tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 22, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
tiktok. you can tweet the show at the lead. if you ever miss an episode, you can listen to "the lead" wherever you get your podcast it is. the whole show is there as a podcast. wolf blitzer is right next door in "the situation room." i'll see you tomorrow. happening now, breaking news. president biden is holding urgent talks over at the white house, capping a day of negotiations with divided democrats. he's desperate to end their infighting, and a make-or-break moment for his domestic agenda. cnn is on the scene of the migrant crisis. vice president harris raising grave concerns about haitians crossing into texas. the fda could reveal its decision on pfizer booster shots at any time. we're learning that cdc advisers are putting their own booster
date on hold awaiting the fda ruling, after weeks of controversy and confusion. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we begin with poib's meeting with key democrats tonight, as he fights to prevent his domestic agenda from collapsing. we're covering the breaking story from both sides of pennsylvania avenue. we are standing by on capitol hill, but first to the white house. jeff zeleny is joining us. jeff, the president is meeting face-to-face behind closed doors right now. give us the latest. >> reporter: wolf, the president is in his third meeting of three today. he's about 30 minutes into a meeting with progressives. that's senator bernie sanders, a few other senators, and five house members.
wolf, this is designed to be president biden's full-court press, listening to the concerns from across the wide spectrum of the democratic party. at issue, of course, is $3.5 trillion economic agenda, along with that separate infrastructure plan. this is a make-or-break moment for his entire agenda. he realizes that. his party is a party divided. interestingly, he's meeting with these groups separately. he started the afternoon mea with speaker pelosi and majority leader chuck schumer, and then about a 96-meeting from the moderates from both the house and the senate, and now with progressives. no resolution is expected this evening, but they're essentially trying to figure out the bounds of each side, and what press secretary psaki, but exactly
what is going to be trimmed back. progressives believe they have given enough. moderates believe simply there's not need for all of this spending. it's not an overstatement to state his entire agenda for his first year of the presidency is on the line. that's why he's becoming so involved. >> the clock is clearly ticking. i want to go to our congressional correspondent ryan nobles right now. what has been the readout so far from these meetings with the president and these deeply divided factions of the democratic party? >> reporter: the democrats have emerge, striking a positive tone, but they're not offering up too much in the way of substance. they continue to say that there are talks and that there's progress being made, but what exactly that progress is, we're not quite sure. the house speaker nancy pelosi, who has been insistent that this
is a process, that the legislative process isn't easy, she said they're headed on the right track, take a listen. >> i will not be talking about that now. we are on schedule. that is all i will say, and we're calm and everybody is good, and our work is almost done. we're in good shape. >> reporter: it's the "on schedule" part that everyone is paying close attention to. wolf, there is a key vote scheduled for monday, where the house speaker has promised house moderates they'll vote on the infrastructure package that's already passed the senate. the problem is progressives will not vote in favor of that measure unless there's a clear path toward the much broader $3.5 trillion human infrastructure package. that is what they are negotiatic right now. they say they're making process, but at this point we don't know what that progress is. >> and we have to find out
fairly soon. ryan, i want you to stay with us. jeff zeleny is back, as well as gloria borger is here with us. is there a all-or-nothing moment? >> the democratic party controls the white house, the senate and the house, and they have to find a way to get to this, or the country will not believe they're a governing body. joe biden, when he was running for the presidency, promised a lot of things. one of the things he promised is i can get things done for you, because i'm going to prove that democracy can work for the american people. this, for better or worse, incorporates a lot of his vision. now he has to get everyone together and say, what are we going to leave out of this vision at this particular point,
so we can get something through the congress. he knows he won't have republican help, everybody understands that, but they do have something to prove here. if they fail, will democrats turn out in 2022? why would they if they're disappointed? >> well, that's an important point, ryan. obviously there's a huge divide right now among the democrats, but are they really willing to let all of this fall apart, knowing their time and control in the house and senate could be short-lived? >> reporter: that's a great point. when you talk to rank-and-file democrats about the opportunity they have in front of them, they understand the window mae be very small. they saw what happened during the obama administration, when they only had control for two years. they understand the reality of the difficult math they face in 2022, so they want to get something done, but at the same
time the desire to get something done has also led to serious pressure points that allowed certain members with certain pet projects, that's allowed them to use it as leverage. this is old-fashioned legislating behind closed doors, where you're trying to expose a vulnerable from someone you're negotiating with, in order to get something you want. the big question is, tess end of the day, will they be willing to compromise? does that mean progressives are willing to scale back the $3.5 trillion plan if they get perhaps $2 trillion or $3 trillion in total spending when you take into consideration the whole deal, and does it mean moderates are willing to spend more and even raise the deficit, if it means getting this package over the finish line. that's the conversations happening behind closed doors. >> as you know, jeff, all of president biden's political capital has gone into the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, the
negotiations that are ongoing. is that coming at the expense of other critical important issues? . >> reporter: this is by design to put their entire agenda in these two bills. they have essential put all their eggs in one basket. this president is significantly -- he enters these negotiations in a weaker position than he was just a few months ago. because of this stubborn fight against covid-19, of course, because of afghanistan, because of a variety of things. in his party, he is still the leader of his party. so advisers to president biden tell me, and here at the white house, they believe that president biden will be able to impress upon, you know, these varying members of his party in this big tent in the democratic party to bring them together. we should point out, what are we talking about here? we're talking about actual things that in many respects are pretty popular where the broad
public. a pre-k, free community colleges, and then climate changes. virtually the entire climate agenda is in this, on and on. the question is should everyone get these free programs. we saw joe manchin and kirsten cis sinema, they believe there should be means testing, that not everyone should have they frees programs. so if president biden gets this accomplished, this will be historic. if it does not, wolf, it's hard to imagine him doing anything else. as gloria said, it's hard to imagine the democrats showing that they can govern, because they clearly can't. >> it would be a huge failure if they fail to reach an agreement. gloria, separate talks, birth partisan talks on police reform have now ground to a halt. we're also sees shocking images from the mexico/texas border.
even if the president gets infrastructure across the finish line, he certainly has a lot on his plate right now. >> he does. it's all really important. right now, the things they're going to be voting, the things they're discussing right now are things people care about. they care what will be in medicare. they care about community colleges. they care about their kids' education, and on and on and on. so the democrats have an opportunity here. if the republicans vote against everything, and they get some stuff through, not all of it. say it's not $3 trillion. say it's $2 trillion. they can go home and say republicans voted against this, but here is what we have given you. if they come home empty-handed, it is a real problem. they haven't delivered on their promises, and they're in this with joe biden. i mean, i was talking to a
democratic pollster who said, look, they're all in this together. you cannot separate the president from the democrats. if the democrats fail in the congress, then the president will fail as well, and neither one should want that to happen. >> this is truly a very critical moment in the biden presidency the next few days. guys, thank you very, very much. just ahead we go live to the u.s./mexico border, looking at live pictures now, as the biden administration is scrambling to contain a growing migrant crisis. we have details while some are being flown home while others are being released here in the united states. t-mobile is the leader in 5g. t-mobile. america's largest, fastest, most reliable 5g network. seeing blood when you brush or floss can be a sign of early gum damage. new parodontax active gum repair kills plaque bacteria at the gum line to help keep the gum seal tight.
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contain the fallout from the border crisis. and vice president harris raised what she calls grave concerns over disturbing images of border patrol agents on horses aggressively confronting migrants. matt, what are you seeing there on the ground? >> reporter: yeah, wolf, we're on the mexican side of the u.s./mexico border, just across from del rio. all day long we've seen people essentially cross back and forth all day long. i can show you, there's a couple people crossing right now. people have been crossing from the u.s. side, saying that encampment, coming across using that guidelines to basically get supplies in mexico. it's easier to get food, water diaper, collecting those supplies, and some are going
back across. the question for many of these people is do they go back to the u.s. or stay in mexico? they face the risk of deportation either way, wolf. basically we no that some haitian migrants have been let into the united states, others have been deported to haiti. the exact same thing is going on in mexico. many have travels for months and months. the big question, wolf, is that the arrive level, the water level has risen significantly over the last couple hours. it hasn't rained, which means upstream dams have had some water released. the result is that it's much more dangerous to cross, which is why all these people here to my right, they are waiting to cross. they want to go back to the united states, but they want. several people have told us it's too dangerous. they don't feel comfortable crossing at this point.
so for many a very dangerous situation, and it's ongoing here on the u.s./mexico border. >> is mexico, matt, doing anything to try to stop the flow of these haitian migrants? >> reporter: you know, we have seen mexican authorities going all way back to the trump administration taking consistent steps trying to stop migrants. it was yesterday, actually, that my team and i were on the mexico/guatemala border. we saw lots of haitians being allowed to come north, but guatemalans and hon durans, they were not be allowed to call. we heard from many activists that haitians were allowed to come here by the thousands, all arriving within a few days of each other. we've asked the mexican government about why it seems
there's lack of law enforcement when it comes to the haitian government. the agency in charge of immigration said, we don't have a comment on that. but it's something that activists told me they have never seen, wolf, before. so many thousands of people from one country being allowed to cross up to the northern border, which is how we got in the situation we're in right now. >> some of those haitian migrants are allowed to stay, being relocated, others are being forced to get on planes and being flown back. matt, thank you. coming up, a new laws involving former president trump, and why he's suing his own niece for $100 million. ok, let's talk about those changes to your financial plan. bill, mary? hey... it's our former broker carl. carl, say hi to nina, our schwab financial consultant. hm... i know how difficult these calls can be. not with schwab. nina made it easier to set up our financial plan.
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mounting legal troubles for former president trump, he has now filed a $100 million lawsuit against his niece, mary trump, alleging her disclosure of tax information to the "new york times," was an illegal breach of contract. the former president actually filed this case, but he's facing a lot of legal cases himself. >> that's right, he currently faces over a dozen civil and criminal cases. his family, his business, his political career. while he's never faced criminal charges, the question is what impact will these cases have on his business and political future.
tonight, mary trump brushing off the lawsuit by her uncle. she previously sued trump and other family members over her share of the family businesses, and suggested her uncle has an ulterior motive for staying in politics. >> it would protect him from the criminal charges and the civil charges being levied against him. >> how real is that risk? >> reporter:, lawyers for the trump organization and longtime top executive allen weisselberg were back in court monday after being charged this summer with running a 15-year scheme to help is executives face taxes on compensation by hiding luxury perks and bonuses. >> the raise is in an apartment, in a car, in tuition. that's the issue. >> were taxes ever paid? >> not at all. >> they have pleaded not guilty. so far the former president has not been charged.
with the possibility of more indictments coming, trump faces the risk of someone turning state's witness. he also faces potential civil and criminal liability related to the january 6th capitol riot. >> we fight like hell. if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. >> representative eric swalwell sued trump and associates, alleging that he violated civil rights law. others have sued trump over the attack, as have multiple capitol police officers over the injuries they received. and a house select committee investigating the deadly insurrection could subpoena some of trump's closest advisers. this weekend, trump is expected to headline a rally in georgia, where fulton county district
attorney fanny willis's office has been investigating whether his efforts to overturn the georgia results were catherine. >> the investigation is ongoing. >> in part prompted by a call. >> i just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. we won the state. >> his legal problems don't stop there. trump faces two separate cases brought by women, who say he defamed them after they accuse rape or sexual assault. >> he could have to sit for a deposition, but the biggest threat is against the trump organization.
>> paula reed, thank you very, very much. laura coates jones is, and the state attorney for palm beach county, down in florida. laura, what do you make of the president going after his niece for disclosing the tax information. does this lawsuit have any merit? >> well, you know, it seems to be an additional attempt, on the one hand, try to stop anyone from publishing or viewing any tax records. he lost a protracted litigation up to the supreme court, but remember it's also about his attack on the media. he's had a long fight talking about how he believes they're acting in a vindictive way against him, a person vendetta, of course. all of this is an attempt to deflect, which can oftentimes protect journalists from being able to say we put forth the
situation, it was of extremity public importance, but talking about actual malice and vendetta. interestingly enough, mary trump's book they tried to stop even being published from a settlement agreement 20 years ago. she arced that agreement was fraudulent, because it's based on part of data you gave to me on the fake sort of i.r.s. and tax documents. so it's a very circular one with a lot of different angles, and a poor attempt i think try to remain relevant, but also have a kitchen sink approach to all the things that have given him a lot of irritation over the years. >> you know, dave, mary trump accused the former president of trying to, quote, change the subject. does cshe have a point? >> good evening. you have to wonder about the motives. it doesn't seem to have a lot of merit. i read the lawsuit. the portion of the nda agreement
that's cited in the lawsuit doesn't seem to include trump's taxes from that fred trump estate litigation. so you wonder, what is the motivation here? you have to think it's politics, because trump wants to fire up his maga base, especially after they had to be demoralized after the terrible showing at the rally last weekend to support the january 6th rioters. you have to believe this is to get them back energized. suing mary trump will not in itself fire up the base, but suing the "new york times"? oh, yeah. if he loses, it doesn't matter. he can then blame it on liberal activist judges, even though he probably appointed them. so you win and win. >> laura, the former president likes to play up the idea he's the victim of these lawsuits against him are simply a witch-hunt. have you ever seen anyone face
such a huge range of legal exposure like this? >> no, particularly at the presidential level. remember, a lot of this has been the result of a self-inflicted wound. he was the one to say he would probably them, which, by the way, has the history of modern american politics, a presidential candy providing it. and he's chosen not to provide it, but the courts have already said they should be handed over in various capacity, so a lot of this stems on his own in, that's not justified in the court of law that persuaded? judge as to why he should not provide of information. >> a lawyer for allen weisselberg say they expect more indictments. how could that potentially change the dynamic here? >> big time, wolf. i think that the only way that the manhattan d.a., my counterpart up there in new
york, actually prosecutors the former president is if allen weisselberg flips on him. allen weisselberg hasn't flipped yet, but i think it's -- cyrus vance is going to squeeze others. right now apparently he had calamari junior testified before the grand jury. that gives him immunity. there may be a next indictment of senior. also, jeff, the comptroller, he was testifying, and he got immunity. the more people they can squeeze, the more likely weisselberg will flip. if these lawsuits go forward, in his lawyer against his niece, he would have to make a deposition. just ahead, we're awaiting
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we're awaiting a major decision from the food & drug administration on covid booster shots. they're weighing a recommendation to green light pfizer boosters for those 65 or older, or at risk. tonight we're getting word that cdc vaccine advisers are planning to wait to hear from the fda before they debate boosters any further. dr. jha, thank you for joining us. what do you make of this delay from the fda? in other instances they ruled on recommendations almost immediately. >> yeah. so good even, wolf.
thanks for having me back. i'm perplexed about what is taking so long. the fda should have gone ahead and followed the advisory committee's recommendation. there may be a debate within the fda. we don't know. i do expect them to come out with an eua that follows the advisory. the cdc met day to start debating who should be high risk and made eligible for for a booster shot. who do you hope is included? >> the data from israel suggests that people over 60. the fda had initially thought over 65, but somewhere in that range, people who are melly high risk, people with chronic diseases, and then also people who are at high risk because of their profession -- physicians, nurses, i think those are the groups i will be looking for.
>> i suspect you're right. cdc data, by the way, shows that the pace of vaccinations is the slowest in two months. how concerning is this? right now we're losing about 2,000 americans every single day. it's the highest it's been in six months, more than 2,000 americans dying every day. >> yeah, first of all, those numbers are just heartbreaking. of course, almost all preventable, because we have a vaccine-preventable disease. i am worried about the slowing of the vaccination. i think what happened is there was a big surge in the south, and that has cooled. i hope as the mandates go into effect, we'll see more. >> over the past week, doctor, the average death rate in the ten least vaccinated states was
more than four times higher than the average death rate in the ten most vaccinated states. if we needed further proof that vaccines work, this is it, right? >> absolutely. remember, you can still see some infection numbers rising in the highly vaccinated states, but what is not happening is high levels of hospitalizations. really to prevent those horrible outcomes. >> so a huge percentage, that's a serious, serious problem. coming up, divers are now involved in the search for the fiance of gabby petito, after a coroner ruled the manner of her death a homicide. and build a straightforward plan to generate income, even when you're not working. a plan that gives you the chance to grow your savings
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tonight dive teams are on the scene of a florida nature preserve as the search intensified for the fiance of gabby petito, whose death has been ruled as a homicide. amara walker has the latest. >> reporter: tonight the homicide investigation and urgent search for brian laundrie expanding, calling in a force trained to see evidence in bodies of water. >> we are trying to cover every acre in this preserve. >> combing through rugged
terrain by foot, high-water vehicles, and with drones, to find any sign of laundrie. >> they've got to get their hands on him. he is no doubt probably the last person to have seen her alive. >> authorities intensifying the search as a wyoming coroner identified human remains sunday as those of petito, and describing the manner of death as homicide in his initial determination. the fbi is asking the public for help looking for any new tips for laundrie's last movements. >> we've got fighting this morning. >> starting with a police stop in moab, utah. >> i'd like to report a domestic dispute. the gentleman was slapping the girl. >> petito told police she slapped laundrie. he told police he pushed her to try to keep her from hitting
them again. officers told the couple to spend the night apart. a woman named jess is a shultz told "the san francisco chronicle" he saw laundrie in an area where petito -- >> as a van lifer, i was checking out the van. it was a solo dude. >> shultz declined to comment to cnn, and the fbi would not comment on the record, due to privacy. shultz said she saw the van going on august 27, the same day a pair of travel bloggers spotted the empty van. >> the van was completely dark, nobody was there. >> reporter: two days later. >> he approached asking for a ride. >> this woman posting on tiktok that she and her boyfriend picked up laundrie hitchhiking. >> he told us he's been camps for multiple days without his
fiancee. and that she was working on their social media page back at their van. >> reporter: once laundrie realized the couple was not going toward his destination, he became agitated. >> he hurried out and all he had, he said, was a tarp to sleep on. you would think you would want food in a tent. he had none of that. >> reporter: wolf, the fbi continues to ask the public for help, when it comes to any information about the whereabouts about brian laundrie. they're also asked anyone if they had any contact with laundrie or gabby petito in wyoming at grand teton national park, to also contact the fbi. here tess carl ton reserve, it looks like the search is wrapping up, at least for the day. we saw some equipment leaving in
the last hour. we're still waiting to hear whether or not they will be resuming the search at this location, wolf. >> amara walker on the scene for us, thank you. i want to bring in andrew mccabe. he's author of "the threat." what must investigators have that is leading them to spend considerable time and resources in this reserve, including now bringing in divers? >> well, of course, wolf, we know that mr. laundrie's family said he indicated that that's where he was going. he hasn't been seen or reported anyplace else, which in itself is remarkable. he's been all over television, social media for a while. it's possible that the fbi has additional information that mr. laundrie had electronic devices or a cell phone, they would be looking to see if that phone is pinging offer distinct cell towers. it's also possible if he has
electronic devices, there are apps that collect your locational data, and you can receive with a court order, you can get that locational data from some of those service provide. so there's to try to track him down. >> what leads the fbi, andrew, to ask for the public's help in finding someone as they've done with laundrie? is the request based on the severity of a case? or does it indicate that investigators are lacking solid leads? >> well, i can tell you, wolf, from my own experience at the fbi, using that technique in many, many cases, particularly fugitive cases when you are trying to find someone, going to the public for help is usually a sign that you have a very challenging manhunt on your hands. the individual you are seeking isn't tied down to one very, very specific, particular area. but could be -- could have moved over a -- a large, you know, portion of terrain in the time that you've been looking for
'em. and there is nothing more effective than having millions of eyes out there on the street thinking about your need for information about that person's location. and people who are willing to call, pick up the phone and call law enforcement or the fbi and give them a hand in finding a potentially very dangerous person. >> laundrie was able to get a several-day head start after, initially, refusing to cooperate with officials. how has that made this manhunt even more difficult? >> well, the more time that expires between the -- the moment that that person goes on the run and the moment you marshal your forces and begin chasing them, seeking them, looking for them, wherever they might be, you know, that's -- you are just putting yourself further and further and further behind. and really, stacking the deck against you, at least preliminarily. it doesn't mean you can't find that person but it certainly makes it tougher from the outset. >> certainly does. former fbi deputy director an andrew mccabe, thanks very much
for joining. just ahead. george w. bush turns kcriticism much donald trump in action. we are going to have the latest showdown between the former gop presidents. if you just hold it like this. yeah. ♪ i love finding out things that other people don't want me to know. mm-hmm. [beep] i just wanted to say... ♪ find yourself in these situations and see who you are. and that's just part of the bargain. ♪
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tonight, george w. bush is taking his increasingly public opposition to donald trump to a new level. the 43rd president is now planning to hold a fundraiser for a top-trump target representative, liz cheney. brian todd is joining us right now. brian, the only two living republicans to have served in the oval office are now on a collision course. >> they really seem to be, wolf. and by laying down this marker against donald trump, george w. bush and his family could be
signaling that they are willing to engage trump in a battle for the future of the republican party. >> reporter: a political shot across donald trump's bow tonight from a republican dynasty. a source telling cnn, former-president george w. bush will hold a fundraising event next month in texas for liz cheney. the republican congresswoman from wyoming who has openly sparred with trump, rejecting his baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen. voting to impeach him after the january-6th insurrection. actions which led to cheney losing her house leadership role. >> i think this is a be pretty big deal. i mean, this is the most prominent example we have seen recently of establishment republicans saying this is not going to be the party of trump froefr. >> reporter: news of the fundraiser comes just days after george w. bush speaking on the anniversary of september 11th issued a stirring rebuke of the politics of division fostered by
trump, without mentioning trump by name. >> malign force seems at work in our common life that turns every disagreement into an argument. and every argument, into a clash of cultures. so much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear, and resentment. that leads us worried about our nation and our future together. >> reporter: bush also alluded to the mob that stormed the capitol on january 6th. most of whom were trump supporters. >> there is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. but in their disdain -- in their disregard for human life, in th their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. >> reporter: for years, george w. bush had largely held his tongue regarding donald trump. but libehind the scenes, accordg to a bush biographer -- >> in private, he dislikes trump. he doesn't like his style. and he doesn't like the fact
that he has eroded a lot of the things that george w. bush and george hw bush, his father, of course, before him, had helped build up. >> reporter: analysts say there is also deep resentment in the bush family of trump's relentless personal attacks on jeb bush during the 2016 republican primary race. >> this guy bush. he is like low energy, right? >> this is a tough business to run for president. >> you are a tough guy, jeb, i know. >> and we need to have a leader -- >> reporter: tonight, it could well be shaping up as a battle between trump and the bush family for the soul of the republican party. >> i think george w. bush has decided that he needs to save the republican party and he needs to save it from donald trump. >> reporter: and donald trump, for his part, issued a blistering statement following george w. bush's speech on september 11th. trump saying the world trade center came down during bush's watch, and that george w. bush should not be lecturing anyone on the threat posed by domestic extremism, wolf. this battle could be simmering for years. >> i think you are right.
brian todd reporting for us. thank you very, very much. and to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. i am wolf blitzer in the situation room. you can always follow me on twitter and instagram @wolf blitzer. you can tweet the show at cnn sit room. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. outfront next. biden's entire agenda on the line and he is all in to save it from collapse meeting tonight with key member of congress, can biden make a deal? plus, trump stacking the deck. now, pushing supporters of his big lie to become top election officials in crucial swing states. and we are standing by for a decision by the fda and whether to authorize booster shots for some americans. the former-fda commissioner, dr. scott gottlieb, is my guest. let's go outfront. and good evening, i'm erin burnett. out front tonight, the breaking news. president biden all in as he attempts to save his domestic agenda from imploding. the president holding three lengthy meetings with to
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