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Arrest Warrant Issued for Petito's Fiance; Congress Under Pressure; Republicans Defend Seats in Re-election Bids; Shooting at Kroger in Tennessee; Sam Strengthening into Hurricane; Connecting Military Families with their New Communities. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 24, 2021 - 06:30   ET



CHRIS ANDERSON, CO-HOST, "REASONABLE DEBUT" ON INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY AND RETIRED HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: So, for me, as a retired homicide investigator, lets me know two things. Number one, that they don't have the probable cause to charge him with her murder as of yet, and, number two, they are using the FBI in order to pool every resource they can in order to take Brian into custody

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, putting yourself in Brian Laundrie's mind here, to charge more than $1,000 on someone else's card allegedly, whoevers it was, what does that tell you about what he might have been doing after the disappearance of Gabby Petito?

ANDERSON: You know, it could be a multitude of things. He could be trying to escape arrest or trying to make his way back home to see his family. You know, the information that I find most interesting is that he left his parents' home just recently without a wallet, without a cell phone. You know, that lets me know that he's not -- he's trying to make the steps necessary in order for him not to be apprehended.

BERMAN: OK. So let's -- let's -- let's break that down a little bit more because after reporting from last night from Chris Cuomo, who said he's got sources who tell them that Laundrie left the family home, no phone, no wallet. I suppose you could read that one of two ways, right? The way you are reading it is the possibility that he didn't want to have any digital footprint, didn't want the possibility of using maybe a credit card that could tell people where he's going. Am I right? Explain that.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. You -- now that the FBI is involved in this investigation. So with the FBI, they are watching everything. And any small misstep that he makes will probably get him apprehended. And he knows this. So by getting rid of his digital footprint, by taking away the cell phone, not utilizing any credit cards or anything of that nature, you know, he's trying to erase any digital footprint that is out -- that is necessary for him to be arrested.

But another important fact that we must mention is the fact that, you know, the FBI hasn't been involved in this -- in this case. And with them being involved, it brings in a lot more resources, a lot more technology that law enforcement will be utilizing in order to take him into custody.

BERMAN: Yes. One of the ways that the parents may be looking at this, or some of the spin that's coming out of there is that he left without that stuff. They were concerned it showed he was in a mental state that was, you know, despondent, depressed. They're concerned that he might do something to himself.

Is that something that would be reasonable to interpret from what he did?

ANDERSON: It's very much reasonable to interpret. You know, I've worked cases like this. And usually in cases like this it doesn't end well. These guys don't want to be prosecuted. So, in order for them not to be prosecuted, they utilize any resource that they can in order to get away from -- escaping custody. And if they are apprehended or if they are -- if they feel like they're about to be apprehended, they may go ahead and take their own lives, which is not what you really want.

BERMAN: Chris Anderson, and, again, the search continues today in that swamp area for Brian Laundrie. We appreciate you being with us. Everyone can watch Chris on "Reasonable Doubt" on Investigation Discovery.

A new turn in the heated talks on Capitol Hill over the fate of the Biden agenda as the clock ticks on a possible U.S. default.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And, just in, CNN's new reporting on the political future of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump over the insurrection.



KEILAR: The clock is ticking in Congress with several important votes scheduled here in the coming days. Not only is the Biden agenda on the line when it comes to this pair of bills addressing infrastructure and also social safety net spending, but also the ability for the government to function at all.

Let's talk about this now with CNN White House correspondent John Harwood.

OK, John, let's just talk generally about where things stand with key agenda items for the Biden administration as they're also staring down this sort of game of chicken over a government shutdown and a U.S. default.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, set aside the shutdown and the default, look at just the main economic agenda items for Biden. This is the moment a decision is arriving. And all factions of the Democratic Party are pretty soon going to have to stare into the possibility of mutually assured destruction. They recognize that the only way they can get something done is to stick together. And so you've got moderates who have been wanting to make the package

smaller, the tax increases smaller. You've got the progressives who want all of it to be bigger. They're going to have to find a sweet spot. And the question will be, do you want that or do you want nothing? And if you have -- want nothing, everyone is likely to face severe electoral consequences.

And you can't ignore the backdrop to the discussion that you and Berman have been having this morning about the Arizona audit, the January 6th insurrection, the threat of a Republican takeover in 2022 is something that can unite the party. They see the stakes as pretty high. Joe Biden, ultimately, is going to have to identify what that sweet spot is and then see if he can get all the votes for it.

KEILAR: Mel, you have some really interesting reporting about some of the Republican -- well, most of the Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump over the insurrection. I think we're used to seeing people take tough votes as they're on their way out the door. You know, it's maybe less of a profile in courage.

But in this case, these Republicans rite large are actually hanging in there, it seems like.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, nearly all of the House Republicans who voted to impeach are planning to run for re- election. I talked to them this week and they are committed to defending their seats and going head to head with the Trump wing of the party.


Now, does that means they'll succeed? It remains to be seen. Of course, they are fighting an uphill battle.

But, look, this puts Kevin McCarthy in a really tough spot because some of these seats are vulnerable. He wants to win back the majority. He has been financially supporting some of these candidates, as we reported at CNN. And Donald Trump was actually asked about a reporting on a radio interview yesterday with the John Frederick's show, and here's what he had to say about that. He said, I would almost rather have the Democrat win than those people. Like in California, you have a candidate who is really much more of a Democrat probably than a Republican. I'm going to see who McCarthy's funding. And if he is, I'll stop the whole deal.

So, you can see how Trump's revenge campaign can directly contradict with the GOP's plans to win back the majority. And, in some cases, he's not even looking out for what's best for the party, he's looking out what's best for himself.

KEILAR: Right.

ZANONA: So this is going to be a huge showdown in the Republican Party.

KEILAR: As per usual, that's what he's doing. I mean this is -- it's a David versus Goliath situation. It's a reminder that the thing that Kevin McCarthy, even as he supports them. would kind of like to ignore, at least rhetorically.

HARWOOD: Look, Donald Trump may rather have the Democrat in those districts, but Kevin McCarthy does not because he recognizes that winning all those seats, it could be a very close battle for control of the House. Historical tides would suggest that Republicans are highly likely to take it over with more than enough seats. However, this is a unique situation. Donald Trump can be an effective boogeyman for the Democratic Party.

And so I think what Kevin McCarthy's going to do is try to manage Trump, try to -- try to push his objections to the side, win every single race he can with the best candidates he can, and then try to deal with Trump after that.

KEILAR: All right, we'll see if it works.

John, Melanie, thank you so much.

Investigators are searching now for a motive in the deadly mass shooting at a grocery store in Tennessee. We'll have a live report from the scene next.

BERMAN: And breaking overnight, the CDC chief overruling a panel of advisers when it comes to who gets a COVID booster.



BERMAN: Breaking overnight, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky breaking from the agency's team of vaccine advisers to recommend COVID-19 booster shots for a broader group of people that includes teachers, health care workers and others whose front line jobs put them at higher risk for COVID. And the CDC also recommended boosters for people 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and people 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions. The extra vaccine dose can be given once they are six months past their second Pfizer shot.

In Tennessee, at least one person killed, 14 others injured after a gunman stormed a Kroger grocery store Thursday afternoon near Memphis. Police say the suspect was also found dead, apparently of a self- inflicted gunshot wound.

CNN's Ryan Young live in Collierville, Tennessee, with the latest on this.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, you can think about the pain that's here in this community. So many people asking the questions why? That motive has not, of course, been released just yet as we're still working through parts of this investigation. If you look above, you can see the active scene that is here. Police

have been working through the night to try to put all the pieces together. But when you hear from the people who were on the inside, they were terrified. They hid all over the Kroger to try to avoid the gunman.

We're in an area that's surrounded by shopping plazas and strip malls. And you can understand this happened just after 1:30. So it was pretty busy here when this shooting happened. In fact, the people on the inside talked about, they thought it was balloons popping at first.

Take a listen to one of the people who were on the inside.


BRIGNETTA DICKERSON, KROGER CASHIER: When I heard the gunshots, that's when I told everybody to run. Everybody started running. Everyone started running. And then -- and then there I went to the back -- to the (INAUDIBLE) meat department, go to the back of the receiving department and we hid in the -- by the incinerator.

And here he comes, right behind us, and starts shooting. And he kept on shooting, and shooting, and shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head. And then shot one of my -- one of the customers in the stomach.


YOUNG: John, you can imagine the fear that all these people must have been involved in when they saw that happen. And we do have a picture of the victim who died, Olivia King. Her son shared this picture. Imagine the heartache and pain that that family's going through right now knowing that someone was walking through the store shooting people randomly.

Of course, police have not released his name just yet. We do believe there's been some police action outside of this parking lot when it comes to that suspect. And, of course, as we develop this further, we'll get more information.

But when you look at this massive scene and the understanding here that someone walked in just after lunch and started shooting in a busy Kroger, your heart just breaks for the people who were caught in the crossfire.


BERMAN: Going out to buy some food, hearing the shots ring out.

Ryan Young, thank you very much.

KEILAR: A new hurricane in the Atlantic this morning that we are watching. Sam rapidly intensifying, likely to become a major hurricane by tomorrow afternoon.

So, let's bring in our meteorologist, Chad Myers, to tell us what we are tracking.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Sam, I am. Out here in the middle of the Atlantic. Now, this is going to be a slow mover. Even if we get close to the U.S., that wouldn't be until 10 days from now. But it did rapidly intensify, as you said, overnight. Now a 75-mile-per-hour storm. There it is. A small, compact storm, but still has enough power here and water in the Atlantic to become something much stronger, a major hurricane.

We are hoping that this front picks it up. This front is going to change the weather for the northeast significantly over the next couple of days.

Look at Scranton, 26 degrees colder -- no, that's not windchil -- 26 degrees colder than you were at this time yesterday. So a big cold front making things much better.

There will still be some rain in New England for today and there will still be a front that rolls through Chicago with some storms. But what you'll notice is just this pleasant fall weather. Closer to normal than you would think. It's just been so hot. New Orleans, though, nice down there.


A high today of 78.


KEILAR: Yes, I had to grab a jacket this morning, which was a -- I welcome that, Chad Myers.


KEILAR: Thank you so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Ends in Arizona, another begins in Texas. Will Republicans ever stand up to Donald Trump's lies?

KEILAR: And four trump confidants subpoenaed by the January 6th committee. They're expected to appear in three weeks, or they're supposed to. But will they show up?



KEILAR: Blue Star Welcome Week kicks off tomorrow as hundreds of thousands of military families get settled into their new communities. The goal here, combat the isolation that so many of them say that they feel as they move every two to three years in cities and towns where they often know no one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIN LORENZ, NAVY SPOUSE: I'm an old hat at it at this point.

KEILAR (voice over): Erin Lorenz's family, just like 600,000 other military and veteran families this year, is settling into a new house in a new city.

LORENZ: So, we have moved eight times in the last 18 years. We've lived on both coasts. We did a couple years overseas.

KEILAR: Those moves bring challenges.

LORENZ: Housing and trying to get schools set up. The biggest challenge I found is getting connected to people.

KEILAR: Most military families don't live on military bases, they live in civilian communities like yours and they're struggling to connect. Only one in four say they have a sense of belonging in the places where they live. One in three don't have anyone to ask for a favor.

LORENZ: When we moved from overseas to Florida, I needed to find an emergency contact. I knew nobody in the area.

KEILAR: That's why Blue Star Families has launched Welcome Week, to link civilian communities and the military families that live in them. With events scheduled across the country and online toolkits to encourage businesses and organizations to welcome families and schools to accommodate new students.

KATHY ROTH-DOUQUET, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, BLUE STAR FAMILIES: It's the schools that did a great job integrating the kids that make for successful, happy military families. That helps readiness. It helps retention. It helps everything.

KEILAR: Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Retired Army General Joseph Dunford, who is raising awareness about the initiative with his wife Ellyn, recalls how new friends and neighbors helped ease his mind while he was deployed

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD (RET.), FORMER CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: And getting notes back from -- from our sons and our daughter that -- that they were welcomed in the community, they had made good friends, they were involved in activities, it made all the difference in the world to me in my ability to focus on my job.

ELLYN DUNFORD, MILITARY FAMILY ADVOCATE: If you have neighbors who right away step in when they see that giant moving van show up at your home and say, what can we do to help? What -- what might you be looking for? That right there would -- would solve a huge amount of concerns that a family has when they move.

KEILAR: Erin Lorenz knows that all too well. Even this veteran of military moving season is feeling lonely in her new neighborhood.

LORENZ: We've been here three months now. I've met -- I can count on one hand how many people that live directly around me that I have met. I found it takes about six to eight months to truly get connected into your community. If it happened a little sooner, that would be, I think, you know, that'd be nice.

KEILAR: It doesn't take much to help military families confront the epidemic of isolation they are facing. Just small kindnesses that can make a big difference.

LORENZ: I would recommend just coming over and saying hi and introducing yourself.


KEILAR: Yes, and, you know, one of the things, John, maybe you don't know if someone -- you know you have a new neighbor. You don't know if they're a military family. But part of Blue Star Welcome Week are these bracelets that you and I are wearing. You have yours on your left hand, which means that you are there to welcome military families. I have mine on my right hand just to signify that I am a military family. So, it's just a shortcut way that people can know, hey, this is someone I can, you know, chat with, make a connection with.

BERMAN: I didn't know that I should be wearing it on my left hand until you told me. No, and the significance of all and the significance of all the work that you're doing -- and I really think it's important work and I'm so impressed by it, is to bring the larger American community into the lives of the very small percentage of Americans who serve and their families so the rest of us know -- the rest of us know the very real issues that surround it. And I just think it's so important what you're doing

KEILAR: Well, thank you so much. Yes, you know, I used to be on the other side of this, and I really had very little knowledge about the day to day life of being part of a military family. Now I do and I just wish that there were more of a connection because when there is one I only see really good things coming from it and also just, you know, stronger communities in general. It's wonderful for all of us to be connected.

BERMAN: Well, you're making it happen.

KEILAR: All right, thanks, John.

And NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Brianna Keilar, alongside John Berman.

And we have several breaking stories that we are following today.

We do begin with a CNN election alert, though, to Donald Trump and all conspiracy theorists pushing the big lie that Joe Biden is still the president. Even the bogus sham Republican audit in Arizona can't find fraud. In fact, this sham actually produced more votes for Joe Biden, less for Donald Trump. And now Trump is moving on to another state, a state that he won, which affirms that this isn't really about making elections secure at all.


Just hours after Trump demanded Texas start bogus audits without any evidence or basis, Governor.