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New Day

All The Ways Trump Tied to Steal the Election; Clock Ticks as U.S. on Verge of Default, Biden Agenda at Stake; FBI Returns to Laundrie Home to Collect DNA Matching Items. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired September 27, 2021 - 07:00   ET



JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: And that has led to a kind of coziness, not corruption exactly, but a coziness between the FDA and pharmaceutical companies that leads to undue approvals.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: And very quickly here, again, people read this or looking at this, I mean, like, wait a second, how can they approve a drug for which there has no evidence it works. In your article, and, again, very quickly, points out there are two ways to treat something. One is you actually treat the actual disease. I make Alzheimer's go away.

TOOBIN: Right.

BERMAN: The other thing is to treat some of the things that may cause Alzheimer's. This drug makes some plaque in the brain go away but there's no evidence that does anything for Alzheimer's.

TOOBIN: Exactly. It's the difference between addressing the disease and like cholesterol. A drug that addresses cholesterol doesn't address heart disease, it addresses a signifier for it. This drug supposedly addresses a signifier for Alzheimer's.

But there is greater controversy about whether it actually does that and certainly even greater controversy about whether it works. All I can say to people is -- I hope they read the article, but they consult their doctors and their bank accounts because it's a lot of money.

BERMAN: You will learn a lot if you read this article. Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much.

TOOBIN: All right, Berman.

BERMAN: New Day continues right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Hello. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman on this New Day. The week from hell on Capitol Hill as Congress struggles to pass several major pieces of legislation and keep the government funded.

And the search for answers in the Gabby Petito investigation, why the FBI returned to her fiance's home in Florida this weekend.

An explosive new reporting about the lengths the U.S. government was willing to go to to silence Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

BERMAN: All right. Good morning and welcome the our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, September 27th.

And this weekend, Donald Trump said out loud that he called Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and tried to get him to throw out the 2020 election results. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Let me handle it. I'll call him up. I said, Brian, listen, you have a big election integrity problem in Georgia. I hope you can help us out and call a special election and let's get to the bottom of it for the good of the country. Let's get to the bottom of it for the good of your state. Let's go, election integrity. What could be better than that? Sir, I'm sorry, I cannot do that.

Well, I said, well, I said you cannot do that. And that's why -- let me tell you, this guy is a disaster. He's a disaster.


BERMAN: Now, in some ways, it's startling to hear a former president state, admit, confess out loud that he tried to overturn the 2020 election. But this is not some anomaly. It is foundational to Trump and Trumpism now. And he's been telling us this out loud for years. He laid the groundwork before any votes were cast.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Can you give a direct answer, you will accept the elections?

TRUMP: I have to say. Look, I have to see. No, I'm not going to just say, yes, I'm not going to say, no, and I didn't last time either.


BERMAN: Indeed. This was 2016.


WALLACE: The loser concedes to the winner and the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now --

TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense.


BERMAN: So this time, he attempted to sow doubt, spreading disinformation about mail-in voting during a pandemic, mail-in voting, a method of voting championed by Republicans in places like Florida for years.


TRUMP: I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election. I really do.


BERMAN: And before the election, he basically hinted he might declare victory no matter what.


WALLACE: And will you pledge tonight that you will not declare victory until the election has been independently certified? President Trump, you go first.

TRUMP: I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully.

If it's a fair election, I'm 100 percent on board. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that.


BERMAN: Tens of thousands of ballots were not manipulated. That is a fantasy, so was his declaration of victory on election night at 3:00 A.M.


TRUMP: This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.



BERMAN: Frankly, he lost this election. And after losing, his lawyers, whom Bill Barr then called a clown show, filed lawsuit after lawsuit in federal, state, and local courts, nearly all of them were just flat-out rejected. The Supreme Court, on which three of his picks currently sit, they refused to hear two cases involving big lie claims.

Trump tried to enlist Republican state legislators to dispute or ignore the election results, to overturn state votes. Then he pressed officials in Georgia for actions for which he is currently under investigation.


TRUMP (voice over): All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state.


BERMAN: He tried to get the Justice Department to call the election corrupt. The acting assistant attorney general, Jeffrey Clark, helped in this effort, drafting and preparing letters to multiple states to investigate baseless fraud claims.

He tried to get his vice president to reject the election results by having Mike Pence block the ceremonial confirmation of the Electoral College vote. A Republican lawyer drafted a six-point memo to throw out the results on January 6th. This was on paper. Pence refused to go along after advice from Dan Quayle.

Finally, Trump enlisted the help of supporters to show up on the Capitol on January 6th, and they did.


TRUMP: We're going to walk down to the Capitol because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.


BERMAN: So the important thing, this is not over. He talks about it at every rally. He lies about it in almost every interview. His lies about the election are not some incidental sideshow. They are central to his political future. He is the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 2024. And as we sit here, 78 percent of Republicans, more or less, say they believe him.

KEILAR: It is a staggering number. And a new opinion essay in The Washington Post has this to say about the impact of Donald Trump's efforts to undermine the public's faith in American democracy. The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the civil war with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidence of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves.

And joining us now to discuss this and the future ahead for the U.S., Kaise Hunt, CNN Anchor and Chief National Affairs Analyst, and David Chalian, CNN Political Director and Host of the CNN Political Briefing podcast.

One of the scariest things, David, about this opinion essay is warning signs may be obscured by other events, right? This could happen. These scary things could happen and may not -- while most America may not even notice them. What do you think about this assessment?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, first of all, beyond how depressing this all is, which it is, it's dangerous. This is happening right before our eyes. John just went through that extensive history lesson of everything that Donald Trump had done that led us to this moment. But the important point is the one that you guys mentioned at the end there, which is this is still ongoing. This is happening now. And it's not just convincing the Republican Party about the lie, which he has done successfully, but it is also changing the laws in states so that he can or allies of his can in 2022, and if he does run and is nominee in 2024, can actually manipulate -- another poll number in our poll besides that 78 percent Republicans is that a slim majority of Americans actually believe, believe that elections officials will overturn results for partisan purposes. I mean, you don't have a functioning democracy if you don't have buy-in to the results of a free and fair election. That's it. That's the core thing. And that is the doubt that Donald Trump has now sown into our democratic being.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: And let's think about the line that held on January 6th and to the actual certification of the election. It was a handful of state election officials. It was Mike Pence on the phone with Dan Quayle. It was Mark Milley and others at the Pentagon. The Trump team is systematically trying to undermine that. And they were trying to do it at the Defense Department, as they were on their way out, installing loyalists over there, after people like Brad Raffensperger stood up.

Now, to David's point, they are working to change those systems. And I will say, and, Brianna, I know you talked to so many elected officials, when Trump was first elected, everyone kind of thought they were in on the joke. They were going to try to -- they were going to hang around, they were going to do their best to push back against him.


But, really, he was just eventually going to lose. He was going to go away. And bit by bit, that became the strategy they used every single time.

And I think a lot of people believed them. They were willing to say, okay, that seems right. Maybe this isn't as bad as people were making it out to be. There was a name for it, Trump derangement syndrome. And then came January 6th, which is something I certainly never thought I would see in my lifetime, in which it certainly changed the game for me being there.

I remember thinking as we were watching these people, surely, I should not responsibly report on television that there are people invading the Capitol. But then it turned that there actually -- that was actually what was happening. And now, the Republican Party is trying to whitewash it and I think that tells you exactly where we're going.

KEILAR: Yes. It's the lie has become their truth, right?. And they are not just channeling him, they sort of become him.

And the other thing I find really interesting, in a terrible way, is that Donald Trump continues, David, to, you know, in he's rallies or in interviews to just admit the wrongdoing publicly. I mean, he clearly does not feel like there are any consequences. He is just right out there with it. CHALIAN: Clearly. I mean, Donald Trump is a lot of things secretive is not really one of them. I mean, he does really show us and tell us, as he did throughout the entirety of his presidency who he is what he's thinking at any given moment. You're right, there is no fear of repercussion because there are no repercussions. That is what we have come to learn.

To the point that you're making about elected officials and Republicans who approached Trump with that strategy, they're just as complicit in this moment of our democracy being in peril as is Donald Trump for perpetrating the big lie. This is something that they've chosen to allow to seep into our body politic that is chipping away at our core democracy here because they refuse to put him away. And because, again, as you said, he's successful at getting the party faithful to believe in this lie. But this silence is truly part of the problem here.

HUNT: And the reality is this has been Donald Trump's M.O. all the way along, through his entire life. He is a creation of the attention that surrounds him, right, to a greater extent that, yes, his father built buildings in New York. He talks about how he moved into Manhattan and all of this. But so much of that was essentially an edifice of publicity, even more than it was actual work. And I think that applies in politics as well.

But that's the challenge. He, with his supporters, has discredited all other sources information to the point that there are people don't believe sources or places where we are bound by reality and rules and actually saying things that we can prove or point to and say, hey, it's true, but nobody believes it because they have all been conditioned by him not to.

And, yes, the leaders are definitely a problem. But at the end of the day, they're responding to the Americans who believe Trump.

CHALIAN: Yes. But that means they're following and not leading. And that is in the title of their job.

But to your point when you describe how close we came, right, to a coup, yes, we can isolate that when we look at all those things. It was so close. But it didn't get put away in a box after being so close. Things are ongoing and perhaps we're even closer now. That is the danger.

KEILAR: As John Berman always likes to point out that quote, what is a failed coup? It is practice, right? This is something that continues.

And Liz Cheney, who has been one of these rare voices, who have stood up, such a rare voice, I mean, we cannot overstate how few Republicans are in this position. But she gave an interview to 60 Minutes aired yesterday. And she was talking about the spread of misinformation and the erosion of faith and democracy. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): When you look at the spread of these mistruths and the spread of the disinformation, you know, silence enables it. Silence enables the liar. And silence helps it to spread.

When we allow that to continue to go on in the face of rulings of the courts, in the face of recounts, in the face of everything that's gone on to demonstrate that there was not fraud that would have changed the outcome, if we do that, we are contributing to the undermining of our system. And it's a really serious and dangerous moment because of that.


KEILAR: She's talking about silence enabling this. I mean, you have that. But you also have vociferous propagators, where it's somewhere in between silence enabling this and people who are shouting it from the rooftops, what is the wall that stops this, Kasie?


HUNT: I'm not sure there is one. I think Liz Cheney -- this was a significant interview, in my opinion. I think we're going to be going back and watching pieces of this for a long time. It is very clear that she has ambitions to run for president against Donald Trump. She, of course, has to win her House seat first in 2022, which is going to be a trick. But she is one of the few people who is willing to do this. And I think even she and those around her were surprised by the lack of support that she got when she was willing to stand up.

And she embraced it, to her credit. She did not turn away the way many others who took a step out into this and then decided this isn't really worth it anymore, like I'm getting threats and I can't handle it. She, on the other hand, has done this. But whether or not she can generate the following is the question. And as David notes better than anyone too, in the context of an attempted comeback by Donald Trump, if it's a really crowded primary field, it is likely he will have a hold on enough voters that he will win the nomination.

KEILAR: Yes. Who supports her? Who supports here in that kind of face-off?

CHALIAN: I mean, Brianna, it is a very lonely voice right now. And these are very rare voices. So, yes, I agree, it was a significant interview. Liz Cheney's clarity on this is something to behold. I mean, every elected official should have that kind of clarity about this moment in our democracy. But for her party, she is a very lonely voice.

KEILAR: I was asking one Republican who has stood up against Donald Trump, what that feels like, and he says it is despairing. And I think that's what we see from so many Republicans. David Chalian, Kasie Hunt, thank you, guys, for talking with me this morning.

BERMAN: So, the week from hell on Capitol Hill. That is what one Democratic member of Congress is calling it. Political battles between Democrats and Republicans on paying U.S. debt, battles between Democrats and Democrats about infrastructure and domestic plans, deadlines converging on each other. But most importantly, this has implications for literally every single American family.

CNN's Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans here with that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Washington sausage-making, but this is kitchen table economics for everyone. There's deep uncertainty over how all of this will play out, budget reconciliation, bipartisan infrastructure, a debt ceiling brinkmanship all at once.

What's at stake? A cradle to grave remake of the American economy that would lower the cost of your child care, your health care, give you free community college, universal pre-K, require paid maternity leave, paid sick leave, for seniors, dental and eye care and hearing aids covered, paid for by higher taxes on rich people and big companies.

Then there is infrastructure, new spending for roads, bridges, high- speed internet, electric vehicles, airports, which you would feel via your commute, your internet access, the wear and tear on your car, your next flight.

Now, there is bipartisan support for that infrastructure, but Republicans are so opposed to the Biden human infrastructure agenda that they vowed not to help raise the debt ceiling. Not raising that is playing with fire. The Treasury Department won't have enough money to pay the bills. You have to pick and choose which to pay and when.

Federal payments to millions could be halted. Social security checks could stop for nearly 50 million seniors. Troops wouldn't be paid. Critical monthly child tax payments could stop. Even an accidental short default would damage America's credit, risk a financial crisis and cost the government billions more in borrowing costs. And interest rates could rise for the rest of us on mortgages, credit cards and cars.

John, I can't think, I can't remember a week that was so consequential for American families and their kitchen table economics.

BERMAN: That is why Debbie Dingell is calling it the week from hell. And that's why I think that label is sticking. But I appreciate you explaining what this means for all of us and that it's not just a fight about abstract things. It's a fight about things that will change it all.

ROMANS: You're going to hear a lot of process this week. At the bottom of all of that process is literally your family budget.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you very much.

The FBI returning to the home of Brian Laundrie in Florida, what agents wanted from his parents.

Plus, hospitals in Idaho struggling to keep up with the surge in COVID patients. Now, one doctor is sharing her story of being threatened physically for just doing her job. KEILAR: And a shocking new report about a secret U.S. plot to take down WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange.



BERMAN: The FBI has returned to the Laundrie family home in Florida to collect some of Brian Laundrie's belongings for a potential DNA match. On Sunday, large crowds turned out for an emotional service on Long Island to say goodbye to Gabby Petito. The search for her missing fiance could be intensifying as soon as this morning.

Nadia Romero is outside the Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida. Getting belongings for a DNA match, any sense of why, Nadia?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a big question, John. Why do they need these DNA samples or to find a match? They were collecting items to do a match at the crime scene or somewhere else. And the FBI only was here for just a few minutes. So, everything happened very quickly Sunday, arriving in their vehicles, going up to the front door, gathering something that was left by Brian Laundrie's parents, according to their attorney. And then the FBI agents quickly put those items into a bag and left. I mean, if you would have blinked, you would have missed it all. So, it happened quickly. And that was the most activity we had here in Florida all weekend.

Now, not far from here is the Carlton Reserve, and that is this wild- land area, about 25,000-acres, full of swamps with snakes and alligators. And his parents said that he was headed there last week, last Tuesday, so, two weeks ago. And that was the last time they heard or saw from him.


But that's all that we know. And that's what we know simply because that's what his parents told us.

Now, that's what happened in Florida over the weekend, a much more scaled down approach to the search for Brian Laundrie. Over in New York, in Long Island at a funeral home, it was a memorial for Gabby Petito. Her friends, her family, and, really, strangers, people who didn't know her at all, waited outside long before the memorial started to pay their final respects.

And listen to what Gabby Petito's dad had to say about her and how he wants everyone to remember his daughter.


JOSEPH PETITO, GABBY PETITO'S FATHER: If there's a relationship that you're in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it now. We've got more emails of men and women doing that, taking care of themselves first.


ROMERO: Yes. You heard his message to people, take care of yourselves, leave relationships if they are not healthy for you, alluding to what we're seeing that it could have been a toxic relationship between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie. Of course, there have been reports of arguments happening in a restaurant in Wyoming. There was the domestic dispute call in Moab, Utah, that is now under investigation, those officers on how they handled the response.

We heard for the first time from Gabby Petito's mother, the first time in a couple of weeks saying how grateful she is to everyone around the world who has reached out to their family. But, really, what they're asking for is justice for Gabby Petito. They believe that Brian Laundrie is the person who can give them answers as to what happened to their daughter. John?

BERMAN: Nadia Romero for us in Florida, Nadia, thank you so much for that report.

KEILAR: The Gabby Petito case has exposed a darker side to the nomadic and minimalist lifestyle on the road known as van life, which has grown in popularity, especially through social media.

Here to discuss how to safely manage the emotional elements of the van life trend is Psychologist John Duffy, who has actually worked with a number of van life couples. John, thank you so much for being with us.

I know there's a lot of curiosity about this kind of lifestyle. Maybe you can first just tell us about the allure of it and the kind of folks that it draws.

JOHN DUFFY, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. You know, that's a great were question, Brianna. The people that are drawn to it are typically either people who are drawn to this fantasy kind of nomadic-type lifestyle, right? Some people who want a reset in their lives, right, want something different because something is not working out quite right in the life that they are living right now. Also there are people who just want that simplicity, that pragmatism, that, you know, cost-effective way of living their lives as well.

KEILAR: Okay. So tell us about some of the challenges and some of the things that maybe are not so glamorous.

DUFFY: Yes. So, you know, the difficulty is that van life distills a relationship down to a very, very few square feet. So, if things are going well in a relationship, there is a possibility that that will continue despite some of the difficulties and stresses of van life. If things are not going well, as you head out on the road, those things tend to be amplified.

And what I see as part of the problem is poor planning. In other words, we're not talking upfront about what's the purpose of this trip, how much is it going to cost, how long are we going to be gone. And these questions are really important to ask and to answer and to work through so we get used to problem-solving as we go.

KEILAR: And what do van life couples say to you? What kind of issues do they discuss with you?

DUFFY: Yes. So they tell me that, you know, despite the way things look on social media, which is bright and shiny and fun, it tends to be stressful and arduous, and conflict can arise at virtually any time. So, one thing I'm learning from the couples that I work with is they need to spend some time every day apart, even if they're not in conflict, because they're regulating the emotional temperature of that van, which is a difficult thing to do.

This is a very small space and a stressful, exhausting environment. So, over time, more time apart is healthier and creates a healthier environment within the van than the toxic environment that can be created if you spend every moment together. There can be conflict. There can be gaslighting that takes place. You are a culture of two within the confines of that van

KEILAR: Gaslighting, you said?

DUFFY: I did, yes. It is very easy or far easier anyway when an individual is with another individual and has nobody else to bounce anything off of.


In other words, you know, they have only their own mind to work with. They cannot ask somebody else, does this make sense to you?