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Authorities Looking Into Cause Of Brian Laundrie's Death; Alec Baldwin Fires Prop Gun On Movie Set, Kills Cinematographer, Wounds Director; U.K. Sticks With Current COVID-19 Plan As Cases Soar; Haiti Kidnap Victims Held By Notorious Gang; White House Walks Back Biden's Remarks On Taiwan; U.S. Justice Department Gets Criminal Contempt Referral For Steve Bannon; Facebook Failed To Stop Capitol Riot Organizers; U.S. Workers Press For Better Deals; U.S. West Coast Braces For Weekend's Powerful Storm. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired October 23, 2021 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome to all of you watching us in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
New details on the fatal prop gun accident. What the 9-1-1 call reveals a the moments after the shooting.
The FDA touts the benefits of the Pfizer vaccine for kids over its risks.
Plus northern California and Pacific Northwest brace for a bomb cyclone. We'll have the forecast ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Kim Brunhuber.
We begin here in the U.S. where new details are emerging about the fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's upcoming film, "Rust."
Newly released 9-1-1 audio is shedding light on the frantic moments after the incident and a search warrant has 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.
The actor fired it while rehearsing a scene and hit and killed the film's cinematographer and injured its director. The person who swore the affidavit said the assistant director didn't know it had live rounds at the time.
Meanwhile, the "L.A. Times" reports several crew members had quit the production due to safety concerns, including gun safety protocols. CNN's Nick Watt has more.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun. We need help immediately.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the set. The director, Joel Souza, was injured. The director of photography, Halyna Hutchins was killed.
Two individuals were shot on the set of "Rust," according to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, sheriff's office, when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin.
Baldwin distraught in the sheriff's parking lot after questioning. The investigation remains open and active; no charges have been filed. A prop firearm should shoot only blanks.
BEN SIMMONS, CO-FOUNDER, BARE ARMS LTD: With a blank round, you have everything that you would normally have in a real round but you don't have the bullet on the end of it so that, when it fires, you do get the flash.
You do you get the bang, you get the recoil, you get the explosion but you don't get the bullet flying out the end of the gun. And it doesn't mean that blank rounds are safe.
WATT (voice-over): Hutchins posted this video the day before she died, horse riding on a day off.
"One of the perks of shooting a Western," she wrote.
Born in Ukraine, Hutchins started out as a journalist, then moved to the U.S. to study and work in the movies, named a rising star in 2019 by "American Cinematographer" magazine. She was 42.
JIM HEMPHILL, FILMMAKER AND JOURNALIST: She kind of brought that eye that she had from documentaries and nonfiction filmmaking to, again, action movies and horror movies. So they had this sort of immediacy and realism, as well as this eye beauty that she had. And it was a really unique look.
WATT (voice-over): A death on set like this rare but not unique. Brandon Lee was shot and killed on the set of "The Crow" in '93. A blank was fired but dislodged part of a live round stuck in the barrel.
In '84, on the set of the show "Cover Up," actor Jon-Erik Hexum jokingly put a prop gun to his head and pulled the trigger. The pressure and wadding from the blank killed him.
"Rust," starring and produced by Baldwin, hinges on the accidental killing of a rancher in 1880s Kansas. This morning, Baldwin tweeted, "There are no words to convey my shock
and sadness. I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred. My heart is broken for her husband, their son and all who knew and loved Halyna."
BRUNHUBER: Halyna Hutchins' husband is speaking out. He said the family needs some time to process her death saying, quote, "I don't think there are words to communicate the situation. I am not able to comment about the facts or the process of what we are going through right now. But I appreciate that everyone has been very sympathetic."
So what more do we know about Halyna Hutchins?
Well, she was born in Ukraine and delivered in Los Angeles. During her career, she was involved in 49 film TV shows and including "Archenemy" released last year. Just days ago on Instagram she posted this selfie on a horseback ride.
She wrote, "One of the perks of shooting a Western is that you get to ride horses on your day off."
Adam Egypt Mortimer, one of the directors she worked with tweeted, "She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film."
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union for stage and set workers, said it's heartbroken by the death of Halyna Hutchins. Its members were planning to go on strike just this week over safety standards until a deal was agreed with the studios.
BRUNHUBER: On set, workers will now have designated rest periods after working five days in a row. Many workers are still not satisfied though. One set up a page listing anonymous stories of safety concerns, like working 36 hours straight, working an entire day without a bathroom break and working so long they literally fell asleep at the wheel.
BRUNHUBER: Joining me in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is Chad Hawthorne. He's the co-owner of On Set Arms and a firearms safety coordinator.
Thanks so much for being here with us. So most sets, movie sets, have an armorer like yourself, a firearms expert, who's on set to help coordinate.
So typically, what do they do to make sure no one gets hurt?
Do you test firearms?
Do you check inside them?
Talk me through the process.
CHAD HAWTHORNE, ARMOR AND FIREARMS SAFETY COORDINATOR: Yes, absolutely. It is somewhat of an involved process, sometimes armorers are known as armorers or weapons wranglers. Essentially why they are on set is to make sure no one gets hurt.
The armorer controls all prop firearms at all times. So what that entails, is the armorer works with the filmmaker, with the director, with the director of photography, with the stunt performer and with the performers to make sure that they're able to tell the story they want to tell but that they do it in a safe way.
You mentioned testing the props, absolutely, especially with blank- firing props. They're all tested. So we test for safe distance. We test to make sure the blank cartridge is the right load. There are low, high and medium loads. We want to make sure we have all the calculations right so we minimize the risk of injury to anybody as much as possible.
BRUNHUBER: When you talk about a full load, you mean, gunpowder for instance.
BRUNHUBER: So get me through this.
In terms of the guns used on set, you talked about prop guns, are they typically real firearms that are modified or prop guns that can't fire live ammunition and just fire blanks?
The question I'm getting from people here is, if it is a prop gun, firing blanks, is there ever a projectile that comes out that can hurt somebody?
HAWTHORNE: Yes, it's a great question. Again, prop guns take all shapes and sizes.
There are rubber stunt versions that you might use with a performer falling off a roof or running down the street or throwing -- dropping the prop. That's going to be made of rubber.
Then we get up to the type of prop guns that are manufactured to only shoot blanks. They were never real guns. We call them non-guns or blank-firing non-guns. They're still dangerous because a blank is a -- a charge of powder that propels hot gas, expanding gas, burning gas, burning powder out of the muzzle.
We want to make sure that nobody is ever right downrange from that muzzle. On another extreme, there is sometimes the use of a real firearm, that had been converted, in some cases, to fire blank rounds so they will cycle a blank round, not having the actual projectile in the cartridge.
You don't get the pressures needed to cycle. But for those guns that don't require the cycling of the round, like a revolver, it would, in some cases, just be a real firearm. Now that brings really to the forefront -- obviously, there is never any real ammunition capable of firing a projectile allowed on a film set ever, ever, ever.
BRUNHUBER: There has been reporting about safety standards in this case.
I want to ask you, are there difference safety standards or directions, depending on the budget and in terms of the armor that's used, if they're union or not?
Are they all operating under the same standards?
HAWTHORNE: I would say, yes, they are. I think that as an armorer -- a competent armorer on set is following a set of industry standards, safety protocols, that include everything from training the performers, working with the directors of photography to block the shot, to make sure nobody's downrange of a muzzle, to, as I said, between takes, when -- just before the director calls action, the armorer will hand the performer the prop, make sure that they've witnessed what types of rounds are going in there.
They do the scene. As soon as the director calls cut, that armorer goes in and secures that prop, takes it away, makes sure it's loaded correctly. We have the right number of rounds for the scene, we don't add extra rounds. Those protocols are universally standard, whether it's union or not.
BRUNHUBER: All right. So many questions still unanswered. But really appreciate having your expertise on this tragic story. Chad Hawthorne, thank you so much for joining us.
HAWTHORNE: Yes, thanks for having me.
BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said when it comes to young children, the benefits of the Pfizer COVID vaccine outweigh the risks.
The U.S. Food and Drug regulator posted 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 advisers will meet next week to evaluate Pfizer's application of emergency use authorization of the shot in young children.
British officials say soaring COVID case numbers are within what they call their expectations. So they are saying they are sticking to the current playbook: no mask mandates and no lockdowns. But that is outraging some health experts. CNN Salma Abdelaziz has more.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The British Medical Association, accusing the government here of willful negligence, over their refusal, to put tougher coronavirus restrictions in place, despite a surge in cases.
On Friday, the U.K. reported 49,000 new infections. That is an increase of an 18 percent, over the last 7 days. It, has many doctors and nurses, across this country, worried about a potential surge in cases during the winter that could really, push this country's health care system.
Still, the country's health secretary has said, for now, rules will not change. And those rules mean, masks are not mandated across England and neither are COVID passports. It has divided opinion on the streets of London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think we need to consider, maybe, bringing back some restrictions we had. Whether or not that needs to be a full lockdown, I think, we need to start bringing back some of the enforceable mask rules that we have had, last year and early this year. I really don't see an alternative. We will have to start bringing them back, I think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can only wear a mask when 100 percent necessary. I don't enjoy wearing masks. It's not something that I would've kept.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it makes a difference to wear a mask. So I am not 100 percent comfortable here, inside of some stores, where people don't use any masks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, systematically, use a mask every day, outside and not inside my own house but everywhere I go. Fundamentally, it is important that people wear masks. If you look around here, most people are not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: Prime minister Boris Johnson's government does have a contingency plan. It is known as plan B. Authorities say, they won't roll it out for now but it does include mandating face masks and potentially, the use of COVID passports, encouraging people to work from home and, having the government explain and emphasize, the risks of this time.
Even if plan B was imposed, it would just put the U.K. just in line with other European countries -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Joining me is infectious disease expert Dr. Keith Neal, professor emeritus at University of Nottingham and joining me from Derby, England.
Thank you so much for being here with us.
First, what's behind this rise in cases there?
DR. KEITH NEAL, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM: Quite simply people mixing and people are infectious, some who will be asymptomatic or presymptomatic. And the more mixing, the more spread. And the virus likes this.
We've also moved things like going back to work, not wearing masks, are all boosting the number of cases.
BRUNHUBER: It seems like young people are contributing to this, as well. This is all putting a spotlight on the vaccination rates among kids, especially 12 to 15.
So you know, as we here in the U.S. are about to roll out vaccinations for kids younger than that, 5 to 11, what is what's happening in the U.K. suggest about the importance of getting kids vaccinated as quickly as possible?
NEAL: I think the fact that children's education is being disrupted. We even had a young girl die, age 15, the day before she was due to be vaccinated. So it can be a dangerous illness at this age.
The issue is, at the moment, even if you're a household contact of a known case, you have a one in six chance of catching COVID-19, even if you've been vaccinated. And there's no requirement to isolate. So it's hardly surprising it's spreading widely.
BRUNHUBER: Yes. And obviously the dropping of all the -- the mandates, mask mandates and so on and so forth. We heard a stark warning from union leaders that were representing some 3 million workers.
They said, quote, "Without decisive action now, we risk sleepwalking into another winter of chaos."
BRUNHUBER: So what can governments do to prevent this?
NEAL: I don't understand why masks has become such a political issue because clearly people seem to think they've got a right to not wear a mask. Even the European human rights gives the right to life a much higher preference.
And I surely have a right not to catch COVID. We now know that if both parties are wearing masks, the transmission rate of COVID falls 50 percent.
BRUNHUBER: Do you think it was a mistake then to drop all of these restrictions? NEAL: I think we have to get to a place where cases were low in attempt to get back to some form of normality. In its way also, the people not having jobs is deleterious to health.
I think we should be looking at what is -- what I call no-cost options. It really doesn't cost anything to put a mask on when you go in a shop.
If you can work from home, why not?
People are saying, well, it actually affects the economics of cities. People who will, therefore, possibly buy their lunch, going out where they live, so the economy has just moved around. It doesn't get destroyed.
BRUNHUBER: Boris Johnson, as we reported, has urged more people to get the booster. Here in the U.S., we're getting more people getting the booster than getting their first shot.
So is that the solution here to prevent these huge spikes?
NEAL: I think it's one of the issues. They need look at COVID as a disease that you get diagnosed with a PCR test, with mild symptoms. Those put you in hospital. And I think, I'm still trying to book my COVID vaccine for the middle of next month.
And I think you've got some groups in America, where you've got significant undervaccination rates. And the unfortunate death of Colin Powell should be a wake-up call to your African American people.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. Well said there. So just as we look at this through a -- an American lens here, as we open up more and more, what else can the U.S. learn from what's happening there in the U.K. right now?
NEAL: I think -- I mean, I understand mask wearing varies by state. The governors seem to have quite a lot of sway.
We've got similar issues with devolution into the four countries. I think we need to be putting in measures that don't badly affect people, like mask wearing, working from home, which really allow people to carry on normal.
I think one of the other things is COVID passports, which has been a big success in parts of Europe. But at the moment, our COVID passport allows you to do a home lateral flow device test, which basically simply opened to fraud and people can lie.
We had a big outbreak at a festival in Cornwall, with 46,000 people going and over 10 percent got ill. And I don't believe that everybody was truthful about their lateral flow device test in that situation.
BRUNHUBER: Yes. Unfortunately, there will always be cheating. Listen, we really appreciate your expertise, Keith Neal. Thank you so much for joining us.
NEAL: Good morning, thank you.
BRUNHUBER: The manhunt for Brian Laundrie is over. But many questions remain. Straight ahead, what the discovery of his remains could mean for the investigation into the death of his fiancee, Gabby Petito.
Plus, Haiti's new police chief calls for a big fight against crime and wants the entire nation to play a part in it. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: U.S. authorities hope that figuring out how Brian Laundrie died could also shed light on how his fiancee, Gabby Petito, ended up strangled to death.
Laundrie's remains were found in Florida this week, ending a manhunt that began after his fiancee was reported missing but before her body was found. 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.
BRUNHUBER: A popular beach resort town in Mexico is looking to boost police presence after two tourists were killed in a shoot-out during rival gangs. It happened in a restaurant in Tulum Wednesday night. The victims were from India and Germany.
Three locals were also wounded. Local officials say the two got caught in the crossfire and weren't the intended target.
Haiti's new police is calling on the entire nation to join the fight against crime. He promises to crack down on gang violence and kidnappings but he also said all Haitians have to play a part in the big fight against criminals. He spoke after the recent abduction of the missionary group from Ohio.
The 17 people are held by the notorious game called 400 Mawozo. It's demanding $17 million for their release.
We want to give you an idea what it's like to be in the hands of that infamous gang. A French priest was abducted by 400 Mawozo and was later released. And he spoke with our Matt Rivers.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The threat from the 400 Mawozo gang leader, Wilson Joseph, was chilling. It his ransom demands are not, met he, says he will kill the 17 missionaries his gang kidnapped, last weekend.
RIVERS (voice-over): From its stronghold, in the suburb, of Croix-des- Bouquets, the gang has terrorized this community for years. Kidnapping, now, a hallmark tactic to make money.
Something French priest Michel Briand knows, firsthand. We met him in a church compound, in Port-au-Prince. Where, he told us, the same day, that same gang took, him and others, back in April.
We met him in a church compound in Port-au-Prince, where he told us about the day that same gang took him and others back in April.
He says, "We had to go through Croix-des-Bouquets to get to a work event and, on our way there, we were intercepted by young men with guns. The gang forced our driver to follow them. That's when I knew we were being kidnapped. I just kept calm."
They were taken to a more rural area; at first, forced to sleep outside on cardboard under a tree. Then they were moved to one abandoned house and then another, in difficult conditions, to say the least.
He says, "It was like a dark hole, like a prison cell. The last place we were in with no windows.
"At the beginning, they were giving us food once a day. But by the end, they stopped feeding us. They forced us to go hungry," he said, believing it was a negotiation tactic.
RIVERS: A source in Haiti security forces tells us that he believes these 17 missionaries could be going through a very similar situation right now, somewhere several miles down that road, made even more difficult by the fact that five of them are children, with the youngest being just 8 months old.
RIVERS (voice-over): In the small town, where the missionary group is based, a protest, calling for their release. Palpable anger rising, toward what they see as an incompetent government.
This protester says, "These missionaries do things for us and our village, that the government doesn't. They've handed the country over to the gang, we demand their release, because these missionaries are everything for us here."
People remain angry, because there are little updates from the government, as to, what if any, progress is being made. A government source says, that is on purpose so as not to make the negotiations harder.
But it remains impossible to know how long the 17 missionaries will remain captive, inside whatever location the gang has placed them.
For Father Briand, it was nearly 3 weeks in total. He said, "The kidnappers play with time, they test the nerves of their victims, especially when they are negotiating. So the victims can't lose faith, they need to keep their hopes up. In our case, our faith was our best ally" -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
BRUNHUBER: A few simple words with Taiwan quickly landed President Biden in hot water with China. Just ahead, we'll see how the White House is rushing to handle the remarks.
Plus shutting down extremist posts that led to the Capitol insurrection. We'll share what we're learning from a trove of papers. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.
The Biden White House is scrambling to tamp down a new firestorm over Taiwan, insisting that America's military policy toward the island hasn't changed. Now the controversy erupted at a CNN town hall Thursday night when President Biden said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You hear people saying Biden wants to start a new cold war with China.
I don't want a cold war with China. 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 are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan's defense --
COOPER: -- if China attacked?
BIDEN: Yes, we have a commitment to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Administration officials say the U.S. remains committed to assisting Taiwan's self-defense but that long-standing policy is intentionally vague about what the U.S. military might do if Taiwan were to be attacked by the mainland.
The U.S. policy toward Taiwan has wider implications toward the region, especially South Korea and Japan. Our Blake Essig is live in Tokyo.
Blake, Biden raised plenty of eyebrows with his comments.
What's been the reaction from Beijing?
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kim, they aren't pleased. As you might expect, the reaction in the region, specifically between Beijing and Taipei, was very different in Taiwan. Biden's words were met with celebration, Taiwan's foreign ministry reiterating their government will continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities to fully defend Taiwan.
And China, the foreign ministry essentially said the U.S. should be cautious in its words and not send the wrong message, one that could damage U.S.-China relations and threaten peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ESSIG: North Korea's foreign ministry 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.
There's no question that tensions are high between Taiwan and Mainland China. In fact, in the first five days of this month, China sent more than 150 planes, including fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers, into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone, which is a record high.
Recently, Taiwan's defense minister said he believes China will be able to launch a full-scale attack on the island by 2025 and that military tensions between Beijing and Taipei are the worst they've been in more than 40 years.
And Kim, if conflict does take place, the big question is, will the United States come to Taiwan's defense?
Last night during CNN's town hall, President Biden seemingly answered that question.
BRUNHUBER: All right. Blake Essig, thank you so much.
President Biden probably won't have much time to think about Taiwan in the coming days. Almost all his energies will be focused on convincing two Democratic senators to get behind this ambitious spending plan and trying to get them on board by next week.
The legal fate of Steve Bannon rests with the U.S. Justice Department. The department voted Thursday to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of January 6th insurrection.
BRUNHUBER: But one former Trump ally will apparently comply with the subpoena. Sources say that Jeffrey Clark is expected to testify next Friday in the January 6th investigation. Clark was an central player in Trump's efforts to overturn election results in key states.
Now we're learning more about the role of Facebook in the January 6th attack. CNN has reviewed internal Facebook documents that revealed the company knew it wasn't doing enough to stop extremist movements ahead of the insurrection. That's at odds 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?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Through Facebook.
O'SULLIVAN: Facebook events, Instagram, how have you been --
(CROSSTALK) 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. 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.
LESSIG: 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.
BRUNHUBER: U.S. workers flex their muscles in ways not seen in decades. Coming up you'll hear why they have leverage over their new bosses now, with the U.S. economy still reeling from the pandemic. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Well, of course, the calendar reads October. But U.S. labor activists are calling it Striketober, as American workers hit the picket lines in droves. Right now thousands of employees across the United States are on strike. Now for many, these are the first walkouts in their entire careers.
U.S. workers now have more leverage over employers than they've had in decades -- and they're using it. According to Cornell University, there have been strikes or labor protests at more than 800 locations this year. One labor leader says that has a lot to do with how workers were treated these past 18 months. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE WISHMAN, PRESIDENT, IOWA FEDERATION OF LABOR: People have worked throughout this pandemic and they've been called essential. But unfortunately they've been treated as expendable. And right now, people just, again, they want their piece of the
American pie. They want their piece of the American dream so that people will have a better life for their families in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: So all of this comes as unions fight an ongoing decline in membership. According to federal statistics, only a little more than 6 percent of more than 110 million U.S. workers were union members last year, up slightly from 2019.
But the percentage of unionized labor has been dropping for nearly 40 years. The retail sector is one of the largest employers but only 4.5 percent of its workers were union members last year. One exception: nearly 40 percent of government workers are represented by unions.
BRUNHUBER: Joining me from Los Angeles is Ryan Patel, board member and senior fellow at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
Thank you so much for being with us. All of this labor strife happening in the context of what people are calling the great resignation. More people left their jobs in August than in all of history, some 4.3 million people.
So what kind of workers are quitting and why is this happening?
RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: Well, there's a couple of buckets. I think, Kim, the first bucket is people are leaving the jobs that they currently have and are finding other jobs because the benefits and/or the compensation is also better.
There's that one bucket of group of people, who are finding a better opportunity because companies have to up their game now to be able to attract better talent. That means not just compensation but also kinds of benefits -- health, you know, education -- I mean, it's getting really competitive.
Then there's the second bucket, which I think you and I were thinking about, about the strikes. If companies are making more money, people want to get paid more. People want a work-life balance more.
Part of it -- you can point toward the pandemic. The last two years, people have realized, workers specifically, where they would like to have that balance and what's worth it, what's not. It made a lot of employees question about what they want to do moving forward.
BRUNHUBER: So is all this giving more leverage to the unions then?
Is that why we're seeing so many labor actions?
PATEL: Yes. I mean, definitely, there has been -- if you think about the unions in general, there typically haven't been favorable in percentagewise. A recent Gallup poll said 68 percent of respondents have a positive view of the unions. Best reading of that question since 1965.
Yes, there is a lot more, you know, togetherness. And the unions know they have some leverage. And the companies actually do. If you look at John Deere, they just announced today or in the last 24 hours, you know, even on strike, they're going to be offering benefits to the workers that are on strike.
Kim, that doesn't happen.
PATEL: That doesn't happen on strikes. And so I think there is that collaboration and also the power of social media, too. Don't forget that is on their side.
BRUNHUBER: Yes. Well, so then that's great news for, you know, employees, many of whom are, you know, voting with their feet here.
The fact that labor has more power, the question is, is this temporary?
Is it sort of a bunch of people, who have more money in their pockets because of these, you know, COVID-specific government programs?
Or does all this signal a more permanent shift, in which people are rearranging their lives and have changed their attitudes toward work, that second bucket that you were talking about?
It seems -- you know, to me, counterintuitive after we've weathered such a huge economic upheaval because of COVID. You'd think workers would be more desperate than ever to hang onto whatever job they have.
PATEL: And you're right. And part of -- you think about the supply and demand where, the demand is high and companies need more products and services and they're having a hard time for whatever industry you mention, from supply chain to retail.
Part of what we learned from the pandemic -- and I think this is where, you know, yes, you got the stimulus package and that goes for so long. I think people want to find things that they want to make an impact and enjoy.
And you know, I hate to throw this in there, Kim, but the whole work from home and office debate that continues, that exists, that is into this workplace culture. So the way we look at work and this -- discuss culture has changed.
It's not going back to what it was pre-pandemic for many of these companies. And because of that, of how we look at workplace culture, how you look at your job, these employees are looking at, well, is this worth my time?
Could I be doing something else, side gigs? The freelance market is -- 50 million people have freelance gigs on
the side here in the U.S. So that has been going up. So there's a lot more opportunity now that people have opened their eyes and are balancing what's in front of them.
BRUNHUBER: Lastly, how do we marry what's happening on the labor side with what's happening in terms of inflation?
I mean, if this keeps going and prices keep going up, will that sort of pressure people to go back to perhaps the jobs that they left, that they didn't want?
PATEL: Yes. You know, it's always great when you have a small portion of -- a dose of something. When you start getting a bigger dose and when you're going through months and months and months of not meeting demand, not meeting retail sales, you know, payments are not being hit.
And then outlook starts to get cut for many of these companies. Profitability starts to decrease. That's when we're going to start seeing the demand and spend a little bit differently. That's going to naturally occur over a period of time.
If this thing all gets settled in three, four months, I think we're OK. But you know, just like COVID, when things start to effect for more than six months, seven months, it has a detrimental effect to the economy as a whole, especially about recovery, Kim.
When we're talking about fast recovery, you want to see the U.S. GDP to continue to increase, not take a flat line. You want it to catch up past where we were at 2019. I think we're starting to see that this will have an effect, 2022's outlook, if companies can really reach those high potentials that they want to.
BRUNHUBER: Hate to leave it on a downer there but we will have to leave it there. Ryan Patel, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
PATEL: Thanks, Kim.
BRUNHUBER: We're tracking a strong storm set to hit parts of the western U.S. Ahead, details from CNN's Weather Center about what to expect this weekend. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: The U.S. West coast is bracing for a powerful storm this weekend. A bomb cyclone of hurricane-like strength and tropic atmospheric river moisture will clash Saturday night, unleashing heavy rain, snow and strong wins in parts of California and the Pacific Northwest.
BRUNHUBER: The Houston Astros are back in the World Series for the third time in five years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes the 0-1. Fly ball into left. That should do it. Astros win the pennant.
BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Houston clobbered the Boston Red Sox 5-0 to win the American League championship in six games. They'll face either the reigning champs, the Atlanta Braves, or the Dodgers in the World Series.
Those contenders have some divinely inspired competition. Sister Mary Catherine's ceremonial first pitch led off the Astros' win. She and her fellow sisters are called the Rally Nuns for rallying support for the Houston team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And before we go, the largest skeleton of a triceratops ever found has a new owner. A private U.S. buyer bought Big John for almost $8 million in Paris on Thursday. That set a European record for a dinosaur fossil and crushed the preauction estimates of $2 million. The 66 million-year-old fossil was found in South Dakota several years ago and restored in Italy.
That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. CNN's "NEW DAY WEEKEND" is next for viewers here in the U.S. and Canada. And for everyone else, it's "MARKETPLACE ASIA."