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Police Say, Shooting Suspect's Parents Considered Fugitives After Charges; Lawyer Who Crafted Plan To Overturn Election To Defy 1/6 Committee Subpoena; CDC Chief: Omicron "Might" Become Dominant Variant In U.S.; Sources: Russia Positions More Forces And Supply Lines As Fears Rise Of Potential Ukraine Invasion. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 03, 2021 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's at 9:00 A.M. and noon Eastern.

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Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer next door in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, authorities say the parents of the Michigan school shooting suspect considered fugitives after failing to show for their arraignment. I'll speak live with the prosecutor who charged them with involuntary manslaughter.

Also breaking a lawyer that crafted a plan for former Vice President Pence to overturn the election is joining other Trump allies in defying a subpoena by the January 6 select committee. A key committee member, Congressman Adam Schiff, standing by live, he will join us to discuss the situation.

And as the omicron variant spreads to more states, the CDC director now warns it may, I repeat, may, become the dominant strain in the United States where COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise.

We want to welcome the viewers here in the United States and the around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin with truly stunning developments in the deadly Michigan school shooting. Federal and local authorities launching a search right now for the suspect's parents treating as a manhunt. The couple's whereabouts unknown hours after they were formally charged with involuntarily manslaughter.

CNN's Alexandra Field is on the scene for us in Oxford, Michigan, right now. Alexandra, what are you hearing about the missing parents, at least right now?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, an absolutely bizarre chain of events. Authorities do not know where they are. We know that the FBI, U.S. marshals and the Oakland County Sheriff's Department are working together to try and track down Jennifer and James Crumbley. We haven't seen them publicly since Wednesday when they appeared via video-link for their son's arraignment. That time, it appeared they were in a car. It is not clear where they are tonight.

The sheriff's office says they had been in touch with an attorney representing the couple to arrange for an arrest once charges were handed down, but they can't find the couple now. Bizarrely, attorneys representing the couple have put out a statement saying Jennifer and James haven't fled. They left town for own safety following the shooting and that they are returning for their arraignment. But that arraignment was scheduled for 4:00 this afternoon. The courthouse is now closed. The couple is not in custody.

All of this coming after a prosecutor laid out these searing details of the shooting that happened earlier this week in the school just behind me and an impassioned plea for why she believes the parents must be prosecuted.


KAREN MCDONALD, OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR: While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals that contributed to this.

FIELD (voice over): In a rare move, a prosecutor holding the parents of a school shooter responsible in the deaths of four teenagers hunted down, investigators say, by their son in the hallways of a high school.

MCDONALD: Anyone with the opportunity to stop this from happening to have done it.

FIELD: James and Jennifer Crumbley each charged with four counts over involuntarily manslaughter following Tuesday's attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an active shooter incident. So far, we do have confirmed injuries.

FIELD: The Oakland County prosecutor saying the father bought the semiautomatic handgun used in the shooting four days earlier with the 15-year-old son, Ethan, by his side. Ethan later posting a picture of it on social media with the caption, just got the new beauty today, and his mother, in her own now deleted post, writing mom and son day testing out his Christmas present, according to prosecutors. Just days later --

MCDONALD: A teacher at the oxford high school observed Ethan searching ammunition on his cell phone during class and reported the same to school officials.

FIELD: The parents don't respond to messages from the school but investigators say the mother does send text messaging to the son, LOL, I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught. The next day, the morning of the shooting, another teacher makes a shocking discovery. MCDONALD: A drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words, quote, the thoughts won't stop, help me, end quote. In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet, quote, blood everywhere, end quote.

Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding. Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, quote, my life is useless, end quote. And to the right of that are the words, quote, the world is dead, end quote.


FIELD: Officials say the suspect and his parents met with administrators. Law enforcement isn't notified, neither is the school resource officer. But the Crumbleys who were told to get counseling for their son within 48 hours resist taking him home for the day. They never ask where his gun is, likely in his backpack, investigators say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put it out as a mass casualty, please.

FIELD: As news of a shooting at the high school on Tuesday afternoon, a text from the mother, Ethan, don't do it. Minutes later, prosecutors say the father calls 911 to report a missing gun that had been stored, investigators, say in an unlocked drawer.

MCDONALD: I am by no means saying that an active shooter situation should always result in a criminal prosecution against parents but the facts of this case are so egregious.

This doesn't just impact me as a prosecutor and a lawyer, it impacts me as a mother.


FIELD (on camera): As the hunt for the parents continues tonight, the sheriff is acknowledging the possibility that they could be armed. People with information on their possible whereabouts are just being asked to contact officials. Wolf?

BLITZER: You've got to err at the side of caution. There's no doubt about that. Alexandra Field, we'll get back to you. Thank you very much.

And let's discuss what's going on. The Oakland County, Michigan prosecutor, Karen McDonald, is joining us right now. Prosecutor, thank you so much for joining us, we really appreciate your important and very hard work.

As you know better than anyone, police are still searching for the shooting suspect's parents following your announcement earlier today of involuntary manslaughter charges against the couple. Can you give us an update on their status? When did you learn they were missing and what do you know now?

MCDONALD: At this point, I am told they're still -- they have not turned themselves in despite their attorney's statement that that was their intention. So, I can't give you any update. I really hope that they will be apprehended soon or choose to turn themselves in.

Since the day after the shooting and my very first press conference, I indicated that I was seriously considering and reviewing potential charges against the Crumbleys, the mom and dad. It was the world's worst kept secret. We've been in constant communication with the sheriff's department. They actually were being surveilled. And I think at this point it's been over six hours since they were officially charged and the warrant sworn too. So, I just hope they do the right thing and turn themselves in as soon as possible.

BLITZER: Yes, so do I.

MCDONALD: I do though want to --

BLITZER: Go ahead.

MCDONALD: -- really stress here that the important -- I want to -- the last thing that needs to happen is more emphasis on the Crumbleys. I really want to emphasize that we have victims in that community. We have parents who have lost their children, kids who have lost their friends and injured kids. And the community is really struggling. And I don't -- I don't want to miss the opportunity to really focus on the victims of these terrible crimes.

BLITZER: Yes, we're certainly going to discuss that with you, prosecutor. Because when I see the pictures of those four kids who were murdered, I mean, it's so wrenching for me. I can only imagine what's going on in your community over there.

But a few specific questions, as far as you know, does anyone know right now where this couple is?

MCDONALD: There is a very sophisticated and skilled law enforcement both from the sheriff's department, federal marshals, and I'm confident that they will be apprehended. And I'm not kept up to speed minute-by-minute what they're doing, and that's a good thing because that's not my area of expertise. So, I'll be notified as soon as they're apprehended.

I have been updated concerning certain cell phone pings throughout the last couple days. They really did have a good handle on where they were. That's what was reported to us. So, I'm hoping that they'll turn themselves in quickly.

BLITZER: Yes, me too. I think all of our viewers not only here in the United States but around the world are watching right now and they can't believe what's going on here in the United States when a mass shooting like this once again takes place at a school.

A lot of people are asking this question. Why weren't the Crunbleys taken into custody, Prosecutor, before you publicly announced the formal charges against them?

MCDONALD: They were being surveilled and we the attorney contacted the sheriff's office and myself and said that they were going to turn themselves in. I did not respond. This is a common tactic and used as defense attorneys.


They want to find out information, which is their job. But we don't give information about what we're going to do and when we're going to do it in serious cases like this.

So, the arrest and apprehension of the Crumbleys was fully in the hands of the law enforcement and I am certain that that will occur.

BLITZER: Yes. We're all waiting for that. We listen so closely today, Prosecutor, as you laid out in great detail, very stunning detail, heartbreaking detail, the stunning evidence that led you to charge the parents with four counts each of involuntarily manslaughter. Is there an additional past history of troubling behavior involving the suspect?

MCDONALD: I only know what has been presented to us. My strong feeling is that we will likely find out more and more information about his past. But what we do know is that this gun was purchased. It was purchased for him. He had access to it. And he was, as recent as the day of the shooting and the day before, exhibiting behaviors and statements that are very concerning and any reasonable person would look at that particularly if they knew he had access to a weapon and say, something is wrong and I need to do something, particularly if it were his parents, the people who actually purchased the weapon for him.

So, you can't really look at what occurred the day before the shooting and the day of and say, we had no warnings. It was a definite warning sign. And it was, unfortunately, ignored and except for the promise to get counseling, mom and dad said nothing. They never disclosed that he had a weapon. They never asked him where the weapon was. We think it was in his actual backpack while they were meeting with him and he went back to school and just a few hours later he started firing.

BLITZER: From our reporters who are on the ground where you are over there, we are learning there's obviously a lot of anger within the community directed toward the school. Did the school know that the suspect had access to a deadly weapon? Did they ever ask the suspect or his parents for that matter if he had access to a gun?

MCDONALD: There's no evidence that I have seen or reviewed at this point that the school had knowledge that he had a weapon or he had access to a weapon. I know that he texted his mother the day before regarding the ammunition search, that she actually texted him, did you -- did you tell them about the gun? And almost as if he should be bragging about that. And he stated that I think to a teacher that he -- his mother purchased a gun but there was no indication that he was carrying a gun.

I mean, if mom and dad bought that -- him a weapon, it would be reasonable to assume that showing them the information regarding the threats of violence that they would disclose he had a weapon, and they didn't. And what's really telling, as your reporter pointed out, that the behavior of mom and dad just hours later after they learned that there was an active shooter, dad doesn't go to the school. Dad doesn't text the kid, his kid, and say, are you okay? He goes to his house and looks for that gun because he's clearly worried. He doesn't see it. He calls 911. He says there's a gun missing from my house and I think my son is the shooter.

Mom texts just minutes after the shooting started and to her son, don't do it. And, Ethan don't do it, is what the text says. And that was information that we learned. Slowly every day, we learn more information. As soon as I heard about this, the first thing I asked, and I know everybody asked, is where did he get this weapon? Where did he get this deadly weapon? Because we know he can't legally own that weapon.

And as the information came in, it was just so horrifying to see that these parents were completely responsible for allowing that -- those murders. I just -- I can't -- I understand this is the first time that this has been done. I didn't know at the time and actually I didn't -- I don't care at all.


What I really care about is trying to further a policy of deterrence, trying to come to a place where, as a country, we do not tolerate this and training kids to hide under desks. I know it's necessary but it's just not enough. There are still murders occurring. There are still school shootings.

Everything happened like it should in this case. All of the kids were trained. They all hid under their desks. They ran into classrooms. They barricaded doors. Law enforcement did what they were supposed to do, and still four children were murdered and seven more were injured. That's not even counting the hundreds and hundreds of students that were in that high school that day hiding under desks, texting their parents that they love them because they didn't think they'd see them ever again. And those are real victims too. And you can't unwind that for those children. You just can't.

BLITZER: Well, we see the pictures of those four students who were shot and killed, 14, 15, 16, 17-year-olds, it is so heartbreaking to just see -- to see what has actually happened and seven other students seriously injured.

Should school administrator, Prosecutor, have actually reported the warning signs that were out there -- there were clear warning signs, drawings, statements to law enforcement or even the school resource officer, I know we're all smarter with hindsight but should they have done that?

MCDONALD: Well, of course. And it doesn't take a long legal career or a law degree to conclude that. Of course, they should. I don't have enough knowledge or review of any of the reports regarding that part of this investigation to comment on it. But, of course, they should. Of course, they should. BLITZER: When I heard you earlier today, Prosecutor, you were asked specifically how long this plot was premeditated. And you replied, and I'm quoting you now, long enough. What did you mean by that?

MCDONALD: I mean, I can't really talk about the specifics, so you'll just have to trust me when I say, long enough. And definitely that's not something that was planned the day before, pr the day of. It was planned before then.

BLITZER: Was it just a few days earlier?

MCDONALD: I'm not going to --

BLITZER: Was it a few days, a few weeks, months earlier? Can you just give us a sense when you say, long enough?

MCDONALD: I don't really want to disclose evidence that's not public already. It's not ethical for me to do so. But I am very comfortable that it was a planned premeditated act, that the shooter absolutely intended to do that. He talked about how he was going to do -- he wrote about how he was going to do that and the manner in which he was going to do that. And regarding the length of time I just -- I'm just not in a position to comment about it.

BLITZER: I want to quickly turn, while have you, prosecutor, to the charges against this 15-year-old suspect. What led you to include a terrorism charge? That's not something we typically see in a school shooting case.

MCDONALD: Well, Michigan has a law of terrorism and causing death, and it -- it is a charge that reflects an act that resulted in death on a community of people, not like the federal charge where it requires a government entity, but just a community of people. And when you charge the shooter with first-degree murder, four counts, and assault with intent to murder, those are appropriate charges.

But there wasn't a charge that reflected the whole other group of victims that were there that day, and can't even sleep or eat or be by themselves and are still not even -- are in shock. They're traumatized. They were terrorized. And I don't think it would even be moral not to include that charge. Those injured students and murdered students, they are victims but there's also a whole other population there that suffered.

And I think including that is important on behalf of the victims but I also think it's important for the country because there aren't just the injured or killed children. It is the entire community. And throughout the last several days since the shooting, I have heard from people all over the country where there were school shootings and they're mostly moms and dads and talk about their -- the shooting that occurred in their community and years and years later, they're still traumatized by it.


It's really much bigger than what it seems. BLITZER: Yes. And you said earlier today this impacted you, as it did so many other people, but you specifically not only as a prosecutor but as a mother, a mother in this community. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

MCDONALD: Yes. I raised teenagers, and, you know, you worry a lot. But the one place I didn't worry is when I knew they were in school because that's supposed to be a safe place. And the thought as a parent of saying goodbye to your child when they're on the way out the door with their backpack, maybe driving themselves to high school, goodbye, I love you, and not even thinking for one second that you wouldn't see them again because they went to school.

I mean, as parents, as mothers, we worry when they do certain things. We worry they're driving for the first time. We worry when they're in activities socially with their friends. Are they going to make good decisions? But school? School is not where we're supposed to worry.

And also I want to say that all of these educators, they've dedicated their lives to teach children and kids. And they -- they are being put in situation where is they have to protect them from firearms. I was watching something on, one of the kids who was there, and she said, my math teacher saved our lives. And that's just -- it is just wrong. And I can't believe that this is where we are.

And, yes, so it's a unique charge, terrorism. And it's probably a unique thing to do to charge parents. But if we are really going to solve this, if we're really going to try to make sure this doesn't happen again, we have to do things different because everything so far -- I mean, my community is suffering. So, we clearly aren't doing enough.

BLITZER: We are all suffering seeing what's happening in your community and wondering are kids going to have to go through metal detectors to go to school.

Let me just clarify one point. I know yesterday you said charges against the parents potentially could come up within 24 hours. But the sheriff says your office didn't give him a specific heads-up that the charges were actually coming today. Is that true?

MCDONALD: The charges were -- my office was in constant communication with the detectives working the case. We needed certain evidence to make that charge. And we couldn't get it without it. The swear to was by a sheriff's detective who, by the way, is extraordinary, before I made the announcement. We were receiving -- we requested surveillance. We were receiving updates and where the cell phones were pinging as of yesterday morning.

So, I don't know where the lack of communication was and, honestly, I don't -- I don't care. And I just want to focus on the prosecution. I want to focus on these victims. And it's unfortunate that these two individuals are not apprehended yet but their attorney did communicate to law enforcement that they were turning themselves in. So, you know, I think that we shouldn't ignore that.

If they don't turn themselves in, will they be facing additional charges?


BLITZER: Well, the Oakland County prosecutor, Karen McDonald, I know this is awful, this is horrible, it's a heart-wrenching moment for you and certainly for all of us who are watching, we're grateful to you with what you're doing. Good luck over there. And, please, on behalf of all of our viewers in the U.S. and around the world express our deepest condolences to the families who are suffering, those children, may they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing. Thank you so much for joining us.

MCDONALD: I will. Thank you.

BLITZER: And there's more breaking news we're following. We'll get back to what's going on in Michigan. But CNN has also learned that conservative lawyer John Eastman says he'll defy a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. We're going to speak to a key member of the committee next, Congressman Adam Schiff, there you see him, he is standing by live, we'll discuss.

We'll be right back.



BLITZER: There's more breaking news we're following here in THE SITUATION ROOM right now, conservative lawyer John Eastman now saying he'll defy a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.

Let's discuss this and more with a key member of the January 6th committee, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He's also the chairman, by the way, of the House Intelligence Committee and the author of the brand new best-selling book entitled, Midnight in Washington, How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could. Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

CNN has just learned, you know this, that this conservative lawyer, John Eastman, says he will defy the subpoena from the committee.


How will the committee respond to this defiance?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, I guess what he is saying, and I think he made this public in an interview he did with Steve Bannon, of all people, is that he intends to assert the Fifth. And we will try to ascertain when he does, as we will, when we have the opportunity to depose Mr. Clark, who has also said he intends to assert the Fifth, whether they're asserting it in good faith because they believe they may be implicated in criminal activity, or whether merely trying to cover up for the former president.

And it is a difficult determination to make. If he genuinely believes that his testimony would implicate him in crime, then he does have a right to assert the Fifth. But we will do our best to determine whether that's being properly. And then, of course, maybe a great many questions that he can answer without fear of incrimination.

BLITZER: Eastman says the partisan makeup of your select committee, the way it was organized, he says, makes it invalid, therefore, he does not need to cooperate. What do you say to that?

SCHIFF: Well, that's a frivolous argument. If he uses that as a basis to refuse to answer questions, then he will be in the contempt of the committee and it will be fairly simple and straightforward. So, we'll be seeing with each witness, with Meadows, with Clark, with Eastman and others whether they're properly invoking a privilege or whether they are merely trying to stall and delay or cover up for the former president and we will make our judgment as to what the repercussions should be once we see and hear their testimony.

BLITZER: CNN has now obtained a copy of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' forthcoming book supposed to be released next week, where he actually doubles down on the baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and white washes the violent attack on January 6th.

In the book, he writes this, and let me read this quote. He says, Trump did not call for violence. He did not expect anyone would enter the Capitol building. Could these new disclosures actually though undermine Meadows' executive privilege claims?

SCHIFF: Absolutely. Up until now, he has been saying that I can't answer relevant questions before the committee because the former president is asserting executive privilege, but, apparently, he felt more than comfortable writing about these things, which presumably you have to expect that Meadows would have cleared that with the former president, and if the former president waived his privilege so that Meadows could write about it, you cannot then assert privilege to prevent him from answering questions about it.

So, I think there's a powerful case, if indeed, as CNN is reporting, that he writes about conversations he had with the president, that any privilege would be waived. But, frankly, even if it isn't waved, the holder of the privilege is the current president, and Joe Biden is saying he is not asserting any privilege here, the public has a need to know.

BLITZER: Your committee just announced, Congressman, that the deposition with former Trump Justice Department Official Jeffrey Clark originally scheduled for tomorrow has now been postponed until December 16th. What more can you tell us about the postponement? Do you still expect him to plead the Fifth when he does appear?

SCHIFF: Well, I can only say that the committee is confident that this is -- this request based on a medical condition is a valid one. So, it doesn't appear to be a ruse. So, we, you know, certainly hope that his health improves.

In terms of what he will do when he does appear, and I'm confident he will appear, it may be that he asserts it is Fifth because he believes that his testimony may implicate him in a crime. Now, that's an extraordinary thing for someone who was at the senior most levels of the Justice Department that they feel the need to plead the Fifth, that they might have been involved in criminal activity, but he has made a whole series of other very spurious claims when he appeared before as a basis for refusing to answer.

And mind you, Wolf, when he did appear before, he made no suggestion that he thought that his answers might incriminate him. So, again, we will try to determine whether he's operating in good, bad faith or some a mixture of the above before we decide on what steps may be appropriate.

BLITZER: Can you share what kind of health issue he is citing?

SCHIFF: The short answer is, I don't know. And if I did, I probably wouldn't be in a position to share that either out of respect for his health condition. But I am told by the committee staff that he provided ample documentation of that so that we knew it was not a ruse.


BLITZER: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

BLITZER: There's more breaking news we're following this time with the latest on the search for the missing parents of the Michigan school shooting suspect now facing charges and consider fugitives. We are taking an extraordinary look at this case when we come back.


BLITZER: The breaking news, a search tonight for the parents of the Michigan high school shooting suspect. James and Jennifer Crumbley considered fugitives after failing to appear on charges in connection with the attack that left four teenagers dead.


CNN's Brian Todd is working the story for us. So, Brian, these charges against the suspect's parents are very unusual.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are very rare, Wolf. They almost never happen that parents are criminally charged. They have faced civil lawsuits in the past. Analysts who monitor these cases tell us this prosecution should send a clear message to parents across the country that they have got to be more vigilant.


TODD (voice over): Tonight, James and Jennifer Crumbley have the rare distinction of being parents criminally charged in connection with the school mass shooting that their son, Ethan, committed. Each parent facing four counts of involuntarily manslaughter.

MCDONALD: I expect everyone to have humanity and to step in and stop a potential tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff's office.

TODD: Just how rare is it for parents or other adults connected to child shooters to face criminal charges?

PROF. DANIEL WEBSTER, DIRECTOR, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND POLICY: This is extraordinary. This virtually never happens. I can think of one case, again, another Michigan case, but it is extraordinary, even though these events, sadly, happen all too commonly.

TODD: Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins, who has been studying this issue for 30 years, is referring a case in Flint, Michigan, in 2000, where a man pleaded no contest to involuntarily manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison after a six-year-old boy who was living with him found a gun in a shoebox and killed a school classmate.

With this case in Oakland County, Michigan, Prosecutor Karen McDonald laid out some of the potential evidence against the parents, saying that James Crumbley purchased a handgun but it was really for his son, which he said that the son's social media post show.

WEBSTER: It is illegal to purchase a handgun for a 15-year-old.

TODD: Experts say it was the parent's alleged inaction on the morning of the shooting that could give them the most legal trouble. That's when the prosecutor says Crumbley's parents were summoned to the school after a disturbing note was found on his desk, a note with drawings of a gun, bullets and references to deadly violence. The prosecutor says the parents didn't ask their son where the gun was, didn't check his backpack and refused to take him home.

KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSITANT U.S. ATTORNEY: The argument is extreme negligence. They had enough knowledge that it was criminally negligent for them to have not taken the steps to protect in this instance the other students in the school.

TODD: Webster says many gun owners he's observed who are parents are vigilant about gun safety when their children are very young. But then --

WEBSTER: Once they become 10, 11, 12 years old, there are many gun owners who have the view that you're going to sort of tell them the rules, you don't touch this if I'm not around and that those rules will always be obeyed, and that, of course, is ridiculous.


TODD (on camera): Now, when asked if she's looking at anyone else for charges, including possibly school officials, the Oakland County prosecutor, Karen McDonald, would only say the investigation is ongoing, Wolf, so school officials could face charges.

BLITZER: All right, very interesting. All right, Brian, thank you very, very much.

Let's get some more on this very unusual case. Joining us now is CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig. His new book is entitled, Hatchet Man, How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department. Also with us, CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey.

Elie, let me start with you because you heard the interview. I just spoke with the prosecutor in this case, Karen McDonald, who laid out that stunning evidence against the suspect's parents. And she told me it is likely more charges could be filed against the parents if they don't turn themselves in. How do you see all this playing out?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, first and most immediately, this is such an important charge for the victims, for the families, for the communities. They're hurting. They need justice. They're entitled to justice. And I think true justice and accountability here extends beyond the shooter to the parents. Based on what we heard from the prosecutor in your interview just now and earlier today, these are very well-supported involuntarily manslaughter charges.

With respect to the failure to surrender is really interesting. At the end of your interview, you asked could there be more charges based on this. And the prosecutor said, yes. So, there could be additional consequences based on their failure to surrender.

BLITZER: Good point. Chief Ramsey, the prosecutor, she also just told me that police were surveilling the parents. If that's the case, how is it that they are still missing after failing to turn themselves in just a couple of hours or so ago?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, that's a great question. I mean, the purpose of the surveillance would be to know the whereabouts of the individuals so that if the warrant was issued, you could take them into custody.

I don't know when they actually left the home. You watch that one video during the arraignment, it appears they're in a vehicle. She also mentioned that they were tracking the cell phones. I don't know if the cell phones were just left in the home to make you believe that they were there and they were actually somewhere else. That just doesn't really make sense to me.


I don't know how can be on a surveillance and lose the people that you're supposedly observing.

BLITZER: Yeah, it's a good point. Based on the evidence laid out today, how strong are the involuntarily manslaughter charges against the parents?


The case that the prosecutor laid out to public today is like none I have seen before. Talk about parents who knew and should have known the danger that their child posed and contributed to it by getting him the firearm. These are sort of landmark charges. It is extraordinarily rare as we saw for anyone to be charged with this kind of -- in this kind of scenario. So this is a notice to prosecutors, to parents, to all of us.

BLITZER: You were the D.C. police chief, Chief Ramsey, the commissioner in Philadelphia. Have you seen a case like this where parents are charged because their son allegedly did this?

HONIG: No. I haven't. I mean, I have seen situations where parents have been charged if a youngster finds a gun and the gun discharges and shoots and kills someone else and the parents charged in that regard but nothing like a school shooting or something like this. This is unusual.

But when you hear the prosecutor talk about the evidence and what took place, it's very clear that the parents were incredibly negligent at the very least and are responsible for what took place.

BLITZER: Yeah, the prosecutor makes a really impressive case.

Chief Ramsey, Elie Honig, guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, the CDC Director Rochelle Walensky talks to CNN about the Omicron variant as it continues to spread right here in the United States.



BLITZER: Tonight, the CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is warning that the Omicron variant might -- might become the dominant strain of coronavirus here in the United States.

CNN's Nick Watt has the latest.



NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Omicron is in the United States. That mild case in Minnesota, he was fully vaccinated and boosted.

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: So far, I am reassured that this will be just a mild illness, if any illness at all for those of us that are fully vaccinated but there are a lot of people in the U.S. who are unvaccinated and our hospitals cannot take that kind of surge again.

WATT: And it appears, this variant, first detected in southern Africa, does spread faster.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Early data and even, um, mutation data are telling us that this may well be a more transmissible variant than delta.

DR. SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, CHIEF SCIENTIST, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We do think it is quite infectious, quite transmissible because South Africa is been reporting a rapid increase in the number of cases, doubling every day.

WATT: Still unclear, if it partially evades vaccines but --

DR. MARGARET HARRIS, SPOKESPERSON, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The other thing that's becoming clearer is that people who are infected with other versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be reinfected with this one.

WATT: New travel restrictions kick in 12:01 a.m. Monday. Everyone coming in into the U.S. will have to test negative within 24 hours of departure, some experts also advocating domestic travel restrictions.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: When you go through security, you show your vaccine card. If you don't -- if you haven't been vaccinated, you can't get onboard an aircraft.

WATT: The Biden administration has said it will not do that.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The measures that I announced yesterday are -- we believe -- are sufficient. But we do require for travel, we are going to continue to require people to have mask on.

WATT: The administration is now trying to speed up the identification of variant cases. Latest analysis, sample collection to ID takes 28 days here. Much quicker in Botswana, Belgium, and the U.K.

WALENSKY: It may very well be that we start to see more Omicron than we have Delta. And we will be following that very carefully.

WATT: The Delta variant is still very dominant in the U.S. and, big picture, we are now averaging over 100,000 new infections every day. It hasn't been that high in nearly two months. Hospitalizations and deaths, also, climbing.


WATT (on camera): Now, today, the Biden administration shipped 11 million vaccine doses overseas, 9 million of them, to Africa. In South Africa, only 25 percent of people are fully vaccinated. But that's not a supply issue. South Africa, like the United States, Wolf, has a vaccine hesitancy issue -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sixty million eligible Americans, still, refusing to get vaccinated.

Nick Watt reporting for us, thank you very much. Coming up, Russia positions more forces and supply lines raising fears

of a potential Ukraine invasion. It's a CNN exclusive. We'll be right back.



BLITZER: Now, a CNN exclusive. We are getting new details right now about Russia's military buildup at the Ukraine border.

Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has new information for us.

So, is he planning an invasion, Putin?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: We don't know if he is planning it but the latest U.S. intelligence assessments show that Russia has all it needs today to launch a swift and immediate invasion, if it chooses. The most recent information they have supply lines, as well, which had been a missing piece. Seven to ten days for frontline forces, 30 days for support forces. This, on top of multiple layers of military capabilities, including intelligence, agents, and operatives, both, inside and outside the country, as well as fuel lines, even plans to treat their wounded inside and outside Ukraine.

We are also learning in recent days, Russia has added more troops to the close to 100,000 forces it has arrayed around Ukraine. This happening just in recent days, Wolf. Again, U.S. does not know what Russia plans. They do believe that they could carry out immediately if the Kremlin were to order it.

And this is crucial, I spoke to a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Quigley, he said the Russians greatly outgun Ukrainian officials. The Russians plan if they decide a blitzkrieg-like assault on Ukraine.

BLITZER: Yeah, strong words coming from President Biden, so far. Secretary of State Blinken, let's see what happens. This is a extremely tense situation.

SCIUTTO: Very public warning.

BLITZER: Yeah. Jim Sciutto, thank you for your exclusive reporting.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.