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Parents Of Shooting Suspect Had Help Hiding In Detroit; Sources Reveal Timeline Of Possible Charges In "Rust" Shooting; Chris Cuomo Terminated From CNN Effective Immediately; Supreme Court Vs. The Court Of Public Opinion; Dr. Oz Announces Candidacy For U.S. Senate Seat For Pennsylvania. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired December 04, 2021 - 17:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

After setting off a manhunt headed by the U.S. Marshal Service, the parents of a suspected school shooter are now in the very same jail as their 15-year-old son and they could be joined by someone else.

This is exclusive CNN video of the moment James and Jennifer Crumbley were arrested last night inside an industrial building in Detroit, a building police say a person of interest helped them hide in.

Earlier in the day, the Crumbleys were charged in connection with their son's alleged shooting spree at his Michigan high school, but instead of turning themselves in, as we all know now, investigators say they withdrew $4,000 from an ATM, turned off their cell phones and ran.

Their arraignment this morning on charges of involuntary manslaughter is unprecedented. Rarely are parents indicted for crimes their children commit, but the prosecutor in this case says the Crumbleys actions are not only egregious, they are criminal, accusing the pair of not only buying the gun their son used to massacre his classmates, but also accused of laughing off his web searches of ammunition and then refusing to pull their son out of school after he was caught drawing pictures of a gun, bullets and someone bleeding with the words, "The thoughts won't stop. Help me."

Instead the Crumbleys promised to take their son to counseling within 48 hours. That counseling appointment would never come because the sheriff says their son had been planning a school shooting all along, a spree he was looking forward to.

Within hours, students would be blockading classroom doors and running for their lives. Four people would be dead, seven more injured and 15- year-old Ethan Crumbley would be charged as an adult with about two dozen crimes.

CNN's Athena Jones is following the story for us in Michigan. Athena, apologies for the last hour, interrupting your live shot as we were going to that press conference, but the sheriff did relay some new information to reporters. What did we learn?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Jim. That's right, we learned some new details. We already knew that all three Crumbleys were being held in the same jail, the Oakland County jail nearby -- near where we are now. But one thing the sheriff points out is that Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old, facing these four first degree murder charges may not actually know that his parents have been arrested because each of them is being held separated from one another in isolation. So that's one interesting point. And they're all on suicide watch.

We also learned that the person of interest who police say helped the Crumbleys get into that warehouse they were found hiding in, that person may face potential charges for either aiding and abetting or obstruction of justice. That will be up to the Oakland County prosecutor.

But this sheriff -- Sheriff Michael Bouchard was asked how do they know, how do they conclude that the Crumbleys were in fact hiding? Their lawyers arguing they were never fleeing, they were going to turn themselves in.

So the sheriff was asked, how did you know they were hiding? Here's what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, can you give some clarity as to how you know that they were hiding? Didn't you say they were in the building where they were specifically tucked away or anything like that?

SHERIFF MICHAEL BOUCHARD, OAKLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN: Well, when the tip came in, the person was apparently outside smoking and they pretty much ran away. And obviously, the way, and I'm not going to get into specifics, but I think where they were and how they were seems to support the position they were hiding and they weren't looking for surrendering at that point.

I think certainly it lends to the original charge that if there's no culpability, why would you go be in a warehouse in Detroit?


JONES: And so there you heard the sheriff saying they clearly don't buy it, that the Crumbleys were ever going to turn themselves in. But clearly some interesting information coming out of that press conference, Jim.

ACOSTA: Yes. And one of the victims, Justin Schilling, Athena was declared dead on Wednesday but was taken off of life support last night. And there was just an incredible scene and outpouring of support for the family. Tell us about that.

JONES: That's right. Justin Schilling was -- a crowd gathered outside the hospital last night when his family, when his parents were saying good-bye. We also know that Justin Schilling donated his organs, so his one life was able to help save several other lives or improve several other lives.

But still such a tragedy that the reason that these two parents, these two Crumbleys are here now with their son is that the Oakland County prosecutor believes that this could have been avoided if those two -- Jennifer and James Crumbley had just spoken up, Jim.


ACOSTA: Absolutely. And that scene there outside the hospital, my goodness. That is just so sad.

Athena Jones, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

The Crumbleys' attorney denies her clients were on the run at their arraignment this morning.


SHANNON SMITH, ATTORNEY FOR THE CRUMBLEYS: Last night and throughout the day, we were in contact with our clients. They were scared. They were terrified. They were not at home.

They were figuring out what to do, getting finances in order. But our clients were absolutely going to turn themselves in. It was just a matter of logistics and all the prosecution had to do was communicate with me about it.


ACOSTA: Elie Honig is a former federal prosecutor. Elie, it all adds up, doesn't it? I'm just kidding. No, it doesn't add up.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes Jim, I'm not buying that whatsoever. First of all, they were on their way to surrendering. That is a mighty indirect route to the courthouse.

Second of all, when you are wanted, when a judge has issued an arrest warrant for involuntary manslaughter, you don't get to take your time and settle up your finances and take care of your personal business and turn yourself in at your leisure.

Ultimately this will be an issue for the jury. This is fair play. When the Crumbleys get charged, when they get tried eventually for involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor's going to get to stand in front of that jury and say exactly what we just heard the sheriff way, which is, if there was no culpability, why are they in a warehouse in Detroit in the middle of the night? So that's going the hurt them when it comes time for their eventual trial.

ACOSTA: And Crumbley's dad was seen shaking his head when the prosecution claimed his son had total access to the gun. The defense says the gun was actually locked. I guess we're at some point going to get to the bottom of this. If this gun was locked away though, does that reduce the likelihood of a conviction against the parents, do you think?

HONIG: Sure. I mean that's one of many relevant factors here. If the gun was locked, that will help the parents. If it was not locked, that will certainly help the prosecution. But that issue in itself is not going to be singularly dispositive. There's a lot of factors here.

There's the purchasing of the gun by the father for the child under apparently false pretenses, illegally. There's the fact that when the child was caught trying to get ammo or googling ammo or searching for ammo, the mom literally laughed it off. Her text said, "Lol. Just don't get caught next time."

And then there's the ignoring of all the flashing red warning signs, the drawings, the threats.

So all of that is going to come into play. The security of the gun will be one of many factors.

ACOSTA: And the prosecutor told CNN that she could add more charges to this case. What do you think? We could expect?

HONIG: Yes. I think we're looking at potential new charges against both parents plus that new person of interest we just learned about in that press conference. We could be looking at resisting arrest. We could be looking at obstruction of justice.

Also, I want to know what they've been doing for the last 24 hours or so. If they, for example, deleted texts. Threw out a phone, took a sim card out of the back of a phone and threw it in a lake, which people do sometimes. All that could be witness tampering.

If they got in touch with people who might be witnesses, that could be witness and evidence tampering. So we need to know the specifics.

But the prosecutor did tell Wolf Blitzer yesterday that she did expect to add new charges and I wouldn't be surprised to see that.

ACOSTA: And these charges against the parents are unprecedented, Elie.

What do you think about the possibility here that a new precedent is being set? I imagine that there are law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices all across the country who are looking at this and saying, ok, maybe this is one way we can get a handle on this.

If you can wake up some parents out there to the possibility that they could be charged if their kid goes out and carries out a mass shooting, I'm not saying that it's going to prevent them from happening, but it maybe could make an impact.

I don't know. What do you think?

HONIG: No Jim, I think this is one of most important facts in this entire case. This is fairly unprecedented. And I'll tell you, having been a prosecutor for a long time, prosecutors never like to be the first to do something. And we're always asking, well, has anyone done this before? Are we going to be the first here?

And now prosecutors across the country will know about this example. And so anytime we have one of these tragic mass shootings, school shootings, especially when it's a child, I think prosecutors across the country now are going to say ok, obviously we have to charge that person, but let's look at who else might have been culpable here and you have to start with the parents. So I think this is a clarion call for prosecutors and for parents and really for all of us.

ACOSTA: Yes, the lousy parenting might not be as egregious in this case which just might be the most egregious parenting you'll ever see. But potentially yes you're right. it could definitely send a message.

And I want to ask you about the school's role in all of this. We know that the day before the shooting, the teacher saw the shooter searching for ammunition. Hours before the shooting, a different teacher saw him drawing a picture of someone being shot with the words, "Blood everywhere" and "help me". He was then sent back to the classroom, as far as we know.

I mean that also seems like negligence. I mean obviously these are educators making these decisions, you know, moment by moment, but my God. Those are massive red flags.

HONIG: Yes, a lot of serious questions here for the school, the administrators. And this is why Jim, I think we are very likely to see civil lawsuits against the school. It's a lower burden of proof. Just negligence -- just showing that they missed these fairly obvious red flags, that's enough for the families of victims here to sue for money damages.


HONIG: It's a lower standard than criminal charges. I don't think criminal charges are particularly likely against the school administrators, but again, there's real responsibility here just in the every day sense that I think we need to look at the parents first and foremost but yes, also the school, teachers, administrators as well.

ACOSTA: All right. Elie Honig, thanks so much. We appreciate it.

HONIG: Thanks, Jim. All right.

ACOSTA: Meanwhile, officials investigating the deadly shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's film "rust" are moving quickly. They interviewed witnesses this week and executed a search warrant. Next, what we're learning about the possibility of charges and the timing of those possible charges.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ACOSTA: Now to the criminal investigation into the deadly shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's film "Rust". Sources tell CNN, prosecutors will likely decide whether to file charges within the next two months.


ACOSTA: This update as Baldwin says he's not responsible for the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, despite being the person holding the gun that fired the bullet that killed her.

CNN's Natasha Chen has been following this story for us. Natasha, what else did we learn from Baldwin's interview?

NATASHAN CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Jim, it was a very emotional interview where he talked about not having pulled the trigger when that gun fired. He also described his role as a producer on this film. He said it had more to do with casting and scripts and not so much about hirings. Although the director did consult him on certain hires.

In particular, as far as the armorer is concerned, he said he had no reason to believe that Hannah Gutierrez Reed wasn't up for the job.

Here he is talking about the experience of that day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- says two people accidentally shot --

CHEN (voice over): For the first time since cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed on the set of the movie "Rust", actor Alec Baldwin described exactly what he thought happened on October 21st.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin said he never pulled the trigger on the gun he was holding.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: I let go of the hammer, bang the goes off.

CHEN: He recounted the rehearsal just moments before the gun fired, saying Hutchins was telling him how to position his hand, holding the gun just off camera.

BALDWIN: Now, in this scene I'm going to cock the gun. I said do you want to see that and she said yes.

So I take the gun, and I start to cock the gun. I'm not going to pull the trigger. I said do you see the -- well, just cheat it down and tope it down a little bit like that. And I cocked the gun, I go can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?

And she says -- and I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off.

CHEN: In the moments that followed, complete disbelief.

BALDWIN: Everyone is horrified, they're shocked. It is loud. They don't have their ear plugs in. The gun was supposed to be empty. I was told I was handed an empty gun. I thought to myself did she faint? The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me until probably 45 minutes to an hour later.

CHEN: The attorney for assistant director Dave Halls says Halls maintains he did not see Baldwin pull the trigger and that Baldwin did not have his finger on the trigger.

Theatrical firearms safety expert Steve Wolf showed why he believes that's not likely.

STEVE WOLF, FIREARMS SAFETY EXPERT: Not plausible. On a single action revolver, when you pull the hammer back which is an intentional act -- click, click, click, click. Now the hammer is set.

When you pull the hammer back and let go, as you can see I am not holding this, you know, the hammer doesn't go anywhere.

CHEN: He says if Baldwin's finger was resting on the trigger when he let go of the hammer --

WOLF: He doesn't have to press the trigger again if he's already got pressure on it in order for the gun to fire.

CHEN: Baldwin became emotional as he described his admiration for Hutchins, but said he does not feel responsible or guilty for her death.

BALDWIN: I feel that someone is responsible for what happened and I can't say who that is, but I know it is not me. I mean honest to God, if I felt that I was responsible, I might have killed myself if I thought I was responsible. And I don't say that lightly.


CHEN: Baldwin also added that he spoke to people he feels are in the know and he thinks it's unlikely he would be criminally charged. He is being named in a couple of civil lawsuits.

Now, as far as that criminal investigation, the district attorney in Santa Fe released a statement saying that "Everyone on that set had a duty to behave in a way that protected the safety of others and that actions or inactions of people there led to this outcome."

As you mentioned, it could be February we're told when local prosecutors are setting that goal to make decisions on criminal charges, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Natasha Chen, thanks very much for that.

And Bill Davis joins me now. He's a weapons expert for film and TV. Bill, Alec Baldwin says someone is responsible for the deadly shooting accident, but it's not him. You know, tell us your thoughts on this. How do you see it?

BILL DAVIS, WEAPONS EXPERT FOR FILM AND TV: There's three people responsible for this death. The first one is the armorer, the so- called armorer, because this was her second show. So she's not an armorer. She's responsible for allowing live ammo into that weapon.

Second, the first assistant director took control of that weapon while the armorer was somewhere else leaving the guns unattended. He allegedly checked the weapon to see if it was loaded and he declared it clear or unloaded. He handed it to Baldwin.

Baldwin at that point should have looked. The armorer should have displayed that gun to him and said here, it's empty. Look. Check it out together.

There's no intermediary. It goes from the armorer to the actor and back. That's it. No first AD. The first AD had absolutely no reason or business or authority to touch that weapon.


DAVIS: The third one is Baldwin. All actors know and he's been around long enough to know this, you don't point the gun at anyone. You just don't do it.

And he says that he didn't pull the trigger so we're going to go through this again. This is an unloaded weapon. Completely empty. And it's a single action revolver. That's the single action. It won't fire unless you actually have that cocked.

Now, you see that the hammer's staying back by itself. So he's claiming that he held it, he held the hammer back with his thumb and let it go. It doesn't do that. It will not fire. It's a physical impossibility. It goes against everything mechanical.

Then the only way it could have fired is by placing a finger, which was outside the trigger guard, he claimed, on the trigger, holding the hammer back, pulling the trigger and it fired. That's the only way it could have happened.

ACOSTA: So when he says he didn't pull the trigger, is he parsing things? What do you think?


DAVID: I watched the interview -- yes. No, no. I watched the interview. From what I'm seeing, it's like the Bart Simpson defense. You know, it's like didn't seen anything. You can't prove a thing. I didn't do it.

He did pull the trigger. Everybody pulls the trigger if they want the gun to go off. That's why guns come with triggers. If you don't pull the trigger, the weapon will not fire, period. End of story.

So what he was trying to do is --

ACOSTA: Any chance that weapon was defective in some way though?

Davis: Well, there's always a chance. But that's why I think the FBI has the gun now for examination or maybe it's still in New Mexico. I don't know. Experts will be examining that weapon. I'm pretty sure it was ok. I'm pretty sure it wasn't, you know, run over by a truck and damaged or any of that stuff because prop houses and wherever she got the gun, those people check the guns out before they go out on movies. And when they come back, they check the guns out to make sure they're safe.

ACOSTA: All right. Bill Davis, thanks so much for that perspective. We'll have you again some time. Thanks for your time.

DAVIS: Thank you.

And we have breaking news about CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. Earlier this week, Cuomo was suspended from CNN after documents revealed he had been involved more than previously known in shaping his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo's, defense. Cuomo -- Chris Cuomo, we should point out has now been terminated here at CNN.

That's the latest breaking news about what's happening here at CNN.

I want to go to CNN'S Brian Stelter. Brian, obviously this -- this is huge news. Not only inside CNN, but for this industry. What can you tell us?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris Cuomo, one of the most popular anchors at CNN, one of the best known names in television news, violated journalistic ethics and norms not once or twice, but many times. And that's ultimately what is the result of today's news, Jim.

As you mentioned, Cuomo just terminated by CNN this afternoon. And here's the statement from management explaining the decision. Saying "Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother's defense. We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review and have terminated him effective immediately.

While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate."

So this is a big surprise for a lot of people. Jim, I didn't expect to be on with you this evening talking about this breaking news, but we did know that Cuomo had been suspended, not just you know, for a week, not in the kind of way that's a fake suspension, a big pressure off CNN.

This was a real suspension. He was put on the bench indefinitely while management conducted a review. What we didn't know until tonight, Jim, is that an outside law firm came in and that the law firm went through the thousands of pages of text messages and sworn testimony that was released back on Monday.

So there was clearly something in those documents that was found to be a serious breach of standards and practices. Of course, it was known months ago that Chris Cuomo was helping his brother, talking to his brother while his brother was trying to hold on to the governorship and defending himself amid sexual harassment allegations.

What we learned this week in those text messages and in that sworn testimony was that he basically was acting like a staffer. He was like an unpaid staffer for the governor. He was doing that at the same time he was working with CNN.

Now, there's one part of the statement Jim, that we don't know anything about, just to be completely transparent with the audience.

It says "There's additional information that also came to light sometime this week." We don't know what that is. I've asked. There's no answers coming on what that could be. What we do know is that Cuomo was terminated earlier today.


STELTER: We know in the past -- I have reached out to Chris, asked him for comment and have not heard back yet. We know in the past, he has said he always put family first and he said he was sorry to put his CNN colleagues in a difficult situation. Now that difficult situation will not exist because Chris Cuomo has been terminated.

ACOSTA: And Brian, do we know when this new information might be brought out to the public and we'll have a sense as to what this additional information was?

STELTER: I don't know actually if it ever will. I think that's very much unclear. You know, certainly in the years I've spent covering media, we know companies try to keep these things as private as possible, but this is playing out in a very public stage because of Chris Cuomo's prominence and because of his relationship with his brother.

I think this may be a situation, Jim, just drawing on my years as a media reporter -- I think this may be a situation where it was death by a thousand cuts. Where there were just so many headaches, time and time again involving Chris Cuomo that even though many viewers loved watching "CUOMO PRIMETIME", looked forward to his show, he was causing so many headaches for the network and for CNN staffers that ultimately this decision was reached.

That's just drawing on my background. You know, covering other stories like this. I do think you know, this is a moment where journalistic ethics are at play. And I know there were many CNN staffers very unhappy with the situation, very frustrated by Chris Cuomo.

At the same time, Jim I was hearing from some fans of Chris, some viewers who said we understood he was looking out for his family.

This was always a very complicated situation. But I think the text messages and the documents this week, showing that he was very deeply involved, very cozy with the governor's office, very improperly working with the aides. That was ultimately why this decision was announced tonight.

ACOSTA: All right, Brian Stelter, thanks so much for that late breaking information just coming in to CNN in the last several minutes.

Chris Cuomo, anchor here at CNN has been terminated from CNN effective immediately. That announcement made by Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN. And we just learned this in the last several minutes.

Brian Stelter, our chief media correspondent breaking it down for us. Brian, thanks so much for that. We appreciate it.

We'll be right back.




ACOSTA: You're aware of the new conservative breakdown of the Supreme Court, six to three in favor of the conservatives. Here's another breakdown. Democrats have won the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections.

Of course, we have the Electoral College system in this country right now, which is how Trump, who lost the popular vote in 2016, got three picks on the Supreme Court.

Even though Americans have largely chosen Democrats for the presidency over the last three decades, a new, hard-right Supreme Court appears poised to turn back the clock to the 1970s.

It's like Americans voted for "The West Wing" and instead got "That Seventies Show."

This has created a scenario where the minority view on a whole range of hot-button issues could carry the day for a generation.

That brings me to something Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned this week. That overturning 1973 landmark decision of Roe v. Wade would create a stench in Washington, which, in this town, is saying something.


SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE (voice-over): Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception, that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don't see how it is possible.

If people actually believe that it's all political, how will we survive? How will the court survive?


ACOSTA: Sotomayor is warning is credibility of the Supreme Court is on the line, making the point that the only reason we are having this discussion about abortion rights is because the composition of the court has changed. The merits of the case really haven't. And it doesn't take a legal scholar to see which way the wind is


Just listen to how the justices have been weighing the case that could topple Roe, Mississippi's restrictive abortion law.


JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT (voice-over): If it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?

SAMUEL ALITO, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE (voice-over): The fetus has an interest in having a life and that doesn't change, does it, from the point before viability to the point after viability?

BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE (voice-over): The reason this issue's hard is that you can't accommodate both interests. You have to pick. That's the fundamental problem.


ACOSTA: That last voice you heard was Justice Brett Kavanaugh, one of Trump's three justices on the high court. His comments suggest he's inclined to uphold Mississippi's 15-week ban.

But back when being confirmed, he emphasized the importance of precedent.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): What would you say your position today is on a woman's right to choose?

KAVANAUGH: As a judge --

FEINSTEIN: As a judge.

KAVANAUGH: As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. By it, I mean Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Been reaffirmed many times.

Casey is precedent on precedent, which itself is an important factor.


ACOSTA: Republican Senator Susan Collins, you may remember, assured Americans at that time that Kavanaugh would leave Roe alone.



SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): We talked about whether he considered Roe to be settled law. He said that he agreed with what Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearing in which he said that it was settled law. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Moral to the story: Our system appears to encourage nominees to the Supreme Court to mislead the public about their views.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, it's no mystery, has been plotting a dominant conservative majority on the Supreme Court for years.

Back in 2016, after Justice Antonin Scalia died, McConnell blocked Barack Obama's pick, Merrick Garland, by denying him any Senate hearings.

McConnell said it just wouldn't be right to put Garland on the high court at that time, during an election year.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): This is not about this particular judge. This is about who should make the appointment.

We're in the process of picking a president. And that new president ought to make this appointment, which will affect the Supreme Court maybe for the next quarter of a century.


ACOSTA: Then last year, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away less than two months before the election. What happened? According to PBS, McConnell called Trump the night Ginsburg died urging him to select Amy Coney Barrett quickly.

Barrett was widely viewed at that time as a shoo-in to overturn Roe v. Wade.


JOSH HOLMES, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: McConnell told him two things. He said, first, I'm going to put out a statement that says we're going to fill the vacancy. Second, he said, you've got to nominate Amy Coney Barrett.


ACOSTA: Less than a year later, Justice Barrett appeared at an event at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville. That's right. The McConnell Center at the University of Louisville.

She told this to the crowd: "My goal today is to convince you this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."

Now, where would anybody get an idea like that? Never mind.

The polls show that the majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. Opponents of Roe have become the dogs who caught the car, except, in

this case, they have no idea how to drive it. It's more like dogs playing poker at this point.

If Roe is struck down or gutted, other states will likely outlaw abortion. Does anybody have a plan for how to enforce that?

What can Democrats say at this point? Life's a Mitch, I guess?

But the harsh reality is that Democrats have been outmaneuvered by Mitch McConnell. Now Democrats may be staring at the chessboard wondering what to do.

What about the filibuster? The same filibuster that is preventing all kinds of legislation from passing in the Senate, from abortion rights to protecting America's elections to gun laws.

Just this week, another American high school was terrorized by a mass shooter. This time, it was Michigan. Lives have been shattered. Students have been traumatized.

And despite poll after poll showing most Americans favor new gun safety laws, despite the sky-high support for universal background checks, Democrats can't seem to find a way to pass any kind of restrictions on firearms. Any.

The filibuster stands in the way.

A few moments ago, we played Justice Alito saying, quote, "The fetus has an interest in having a life."

What about the students in Michigan? And Florida? And Colorado? And Connecticut? And on and on? What about their lives?


FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER KILLED IN PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING: Absolutely, we have a right to life. We have a right to worship. We have a right to send our kids to school without fear.

We have a right to go to a mall. We have a right to go to a movie. And we have a right to do so without the fear that our life will be ended by a bullet.


ACOSTA: It should come as no surprise that Trump's justices on the Supreme Court recently signaled they want to expand gun rights, not limit them.

Trump once told long time journalist, Bob Woodward, McConnell's strategy was simple, focus on the judges.

Consider the ages of Trump's Supreme Court justices. Neil Gorsuch is 54. Brett Kavanaugh is 56. Amy Coney Barrett is 49. That one makes me feel a little old. But Democrats could think about it this way. If Mitch McConnell were

in their shoes, what would he do? Given what we know, would we see him letting the filibuster stand?

Is the filibuster more important than election rights and women's rights? Is it more important than the lives of our teenagers? Safety of our schools?

Democrats could just ask themselves, what would Mitch do? Or they can just keep on thinking Life's a Mitch.


We'll be right back.


ACOSTA: From TV personalities to nationally elected office. Yes, it's been known to happen. And now, popular talk-show host, Dr. Oz, says he wants to be the newest United States Senator from Pennsylvania.

CNN's Randi Kaye has more.



DR. MEHMET OZ, CARDIOTHORACIC SURGEON & HOST, "THE DR. OZ SHOW": All right, So, I want to challenge you all.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His audiences watching all as Dr. Mehmet Oz pushes so-called miracle treatments or cures that often lack medical evidence to back them up.


OZ: And now I've got the number-one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat. It's raspberry ketone.

We're kicking it off with what I believe is one of the most important discoveries we've made to help you burn fat faster, green coffee bean extract.

KAYE: Dr. Oz also once claimed putting a bar of lavender soap in your bed can help prevent Restless Leg Syndrome.

But there was nothing like his showmanship for his so-called Rapid Belly Melt demonstration. He used it to promote yet another questionable fat-burning product he called "lightning in a bottle."

OZ: This is what it does to your belly fat. Whoa! And as it burns it away, what's left behind?


OZ: Muscle. KAYE: More recently, he made claims during the pandemic that critics called medical misinformation.

OZ: I would take it myself if I was having issues with the virus.

KAYE: That's Dr. Oz speaking with Larry King last year about using the controversial anti-malaria drug, Hydroxychloroquine, to fight the coronavirus. Remarks that he later walked back.

OZ: Because it's believed to be so safe, it's used widely. And it turns out that it might have an effect against this virus.

KAYE: The fact is the CDC has noted the drug's efficacy to either prevent or treat this infection are unknown. It has warned that unsupervised use of Hydroxychloroquine can cause serious health consequences, including death.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think we've got to be careful that we don't make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug.

KAYE: And last year, Dr. Oz made comments that were interpreted to mean that 3 percent total mortality due to COVID was worth the cost to some to reopen schools.

OZ: I just saw a nice piece in "The Lancet" arguing that the opening of schools may only cost us 2 percent to 3 percent in terms of total mortality.

KAYE: The backlash was swift and Oz later said he misspoke.

A 2014 study in the peer reviewed "British Medical Journal" found that of 40 randomly selected episodes from Oz's television show, his health recommendations were based on evidence just 46 percent of the time.

OZ: We're going to go.

KAYE: The following year, a group of doctors and professors sent this letter to Columbia University's Dean of Medicine, asking him to remove Dr. Oz, who was a trained heart surgeon, from his faculty position.

The group cited Oz's, quote, "egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain."

Something Dr. Oz later denied. Columbia stood by him.

But in recent years, Dr. Oz has also had to answer to a Senate committee, which also questioned his advertising of unproven weight- loss products.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D) FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true.

So why, when you have this amazing megaphone, and this amazing ability to communicate, why would you cheapen your show by saying things like that?

OZ: I recognize that, oftentimes, they don't have the scientific muster to present as fact.

KAYE: If Dr. Oz has his way, he'll soon trade television for the U.S. Senate, and likely work with some who already question his ethics.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


ACOSTA: Up next, we remember a hero of World War II.



ACOSTA: The last surviving officer of a legendary World War II regiment, immortalized in the HBO series "Band of Brothers," has died.

Army Colonel Edward Shames was a member of Easy Company, a parachute regiment involved in some of the most important battles of the war.

He made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day. Went into the horrific concentration camp, Dachau, after it was liberated. And even entered Hitler's Eagle Nest after Germany surrendered.

According to his obituary, it was there that Shames managed to acquire a few bottles of cognac labeled "For the Fuhrer's use only." He would later use them to toast his future son's Bar Mitzvah.

Army Colonel Edward Shames was 99 years old.

Cheers to your memory, Colonel, and thank you for all you did for all of us.

Speaking of heroes, now to this week's "CNN Hero."

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the island of Bali, thousands of people were left out of work and at risk of going hungry. This hero found a way to help his community by implementing a simple plan, empower people to trade in plastic waste for rice.


JANUR YASA, CNN HERO: I kept going with this mission because people empower. Because people get excited. Because of the community that respond to this initiative.

I see the smile in their face. I see the cleaner environments. And also I see they can provide for their family.

This initiative is so simple and we can do this in every community.

We clean the environment. We feed the people. And they're proud doing this. My goal is to really spread this movement. I want to inspire people

that everything is possible. There's no small dream.

If you believe and you do it with the community, then you will succeed.



ACOSTA: Go to right now to vote for him for CNN Hero of the Year, and any of your top-10 favorites, for that matter.

That's the news. There was plenty of it tonight. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Phil Mattingly takes over the CNN NEWSROOM, live, after a quick break.

Have a good night, everybody.