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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

FBI: Remains Found in Wyoming Consistent with Gabby Petito; Senate Parliamentarian Deals Setback to Dems' Immigration Plan; Most Private Insurance Plans No Longer Waive COVID Patient Costs. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired September 20, 2021 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Good morning everyone, it's Monday, September 20th, it's 5:00 a.m. here in New York. Thanks so much for getting an EARLY START with us, I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: And I'm Christine Romans, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world, we have reports this morning from Texas, Paris, Moscow, Washington, Los Angeles, Kabul, Florida, Atlanta and Montreal as only EARLY START can. But we begin this morning with a sad ending to one search and a renewed sense of urgency for another. FBI officials say human remains found near the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming are consistent with the description of Gabby Petito.

An autopsy set for tomorrow. Gabby's grieving father tweeting an image of his daughter standing in front of a painted -- a wall painted with angel wings.

JARRETT: The 22-year-old had been on a road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie. Gabby's Instagram post documenting this trip, prompting tens of thousands to serve as basically digital detectives searching for clues online. She had been reported missing on September 11th after Laundrie returned to Florida without her. His family says they haven't seen him in almost a week.

ROMANS: Yes, two went on a road trip, only one came home. Authorities are looking for him now in a vast nature reserve near Sarasota, Florida, and with one body found, the hunt for answers and the hunt for Laundrie himself shifts into overdrive now. CNN's Leyla Santiago reports.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, here in North Florida, investigators saying that they will continue to search for 23-year-old Brian Laundrie. They're doing so where we are here. A wildlife reserve, 25,000 acres, and very wild and lush. So, definitely, a place that has its own set of challenges in trying to find someone, but very important to find him because they believe that he could provide some answers as to what happened to Gabby Petito. Now obviously, the FBI gave quite a bit of new details last night. Listen to what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier today, human remains were discovered consistent with the description of Gabrielle Gabby Petito. Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100 percent that we found Gabby, that her family has been notified of this discovery. The cause of death has not been determined at this time.


SANTIAGO: North Port police also put out a statement saying, and I quote, "saddened and heartbroken. Our focus from the start along with the FBI and national partners has been to bring her home. We will continue to work with the FBI in this search for more answers."

And there are certainly a lot of questions remaining. Lots of folks wanting to know exactly what happened and hoping that in finding Brian Laundrie that they can provide those answers. Christine, Laura?

JARRETT: Leyla, thank you for that. It's worth noting here, FBI data shows more than 543,000 people were reported missing last year, and that number is actually lower than usual because of the pandemic. Now, many of them were found, but thousands of people go missing every day. Just this weekend, the FBI announced a $10,000 reward for information in the disappearance of a native American woman, Mary Johnson. She went missing from the Tulalip Reservation in Washington State back in December.

ROMANS: All right, to Washington now with Democrats starting the new week in need of a plan B. A desperate need of a plan B on immigration. They had hoped to include a pathway to citizenship in their $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan. But the Senate parliamentarian who helps the chamber interpret its budget rules is saying not so fast. CNN's Jasmine Wright is live in Washington. Jasmine, this ruling on immigration, another blow to the Biden agenda. So what happens now?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Christine. It's a major loss for the president after frankly a rough couple of days because a pathway to citizenship is a key part of his agenda. It's something that he ran on. And it's something that he and Democrats thought that they would be able to get past in this Democrats only social spending net expansion package, and that would be simply be passed with 51 votes, all Democrats plus Vice President Harris as a tie-breaker. So, in a statement this morning, a White House spokeswoman tells me, "the parliamentarian ruling is deeply disappointing, but we fully expect our partners in the Senate to come back with alternative proposals for the parliamentarian to consider."

So, Democrats now say that they will go back to the parliamentarian with other options seeing that they can get just something on immigration passed in this Democrats-only spending bill because if they cannot get it done, if they cannot convince the parliamentarian to include some of these provisions, something on immigration is not likely to get done this year, knowing all that they have to do with the debt limit and all those things.

[05:05:00] And also anything else outside of this spending package is going to take 50 -- I mean, excuse me, it's going to take 60 votes, meaning Republicans, something that Democrats just don't have. Because this is not the only problem that the president has to face waking up this morning.

As you can see on the screen, he has a litany of issues from that immigration bill to the dispute over France, something over -- excuse me, the sale of nuclear-powered submarine. And now White House official told me yesterday that the president is looking -- is intending to speak with president -- French President Macron after the country pulled their ambassadors and he looks forward to doing so to the situation under the Del Rio Bridge in Texas where thousands of migrants have set up those tents encampments and to the White House finally having to answer for their drone strike in Afghanistan that killed 10 civilians.

So, the president has a real deck of issues that he needs to solve this week as he heads to -- on Tuesday, to New York where he sets up that big week on international issues. He'll give his first speech to the general assembly at the United Nations on Tuesday, then holding a global vaccine really as his administration is trying to find a jumpstart for domestic issues here back in D.C. Christine?

ROMANS: All right, Jasmine, big week ahead, thank you so much for that, Laura?

JARRETT: All right, the scene at the southern border underscoring why so many Democrats want a path to citizenship. In the Senate bill, you heard Jasmine mention that new drone footage shows thousands of migrants camping under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, waiting for immigration processing. Now, around 12,000 people are there this morning, and that's actually down from about -- from 3,000 from just a couple of days ago.

ROMANS: These last few months by an earthquake and the assassination of its president. Now, the U.S. has flown more than 300 Haitian nationals from Del Rio back to Port-au-Prince. The Homeland Security chief tells CNN, he will go to the border to assess the situation. CNN's Rosa Flores is there and reports for us.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I've never seen anything like this in the United States. Take a look. This is a migrant camp in Del Rio, Texas, underneath the international bridge. Now days ago, there were a few tents out here. There was a small tent city, now you can see that it has grown significantly. People have used what looks like tree branches, bamboo, blankets, plastics to create small huts so that they can protect themselves from the heat.

Now, we are seeing state and federal resources arrive to make sure that these individuals can be processed in U.S. immigration facilities. But we don't have a time line. The federal government doesn't know exactly when they will be able to clear this camp out. Now, if you look closely, you'll see that these are men, women, children. I see pregnant women, infants in the heat underneath a bridge living here. You can see that they're drying their clothes, hanging them from wherever they can. Now, the federal government says that they've brought in towels, toilets, I'm looking at them, and that they're trying to up the humanitarian action, the humanitarian aid.

And by what I'm looking at, it doesn't look like much of that has arrived because these are huts. Take a look at this. They're huts that have plastic and blankets covering over them. Now, the silver-lining here is that the mayor of Del Rio who has been calling on the federal government to step in, says that now there are the resources to take care of this humanitarian crisis. He says that both state and federal resources are arriving. We know that hundreds of agents are being sent here to Del Rio to make sure that these individuals are processed.

Again, these are the gates of America. This is the immigration waiting room right now in Del Rio, Texas.


ROMANS: Our Rosa Flores did just such amazing work --


ROMANS: All this weekend covering the story. And one really interesting challenge, I think, for this White House, Laura, is that many of these people haven't been in Haiti for at least a decade. Some of them left after that terrible earthquake, remember in 2010 and they've been working in South America. So, one of the issues here is can the U.S. government get some of these South American governments to, I guess, repatriate many of these Haitians who had been living and working illegally in other parts of South America. So, it's not always really a straight line to just bringing them back to Port-au-Prince where there is not really a government that is standing up to welcome them back. I mean, it's just a really tough situation.

JARRETT: Well, and home isn't really home then if they've been living somewhere else for --

ROMANS: Right --

JARRETT: Many years at this point --

ROMANS: Yes --

JARRETT: As Rosa said just a humanitarian crisis down there right now.


ROMANS: All right, ten minutes past the hour. With vaccines free and available, private insurers say it doesn't make sense to subsidize the cost of not being vaccinated.


ROMANS: All right, breaking news. At least eight people killed, several others wounded in a shooting at a Russian university. According to officials at Perm State University, the suspect is a male student and has been identified. Authorities say he resisted law enforcement officers during his arrest and was wounded. This happened as Russia wraps up parliamentary elections. We'll bring you updates throughout the morning



ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The highest priority is not getting boosters. We think it's important to get boosters to people, but the overwhelming highest priority is to vaccinate the unvaccinated.


JARRETT: That's Dr. Anthony Fauci backing up the FDA after it decided to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters only to those 65 and older along with people who are at a high risk of severe COVID. CDC Advisory Committee will meet later to hash this all out -- hash out the details of the recommendation. So, what could the potential rollout of booster shots look like? CNN's Jacqueline Howard has that part of the story.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: The main message is that the rollout of boosters could look different state by state. So, it could depend on where you live. And that's partly because staffing capacities have changed state by state. So, there is enough vaccine for boosters, but not enough people in some places for administer the shots into arms. And we're hearing that the rollout won't be quite like what we saw with the initial rollout of vaccines. So, remember, back in January and February, when there were mass drive-through vaccination clinics set up across the country.

Well, this time we could see places like pharmacies and doctors' offices playing a larger role in administering boosters and each state's rollout also depends on who has the staffing capacity to give the shots. So in some states that could be the pharmacies, in others, it could be the hospital systems. It varies. And that's also because keep in mind across the board, hospital systems and health departments are overwhelmed right now. They're dealing with the surge of COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant.

They're also preparing for the upcoming flu season and original vaccine sites are still giving people their first and second doses. So that's why some places might not have that staffing capacity to administer boosters, but for the places that do, they're getting their booster plans in place right now at this moment. Back to you.

ROMANS: All right, Jacqueline, thank you so much for that for us this morning. Look, another reason to get the vaccine. Most private insurance companies are no longer picking up the cost of COVID treatments. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of health insurance plans across the country found 72 percent of those plans no longer waive individual costs for COVID-19 treatment. More people mostly unvaccinated hospitalized with coronavirus will likely receive significant medical bills for their treatment. Health plans now treating coronavirus infections as they do other illnesses with copays and deductibles passed on to patients.

With vaccines widely available. It just doesn't make sense for health insurance companies to subsidize the by-product of not getting vaccinated. Which brings us to the Biden administration's vaccine mandate. Millions of workers for private companies with a 100 employees or more must get the vaccine or face routine testing. The industries that will feel that mandate the most, management, utilities, information, finance and insurance and administration and waste management services. In most sectors like construction and agriculture, only one in three employees would be included.

Most businesses in those sectors are small. And only about half of the jobs in the hospitality sector will be affected because many fast food restaurants are actually independently managed as franchises. So you could, you know, be a big McDonald's branch but maybe you'd have a 100 people --

JARRETT: Right --

ROMANS: Working there so you don't meet that threshold for the Biden mandates.

JARRETT: Right, there will be some carve outs here, but clearly --

ROMANS: Yes --

JARRETT: The point of it was to try and include as many people as possible.

ROMANS: But I think it's really important for people to know, no longer if you have --


ROMANS: Coronavirus, is this going to be a free treatment for you.


ROMANS: Those waivers are expiring and your insurance company will pass on the cost to you just as if you were in an auto accident or a cancer patient. Those costs will go on to you and will have to meet your deductibles and copays.

JARRETT: Yes, different times. All right, an early game of the year. Candidate Patrick Mahomes versus Lamar Jackson living up to the hype. "BLEACHER REPORT" is next.



ROMANS: All right, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens rallied to beat Patrick Mahomes and the chiefs with a stunning fourth quarter comeback. Andy Scholes has this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT", good Monday morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine. You know, this is just another awesome Sunday of exciting football. And in the late game last night, Lamar Jackson beating Patrick Mahomes for the first time in his career, but I'll tell you what, it was not easy. Third quarter, Mahomes scrambling, going to find his favorite target tight-end Travis Kelce. He's going to weave his way, 46 yards, you know, break some tackles along the way before finding the end zone for the score.

Chiefs were up 11 going into the fourth quarter, but Jackson leading the Ravens on two-straight scoring drives. Here, the zone raid, watch him flip into the end zone, that put the Ravens up by 1. Chiefs get the ball back with a chance to go win the game, but Clyde Edwards- Helaire fumbles on that run, Ravens jump on it, they're able to run out the clock. Baltimore wins the game 36-35. The Chargers and Cowboys, one of the many games that also came down to the wire. Dallas driving to win it, they had 30 seconds to try to run another play which is never get organized.


So, it's up to Greg Zuerlein, he actually tried to make a 56-yard field goal to win it, and he would nail it to get the Cowboys the 20- 17 win. And after the game, Zuerlein getting the game ball and the water bottle shower in the locker room. Pretty sweet redemption for the kicker who missed two field goals and an extra point last week.

Vikings and Cardinals, meanwhile, playing a thriller. Minnesota's Greg Joseph had a chance to win the game with a 37-yard field goal. This is how it sounded on the Vikings radio network.


SCHOLES: That was a great call unfortunately for the Vikings and their fans though, they lost it 34-33. They're now 0-2 on the season. You know what they say, father time is undefeated in sports for Mr. Tom Brady. The 44-year-old just looking amazing again, throwing five touchdown passes in the 48-25 win against the Falcons yesterday. Two of the touchdowns to his old buddy Rob Gronkowski. So, that gives Brady 9 touchdowns in just the first two weeks of the season. Get this, Laura, Brady is now just 14 touchdowns away from throwing more touchdowns in his 40s than he threw in his 20s. That is an amazing stat and it gives us all hope that we will be better in our career in our 40s than we were in our 20s.

JARRETT: You didn't hear 44 is the new 24?

SCHOLES: I guess so --

JARRETT: You missed the memo on that --

SCHOLES: I had not heard yet though, but Tom Brady I guess is living proof that it is, and it's so awesome that he keeps doing so well, because --


SCHOLES: He's one of the few guys, Laura, that's older than me in sports still that I can root for.


JARRETT: All right, Andy, thanks so much, appreciate it.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: All right, imagine this, at 10 years old, you're told that you were kidnapped from the hospital as a baby. That discovery led one man on a life-long search for the truth about who he really is. The new CNN film "The Lost Sons" premiers Sunday night at 9:00 only on CNN.