes and areas where he may be. Now we're being told that the water is that reserve receding a bit, it was flooded out over the past couple of weeks, waist deep water, gators, snakes. It really wasn't -- it was a very dangerous place to be. Now that the water has receded it's giving those investigators a better opportunity to go back out and search for Brian Laundrie.

But, Jim, we don't really have any evidence that he was ever there, only the word of his parents.


JOSH TAYLOR, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, NORTH PORT POLICE: I mean, the guy goes for a walk in the Carlton Reserve. He's now wanted for a crime. I mean, what are we supposed to do? We're going to go tree to tree? Tree to tree following him back through the woods? I mean, you know, it just wasn't there with the information we had in this case.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) ROMERO: And that was North Port police officer spokesperson there talking about how they didn't have any legal grounds to arrest Brian Laundrie or to really surveil him anymore than they had before they found Gabby Petito's body in Wyoming and realized that she was dead. And then they started more of an investigation looking into Brian Laundrie but when they were initially surveilling him, there was no body, there was no crime, and they couldn't do more.

That's what we heard from North Port police. Of course now, Jim, the FBI is in charge of this investigation.

ACOSTA: All right, Nadia Romero, thank you so much.

Here to discuss all of this, retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente. He's also a writer, producer for "Criminal Minds" on CBS.

Jim, as we just heard, police say Brian Laundrie's parents are the only ones directing the search to this Florida nature preserve. We even saw Laundrie's father out there at one point assisting police by pointing out Brian's favorite trails but they have found no physical evidence we're told that Laundrie was ever in that reserve. And considering the amount of controversy surrounding his parents do you think police should be taking tips from them?

JIM CLEMENTE, RETIRED FBI PROFILER: Well, unfortunately, Jim, I think that's the only source they have. So they have to rely on something. The fact that they're searching and they haven't found anything yet, it doesn't bode well for him being found or found alive anyway in that location. However, I think he had plenty of time to get away to other locations, as I said before. I think he could have made it to the Appalachian trail and hidden somewhere along there in a cave or a ravine or even just in a tent off the trail.


But I think they need to keep looking where they have a report of him last being located. And that is the game preserve.

ACOSTA: Right. And do you think -- I mean, what's your sense at this point? I mean, do we even know if he's still alive? We don't know that, do we?

CLEMENTE: No, we don't. We don't know that. But I think -- I don't think he went there to take his life. I think he is a scrappy guy. I think he is used to being out in the wilderness and I think he's probably still alive if he's out there.

But I think the parents and their behavior has been quite problematic. There's a number of things they've done that really, I don't know, sent up red flags. Having a lawyer as a buffer when they themselves are not at all at legal risk, as far as anyone knows, that's unusual.

As well as them not participating in the investigation, not cooperating with respect to Gabby's death. Only with respect to trying to find Brian. And not making a public plea to have Brian turn himself in? I think it's a flimsy excuse to say they think he's still in the game preserve so they haven't made the pleas when they have press right in front of their door every day.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, it makes you wonder how large this area is and why they just haven't ruled it out and moved on to something else.

Let's play a clip from an interview that Gabby Petito's parents and stepparents gave this week. In it they described how the Laundrie family responded when they first realized Gabby was missing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you all called?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You called, you called, you called?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell you how many times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You called and he called.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did you get?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing. Voice mails.

JOSEPH PETITO, GABBY PETITO'S FATHER: Then I would send texts on top of that.


PETITO: One of the text, I mean, I was going to call the police, right, you know, just letting you know. Because we have no idea. No responses. A normal parent, when you text someone that they're going to call the cops because you can't find your child, they would reply.


PETITO: No response, no nothing.


ACOSTA: Yes. What do you think about that, Jim?

CLEMENTE: Well, it's very disturbing. Why would they be so silent? Gabby lived with them for a time. It wasn't like she was just somebody their son was seeing. She lived there. In their home. And they seem to have absolutely no concern at that point for her well-being. It's really problematic.

ACOSTA: And do the parents need to take a polygraph test, in your view? Is that appropriate? You know, can that happen at this point in the investigation? CLEMENTE: Yes, it's absolutely appropriate. And I think if they

continue to refuse, as they have at this point, they could be brought in front of a grand jury, and they could be compelled to testify. And that's something, I think, that the FBI is considering. And maybe just waiting to see what happens with the search for Brian before they do that.

ACOSTA: And we're still learning new details about the timeline of the case. The Laundrie family attorney has now revealed that Brian briefly flew home to Florida in August, he left five days after his fight with Gabby Petito, and returned shortly before Petito was last scene.

The Laundrie's family attorney says Brian flew home to empty a storage unit in order to save money. Petito alleged stayed in a hotel while he was gone. This all sounds very convoluted. What do you make of this?

CLEMENTE: It is very interesting. His behavior obviously is raising red flags all over the place. I know he's not a named suspect in Gabby's death. But I think his behavior, coupled with the behavior of his parents, likely indicates some kind of connection, between Brian and Gabby's death.

ACOSTA: And let's switch gears, and let me ask you about this new development involving the Zodiac killer investigation. An independent group of former law enforcement officials say they've identified him. It's fascinating. They claim they have physical and forensic evidence that the infamous serial killer was a man who died in 2018.

Jim, you've conducted investigations into suspects in this decades old case. What do you make of this latest claim that the case may have been solved? What do you think?

CLEMENTE: Well, I think the FBI's statement is very definitive. They say that the case remains open and unsolved. And I don't think they would have done that if this had been a verified suspect in this case. I think, at this point, the FBI will not make a statement that the case is solved until there's enough evidence to actually present at a trial. Whether the suspect is alive or dead. They won't do that. And I know that they have been using genetic genealogy or forensic genealogy to solve a number of cold cases.


And I'm pretty sure that the Zodiac case is one of the ones they're actually working on right now. So that may be why they made the statement. However, I think this group of law enforcement, former law enforcement, I think they, like many others, believe they solved the ciphers and that everything fits. But this has happened before and all those other attempts have washed out.

ACOSTA: All right, Jim Clemente. Thanks so much, appreciate it as always.

Coming up a potential milestone in the latest U.S. COVID surge. Is the country finally turning a corner? Plus how close are we to shots for kids as young as the age of 5? We'll ask one of our medical experts. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


ACOSTA: It's not mission accomplished yet but the U.S. appears to be turning a corner in the fight against COVID.

Hospitalization, cases and deaths continue to fall nationwide. And for the first time in two months, new COVID infections have dipped below 100,000 a day.

And 66 percent of all eligible Americans are vaccinated. A sign the country's grip on the pandemic is getting stronger.

Joining us now is Dr. Megan Ranney. She's a professor of emergency medicine and the associate dean of public health at Brown University.

Dr. Ranney, great to see you.

Do you think we're turning a corner? Too premature to say that? What do you think?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PROFESSOR & ASSOCIATE DEAN OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BROWN UNIVERSITY: I hope we're turning a corner. And we've certainly seen encouraging numbers from many states. But there are other states just seeing the surges from Delta.

Jim, I feel if we've learned anything during the pandemic, we've been trying to say it's over since Easter of 2020 and the virus keeps coming back again.

So it is far too early to take that victory lap. There's a lot between here and there.

We have to get more people vaccinated. We have the cold weather coming. We know the virus spreads more easily when people are indoors and in the cold weather.

And we have to get the rest of the globe vaccinated because we have a lot of folks out there that are getting sick across the world. And there's a chance of new variants yet to come.

ACOSTA: I was hoping to breathe a sigh of relief but I know it's too early to do that.

Pfizer announced this week, it's seeking emergency use authorization for its vaccine in kids 5 to 11. If authorized, it would be the first COVID vaccine for younger kids.

What timeline are we looking at? And what level of vaccination do we need for it to make a difference in the 5-to-11 age group. And I suppose it'll bump up that fully vaccinated number, which would be nice.

RANNEY: That's exactly right. I have a kid in that 5-to-11 age range and I was hoping to be able to get him vaccinated around Halloween. I think, at this point, given when the FDA is meeting and when the CDC

council approves the vaccine, we're not looking until early to mid- November.

The other important thing to know is that the dosing for these younger kids is going to be different from the dosing for teens and for adults. So the pharmacies are going to have to get the new viles in and get used to the new dosing protocols as well.

I'm telling most people to expect your kids will be eligible for vaccination before Thanksgiving, with a caution they'll only have gotten the first dose in.

It means, before we get to the holidays, to winter, to Christmas, to Hanukkah, most of our 5-to-11-year-olds will at least have had the chance to be fully vaccinated.

Which, of course, helps, as you said, with our overall numbers across the country.

And will also help stop community spread, help keep schools open, and help move us a little closer to that end game where we're not talking about COVID every day any longer.

ACOSTA: Yes, the pharmacies are going to have to stock up on lollipops and stickers, too. Aren't they? You have to reward the kids for getting the shots.

Doctor, FDA vaccine advisers are meeting next week to discuss Moderna and Johnson & Johnson applications for booster shots. Everybody is talking about booster shots.

Right now, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved under emergency use for the booster.

What do you expect will happen at the meeting? And do think we will see these boosters from Moderna and J&J soon?


ACOSTA: Hint, hint, I want to know immediately.

RANNEY: I expect we'll see a booster within the same general category as we had for Pfizer. So about six months out from that first shot or first series of shots and for age 65-plus as well as higher-risk people in the younger age categories.

The important thing to know is, if you have received Moderna or J&J, you're still pretty well protected. They seem to be holding up better than Pfizer against the Delta variant.

The other important thing to know is, if you are not yet six months from that first series, you should not rush out to get a booster. It could actually potentially do harm and certainly won't do as much good as if you wait longer to get the booster or yourself. The other thing I'm keeping my eye on are the mix-and-match boosters,

which many of us have been talking about. There are on-goings studies that, if you got J&J, you can then get Moderna or Pfizer and vice versa. It can switch around.

And it may actually result in stronger immunity. And we're waiting to hear what the FDA has to say on that as well.

ACOSTA: That's interesting. All, right, we'll have to watch out for that.

Dr. Megan Ranney, thanks again so much. As always, we appreciate it.

RANNEY: Thank you, Jim.


ACOSTA: All right. Coming up, former presidential candidate and New York mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang, breaks up with the Democratic Party. He joins me to explains why, next.


ACOSTA: This week, Andrew Yang surprised a lot of people when he announced he's breaking up with the Democratic Party despite running as a Democrat in both the 2020 presidential election and New York's mayoral election this year.

Instead, Yang is starting what he calls the Forward Party. And he's the author of the new book, "Forward, Notes on the Future of Our Democracy."

Joining us is the Democrat-turned-registered Independent and now hopeful third-party founder, Andrew yang.


Andrew, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

You know what the critics are saying, that this is a bit of sour grapes, you lost in the presidential race, in the primary there, and up in New York City, and that's why you're starting this third party, the Forward Party.

Which, as you know, can hurt Democrats and help Trump.

What do you say to those criticisms?

ANDREW YANG, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Jim, right now, we can sense that polarization is getting worse and worse. Political stress is literally at civil-war levels. Unfortunately, the incentives are driving us in that direction.

So what we need to do is actually fix the system that is driving us crazy and pitting us against each other, by opening up the primaries and installing ranked-choice voting in states around the country.

And because it needs to happen in red and blue states alike, it's much more likely to be successful if it was led by someone who's a political Independent.

And on the timing front, people know it takes about a year to write a book, so it would be difficult for me to somehow formulated this over the last number of weeks. I've been thinking about this for quite some time.

ACOSTA: I remember all too well, Andrew, your motto that was on your lapel pin, "Math, Make America Think Harder."

If you do the math, let's say you run for president in 2024, you would likely cut into the support for a Democratic contender.

And if Donald Trump is running on the Republican ticket, you would help make him president again?

YANG: First, we should be focused on 2022. There's a lot of great work that can be done.

But for people concerned about what's called the spoiler effect, what you just described, Jim, we need a system to allow different points of view to emerge.

If you had ranked-choice voting, first, it could completely get rid of the spoiler. And that's exactly where we should go.

And, second, ranked-choice voting would diminish the extremes.

If Republicans used it during the ranked-choice process in 2016, Donald Trump probably never would have become president because his support was greater than other candidates but was below 51 percent.

So a process change actually it will restore sanity and reasonableness in the country.

ACOSTA: I hear what you're saying. And I want to talk about your book. But if I can press you on that just a little bit.

You know what happens, for example, the 2000 election with Ralph Nader. You've seen what's happened in other election. Jill Stein, for example, in 2016.

There's that potential, if you were to run again, you could play the spoiler. Isn't that just true? That's just true, right?

YANG: Again, that's why we need to be focused on the 2022 races, to open up the primaries and have better incentives for our leaders.

And the biggest example of this is, in Alaska, where Senator Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican Senator to vote to impeach Donald Trump and is up for re-election next year.

Why did she do this? She did it, in part, because, in Alaska, they have open primaries and ranked-choice voting.

Imagine next fall unlocking let's call it a dozen Senators or legislators from the incentives where they're tied to the extreme.

That's where my attention is and where all of us should be focused.

ACOSTA: I won't keep hammering you on the spoiler thing.

Let me ask you about your book. In your book, you write about your experience running for president.

And you say, quote, "The people around me treated me as either a celebrity or a product that hundreds of staffers were focused on selling. And everyone in my orbit started treating me like I might be a presidential contender. I was getting a crash course in how we treat the very powerful. And it was weird."

Let's talk about that. What came out of that?

YANG: I wanted to give some people insight into what our process actually is, Jim. And the fact is, our process does not bring out the best in people.

It's one reason why good people don't go into politics. It's one reason why, if you are a reasonable person, you get thrust into this position where your incentives end up pushing and pulling you in different ways.

And that's what's wrong with our political system right now. Where, if someone gets elected into office, they have to listen to the 20 percent most extreme voters who determine whether they're going to keep their job in 83 districts around the country.

So I was trying to share my story so people understand that this system is not designed to succeed. That's what we have to change.

ACOSTA: It is producing some candidates we might be better off without, no question about it.

But I want to ask you, Andrew, because you're talking about fixing the system and talking about bringing better people into the political process.

I have to ask you about an interview you did with Tucker Carlson recently. It took a bizarre turn when Tucker suddenly brought up the Unabomber.

I want to play this and ask you about this on the other side.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT": Ted Kaczynski has written convincingly on this, the Unabomber. Bad person but a smart analysis, I think, of the way systems work.

[15:45:05] And his argument is that large organizations over time morph into purely self-preservation projects. Like a big system, in the end, protects itself, and that's all it does. So our two-party system is certainly in that category.

There are so many barriers to starting a viable third party. It hasn't been done. Why can you do it?

YANG: I'd love to go into the history and background a bit, which you probably know better than I do.


ACOSTA: Andrew, I just have to ask, Tucker Carlson, I mean, I -- let's just say he's just a bad person. And he represents so much of what is wrong on -- in television news these days.

You know this all too well. He spouts off white nationalist talking points.

So why would you even go on his show? And why didn't you go after him when he's citing the Unabomber and talking, I mean, just crazy stuff?

YANG: One of the things we have to do, Jim, is try and take the temperature of the country down. The only way to do that is to reach out to people where they are.

As you know, Tucker commands a massive audience. If you wanted to try to build a unifying popular movement that does call attention to the fact that our system is not working really for anyone, you know, you have to again reach out. And that's what I was doing on that show.

I mean, the goal is to have Republicans, who are discontent, to channel their discontent in a positive way. And right now, in my view, it's not going in a positive direction. I'd like to help change that.

ACOSTA: You think you can bring some of Tucker's viewers into the Forward Party? I mean, is that what you were trying to do there?

YANG: I had a volunteer, who said she'd been helping my campaigns for the last couple years. And her Republican father had never taken an interest. And I was on Tucker's program and, all of a sudden, he calls her and says, tell me more.

I think that's the only way we're going to get through this time.

We sense we're teetering towards some version of a new civil war and political violence. And unfortunately, the incentives are going to make that more likely, not less likely over time, unless we have a dramatic shift in dynamic.

That's what I'm trying to provide with the Forward Party. It's going to involve reaching out to every American with political alignments.

ACOSTA: All right, Andrew Yang, there's so much more we could talk about. Maybe we can get you back on another time. But once again, he's the author of the book "Forward, Notes on the

Future of Our Democracy."

Thanks again for coming on. We appreciate it.

YANG: Jim, thank you for having me. I'll come back any time you want.

ACOSTA: Sounds good.

All right, good talking to you.

Coming up, a controversial ban on abortions in Texas goes back into effect. Details of the late-night ruling.

Plus, catch an all-new season of "THIS IS LIFE" with Lisa Ling tomorrow night at 10:00, only on CNN.



ACOSTA: New overnight, a controversial abortion ban in Texas has gone back into effect.

CNN national correspondent, Natasha Chen, is following the developments for us.

Natasha, what unfolded? This is getting messy.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, Jim. There's a lot of back and forth. The latest of which is the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last night put a temporary hold, which basically reinstates this law.

They also asked the U.S. Department of Justice to respond to them by Tuesday evening. That's because the DOJ is the one who requested the block to begin with.

So what happened last night came just two days after, last Wednesday, a lower court, the U.S. district court, had blocked the Texas law. So a lot of confusion for people.

In the meantime, abortion clinics in other states are now seeing women coming from Texas.


KATHALEEN PITTMAN, ADMINISTRATOR, HOPE MEDICAL GROUP: Under normal circumstances, about 18 to 20 percent of the women we see are from Texas. And at this point this time, we're running closer to 60 percent.


CHEN: Now, on Thursday, the day after the law was initially blocked by the lower court, there's an organization running several clinics in Texas that said its staff had resumed abortions for women who were more than six weeks pregnant.

Now that comes with some legal risk because the Texas law actually does allow enforcement action for any abortions conducted during a court block. That is if that order is later reversed.

So it seems the people behind this law saw the legal wrangling coming.

This could ultimately end up before the Supreme Court, which had already rejected a case brought up by abortion clinics requesting the Supreme Court to block the law -- Jim?

ACOSTA: So it sounds like that's where it's heading.

All right, Natasha Chen, thank you very much for that update.

This week's "CNN Hero" is a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. On Monday, Heather Abbott will be back at the 125th Boston Marathon cheering on runners and continuing to live life to the fullest.


HEATHER ABBOTT, CNN HERO: I heard the first explosion just ahead in front of me. The next thing I knew, a second explosion occurred just to my right and that was the last thing I knew. Then I was in the hospital.

I was in the hospital for several days while doctors were deciding whether or not to amputate.

It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I am an amputee at first.


And had my injury not happened in such a public way, where there was so much assistance available, I never would have been able to afford multiple prosthesis.

So I decided to do what I could to help people get those devices that simply couldn't get them because they were out of reach.

It has been life changing for them. And a lot of them remind me of that.

There's a crazy man.

It feels very rewarding to be able to do that.