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Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump-Backed Arizona Audit that Cost $6M and Took Months to Complete Confirms What has been Repeatedly Proven: Biden Won; Rollout of Pfizer Booster Begins at Least at 6,000 CVS Locations; Sources: "The View" Hosts Test Positive for COVID, Forced to Leave Set Ahead of VP Harris Interview; Later Test Negative; Source: Brian Laundrie Left Home Without His Phone or Wallet; Biden: "Stalemate" in Own Party as Agenda Faces Uphill Battle. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 24, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the final report on the so- called election audit in Arizona just came out and it confirms Biden won. Well, of course, we've known that all along. That's not stopping Trump in his quest to overturn the election. The Republican election official who famously warned, quote, "Someone's going to get killed because of Trump's lies," is my guest.
And the CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, is also my guest talking everything from her decision to buck her own advisors on boosters to The View's co-hosts leaving the set today because of positive COVID tests.
Plus, the manhunt for Brian Laundrie. What does his family know and are they sharing it all with police? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Biden still won the 2020 election, yet another review of the presidential race, this one in Maricopa County in Arizona which was run entirely by Trump allies has come to the same conclusion that every other review has that Joe Biden won and Donald Trump did not.
In fact, this review, which started five months ago and cost $6.1 million, reportedly including nearly half a million dollars in taxpayer money found that Biden won by an even larger margin than previously thought. So you would think this would be the end of these Trump-backed sham audits. This would be let's move on here and sort of pretend this did not happen. But it's not.
Moments after a draft of that report came out today, Trump issued a statement saying, "The audit has uncovered significant and undeniable evidence of fraud." This is a major criminal event and should be investigated by the Attorney General immediately. Spokesperson for the audit meantime told an NPR station in Arizona and I quote, "Was there massive fraud or anything? It doesn't look like it."
Well, Trump's lies in his ongoing effort to overturn the election continue even today in places where Trump won. I mean, just take Texas, a state Trump carried by five and a half points. On Trump's request, election officials there have now begun an audit of the results from four counties.
There's zero reason to do this now other than Trump wants it done. Again, he won the mistake. In fact, the Texas Republican secretary of state at the time of the election said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUTH RUGGERO HUGHS, FORMER TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE: Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, this election was a resounding success.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the chief of elections in her office said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEITH INGRAM, DIRECTOR, ELECTIONS DIVISION AT TEXAS OFFCE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE: In spite of all the circumstances, Texas had an election that was smooth and secure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But still, Republican lawmakers and other states are trying to fulfill Trump's wishes as well. In Pennsylvania, a State Biden won, a state where multiple audits and election lawsuits have already found no evidence of fraud. Republican lawmakers are now conducting yet another audit and they're trying to subpoena the personal information of millions of voters. Democrats are suing to stop them.
In Wisconsin, another State won by Biden, Republicans there are now backing three, yes, three additional audits. Again, despite no evidence at all of widespread voter fraud. After the Arizona report was released today, one local Republican leader in Wisconsin tweeting and I quote, "Hopefully, my fellow Repubs stop with this nonsense and begin to focus on '22 elections. Right now GOP effort is hacking off Republican Clerks, and alienating soft GOP voters who think we're not and wasting their tax dollars."
But this is not stopping because Trump is not stopping. He's again demanding the Georgia Secretary of State decertify the results of the 2020 election there. I spoke with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger This week there right after Trump sent him his latest demand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, (R) GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm a lifelong Republican. At the end of the day, I have to always put my duty to the constitution and to our country above all. At the end of the day, we've done audits, we've done investigations and some of those are still ongoing, so I can't comment on those. But President Biden did carry the state of Georgia. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Trump keeps challenging the results, not because he genuinely thinks they're wrong but because he knows it sows doubt in the fundamentals of America's democracy. Already 78 percent of Republicans in America believe that Biden did not win the election. They don't believe it because Trump continues to tell them that and we can't forget that what happened back on January 6th happened because of these very same lies from the former president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: People died that day because of the lies Trump told and the lies that he's still telling today. Natasha Chen is OUTFRONT in Phoenix tonight. And Natasha, the group conducting the audit such that it is, I always have to put it in quotes, and Republicans have been holding an hour's long news conference with their findings, what are they saying?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin. They spent a few minutes talking about the fact that their count showed Joe Biden did actually win Maricopa County.
They spent the rest of the time now running three hours long, raising issues that have largely been debunked by election experts though Trump supporters sitting inside have been hanging on to every word during this presentation.
The final report was released to the public, including recommendations that they also talked about here for tighter election processes, they said, essentially a call for more restrictive voting loss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The importance of our society having faith in the election process cannot be overstated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN(voice over): After five months of chasing conspiracy theories. A partisan review of ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona confirms what we already knew nearly a year ago, Joe Biden won.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ballots that were provided to us to count in the coliseum very accurately correlate with the official canvass numbers. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN(voice over): In fact, the hand recount by Cyber Ninjas, a group with no experience auditing elections showed Biden with 99 more votes and Trump with 261 fewer votes than the official Maricopa County canvass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason we know Joe Biden won is because we had the right people counting the ballots in the first place, and the second place and the third place. People who knew what they were doing were totally objective, not these knuckleheads Cyber Ninjas who no one had ever heard of before, who have no idea what they're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN(voice over): Cyber Ninjas pointed to potential discrepancies in 10s of thousands of ballots it could not fully vet, saying there were inconsistencies when Maricopa County's voter registrations were compared to a commercial data company's records. It includes heavy caveats around those doubts noting they do not necessarily mean votes were improperly cast and says the Arizona Attorney General should follow up with Maricopa County officials.
Jack Sellers, the Republican Chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors tweeted, "I hope those holding on to their anger for the past 10 months will see the truth and put their energy into supporting the democratic process instead of trying to tear it down." This round of tearing down the democratic process started in the spring after the county already conducted two independent audits, Cyber Ninjas was hired by the Republican-led Arizona Senate whose president insisted ...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not about Trump. This is not about overturning the election. This has never been about anything other than election integrity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN(voice over): But emails obtained by watchdog group American oversight show Fann writing to her constituents that she was repeatedly in touch with both Rudy Giuliani and Trump. The CEO of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, has spread misinformation about election conspiracies online. Their hand count involves changing methods at times with ballots spinning on lazy Susans, workers using UV lights hunting for watermarks and bamboo fibers, while at one point a different kind of carnival was actually set up outside.
In Cyber Ninjas final act, their draft report included a slew of legislative suggestions, teeing up conversations about more restrictive voter laws.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CHEN(on camera): In the past three hours, officials election
officials of Maricopa County have been live tweeting rebuttals point by point explaining to the public how the election process actually works. In the meantime, the Arizona senate president who's been sitting inside has also now sent a letter to the state attorney general, a Republican who's also running for U.S. Senate asking for a consideration for an investigation based on this final report, Erin.
BURNETT: Natasha, thank you very much.
And I want to go now to Bill Gates. He is the Republican Vice Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. So, of course, here we are talking again, Bill, this obviously took months to get to this point. What was your reaction here initially to this report?
BILL GATES, (R) CIVE CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Well, Erin, thanks for having me. I was very pleased to hear that the count of the ballots by the Cyber Ninjas came out almost exactly as the count came out from Maricopa County. So that was very encouraging. I was frankly surprised by that.
But what I was discouraged by is the fact that this afternoon long hearing that you've been hearing about is basically the Cyber Ninjas. It's like we're watching reruns on TV. These are the same sorts of things that they've been throwing out there for months, half truths, misinformation and allegations that have already been debunked.
BURNETT: So let me just go through a few of them because you're right. I mean, the bottom line is the bottom line that no matter how hard they tried, they confirm that Joe Biden won the state. In fact, they increase the number of votes that he received according to their count, but then they go through everything else. So they make claims in the report about things they say went wrong. They say they found 10,342 potential voters who voted in multiple counties. They say the county's signature verifications weren't done correctly. They say the election management database was purged.
The list goes on and on. These are some of the things no doubt you're referring to. But Trump, of course, jumping on it trying to do anything to turn away from the actual vote count bottom line and calling for the Attorney General to investigate. What do you say to all of these allegations?
GATES: Yes. So again, these allegations have been debunked before. We're doing that through live tweeting, debunking it again. And here's the other thing to keep in mind, Erin, many of these things were raised back before, back in 2020, when there were lawsuits that were brought by the Trump campaign and others, alleging that the election should not have been certified. And here's a big difference, Erin, back then, people were forced to go under oath when they went into court.
This morning I called on Karen Fann to put these witnesses under oath today. Of course, she didn't. So these have been easily debunked but more than that, these folks are not under oath. And I hate to go there, but we know that the people who are involved, the Cyber Ninjas, they came into this with preconceived notions. They've already stated they believe that the election was stolen from Donald Trump back in November of 2020 and they're going to continue forward with this type of allegations that are baseless.
BURNETT: I mean, it's incredible because they're trying now to spend all this time emphasizing the allegations. Again, I come back to the fact that no matter how hard they tried, given all of their preconceived notions and allegations and the charges they've leveled that have been thoroughly debunked, that they still came up with Joe Biden winning and in fact increase the margin.
And that is the ultimate conclusion of the report. You can't change that. I know you have all this other BS going on, on the side. Do bottom line think this will change the minds of any of the Republicans, as I point out 78 percent of registered Republicans, they believe that Joe Biden is illegitimate and many of them, obviously, support Trump's claims in Arizona.
GATES: Right. Well, I'm not sure where people are going to end up. But this should be something that can really start to turn the tide. Because again, this is a count, a vote count that was done by the Cyber Ninjas and they found the numbers to be almost exactly as we found them in Maricopa County, as you said, confirming that Joe Biden won.
I know I'm a bit of an optimist, but I believe that this could be the beginning of the end of the big lie. But what we need to really accomplish this is now have our elected officials, Republican elected officials like we've done in Maricopa County stand up, leaders here in the state and say, okay, this needs to come to an end. Joe Biden won. It's time to move on.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, Bill. Thank you very much. Glad to talk to you again.
GATES: Thank you.
BURNETT: And I want to go now to Gabe Sterling. He is also Republican, a top Georgia election official during the 2020 election. You know him from that and you'll remember that he publicly stood up to Donald Trump for pushing baseless voter fraud conspiracies and gave this chilling warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABE STERLING, (R) CHIEF OPERATING OFC, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE: Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed and it's not right. It's not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That prediction sadly came true over a month later, during the deadly instruction on January 6th. Gabe, I appreciate your time tonight. I actually want to start with you on what Bill Gates from Arizona just said, Republicans in the Maricopa elections board. He said he hopes despite everything that this is the beginning of the end of the big lie. Do you share that hope?
STERLING: Listen, I've had that hope for months and months and months. I mean, we did a hand tally in Georgia and we said okay, this should end it. This should be over. What I do think is at some point all these Republicans who were upset with the outcome of the election, when they've been all hearing is Trump is going to come back, it'll be March, it'll be May, it'll be June, it'll be November.
At some point, you have to realize, if you want to have your values shared in the future, you have to focus on the future and not on the past. And hopefully, you have people like you said earlier, they were looking, they were doing everything they could to make sure that Donald Trump won the election in their review and they still couldn't do it because paper ballots are the best thing in the history of mankind to show, guess what, your guy lost, our guy won for them.
I mean, my guy lost, I voted for Trump. I am not happy with the Biden administration what they've been doing, but guess what, that's what happens in a Republican, in a democracy. So is it going to overtime bit by bit, day by day, I'm kind of like my friend in Maricopa County, I have faith and I have optimism that eventually people will say, you know what, I can't focus on (inaudible) more, I got to focus on the future.
BURNETT: I bring up Mike Lindell and I bring him up because he's out there and he's spreading this.
It's like you sort of want to laugh and roll your eyes and yet 78 percent of registered Republicans don't think Joe Biden is the President of the United States. I mean, this is the terrifying reality.
So Mike Lindell, as you know, has been pushing the lie and continues to do it day by day. And today, he went on a podcast with the former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and I wanted to play this exchange for you, Gabe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE LINDELL, MYPILLOW CEO: If you're a politician and you're running for office, you know what, if you're not thinking about fixing 2020 first, you're not going to win in anyway and shame on you. If you don't know Donald Trump won that election, you've been living in a cave and you're not going to win.
I have committed that I've said since February since absolute proof that we're getting this all, everything, all the evidence I have to the Supreme Court. That will be done before Thanksgiving. That's in stone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Gabe, how do you even deal with this, given that it does reverberate and have power?
STERLING: I don't know. You sit back and you look at these things and you're like, okay, I feel so bad for you that you feel this way. They even lied to you this hard.
And here's the problem, there are millions and millions of good, hard working, take care of their kids, God-fearing Americans who listen to this and want to believe it, because it's kind of like the 1972 thing when Nixon won and they talked to a woman in Manhattan said, I really might have voted for him.
It's the same thing but more aggravated and more angry. And Lindell was just off on his own thing, talking about a cage. He's on different planet. We all know this. I mean, on some level I actually feel sorry for the man because he was a sort of American story of success and he's throwing away millions and millions of dollars to con artists who are telling him these things.
I mean, it's kind of like Rudy Giuliani talking to the president saying over and over again, you've been cheated, you've been duped, this is all happening and the President wanted to hear that, so he believed it. And it's just terrifying to me, but what we have to do and I'm frustrated because this has happened on the right this time and in my state in the left last time.
We need grownups to say, guess what, there are times in life when you lose. Maybe this goes back to kids all getting trophies for participating. I don't know. But the main thing is, you're going to lose sometimes and you're going to win sometimes. And it's not the end of the world, either way, and yes - listen, I was a political consultant and I'm probably guilty of this at some level.
In my life I ran campaigns, and there were situations where - and as both sides do this, if the other guy wins, they're going to burn your family. And then if the other side wins they're going to burn your family, after a while the American will believe the other side, (inaudible) going to burn their family.
And we have to get to a point like, you know what, we need to take things away from D.C. in the local level, focus on those things and not have our soul and life wrapped up in these things. And maybe then they will understand that there's millions of Americans and 10s of thousands, hundred thousands of people who run elections who are honest, fair individuals.
And what we see in Arizona and in Georgia, the same kind of things we see in every election where there's a few things that happen here and there that, you know what, maybe a person didn't sign a document right, maybe a person didn't do the chain of custody a hundred percent correct.
It doesn't mean you throw out 43,000 votes, it doesn't mean you do ...
STERLING: ... These people are doing, they're following the law, they're following the rules, they're exercising their right to vote in America. And the thing is - do you know what I want? I want high turnouts and wide margins. That way we can avoid these things. The problem is we have states like Arizona and Georgia, we have high turnouts and close margins and we're going to have these kind of fights.
So we have to pass laws like we passed in Georgia that will give credit and credence to these things without disenfranchising other people, so that everybody knows Republican, Democrat, black, white, young, old, rich, poor that the outcome of the election is really the outcome of the election.
BURNETT: Well, that's the goal. All right. Gabe, I appreciate you. Thank you.
STERLING: Thanks, Erin. Have a great night.
BURNETT: You too. And next, the CDC had breaks with their own advisors now recommending COVID boosters for people at risk because of their jobs, why? Well, she's going to tell you why, the CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is my guest.
And two co-hosts of the view making a live and dramatic exit from the set after testing positive for COVID just as they're about to interview the Vice President. Tonight we're learning that the tests were wrong.
Plus, the manhunt for Brian Laundrie, the focus of relentless search efforts as we're learning new details about his disappearance, why he would leave home without his phone or wallet?
BURNETT: Tonight, the third COVID booster rollout begins, CVS giving out third doses at nearly 6,000 locations across the country and it comes after a rare decision by the CDC Director to overrule her advisors on who exactly should be getting those booster shots. The panel voting against recommending boosters for people who are at increased risk of COVID, specifically because of their jobs. So that would include healthcare workers and caregivers.
But Dr. Walensky decided to include that group anyway so that they could get boosters and she is OUTFRONT now to explain, the CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky. And Dr. Walensky, I really appreciate your time. So explain to me what happened, why did you decide in this specific point, but a significant one, healthcare workers, frontline workers that could be defined in a lot of ways to break with your advisors and make this announcement just after midnight, I guess, this morning?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Indeed. First, I just want to come back and say I have this exceptional group of scientific advisors and there were four votes yesterday and there was real enthusiasm, in fact, unanimity for some of the votes to recommend boosters for people who are at high risk, people over the age of 65, people in long-term care facilities, people at high risk of severe disease because of their comorbidities.
I listened intently two hours of deliberation, scientific deliberation and this last one was simply a close call. Some people really voted for, the vote was six to nine saying with enthusiasm to say our health care workers, our frontline workers, people who are vaccinated early, people who work in congregate settings, in correctional facilities, grocery workers, really do merit the vaccine. And there were some people who gave reasons that they were thinking that we should wait.
So the question wasn't yes or no, the question was wait or do now. If I had been in the room, I would have voted yes. And that is where I absolutely took the advice of my advisors.
But on this one, I voted to - I recommended that we make vaccines available for this group.
BURNETT: Now, look, there's a lot of people who are celebrating what you did, a lot of doctors who were really frustrated, at the committee rolling the other way and said, wait a minute, health care workers in the front lines can't even get the vaccines. So a lot of them are overwhelmingly behind you. However, the way the process is that you have a committee and they rule on bit by bit and then you have to come in and then you have the FDA doing its thing and the White House had said something different. So there's a lot of confusion out there, has created some confusion.
So I just wanted to play a couple of people. Obviously, you know them well; Scott Gottlieb and Jonathan Reiner, who just talked about some of the confusion that this is all created in the past day. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FMR. FDA COMMISSIONER: The worst thing you could do as a public health agency is put out provisions and guidelines that you know are going to be ignored.
JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We've seen fragmented voices coming from CDC Advisory Board. I think we need a central voice that the American public can listen to and can rely on for just straight up honest data.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What's your feeling about that? Do you actually share that concern in part?
WALENSKY: We have been watching science unfold in real time, we have 180 million Americans who are fully vaccinated, they have different risks. They have received different vaccines that rolled out with different schedules and they were vaccinated at different times. And so this scientific review operated just the way it normally does. It's just been watched with deep attention.
So Friday was the FDA advisory board. It was done transparently, openly, publicly. Generally, what happens after that is then the Acting Commissioner makes her regulatory decision, which she did publicly on Wednesday. We had public deliberations of our scientific advisory board, our Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Wednesday and Thursday.
It was all very scientifically-driven and transparent. And then my decision was after speaking with the scientist and listening to them on Thursday afternoon. But I acknowledge the confusion because we're at this moment, we have three different vaccines and a lot of people vaccinated.
BURNETT: Well, right, and by the way, we're talking about Pfizer here on this. I mean, I got Moderna, so there's questions depending on what vaccine you got. J&J is all another thing. But you're basically saying to me that this is what you get when you get transparency and when the science is changing. So you could put it behind closed doors and you could have come out as the voice of god or we can see the sausage made and know the transparency and we got more confusion.
WALENSKY: Yes. And I would say that there was a lot of deliberation and a lot of attention watching between Friday and Thursday.
WALENSKY: Friday of last week and Thursday and there's a lot of scientific discussion around this. This was, as you could see with some of these votes, not all of this was a slam dunk. The science is evolving in real time.
BURNETT: So I want to ask you about what happened on The View today. I don't know if you heard as we're coming into the commercial. I was mentioning the update. Just as the hosts were about to interview the Vice President Kamala Harris, Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro had to leave the set live on the air because they were already out there and then it came back that they had positive COVID test, so I'll just play you the moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There seems to be something happening here that I'm not a hundred percent aware of. Can someone please apprise me of the situation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need the two of you to step off for a second.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ana and Sunny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we're going to bring you back later.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shall I introduce the Vice President?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay. So Vice President ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay. Shall we dance? Let's do a tap dance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The hosts were tested before interviewing the President and they have the positive then tonight we're learning that the test then turned out to be negative, so they were false positives. This is still the ugly reality. So what do you make of this? I mean, look, I know it's not easy, but part of us is like, gosh, we're two years into this almost, how can we still not just have tests that work?
WALENSKY: Yes. So first, let me say I'm not familiar with the details of the protocol, the testing protocol, what tests were used. I'm delighted to hear that these were false positive tests and that they are okay and well. But what I will say is, I commend The View for having a screening protocol and for operating it. I'm glad that the tests were negative, but this is exactly the kind of situation that screening tests can help you avoid, people who are feeling well, have asymptomatic disease and are about to go and do an activity without mask because they're feeling okay, but the screening test might have detected something and this would have been a real challenge averted.
So, I -- I just commend them for doing these screening tests. And then, they can look into what happened with these two tests, specifically.
BURNETT: And can I just ask you one quick question on this point. You mentioned asymptomatic spread. The Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his new surgeon general who you know does not believe in mask or vaccine mandates. Just said kids can go or schools can allow asymptomatic children to go to school if -- if -- I'm sorry, asymptomatic children who are exposed to COVID to attend school.
Where -- where are you right now on the science on asymptomatic spread? Do you think it's a real issue? Or are you becoming more in the camp of the science is showing it's not?
WALENSKY: The science is absolutely showing there is asymptomatic spread of this disease. There is more asymptomatic spread, of course, if you are unvaccinated. Just today, CDC had an MMWR that demonstrated that for schools that had un-masked children, they were three and a half-times more likely to have outbreaks than schools that are masked.
BURNETT: All right. Well, that says it there. Everything they should know to change that policy which they will not change. Dr. Walensky, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
WALENSKY: Thanks for having me.
BURNETT: All right. Next, the manhunt for Bryan Laundrie goes on. A source saying his parents are worried he may hurt himself.
And it's make or break time for Joe Biden and his entire domestic agenda. Tonight, he says his own party is at a stalemate.
BURNETT: Tonight, the manhunt intensifying right now for Gabby Petito's fiance, Bryan Laundrie, who has not been seen for ten days and there are growing questions tonight about where he might be as we learn he left home without his cell phone or wallet.
Leyla Santiago is OUTFRONT.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, authorities still searching for Gabby Petito's fiancee, Bryan Laundrie, who has not been seen for over a week now. A source close to the family telling CNN that Bryan left the house, headed to a nearby nature reserve without his wallet or cell phone, the multiagency search at that massive park, so far, turning up no clues to Laundrie's whereabouts.
COMMANDER JOE FUSSELL, NORTH PORT POLICE: It's upon us to make sure that we search this area as best as we can, as -- as massive as it is, with the resources that we have to try to find Bryan.
SANTIAGO: Police say Laundrie returned to Florida on September 1st without his 22-year-old fiancee. The Petito family reported her missing ten days later and said they couldn't understand why Laundrie wasn't helping to find her.
JIM SCHMIDT, GABBY PETITO'S STEPFATHER: I don't think anybody has an answer for that. It doesn't make sense.
SANTIAGO: Laundrie's sister did speak out on ABC's "Good Morning America" before Gabby's body was found saying how close she and her sons were with Gabby.
CASSIE LAUNDRIE, BRYAN LAUNDRIE'S SISTER: Me and my family want Gabby to be found safe. She is like a sister. And my children love her. And all I want is for her to come home safe and sound and this to be just a big misunderstanding.
SANTIAGO: Laundrie, now the subject of a federal arrest warrant after a grand jury indicted him for his use of unauthorized accessed devices following the death of Gabrielle Petito. Investigators say he used a debit card that wasn't his, making charges for more than $1,000 between the dates of August 30th and September 1st, the day he returned home. The lawyer for the Laundrie family, quick to respond saying in part, it is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Bryan Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito, and not related to her actual demise.
The FBI urging anyone with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI. No piece of information is too small or inconsequential. Near the Laundrie home where the couple lived with his parents, a memorial has been set up in Petito's name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel sad. I feel so sad.
SANTIAGO: This woman drove more than 50 miles to hang a poster, memorializing Gabby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a grandmother. And I'm a mother and I feel for both parties. I feel for them. And I feel for the lost girl's parents.
SANTIAGO: Meanwhile, in New York, a memorial service will be held this Sunday in Petito's hometown. The service will be open to the public. In lieu of flowers, her family is asking for donations to a future foundation that will be set up in Gabby's name.
SANTIAGO (on camera): And Erin, tonight, search teams have wrapped up saying they haven't found anything today. The plan is to continue into the weekend, going into -- and I quote -- areas of more likelihood. Which -- which pretty much means that the process of elimination continues. They are ruling out where Bryan Laundrie is not at this point. In the meantime, FBI continuing to ask for assistance.
BURNETT: All right. Leyla, thank you very much.
And after Leyla's reporting, I want to go to Jim Clemente, retired FBI profiler, who, of course, has been with us since the beginning of this tragic case.
So, Jim, tonight with the latest that we have, you hear Leyla laying out everything the Laundrie family has said about where Bryan Laundrie may be. It's been ten days since he was last seen. Does their behavior raise any read flags for you?
JIM CLEMENTE, RETIRED FBI PROFILER: Well, Erin, they are certainly not taking advantage of the hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers across this country and the millions of citizens who could be out there helping find their son. It just doesn't make sense unless they don't care what happened to him. Or they know very well where he is.
BURNETT: So, you know, the -- let me -- let me on that point, right, it comes as a source close to the Laundrie family tells us this crucial detail I just mentioned that Bryan left home, he did not have a cell phone or a wallet. Now, what does that tell you about his intentions when he left?
CLEMENTE: Well, that sounds like a forensic countermeasure, to me. That he is trying to stay off the grid. No pinging for cell phones or GPS. And -- and no ATM or credit card hits it at -- at different locations.
So, he is actually trying to stay off the grid. He must have cash or he is at a location where basically supplies are readily available.
BURNETT: Right. So you don't view it as a move of desperation or, you know, taking his own life. It's very possible it's actually a move of -- of -- obfuscation and trying to -- and trying to hide.
BURNETT: Okay. So, today marks one month since the last time Gabby Petito's family actually saw her face alive. She talked to her mother on FaceTime. And now, they are preparing for a memorial on Sunday.
Do you think that -- I mean, I guess let's put it this way. How soon do you think the family could know what happened to their child?
CLEMENTE: I think it's critical in terms of determining the cause of death that the coroner wait for all of the toxicology reports to come in, and the thing about toxicology is there isn't just one test that tells you everything that's in the blood or other bodily fluids. They have to do a series of tests and rule out things. And if they don't find anything, they keep doing more tests.
So this could take days or weeks, actually. But I think it's a high priority. I think they are going to do it as quickly as possible. I think we just have to wait a little while longer.
BURNETT: All right. And, Jim, let me just ask you one final question here. If Bryan Laundrie fled and he is the run as opposed to dead in that nature reserve somewhere. Given the amount of time that elapsed, ten days, right, since he was last seen, wat are -- what are the chances you would say at this point that they will find him successfully in the near term?
CLEMENTE: I think it's a direct-indirect proportion to the amount of money and the amount of help he had. The fact that they -- they now have an arrest warrant. They have filed charges against him means that anybody helping them can be thrown in jail. They can be arrested for obstruction of justice. And that hopefully will minimize the amount of help he will get from this point forward. But certainly, he could be anywhere on this planet right now but I don't think he's that far.
BURNETT: All right. Jim, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
CLEMENTE: Thank you, Erin.
And next, a flurry of activity in Washington tonight to save Biden's domestic agenda from collapse. The biggest thing standing in the president's way remains his own party.
Plus, a shouting match on the steps of the U.S. Capitol between Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Debbie Dingell. We will tell you why.
And Anderson Cooper is OUTFRONT with me next, a little bit ahead of schedule tonight, with a story about a lawyer's pursuit of justice one inmate at a time.
BURNETT: Tonight, a flurry of activity in Washington in a desperate attempt to save President Biden's economic agenda from collapsing. Biden calling it like it is, a stalemate because his own party is what's divided.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're at this stalemate at the moment and we're going to have to get these two pieces of legislation passed. Hopefully, at the end of the day, I'll be able to deliver on what I said I would do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Those comments come as House Speaker Pelosi says a crucial vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill is still on for Monday. Despite the chair of the progressive caucus saying right now the bill won't pass.
Manu Raju is OUTFRONT.
And, Manu, look, this would be a huge blow to President Biden and his agenda. How much is this in danger?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Significant amount of danger. It's still uncertain how much -- how this will end. Nancy Pelosi has been having a flurry of meetings all day long with moderate members, members of her leadership team, members of who are progressives. All trying to see if she can cobble together a coalition to get the first, that $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan out of the House on Monday. She told me they still plan to bring this up on Monday.
And then, she also wants to try to move forward on that larger $3.5 trillion plan, the price tag ultimately may be different. But the larger plan to expand the social-safety net. But that bill still needs to be negotiated. There's still significant divisions between moderates and progressives, but Pelosi still wants to have a vote on that measure in the House next week.
Now, the progressives are warning that that bigger plan needs to be done before they move forward on that infrastructure vote and earlier today, the leader of the progressive caucus, Pramila Jayapal, told me that 50 members of her caucus will vote against it and sink the infrastructure bill if Pelosi moves forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I don't think the vote is going to happen because I don't think the speaker is going to bring a bill to the floor that's going to fail.
JAYAPAL: And we still have -- and actually, the number is growing -- but we have at least 50 people who are not going to vote for that bill. The vote is going to drive up tensions, not drive down tensions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, 50 people means this bill would fail because we expect maybe a handful of Republicans to vote for it, maybe, up to ten. But certainly, not 50.
So, it shows you the dilemma she faces but still, though, Erin, asking Pelosi and her leadership team, they still plan to move forward on Monday. We will see if those plans change between from now and -- until from now until then, Erin.
BURNETT: All right -- crucial 48 hours. Manu, thank you.
And now, the pursuit of justice. Anderson joins me in just a moment to talk about how one lawyer's work in Kenya and Uganda is impacting thousands of men and women who have been put behind bars. Take a look at this, first.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a graduation ceremony few thought possible. In a maximum-security prison in Nairobi, Kenya, inmates and guards who attended law school by mail are today getting law degrees from the University of London.
It's happening thanks to the work of this man, Alexander McLean, a British lawyer whose nonprofit, Justice Defenders, provides legal training inside prisons and Africa.
ALEXANDER MCLEAN, BRITISH LAWYER: Good afternoon, brothers. Our work is to help people who don't have lawyers to access justice.
COOPER: I met Alexander McLean two years ago while reporting for CBS's "60 Minutes". He is one of the most extraordinary people I know.
How are you doing as an organization now?
MCLEAN: As an organization, we've innovated, we've grown, and we have been reminded that the world's crying out for justice.
COOPER: Few inmates in Kenyan prisons know their rights and many have never had a lawyer to defend them. So far, justice defenders has trained hundreds and of prisoners and prison guards to become paralegals and lawyers who then help tens of thousands of other inmates understand the law and hopefully get a fair hearing.
I can't think of anybody I know who is more about focused on changing the status quo. Changing the way things have been done, and the injustice that so many people around the world find themselves facing when they are accused of a crime and they have no access to an attorney, and no access to a fair hearing.
MCLEAN: I think that that's incredibly important in court. That everyone who is accused of a crime has a chance to tell their side of the story. And so, we are proud to be helping to make that -- that possible. So far, in 2021, we have helped more than 50,000 attendees at our legal awareness sessions where we are providing information about the law and how it functions.
COOPER: And many of the people you have in those sessions, they've never seen an attorney before. Or they've never had an experience in a courtroom. They don't know even the simplest, basic procedures of the law?
MCLEAN: Yeah. Because we work in prisons that are filled with poor people, prisons that are filled with minorities. Prisons that are filled with those who have not had the best education and that's the case in the United States as much as it is in Uganda or the -- Kenya or Gambia.
COOPER: Jhody Polk was inspired by what Alexander McLean is doing in African prisons. Jody served seven years in a Florida prison for theft and home invasion. She studied the law in prison, and helped other inmates with their legal issues. She says learning the law behind bars transformed her life.
JHODY POLK, FOUNDER, LEGAL EMPOWERMENT AND ADVOCACY HUB: When I saw that people were getting their law degrees while incarcerated, it was just like my dream times ten.
COOPER: Yeah. Just learning the law. Knowing one's rights. That can change people?
POLK: I'll never forget the acceptance that I received when I recognized that my sentence was just, that my judge had sentenced me to a just sentence. And that allowed me to really adopt the understanding that I was here to serve time for a crime that I had committed. You know, and that allowed me to come home free.
COOPER: Jhody continues to help others know their rights and has begun meeting with Alexander McLean remotely to discuss what justice defenders might be able to do in American prisons.
MCLEAN: Jhody, thank you for your role in making this possible.
COOPER: Alexander McLean sees himself as a servant, and believes that everyone, guilty or innocent, deserves a fair hearing and an opportunity to serve others in need. MCLEAN: For me, I feel really privileged to be part of this
subversive community of people that are -- are challenging the stay status quo as you've -- you've put it. And it's a beautiful thing to welcome others like you into it and ask how do we work together to create communities where each of us has an opportunity to bring our gifts and talents to the fore? And how do we get transformed by each other in the process?
BURNETT: Anderson, it's -- you know, you talked about how he sees himself as a servant. I mean, what motivated Alexander McLean to -- to do this? I mean, to start this organization?
COOPER: You know, he has a very strong religious faith. As a teenager, he started working in hospices, first in England, and then in Africa, washing the bodies of people nurses didn't even want to touch. Indigent people.
And it's that sense of service, I think, that really he looks for people in need. And there are so many people languishing in prisons who may be guilty, may be innocent. But at the very least, Alexander believes they deserve to have a fair hearing. And if they are guilty, they deserve to be locked up. But he wants tens of thousands of people, currently who have no access to lawyers, to at least be able to know their rights and get a fair hearing.
BURNETT: That's incredible. Someone who walks the walk and talks the talk.
Anderson, thanks so much.
BURNETT: We're going to see Anderson in just a few minutes.
Also, tomorrow at 8:00. Please, tune in for the "Champions For Change" one-hour special. That's 8:00 Eastern.
And next, we are learning more tonight about the woman who was killed in the Tennessee grocery store shooting rampage.
BURNETT: Tonight, three people fighting for their lives in critical condition, one day after the shooting rampage at that Kroger supermarket in Tennessee. And we are learning more about the innocent life lost in this tragedy. Olivia King was a 70-year-old mother of three and a grandmother. One of her sons revealing she was shot directly in the chest.
The vice mayor, Maureen Fraser, calling King a dear friend and telling "The New York Times," King was so kind and generous, she once gave her family an envelope full of money for Christmas because Fraser's husband was out of work.
And officials have identified the gunman as a 29-year-old UK Thang who was apparently a third-party vendor for Kroger. And at this time, the motive still remains unknown. But as I said, there are three people now as we speak fighting for their lives. And we, of course, do everything to wish for their survival.
Thanks so much to all of you for watching us on this Friday. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT any time, anywhere. You can always just go to CNN Go.
In the meantime, as promised, it's time now for Anderson and "AC360."
COOPER: Good evening.
Tonight, award winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is here to showcase the life and turbulent times of Muhammad Ali.
But we will also be talking about this troubled moment which he called equal in magnitude to the Second World War, Great Depression, and the Civil War. Having made widely acclaimed films in all three, Ken Burns' assessment about the state of democracy right now we think is certainly worth listening to.