tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN October 8, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT
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so here's the breaking news. the senate voting late tonight to extend the nation's debt limit through early december, averting economic disaster for now after breaking a republican filibuster meant to scuttle the deal reached between democratic and gop leaders. also tonight, a lawyer for the former president telling four trump loyalists to ignore subpoenas from the january 6th select committee. that's according to "the washington post." the deadline to comply with the subpoenas, tonight. and more breaking news in the search for brian laundrie. police in florida now saying that he was under surveillance before he vanished more than
three weeks ago. i want to bring in cnn's senior political analyst ron brownstein and senior legal analyst elie honig. good to see both of you. thanks for joining. so, ron, the senate voted to extend the debt limit until early december, avoiding an economic disaster for now. it was dicey there for a bit. i mean that's a pretty good example of just how dysfunctional our politics are right now and, i mean, don't you think? now what? they're just sort of kicking the can down the road? >> and with no prospect that there will be a better resolution on the horizon in december. look, the important point to start that everyone has to understand is what a radical escalation in political conflict and what a reckless escalation of political conflict it is for republicans to have filibustered the increase in the debt ceiling. yes, it is true the democrats have voted in the past against raising the debt ceiling when republicans held unified control of the government, but they did not filibuster. they said it was the majority
party's obligation to raise it, and they let them do it after casting basically their symbolic vote of opposition. today mcconnell struggled to find even ten republicans who were willing to kind of step aside and let democrats do this on their own when behind door number two is potential catastrophe and the global economy. and this is just a reminder to joe manchin and kyrsten sinema, who are arguing that the filibuster promotes compromise. if it is this difficult to get ten republicans to just step out of the way and let democrats do this on their own, what are the odds of getting ten republicans to vote to do almost anything else that, you know, president biden and the democratic majority wants to do? >> elie, i want to talk about this "washington post" report that a trump lawyer told his former advisers, mark meadows, kash patel, dan scavino, steve
bannon. is this obstruction of congress? >> yeah, don. this is going to come down to a matter of political will. how much political will does congress and the committee have, and will doj show some backbone here? look, it's 11:00. these documents are due in an hour at midnight. i don't think mark meadows is going to be walking his documents into the capitol. what does the committee do? if it feels like we've been here before, we have because donald trump told us two years he was going to, quote, fight all the subpoenas. as a result, he's managed to push off all sorts of congressional oversight. is congress going to learn lessons? are they going to get into court tomorrow to try to compel this from a judge? are they going to send it to doj? and if they send it to doj, what is merrick garland going to do? it's a federal crime to commit contempt of congress. it hasn't been charged in many, many years but we're also in unprecedented times right now. >> there's the senate judiciary report where we learned that
trump directly asked justice department officials nine times to undermine the election results. i mean the guy was relentless. does any of this add up to a crime, and what's to stop something like this from ever happening again? >> well, i'm on record and i'll say it again. i do think there were crimes here. look, trying to steal an election broadly speaking is a federal crime. election interference is a crime. fraud is a crime. conspiracy is a crime. i don't just mean the former president. i mean jeffrey clark. i mean other enablers. don, you opened the show tonight talking about next time. what happens next time? well, i'll tell you something. if there's no real consequences, there will be a next time. and the consequences thus far for trying to overthrow an election and overthrow a democracy have been a bunch of papers, some findings, a report today, very important in normal times, but that kind of consequence doesn't resonate whatsoever with donald trump and his most loyal followers. >> ron, republicans issuing a rebuttal report dismissing the idea that trump was attempting a
coup, saying ultimately the doj never took action. so they're saying, oh, yeah, you know, well, he tried, but he didn't actually succeed. it really speaks volumes that they're even is a gop rebuttal report and that their point of the coup is, well, it's no big deal because it failed. >> in some ways, this was as significant as the revelations in the majority report because it shows how deeply the republican party is normalizing -- not only normalizing but kind of intensifying and trying to advance trump's assault on democracy in the aftermath of the election. i mean the fact that republicans are basically saying there was nothing wrong here is of a piece with republicans in red states using the big lie as a justification for, you know, this raft of voter suppression bills and legislation that would increase political control over the counting of the results and make it easier to envision
subversion of the results in 2024. i mean all of this is happening together and, you know, you talk about merrick garland. you talk about the justice department. it feels that every institution in society is having trouble grappling with the magnitude of the threat to american democracy that is developing from so many fronts, all springing from the same source of trump's willingness to undermine democracy if that's what it takes to maintain power. by the way, don, today joe manchin, who ultimately is the one who will have to decide whether to circumvent the filibuster to fight back against this with federal voting legislation, said to manu raju, the filibuster is the only thread we have in america to keep democracy alive and well at a time when all of this is going on. that is like right from the upside down, and it's a measure of, again, institutions and individuals are really having
trouble responding to the magnitude of the threat that's developing. >> listen, if they won't comply, if there's a filibuster, there's a political part of it, elie, then does this have to be settled in court, in a court of law? >> look, i don't think there's any way this gets settled outside of court because our system relies to some extent on good faith actors, right? it's very rare historically that these kind of disputes have had to go to court but unless donald trump or dan scavino or mark meadows suddenly comes to the table and says, guys, let's get rational, let's work something out, yeah, congress is going to have to go to the courts. they're going to have to get a civil order from a judge and they're going to have to bank on doj doing its part on the criminal side, yeah. >> thank you, gentlemen. i appreciate it. i want to bring in fiona hill. she is the author of "there is nothing for you here: finding opportunity in the 21st century." fiona, thank you so much. it's good to see you again.
congratulations on the book. let's talk about this because you warn in this book about the dangers to democracy. and so i just want your reaction to this senate judiciary report on trump's pressure campaign to overturn the 2020 election. if it weren't just for a handful of people that stood their ground, where would this country be right now? >> well, look, we're already in big trouble. this is a full-blown constitutional crisis, and, you know, i think that what's happening here is people just can't quite believe it. even the people who are not basically coming forward to answer these subpoenas are telling themselves, look, there's nothing wrong. this is all just politics. this is all just a game. you know, for them, it's not going to have these dire consequences. but it is. and, you know, already from the outside, people are looking in at the united states and recognizing all the hallmarks of a country in deep trouble. and, you know, the idea that a coup wasn't a coup or wasn't a coup attempt because it didn't
succeed, that's preposterous. it was an attempt at a coup, and we're still in the middle of it all because there are still attempts here to subvert the course of the inquiry basically as you're pointing out here, to completely remove congressional oversight, to not follow through with the letter of the law, and in fact the perpetration, as we've already been discussing -- you've been discussing again of this great big lie, a fat lie that trump had won the 2020 election. >> yeah. >> so we're still in the midst of the crisis that we've seen unfolding for now best part of two years. >> you call trump a would-be autocrat. now we're also learning trump's lawyer telling his former aides not to even cooperate with the january 6th committee. what happens if this investigation is thwarted, fiona? >> well, it's quite a lot of evidence to the fact that our institutions are falling apart here because they're only as
good as the people who are in them and the people who want to live by the letter of the law. in other countries where we see these things happening, the rule of law has never really taken shape. it's never really taken hold. this is a country, this is a republic that was set up only the basis of the rule of law with a constitution, with clear legislative parameters for the business of politics, and what we're seeing is people not just chipping away, but taking huge chunks of it away now. if congressional oversight no longer functions, then what's the purpose of congress in this larger context? >> this is what you write. you said, how the government's ineffectual response to the insurrection has made it more likely the next populist will succeed where trump failed. explain. >> well, look, we've seen this time and time again historically and also in contemporary politics elsewhere in the world. you know, russia, for example, that i spent some time making a comparison with in the book.
boris yeltsin, who preceded vladimir putin, he got into a spat with his parliament over a new constitution that gave him even more powers than he had before. he resolved it by firing on parliament, ordering the army out to shell parliament, including his own vice president and the speaker of the parliament in it. that way he ran through this constitution. the thing was he didn't take advantage of it, full advantage of it. the person who did, who came along later, who had a very different sensibility about ruling the country, vladimir putin, he took full use of that constitution. and everyone, you know, talks about how incompetent trump was, but he's pushing through all of these practices, all of these procedures now. he's upending all of the legislative failsavesves that w have, so the next person who comes along may be much more capable of putting all of that into action, and there we are. we have an autocrat. >> let's talk about something else you talk about.
you say president biden's infrastructure plan is only a start, fiona. >> that's right. look, we have to do things at the top. we have to do things at the bottom and in the middle as well. i'm just hoping that a lot more americans, ordinary people, are waking up to what's happening here and realizing if they don't stand up, speak the true, call out for action, that it's going to be too late. at the top, what we're missing is not the public policy approaches. we know what we need to do. the infrastructure bill and the re reconciliation bill are filled with all the elements that are needed to close the opportunity gap in the united states. they're going to fix that the way that both our politics and our economy are working. but it's the political will that's missing, the collective action. so people have to agitate for it from elsewhere in the system. state and local government, mayors, people who are community organizers. this is the time for people to stand up and say, look, we need to do something here, and we can't just wait for members of
congress to get their act together. that's where the problem is. we've had all these revelations from facebook recently about the algorithms being messed up. well, our political algorithm is messed up. we're just basically in this highly polarized, highly partisan situation. >> thank you so. i appreciate it. the book again is "there is nothing for you here: finding opportunity in the 21st century." thanks again. we've got news on the gabby petito case. police say they were surveilling her fiance. and why brian laundrie's family was out with police in that florida reserve today. abb
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ago. also saying that they never spoke with him even though they were watching him as best as they legally could. so let's discuss now with stuart kaplan, a former fbi special agent and criminal defense attorney. good evening to both of you. i want to start with stuart. they were watching him, but then they let him -- what? what happened? >> they had every right -- >> stuart, stuart, stuart. >> don, it's interesting. for several years in my new york assignment to the new york field office of the fbi, i was a team leader with the special operations division, where we did surveillances. the reality is coming into a quiet neighborhood and setting up on a target is nearly impossible. that's because you're an outsider and neighbors are locking their doors and they identify cars they normally don't see and people sitting in them, and they generally become nosy and interfere with your attempt to go undetected.
you try to set up on what's called choke points, when you set up on choke points, meaning that brian laundrie would anticipate passing through some street, and you would hope to pick him up outside the neighborhood. losing a subject is part of doing surveillance. so the fact that local law enforcement was attempting to surveil him and they obviously missed him at some choke point is part of the game. i think, you know, our guest on the other side is going to say the rules of engagement while someone is just a person of interest requires even that much more, you know, not to be in his face so to speak. >> mark, let's talk about that because north port police are saying they were doing what they were legally allowed to do. there was no crime yet, and there were limitations. were the police stymied by what they could do at the time? >> not to that extent. they could have easily gone up and sought to question him. he had every right not to talk to them, but they had every right to go up and inquire, which would seem to be -- of
course it's much easier in hindsight, to be far more valuable than simply surveilling somebody who if they thought he was going to be leaving, then they should have accelerated at least the one crime they could establish, which they ultimately brought charges for. why they went and did not talk to him, it didn't make sense to me. >> stuart, cnn also confirmed that authorities do not have in their possession brian or gabby's phone that they had with them on their trip. neither phone was found in the van. these phones could be anywhere. i mean they would be incredibly valuable to investigators. >> yeah, and so from the fbi's perspective, clearly they've gone back and tried to pick up on the last possible digital footprint, that being the pinging of those cell phones to the last tower. thereafter, obviously, the phones were turned off, or they were discarded. i think part of the efforts we've seen over the past couple of weeks with respect to really
trying to get into the carlton reserve with respect to at least initiating divers in the water is the likelihood offer the assumption that maybe these phones were discovered in the swampy mess out there, and their attempt to try to retrieve them and see what if any evidentiary value they might have. keep in mind also they obviously through the grand jury process have been able to retrieve the phone records. and so the phone records will tell a lot about the use of those phones. >> yeah. stuart, also today brian laundrie's father, chris laundrie, was seen entering the carlton reserve. that is the nature reserve there. he was assisting law enforcement in the search for his son. why do you think brian laundrie's parents are suddenly cooperating now, three weeks into this search? what does that mean? >> clear indication that they are now formally cooperating with law enforcement. clearly at the time, at the very early onset, there was an
assumption by law enforcement and that the parents assisted or hindered with respect to the ongoing investigation. i think once the evidence was established that they could potentially charge the mom or dad or together with respect to hindering an investigation, they now put the full-court press on the mom and dad through their lawyer. i think they realized their exposure, and they finally realized they need to come onboard and cooperate fully. so now you have mom and dad fully cooperating and trying to assist them in the apprehension of their son. >> mark, i want you to weigh in on this. does the new cooperation from the laundries indicate that they may have struck some kind of a deal? what could that entail? what do you see here? >> well, just going out for a search does not suggest they've given all the information.
did he get any getting out of town money, opening up bank accounts and whatever phone records they had. there's a lot more to cooperate than merely searching in the woods and suggesting maybe you're looking for him. to me there's been a concern from the onset. they are not acting like somebody whose child is either dead or missing. at least from what we see on the outside. so there's a concern to me that they do have potential charges but that this might be something that their attorney, mr. bert lee know, has suggested that they do. but i'm not seeing any great value with it unless all the other things are turned over which have been missing since gabby became missing. >> what do you mean they're not acting like someone whose child is missing or dead? >> well, as you know, we were involved back in the day in the casey anthony case. i always thought that the mother was very guilty because, you know, if you lose a child, if
your child is missing, you're balled up in a fetal position gasping for your next breath. that's not what we've seen outwardly, which would suggest they don't believe he is dead and that he is arguably in a safe place. of course that's speculation, but that's what we're all doing at this point. >> all right, mark, stuart, thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> my pleasure. florida's board of education voting to sanction eight school districts that have mask mandates with no opt-out. what do these districts plan to do next? a superintendent from one of them joins me.
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♪ what a wonderful world ♪ the florida state board of education voting to sanction eight school districts for instituting mask mandates without the ability to opt out. so the board saying that they are directly violating governor ron desantis florida department of health emergency rule. but the superintendents of the eight school districts arguing they were in compliance, citing rising case rates as a reason to implement mask mandates. the fight over mask mandates has been playing out over weeks and we've seen it in school boards all across the country. >> lord, stop. stop the left-wing, harmful, evil spirits that are taking over some of our board members.
>> let me go back to what masks really are. they are a sexual fetish for all of y'all that is in tune with pedophilia. that's what the mask is about. >> i'm in afghanistan right now. i have no choice. i have to wear this, or they're going to come and kill me. but in the united states, we have a choice, and the choice is we can wear a mask, or we don't have to wear a mask. >> all of that's real. that is not an "snl" sketch. real. joining me now is carly simon, the superintendent of alachua public schools, one of the east school districts set to be sanctioned. i mean, carly, good evening to you. wow. wow. wow. so you say that you're going to defy the florida board of education and maintain current masking protocols. board of ed members, they say
that they could be docked school pay, funding might be held back. that's a big risk. are you willing to take that? >> well, we actually along with broward county are already experiencing this. we've been having deductions from the state now. i believe we're starting our third month. and so this really is kind of where we've been. the new addition to the sanctions is that they are trying to deduct the additional funding that we received when we got the project safe grant from the u.s. department of education to make us whole from the state deductions. it's interesting because we'll see how that plays out. we did find out that the usdoe did write the commissioner of education and pointed out that this would perhaps be a violation of federal law. >> yeah. one of the district's being sanctioned said ten employees died after the second week of school opening, and in another, there were more than 3,200 covid
cases after schools opened. are you worried what could happen if you lifted these mandates in your district? >> so we are seeing the improvement in our covid cases, and we are having the opportunity to not have to quarantine as many students. we are still worried because 11 and under, the age group, they do not have access to the vaccine yet, and we don't want to risk it. we're almost at the end of this. as our doctors have pointed out, we're in the fourth quarter. this is not the time for us to quit. we need to finish game. our board members have added an additional four weeks to our masking for our children in middle school and elementary school. and we are allowing a parent option for our high school students. so we're slowly transitioning out, but we don't want to, you know, stop before we're finished and we want to make sure we have
that vaccine time so we can cover as many children as possible. >> carlee, florida is pushing back against the u.s. department of education for paying grants to your district to try to offset the penalties, and the biden administration saying today that withholding more funding raises legal concerns. do you want the biden administration to do more to fight this? >> well, we definitely appreciate the biden administration and the support that they can offer us. i think what we are looking for is we would like this level of support from our state, but it's clear that we are not getting that. in fact, just yesterday the commissioner corcoran, he just finally applied four months delayed for federal funding that would also help us with recovery from covid. it seems as though we're getting the support we need from the federal government, and we're hoping that the state decides to stop this nonsense of fighting us and help us out because we have a lot of work to do to recover from covid. >> you know, all of these fights over masks and vaccine mandates,
all of that has to affect the kids who are seeing these battles play out in public. how is it impacting their learning? >> so i think in our school buildings, the learning is happening. the students are happy, and they're enjoying the time with their friends and their teachers. i think when their parents are having these levels of arguments with school board members at board meetings, some parents bring their children, i'm sure that there is a level of, you know, watching adults really losing their cool and saying things that in many cases are inappropriate in public settings. i think it does have -- it dampens that type of a relationship that you want children to see with adults, and it's unfortunate our adults aren't always behaving well. >> carlee, thank you so much. best of luck, okay? >> thank you for having me. >> thank you. president biden defending his vaccine mandates as the country looks like it may be
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biden coronavirus adviser and the director of the center for infectious disease research and policy. a lot of experts have been suggesting that we're turning a corner in this pandemic. is this how you see it, or are people still refusing to get vaccinated? is that going to be a real threat with this variant coming up, another surge possibly? >> well, first of all, the number of cases has dropped substantially, and that's great news. think of the surge kind of like up a hill and down a hill, and we're on the downhills side. unfortunately if you live in a place like northern michigan or vermont or new hampshire or maine, we're seeing the main hit of the pandemic that was seen in the southern states. but in general over the course of the next, i think, three to five weeks, you're going to see the case numbers drop precipitously. but that's just for now. there will be more surges.
they will return. new york and l.a., for example, were not hit with this most recent surge. they are still due, and on top of it all, we still have 65 million americans who have not yet been vaccinated who could be right now. >> i want you to listen to what the president said today about vaccine mandates. here it is. >> look, i know the vaccination requirements are tough medicine, unpopular with some, politics for others. but they're lifesaving. they're game-changing for our country. >> is he right? are vaccine mandates why hospitalizations and cases are down now? >> well, i think it's clear that they can surely contribute, but we have to be honest and say that this virus and the surges that it causes actually have been occurring since the beginning of the pandemic where they go up for anywhere from six to eight weeks. you will see increased cases in the areas where the surges are, and then they will drop. they did that once before in a big way last summer long before
we had vaccines -- i should say a year ago last summer. so vaccines are surely playing an important role, but we don't understand why this virus goes up and down as it does. >> yeah. pfizer has officially asked the fda to authorize their covid vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, but polling shows a lot of parents are hesitant about that. do you have a message for them? >> well, first of all, there are 28 million kids right now who are vulnerable to this virus, and it's really the only tool we have to help protect them. so as a grandfather of four of the kids who fit into that category, i can't wait for the vaccines to arrive. but i also understand why parents may be hesitant. this is why we have to do a lot of work, education why it's so important to vaccinate these kids and turn a vaccine into a vaccination. i think the pfizer approval and likely the approval of the other vaccines shortly after that is very important. but, again, we've got to work
hard to get vaccines into vaccinations. >> there's been a lot of debate about boosters and whether the data justifies widespread booster shots to prevent breakthrough infection and slow the spread. do you think they're necessary? >> i do think they're necessary. i think that what we're seeing right now is a snapshot in time of people who were vaccinated six to eight months ago and now they're seeing the waning immunity. as we get further and further out from more and more people who have had the two doses of vaccine for the mrna vaccines and the one dose for the j&j, we will see even more breakthroughs. we'll see them in younger ages, and we're beginning to see that in a number of places where younger people who have had two vaccines are actually now becoming seriously ill. so i think that this particular approach to the vaccines was something that probably should have thought about as a three-dose all along or a two-dose for the j&j, and not just as -- this was the initial
vaccine and now we're giving a boost. so i think it's very important, and i think time will actually bear that out. >> i want to talk about this new survey from the national foundation for infectious diseases. it found only 44% of americans plan to get a flu shot this year. i got mine already by the way just so you know. are you worried about the combination of flu season and covid? >> well, you know, we have to be honest. i admit with great humility, we don't know. you know, we just saw last winter with very little activity of flu after it was predicted that there potentially would be a twindemic. we just watched the southern hemisphere going through their winter during our summer months. we saw no flu activity. so my estimate is somewhere between we don't see any and we could have a major outbreak, which i know is not helpful. that's why you should get your flu shot because you don't want to play catchup should we have an outbreak.
>> i usually get the flu or something close to it because of the social distancing, the hand washing, sanitizing and the masks, nothing the past two years. so there you go. >> that's good. that's good. >> good news. thank you. i appreciate it. i'll see you soon. >> thank you very much, don. >> we'll be right back.
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unprecedented media spectacle everywhere she went, but did the world really understand who she was? the all new cnn original series "diana" seeks to answer that question. here's a preview. >> diana's own mother, in a very unhappy marriage, left for very good reasons and was shunned in society. >> diana's grandmother, who was a terrible snob, was appalled that her daughter should have left her earl. and as a result, she gave evidence in the custody proceedings against her own daughter. she called her a bad mother. custody did go to johnny. so frances, having planned to keep all four of her children and to remove them from this abusive household, had lost them. >> because of what happened to diana at such a young age and
watching her own mother lose her children, this fear of losing children would have played on diana until her death. >> looks absolutely fascinating. let's talk to royal commentator, playwright and broadcaster bonnie greer. bonnie, i'm so glad you could join me to talk about this. hello to you. diana got a lot of attention after joining the royal family, but there's so much we still don't know about her. what do you think the most surprising thing people will learn when they watch this series? >> i think -- it's great to be on your show again. thank you. i think it's to see how candid she is. i mean i was really surprised about that, and that's not an easy thing to do because of the class she came from. very english upper class, aristocracy actually, and they don't do that. so the fact that she did it and she said what she felt and she said what she was thinking makes
her really, really, really fasc fascinating. i have to tell you one thing really quickly, don. she really touched me when i -- i lost a lot of friends to aids. i lived in new york in the '80s, and a lot of my friends died. and when she shook hands with the man in the aids clinic in london, that really brought me to her side. that was an amazing gesture, and i think that was a big turnaround for her in the public as well. >> yeah. the first episode looks back at diana's childhood, how it influenced her early relationship with prince charles and the entry into the royal family. what do you know about that? what can you share? >> well, you know, it's important for american audiences to know that her family is the aristocracy. they're actually more aristocratic than the royal family. they're much more english than the royal family. and she was born on one of the royal estates, the one the queen
goes to in the winter. and her grandmother was a courtier. her father was a courtier. so she knew them very much, and they knew her. and so to realize suddenly that she didn't actually know these people as she thought she did, as we thought she did, brings kind of the drama begins in her life because actually who is she in relation to them? who are they? and the second part of it is, you know, don, we're watching somebody grow up in public. i mean most people grow up in private. and we're watching a human being become who she is, so that's always a really fascinating thing to watch. >> yeah. well, i can't wait to see it. bonnie, we're so grateful to have your perspective. thank you for joining us. >> pleasure. >> be sure to tune in. the all new cnn original series "diana" premieres sunday, 9:00 p.m., only on cnn. and thank you for watching, everyone.
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are you a christian author with a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the united states and around the world. i'm isa soares in london. right here on "cnn newsroom." >> republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game and i am glad that their brinksmanship did not work "e!" civility is gone. i'm going to try to bring it back when i see someone do something out of line. from deadlock to deal, senators pull the u.s. out of default for now. the january 6 committee