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Erin Burnett Outfront

Texas and Florida Governors Take on Vaccine Mandates, Big Business Be Damned; Interview with Rep. Elaine Luria; Pentagon Calls China's Actions toward Taiwan Destabilizing; Coroner: Gabby Petito Died from Strangulation; Americans are Quitting Their Jobs at a Record Pace. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 12, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Brian Todd, reporting for us.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Erin Burnett OUT FRONT starts right now.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUT FRONT next, the face off over vaccines. The Republican Governors of Texas and Florida taking on mandates, even if that means taking on big business, and some of the country's biggest companies are fighting back tonight.

Plus, the coroner tonight revealing that Gabby Petito died by strangulation, giving new details on the timing of her death. So what does it tell us about her fiancee, Brian Laundrie's possible involvement?

And his daughter was shot and killed while reporting on live television, and now, he is calling Facebook to account for not removing videos of her murder. He is my guest. Let's go OUT FRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUT FRONT tonight, Abbott's amnesia.

The Texas Governor tonight, forgetting that he wants champion businesses, forgetting that he was once against a quote-unquote "nanny state," forgetting he's a Republican, a party that of course claims to be-pro business. Tonight, instead, he is facing off with some of the nation's top companies telling them that they can't run the business the way they want to, that he, the Governor is going to tell them that they cannot have a vaccine mandate, not because he doesn't think the vaccine is effective. This is all about politics.

And major companies like Dell, American Airlines, Southwest, all of which are based in the Lone Star State are defying Abbott tonight. Abbott, the same Governor who once said this.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Texas prides itself on low regulations.

People and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate.

We cut the cost of doing business, but cutting regulations.

We spurred our economy by cutting taxes and by cutting regulations.


BURNETT: They don't need the government to tell them how to operate except for that's exactly what he is doing now. By the way, he's on Twitter doing it, too. He says "Texas is proof that the path toward economic recovery is the government getting out of the way of business." And "Texas doesn't need California style nanny state regulations."

Oh, that was Abbott then. But now, he is running for re-election, looking even towards the possible 2024 White House run. He is eager for a public fight with President Biden, whose vaccine requirement applies to businesses with 100 or more employees.

So there you have it, Abbott now telling companies how they can or can't run their business.

And not to be outdone over in Florida where Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is also running for re-election and also looking at a possible White House run. He is suggesting tonight, he may follow in Abbott's footsteps by trying to pass a law, which would protect workers from being fired if they don't get vaccinated.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Whether you're working for the police department, the sheriff's department, the fire department, whether you're working for a small business or a large business, I don't think you should be fired over these shots. I just don't think -- you need to be protected.


BURNETT: DeSantis is fighting against business every step of the way on this. He is currently in a court battle against Norwegian Cruise Lines for its decision to mandate vaccines, you know, for workers and people going on cruises. But he is saying that they don't know how to run their business, he will tell them what they can or can't do.

And doubling down on that point, the State of Florida today fined Leon County $3.5 million because the county requires its employees to get vaccines and they fired 14 workers who didn't get their shots.

The White House tonight is singling out those two governors and taking them to task.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Governor Abbott's executive order banning mandates and I would also note announcement by Governor DeSantis this morning, essentially, banning the implementation of mandates fit a familiar pattern that we've seen it putting politics ahead of public health.


BURNETT: Now, Abbott and DeSantis are not the only Republicans, you know, getting rid of conservative principles when it comes to business and economics. In fact, in two key Governor's races, the Democrats support government mandating vaccinations and the Republicans do not think businesses should be allowed to do what they want. If that means mandate. Here's Virginia.


TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I tell my private businesses all the time, I hope you mandate vaccines for people coming in.

GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I do believe the COVID vaccine is one that everyone should get, but we shouldn't mandate it.


BURNETT: And here's in New Jersey.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Either you have to be vaccinated or subject to a frequency of testing, which is in fact what we have for state employees.

JACK CIATTARELLI (R), NEW JERSEY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Do I believe that government has a right to tell people they have to take a medicine? No, I don't.


BURNETT: And it's not just Democrat versus Republican. In Ohio, the mandate issue is actually splitting the Republican Party itself, which shouldn't surprise you because there are some Republicans who you know, still appear to be, you know, for free market capitalism, as they like to say.

G.O.P. Governor Mike DeWine has not gone as far as Abbott and DeSantis, and now Jim Renacci who is challenging Governor DeWine in the Republican primary writes in a statement, quote: "DeWine continually proves he is a feckless leader who refuses to protect Ohioans from overbearing mandates that strip away our freedoms."


BURNETT: They are now getting primaried from the right over this issue.

Jeremy Diamond is OUT FRONT live outside the White House and Jeremy, the President has its own problems with COVID. A new poll shows fewer Americans trust the information President Biden is giving on the virus, but obviously, they are swinging back at Governors DeSantis and Abbott today.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. We saw the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, certainly not mincing words as it relates to these decisions by Governors Abbott and DeSantis. She made very clear that these governors are putting politics ahead of public health. It's a line we've heard from the White House before aimed at those very two governors in the past when they have, for example, banned or sought to ban mask mandates in schools.

So the White House is certainly slamming these issues, but they also are expressing a fair amount of confidence. I can tell you, in speaking with several people at the White House tonight, confidence that ultimately the Federal law will supersede any executive orders issued by these governors.

They believe that they have the full power of the Federal government to implement these legal requirements, and another thing to keep in mind is that, you know, some of these airlines are acting on the requirement for contractors. That goes into effect by December 8th.

The other requirements for employers who have a hundred or more employees, that's expected to go into effect in a few weeks once OSHA finalizes that rule, but it's a vaccinate or test requirement, not a strict vaccine mandate.

But you did mention those polling numbers that the President is facing, and that is perhaps a more pressing concern for this White House at the moment. And we have heard the President express himself on this directly before. He believes that in large part, this is due to the fact that the coronavirus is still here, that over the last couple of months, we've seen it run rampant with the delta variant across the country, and that Americans perhaps believe that President Biden would be able to end this pandemic sooner.

Clearly, that is not the case, but the White House ultimately believes that progress on the pandemic, and most importantly, passing the infrastructure bill, the reconciliation bill by the end of this month that those steps ultimately will cure the President's low approval ratings at the moment -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, we'll see, Jeremy. Thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Mike Nguyen, he is the owner of the Noodle Tree Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. Regular viewer, as you know him because, Mike, we've been following you throughout the pandemic. Mike has been battling cancer, which of course makes him immunocompromised, part of the reason why having people vaccinated around him matters even more, and matters for so many Americans who may be in a position like yours, Mike. I know you're mandating the vaccine for employees at your restaurant. So what do you say to Governor Abbott who says that's just not okay?

MIKE NGUYEN, OWNER, NOODLE TREE RESTAURANT IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: I think it's -- you know, it goes back to him being hypocritical again. You know, he said himself that the vaccines are effective and they are safe, and they are our best defense against this virus, and he has taken that away from me. He is taking my best defense to keep me protected, my staff, and my community away by trying to ban us from keeping a safe environment that people can go to.

We're in an industry where we're in close contact with people, like every minute of the day that were open, and that we need here -- we need our staff to be protected. You know, they can't be, you know, passing this virus around, you know, and especially with me, myself, if they're coming in here, and I get sick, you know, I know a lot of the vaccines are effective, you know, I don't get to get sick, and I'm thankful for that.

But I don't want to see what happens if I end up getting COVID even though I'm vaccinated, you know, with these breakthrough cases, since my immune system is so bad that I'm not going to take that chance, and I don't want to take that chance.

BURNETT: No, and you shouldn't have to take that chance. Hey, Mike, how are you? How are you doing? I mean, I know you know, some people watching may remember, you know, there were times during this pandemic when you were dealing with your diagnosis and not even able to go in and get your treatments because of the way the hospital situation was. How are you doing now?

NGUYEN: For a moment, you know, things are going well. We kind of hit a road bump a little bit. I'm at a point where I may have to live with this for the rest of my life and just try to maintain as best as possible. You know, I'm going to go to do some more radiation in the next couple of weeks to help slow the tumor down a little bit, but I'm just trying my best right now to keep going, so day by day.

BURNETT: Some Mike, I mean, you know, what -- why do you think it is that Governor Abbott is doing this? You said it yourself. He says the vaccine is effective. He is vaccinated. Why do you think he is doing this and saying, business can't do what business wants to do?

NGUYEN: Yes, it's -- I think he's trying to save his own butt at this point in his career. You know, a lot of the mistakes that he has made. He is trying to grab to whatever support he can and I think he feels that this is the right way to get people on board with him even though it's not.


NGUYEN: You know, he is literally taking away my rights to help protect myself and my staff and the community, and it doesn't make any sense. So, for him to turn around and say, you know, we're here for the business, he's not. He is obviously not for the State of Texas. He is not going to protect us. He's not here for the businesses. You know, I think at this point, he is trying to save his own butt.

BURNETT: So what is the reaction that you hear in the restaurant community or in other small business owners like yourself? Is this something that people think is going to empower people to not get vaccinated? Or are you seeing people overwhelmingly get vaccinated? How is this playing out?

NGUYEN: I think people are going to make their own decisions, you know, and at the other day, I think everybody wants the same thing, we want to get back to the normalcy. And we just have to make an effort to try to combat this, and I know a lot of other owners that this pandemic has put a lot on them, a lot of strain physically and mentally, because, you know, it caused the labor shortage, and all of us are working long hours and, you know, multiple days consecutively.

So, I think it's at a point where we just kind of want to get back to normalcy, and we'll do what we need to do to get to that point.

BURNETT: All right, Mike, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: I want to go now to Michael Smerconish, host of, of course, "Smerconish." So, you know, Abbott presents himself as a staunch conservative. So the great irony here is you have a conservative governor, saying that the government should tell a private business how to run their business. The Governor is going to tell a business what they can or cannot do.

Conservatives, of course, say that they are for less big government, not more. How is this -- can this be reconciled?


We've all seen the signs. No shoes, no shirts, no service. And Republicans look at that, and they say, well, hey, that's laissez faire. We stay out of the way of small business in particular, yet in this case, if that same small business like the gentleman you just interviewed wants to have a vaccine mandate to protect his own workforce and those who patronize whatever the establishment might be, oh, no, all of a sudden now the Texas Governor says, you can't do that.

I see this as a game of one upsmanship. I think you laid it out well in your introduction. It's all about primary politics with an eye toward 2024. And we know how it plays with the bass when you go in a different direction because Donald Trump was speaking, I think it was in Alabama, when he seemed to start down the road of recommending vaccination, and he got heckled and he backed off.

Lindsey Graham, within the last 10 days, at a country club, I think in South Carolina, same fate, you know occurred with him. So they all want to play to the primary base, and they are convinced that if you push vaccination, it is going to harm you politically. BURNETT: And it is amazing because in these same states, you know, Governor Abbott, right to go to school, there's all kinds of mandates and, you know, for vaccines of many types, and Governor Abbott doesn't stand in the way of that. I mean, I guess they're just betting that people are not going to care or are not going to be smart enough to notice that and call out the hypocrisy.

SMERCONISH: I don't think you're playing long ball. I think, it's a short game that they're playing to appease primary voters and they'll worry about the General Election later.

Look, I don't know if those primary challenges that Governor Abbott faces are for real. I don't know if they really imperil him, but it seems to me, he doesn't want to take any risks. And as long as Ron DeSantis over in Florida keeps doing what he is doing, I think Abbott will respond in kind.

BURNETT: Right. And of course now, then there is the distinction, right, between being for letting businesses do what they want to do, which Republicans would say is a traditional conservative principle, and telling businesses that they have to have vaccine mandates, which of course, is what President Biden has done, and he's been very clear on where he stands on the vaccine. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also want to thank everyone that's gotten the vaccine for doing your patriotic duty and helping us get on the path to Independence Day.

The plan is for every adult to get a booster shot eight months after you got your second shot.


BURNETT: Okay, so he said all these things, Michael, new cases are falling. But the COVID picture for Biden, frankly, isn't looking so great in the polls. The vaccine mandates so far may not be helping him, right? The newest poll that we've got from AXIOS/Ipsos says 42 percent of Americans have a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the information Biden has given on COVID -- great deal or fair combined. That is down seven points from a month ago. It's down 16 points from Inauguration. What's happening here?

SMERCONISH: Well, first of all, whatever The President says, the other two that we just referenced are going in the other direction.



SMERCONISH: If Biden says X, then DeSantis and Abbott are certainly going to say Y. But now your question is, why is the President seemingly in freefall? It's a combination of factors? I don't think that it's any one thing. I think it is mixed messaging that has come out of the administration relative to COVID. I think it's inflation. I think it's the Afghanistan withdrawal. I think it's a whole host of factors. And I have to say this, he is not projecting strength on any of the above, and it's catching up with him.

It's not enough. Let me say it this way, Erin, it's no longer enough to not be Donald Trump. It's like, okay, you got elected on that basis. Now, show us something, and the failure to even sign into law get through the Congress and pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill when 19 Republicans including Mitch McConnell were for it, I think just exacerbates everything else I've described.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean, you're right. The emphasis there, Mitch McConnell for it, bipartisan, and somehow the Democrats weren't able to get that through the House.

SMERCONISH: Right. Take the win. Take the win.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Michael.

And next, calls for an Arizona-style audit, this time in Michigan with the crowd four times larger than what local police planned for.

Plus, the coroner on the Gabby Petito case says she died by strangulation, and releases a timeline that raises even more questions about the missing Brian Laundrie.

And a record number of people have just quit their jobs. We're talking three percent of the U.S. workforce, quitting their jobs. Why?



BURNETT: Tonight, Congressman Adam Schiff, a Member of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection, saying criminal contempt charges will be filed quickly for anybody defying the committee's subpoenas.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're not messing around. If people don't show up, if people don't provide the documents they're compelled to, we intend to take up criminal contempt and refer to the Justice Department and we expect that it will be prosecuted, and so we intend to move quickly.


BURNETT: OUT FRONT now, Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia. She is a member of the Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack, and I really appreciate your time, Congresswoman.

So you just heard Congressman Schiff say that the committee would move quickly with anybody who defies a lawful subpoena. It's now been five days since Steve Bannon's lawyer told the committee that he wouldn't cooperate and so far, no consequences have come of that yet. Why?

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Well, Erin, I would agree with my colleague on the committee, Representative Adam Schiff. We will move quickly. There is a process that's required in order to prefer criminal contempt for someone who does not comply with a subpoena. It requires the committee referring that to the House floor for a full vote, and I can assure you that the committee is considering each of these cases individually on its merits and we'll move swiftly to get the information that we need as part of this investigations.

BURNETT: So just so I understand, from what you're saying, you'd move to that vote once you decide you are going to hold someone in contempt, but you have not made that decision yet for Steve Bannon.

LURIA: We are looking at every case separately, and I'm not going to discuss individual subpoenas that have been issued, but you will see the committee moving rapidly to get the information that we need in order to proceed with our investigation.

BURNETT: So, I want to ask you about something else that happened today. I don't know if you had a chance to see this amidst all the work you're doing there in the committee, but a pro Trump crowd that is four times larger than local police had anticipated, gathered at Michigan State Capitol to demand an audit of the 2020 election results.

This is after Trump encouraged them to attend and to protest the election scam, as he called it. I should note, in the State of Michigan, Biden beat Trump by 154,000 votes and that was obviously a wider margin than by which Trump won it in 2016.

These calls for audits are not going away. Right? They're not rooted in reality. They're rooted in a completely false narrative. Do you see any end in sight to this?

LURIA: I would say it's incredibly dangerous to continue perpetuating this narrative of false lie and the former President is continuing to use this to rile up crowds, to bring people out, to reinforce this message. And even in Virginia, we're hearing from our Republican gubernatorial candidate calls for an audit.

The truth is, and Trump's own Justice Department said that this is the most secure election that we've had. So really, the importance and the reason for this investigation truly is to show the American people everything that went into January 6th, the big lie, and to make sure that they understand all of these facts.

BURNETT: So Congresswoman, you're the Vice Chair of the Armed Services Committee, and a retired Navy Commander as well. So I want to ask you about what seems increasingly like an inevitable march to war between China and Taiwan.

You wrote an op-ed urging Congress to pass a law allowing President Biden to quickly use military force if China attacks Taiwan. How likely do you think it is that this happens? That the U.S. gets into a military confrontation with China over Taiwan? LURIA: Well, the purpose of the op-ed and what I tried to spell out clearly is that the President's hands are tied. Under the War Powers Act and the Taiwan Relations Act, the President actually has no power today to intervene if China were to take a right turn.

They do these annual exercises every year, and I had the opportunity to operate for several years in my career in the Western Pacific. If China took a turn and headed towards Taiwan and a decision needed to be made rapidly and quickly. You know, there is no time to wait. There is no time to wait.

We need to provide a deterrent to China invading Taiwan and that's the reason I wrote the op-ed because we need to have that debate now, not once something happens, not once there's a fait accompli, not, you know where it could take days, weeks, months, the President needs the ability to make those decisions in hours or minutes if necessary.

BURNETT: So look, these are all important points that you raise. But it does really matter. The United States has always been supposedly going to stand with Taiwan against China. But back in 2001, then Senator Biden criticized President George W. Bush -- President George W. Bush said he would use military force if China attacked Taiwan.

Biden wrote in response to Bush and I quote, "The President should not cede to Taiwan, much less to China the ability to automatically draw us into a war across the Taiwan Strait."

Are you confident that President Biden is committed to defending Taiwan militarily?


LURIA: Well, our policy -- our policy as a country is strategic ambiguity. I mean, we do not come right out and say we will or we won't. We amass forces in the Pacific. You know, the main focus of our hundreds of million dollar defense budget every year for which we added additional $25 billion this year was to build ships and aircraft to deal with this circumstance, to create a deterrent.

But what I'm trying to say through my op-ed, is that, you know, the President needs the ability to make a decision rapidly when and if it's necessary to use that deterrent. And it just doesn't change our policy, it doesn't require the President to react, it doesn't require us to use force. It just sends a message that you know, this deterrent can actually be a deterrent and we can make a decision rapidly if it is needed.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Luria, I appreciate your time.

LURIA: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, a coroner revealing tonight how and when Gabby Petito was killed. Do the findings definitively point a finger at her fiancee, Brian Laundrie? And the father of a reporter shot and killed on live television is now asking the Federal government to take action against Facebook. He is my guest.



BURNETT: New tonight, Gabby Petito died from strangulation. That is the conclusion announced today by the coroner of Teton County, Wyoming, where Petito was on a cross-country road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie before her death. The coroner adding that Petito died three to four weeks before her body was found. It covers the time period just before Laundrie returned to Florida without her.

OUTFRONT now, Chris Swecker, former assistant director for the FBI's criminal investigative decision. And Dr. Joye Carter, a forensic pathologist who works in the San Luis Obispo's coroner's office.

Thank you, both, very much for your time.

Chris, let me start with you because the coroner coming out announcing Gabby Petito died from what is technically called manual strangulation. It's -- sounds pretty self-explanatory but could you explain and tell me what it makes you think about the person who killed her?

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: Yeah, Erin, not a surprising ruling on his part. I think we've -- most of us with law enforcement experience read this as a domestic-violence incident. He choked her to death.

They've been in close proximity to each other. We had a documented incident on August 12th where she was at -- he put hands on her. There may have been a history there. The -- even the coroner alluded to domestic violence as the -- as the -- or as a factor in the death.

So, this -- this is the extreme result from -- from couples that, you know, from an abuser taking advantage of someone like Gabby Petito. You could tell from that traffic stop exactly what the dynamic was there.

BURNETT: Dr. Carter, what does it tell you that the coroner was not only able to determine that Gabby Petito was strangled to death but that it was the specific words in the autopsy manual or throttling strangulation?

DR. JOYE CARTER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, that tells me that the forensic pathologist found injuries to the neck organs which could be injury to the hyoid bone or the cartilage or even the cervical spine. The doctor's unable to go into specifics because of the laws prohibiting that in Wyoming.

BURNETT: So, Chris, the attorney for Brian Laundrie's family now responding to the autopsy tonight, saying, quote, Gabby Petito's death at such a young age is a tragedy. Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito's demise.

Moments later, Petito's mother responded to that, retweeting a post from a local reporter who says she told him, quote, his words are garbage. Keep talking.

Let me just ask you, Chris, given everything we know about this case, why you think Laundrie has not been charged in Petito's death?

SWECKER: I think there are very strategic reasons. One is I -- I don't think the FBI and U.S. attorney's office wants to put out that much detail that they would have to put in an arrest warrant affidavit or an indictment. They may still be building their case as well and they don't want to get locked into a certain set of facts where they could get -- where it might contradict -- be contradictory later at trial.

So they don't have to charge homicide right now. They have a federal warrant out there. They get all the benefits of that. It's in the NCIC system, Interpol, et cetera.

Also, any witness that might come forward or any confession on his part, you want to make sure that -- that their memory -- you know, they're drawing from memory and firsthand experience, not what they've seen in the media. So I think there's -- there's three good strategic reasons not to charge homicide right this minute.

BURNETT: Okay. So I think that's important because a lot of people look at this and say what's going on here? Dr. Carter, the coroner estimates that Petito died three to four weeks before her body was found on September 19th which means she was likely killed in the last two weeks of august. Now, August 27th is the last-reported sighting of Petito, where a witness says she saw Petito crying and Laundrie visibly angry at a restaurant in Wyoming. August 29th, two separate women see Laundrie hitchhiking, alone. And he comes back to Florida on September 1st.

But that would put that -- that -- that time of death, you know, all the way there at the very, very end of August. What does it tell you that the coroner has not been able to narrow down a date of death? I believe, putting it in a seven-day period. That they -- they haven't narrowed it more than that.

CARTER: Well, simply the longer the postmortem interval is, the less accurate we can be as far as the exact date of death. So they are wise to give a range. They're going to be estimating that time by also looking at physical evidence that they are not completely examined yet. So it is wise to give a range when you have this long of a postmortem period.

BURNETT: So, Chris, in the body-cam video for that domestic dispute in Moab that you were referring to, Petito says Laundrie grabbed her by her face and -- and cut her cheek.


Now, again -- as -- you have talked about this. The relationship there, that she then was quick to say that sort of, somehow, it was her fault, right? That it had happened. Some of these classic domestic abuse signals that were present, but specifically, talked about grabbing her face, cutting her cheek.

Do you read anything more into that incident now that we have learned that the cause of death was strangulation?

SWECKER: Well, going off this one incident and I -- I think that the FBI has a pretty good sense of their relationship and whether there were past incidents. But the grabbing of the face, particularly around -- you know, as she described, around her cheeks -- could -- could have been a situation where she lowered her jaw to protect her neck.

I mean, it -- you know, that's supposition. I am not on the inside. I don't know that for a fact but we do know that he is someone who has put his hands on her during an altercation. He has enough of a temper. He has enough of a reaction to do that and not hesitate to do that.

You know, the circumstances are piling up here. That gets to motive. I think there is a lot of other evidence that -- that points to what really happened here. And I think, eventually, we are going to see that there's some forensics from the actual scene where the body was recovered that's going to tell a story, as well.

BURNETT: So Dr. Carter, let me ask you about that because the coroner says DNA samples were taken by law enforcement and Brian Laundrie's DNA is, of course, likely to be around her. They were living in the van together.

So what other evidence would you be looking for in terms of the forensics and the DNA?

CARTER: Well, I'm sure they are going over everything with a fine- tooth comb. They are certainly going to be looking at the van that they had custody of. They are going to take close examination of the body and anything around the body, any clothing, any personal effects. This is going to be a long process and you can't just have it done just in a few days to get information out.

The forensic pathologist is there to assist but they don't direct the complete examination of physical evidence. So you don't want to interfere with what the investigators are doing or interfere with any evidence that needs to be handled and thoroughly examined before putting information out.

BURNETT: Dr. Carter, Chris, thank you both very much.

And next, the world watched in horror as his daughter was shot live on television while reporting a story. And now, he is taking on Facebook for allowing the video to be posted over and over and over, again. He's my guest.

And if you think it's impossible to convince vaccine skeptics to get the shot, think again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would always tell me I'll be back. I'll come back. I'm not ready.

REPORTER: And this was over how long?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess, about -- I talked to him about three, four months ago.




BURNETT: New tonight, the father of a news reporter shot and killed while reporting on live TV in 2015 fighting back against Facebook and Google. Andy Parker, Alison Parker's father, urging the Federal Trade Commission to take action against Facebook for failing to remove videos of the murder from its website and from Instagram, after also filing a complaint with the FTC against Google.


ANDY PARKER, ALISON PARKER'S FATHER: Posting content -- violent content and murder on social media is not free speech. It's savagery. I continue this fight not just for me and for Alison but for all of those who have been equally harmed by Facebook.


BURNETT: Andy Parker is with me now, and I want everyone to know he is also author of "For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father's Fight for Gun Safety."

Andy, you have been fighting now over these past years to keep these videos offline. Videos that -- that you go to great lengths to avoid seeing. So you have got a team of volunteers that help you track and identify them when they appear online which I think it is unbelievable and appalling, to make sure people understand, that they keep appearing. They keep coming back.

So -- so tell me about that. They keep coming back? And what do you want the companies to do?

PARKER: Well, to try and flag these which, you know, gratefully, the volunteers that I've had. People like Eric Fineberg who worked at the Coalition for a Safer Web who have seen these videos more than anyone should. It's playing whack-a-mole because if you report them, chances are with -- with Facebook, especially, they don't even acknowledge it. They don't do anything.


PARKER: Yeah. They -- they do not.

And so, you know, that's one reason why I engaged with Georgetown University Civil Rights Law Clinic to go after YouTube and Facebook for doing exact -- for -- for basically enabling these people. These -- you know, the people that you have to do -- play whack-a-mole with to, you know, have them be responsible and remove it all. And not have us be the police.

I mean, we shouldn't be the ones self-policing.

BURNETT: No. No, you shouldn't be. And I'm -- I'm appalled by that. I'm shocked by the fact that they don't even give you a response.


BURNETT: I mean, the whistle-blower -- Frances Haugen -- told "60 Minutes" that Facebook could put a stop to this. To this extreme content, videos of your daughter's murder, other murders that have been streamed on Facebook Live. And she says they could do it by changing their algorithm, the process by which they select content for people. But she says Facebook will not do it, and here is why.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: One of the consequences of how Facebook is picking out that content today is it is optimizing for content that gets engagement or reaction. But its own research is showing that content that is hateful, that is divisive, that is polarizing, it's easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions.

SCOTT PELLEY, 60 MINUTES: Misinformation, angry content --


PELLEY: -- is enticing to people and keep --

HAUGEN: Very enticing.

PELLEY: -- keeps them on the platform.

HAUGEN: Yes. Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site.


They'll click on less ads. They'll make less money.


BURNETT: I mean, Andy, this is as personal as it gets for you, right? It's your daughter's life and your life.

PARKER: And I have to -- go ahead, I'm sorry.

BURNETT: No, I am just saying how -- how can you respond to her literally saying that the reason they're not removing this is because they'd make less money? PARKER: Well, I have to give a shout-out to Frances Haugen because

she validated, last week, everything that I've been maintaining for the last five years. That these companies know how to remove this content, and they just won't do it because it makes them money. And when they do, quote/unquote, flag content, what they will do is they will put a black screen up, I think. And just -- and just say this video contains violent content.

Well, that's almost like, well, come on in. You want to peek behind the door? Let's see what this is.


PARKER: It's almost -- it's -- it's -- you know, it's terrible. I mean, it's -- it's an unconscionable -- the -- it's almost like well we're marketing this video. And -- but -- but essentially, that's what they do.

BURNETT: So in a statement to CNN tonight, we knew that you were coming on so we reached out to them. A Facebook spokesperson said, quote, these videos violate our policies. We are continuing to move them from the platform as we have been doing since this disturbing incident first occurred. We are also continuing to proactively detect and remove visually similar videos when they are uploaded. That was what they said to us.

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg said in part and I wanted to read this to you, Andy. The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. What do you say to him?

PARKER: He's a liar. You know? And -- and Frances Haugen basically called him out. Essentially, said the same thing.

We have been hearing this for five years now. Oh, we -- you know, what you just read. The statement that Facebook put out. It's the same nonsense and the same BS that I've been hearing for five years. Oh, yeah, we do -- we -- you know, this is not allowed on our -- on our platforms and we're going do everything we can and, yada, yada, yada, that's all you get is lip service.

And until these companies -- Facebook, YouTube -- until they are forced in a court, you know, through the removal of their protection from liability, they're not -- they're going to just keep doing the same thing, you know? The only thing that you're going to get is that kind of response. And they'll do enough to -- okay, we're going to take this down, only to have this stuff return.

So when -- if they get sued by not just me but others that have had this same issue, then they'll -- that's when it'll stop. But Congress has got to make that happen.

BURNETT: Well, and you're making it happen by making a difference and fighting for it for -- for so many and, of course, for Alison. Thank you so much, Andy.

PARKER: Thank you, Erin. Thanks for having me on the program. BURNETT: I'm grateful to have you.

PARKER: And next, for months, they've resisted getting the COVID vaccine. But that has all changed because of one group. What group and why?

Plus, why are Americans now quitting their jobs at a record pace?



BURNETT: Tonight, despite the Texas governor taking steps to prevent vaccine mandates, one group in Texas is trying to win over vaccine skeptics and this is what is so important for you to hear. They have actually been succeeding.

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Zeferino Cantu (ph) considered getting vaccinated for months. Finally, he is taking the plunge. Now, more worried about the virus than vaccine side effects.

The coronavirus is more dangerous, he says, because it can affect everything, even your mental capacity.

The 63-year-old retired laborer is diabetic, has high blood pressure, and no health insurance. Getting the shot in his arm? Not easy.

SYLVIA AGUILAR, EL MILAGRO CLINIC, ELIGIBILITY COORDINATOR: He would always tell me I'll be back. I'll come back. I'm not ready.

MARQUEZ: And this was over how long?

AGUILAR: I guess, about -- I talked to him about three, four months ago.

MARQUEZ: A familiar problem here at McAllen's El Milagro Clinic, vaccinating those needing it most. HHS estimates about half the unvaccinated are willing to get it, like 55-year-old horse-race trainer Juan Manuel Salinas.

I wanted to see the reaction of other people before I got it, he says. If they were okay, then I'd do it, too.

He was tough to convince, and his daughter works at the clinic.

BREE SALINAS, MILAGRO CLINIC, FINANCIA MANAGER: He had all the resource. I was like do you need me to go pick you up? We do it for here at the clinic. He's like yeah, I'll go, I'll go.

MARQUEZ: And he never did?

SALINAS: Never did.

MARQUEZ: Her long effort finally paying off, and hope for more success ahead. The El Milagro Clinic is now getting help from project finish line.

JOE AGOADA, FOUNDER PROJECT FINISH LINE & CEO, SCSTENTION INC.: What we hope to achieve is to get vaccine access to those that may be on the fence. I call them the unvaccinated but willing.

MARQUEZ: Project Finish Line now working with free and charitable clinics in 16 states providing money for pop-up vaccinations in rural places. Phone lines for community outreach, even helping organize free rides provided by Uber.

AGOADA: We hear individuals who take the bus to and from work every day and they cannot take a day off from work so they really need help with actually that transportation barrier.

MARQUEZ: He says transportation, translation, and a trusted source of vaccine information are the biggest barriers. Above all, persistence and lots of patience for those on the frontline.

MARISOL RESENDEZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EL MILAGRO CLINIC: It gets to the point that staff thinks that they're sounding like a broken record. They will come around.


There's a lot of people that are willing, just don't have the tools, the information, and the resources.


MARQUEZ (on camera): So, look, the barriers to getting vaccinated for the most vulnerable may seem very low to you or me. But for them, it is very difficult to navigate. Project Finish Line says that it has helped put about 115,000 shots into arms since they started it this summer. They hope to add more states and get to a million shots, soon -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Miguel, thank you very much. It's nice to hear a good story about this.

Well next, the number of Americans quitting their jobs has surged. It is at a record high. So, why?


BURNETT: Forget you're fired. A record number of Americans are saying "I quit". That's according to the Labor Department which reports 4.3 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in August. And that is the highest on record.

And the industries hit hardest, food services, wholesale trade, state and local government, education. Why? Well, chief economist at PNC tells CNN that if people aren't happy with their job or they want a raise, it's pretty easy to find a new job in today's environment. He says we're seeing people vote with their feet.

But this surge of resignations, people quitting is hitting companies hard and right now there are 10.4 million job openings in the United States, 10.4 million. Not a shortage. It's clear the American worker wants more. Whether it's better pay or more flexibility, some perhaps burned out from the pandemic.

Whatever it is, it is a watershed moment and one that neither side in Washington should assume advances their political agenda. Thanks for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.