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Erin Burnett Outfront
Awaiting Key Senate Vote to Raise Debt Limit and Avert U.S.'s First Default; Republicans Scrambling for Votes; Awaiting Senate Vote Extend Debt Limit, But Only Until December; Yellen to OUTFRONT: Default would be "Enormously Damaging"; Wash Post: Trump Lawyer Instructs Meadows, Bannon, Scavino, Other Allies not to Comply with Jan. 6 Subpoenas; Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Discusses About Trump Aides not Complying to January 6 Select Committee Subpoena; Washington Post: Trump Lawyer Tells Allies Not to Comply with Subpoenas; Now: Drama on Senate Floor During Vote on Debt Limit Deal. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 07, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, the Senate moments away from voting on whether to pay America's bills on time. Will Republicans have the votes they need to avert the nation's first default? Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is my guest.
Also breaking, Trump's lawyer reportedly ordering the former president's aides to defy subpoenas from the January 6 Select Committee. Can they be forced to testify?
And the search for Gabby Petito's fiance taking a major turn tonight, Brian Laundrie's father now joining the search for his son. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, we are moments away from the crucial vote on the debt ceiling, which would pave the way to avoiding the first default in American history for now. I mean, the vote is scheduled for later this hour, until moments ago Republicans weren't even sure that they could get 10 of their own party to support the deal that their Leader Mitch McConnell made with Democrats.
In fact, prominent Republicans are publicly slamming the deal McConnell put together which would kick the can down the road on the debt ceiling until December 3rd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to vote yes, Senator?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): No way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe McConnell made a mistake in this deal?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do, why?
GRAHAM: We had a plan and we threw it over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know why he threw it over?
GRAHAM: We can't let the threat of changing the rules drive us every time.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I think the Democratic threats to destroy the filibuster caused him to give in. I think that was a mistake. A serious mistake.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you surprised?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Not what McConnell expected given the he was just taking credit today for the agreement that would save the U.S. for a few weeks from default.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): For two and a half months the Democratic leaders did nothing and then complain that they were actually short on time. The majority didn't have a plan to prevent default, so we stepped forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Again, the vote is moments away and even if it gets across the line, I have to emphasize this, we are facing the same crisis over the first American default in history in a mere weeks. The Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be my guest in just a moment.
But first, Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill. And Manu, where do things stand on this vote right now?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big question all day long has been whether or not there will be enough Republicans to break a Republican-led filibuster over this deal that Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader cut with the Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to keep the government debt default, extend that debt ceiling deadline until early December essentially add $480 billion into the national borrowing limit, something that we could keep to prevent, to stave off an immediate crisis, not deal with the long-term crisis, because they don't have to eventually deal with that in the fall.
But they first need to pass this short-term bill, but there has been ample pushback among Republicans, lots of consternation. Republicans don't want to vote for this. All for months, they have been saying that Democrats alone would be required to use a process to essentially pass this by just Democratic votes, circumventing a Republican-led filibuster.
But Democrats decided not to go that route and as a result Mitch McConnell made this offer to avert this immediate crisis, the short- term increase. But they need 60 votes in the United States Senate, which is 50-50 in order to overcome a filibuster that has been led by Republicans and it's just unclear at this point how many Republicans will break ranks.
Now, Senate Republican whip John Thune who is the chief vote counter is confident ultimately they will get there. But Erin in talking to a number of Republicans, they are just not sure if they want to support this, believing it was not a good deal, believing they backtrack on their strategy and saying that they will wait ultimately for the vote to happen to make their decision so there could be high drama as we run into the vote later this hour.
And if they don't pass it here, it will raise major questions about what's next and what will the Democrats will have to do on their own to try to pass this. A lot of questions, we'll see what happens here though, Erin, in a matter of minutes.
BURNETT: Right. Big drama here in a matter of minutes. Thank you so much, Manu.
OUTFRONT now Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. And Secretary, I so much appreciate your time tonight. So Democrats and Republicans are set to raise the debt ceiling, that's going to get the country through December 3rd, then we go through this whole thing again, how damaging is this?
JANET YELLEN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Well, I think the prospect that Congress would not agree to raise the debt ceiling, which is what we've faced and, of course, December 3rd it's a short time relative to the debt ceiling.
So the uncertainty remains longer term. I think it is damaging to confidence of consumers, of investors, of course, everyone including me breathed a sigh of relief that we were able to reach an agreement that gets us to December 3rd. We were staring at October 18th as a time when we would run out of extraordinary measures and cash would be running down quickly.
So it's important that we have met that deadline and didn't go, it looks like it will be voted on this evening that we haven't gone right up against the wire. But we do need to settle it longer term.
What we're really talking about here is can you count on the government to pay its bills.
BURNETT: Right. YELLEN: It's not about future spending or taxes. We've incurred
bills. Can the government be counted on to pay those bills and Americans, whether it's people waiting for a Social Security check or military pay or bondholders who regard U.S. Treasuries is the safest asset in the world, they need to never question that the United States will pay its bills. So we've got more work to do to get well pass December 3rd. But, of course, I'm pleased with what's been accomplished so far.
BURNETT: So obviously you talk about a vote tonight, if the Senate fails tonight to extend that deadline to December, you're back to this October 18th scenario when you said you would have exhausted all extraordinary measures, a default.
BURNETT: What are the consequences if they fail tonight?
YELLEN: Well, they need to get this done by the deadline that I said. I made it very clear that we will run out of cash quickly after October 18th. This would be the first time in the country's history, that we would be unable to pay our bills and it would be enormously damaging to the economy to financial markets. I've said and continue to think it would be utterly catastrophic, it should be unthinkable and so this is a must, the Congress has to meet that deadline.
BURNETT: So ultimately the debt ceiling exists theoretically to force politicians to curb future spending, even though obviously raising the debt ceiling enables you to pay bills that come from past spending agreements.
YELLEN: That's right.
BURNETT: It has failed 100 percent of the time in curbing future spending and you have been categorical that you support eliminating the debt ceiling and yet we're the only major western democracy other than Denmark that still has one. Do you see any chance that this happens?
YELLEN: I think it's become increasingly damaging to America to have a debt ceiling. It's led to a series of politically dangerous conflicts that have caused Americans and global markets to question whether or not America is serious about paying its bills. It's flirting with the self inflicted crisis and it really involves the government giving to their treasury secretary and their president conflicting sets of instructions.
Congress would have instructed me to make the payments to cover the expenditures. They authorized to collect the taxes that they have legislated. And then on top of that set a requirement that can't let the debt run above a given level. And those three things, all valid laws can come into conflict.
YELLEN: It's an impossible situation. Congress needs to debate these issues when they're deciding on spending in taxation, not to every several years, put a hard stop and say, well, now, we're not going to let the Treasury Secretary pay the nation's bills.
BURNETT: And yet this is how it happens every time and I actually want to quote for you, Secretary, a senator who spoke quite eloquently about the problem and actually did so when the total debt was about 1/3 of what it is now. And he said, and I quote, "Because this massive accumulation of debt was foreseeable, because it was unnecessary, because it was the result of willful and reckless disregard for the warnings that were given and for the fundamental of economic management, I am voting against the debt limit increase."
Now, of course, that was then-Senator Joe Biden in 2006 when she was on the other foot and George W. Bush wanted to raise the debt ceiling. Biden's comments, though, point out something really important, which is that there doesn't seem to be any check on spending anymore. Both parties see spending on their priorities as just and as revenge against the opposing party's transgressions. Why does everyone in Washington see this as a political thing when it isn't, when it is an economic reality?
YELLEN: Well, look, I think you shouldn't assume that all deficits are bad. We have incurred deficits to - this was true when the Trump administration, the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the rescue plan under Biden, this was deficit spending that look how well the U.S. economy is doing in recovering from a devastating pandemic.
We have made expenditures that have put us right in the top ranks of all countries around the world in terms of the pace of our economic recovery. And we can afford the debt that was incurred, especially in an environment that's been characterized by very low interest rates.
Now, President Biden wants to do more. He has proposed the Build Back Better Act plan that's been translated into an infrastructure bill that has cleared the Senate and is sitting in the house, a reconciliation process that will attend to proposals to do education, childcare, paid leave, environmental investments and all of that is paid for. That's not deficit spending. That's a package where revenues will be raised that will fully cover the cost of that spending.
So people can have different opinions about the value of the package and whether they support it. I am strongly in support, because I think it's what this economy needs to be more productive to grow faster and to be a fairer economy.
BURNETT: Secretary, does that mean then that you believe the price hikes have changed? I mean, we were talking about the Build Back Better Act, obviously, a price tag that had been out there, the 3.5 trillion had the tax increases that were going to be put on the wealthy and corporations lasting for 10 years, but the spending on things like the child tax credit expiring after a few years, and the Joint Committee on Taxation still estimated it would be a $1.4 trillion need to borrow. So it didn't find itself, not even close. YELLEN: Well, our estimates and what we proposed was paid for. We
have slightly different estimate of a portion of the package from the Joint Committee on Taxation. One of the things we've been very focused on, and I hope this will be in reconciliation is closing an enormous tax gap.
Right now, it's estimated that over the next decade, the Internal Revenue Service will fail to collect almost $7 trillion of tax revenue that is due under our law. And that's because the IRS' resources to audit those who don't comply have dwindled to almost nothing. And we also the IRS lacks insight into opaque sources of income largely of high income individuals and corporations. And we've estimated based on very good information we have from the IRS ...
YELLEN: ... that the program to improve compliance will have a payoff of around $800 billion over 10 years and ...
BURNETT: I don't know who wouldn't root for that. I mean, that's enforced the law as you already have and get the money you are already entitled to. I don't know anyone could go against that.
I mean, I know there are some who would, but I mean both party should be able to agree on that.
YELLEN: Well, if you think so.
BURNETT: I do want to ask you about a couple of points within it, though, one is the expanded tax credit which Biden is proposing. That could send up to $3,600 per child to families making under a certain threshold.
BURNETT: So you have a means testing in it. But Sen. Joe Manchin has been very clear he wants additional testing, a work requirement so that you cannot get the money if you are not working. Do you support that?
YELLEN: No, I don't support a work requirement. I mean, I think the child tax credit should not go to the highest income households, so I agree with that.
But look, 98 percent of families that are receiving the child tax credit have members who are working, so that's really not a real issue and of the remainder, many are grandparents who are taking care of grandchildren, they may be retirees, I really don't think we should be telling retirees who are helping take care of grandchildren that they need to go to work as well.
BURNETT: Now, President Biden has consistently framed the discussion about his spending bill as also one at its core about tax fairness, here he is, Secretary. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think you should be able to make a lot of money in America, but just pay your fair share. Pay your fair share.
Big corporations and super wealthy have to start paying their fair share of taxes, it's long overdue.
We're going to do it by leveling the playing field. By just having a fair system, we ask the largest corporation in the wealthiest Americans to begin to pay their fair share no more. They can still make millions of dollars.
We can afford to do this if the very wealthy just start paying their fair share just a little bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And, of course, he's tripled down on Twitter. As a Treasury Secretary advising him, obviously, you know America can't tax its way to paying for everything and there isn't enough money for that to be the only way to do it. But if taxing certain people more in principle is important, it seems really important to understand what fair is not just to use the word.
So when you look at the numbers, the top 20 percent of taxpayers in America paid 78 percent of the nation's taxes in the most recent tax year available from the Tax Policy Center. The top 1 percent in 2018 earned 21 percent of the income in America and paid 40 percent of the taxes in America.
So when it comes to income, the system is deeply progressive. So if you work for a living and you earn more, you pay more both absolutely and relatively. So the question is, if the top 20 percent are already paying 80 percent of the taxes, what is fair?
YELLEN: Well, look, I think most of us believe we should have a progressive tax system in which the fraction of your income that you pay as taxes rises as your income rises and your statistics are consistent with that. But look, if you take a look at the tax burdens of some of the wealthiest Americans and Warren Buffett and others have said this themselves, often their tax rates are lower than those of their secretaries.
And that's because large share of their income takes the form of capital gains. Capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than most ordinary income tax rates. And in addition, there's a complete loophole called step up of basis, which means if you hold an asset to death, no matter how much it's increased in value, your heirs that inherit that asset, get to take the value of it as of the day of death and that means no taxes are ever paid on those capital gains.
And I think that's an aspect of unfairness that leads to very low tax rates that's part of what we want to change. We've proposed speeding up a return of the highest individual tax rate back to 39.7 percent, which is where it was before the Trump tax cuts.
But President Biden has pledged that no one making under $400,000 a year will see their taxes rise by a penny. And I support that and our proposals are consistent with that. I also want to say internationally, we've had and are really working hard to stop a global race among countries to cut taxes ever lower.
One country cuts taxes, companies move income to the company country that cut taxes and it's led to very low tax rates for many corporations doing business abroad and it's helped global corporations. It's harmed governments all around the world. We've negotiated a tax agreement with 140 countries to establish a global minimum tax that every country will charge that will stop this race to the bottom and ensure that companies contribute the revenue we need to build the infrastructure to repair roads and bridges and do the things that they all tell us.
They need to be competitive to have modern ports and airports, so that's an aspect of tax fairness as well.
BURNETT: All right. Secretary Yellen, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
YELLEN: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next breaking news, Trump's lawyer now ordering the former president's aides to defy all subpoenas from the January 6 Select Committee. This is according to The Washington Post, so what's the Committee's next move?
And the new report revealing just how close Trump came to staging a coup. Who actually at the end of it stood in his way?
And Brian Laundrie's father joining the search for his son tonight. What could he know? Are they any closer to finding Gabby Petito's fiance?
BURNETT: Breaking news, former President Trump's lawyer telling these four former aides not to comply with subpoenas from the January 6 Select Committee. That's according to The Washington Post report tonight. The subpoenas had demanded documents from all four of those individuals by tonight and it comes to the Committee issues another round of subpoenas targeting to more leaders of this Stop the Steal movement.
And as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee report lays out in great detail how far Trump went to pressure his justice department to overturn the election. This part is pretty stunning. Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Former President Trump relentlessly sought to overturn the election and today the attempted coup is detailed in this nearly 400-page Senate report. Trump directly asked Justice Department officials nine times to undermine the election result. And when the former president considered replacing then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with loyalist Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer who supported the election fraud lies, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to quit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): It was Cipollone who spoke up and said that he thought that this scenario of what they were trying to achieve was a murder suicide pact and the president should not do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER(voice over): The committee's report is the most comprehensive account so far of Trump's wide ranging plot. New revelations include accounts from inside the Oval Office on January 3rd when Trump blamed former U.S. Attorney BJay Pak for failing to find mass election fraud in Georgia and wanted him fired.
That prompted Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue to call Pak that night to tell him to preemptively resign, which he did. Republicans have already issued a rebuttal to the report dismissing the idea that Trump was attempting a coup, noting that ultimately no action was taken by the DOJ.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): In fact if he had made another decision, you would have had a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER(voice over): But the Senate report just adds to the mountain of revelation showcasing how Trump and his loyalists tried to keep the former president in power and the plot didn't just target the DOJ. This memo obtained by CNN in mid-September shows how conservative lawyer john Eastman outlined a six point scheme to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to throw out the election results on January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: This has been a massive attack on the integrity of the voting system in the greatest democracy on Earth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER(voice over): Meanwhile, new court documents revealed Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies testified under oath that they did little to verify these false election fraud claims before blasting them out to the public. In a sworn deposition, Giuliani acknowledged he did not have all the facts before falsely accusing a Dominion voting systems executive of changing votes for Joe Biden, defending it this way saying, "We didn't pronounce him guilty. We laid out the facts that we had."
And all of this as the former President continues to insist the election was rigged. Trump released a statement criticizing the work of the January 6 Select Committee saying lawmakers should conclude that the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the Presidential Election, not on January 6th.
SCHNEIDER(on camera): And despite all that, the Select Committee just issued two new rounds of subpoenas to more people involved in planning the Stop the Steal rally on January 6th. Erin, of course, that was the precursor to the Capitol attack. One of the subpoenas is to the Stop the Steal group leader Ali Alexander. He actually previously claimed that he worked closely with Republican congressmen planning the rally and that he communicated with the White House. All, of course, major points of interest for the Select Committee, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jessica.
And I want to go now to one of the members of the January 6 Select Committee, Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. Congresswoman, I appreciate your time tonight. So The Washington Post reports that former President Trump's lawyer has told the format who are supposed to provide all that information tonight not to comply with your subpoenas, so said absolutely not, don't do it. So what are you going to do about it?
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, first, they have until midnight tonight to comply and we hope that they will. The former president doesn't have the authority to order them not to comply, that itself is a violation of law. I hope that these four individuals will do the responsible thing, which is to respond to the subpoena. If not, we're prepared to take any and all actions available to us to force compliance.
BURNETT: So just yesterday, the former President Trump said in a statement, I quote him, "The Unselect Committee of partisan Democrats, and two very weak and pathetic RINOs, should come to the conclusion after spending many millions of dollars, that the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the Presidential Election, not on January 6th, which was a day of protesting the Fake Election results."
I mean, he's just now point blank putting all of the things together, free and fair election was an insurrection. The election was fake.
BURNETT: He's getting bolder and bolder and there doesn't seem to be any repercussion to this. How much does it incense you? LOFGREN: Well, I think anybody who listens to this has to be
concerned about the future of our country. We have a democracy, a republic that has lasted for over 200 years.
And to think that we would chuck that to one side, or Mr. Trump, is astonishing to me.
There are people even today who are willing to look the other way. It would be very unwise. We need to find out exactly what happened, who did what when leading up to the insurrection on the 6th. Not only to find out what happened, but to make sure that it can't happen again.
BURNETT: So, Congresswoman, to get to this point, just dig down here on one very specific point. The Senate Judiciary Committee has just come out with their detailed report on Trump's efforts and those of Jeffrey Clark, a top lawyer at the DOJ, to try the overturn the election.
And what they say is that Trump directly asked the DOJ nine times to overturn the election. Nine times. He directly asked the DOJ to overturn the election.
And yet today, Congresswoman, the ranking GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, released a rebuttal report, and it includes an entire section with the title, and I quote, the available evidence shows that President Trump did not use the Justice Department to overturn the election. I mean --
LOFGREN: It's like saying I took out my gun, I shot at you. I missed. And therefore there is no crime.
BURNETT: I mean, what do you even say to that? These are your colleagues, for whom I'm sure over years in many cases you have had great respect.
LOFGREN: Well, I've certainly had times when I worked with Senator Grassley and times when I disagreed on policy issues.
But here's the problem. I can disagree with somebody on policy. But to say that the reality doesn't exist is very problematic. You know, one of my colleagues said in debating the commission idea, you know, the old phrase I'll believe it when I see it has been replaced by somewhere I'll see it when I believe it.
We have to look at what's actually occurring here, accept the facts, and go from there. And to pretend that the threat does not exist is not really putting our country first, in my judgment.
BURNETT: Congresswoman, I appreciate your time, and I thank you.
LOFGREN: Thank you very much.
BURNETT: Elie Honig is with me, our senior legal analyst.
So, Elie, there's a lot to ask you about here, but, first, where I started with the congresswoman. The former president's lawyer telling these four individuals that have until midnight as the congresswoman emphasized, they have until midnight, but telling them to completely defy Congress and not answer those subpoenas at all.
Is that obstruction of justice?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, I'm not going to keep my fingers crossed between now and midnight. Technically, no, Erin, it's not obstruction of justice.
A person is entitled to go into court and raise legal objections to a subpoena, even if they're flimsy, as I believe they are in this case. But let's be clear: Donald Trump has mastered the art of delay.
Remember, two years ago, 2019, he came out on the White House lawn and said we're fighting all the subpoenas. That's exactly what he has done since then. Congress has not laid a glove on him since then.
Congress needs to do what Representative Lofgren just said they will do. They're ready to take all and every action. They need to get into the courts quickly. They need to convince the judge that this is an emergency and can't wait months or years.
HONIG: And then they need to send it over to DOJ and Merrick Garland then has a job to do.
BURNETT: Okay. So Trump is also planning to claim executive privilege. That's the next step, right? Now, what I'm curious about, the Biden administration has made clear when it comes to the executive privilege, we are the executives now, and they believe that's who defines executive. It doesn't matter what executive did it. The executive at the time in charge makes the decision on what to release or not.
And that they may release information about what Trump was doing on January 6, anything related to January 6.
So how is that going to go? Are we going to get all this information or not?
HONIG: So, the Biden administration should win on that argument. We don't actually know. No court has ever ruled squarely on who gets to exert executive privilege, the current president or the former president. But the precedent tells us it's the current president. For example, George W. Bush early in his presidency got a subpoena for the Clinton administration, the prior administration, and it was Bush, not Clinton, who exercised executive privilege. The executive privilege claim by Trump is also flimsy here. Even if he was able to exercise it --
BURNETT: Yeah. HONIG: -- it doesn't protect wrongdoing. It doesn't protect criminality. It's supposed to protect military secrets and confidential communications.
BURNETT: So, I also want to ask you about the judiciary report, right? So, it says Trump asked the Justice Department nine times to overturn the election. I'm not going to ask you about Chuck Grassley about saying that it didn't say what it said and what happened didn't happen. I want to ask you a different part.
I want to ask you how disturbing it is to you as a former prosecutor for the DOJ that the president of the United States could directly try to pressure the DOJ directly to overturn an election nine times.
HONIG: It's just the ultimate abuse of the Justice Department. It goes against everything that the justice department is about. And the most disturbing thing to me, we know Trump was trying to steal the election. The most disturbing thing to me is that Jeffrey Clark inside DOJ was trying to help him. Thank goodness we had enough career professionals in there who stood up and prevented it from happening.
BURNETT: Elie, thank you.
HONIG: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, a twist in the manhunt for Gabby Petito's fiance. Brian Laundrie's father now apparently helping investigators, out with them. What does he know?
And Senator Chuck Grassley also under fire for this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): If I learned anything from Korean people, it's the hard work ethic. So I congratulate you and your people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, the manhunt for Brian Laundrie taking on new urgency with his father joining search crews for the first time at the nature reserve in Florida. It comes as Gabby Petito's mother pleads with Laundrie to turn himself in, saying she is growing more frustrated as the days go on.
Leyla Santiago is OUTFRONT.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, Brian Laundrie's father, Chris Laundrie, assisting authorities in the search for his son. After leaving his house alone this morning, Chris is seen entering the Carlton reserve with police.
The attorney for the family telling CNN Brian's father spent more than three hours at the 25,000-acre reserve, assisting authorities in the search. Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or spots that Brian may have used in the preserve, although Chris and Roberta Laundrie provided this information verbally three weeks ago, it is now thought that onsite assistance may be better. Brian reportedly told his parents he was headed to the reserve when they last saw him on September 13th, more than three weeks later and still no sign of Gabby Petito's fiance.
The attorney for Laundrie's parents telling CNN Brian's parents believe he is still there, adding the parents see no reason to make a public call for Brian to surrender to authorities because he says, quote, in short, the parents believe Brian was and still is in the preserve. So there was no reason to issue a plea on media that he, Brian, does not have access to.
Police are now denying that a recent campsite was found at the Carlton Reserve after a source close to the family reported one Wednesday, holding off Chris Laundrie from the search for a day while police investigated.
North Port police telling CNN, quote, it possible they thought there might be a campsite out there or something they may have seen from the air, but when they got on the ground, that's not what it turned out to be? Sure, I think that's a possibility. But he also says, quote, bottom line is that investigators are telling me that no campsite was found out there.
Meanwhile, Gabby Petito's parents and stepparents grieving her loss and telling Fox News they hope Brian Laundrie is found alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a missing piece of the puzzle to find out what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is the key to the puzzle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened out there. You know? Until they find him, we won't know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We believe he knows everything.
SANTIAGO: And according to the attorney for Brian's parents, there were no discoveries out there in that reserve today. He told us that Chris Laundrie, Brian's father, was out there to show search teams his favorite spots or places where Brian was known to frequent. And the attorney added in his statement that they hope they can find Brian -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Leyla, thank you.
I want to go to Dave Canterbury. He is a survival expert who lived in North Port, Florida, where the search is under way. Casey Jordan, a criminologist and behavioral analyst.
Thanks to both.
So, Dave, Brian's parents are convinced he is in this nature preserve. That's what they've been saying and they wouldn't look anywhere else. If Laundrie has been there for the past 25 days, how likely do you think it is that he could still be alive and undetected to this point?
DAVE CANTERBURY, SURVIVAL EXPERT: I think a lot of that depends really on how prepared he was when he entered the area to begin with. If he had supplies and a backpack, which it's rumored that he had, he had ways to disinfect water through filtration and cover to protect himself from the weather and things like that, he could survive for a certain period of time.
But if he had ways to gather food and process that food, he could survive even longer. The question really becomes if you can gather food, how are you going to process and cook that food without starting fire? And if your filtration fails, how you going to disinfect the water without fire? Starting fire is going to be a big no-no for him if he doesn't want the get found or seen.
So I think it's going to be very difficult for him to stay out there for a very long period of time. But I think up to this point, he could have enough stuff in a backpack to have gotten along this far and still be there.
BURNETT: That's a pretty significant thing to say. I mean, you understand this. A lot of people here 25 days, they wouldn't think that. It's important that you give that context.
So, Casey, Brian Laundrie's father was there at the nature reserve future about three hours today with the FBI in their search. Brian Laundrie father says he showed the FBI the trails, the places Brian liked to hike. But he says they already gave this information to the FBI three weeks ago.
So what do you think this is all about with Brian Laundrie's father now joining them here 25 days later?
CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: I don't think this was so much about looking for campsites. I don't believe that they think that Brian Laundrie is there or ever was there. I think this is what they call an observational tour. It was more about law enforcement observing Chris Laundrie, talking to him, maybe trying to loosen him up, try to gain his trust, try to get a little bit more cooperation.
And as they walk through the reserve, find out what he is chatting about, what he is telling them about his son. You know, you remember ten years ago with Casey Anthony, they did an observational tour all the way into Universal Studios where she said she worked, even though they knew she didn't work there, because they were trying to find out what she would do at the end of the game. So I think this was just an exercise in trying to rule out the
reserve. I don't think they've ever believed he was really there. At least they ruled it out two or three weeks ago when there was no sign of him at all.
BURNETT: That's a fascinating point there.
Dave, Gabby Petito's family did an interview today where they believe Brian Laundrie is alive and they cited his experience as an outdoorsman. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not certain, but I would think that he is in an area like the Appalachian Trail or a campground where he can live off the land, because he had those skills.
REPORTER: Do you think he is alive? Do you think he is in the country?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do believe he is a alive. Country, again, I have no idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Dave, they're talking about how he has experience hiking the Appalachian Trail. Obviously, you know, with the van life that he had been living with Gabby, we know he has a significant amount of experience. But you know what that really means and what it would really require.
So would any of this really prepare him to survive in the wild or in that Florida nature reserve?
CANTERBURY: I think if you're talking about the Florida nature preserve, not necessarily. I think there is a lot of things to take into consideration that you wouldn't have to worry about as an Appalachian Trail hiker. You can on the Appalachian Trail walk two or three days, bounce in through a town, resupply any equipment that you may need to replace, get food that you may need to get for the next two or three days and move on. You can even get postal drops of supplies and food. He is not going to have that opportunity if he is in that wildlife area. And that's going to make it more difficult for him because he will have to find food from the wild sooner or later.
And, again, 25 days, people go that long without food, and it's not a major health concern. But going much longer than that is going to become a major health concern, especially with the weather getting colder and his body core temperature adjusting to that and burning more calories faster.
BURNETT: So, Casey, the Laundrie's family says his parents are, quote, distraught and upset. I'll be honest with you. People around the country are wondering why they never came out and -- they've never been tearful. They've never expressed that concern. They've never expressed love for his fiancee. They've never asked help to find him. Their attorney telling us, quote, the parents believe Brian was and
still is in the reserve. So there was no reason to issue a plea on media that he does not have access to.
Casey, does that explanation make any sense to you? Does it make their silence any less suspicious?
JORDAN: It does not, and from the get-go, I think as we recreate everything, we are figuring out that almost everything they say and do and their attorney says and does is really a red herring. And this campground De Soto Park that they went to on the 6th, 7th and 8th, I am beginning to wonder if that was a dry run because it's kind of like a sandbar peninsula where a boat may have picked him up and scooted him off to a Caribbean Island, maybe some place like Cuba that doesn't have extradition.
So, I think that the more we listen to the Laundrie family, the more they're getting over on the public and law enforcement, I think they need to look a little more externally. They're afraid he may have harmed himself. I think they say that because they know he is quite well and quite safe somewhere else.
BURNETT: Wow. All right, thank you both very much. I appreciate it. Dave, Casey.
And next, the breaking news, the Senate voting now to pave the way to raise the debt ceiling. It is not a sure thing, and there is some serious drama right now. Ted Cruz, wait until you hear what happened to him and Mitch McConnell. He has voted no. Lindsey graham has voted now. Rick Scott has voted no. We're live on Capitol Hill.
BURNETT: We are following the breaking news. The Senate now voting to break a filibuster that will pave the way to raise the debt ceiling and avert the nation's first default for a few weeks. Democrats need at least ten votes from Republicans to make it happen. And it was unclear if they could get over the line. A lot of Republicans in the Senate voiced anger towards the Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for forcing them to even take this vote.
I want to go straight to Manu Raju who's out front on Capitol Hill.
And, Manu, a lot of drama inside that room with the vote.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, because Republicans did not want to vote for this. They had multiple meetings, just two today, about this vote that was happening because Republicans didn't want to carry the water, break a filibuster led by Republicans, in order to move to a final vote just to extend the national debt ceiling for about two months. Now, right now there are nine Republicans who have voted to break ranks. That means they need one more to break a Republican-led filibuster, to get 60 votes. The nine Republicans include some of the members of the Republican leadership, Mitch McConnell who cut the deal, he voted for moving ahead, as did John Cornyn, a number who's a part of Republican leadership. John Thune another member of the leadership. As well as John Barrasso. Those are some of the members who voted yet.
But some of the other ones who have often broken ranks with Republicans like Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, they also voted to move ahead. Then you're hearing from some Republicans who are retiring, Rob Portman for one. The Ohio Republican also voted to move ahead. As did Richard Shelby, he's a long-time appropriator, someone who's retiring next year. He is voting to break this Republican filibuster.
And just moments ago, Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, also joined with Mitch McConnell.
Now, the question is who is going to be the 60th vote?
We're waiting for that. They don't get 60, of course, that's a big problem. Big questions going forward, but at the moment the Republicans and Democrats are supporting this feel confident that 60 will be there, but barely.
BURNETT: Wow. And yet still one shy. All right. Amazing even with that the drama. And the turning on Mitch McConnell. So much more to this story.
All right. Thanks, Manu, very much. I appreciate it.
And also tonight, the raise of anti-Asian hate unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic is actually rooted in a disturbing pattern of scapegoating and violence against Asians throughout American history. And that is the takeaway from Lisa Ling's latest episode of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING" which returns for its eighth season this Sunday night and centers around the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese- American killed in Detroit by two auto workers who blamed Chin for their economic woes. Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
LISA LING, CNN HOST (voice-over): By 1982 one in five Detroit residents were out of a job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's few and far between, jobs are hard to come by. How about you? You hiring?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing I can say is move somewhere else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suddenly, after a lifetime of well-paying jobs where they could afford a house, two cars, a recreational vehicle, a summer cottage, suddenly it was wiped out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only answer is charity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People became destitute. The frustration turned into anger. People wanted to know why is this happening to me? Who can I blame?
In the beginning the workers blamed the company. Factories blamed the workers. The politicians blamed each other. And in the end, they kind of all reached a consensus. Let's blame Japan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Lisa Ling, host of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING" which as I said premieres this Sunday on CNN.
So, Lisa, that climate of anti-Asian hate that you describe in the early 1980s led to the horrific murder of an Asian man that had a deep impact on you when you were a child. Tell me why and why it's so important for you to tell this story now.
LING: Well, Erin, this season of "THIS IS LIFE", we're doing something different, which is we are grounding every one of our episodes in an event or a story as part of American history that didn't make it into the history books. Because I think it's really important to understand where we've been if we want to understand -- if we want to figure out where we're going and how not to repeat past mistakes.
And in the case of Vincent Chin, as you said, he was a young Chinese man who was celebrating his bachelor party at a bar when two out of work auto workers got into an altercation with him. They were kicked out. Vincent Chin left. And they chased him down and murdered him with a baseball bat. And the two men did not serve a day of jail or prison time.
And that case became the first ever civil rights case involving an Asian-American. But when you think about what has happened in the last year and a half since COVID has taken root here, Asian Americans have been also scapegoated and blamed for bringing the virus here. And it is part of a pattern of discrimination and scapegoating that spans more than a century.
BURNETT: And, you know, I just wanted to -- this is something that came up today actually in this context of this. You know, sort of the regular or unintentional racism that occurs. The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings yesterday on President Biden's judicial nominees including for Judge Lucy Koh, who if confirmed would be the first Korean-American woman to serve as a federal appellate judge.
I want to play something the Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said to her at the hearing. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DURBIN: Senator Grassley?
GRASSLEY: Judge, welcome. What you said about your Korean background reminds me a lot of what my daughter-in-law of 45 years has said. If I learned anything from Korean people, it's a hard work ethic and how you can make a lot out of nothing. So I congratulate you and your people. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: An aide to Grassley says he meant this as a compliment. But Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu said of Grassley's comments and I quote here, even if you think you're being complimentary, assigning a character trait to an entire community is the definition of prejudice.
How do you see this?
LING: Erin, I saw that clip yesterday, and I certainly cringed. I don't think he meant to be harmful.
LING: But you know, I think that there will always be people in this country who don't see Asian Americans as Americans. And that's one of the reasons why so many of us have been speaking out and declaring our belonging in this country. And we're not just your people. We are all part of this country. We are American-born citizens.
BURNETT: Yeah. All right. Well, I hope --
LING: Just like Lucy Ko.
BURNETT: Yes. Lisa, I hope everyone is going to watch as I always do your incredible series.
"THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING," this next installment Sunday night at 10:00. You just can't miss it.
Thanks so much for joining us.
Anderson starts now.