Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Pelosi Postpones Infrastructure Vote Amid Democratic Standoff; New Bodycam Video Reveals More of What Gabby Petito Told Police; Senators Compare Facebook Tactics to Big Tobacco. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 01, 2021 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning. It is Friday, October 1st. First day of October. Happy Friday, everybody.

It's 5:00 a.m. in New York. Thanks for getting an EARLY START with us. I'm Christine Romans.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: You made it to Friday. I'm Laura Jarrett.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world.

We begin with Democrats in desperate need of reconciliation in more ways than one. Progressives resisting fierce pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, refusing to pass that $1 trillion infrastructure bill, leading Pelosi to pull the plug on a planned vote at the last minute last night.

Progressive unity creating new leverage in their bid to pass this much larger, must vaster expansive working of the American's social safety net. That's at least the hope but it is a risky move that leaves President Biden's sweeping domestic agenda hanging in limbo.

ROMANS: House progressives dug in after moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin underscored his top line number on the safety net package at $1.5 trillion. That's $2 trillion short of what progressives wanted.

Moderates keeping hope alive on a separate vote for infrastructure. Congressman Josh Gottheimer tweeting, it ain't over yet. We literally aren't adjourning. Negotiations are still ongoing.

We have team coverage this morning starting with CNN's Daniela Diaz live on Capitol Hill.

Daniela, Democratic leaders just calling a recess, forging ahead. What's going to happen today? What a crazy day yesterday. What's going to happen today?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, I cannot emphasize this enough, guys. It's not -- it's a totally unclear what's going to happen today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi governs with a heavy hand. She controls her caucus with a heavy hand. This is what we have known since these been a Democratic leader. It's rare when she fails, but she failed yesterday.

She exited the Capitol after midnight, so only just a few hours ago, where she said there is still going to be a vote. Today, she implied on Friday, because the House is technically still in session. They're not recessed.

But it's unclear how she is going to navigate these relationships that she has in congress. On one hand, she has the moderates who wanted this vote on bipartisan -- on this bipartisan infrastructure bill yesterday. They had been pushing for this for weeks. They believe that this should pass because it's already passed the Senate. There is Republican support and they want to see these jobs created for their districts.

That group, of course, is led by Josh Gottheimer, the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

On the other hand, you have the progressives led by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who's the Congressional Progressive Caucus chair. And she wanted this vote to be paused until the senators can share their top line for this economic bill that they want to pass that would expand the nation's social safety net, things like combating climate change, paid family and medical leave, expanding the child tax credit.

These are priorities for the progressives. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ultimately failed to please both sides of these groups yesterday. And as a result, there was no vote. And the deadline was yesterday because there is some funding for highway programs that expires today. That's all up in the air.

But take a listen to what these two said yesterday, these two leaders of the different sides of the caucus, moderates and progressives, said yesterday on CNN where they shared where they stood on these issues.


REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-NJ): It doesn't make any sense to tank a key part of the president's agenda on infrastructure investment. That's why I just don't see while this other bill is going through the process and building legislation, it doesn't make sense to me that we would do that.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): There is no deal on the table. Remember, this has to be a deal not only that Manchin and Sinema will agree to, but all of us in the House will agree to and all the rest of the senators.


DIAZ: Part of the problem here is that these progressives are saying they don't know where these two senators, moderate senators stand, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. However, we've known for a while Joe Manchin's top line number for the economic bill to pass reconciliation is $1.5 trillion. He's been sharing this for weeks. In fact, document yesterday that CNN obtained showed he actually sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer where he stood, where he believed the top line number for this bill should be $1.5 trillion.

So it's unclear how the House and Senate Democratic leaders will work on this because they need to decide where they stand on this economic bill so that progressives can get behind it and vote for the bipartisan infrastructure package. But the bottom line here is everything is up in the air right now. But we'll get a sense of what happens as these lawmakers arrive later today.

ROMANS: All right. Daniella Diaz, thank you so much for that.


JARRETT: So, what is the White House saying about all of this?

Let's bring in CNN's White House reporter Jasmine Wright.

Jasmine, good morning.

So, help me out here. Where does the White House come down on what the progressives have done here? In some respects, you could say they're trying to get the president's agenda passed, right?

This isn't their plan. This is the president's build back better plan they're trying to get through and that's why they're using these tactics. But what is the White House's reaction?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, the White House is saying very clearly that the fight is not over yet, but it is despite the fact the president just did not pull this off yesterday, despite all of his efforts. Remember, this is a man that ran as having the unique ability to bring together the different factions of the parties. The progressives, the moderates, even Republicans to bring change to the American people, to bring legislation that impacts their lives.

But when he was put to the test yesterday, he now faces this important and really large setback on his agenda as you said. So, it begs the question of where does the White House go? What does the president do?

Because, remember, this setback came after President Biden put a lot of time, equity into trying to get this done. From White House, Oval Office meetings to going to congressional baseball game, to his own White House officials, you know, making hundreds of engagements, they said, with lawmakers over time to then camping out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office yesterday. And still, it came to the fact they were just not able to get it done.

So, yesterday after it was made clear that the vote would not be happening, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, she released a statement and she said that, you know, a great deal of progress has been made and we're closer to an agreement than ever, but we are not there yet. And so we will need some additional time to finish the work starting tomorrow morning first thing.

But make no mistake about this. After the setback, the president's agenda definitely hangs in the balance, as you just said, Laura. And so the question is, what comes next? Because, right, there is really kind of this inability to bridge the gap right now as the president said.

So, they are saying he is going to go forward. The work is going to continue, but it is a real question of what comes next for the president, for the White House, as he tries to mitigate really the differences in the next week, trying to bring both of these parties -- both of these sides of the parties together. Something he said he was uniquely able to do -- Laura.

JARRETT: Yeah. And we should mention there was no magic about yesterday's date, but there is a thing called momentum and the president wants to keep that up for sure. So they need to keep at this.

All right. Jasmine, thank you for your reporting.

ROMANS: All right. All this back ask forth in D.C. means lobby palooza. The delayed infrastructure vote gives time, more time for lobbying for and against the president's agenda.

No surprise the Business Roundtable opposes higher corporate taxes, spent over $160,000 in Facebook ads saying so. The powerful business lobby warns that Build Back Better would, quote, Saddle Americans with a substantial debt burden and undermine the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, businesses and workers. Of course, if you pay for it with higher taxes, you don't have a debt burden. That part will be paid for.

But some of its members like General Motors and Apple, they support climate investments in the president's agenda. Exxon-Mobil is attacking the potential tax increase, spending $286,000 in Facebook ads in the past week. At the same time, climate advocacy groups are working on action for climate change. The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power have been urging lawmakers to support elements of the plan like funding for clean energy, agriculture and electric vehicles, spending millions to get support for moderate house Democrats since this summer.

JARRETT: So, lawmakers can't agree on infrastructure, but one thing that unites Congress, hating on Facebook. A top official gets an earful from angry lawmakers say its most popular app is toxic for teens.



JARRETT: This morning, chilling new bodycam footage shedding more light on the violence Gabby Petito says she faced at the hands of Brian Laundrie. While the couple was traveling in Utah two weeks before she vanished.

CNN's Leyla Santiago has more from outside the Laundrie family home in Florida.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura and Christine, this new body cam footage we just obtained shows Gabby Petito having a conversation with another officer when the couple was stopped August 12 in Moab, Utah. She gives some insight into what led up to the fight, the altercation.

Remember, up until now, we've only seen body cam footage from one of the four officers involved that day. And in it she talks about how the bickering from earlier in the morning sort of escalated and led to that fight that led police to the couple.

And there is a key question that you can now hear her response to. The officer specifically asks her, did he hit you? Listen.

OFFICER: So, what happened here and here?

GABBY PETITO, YOUTUBER: I'm not sure -- I was trying to get back in the car, the backpack --

OFFICER: So, the backpack got you?

So there's two people that came to us and told us they saw him hit you. Two people say they saw him punch you. Did he hit you though? I mean, it's okay if you're saying you hit him. I understand if he hit you, but we want to know the truth if he actually hit you.

PETITO: I, I guess, yeah, but I hit him first.

OFFICER: Where did he hit you? Don't, don't worry. Just be honest.

PETITO: He like grabbed my face, like, like I guess. He didn't like hit me in the face. He didn't like punch me in the face.


OFFICER: Did he slap your face or what?

PETITO: Well, he like grabbed me, like, with his nail, and I guess that's why it hurts. I definitely have a cut. Like, I can feel it.


SANTIAGO: In the meantime, here in North Port, Florida, we did see FBI return yesterday here. They went in with two bags, came out with one, and also spent some time at that camper on the driveway -- Christine, Laura.


ROMANS: All right, Leyla, thank you so much for that.

Now, this case, the Petito case is bringing attention to other missing women. The search intensifying now for missing New Jersey native Lauren "El" Cho. She was last seen in Southern California. She traveled cross-country with her boyfriend. She reported missing in late June. Friends say they last saw her leaving an Airbnb, walking into the desert with no water, food, or cell phone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is super caring, very loving, and just a really loyal and good friend.


JARRETT: Meantime, the FBI has joined the search for a missing 19- year-old Florida woman. Miya Marcano was last seen one week ago at her apartment complex in Orlando. Friends and supporters held a vigil last night in her honor. Police had wanted to talk to a maintenance man who entered her apartment without permission. He was found dead of an apparent suicide earlier this week.

ROMANS: All right. A Colorado man has filed a federal civil rights suit claiming two officers tased him and slammed him to the ground after a 2019 traffic stop because the police officers failed to realize he is deaf. Bradie Mystic spent four months in jail charged with assault on a police officer and resisting arrest before charges were dropped eventually. The police chief at the time deemed the officer's actions appropriate. The authors are defended in a lawsuit separate incident in the spring.

JARRETT: NYPD launching an internal investigation into two officers after their names appeared in leaked documents apparently belonging to the far-right Oath Keepers. The anti-government group was well- represented among the Capitol rioters on January 6. Now, it's not clear from the data leak if the officers are current or former members of the group. Officials say neither officer is being investigated for participation in the January 6 attack.

ROMANS: All right. It is Friday, 17 minutes past the hour. He is getting ready for one of the most anticipated games of his storied career. Tom Brady looks noticeably sick. What it means for Sunday's game in New England.



ROMANS: Cancerous, addictive and marketed to teens, today's big tobacco is Instagram. That was the argument from several lawmakers Thursday as they grilled Facebook's global head of safety how the social media giant pushes a product it knows is harmful to its youngest users.

Donie O'Sullivan has more.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Facebook found itself on Thursday trying to downplay and discredit some of its own research on how its platforms, including Instagram, affect teenagers. Have a listen.

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): Facebook is just like big tobacco. Pushing a product that they know is harmful to the health of young people

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be clear that this research is not a bombshell. It's not causal research. It's in fact just --

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): No, I beg to differ with you, Ms. Davis. This research is a bombshell. It is powerful, gripping, riveting evidence that Facebook knows of the harmful effects of its site on children and that it has concealed those facts and findings.

O'SULLIVAN: And Senator Blumenthal said that his staff actually set up a fake Instagram account as a 13-year-old girl. He said that his staff used that account to follow some extreme diets pages that were on Instagram, and within a day, Instagram's own algorithms, its own engine, were recommending to that account that it follow accounts that were promoting self harm. So really, an experiment there showing really just how dangerous this platform can be for teenagers and for young people.

Now, we know about all of this research that was leaked from Facebook, because of a whistle-blower, that whistle-blower is still anonymous at the moment, they provided documents both to Congress, the SEC, and "The Wall Street Journal," but they are expected to testify before the committee next Tuesday.

So that will certainly be a hearing to watch.


JARRETT: Donie, thank you for that.

Retailer Neiman Marcus alerting millions of its online customers that their accounts may have been breached. The store says it experienced a security breach last year, putting the information of more than 4.6 million customers at risk, including credit card details. Neiman Marcus says it alerted law enforcement and is working with a cyber security firm to investigate the breach.

ROMANS: All right. The vote is on hold, the president, the speaker, struggling to mend intra-party rifts to get a transformative agenda over the finish line.



JARRETT: Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's just about 29 minutes past the hour this Friday morning. First day of October.

Time for our top stories to keep an eye on today.

President Biden's sweeping economic agenda in limbo. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi postponed Thursday's planned vote of the bipartisan infrastructure bill after progressives dug in on passing Biden's larger social safety net at the same time. We'll have much more on that in just a moment.

JARRETT: A group of New York public schoolteachers asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the city's vaccine mandate which goes into effect this afternoon. Lawyers for the teacher say the city had placed an unconstitutional burden on them. The city says at least 92 percent of teachers are vaccinated so far.

ROMANS: The DEA says it made more than 800 arrests in the recent fentanyl crackdown, the agency seized more than 1.8 million fake pills that looked like prescriptions. The pills largely trafficked from Mexico and fuelling a surge in U.S. overdose deaths.

JARRETT: More than half of the police killings in the U.S. over the past 40 years had been mislabeled or unreported. That's according to the new research published Thursday in Lancet. Also finding that black men are disproportionately killed by police and their deaths.