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New Day

Alec Baldwin Fires Prop Gun in Deadly Shooting on Film Set; Biden Confident on Spending Deal, Open to Altering Filibuster; Attorney General Merrick Garland Says He'll Apply Law to Bannon Contempt Charges. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired October 22, 2021 - 07:00   ET


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Any comfort to Gabby Petito's parents who have speculated that the Laundries no more than they're letting on.


Their family attorney released a statement after the news of the positive I.D. saying, Gabby's family is not doing any interviews or making a statement at this time. They are grieving the loss of their beautiful daughter. Gabby's family will make a statement at the appropriate time and when they are emotionally ready.

Back here at the entrance of the Carlton Reserve, there is no sign of police presence. It would appear as though the investigation here has wrapped up, but there are still so many questions, including just how Brian Laundrie Died, and if there's anything in that notebook that could bring further closure to this case. Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: All right. Nick Valencia live for us from Florida, thanks.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Developing this morning, Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth spent a night in the hospital this week after abruptly canceling a planned trip in Northern Ireland.

CNN Royal Correspondent Max Foster joins us now from Windsor Castle. We keep getting more and more information about this apparent health issue, Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: We are. But the problem is, John, it's not very consistent. I have to say this, some real tension building between the royal press pack and the palace, people not really trusting that they are being told the whole story here.

This is what we do know. As we reported on the show earlier in the week, the queen canceled a visit to Northern Ireland for medical reasons. We were then told she was coming here to Windsor Castle or staying here at Windsor Castle to rest for a few days. We then find out last night from a British tabloid newspaper that, in fact, she spent Wednesday night in hospital. And then the palace was forced to confirm that, saying that she had undergone preliminary investigations. Today, we're told that she's in the castle carrying out some light duties at her desk. My read on it is that she probably isn't in such a serious condition and that the palace is concerned about patient confidentiality. But also they would worry the nation too much. But they have got some communication issues at the moment and people are wondering whether or not we're getting the full story.

BERMAN: Great point, not exactly forthcoming about the fact that a night was spent in the hospital there. Max Foster, terrific to see you, thank you so much.

New Day continues right now.

KEILAR: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Friday, October 22nd. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman.

And we're beginning with breaking news overnight. Tragedy on a movie set in New Mexico. Actor Alec Baldwin involved in a deadly shooting. Police say that Baldwin fired a prop gun and killed the film cinematographer and wounded the director.

BERMAN: It happened in the set of Baldwin's upcoming western called Rust. Production of the film has been shut down for the foreseeable future. An investigation is under way. A spokesman from the production called the incident an accident.

Joining us now is CNN's Stephanie Elam and Senior Entertainment Reporter Sandra Gonzalez.

Stephanie, why don't you just lay out what we know at this point?

STEPHENIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, John. Starting with the timeline, we know that this happened just before 2:00 P.M. local time yesterday, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office. They said that they were responding to a 911 call for someone who was saying there was a shooting on set. We know that this happened at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, and that this was on the movie set of the western, Rust, that Alec Baldwin is not only starring it but is also a producer of.

They said that when they got there, there were two individuals who had been shot. And the way they put it in their statement from the sheriff's department is the prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin. That left two people shot, including 42-year-old director of photography Halyna Hutchins. She was airlifted by a helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital., where she was pronounced dead. We also know that the director, Joel Souza, he's 48 years old, that he was also transported by ambulance to the hospital. Still not clear what his condition is at this point.

What we can tell you, though, is that the sheriff's department says they have not charged anyone. There's no charges filed, that they continue to interview witnesses and investigate this. As for the movie, the company behind the movie, they put out a statement. And according to The New York Times, it says in part, the entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today's tragedy and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna's family and loved ones.

They go on to say that they've halted production on the film for an unknown period of time right. And while they are cooperating with the authorities while they're investigating this and that they're providing counseling to everyone who was there on set. But, obviously, no matter how you cut it, an obvious tragedy, when you take a look at those pictures of Alec Baldwin. You can see he looks very distraught after this incident yesterday.

BERMAN: I can understand why. And, Sandra, the question is, the prop weapon discharged. The question everyone wants to know the answer to, and there may not be an answer, is how is it that a prop weapon did this. It's not supposed to happen like this.

SANDRA GONZALEZ, CNN MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT SENIOR REPORTER: It's not, John. And people are definitely looking for answers and will be looking for them for some time.


But sets, of course, are incredibly dangerous places. You have all sorts of heavy duty machinery and equipment and weapons that required highly skilled workers to manage and operate. And these tragic incidents really emphasizes the need to put safety above all else on sets. And rest assured, people will be seeking answers on how something like this happens.

BERMAN: I want to be clear, there is a history here. John Eric Hexam in 1984 was killed with a weapon that fired blanks on set. In that case, it was just blanks, it was so close to his head that the impact of the blast damaged his skull and he died. And then there was Brandon Lee, which happened in 1993, I believe. In that case, again, it was blanks, but there was something in the barrel which discharged and still killed him. So, as you said, it can be dangerous. Care is required, correct?

GONZALEZ: Absolutely. And this is -- onset safety is an issue that came up just a little over a week ago when the workers union was negotiating with producers for a brand-new deal, whether it was long working hours or other factors that contribute to these types of incidents happening. So, people are going to be digging for answers and looking at the root causes so that they can address those directly.

BERMAN: All right. We're still finding out more about this throughout the morning. Stephanie, I know you will keep us posted. Sandra, thank you so much for your insight on this.

KEILAR: And turning now to last night's CNN town hall, President Biden turned out to be a headline-making machine, taking Americans behind the scenes as the White House and Democrats struggle to strike a deal on a massive social spending plan that could change millions of American lives.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Are you close to a deal?


Look, I have been -- I was a senator for 370 years and I was never -- I was relatively good at putting together deals.

Look, it's all about compromise. Compromise has become a dirty word. But bipartisanship and compromise still has to be possible.

COOPER: You're also proposing for the time ever federal paid parental leave. At one point, you talked about 12 weeks. Now, there are reports it's down to maybe four weeks.

BIDEN: Yes, it is down to four weeks. And the reason it's down to four weeks is I can't get 12 weeks.

COOPER: One of the other things that Democrats are looking to do is to expand Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing. Will all three of those still be covered?

BIDEN: That's a reach. And the reason why it's a reach is not -- I think it's a good idea and it's not that costly in relative terms.

But here's the thing. Mr. Manchin is opposed to that.

So far, Mr. Manchin and one other person has indicated they will not support free community college.

COOPER: There's a lot of Democrats in the House and Senate who are confused about where Senator Sinema actually stands on things.

Do you know where she stands?

BIDEN: First of all, she's as smart as the devil, number one. Number two, she's very supportive of the environmental agenda in my legislation.

Where she's not supportive is she says she will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or on wealthy people, period.

COOPER: Should police officers, emergency responders be mandated to get vaccines? And if not, should they be stay at home or let go?

BIDEN: Yes. And yes.

And, by the way, I waited until July to talk about mandating because I tried everything else possible. The mandates are working.

COOPER: Are you saying once you get this current agenda passed on spending and social programs, that you would be open to fundamentally altering the filibuster or doing away with it?

BIDEN: Well, that remains to be seen exactly what that means in terms of fundamentally, or whether or not we end the filibuster straight up.

COOPER: When it comes to voting rights, just so I'm clear though, you would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on that one issue; is that correct?

BIDEN: And maybe more.

COOPER: A week ago, you said the Department of Justice should prosecute those who defied the subpoenas from the January 6th committee? Was that appropriate for you to weigh in on?

BIDEN: No. The way I said was not appropriate. I did not, have not and will not pick up the phone and call the attorney general and tell him what he should or should not do in terms of who he should prosecute. But I answered the question honestly.

COOPER: Would you consider the National Guard to help with the supply chain issue?

BIDEN: Yes, absolutely, positively I will do that. But in addition to that, what you've got to do is you've got to get these ships in and unloaded. And one of the things in my infrastructure plan, there's $16 billion for port expansion. We have to be able to move things along.

I don't want a cold war with China. I just want to make sure China understand that we are not going to step back, we are not going to change any of our views.


COOPER: So, are you saying the United States would come to Taiwan's defense if China attacked?

BIDEN: Yes. We have a commitment to do that.


KEILAR: Joining us now to analyze all of that, CNN Political Analyst and New York Times White House Reporter Zolan Kanno-Youngs and CNN Senior Reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere.

I messed up your last night. Your kids let me know, so I got it correct this time. I just want to say that.

EDWARD ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: I've been called much worse.

KEILAR: Biggest takeaway for you, Isaac.

DOVERE: I mean, look, there was a lot about what this deal is going to look like now, a lot of what the final negotiations are, how we are at four weeks instead of 12 for leave, for example, what's in and what's out on the climate plan. We also have got a little projection of the future where Biden says he's going on the filibuster, which in a very Biden way he started out by saying, I can't really say because we're in the middle of the negotiations and then he said exactly what he wants to have happen, which is on voting rights and other legislation, he is talking about moving away from the filibuster as it stands right now. KEILAR: But biggest things on the negotiations, right, Zolan? I mean, when we're talking -- and we're going to talk more about the filibuster. But on these negotiations, he really took us through exactly what's going on. And what do you think the takeaway was for, let's say Democrats, maybe moderates and liberals, as they are watching this?

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. He was very candid yesterday about the reality of what was once touted as a sweeping legislative package, which still is. But he was very honest and candid and brought us inside the room about how some of those policies are being slimmed down.

Examples, two years of community college, kind of that's going away. He talked about the clean energy provision that was in his climate bill, couching it by saying, well, look, we're still negotiating, not really acknowledging that that's not going to be in it. However, reporting does say Senator Manchin is opposed to that.

And he acknowledged that. He brought us into the negotiations and named Senator Manchin as well as Senator Sinema multiple times explaining the hurdles they have to go. I mean, the climate provisions specifically is big, especially with the president going on the global stage to a climate summit in the coming days as well. John Kerry just last week saying that if they don't have something to show going into that, equating that embarrassment to when the Trump administration dropped out of the climate accords as well.

So, a lot of pressure right now. But for the president, as well as the White House that usually says, look, we don't negotiate in public, pretty candid yesterday.

BERMAN: Yes. I mean, look, as a reporter who tries to get information from sources, you watch this and we're like he just told us everything. I know every Capitol Hill reporters have been trying to pull out details for the last week, or why didn't we just ask the president because he would leak like a sieve, Isaac. I meam, we now know exactly where these negotiations stand with Sinema and Manchin. The question is, is there a way now to navigate through these challenges that the president laid out last night?

DOVERE: Well, look, this is obviously a structured approach from the president, what he wanted to do here. He was quiet behind the scenes for a long time. We're in the endgame now, the final stages of this. He is amping up the public pressure not just for a deal but on Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema specifically, saying, this is where we need to go, this is what it is.

Okay, it was 12 weeks on paid leave, again, for example, now it's four weeks. That's it is kind of what he's saying here, that part of the deal. On climate, this is where things are. And trying to say, now, everybody in the room is a green with me on this, this is what we're going to do. And now, I need Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to agree with that too, and also, by the way, the various factions in the House who have been fighting over this and to say to progressives, you're not getting everything you wanted, I know, but we can get here on the deal.

And I think what you're seeing overall, and he talked about it in relation to Obamacare toward the end of the event, is a lot of these programs, Democrats have wanted to do for a long time. Now, they're going to do them in maybe a shorter, more constrained form than what they wanted. But down the road, to perhaps expand them, as this happened, Joe Biden was saying, with Obamacare, even in the last few years.

BERMAN: Yet trying, Zolan, it seems, to talk about what's in the deal, because $2 trillion for the program, which is a lot, instead of what's not in it where a lot of the focus amongst some Democratic factions has been the last few weeks.

We also learned about the funding for this, or we learned what we need to find out about the funding for this, which is that Kyrsten Sinema is not in favor of raising corporate taxes. So, how is it then that ultimately this will be paid for?

KANNO-YOUNGS: I mean, that's going to be the question forward. Look, I mean, this was what was so interesting about yesterday. We have heard from multiple Democrats on the Hill that they are getting closer here. They have tried to continue to say that, that they are building momentum, that they are getting closer to a deal. And, of course we know that there is a sense of urgency with that because it is not just a reconciliation package but you need a framework at least for that pass, we have heard, in order for an infrastructure to come up for a vote as well.


But when you have the president saying and really pointing to Senator Sinema in her opposition to some of the pay-fors for this package, I mean, if you don't have that at that point, just how close are you?

KEILAR: Yes, very good questions. Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Edward-Isaac Dovere, thank you so much for your analysis today.

It was a wild scene on the House floor in another Marjorie Taylor Greene screaming match, Liz Cheney even invoking Jewish space lasers. We're getting the firsthand details.

And a Republican Congressman who is definitely not even on the January 6th committee sends out a letter claiming he is actually the top Republican on it.

BERMAN: Plus, how could this be happening again? A town in Michigan declaring a state of emergency over high levels of contaminated water.



KEILAR: Steve Bannon's fate is now in the hands of Attorney General Merrick Garland as he considers whether to proceed with criminal contempt charges against Bannon for defying a subpoena from the January 6th select committee. Nine House Republicans voted with all 220 Democrats in support of this move, this despite continued attempts by other Republican members to downplay the investigation.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We know that this is really about. This is about getting at President Trump.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Because they can't build back better, they've just decided to build back meaner.

REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): The select committee despises Steve Bannon's politics, so they are abusing their power to put him in jail.


KEILAR: Joining me now is former Republican Congressman former Presidential Candidate Joe Walsh and Alyssa Farah. She was the former -- she is the former White House communications director for President Trump. Thank you so much to both of you for being here today.

To you first, Joe. I mean, nine Republicans, that's significant. But that's not many.

FMR. REP. JOE WALSH (R-IL): That's -- Brianna, respectfully, that's nothing. I was thinking last night, I was a Republican for my whole adult life. I left the party 20 months ago. The party no longer believes in truth, no longer believes in democracy. And yesterday, they just reaffirmed that they no longer believe in the rule of law. That's all this was. It wasn't about Bannon. Our government was attacked. Bannon was given a lawful subpoena. He defied it. But over 200 Republicans said they don't care.

KEILAR: But like Matt Gaetz is saying this is mean. That's his defense. This is mean.

ALYSSA FARAH, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The House Republicans essentially forfeited the right to oversight going forward. They're saying enforcing subpoenas just doesn't matter and holding people in contempt just doesn't matter. But the funny thing that your viewers should know is most House Republicans actually hate Steve Bannon. They just live in perpetual fear of him going after them on his podcast or his various different outlets. He is going to actually continue to be a thorn in the side of them going forward, which is funny. If I were Kevin McCarthy, I would be worried about him trying to have somebody challenge me in leadership when Republicans take back the House. So I'm a little bit surprised to see them just so lining up behind him.

KEILAR: It's very interesting point that you make. Now, Jim Banks, who was the last Republican we that heard in that sort of montage of Republicans whitewashing what happened, Kevin McCarthy wanted him on the oversight committee. When he had five picks, he picked Jim Banks. But Nancy Pelosi said no. I mean, Jim Banks is a coup enabler. That was why she said no. He would have been the ranking member if she had not been rejected him on those grounds. And what we have now learned is that Jim Banks has been sending letters to government agencies asking for documents that are going to the January 6th committee and signing them as the ranking member. I mean, I might start signing things as the Queen of England.

WALSH: Brianna, I mean, it pains me. This is a party that lives in an alternative reality. You are correct, they don't give a damn about Bannon. But Bannon is where the base is. I mean, tens of millions of people listen to him every day. These Republicans are afraid of the base.

KEILAR: They are afraid of the base. But what do you make of a Jim Banks pretending to be on the committee, or saying -- he did say, look, I'm not the in the role that I should be in, but then he signs as if he's this shadow committee and he needs to be looped in on all of these documents. What do you think?

WALSH: I'm always reminded, Trump is like the most dishonest person who has ever lived and he's enabled these other Republicans to lie and to fudge and to commit fraud and to cheat. And for Banks to just put out dishonest stuff like that, Brianna, it's part and parcel.

KEILAR: It goes to your point that they forfeited oversight but here he is attempting to have it.

FARAH: Right. And it was always a strategic error by Republicans to not sit some of the members other than Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. I think it would have actually been good if this had been a truly bipartisan, fully staffed by Republican and Democrat members. But they forfeited that right. So, to now then be trying to get documents as the faux ranking member makes no sense. Liz Cheney is the ranking member.

KEILAR: Let's talk now about Texas, where the governor has appointed a secretary of state, a lawyer, John Scott, who briefly repped Donald Trump's interests in challenging the results in Pennsylvania. And it seems like this is all being put in place this continued effort to change the outcome of an election. And I wonder if Democrats and even Republicans opposed to it really are noticing or doing what they need to do.


FARAH: Well, and it's more widespread than just Texas. You have got Jody Hice challenging the seating Georgia secretary of state as well. This is a concerted effort by Trump world to try to get loyalists into secretary of state roles in states across the country for presumably exactly what you're saying, which is to challenge results of future elections. And I have said this recently. This is not just about 2024 and the next presidential race.

We need to watch Senate races as well and the Trump-aligned candidates. Are they going to concede if they lose or are they draw these things out, try to challenge them in court, try to go to loyalist secretaries of state. These is the consequences of when we just do not let our institutions hold and we try to challenge the basic facts of elections, and we're seeing it across the country right now. There will be more than Texas. There will be more than Georgia.

WALSH: Brianna, to answer your question, no. No, the Democrats don't understand what Republicans are doing right now. This is scary. This is the bigger concern. I know everybody is talking about access to the vote. I think Democrats and Americans are going to come out in '22 and '24 vote no matter what Republicans try to do. But what's going on in Texas and other states is they are trying to rig how the vote is counted and who counts the vote and how these votes and counts are certified. That's really scary and Democrats need to pay attention.

KEILAR: Well, that makes challenging it on the back end harder. There doesn't seem to be -- the phrase about prevention, an ounce of prevention, there doesn't seem to be much prevention, right?

WALSH: This is what we all should be focused on. In every state they are trying to rig how and who, who counts the vote, how it's counted and whether it's certified or not. This is scary. It's a party, Brianna, that is anti democracy, period.

FARAH: Well, and I would say this. You wouldn't need to do this if you thought you were running a winning presidential candidate. And this gets back to the broader point if Donald Trump lost, he could not get enough people to support him. 74 million people versus Biden's 81 million. Why don't we just run a Republican presidential candidate who can actually get elected and actually win so we are not having to set up these faux challenges all over the country?

KEILAR: Who would that be?

FARAH: Tim Scott?

KEILAR: Tim Scott. You say?

WALSH: No one. It's Trump's party. No one is going to challenge him if he runs.

KEILAR: It's a takeover. All right, Allyssa, Joe, great to see you guys this morning. Thank you.

President Biden saying here on CNN, when there are 50 Democratic senators, every one of them is a president. So what is President Kyrsten Sinema's agenda? Your Reality Check, next.

BERMAN: And the breaking news of the deadly shooting on an Alec Baldwin film set, what is said to be an accidental discharge from a gun he was using in a scene. New details, ahead.