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Biden Meets With Business, Labor Leaders On Supply Chain Issues Ahead Of Address To Roll Out Plan; Bottleneck At California Ports Mount Amid Supply Chain Crisis; TSA Confiscates Record Number Of Guns In 2021; Search Ongoing For Gabby Petito's Missing Fiance; President Biden Addresses Economy And Supply Chain Issues. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 14:30   ET



NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So basically, they're saying, flatter these people and also allow them to change their minds without, you know, really while they're still saving face -- Guys?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Yes, criticizing people doesn't usually help win them over.


CAMEROTA: That's a great insight.

BLACKWELL: Good rule of thumb.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

OK, so supply chain issues are mounting ahead of the holiday season. Any minute now, President Biden will roll out his plan to tackle this crisis. And we will bring you that live.



CAMEROTA: OK. We are waiting for President Biden to address the problems plaguing the global supply chain, meaning the problems we've all had in getting everyday goods.

This is an issue that is growing more urgent with the holidays around the corner. And some analysts warn that the worst is yet to come.

BLACKWELL: Dozens of full cargo ships are right now clogging the California coast because they can't be unloaded fast enough.

And on land, there's a shortage of dock workers and truck drivers to get the goods to your stores where you shop.

The president has been meeting with business and labor leaders to try to find some solutions.

CNN's Josh Campbell is at the Port of Los Angeles. But we'll start with Matt Egan.

Matt, how is the administration trying to deal with this?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, this supply situation -- this supply chain situation is a nightmare. And it really does impact all Americans. Because it means higher prices, fewer options, and longer shipping times right before the holiday shopping season.

As far as what's causing this, there's a lot of factors. But first, there's this epic port congestion, shortage of truck drivers and trucks.

And also, there's a short animal of raw materials and components. Most notably, computer chips, which goes into everything from iPhones and cars to Pelotons.

I want to go back to port congestion. That is a big one. We have this chart showing how the number of anchored ships at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach waiting to get off-loaded have skyrocketed from single digits last year to more than 70 last year.

Essentially, it's a traffic jam of container ships at sea.

The White House has announced this 90-day sprint aimed at trying to alleviate some of these bottle necks. And they're going to try to move to 24/7 service at the Port of Los Angeles, which is a very big deal.

But the experts I'm talking to are saying it might take some pressure off the system but it's not going to solve everything.

At a meeting with the White House today, some business leaders were talking about the need to potentially think about using the National Guard in a targeted sense to try to alleviate some of these supply chain issues.

CAMEROTA: Perfect person to talk to about this is Josh Campbell, who is at that port in Los Angeles.

What are you seeing? How backed up is it?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is one of the key focal points of this will American shipping crisis.

These two adjacent ports behind me, the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, they handle 40 percent of incoming shipping to the United States.

And as you were just mentioning, right now, there's a state of bottleneck. We see these ships that are out at anchor, waiting for these shipping containers behind me to be cleared, making space for them to move in.

And the most important part to focus on is the consumer is the one that's mainly impacted. That means you're seeing these higher prices. You're seeing goods take longer to get to you. The causes that are responsible for what we're seeing behind us is

mainly Americans buying more goods. In the first quarter of this year, there was a 39 percent increase in the number of purchases compared to this time last year.

But also secondly, a lot of the factories in Asia that supply so many of these goods are just now coming back online, after seeing their operations impacted by the global health crisis.

Now, our colleague, Kyung Lah, spoke with the CEO of the Port of Long Beach, who said that this is a crisis that's been long in the making and it's past time for officials to find a new business model to deal with the new era of global commerce.

Take a listen.


MARIO CORDERO, CEO, PORT OF LONG BEACH: But I think what this is a wake-up call for all of us in this industry to realize, we need -- as I said back in 2018, before the crisis, we need to have an Amazon state of mind in this industry. And by that I mean, Amazon changed everything, 24/7, e-commerce.

So this is a wake-up call for us to really change the mind-set of how we operate in terms of, with these kinds of volumes, you can't operate with the model of yesterday.


CAMPBELL: Officials and workers are hoping that this new initiative that the Biden administration is announcing, moving this Port of Los Angeles into 24/7 operation, will help alleviate some of the challenges here and try to clear this backlog.

Finally, it's important to note, another key second-order affect, this is not just a maritime shipping crisis or just an issue impacting workers here at the docks. America's truckers are also facing the brunt of this crisis.

My dad was a trucker. He used to say this is a profession in which time is literally money. Truckers get paid by the mile. They have to be in motion in order to make a living.

And of course, all of those truckers listening to us right now on satellite radio, so many of them are sitting in lines here and waiting for their turn to get one of these containers placed on their truck so they can get those goods out to communities across the nation -- Victor, Alisyn?

BLACKWELL: Yes, my father is a long-haul trucker and so is one of my sisters.

Josh Campbell, Matt Egan, thank you both.

CAMEROTA: Such important perspective. Thank you. BLACKWELL: A record number of guns have been discovered at airport

security checkpoints this year. CNN just asked the TSA chief what's driving this disturbing trend.


CAMEROTA: So lots going on today. Here's what else to watch.


BLACKWELL: Airport security guards are finding weapons, including firearms, at an alarming pace. In fact, a new record has just been set. Despite the fact that fewer people are traveling because of the pandemic.

CAMEROTA: This is adding to air travel tensions, as the FAA reports that unruly passenger incidents are rising again.

So let's go to CNN's Pete Muntean.

Pete, what does the TSA have to think about this?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, these are disturbing new numbers.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske and I just spoke exclusively about this. And he said, this is a huge problem, especially since we're just now setting a year-long record with still 11 weeks left in this year.

The TSA has discovered 4,650 firearms at airports across the country since January 1st. And 3,900 of them have been loaded. This exceeds the record set back in 2019 when the TSA found 4,342 firearms at airport checkpoints.


The TSA administrator says this is a really serious problem, and passengers need to take these rules more seriously, as well.

It is a $10,000 fine for a first offense for somebody bringing a loaded gun into an airport.

Here's what he said.


DAVID PEKOSKE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: It's a huge problem. I mean, as a passenger, I don't want to have another passenger flying on a flight with me, with a gun if their possession.

So there are a number of things that we prohibit in the airport and onboard aircraft and guns is one of those things.

MUNTEAN: Why do you think the numbers are up?

PEKOSKE: Well, again, I think it does reflect society. I think more people are carrying weapons, just generally, across the country. And we see whatever is happening in the country, we see reflected in our checkpoint.


MUNTEAN: Pekoske underscores this is happening as there are more unruly passenger incidents onboard planes and at security checkpoints. But he says this shows that the systems works.

Remember, there's a patchwork to have gun laws at states and localities leading up to these airport checkpoints.

And what's so interesting is that the U.S. attorney's office in the western district of Pennsylvania is now asking local sheriffs to take away the conceal/carry permits of those who violate these rules -- Victor and Alisyn?

BLACKWELL: Pete Muntean, for us there at Reagan National, thank you.

CAMEROTA: We have some breaking news now. The January 6th Select Committee is expected to issue another subpoena for another Trump ally. This time, it's former DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark.

BLACKWELL: Ryan Nobles is joining us now with more.

Ryan, first, be sure to detail why Jeffrey Clark is so important to this investigation.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, there's no doubt about that, Victor. Jeffrey Clark was a key Trump loyal ally in the Justice Department in the days between the November election and then what happened on January 6th.

And he is thought to have been one of the key individuals of peddling the false narrative of possible voter fraud in some key states across the country.

And even was reaching out to state officials on behalf of the Justice Department and the Trump administration to convince them to look into what he claimed were election irregularities.

Now, we've known for quite some time that Clark and his attorneys have been in conversation with the January 6th Select Committee.

And of course, the committee is very interested in Clark's role in spreading this misinformation in attempts to undermine the election results for some time.

But they couldn't come to some sort of an agreement on cooperation. And that's why it seems pretty clear that, as soon as today, the Select Committee is poised to subpoena Jeffrey Clark, to get him to comply with their desire to learn more information.

So this is a significant development. And of course, it comes just a couple -- you know, just a day before that first round of in-person depositions with close, loyal, Trump allies are scheduled to take place.

And we're not sure if they plan to comply.

CAMEROTA: And we're also hearing that the committee met with the former acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen today. What do we know about that?

NOBLES: Alisyn, this is pretty interesting, right? You have the dynamic here of Clark and Rosen.

Clark clearly not willing to cooperate with the January 6th Select Committee. And Rosen actually sitting down for an interview. We are told by multiple sources that that took place today.

Rosen, of course, the acting attorney general at that time.

It was Clark who was part of an effort who was trying to convince Rosen and others within the Justice Department to try and use the tools of the Justice Department to look into these claims of election fraud at the time.

Of course, Rosen resisted those calls. Along with Richard Donohue, who is also one of the deputy acting attorney generals at that time, who also refused to take that step.

Donohue, too, has already spoken with the January 6th Select Committee.

So you see some that were there during that time in the Trump orbit willing to comply with the committee and others not so willing. And that's why you see them taking the step of subpoenas.

CAMEROTA: OK, Ryan Nobles, thank you for the reporting.

Well, we now know how Gabby Petito was killed. Yet, one month into the manhunt, her fiance, Brian Laundrie's whereabouts are still unknown. Now what?



BLACKWELL: We now know that Gabby Petito was manually strangled and abandoned in the Wyoming wilderness for weeks. What we don't know is who killed her and exactly when.

CAMEROTA: Questions and suspicions continue to swirl around her fiance, Brian Laundrie, who has been missing for a month now. Laundrie is not charged in Petito's murder but is wanted for questioning.

Mark O'Mara is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. He defended George Zimmerman.

Mark, thanks for being here.

Now that we know Gabby was strangled by someone around the last time that she was seen with Brian Laundrie, how much harder does that make Brian Laundrie's lawyers job?

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Much more difficult for this reason -- not to sound graphic about the passing of Gabby -- but strangulation in and of itself takes time.

And that time can lead to premeditation, which is, of course, first- degree murder under Wyoming state law and could expose whoever did it, Mr. Laundrie potentially, to a death penalty case, and that's very, very significant.

There's still arguments, I suppose, that can be made that it was in the throes of a heat of passion to bring down that level of murder if he's charged with it.

But that's the real concern about a strangulation. We know that it was an intentional act over at least some period of time.

BLACKWELL: When it comes to the science of a prosecution in a case like this, is the DNA that was collected less valuable considering that they were in a romantic relationship and also that the reports of physical altercations before Gabby Petito was killed?

O'MARA: Generally speaking, Victor, you're right. With an ongoing relationship, there's going to be DNA of the other on each other.

But there are certain factors they're looking at. And I'll give you one easy example. DNA under the fingernails would suggest an active fight, maybe struggling during that event that led to her death.

The DNA could have evidence of the type of killing, whether or not it happened between the two, even though you would exclude traditional touch DNA between the two.


CAMEROTA: I mean, isn't it just such a twisted truth that, you know, a defense attorney could say, well, you know, they did have that fight. That was on tape. And you know that they did fight and they were scratching each other, and maybe that's how the DNA got under her fingernails.

It's like because there was domestic violence in the past, that could be used as an exoneration somehow.

O'MARA: Strangely, Alisyn, you're right. They're going to be able to say, again, it happened before, so there's that heat of passion argument. It wasn't some premeditation. It was in the throes of yet another fight, yet another argument.

Even the fact that she had mentioned that she was the one to first strike at a previous domestic violence event. You can expect that to come up.

The prosecutors are going to have that difficult time, as they always do, and should, to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. And whenever there's a violent relationship, that's going to be highlighted.

BLACKWELL: Would you have expected, Mark, for Brian Laundrie to have been named a suspect by now?

O'MARA: There's not a great benefit to that term of art, suspect, person of interest. The thing is I doubt -- what they want to do is get them. What they want to do is talk to them and find out what's going on.

The initial warrant that's out there for the credit card use, that's enough for whoever finds him to bring him in.

There's no real reason, if you think about him, to charge him with anything other than right now because the prosecutors don't want that clock ticking on what we call speedy trial.

If there's an indictment right now, and it's out there, there's an argument that he has to be tried in six months. Why do that unless and until you actually have him under control.

BLACKWELL: All right, makes sense.

Mark O'Mara, always good to see you, sir. Thank you.

O'MARA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, just moments ago, the crew of Blue Origin spoke with CNN about today's successful launch. We have that interview ahead for you.


BLACKWELL: Let's go to the White House as President Biden is addressing the global supply chain issues.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- supply chains and how hard it is to get a range of things from a toaster to sneakers to bicycles to bedroom furniture.

And that's why back, in February, I signed a piece of legislation on supply chain -- executive order on supply chains and why we had to move on it.

And with the holidays coming up, you might be wondering if gifts you planned to buy will arrive on time.

Let me explain, supply chains essentially mean how we make things and how the material and parts get delivered to factory, a factory, so we can manufacture things and manufacture them here.

How we move things, how a finished product moves from a factory to a store to your home.

And today, we have an important announcement that will get things you buy to you, to the shelf faster.


I'm joined by the executive director of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Gene Seroka and Mario Cardero.

I missed -- I apologize, Mario.