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U.K. Sticks With Current COVID-19 Plan As Cases Soar; Alec Baldwin Fires Prop Gun On Movie Set, Kills Cinematographer, Wounds Director; White House Walks Back Biden's Remarks On Taiwan; CDC Clears J&J, Moderna Boosters For Qualified Individuals; Panel To Evaluate Use Of Pfizer Vaccine In Kids 5-11; Facebook Failed To Stop Capitol Riot Organizers; U.S. West Coast Braces For Weekend's Powerful Storm; Duran Duran Celebrates 40 Years With New Album. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 23, 2021 - 03:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And a warm welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM, how and why did actor Alec Baldwin fire a prop gun with fatal consequences?

I'll discuss with my guest, a theatrical firearms safety expert.

Plus promising news for young children in the fight against COVID. New data from Pfizer shows its vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in children ages 5 to 11.

And tension between the U.S. and China hitting a new high, as Beijing warns President Biden not to interfere with Taiwan. We're live in the region.


NEWTON: So we're learning more about the moments leading up to a fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's upcoming film, "Rust."

A search warrant revealed an assistant director handed Baldwin a prop gun that had been set up by an armorer and yelled, "cold gun," meaning it did not have live rounds.

Now the actor fired it while rehearsing a scene and hit and killed the film's cinematographer and injured its director. Now the person who swore out the affidavit says the assistant director did not know it had live rounds. This is the 9-1-1 call that came in moments later.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the location of the emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bonanza Creek Ranch. We've had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun. We need help immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So was it loaded with a real bullet or--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't -- I can not tell you that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have two injuries from a movie gun shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we're getting them out there already.


NEWTON: Now the "L.A. Times" has also reported several crew members had quit the production due to safety concerns, including gun safety protocols. CNN's Lucy Kafanov picks up the story from there.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, actor Alec Baldwin says he's fully cooperating in the investigation into the fatal shooting on the set of the movie "Rust."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bonanza Creek Ranch; we've had two people accidentally shot.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Officials say they're still in the initial stages of their investigation into what led to the fatal incident, when Baldwin discharged a prop weapon on set.

Director Joel Souza rushed by ambulance to local hospital with injuries; the film's director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, was pronounced dead after being transported by helicopter to the hospital.

Police continue to interview witnesses and are looking into what type of projectile was fired from a prop gun, commonly used on movie sets, that aren't without their own risks.

JOSEPH FISHER, PROP MASTER: Prop weapons do have a dangerous factor to them, even though they're safer than using a live firearm on set.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Forty-two-year-old Hutchins, who posted on Instagram from the New Mexico location only days ago, lived in Los Angeles with her husband and son and was credited in the production of dozens of film, TV and video titles.

Today, Baldwin tweeting from the account he shares with his wife, "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins. I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family."

These tragic accidents on movie sets have happened before. Actor Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was killed in 1993 on the set of the movie, "The Crow," when a fragment of a dummy bullet became lodged in a prop gun, which fatally wounded Lee in the abdomen. Shannon Lee posting on her brother's verified Twitter account, "Our

hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and to all involved in the incident on 'Rust.' No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set, period."

KAFANOV: We're told that a search warrant has been issued for the Bonanza Creek Ranch where the shooting took place. Sheriffs say they'll be carefully combing the property throughout the weekend. They don't expect to update the public before Monday.

This as investigators try to piece together how this tragedy could have taken place -- Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Santa Fe, New Mexico.



NEWTON: Steve Wolf is a theatrical firearm safety expert and he joins me now.

We will try to rewind on all of this.

But just so we explain how this happened, what is a prop gun?

Is it a real gun?

How could it possibly kill someone?

Does it mean that it must have had live ammunition it?


STEVE WOLF, THEATRICAL FIREARMS SAFETY EXPERT: So the definition, in Hollywood, of a prop, is anything that a actor touches. If I touch my cell phone on camera, it is now a prop phone.

This is different, when it comes to firearms. If I touch any gun, then that just became a prop.

But a "prop gun," in quotes, per se, is a gun that's been modified so it cannot fire live ammunition.

If I were to take live ammunition and put it inside of this gun, look at that. I'm saved by the gun.

Now if I take an identical looking gun that is not a prop gun, it looks the same, right?

But look at that, live ammo goes in it. So very important to distinguish between a gun that is being used as a prop and a gun that's been modified, so that it cannot have live ammo introduced into it.

So, no I do not believe anyone who's killed this week with a prop gun -- because prop guns don't accept ammo. They accept blanks. Blanks can go in here. That's it. NEWTON: So explain to us how this could have happened. There's a lot of language about what is the difference between a hot gun and a cold gun. It seems to be what Alec Baldwin was saying, just after the incident.

WOLF: Yes, there is a lot of "hot gun," "cold gun," "live gun," "warm gun," whatever. there is a lot of hooey (ph). There are guns that have nothing in him, guns that have blanks in them and guns that have ammunition that kills people in them.

A gun that is capable of taking live ammo shouldn't be on set. When we say that we are going live in Hollywood, we mean, with whatever we have planned to do, we are actually going to do it now. We're not rehearsing anymore.

So if we are supposed to blow the car, OK, everyone, we're going live, the car's going to, blow up, boom. OK, we are going live, we are handing out guns that have blanks in them, so we aren't rehearsing anymore.

There is no way anyone would expect that, when they said that they were going live, they actually meant that they were using live ammo, in an unmodified firearm.


NEWTON: To be clear, in your work history, would you have ever used live ammunition, for any reason?

WOLF: I have used live ammunition because I do shows for Discovery and they want to see what does a bullet do to this or that. So, yes, there are times when it is appropriate to use live ammo because we're trying to document what the ammunition does to something.

What is not appropriate is to use live ammo in a theatrical filming. And what is less appropriate, more so, is to ever point the gun at anything you don't want to see a hole in. Even if they tell you it's a prop gun, even if it's only loaded with banks.

Why point it at anyone?

Totally unnecessary, a violation of one of the major firearm safety and just not done. So no one should just hand a gun to an actor and say, here we go. (INAUDIBLE). No, you say this is a prop gun. It's been modified it. It has blanks.

Blanks can kill people so please don't point it at anybody. Then the actor, it's on them at that point to not point it at anyone. But you can't expect an actor without firearms training to know the gun safety rules. That's up to the prop master and the armorer, whoever is in charge of handling the firearm safety on that set to inform the actor how to do it properly.

That, clearly, wasn't done. I doubt that someone said to Alec, you know, don't point this at anyone and then he pointed it at them and fired it. Unlikely. NEWTON: So as far as you're concerned, you think must have gone

completely wrong with safety protocols here. They just weren't followed.

WOLF: If I took a real gun, that's designed to shoot bullets and I put real bullets into that gun and I discharged it in a safe direction, no one would have been hurt. The bullet goes whizzing past everyone's head, people would say, oh, my gosh, I can't believe we're using live ammo.

They would've quit the job and no one would've been killed. If I had taken a prop gun that's been modified and only had blanks in it and I shot it at somebody 20 feet away, probably also nothing would happen.

But if you're pointing a live gun at somebody with real ammo in and you press the trigger, all of a sudden they have a hole in them, well, that is what guns are designed to do.

So it's up to the protocols and the safety procedures to make sure that that's not what happens. And there's lots of ways this is done, this isn't new science. This isn't rocket surgery. You know, we know how guns work.

They're thousands of year-old technology. But if you don't follow the rules, then you can expect that you're going to create injuries.

NEWTON: Well, we now know that a search warrant has been issued, is likely being executed very soon. It's such a tragedy, and, Steve, we appreciate you showing us quite vividly there about what could have possibly gone on.

WOLF: I don't see why a search warrant was required when they say that they're cooperating with the investigation.


NEWTON: Also very good points, which I'm sure everyone is hoping that we'll get some answers.


WOLF: If they say feel free to search, feel free to look at anything, a search warrant is not required. So a warrant is only required if people intend to conceal information.

NEWTON: Yes, it is definitely a point. Steve Wolf, thank you so much.

WOLF: Thank you, Paula.


NEWTON: The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union for stage and set workers, said it is heartbroken by the death of Halyna Hutchins. Its members were planning to strike this week over safety concerns until a deal was agreed to with studios. Onset workers will now have designated rest periods, after they work 5 days in a row. Many workers, still, unsatisfied. One of them, setting up an Instagram page, which lists hundreds of anonymous stories of safety concerns.

They describe disturbing things, like working 36 straight hours, going an entire day without a bathroom break and working so long they literally fell asleep at the wheel.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says, when it comes to young children, the benefits of the Pfizer COVID vaccine outweigh the risks. Now the U.S. drug regulator, posting that assessment, late Friday. Earlier in the day. Pfizer posted data, showing, the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in children, ages, 5 to 11.

The FDA said, while the vaccine carries a theoretical risk of causing heart inflammation, the risk from COVID is higher, if enough virus is circulating. FDA vaccine advisers, meeting next week, to evaluate Pfizer's application for emergency use authorization, of the shot in young children.

Meantime, much of Europe is seeing a rise in new COVID infections in recent days. According to the World Health Organization, the week ending October 19th saw a 7 percent rise in cases right across the continent.

Now right over to the English Channel, the U.K. is coping with a surge in new cases, reporting more than 49,000 new infections on Friday.

And in Italy, the new green pass to prove vaccination or testing status is getting a lot of pushback on the streets. A protest planned for this weekend were abruptly canceled at the last minute because of potential violence.

For more on those canceled protests, I'm joined by CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau.

Good to see you. We did expect to have more people out on the streets.

But what is happening now in terms of those protests against the so- called green pass?

Do you think they'll fizzle or will this still be a lingering problem?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, those protests were canceled because they had intelligence that, you know, mayhem was going to happen. In fact, they found a number of people who were going to be infiltrating.

They found knives. They found guns. They found all sorts of things that they were correct, I think, in canceling that demonstration. They're meeting with government officials today to have a conversation about the legitimacy of the green pass, whether or not people can go to work or not, whether they've been vaccinated or not.

So they're having that conversation with government officials today. They're going to make a statement after that. They were concerned that if these infiltrators, these extremely violent people that we saw, you know, attack the labor union here in Rome a couple of weeks ago, if they would have been able to hijack that meeting, the meeting wouldn't have taken place.

And their concerns wouldn't have been heard. So they believe they did the right thing by canceling. There are more demonstrations scheduled for today across the country. It's yet to remain to see whether any of those will go forward -- Paula.

NEWTON: The U.K., in the meantime, has actually reported more cases than Italy, France, Germany and Spain combined. And yet, in the U.K., there will be no new restrictions, at least not yet.

What is the government there saying?

NADEAU: Well, they're saying that they're fully in line with what they expected for autumn and winter and they aren't ready to go into any sort of plan B, which would be a lockdown.

Boris Johnson said yesterday he didn't see anything that would indicate a need for lockdown. They've been very different in their approach in terms of opening back the economy. They don't have a mask mandate, like we do in Italy and in other parts of Europe.

And it's showing. The cases are rising. You know, you've got people inside Parliament in the U.K. not wearing a mask, even though it is recommended that people in close quarters wear them. So you're getting a lot of mixed messaging.

But in terms of the number of cases but the government seems to say everything is in line with what they expected and there's no need to constrain the economy any further, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, and I guess they keep saying, they will watch those hospital admissions, as will we, as the week comes in here.


NEWTON: Barbie Nadeau for us in Rome, thanks.

British prime minister Boris Johnson is sending every possible good wish, in his words, to Queen Elizabeth. The 95-year-old monarch spent a night in the hospital earlier this week. Buckingham Palace said she was there for what they described as preliminary investigations.

I want to bring in our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen for more on the queen.

Buckingham Palace has tried to reassure everyone that the queen is fine, right?

But they're being very guarded. And at first didn't even say that she had even been in hospital.

What more do we know? FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think one of the reasons why at the beginning they didn't say she was in hospital is simply because they didn't want to cause any concern here among the general public and, of course, internationally as well.

Of course, the queen is 95 years old; in general, still in very good health, though. It was very difficult, though, to keep that upright and to not give away too much information when it was clear that the queen would not be traveling to Northern Ireland in the middle of the week.

When they announced that, they did say it was due to the fact she had received medical advice not to make that journey to Northern Ireland, that she had taken that medical advice, heeded that medical advice and was very sad about the fact.

But it was then it also came to light that she had spent that night in the hospital from Wednesday to Thursday. From the latest that we're hearing, the reason why that happened was mostly for practical reasons, for logistical reasons.

She obviously came from Windsor here to central London, to that hospital for those, as they put it, preliminary tests. And from what we're hearing from the sources there, they are saying that, come Thursday, she was already back, doing light work at her desk.

It was also, by the way, something that Boris Johnson, the prime minister, said as well in that statement. He says, characteristically, he had heard she was already back at her desk working. In the end, they didn't want to make too much of this.

But of course, it is something, with a 95-year-old monarch, that is something that could be a cause of concern, her health.

One of the other things we do also have to see is that October was a very, very busy month for the queen. If you look at some of the engagements she had, she started off this month in Scotland, then later went to Wales.

So there were 16 apparently events that she was at, that were on her schedule up until the time now that it was announced that she had been in hospital. So very, very busy month and, of course, Paula, she's also got COP26 coming up, where she has to lead the royal delegation.

NEWTON: I have to say I'm not sure I could have kept up with her schedule. As you were talking, Fred, we were going through all the events and we had the dates up. Yes, she has been absolutely a busy woman and I'm sure she hopes that she will continue to be busy in the days and weeks ahead. Appreciate that update.

Now words matter, especially when they're spoken by the U.S. President. Just ahead, why the White House is rushing to undo President Biden's candid remarks on defending Taiwan and how Beijing is responding.





QUESTION: Can you vow to protect Taiwan?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes and yes. I just want to make China understand that we are not going to step back. We are not going to change any of our views.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So you're saying that the United States would come to Taiwan's defense if --

BIDEN: Yes. Yes, we have a commitment to do that.


NEWTON: So you heard it there. It was a pretty simple reply to a straightforward question and the White House has been scrambling to walk it back ever since.

Despite what the president actually said Thursday night at a CNN town hall, the administration is adamant that U.S. military policy toward Taiwan has not changed. It's a decades-old policy known as strategic ambiguity.

In other words, the U.S. won't say what it might do if Mainland China attacks the island. But President Biden's candid words came after weeks of Chinese military provocations in the Taiwan Strait.

After he spoke, Beijing immediately reminded the administration of the one-China policy, in which the U.S. recognizes China's sovereign claim over Taiwan. Blake Essig has the latest now from Tokyo.

You know, we've said it; President Biden, that's what came to his lips and that's what he said. But his own adviser says that that kind of strategic clarity is not a good idea.

What's been the reaction there in the region?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Paula, look, the situation playing out in the Taiwan Strait between Beijing and Taipei is a big concern here in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. There's a lot at stake.

From Japan's perspective, given its close proximity, its closest island is only 110 kilometers away and there are real concerns that it could get drawn into conflict over Taiwan.

Now regarding President Biden's comments last night, as you might expect, reaction in the region was mixed. In Taiwan, President Biden's words were met with celebration, with Taiwan's foreign ministry reiterating that their government will continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities to fully defend Taiwan.

In China, the foreign ministry essentially said that the U.S. should be cautious in its words over Taiwan and avoid sending the wrong message that, they say, could damage relationships and threaten regional security. Take a listen.


WANG WENBIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON: On issues concerning China's core interests, such as sovereignty and territorial integrity, China has no room for compromise. No one should underestimate the Chinese people's determination and strong ability to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.


ESSIG: North Korea's foreign minister also weighed in, describing Taiwan as an inseparable territory of China and condemning the United States for raising military tensions by commenting on Taiwan affairs.

And there's no question that tensions are high between Taiwan and Mainland China. In fact, Taiwan's defense minister recently said that military tensions between Beijing and Taipei are the worst they've been in nearly four decades.

And if conflict does take place, Paula, the big question has always been and will continue to be, will the United States come to Taiwan's defense?


ESSIG: Last night during CNN's town hall, President Biden seemingly answered that question. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, and apparently answered it too bluntly with even his own White House spokesperson having to, as we said, walk it back. It's been interesting to see how this has played out in the last 24 hours. Blake, thanks for rounding out the regional reaction for us. Appreciate it.

Now the president of the European Union says it will not fund any barbed wire or wall at the border with Belarus. Poland's parliament, approved the construction of a border wall last week, amid influx of migrants, traveling through Eastern Europe.

There is already barbed wire fencing around the Polish border with Belarus, as you can see, in these pictures. The E.U. chief on Friday said she is concerned about the situation and accused Belarus of using migrants for political purposes.

Now worshippers in Iran returned to Friday prayers after a 20-month halt due to the pandemic.


NEWTON (voice-over): This was the scene at the University of Tehran, where health protocols, including masks and social distancing, were in force.

Friday prayers also resumed in other Iranian cities and schools with fewer than 300 students. And those reopened today.


NEWTON: Iran has had five waves of coronavirus deaths. The nation has sped up its vaccination rates meantime. But there are fears a sixth wave could still come through that country.

I'm Paula Newton. For viewers in North America, I'll be right back in a moment with more CNN NEWSROOM. For the rest of the world "AFRICAN VOICES CHANGEMAKERS" is up next.





NEWTON: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton.

The demand for booster doses is outpacing initial COVID vaccinations in the United States now. So far, more than 12 million people have received a booster dose since the rollout began. You see the chart there.

However, the number of people getting their first shot has dropped off 30 percent from a month ago. On Thursday, the CDC signed off on Moderna as well as Johnson & Johnson boosters. So many are wondering when they're going to be able to receive that extra dose.

The top U.S. disease expert says for younger people, it might actually be sooner than you think.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: I would be rather confident that as we get further and further over the next weeks to months, that the age limit of it is going to be lowered. And you might soon fall into the age category where you can get eligible for a booster.



NEWTON: Dr. Jorge Rodriguez is a board-certified internal medicine specialist and viral researcher and he joins me now.

Good to see you again. As we try to navigate the newest information, we now come to boosters.

In terms of the efficacy and the good it will do in the larger population, what should people keep in mind?

DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INTERNAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST: Well, I think people need to keep in mind that some vaccines last forever and other vaccines only last for a short period of time.

From what we know now, all of the vaccines, whether it's the Pfizer, the Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson, their efficacy seems to be decreasing their effectiveness with time. Some could be within the first two months, some within six months. So boosters have shown unequivocally to increase the effectiveness of the vaccines upwards of 90 percent.

So if you've gone through two vaccinations, even one with Johnson & Johnson, getting a booster will definitely increase your chances of not getting ill.

NEWTON: And in terms of who needs it, though, obviously there is clear guidance in the United States about this.

But if people elsewhere are wondering, is there a rule of thumb?

If you are 35 years old and completely healthy, should you really be worried about a booster?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, it all depends on what you got first of all. For example, if you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it's recommended that, if you're over 18 years old, regardless of your medical history, regardless of your medical status or health, that, yes, you should get a booster, any booster, because that vaccine, you know, deteriorates its efficacy with time.

The other two vaccines, the recommendations are that if you're over 65 or you're immunocompromised or you're in some sort of profession, where you're in contact with people a lot, you should get the booster.

I personally think that, within the next few months, it's going to be recommended that anybody who's been vaccinated over six months should get a booster.

NEWTON: Gotcha. And in the meantime, many of us have been reading about breakthrough cases and some people getting severely ill, even among the fully vaccinated.

Is that an issue for us really to worry about in the months to come?

RODRIGUEZ: Absolutely. I think it's a big issue. So one of the biggest problems that I see is that, too often, we're so desperate for this to be over; that too often, you know, we run outside the house in the eye of the storm.

And then something comes up a few months later and that's what we learned with the breakthrough cases in July. So no matter whether you're boosted, no matter whether you've been vaccinated, you need to always wear masks when you're in crowded places like cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are doing. You know, just keep those things in mind so that when something does

come up -- and probably something else will come up -- you are still protected. You have the best chance of not getting ill.

NEWTON: So the issue is, even fully vaccinated, you're not invincible and to still take precautions.

I want to move over to the issue of children. Here in the United States, there is actually a possibility that, by the first week of November, children between the ages of 5 and 11 could get boosters in the -- pardon me -- could get vaccinated in the United States.

Then that means they would actually be fully vaccinated for the holidays possibly.

How much of a game-changer will this be?

RODRIGUEZ: I think it will be a huge potential game-changer if children get vaccinated. The vaccines don't work if you don't get vaccinated. Realize that the virus is really not going to be discriminating. It is going to bounce around to those people that are susceptible.


RODRIGUEZ: And right now the largest segment of the population are children. And even though some people say, well, you know, children are going to survive this, they're going to do great, we don't know the long-term effects of this infection, that it may have on a child five, 10 years from now.

So I'm so glad that the vaccines are going to be available and I encourage all parents to really look at this and protect their children from what might be something deadly either today or in the future.

NEWTON: And I detect even in your voice, because you've been reading the same things I have; vaccine hesitancy for parents when it comes to their children is actually quite high. They're more concerned about their children getting vaccinated than they are about themselves.

How much does that worry you and what can be done to allay their concerns?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, it concerns me quite a bit. And what parents need to realize is that these -- there are over -- almost 6 billion people throughout the world that have gotten vaccinated.

The studies that have been done on children do not show any side effect that is worth mentioning at this point. Yes, you know, we haven't been following these vaccines, you know, for years.

But we have been following this virus now for two years. And we know with certainty what it will cause if people get sick. So children have been receiving vaccines since they were young. Vaccines has allowed the life expectancy in all countries to increase. So these vaccines are excellent and they should be trusted.

NEWTON: Yes, and it will be interesting to see those statistics come out toward the end of the year to see how many parents actually took advantage of it. Dr. Rodriguez, thanks so much.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you for giving me the opportunity.


NEWTON: Authorities hope that figuring out how Brian Laundrie died could also shed light on how his fiancee ended up strangled to death. Laundrie's remains were discovered, ending a manhunt. Randi Kaye has more on where the investigation goes from here.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One day after the FBI confirmed the discovery of Brian Laundrie's remains through dental records, there's only more questions and still not enough answers.

STEVEN BERTOLINO, LAUNDRIE FAMILY ATTORNEY: Yesterday was, you know, very hard on them.

KAYE (voice-over): The Laundrie family attorney sharing how his clients Chris and Roberta Laundrie are dealing with the discovery of their son's remains.

BERTOLINO: His parents are a mess, they're extremely upset, they're extremely distraught is the word I've been using but I don't think that accurately describes it.

KAYE (voice-over): But tonight, questions remain, like what if anything did Brian Laundrie tell his parents before he left their house last month.

BERTOLINO: Chris and Roberta knew their son Brian was grieving. They knew he was so upset. And, you know, they just couldn't control that he was leaving and he left, he walked out the door and Chris said to me, I wish I could have stopped him but I couldn't.

KAYE (voice-over): But what was he grieving about?

A notebook found near Laundrie's remains could shed light on that, a source telling CNN the notebook is possibly salvageable.

JOSH TAYLOR, NORTH PORT POLICE PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER: You want to make sure you handle it as carefully as possible. You only get one shot at these types of items.

KAYE (voice-over): According to the Laundrie parents, their son left their home on September 13. The lawyer says he notified the FBI the same day that their son had left, something law enforcement disputes.

TAYLOR: Making a statement that we haven't seen him is not reporting someone missing. If we had had that information, there's a million things we would have done differently. KAYE: So did Laundrie tell his family anything about Petito before he left?

BERTOLINO: That's not something I can comment on right now and, I would like to just leave it at that.

KAYE (voice-over): And tonight, we still don't know how Laundrie died. The family's lawyer says he and Brian's parents discussed the possibility that it could have been a suicide.

BERTOLINO: You know, we've had that conversation between the three of us, Chris, Roberta and myself, several times. We just do not know. Of course, knowing his mental state when he walked out the door, it was always a concern. But you know, let's wait for the medical examiner.

KAYE: In that "Good Morning, America" interview, the lawyer for the Laundrie family was asked if Brian's parents had anything to say to the Petito family. No message of any kind was offered.

Also in that interview, the lawyer for the Laundrie family said, "We have absolutely nothing to say with respect to the Gabby Petito incident. It's a homicide."

He called it an incident. He also said that Brian Laundrie's parents were distraught and he said it's possible in the future there could be conversations or discussions perhaps with the Petito family to be had -- Randi Kaye, CNN, North Port, Florida.


NEWTON: Internal documents show Facebook had a larger role in facilitating the U.S. Capitol attack than they've admitted. What the papers reveal about the company's failure.





NEWTON: Another Facebook whistleblower has come forward. The former employee filed a complaint against the company to the SEC Friday. It comes as CNN has reviewed internal Facebook documents that reveal the company knew it wasn't doing enough to stop extremist movements ahead of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

That's at odds with what Facebook has said publicly. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan reports.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On January 6, Facebook executives condemned the attack on the U.S. Capitol. But internally, some employees began to push back. Facebook, they suggested, was culpable; one writing in an internal

Facebook company chat, "All due respect but haven't we had enough time to figure out how to manage discourse without enabling violence?

"We've been fueling this fire for a long time and we shouldn't be surprised it's now out of control."

Another wrote they were "tired of thoughts and prayers from Facebook leadership. There were dozens of Stop the Steal groups active up until yesterday."

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Stop the Steal, the conspiracy theory movement that helped fuel the insurrection had been organizing on Facebook for months.

O'SULLIVAN: How did you guys hear about this event today?


O'SULLIVAN: Facebook events, Instagram, how have you been --


SCOTT PRESLER, STOP THE STEAL ORGANIZER: Yes. Well, I created a Facebook event for yesterday's event. And I posted after the fact that we were again coming today I will be again making another event in regards to tomorrow.

JOAN DONOVAN, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, HARVARD SHORENSTEIN CENTNER ON MEDIA, POLITICS & PUBLIC POLICY: Facebook provided the fundamental coordinating infrastructure. They were sharing ride share information, they were sharing resources they were talking about, you know, what they were going to wear and if they were going to have Trump flags.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): We now know that an internal Facebook report describes the company's attempts to crack down and Stop The Steal as piecemeal.


O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): That document leaked by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who spent her final months at the company photographing thousands of internal documents and company chat logs.

DONOVAN: These documents are vindication that what we've been saying as a field has been true all along and that Facebook knows it and could take action on it and decides not to.

LAWRENCE LESSIG, ADVISOR TO FRANCES HAUGEN: For many years, people have been talking about the Facebook effect, what Facebook is doing to culture, to society, to politics.

But we didn't really know, from data from Facebook, whether these theories were true. What Frances has given us is an extraordinary archive of material that helps us see exactly what's going on and what they know is going on.

And it is the biggest and most important contribution to understanding this incredibly important problem that we've ever had.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The leaked documents, many just becoming public, were given to a consortium of news organizations, including CNN, formed the basis of a complaint to the SEC, where Haugen alleges the company misled investors and the public about its role perpetuating misinformation and violent extremism relating to the 2020 election and January 6th insurrection.

O'SULLIVAN: Facebook executives like Nick Clegg will say, it's unfair to blame Facebook for the insurrection.

DONOVAN: It's a red herring to say people are blaming Facebook for the entire thing. That's not what's happening here.

And you can't at the same time be Facebook and trying to take responsibility and being very proud of all the organizing work that you've helped Black Lives Matter do or the Occupy Movements or Standing Rock. You can't take credit for all of that and then say, oh, that thing called the insurrection, we had nothing to do with that.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Another revelation from the documents, an internal memo, including details of a Facebook staffer setting up a test account to see what Facebook's algorithms were recommending to users.

2019: a Facebook employee sets up an account designed to look like a 41-year-old conservative mom living in North Carolina. Her name is Carolyn Smith. She likes a few pages. She likes Trump. She likes FOX News.

But in a week, she's getting a QAnon recommendation. I saw in there, that, after three weeks, there was actually a recommendation for a page that was the Three Percenters, the militia, self-described militia involved in the insurrection.

LESSIG: Yes, no, I mean, again, we've suspected this dynamic.


LESSIG: What's striking about what Frances has revealed is that we now know that Facebook itself saw this precisely. So these are like potato chips that they feed to somebody who's got a potato chip addiction.

And that is the reality of the platform. It is an addiction engine and it profits, the more it can manipulate us to consume what we want to consume most.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: A strong storm threatens parts of the western U.S. After the break, we'll get the details from our CNN Weather Center. (MUSIC PLAYING)




NEWTON: The West Coast of the United States is bracing itself for a powerful storm this weekend. A bomb cyclone with hurricane-like strength and a chart-topping atmospheric river will clash Saturday night, unleashing heavy rain, snow and, yes, strong winds in parts of California and the Pacific Northwest.

It is one of a series of storms forecast to hit the region.


NEWTON: Now Ohio is proud of the Wright brothers; rightly so, who designed their famous plane in Dayton before their historic manned flight in 1903.

So how did Ohio get this wrong?

OK. Have a look at that.



NEWTON (voice-over): If you look closely, closely, you'll see Ohio's new license plate showed a birthplace of aviation banner trailing out of the front of the brothers' plane. So a correction and now that banner on the right flyer is in the right spot.

The embarrassment, though, didn't stop there.

North Carolina chimes in saying, "Leave Ohio alone. They wouldn't know. They weren't there."

North Carolina, of course, was where that famous first flight took place near Kitty Hawk.


NEWTON: Love that. Trolling states.

Back in the early 1980s, many New Wave bands probably didn't think they'd still be playing 40 years later and that includes Duran Duran. But take a listen.



NEWTON (voice-over): Duran Duran have just released their 15th album, called "Future Past." It commemorates a decades long career since their debut album, in 1981. The song, "Anniversary," is basically a happy birthday to themselves. The group started work on their latest album, in 2018, after some pandemic related difficulties, they finally released, it this week.

JOHN TAYLOR, DURAN DURAN: We would never have expected to still, be making music together, after all this time. We were just kids. We came together in punk rock, in the late '70s. Nobody was thinking long- term, it was like, could we just play next year?

But I think, as time has passed and we've grown into each other, we are perfectly matched for each other. We've grown together, as artists.

NEWTON (voice-over): Formed in 1978, Duran Duran rose to fame with hits such as "Girls on Film" and "Rio." They have sold more than 100 million records, worldwide.


NEWTON: OK. I am Paula Newton. Thanks for the company. Kim Brunhuber picks things up from here with more CNN NEWSROOM in a moment.