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New Day

16 American Missionaries Kidnapped by Gang Members in Haiti; Trial of Three White Men Begins Today in Ahmaud Arbery's Murder; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Draws Red Line on Child Tax Credits, Climate Initiatives. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired October 18, 2021 - 07:00   ET



ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: COVID has made a tough situation even worse, it sounds like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, definitely. This was a number of weeks that I had been doing daily injections and going to daily doctor's appointments that were kind of were thrown to the way side because I now was sick.

COHEN (voice over): Dr. Yunetso (ph) has recovered from COVID-19 and finally got pregnant through IVF. Her twins are due in December, but other women are not as lucky.

Dr. Soha Patel (ph), a high-risk obstetrician, didn't meet her husband until she was 37. During the pandemic, she has undergone IVF while caring for pregnant women with COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was terrified for myself as well to contract something that could potentially affect my treatments in terms of in fertility.

COHEN: Because of COVID, she has had to attend the procedures by herself without her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was not able to attend a lot of my ultrasound appointments. In fact, he wasn't able to attend any of them. He wasn't able to attend any of the retrieval procedures as well. And so while I was going through that process, he was actually in the garage waiting in the car.

COHEN: Making a lonely process even lonelier.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think what people don't understand is that this process can be very isolating. It can be very lonely for women.

COHEN: Both doctors say they love what they do but they wish there was more support for young female physicians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of us are prioritizing our careers during the most fertile part of our lives. COHEN: What would you tell a young woman who wanted to go into medicine?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe women can be successful both professionally and personally. And I think that starts with starting the conversation at an early level. If we talk to medical students, premed students early on, especially our female trainees early on to say, hey, listen, this is something we should think about, change the system so that trainees feel that they're supported through this process.


COHEN (on camera): As more young physicians have voiced their concerns, some medical training programs have responded and tried to become more family-friendly. John, Brianna?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: This is something we all have an interest in making better. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much for being with us.

New Day continues right now.

I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar on this New Day.

16 American missionaries, including children, kidnapped at gun point. New details about who officials think is responsible and how the U.S. government is responding.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: It's a critical week ahead for the President Biden's agenda. Senator Manchin drawing a red line as the White House's patience is wearing thin. We have some new reporting about who Democrats are pushing to get more involved.

BERMAN: So, the author of the Steele dossier in Russia speaking out for the first time. Some bizarre new claims in why he said he is still confident the Russians have dirt on Donald Trump.

KEILAR: And three deputies gunned down outside a Houston club. Officials calling this an ambush. We will speak with the fiancee of one of those wounded officers.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, October 18th.

No word on the whereabouts of 17 kidnapped missionaries in Haiti, 16 of them Americans, five of them children. A Haitian military source tells CNN that the gang, 400 Mawozo, is likely behind the abductions. The missionary's vehicles were reportedly stopped at gun point after they visited an orphanage near Port-au-Prince. That's an area where the gang now controls.

KEILAR: We are told that Haitian officials are in communication with the State Department about this. Kidnappings have just become commonplace in Haiti. They're up nearly 300 percent since July.

Kylie Atwood live for us at the State Department on this. 16 of these 17 missionaries Americans, Kylie.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. The State Department confirming that these Americans, 16 of them, have been kidnapped in Haiti. We are told that they were kidnapped by a gang. As you said, Brianna, five of those who were kidnapped out of the total of 17, are children. And they were there in Haiti as missionaries, part of a Christian aid missionary group that's based in Ohio. We're told that they were at an orphanage, according to that nonprofit organization, and that they were kidnapped when they were headed just north of Port-au-Prince.

Now, kidnappings in Haiti have been a consistent problem. They are one of the reasons that the State Department travel advisory tells Americans do not travel to Haiti. And we have seen kidnappings rise more than 300 percent in the last few months alone. There have been more than 600 total kidnappings since January of this year.


And I am told by a senior U.S. administration official that the U.S. does not currently know where these Americans are right now. Of course, the FBI and the State Department are actively engaged in this. The State Department said yesterday that they are in regular contact with Haitian authorities. I am also told that there are many people on the ground who are working on this. But we are waiting to hear more details given this is a very large number of Americans that were kidnapped over the weekend. Brianna?

KEILAR: Are they hopeful, Kylie? We understand that a lot of times ransoms are paid and hostages are returned.

ATWOOD: That's right. And I think we're going to have to see what this gang is asking for. These are the folks who kidnapped these Americans. Now, traditionally, the U.S. government says it doesn't pay ransoms. So, we're going to have to see how they would essentially work to secure their release without doing that. Brianna?

KEILAR: All right. Kylie, at the State Department, thank you.

BERMAN: Jury selection begins today in the trial of the three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The 26-year-old unarmed black man was shot and killed after being followed by a father and son in their pickup truck in February 2020, this is while Arbery was jogging.

CNN's Martin Savidge, who has been covering this since the very beginning, joins us now. Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Yes. Viewers are going to find a lot of similarities between this case to a number of other famous cases, such as the George Zimmerman trial and the death of Trayvon Martin, because in that case, self-defense and neighborhood sensitivities to crime played a role, as in this case. Then there is the Derek Chauvin trial. In that case, video was crucial. Video is going to be crucial in this one too.


SAVIDGE (voice over): Jury selection begins today in the state murder trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. The final moments of his life captured on camera. And we warn you the video is disturbing.

Arbery was jogging in a neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia in February 20th when Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, chased and fatally shot him, their neighbor, William Bryan, recording the incident on his cell phone and allegedly hitting Arbery with his truck.

That video sparking nationwide outrage and protests, calling for answers about Arbery's death. All three men have pleaded not guilty to multiple state charges, including felony murder.

In April, the Justice Department also charged the McMichaels and Bryan with federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping in connection to Arbery's death. The three also pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Meanwhile, in the Georgia state trial, a judge will choose 12 jurors from a pool of 1,000. 600 potential jurors will report for possible selection today.

S. LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY FOR AHMAUD ARBERY'S FAMILY: We want a fair, neutral and impartial jury who is going to hear the facts of this case.

SAVIDGE: The attorney for Arbery's family says the trial will be challenging, especially considering the possible jurors who will hear the case.

MERRITT: That jury pool is going to be drawn from that community that has -- hasn't established the kind of character that can be both neutral and fair to someone who looks like Ahmaud. Now, I hope they can be.

SAVIDGE: Arbery's mother says reliving the trauma of her son's death will be difficult.

WANDA COOPER-JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: It has been really a long, hard road. Every day, his name is called in court, I will be there.

SAVIDGE: In the hour before the selection begins, the community holding a rally, praying for justice.

THEA BROOKS, AHMAUD ARBERY'S AUNT: There are going to be feelings of anger, there are going to be feelings of sadness. But at the end, we are hoping a spirit of happiness when we get the guilty verdict that we're looking for.


SAVIDGE (on camera): Jury selection is expected to take at least two weeks, perhaps even longer. There are some who have doubts that an impartial jury can be selected there in Glenn County, and that could force the trial to be moved. John?

BERMAN: Martin, I know you'll be watching very closely. this has been a case that's been shocking from the very beginning. Thank you.


KEILAR: Manhunt is on for the gunman who ambushed three Texas deputies, killing one and wounding two others. Deputies Juqaim Barthen, Darryl Garrett and Kareem Atkins were trying to detain a suspect that they had on the ground early Saturday morning when a man with an AR-15 ambushed them. Officer Atkins was killed and Officer Garrett remains in critical condition.

And with me now is Deputy Darryl Garrett's fiancee, Lajah Richardson. They just got engaged earlier this month. Lajah, thank you so much for being with us this morning.


KEILAR: Look, thank you again. And I just want to know how is Darryl doing. I know that he has had multiple surgeries.


RICHARDSON: As of right now, he's still in critical condition but he's stable. He's not responsive to any of us. He's on a breathing machine as we speak. But when he tries to wake up a little bit, he can hear us when we do speak to him.

KEILAR: I know that must be very heartening that he can hear you. So, this is obviously a critical period trying to survive through this period. I wonder what doctors have told you about what the road ahead looks like for him for recovery.

RICHARDSON: I mean, the doctors have been basically just keeping us updated on the process of what's going on at the moment. They're not trying to tell us too much to have our hopes up too high. So, as of right now, they are telling us the same thing. He's going to be okay at the moment. And he's -- you know, as long as he can hear us, I've been happy with that and seeing that he is trying to fight this.

But the doctors are, you know, trying to comfort us and make sure that we stay as stress -- you know, as much as possible. Because we're really, you know, trying to deal with this and trying to be at peace and have, you know, positive energy at the same time. So the doctors are really, you know, just making sure they're telling us everything that they're doing. And they're watching him 24/7. That's basically just been the process.

KEILAR: Yes, that makes sense. You're trying to channel your strength to him.

We know that Kareem Atkins did not survive. He had just come back from paternity leave, which makes this all the more heartbreaking. And Juqaim Barthen was shot in the leg. He was released from the hospital after surgery. Can you tell us a little bit about these three guys? They are close friends. We know they met on the force.

RICHARDSON: Correct. They are really close. Everybody call them the three amigos. They call each other brothers. They're best friends. The love that they have for each other you would think that they grew up as kids, even though they just met when they all got on the force. But they love each other so much.

And the relationship I have built with them being with Darryl since we have been in a relationship, it hurts me to see now their friendship has to be broken and that they have lost a friend. And, you know, it's going to be hard when we're able to finally tell my fiance that your friend had to leave us. It's hard. I can't even explain how I feel and how his mom feels and his family. My feeling is all over the place, honestly.

KEILAR: Yes. Look, it is heartbreaking, and that's makes complete since. Lajah Richardson, thank you for joining us. We are praying for your fiance and we appreciate you being here this morning.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

KEILAR: A key measure to combat the climate crisis reportedly on the cutting room floor as Joe Manchin lays down red lines in negotiations over President Biden's agenda.

Plus, we have some new reporting about Democrats pushing Biden to take a more forceful role in negotiations.

BERMAN: And a missing woman found dead in the back of a police van. What happened? We have the latest explanation from police ahead.



BERMAN: Critical week ahead for President Biden and his agenda and the country. We already know the president is not going to get everything he wants. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia making sure of that, reportedly blocking the cornerstone of the climate policy.

Jeremy Diamond live from the White House this morning. This appears to be a big no from Joe Manchin that is, Jeremy.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It certainly does appear to be, to the point that the White House is now making work to scrap that provision or rewrite it in some fashion from that reconciliation bill entirely. And, listen, this is just one of several key and major disagreements that the White House is having with those two centrist senators, Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who have several red lines, not only over the top line, which we were talking about for a long time, but also over some key provisions, including some of those social programs we know that Senator Manchin, for example, has talked repeatedly about wanting to means test some of those provision, meaning setting income caps for child tax credits, for example, and other key provisions as well. But one thing is very clear here at the White House, John, time is running out. And patience also appears to be wearing thin. We started to sense that shift from the White House late last week. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, for example, making very clear that the time for negotiations is not unending. And it appears patience over those negotiations is alos not unending.

One key date to keep in mind, October 28th, that is when the president leaves Washington. He is heading to Europe. That is in just ten days now. And so the White House wants to make some major progress if not be able to reach a deal before then. One of the reasons, of course, the COP26 summit, that climate summit in Scotland that the president is attending, he wants to be able to show up there saying that the U.S. is going to take major steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. John?

BERMAN: That's going to be a lot hard if Joe Manchin gets his way. Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much.

KEILAR: We do have some new CNN reporting this morning on efforts to get President Biden to take a more forceful public role in bringing together the warring factions in the Democratic Party that are threatening to sink his domestic agenda.


We have CNN Senior Reporter Edward Isaac Dovere joining us now. First of, Isaac, I mean, I see you a bunch on T.V. But now you're ours.


KEILAR: Welcome to CNN. It is wonderful to have you here for your inaugural live shot.

I do want to hear what you are hearing from Democrats.

DOVERE: Well, look, as Jeremy was saying, this is a critical period for the agenda to either happen or not happen. And Democrats on the Hill are starting to say, we need Joe Biden to step in and say, okay, we know what he wanted originally. But what does he want in the final deal, what does this look like?

There was a call last week between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden talking about this. And they agreed they need to get this done and they need him to step up more forcefully. You are feeling that in the west wing, you're feeling that on the Hill.

But I talked to a member of the House, a Democratic member of the House last week who said to me, this is Joe Biden's agenda. We need Joe Biden to step up and tell us what he wants. He needs to come help us get it done.

KEILAR: We heard from Jen Psaki last week. We can't keep doing this, as she put it. How does the president and his top aides, how do they see what is happening? DOVERE: Well, look, they feel the urgency of it. They know these deadlines are coming up. And on the other hand, they look at this and they take some lessons from the Democratic primary campaign, where if you remember, the whole campaign, it was Joe Biden couldn't get it done, Joe Biden couldn't win, and they trudged along, made it happen, and he was the nominee. He's obviously the president. There is that deep in the psyches of the president and a lot of people close to him.

KEILAR: He kind of comes in more as a closer.

DOVERE: And for all the noise, it works out in the end because he's pushing through.

And, look, he's been on the phone, he's been on Zoom calls talking to people. It's not like he is just away on vacation. He has been working it but not in a public way, and that in this period, as we get to the crunch time, that's what people are looking for him to do more. KEILAR: Is that going to change? I mean, what are we expecting to see

this coming week?

DOVERE: Well, look, we don't know exactly. The president has no public schedule as of today. And unlike most weeks, we didn't get a week ahead schedule of all the things that the president would be doing, plans for where he would be. We don't know. Does that mean he will be holed up in the Oval Office making phone calls, trying to close the deal, bringing people in, or is he going to go out on the road and do some things publicly to get people to talk about this more and amp up the pressure that way?

I think the White House, what we see, is trying to figure this almost minute by minute with Joe Manchin and others putting their agendas forward, trying to find out how they integrate that and get to a deal.

KEILAR: Truly minute by minute because the clock is ticking. So, we'll see. Isaac, thank you. Again, welcome.

DOVERE: Thank you.

KEILAR: Senator Bernie Sanders put out a statement blaming the media as the main reason for why Americans don't know what's in the build back better plan. He wrote, quote, at the top of the list is the reality that the mainstream media has done an exceptionally poor job in covering what actually is in the legislation. There have been endless stories about the politics of passing build back better, the role of the president, the conflicts in the House and Senate, the opposition of two senators, the size of the bill, and very limited coverage as to what the provisions of the bill are and the crises for working people that they address.

Let's take a look at what all he is saying here. Because while the media should always be striving to do a better job, it's just not true that the media hasn't covered what is in the bill and doesn't continue to do so. Media outlet after media outlet has covered this. And it's very easy to find online if you want to know about it. And on television, I mean, just looking at CNN, segment after segment about what is in the bill. In his statement, Sanders refers to how popular the policy provisions in the legislation are when Americans are polled about them. So, that's what Democrats obviously should be selling. But one of Sanders former colleagues, Al Franken, says Democrats could be doing a better job of that.


FMR. SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MN): There's so much in this package that -- and what I don't like is when we refer to it as the reconciliation package instead of the elements of it because the elements are so popular.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We can't do it without the reconciliation package.

At the end of the day, I am absolutely convinced we're going to have a strong infrastructure bill and we're going to have a great, consequential reconciliation bill which addresses the needs of the American people.


KEILAR: Let's talk about Sanders' complaint that the media focuses a lot on how much the bill will cost, well, guilty that the price tag matters. That price tag determines what will be in the bill of those policy provisions. And Democrats cannot agree on the price tag. It is the sticking point.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm proposing is a one-time capital investment of roughly $2 trillion in America's future spread largely over eight years.


SANDERS: The $6 trillion that I originally proposed was probably too little.

I believe we're going to all sit down and work together and come up with $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): 1.5 was always done, from my heart, basically what we could do and not jeopardize our economy.


KEILAR: Now, Sanders said the media talks too much about the role of the president. Well, this is the president's plan. It is Biden's agenda. These are his negotiations. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, like it or not, won't even share details of what she wants with her fellow Democratic senators, including Sanders. It appears she has got one negotiating channel, and it's with the White House. So, the president is the linchpin to these talks, walking that line between moderates like Sinema or West Virginia's Joe Manchin and progressives like Sanders.

Sanders says there is too much attention on the two moderate senators. But the bill is dead without them, and Sanders knows this.


SANDERS: My concern with Mr. Manchin is not so much what his views are. I disagree with him. But it is that it is wrong. It is really not playing fair that one or two people think that they should be able to stop what 48 members of the Democratic caucus want, what the American people want, what the president of the United States wants.

Senator Sinema's position has been that she doesn't, quote/unquote/ negotiate publicly. I don't know what that means. We don't know where she's coming from.


KEILAR: He doesn't know because he's not in a room with her negotiating. And Sanders is not in a room with Manchin negotiating. The president joked, in fact, that it would be homicide to put them together. Why? Because they're being jerks to each other using, yes, the mainstream media.

Sanders also trolled Manchin with an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette, Manchin's newspaper, the mainstream media that he is blaming for not selling the provisions in the bill, providing Sanders a platform to sell the provisions in the bill, as he blames them. There is one thing that everyone in the Senate can agree on, though, as usual, recess, more time to not sit in a room together and negotiate as another self- imposed deadline swiftly approaches.

BERMAN: know, one thing you're not talking about if you're talking about the media? What's in the bill.

KEILAR: Correct. He likes to do this, though. If you look, he likes to blame the media for a lot of things. It's kind of one of his, you know, function buttons.

BERMAN: That seems to be a bipartisan trend now.


BERMAN: All right. The man behind the Steele Dossier speaking out for the first time on camera. Does he still think the Russians have compromising video of Donald Trump?

KEILAR: Plus, the troubled South Carolina lawyer now accused of stealing $3 million from his dead housekeeper's life insurance.