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President Biden Speaks On Passage Of Spending Bill; Republican Matt Gaetz Plans To Oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy; Interview With Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) About Bipartisan Spending Bill Fund That Might Cost Kevin McCarthy The Speakership; Amber Alert Issued For Nine-Year-Old Girl Missing In Upstate New York; Taylor Swift Expected To Attend Chiefs Game In New York Tonight, Paris: From City Of Lights To City of Bites. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 01, 2023 - 19:00   ET



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

The government narrowly avoids a shutdown but now Congress faces a new showdown. The House broke a stalemate by winning support from Democrats to pass the spending bill, keeping the government open. That's creating, though, a new power struggle. This week MAGA hardliners are expected to try to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for that bipartisan move. Ironically, it could be the Democrats who help save his job because the GOP has such a slim majority.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's start with the Republicans. How many Republicans do you have?

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Well, enough so that when you host this show next week, if Kevin McCarthy is still the speaker of the House he will be serving at the pleasure of the Democrats. He will be working for the Democrats.


ACOSTA: Now, for his part, McCarthy is brushing off the threat to his leadership as a publicity stunt.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Yes, I'll survive. You know, this is personal with Matt. Matt voted against the most conservative ability to protect our border, secure our border. He's more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something. He wanted to push us into a shutdown, even threatening his own district with all the military people there who would not be paid only because he wants to take this motion.

So be it, bring it on, let's get over with it and let's start governing. If he's upset because he tried to push us in a shutdown, and I made sure government didn't shutdown, then let's have that fight.


ACOSTA: And just moments ago in Iowa, former President Donald Trump weighed in.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you support Matt Gaetz's efforts to remove McCarthy as speaker?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know anything about those efforts but I like both of them very much.


ACOSTA: Let's begin this hour at the White House. CNN's Arlette Saenz is with us over there.

Arlette, President Biden spoke on the deal earlier today as well as commenting on the ugly politics that we've been witnessing over the last several days. What was his message?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, President Biden refrained from commenting on this debate about these efforts to potentially oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He said ultimately that this is a decision that will be left up to the House and he will let Democratic leadership in the House speak about what they think the path forward should be. But the president has been urging both Republicans and specifically House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on two fronts.

He said that he wants to make sure that there is more funding given to Ukraine and he also wants to make sure that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans adhere to that budget agreement that McCarthy had struck with the White House last spring during the debt ceiling fight. Now, as the president was speaking to reporters earlier today, he was asked whether he believes he can trust McCarthy going forward. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just made one. About Ukraine. So we'll find out.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But are you worried that he is going to be forced by fellow Republicans to back away from any deal he cuts with you?

BIDEN: I hope this experience for the speaker has been one of personal revelation. I'm not being facetious.


SAENZ: Now the president there suggested that there might have been a deal struck with McCarthy when it comes to Ukraine. [19:05:00]

The president didn't elaborate on that but you have heard from the White House and House Democratic leadership that they expect McCarthy to put up a separate vote on a Ukraine aid package at some point in the coming weeks, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's office would not say whether there was any type of agreement of that matter. They just reiterated that McCarthy wants to ensure that there's not just aid for Ukraine but also border security funding as well.

Now it comes at a time when the president had wanted that Ukraine aid in the initial package but there was opposition among some hardline Republicans about including it. So it's unclear what exactly the path forward is for that Ukraine aid. The president stressed that time is running short and he also wants to ensure that allies know that there will be enduring support for Ukraine even as right now it's unclear what the path forward for that aid will be.

ACOSTA: All right. Arlette Saenz, at the White House, thank you very much.

Joining me now, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Alice Stewart. They co-host the podcast "Hot Mics from Left to Right."

And, Alice, let me start with you. You're on the Republican side of things here. What just happened this past several days with this shutdown that was averted? Kevin McCarthy reaching across the aisle, working with Democrats to get this shutdown avoided. But then the next day, we're waking up to this fight between him and Matt Gaetz over whether McCarthy is going to stay on as speaker. Does he stay do you think?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's the big question. Look, we knew we were going to get to this point when Kevin McCarthy was voted in as speaker when Matt Gaetz and his vocal crew of critics filed -- said the only reason we will allow you to be speaker is if we have a motion to vacate, which is one person can fire you. We knew this was going to happen when McCarthy made some kind of a deal with Republicans and Democrats.

But he had to do this. If he didn't make this deal with a bipartisan deal, we would be in a government shutdown. And here's the thing that Gaetz doesn't seem to recognize. He is so angry with McCarthy for making a deal across the aisle with Democrats. He's not going to be able to get this motion to vacate approved if he doesn't work with Democrats. So he can't have it both ways.

He can't be critical of McCarthy for working with Democrats, knowing that he has to do the same thing. So this is a petty, personal grievance Gaetz has with McCarthy for some reason, and Republican colleagues, rational Republicans are calling him out. He is not conservative. The proposal on the table was a conservative proposal and he's nothing more than a charlatan that's out for himself to fundraise off this and then make a name for himself. ACOSTA: Yes. And, Maria, I mean, you know, and perhaps this is not

going to go anywhere if Matt Gaetz gets this started. It just may not go anywhere. Maybe they'll fizzle out. But if it does get some kind of momentum, I mean, I was talking with Republican Congressman Bob Good earlier on in this program. Didn't want to answer the question even though he's in the Freedom Caucus, very conservative, doesn't really seem to like McCarthy very much. Didn't want to give us an answer as to whether McCarthy should go.


ACOSTA: But I also asked Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic congresswoman from Florida, and you know, will Democrats try to save Kevin McCarthy and she didn't really want to go down -- it sounds like this is -- I mean, this is going to be like three-dimensional chess on both sides in terms of the vote counting this week.

CARDONA: Sure. Well, I think for Democrats, you know, the last I heard is that a message from the leader's office went out and said we're going to discuss this to figure out what our options are. And I think that's smart because they do need to figure out what their options are. And I think there could be several things that different Democrats do depending on what the leader thinks their needs are and how to move forward.

But, you know, Alice is exactly right that at the end of the day, Matt Gaetz if he wants to really put in the motion to vacate for real, he's going to need help from the Democrats, and then at the end of the day, Kevin McCarthy, if he is going to be saved, it's going to be because of Democrats. And so this whole thing, the irony of this whole thing, Jim, and I think what Democrats are going to continue to underscore as they should, is that they're the ones who ended up saving this whole chaotic mess.

That it didn't have to be this way to begin with. Kevin McCarthy should be smart enough to have realized that this was the only way it was going to end up. I guess he was smart enough in that he didn't want to go down the road of the government actually being shut down because then things were going to get worse and at the end of the day, he was going to have to depend on Democrats anyway.

But Democrats don't trust McCarthy and this is definitely going to give Democrats huge talking points and ads going into the 2024 election saying, America, you cannot trust Republicans to run the House.

ACOSTA: Yes. And, Alice, I mean, the other thing to keep an eye on is, we were just playing a clip from Trump a few moments ago where he didn't seem to want to weigh in too much on whether McCarthy should keep his job. But McCarthy did not give Trump what he wanted. Trump wanted a shutdown and McCarthy didn't give it to him.


STEWART: Exactly. Look, the fact that Trump says he doesn't know what happened there, I seriously doubt that. I'm sure he's well aware of what happened, he's well aware of the back and forth between them.

Look, Matt Gaetz has been carrying Donald Trump's water ever since Matt Gaetz could pick up that bucket and that's what he's doing right now. Gaetz was looking for a government shutdown.

ACOSTA: It's a heavy shutdown.

STEWART: It is a very heavy bucket. And that's -- he was doing exactly what Donald Trump wanted him to do, but at the end of the day, fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and Republicans realized we have to work across the aisle. McCarthy realized that. And you have people like Gaetz and the vocal minority of Republicans that cannot take yes for an answer and they're looking at, you know, you can get 80 percent of what you want or 100 percent of nothing.

And he was perfectly fine with that to have a government shutdown. And that's not the way you move forward. What we're learning is bipartisanship, working across the aisle is the way you get things down and you avoid a shutdown. And ultimately, you do what you're sent to Washington to do is to represent the American people and to keep the government open and provide these services.

ACOSTA: Yes. I mean, and, Maria, I mean, one question I want to ask you is, does it behoove Democrats, does it work to their benefit to some extent to have McCarthy in place? They were able to prevent a government shutdown. That would not have been good for president had that occurred.


ACOSTA: It would have been a huge headache. But one thing that was excluded from this continuing resolution was aid for Ukraine. Something that the president really wants. I suppose I'm not, you know, I'm no expert at this, but, you know, one could imagine a scenario where Democrats say, OK, Kevin McCarthy, you want to stay in that job, we need that aid for Ukraine.

CARDONA: Yes. And I definitely think that will be one of the things that Democrats extract from McCarthy if they come to his rescue. But, look, let's remember that according to McCarthy, he does support Ukraine aid. The majority of Republicans support Ukraine aid. Senators on both sides support Ukraine aid as does the president. And if we don't do this, this is going to be a huge boon and a gift on a gold platter to Vladimir Putin, and that is going to be on Republicans if that happened.

But let's go back here for a second. Let's not forget that all of this is McCarthy's doing from the get-go, right? He went into a corrupt bargain, had to go through 15 rounds of votes. Giving away his soul little by little. We all knew this was going to happen. Now --

ACOSTA: Going all the way back to when he bailed out Trump after January 6th.

CARDONA: Exactly. And so --

ACOSTA: This has been a multi-year thing. Yes.

CARDONA: So you talk about Matt Gaetz carrying Trump's water. Trump has a lot of water and McCarthy has a lot of buckets of that water also in the last several months. And so that I think is something that we have to underscore. We're going to be back here in another 45 days. And so I think all of that is going to be in play in the conversations between McCarthy and Democrats, and what people should remember is that Democrats will always have in mind the better of the American people.

What they came to do here is govern and right now the MAGA Republicans have proven they cannot do that.

STEWART: It's important also, the important component of this Ukraine aid was that many of the Republicans do want to provide aid to Ukraine. They understand it's an investment in democracy. And that's the important thing to take away. But also they want to have money to secure the border and so there's this conversation of we will have money to fund securing the border and we also want to continue to provide assistance to Ukraine.

Do we have one or the other or both? That's the question. And -- but I'm hearing about many Republicans want to do is let's have a standalone vote on each of these and make those decisions that way. But a lot of the people are trying to force trade with Ukraine aid or border aid, and that's why we're having such a standoff.

ACOSTA: Maria, let me ask you about this. Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips is stepping down from his leadership position in the House, citing different opinions on whether or not Biden should have a primary challenger. What did you make of this? How significant is that?

CARDONA: I don't think it's significant at all. You know, Congressman Phillips I think is completely unserious when it comes to somebody who might be thinking about doing this, is at least what I heard.

ACOSTA: A lot of polls show -- I mean, a lot of polls showed there's a significant number of Democrats who have that same point of view.

CARDONA: But at the end of the day, you ask those Democrats if not Biden then who?

ACOSTA: Right.

CARDONA: Then who? Right? So, to me, that whole question is completely idiotic. With all due respect. Because it means nothing. It's completely irrelevant. The majority of Republicans also don't want to see a Donald Trump and Joe Biden rematch. The majority of Americans don't want to see that rematch. I don't want to see that rematch it's bad for our mental health. But we also know that Donald Trump is a huge danger to our democracy.

Joe Biden beat him once already. And when you look at the majority of polls, the polls of polls, it's either a dead heat or Joe Biden is ahead by a couple of points. [19:15:04]

We haven't even started this campaign. The Republicans have been campaigning and mobilizing their MAGA base for months because of the chaotic primary that's going on on their side. I am not worried about where things are, but we absolutely have to keep in mind that this will be a close race. It is a very divided country. But at the end of the day, you're not going to have any independents or people who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 who are now going to look up and say, oh, Donald Trump, right, he now has four indictments, 91 charges, I think now I can vote for him. That's not happening.

STEWART: Well, I don't know what polls my dear friend Maria has been looking at, but many of them show it's either a head-to-head match-up with Biden and Trump, or either dead heat or recent ones, Trump is ahead. And even in some, Nikki Haley is ahead of Joe Biden. And with him having approval ratings around 40 and approval of his handling of the economy around 40 percent, that is not good.

And you even have people like James Carville saying, Democrats, you need to worry about this and whether or not we need to put another Democrat on the ballot. So --

CARDONA: That's insane.

STEWART: I know that you're Miss Optimistic, but how many Democrats are?

CARDONA: No, no. Let me say this. And I've said this before.

ACOSTA: But Biden has been in this place before.


ACOSTA: He has.

CARDONA: Not only that, Jim, but I say this all the time. We absolutely should be worried. Yes, we need to wake up and run every single day like Joe Biden is 10 points behind. That's the only way that we will win, but the insanity of thinking that we should now replace Joe Biden with somebody else is exactly that. And anybody who says that, anybody on my team who says that we need to think about replacing Biden, or is worried about his age is playing into Trump, is playing into making Trump stronger, is playing into wanting Trump to win. So anybody on my side who wants Joe Biden to win, they just need to shut up right now.

ACOSTA: All right. You heard James Carville. Anytime James wants to come on, he's welcome. Alice, Maria, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

CARDONA: Thanks, Jim.

STEWART: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Still ahead, Congress could be back on the clock to avoid a government shutdown in just 45 days from now. Perish the thought. How can Congress ditch this deja vu scenario? A member of the House Problem Solvers Caucus joins us next. Plus growing concerns about a 9-year-old who vanished on a family camping trip. An Ambert alert has been issued. We're going to tell you about this case because the search efforts are ramping up to make sure this little girl gets home. Stay with us for that.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: This weekend's bipartisan deal to keep the government open may have delayed a shutdown but it's left aid for Ukraine in serious jeopardy. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy facing growing resistance among Republican lawmakers to the new aid says there are other priorities that should come first.


MCCARTHY: The priority for me is America and our borders. Now I support being able to make sure Ukraine has the weapons that they need but I thoroughly support the border first.


ACOSTA: Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us. You're a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, and I guess the problem was solved yesterday. There wasn't a government shutdown but here we go from one crisis to another, I suppose, in that we don't know what's going to happen with the House speaker this week. What's your sense of it? Where do things stand right now?

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-NJ): I think, first to your point, and thanks for having me, yesterday was a win for reasonableness and common sense over extremism. Right? The extremists lost. But to your point, the challenge we have to get out of this cycle of insanity. We can't live 45 days to 45 days. We have to focus on real issues for the country. And enough of this squabbling and absurdity.

So, you know, my number one focus when we get back tomorrow is making sure that we can develop a process that gets us past this 45-day government shutdown. Looks at longer term solutions on our appropriations process and fights for issues that people care about and that they're focused on. And so that's going to be our number one focus when I get back.

ACOSTA: And what about this aid for Ukraine? Do you think you'll be able to pass a different kind of spending measure that will make sure that the Ukrainians still have the aid and assistance coming from the United States that really has been instrumental in this fight against the Russians? GOTTHEIMER: Well, the administration has made clear that we can get

through these next 45 days. The challenges we're looking at weeks, not months, of where we have enough support for Ukraine, which we know is key to standing up to Putin and the dictatorial march. It's key to our making sure that we don't empower China or Russia or Iran. So it's critical to our allies. So much of this is essential for us and America's national security.

So, you know, Mr. McCarthy and the speaker's told us he's planning, is my understanding, planning to bring a longer term Ukraine package to the floor. We're going to hold him to that. And I think that's critically important.

ACOSTA: And if the speaker needs Democratic votes in order to remain the speaker of the House, do Democrats need to go to the speaker and say, OK, well, if we're going to do that, you need to help us on this Ukraine issue? Is that possibly a trade that might occur?

GOTTHEIMER: Well, I think first, we've seen as you just heard from your last guest, a civil war raging in Republican House caucus now since the beginning of this Congress with the 15 votes. Right? It's just been nonstop. So first, we've got to really leave it to them to work out their family problems. I've heard a long time from Jersey, I've heard a long time ago don't mess with people's families, so we'll leave it to them.

But I'll tell you this. If it's about policy matters and commonsense bipartisan solutions like we saw yesterday, where it was -- they lost 91 Republicans, every Democrat voted for that commonsense bill to keep the government open but one, right, those are the kind of commonsense, bipartisan solutions we should be working toward. Like we did on the debt ceiling which was a bipartisan deal.

And this is what you do in divided government, right? You're going to have to work together. It's what we did last Congress on the infrastructure package and supporting veterans and our families and making sure that we take care of folks.


So that to me, if you want to talk policy matters, we're always open for good faith discussions and I'll continue doing so on Ukraine and other matters this coming week. But again, I think they've got to work out their raging civil war in their own family.

ACOSTA: And as we talked about this just a few moments ago, you're part of that Problem Solvers Caucus looking for bipartisan, commonsense solutions to issues. What is your sense of it? Are you concerned that if Representative Gaetz is successful in ousting McCarthy as speaker, that you could end up with somebody less reasonable in that position? Somebody who's just not willing to work with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown, and 45 days from now, we may be on the brink of a shutdown and actually go into one.

GOTTHEIMER: Well, I think what you've seen is just one mess after another. And the only way we've gotten past the mess is actually when we stood up to the extremists and worked together on a bipartisan manner. It's what the Problem Solvers Caucus, and there's 64 of us, 32 Democrats and 32 Republicans, it's what we focus on every week. Where can we agree, how do we get things done, we were very involved in the debt ceiling.

We were very involved yesterday making sure we got past a potential government shutdown so the, you know, our veterans, our seniors, our children, were not hurt and people didn't go to school without school lunch and take care of our kids. You know, that's how you do it in a bipartisan way. We put the country first. We're going to keep bringing that approach with whoever we're working with on the other side.

And so I'm hopeful they work things out on their side, but again, any bipartisan work like on this appropriations process over these next weeks so that we're not stuck in this 45-day cycle of absurdity, you know, I'm -- our table is open for any policy work.

ACOSTA: And what did you make of Dean Phillips, your fellow Democratic congressman, saying he's going to step down from the House Democratic leadership? He has chalked this up to disagreements with the leadership over whether or not Joe Biden should have a primary challenger. He says my convictions relative to the 2024 presidential race are incongruent with the majority of my caucus and I felt it appropriate to step aside from elected leadership. Statement that came from the congressman today. What do you think about that?

GOTTHEIMER: I haven't spoken to Dean yet but he's a very good friend of mine and he's a good man and a great leader from Minnesota. So I'll talk to him and get back to you. But of course I respect his wishes and his approach to problem solving because he's been somebody who's been part of the Problem Solvers Caucus and someone who also believes in bipartisan governing. So, you know, again, people like Dean and others who are about bipartisanship and working together, I'm always welcome to that.

ACOSTA: And I was just asking Maria Cardona in a previous segment about this. I'll ask you as well. This notion that Representative Phillips has been talking about that the president should have a primary challenger. You agree with that? Disagree? What do you think?

GOTTHEIMER: Well, I support President Biden and I think if you look at his record of accomplishment, it's second to none in terms of legislative accomplishment. Look at what we've gotten done in the last couple of years. Right? Getting past this debt ceiling, going back to the PACT Act for veterans and CHIPS bill to make sure that we stand up to China and make sure that we build more semiconductors in the United States. The bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Accomplishment after accomplishment. Electoral Reform Act. That's all been done in a bipartisan matter. And that's thanks to the president's leadership and obviously the work we've done in Congress together. Democrats and Republicans. So I think he's got a strong record to stand on.

ACOSTA: All right, Congressman Gottheimer, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it. GOTTHEIMER: Thanks for having me. And remember one thing. These next

couple of weeks, it is all about common sense versus extremism. Common sense has to win. We got to make sure the extremists don't win and that common sense wins.

ACOSTA: Common sense is a good thing. That's for sure. All right, Congressman, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

GOTTHEIMER: Agree. Thanks. Thank you.

ACOSTA: Still ahead, more than 100 people -- and we want to get your attention on this because this is a desperate search that's taking place right now for a 9-year-old girl who went missing after camping in upstate New York with her family. This apparently just happened over this weekend. The latest on the search is underway right now. And we'll show you some pictures of the little girl that will hopefully help bring her home.

That's next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Right now, an urgent search is underway in Upstate New York after a nine-year-old girl went missing during a camping trip with her family. Officials say, Charlotte Sena was last seen riding her bike around 6:15 PM Last night at Moreau Lake State Park.

An Amber Alert has been issued. More than 100 people are helping in the search.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): Right now, there is over 100 personnel deployed and 75 law enforcement on the ground, the two drones, an airboat search teams, six underwater rescue teams, another boat that has sonar.

We are leaving no stone, no branch, no table, no cabin unturned, untouched, unexamined in our search to find Charlotte.


ACOSTA: Joining me now, former Boston Police Commissioner, Ed Davis.

Commissioner, what should police be doing right now to get this little girl home?


Well, the New York State Police are very experienced with these types of searches. This is a terrible situation to confront for the family, but also for the officers and everyone else who is attempting to locate the girl. We have a situation where the State Police will be processing the scene. So the location of that bike is going to be the central focus of their efforts. They're going to be testing that whole area for footprints. They are going to be testing it for DNA on the bike handles and in any other evidence that may be visible there in that wooded area.


The troubling thing about this is, the initial focus will be immediately where she was last seen. But at the same time, the State Police also have to look at the proximity of Route 87. It's only maybe 10 minutes away by car and if someone were to have grabbed this young girl, and the police didn't know about it for about a half hour, they get that kind of a start, you really have to start looking at cameras on the highway, other kinds of evidence that's far away from where the focus of the initial investigation is.

ACOSTA: And apparently, the police were reportedly called within two minutes of the girl's mother finding her bicycle and that was just 30 minutes after Charlotte was last seen. I guess, how important is it to get to that narrow gap in the search?

DAVIS: Well, it's really important that the police get notified immediately as quickly as something, you know, looks suspicious.

But people will attempt to -- you know, kids go missing all the time, and people find them in a few minutes, so it is certainly understandable that the family did what they could in the initial few minutes. And you know, they did find the bike, and that's a great starting point.

But now you have to try to resolve a lot of really bad potentially potential scenarios, and so the police are -- they are focused in that particular area, but I can assure you that they are out on the highways and on the roadways that link that park to places like Lake George or Vermont, which is only 20 miles away. Albany is 40 miles south.

So there's a lot of area that someone who had ill intent could be operating in.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And for our viewers right now, you're looking at pictures of Charlotte, this missing nine-year-old girl as we speak. Please get a good look as to how Charlotte looks and if you're in that area around where the State Park is located, please be on the lookout for her because her family is desperate to find her right now.

And Ed, I mean, as you and I both know, in some of these cases, there's a domestic family situation going on that results in a child being taken against the wishes of perhaps another parent or something along those lines.

But for the governor of New York to go out there today and give a press conference like this and for this kind of search to be deployed, that suggests that the authorities are very concerned that this is not one of those situations.

And I should also underline, people listen to CNN on the radio, they're listening to SiriusXM, if you're hearing this report right now if you're in that area, get on your phone, not while you're driving, maybe somebody else in the car and look up a picture of this little girl in case you somehow come across these folks, whoever has abducted her.

DAVIS: So many of these cases are solved because someone has been paying attention to news reports and see something suspicious in a rest area in a parking lot.

ACOSTA: Right.

DAVIS: Somewhere in that immediate vicinity, so you're absolutely right, it is critical that the police are hoping someone calls them.

ACOSTA: Yes. Whatever the public can do to help out and you can see on the map right there, the state park up near Albany, a little further upstate in New York. If you're traveling around in that area, please be on the lookout for this little girl.

Ed Davis, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.

DAVIS: Thanks.

ACOSTA: And hopefully they find her. Thanks, Ed.

We'll be right back.

DAVIS: Sending a prayer.



ACOSTA: Hank Williams, Jr., are you ready for some football? It is not, apparently, if you want to make this country's most popular sport even more popular, just get Taylor Swift to go to one of your games.

The pop superstar is expected to be at tonight's matchup in New York between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jets. She stole the spotlight last week by attending the game in Kansas City to watch Chiefs' tight end, and maybe her boyfriend, Travis Kelce.

CNN sports analyst and sports columnist for "USA Today," Christine Brennan joins us now.

Christine, I feel like I should apologize to everybody for that intro to our segment. But maybe I shouldn't.

Does the NFL really need this help? I'm sorry. This is a little shameless on their part.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Well, it's -- but, Jim it's predictable, right? ACOSTA: Yes.

BRENNAN: I mean, game is in New York. I've been to one Taylor Swift concert in my life, and that was my first thought the other day that that's what's going to -- that's what they'll lead in with, and I didn't just have it in my bingo card that you would lead in with your show, but I think that's where we are right now as a society, as a culture, and actually I think it's great.

You know, so often Jim, you and I are talking about things that are wrong in sports.


BRENNAN: Athletes who do terrible things, bad things, really serious things, obviously, no joking about some of the issues in sports, but in this case, this is -- people are smiling. Everyone thinks it's fun. Are they dating? Are they not? Who cares?

This is going to be another song eventually that she will write. You bet there will be.

ACOSTA: That's right.

BRENNAN: But meanwhile, you know what? I mean, like, it is amazing. You said it best: The NFL, obviously, it is our national pastime. Each -- gosh, it's like $20 billion a year in revenue for the NFL, and yet, there is one person on earth who can help them increase that and that is Taylor Swift.


BRENNAN: She is extraordinary and it's truly amazing to see this.


ACOSTA: Absolutely and my favorite part, I think it was last week was when they were asking Patrick Mahomes how cool it was to see Taylor Swift and he is like, yes. Patrick Mahomes, Taylor Swift is actually a bigger celebrity than you are.

But you know, Christine, continuing on with this positive theme -- we're doing positive sports stories this evening. Buffalo Bills' safety, Damar Hamlin, made his return to NFL action for the first time since that near fatal cardiac arrest.

How great was that seeing him suit up against the Miami Dolphins today?

BRENNAN: Jim, it was nine months ago tomorrow that that happened, that he was lying on the field and that we didn't know if he was going to live or not, and how remarkable it is, this comeback and he did play. He was on special team, so he was there for the opening kickoff. It was a touch back, he didn't touch the ball. And then, he was on the kickoff coverage teams as well. Even I think more interesting was the way they brought him out at the Bills' game. He was the last player to come running out on the field. He ran the entire length of the field. His arms are out spread like he's flying. Such a happy guy and so pleased to be back.

And as you know, when we've talked about how important his message is about getting defibrillators, getting the right kind of equipment, not just for -- I mean, the pros have it, it saved his life; colleges, many have it; but high schools. Our high school kids and what they need, and he has been such a spokesperson for that over the last nine months. So again, a very positive story for sure.

ACOSTA: No question, Christine, and you and I both know there have been so many countless stories over the years about young high school athletes, college athletes, suddenly dying from cardiac arrest out on the football field. People don't think it's ever going to happen to their kid.

And if Damar Hamlin has made a difference in that regard and making sure that kind of life-saving equipment is available and medical professionals are there ready to save somebody's life, that is a very important thing. You're absolutely right about that.

One quick -- one more final positive thing to talk about, Simone Biles just landed this huge vault at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. I hope I'm saying that correctly. Look at this right here.


ACOSTA: Just incredible. And I guess they named the move after her. Am I getting that right? This is -- she is just incredible. And she's made a comeback, too?

BRENNAN: Well, she has. Yes, this was her first international competition since Tokyo where she had the twisties, had to withdraw from the Olympics and then came back and won a bronze medal, but that's the Yurchenko double pike, but don't use that name anymore, Jim, because now it's called The Biles II.


BRENNAN: It is the fifth move in gymnastics now named after Simone Biles. How do you get something named after you? You have to do it in a World Championship. So because she did that in the qualifying today, she's first in the qualifying. US team is first in the qualifying, so they had a great day.

But because she landed it there at the World's, she can now put her name on it and she has The Biles II is what it is called.

ACOSTA: The Biles II.

BRENNAN: And it is her fifth gymnastics move that she now has her name on, obviously cementing once again, her place as the greatest of all time.

ACOSTA: She is -- she is a dynamo. She's just -- and I can watch this over and over again and it is a staggering thing to watch. I don't know how they can do it and how she does it, but she does it.

Christine Brennan, great to talk to you. Thanks so much.

We kept it positive all the way through, for the record.

BRENNAN: Jim, thank you.

ACOSTA: All right, good to see you.

BRENNAN: Absolutely.

ACOSTA: I know you'll be watching Taylor Swift, so I'll let you get to that. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Still ahead, the warning from officials and Paris about an "escalation" in the number of bedbugs invading the city. What they're doing to battle the problem. That's next.



ACOSTA: Paris is battling an invasion tonight: A bedbug invasion.

The French government says it will take action to reassure and protect the public, but as CNN's Melissa Bell explains, both residents and tourists are feeling the bite.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A nasty commute and not just for the passengers you can see.

French officials say that bedbugs have infested Paris' transport networks and the wider city. The race is now on to exterminate the bugs with less than a year to go until the Olympics.

From metros to high speed trains, videos have shown them taking over some cinemas and even Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, which is making for an itchy situation as France prepares to host the rest of the world next summer.

French officials are preparing to take measures to contain the scourge with transport operators gathering this week to try to find ways of getting rid of the pests.

But that's not enough for some who say the thought of sitting on a bus or a train next to the uninvited seatmates makes their skin crawl.

LAURA MMADI, TRAIN PASSENGER (through translator): That really traumatized me. I'll keep my luggage closed to prevent them from getting to my home. Also, I'm not from here. So once I get home, I'll have to wash all my clothes.

LUC VILLETTE, TRAIN PASSENGER (through translator): I mean, the fact that we can actually see them means there are a lot of them. And in addition, they are being seen in the day when they usually come out at night, so there is a big problem somewhere.

BELL (voice over): Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire, says that no one is safe from the problem because the bugs can be picked up anywhere.

A recent government reports estimated that about one in 10 French households had had bedbug infestations between 2017 and last year.

Though some fumigation company say business is higher than usual and more urgent.

SACHA KRIEF, PEST CONTROL STORE MANAGER (through translator): We've had customers calling us up crying, desperate for a solution.


And it's very, very costly when you have to throw away all of your bedding, when you have to undergo works in your apartment, and so you get into a sort of paranoia.

BELL (voice over): And whilst bedbugs may be a growing nuisance in Paris, health experts say that they're not considered dangerous, causing merely itching and rashes, and their numbers are increasing not just in the French capital, but around the world as people travel more and the bugs become more resistant to pesticides.

An irritating problem, but not one say French officials that should pose a threat to the upcoming Olympics. Their plan to stop the bedbugs biting as soon as they can.

Melissa Bell, CNN Paris.


ACOSTA: It is still the city of lights to me, all right, we hope they'll solve that problem. Thanks very much, Melissa for that report. We appreciate it.

Still ahead, a critical week just ahead for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Could his job be on the line after making a deal with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown? We will discuss that next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.