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Security Level Raised at U.S. Military; North Korea Tests Missile; Deputies Fired Over Jail Death in Georgia; Charged Officers: Remove Prosecutor; Court Frees Former Egyptian Dictator; Has Clinton Weathered Email Controversy?. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired May 9, 2015 - 07:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, a growing concern of an ISIS attack or another ISIS-inspired attack on American soil.

[07:00:02] The Pentagon raising the alert level at military bases across the U.S. because of this increased threat of terrorism.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: New overnight: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally overseeing a new set of missile tests, including a submarine, launching what he called a time bomb that could go off at any time against his enemies.

BLACKWELL: Nine sheriffs deputies fired for their part in the death of a college student found in restraints inside a Georgia jail. But could the terminations just be a precursor to criminal charges against the terminated deputies?

KOSIK: Good morning, everyone. I'm Alison Kosik, in for Christi Paul, extra (INAUDIBLE).

BLACKWELL: And it's good to have you this morning.

I'm Victor Blackwell. Thank you for being with us.

We begin with the threat of terror attacks on U.S. soil. This morning, the security threat level at U.S. military bases is at "Bravo". That means an increased and predictable threat of terrorism. The Pentagon raised security conditions after growing concerns of jihadist threats.

Let's bring in CNN national correspondent Sunlen Serfaty.

And, Sunlen, just kind of detail for us why the increase in this threat level, if there is no specific threat?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. Good morning to you, Victor.

Well, the FBI has ramped up its monitoring of suspected ISIS supporters inside the U.S. That was after Sunday's attack in Texas, when there was the discovery that one of the gunmen had direct encrypted communication with an ISIS supporter -- with an ISIS recruiter, I should say. Now, the officials say the decision to increase this threat level was not based on one specific threat but more because according to one official, it just felt like the temperature had gone up.


SERFATY (voice-over): With concern growing over ISIS-inspired attacks being carried out inside the U.S., the Pentagon has put all of U.S. military bases nationwide on heightened alert. The threat level now raised to "Bravo", due to an increase in predictable threat of terrorism, according to the Pentagon.

The concern, ISIS could target uniformed military and law enforcement. Security will be beefed up at all military bases, National Guard installations and recruiting stations across the country -- adding, according to the military's order, an element of unpredictability, surprise and random measures into the regular security procedures.

Former CIA official Phil Mudd says this is part of a change in who terrorists like ISIS target.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: What they're saying is there are people in the United States who are responsible for projecting American power overseas, because they're projecting American power overseas and killing us in places like Iraq and Yemen, they are legitimate targets.

SERFATY: U.S. officials say the heightened level is not tied to a specific credible threat but a number of recent concerns contributed to the decision. The shooting in Texas this week highlighting the threat from ISIS supporters and after personal information, names and home addresses of about 100 military personnel were posted online by ISIS affiliated accounts last month.


SERFATY: Increasingly, ISIS has been using social media to reach out and recruit people in the U.S.

LORETTA LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Really, it's an expansion of how the Internet has been used, frankly, for several years now, both in recruitment and radicalization of young people to join terrorist groups.

SERFATY: The FBI director warning there are hundreds, maybe thousands of ISIS followers online inside the U.S. saying it's almost as if there's a devil sitting on the shoulder saying kill, kill, kill, kill all day long.


SERFATY: And the FBI has hundreds of investigations going on right now looking into extremists who could potentially be influenced by these ISIS recruiters and last night, the FBI director and the homeland security director held a secure conference call with local and state and law enforcement officials urging them to beef up their efforts to counter ISIS -- Alison and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sunlen Serfaty for us in Washington. We'll talk more throughout the morning -- thank you.

KOSIK: And "Bravo" is part of the force protection condition, a 5- tier threat level system overseen and decided by the Department of Defense.

BLACKWELL: But, practically, what does "Bravo" mean? What does this mean for military officials?

CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto will tell us.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Alison, the new threat level is "Bravo". That's the middle threat in the scale increased and predictable threat of terrorism, above possible threat, below imminent "Delta" tends to be when there's an actual attack under way.

But, still, very rare in the U.S. it's a handful of times when we've seen it for U.S. military installations -- twice in 2003, early 2003, an al Qaeda threat again around the holidays, December 2003. We didn't see it again until 2011 after the bin Laden raid, the raid that killed him, and then again on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

[07:05:01] But in all the previous cases, it wasn't just U.S. military bases under threat, it was other civilian targets, military bases added on. This is unique because it is specific to U.S. military installations, some 3,200 around the country, because that is believed to be what ISIS in particular is pushing its members to target and the military taking it very seriously -- Victor and Alison.


KOSIK: All right. This morning, we're also following breaking news out of North Korea. The communist country fires three rockets off its eastern coast. That's according to a South Korean defense official. This just one day after news broke that Kim Jong-un reportedly test- fired a new underwater ballistic missile.

Let's get right to CNN's Will Ripley. He joins us on the phone from Hong Kong. Now, Will, you just returned from a trip to North Korea where you had incredible access. What are you learning about this new round of missile tests?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, you know, it's very clear to me on the ground in North Korea, Alison, that the government there, in spite of the fact that they continue to have problems with getting enough food to their own people, they certainly are not a wealthy country, and yet they're spending a lot of money on continuing to develop their military program.

And this underwater test fire of a ballistic missile is just the latest in a series of military developments that are very troubling to much of the international community. This ballistic missile launched from a submarine off of the mainland, so off of the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong-un was there to witness it. You can see the pictures that were released on state media.

Of course, this is undated pictures. So, we don't actually know when this missile test took place, even though the news just breaking.

But remember, I also sat down with a North Korean official who talked about their nuclear program, saying that they do have nuclear devices and that they also have a long-range ballistic missile, according to North Koreans, that would be capable of hitting mainland U.S.

So, they're really continuing to ramp up their military, Alison.

KOSIK: Let's talk about the timing. Obviously, you said, the pictures -- you don't know when the tests actually happened. But can you speak to the timing of this? Is this just maybe significant to show their military strength?

RIPLEY: Well, Kim Jong-un's movements are a closely guarded secret. It's never announced ahead of time where he's going to be, what he's going to be doing.

So, the timing of the announcement -- again, keep in mind, North Korea it's a country this considers itself under the constant threat of invasion. They view South Korea and the United States military presence, significant presence on the South Korean side of the Korean peninsula as a grave threat to their sovereignty.

And so, their policy is they put their military first. They invest as I said a lot into it. And it's routine to see these kind of announcements, when they talk about their latest and greatest advances. Kim Jong-un compared this missile launch to the North Korean successful satellites. They've now launched three satellites into space, the first one about 20 years ago, and the most recent in 2012.

So, they continue to spend a lot and they consider themselves a military power and they're test investing a lot in that.

KOSIK: All right. We will stay on top of it. Will Ripley, reporting live from Hong Kong -- thanks.

BLACKWELL: Let's expand the conversation now and bring in CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

First, let's pick up where Alison and Will left off. Any reason to doubt the details that are being reported by North Korea, the timing, the number of missiles tested?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: No, not all, Victor. I mean, this was a little bit of a surprise to the South Korean officials. But truthfully, I think intelligence on both the South Korean side and the U.S. military side on the peninsula, they're trying to increase their capability in strategic launches of missiles. A submarine launch is a whole different story. This is a tough one. They believe the launch occurred near a fishing village called Sinpo. But it surprised quite a few people.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about that surprise and what degree of concern some countries should have. Kim Jong-un says that this launch is, and this is a quote, "a time bomb which will go off on the backs of our hostile enemies at any time." Now, it sounds like the boilerplate bluster we hear from Kim.


BLACKWELL: But what should the degree of concern be for South Korea, for the U.S.?

HERTLING: Well, Will brings it up very well. He ties the economic condition of North Korea to some of these missile launches.

It's evidence of an individual who is trying to really get his people to look another direction, the strength of their military while at the same time they're starving.

So, yes, when you put the kind of military advancements like we're seeing in North Korea with the kind of bluster, these aren't just defensive weapon systems.

[07:10:00] These are meant to scare other nations. South Korea, Japan, United States -- I mean, now they're looking on working at an international continental ballistic missile. They have missiles that will launch satellites into orbit. They have a submarine launch capability.

What's next? This is challenging and very disconcerting.

BLACKWELL: But for now, you believe that this is just a tool of intimidation?

HERTLING: Well, you've seen over the years, over the last five years or so there have been these kinds much launches followed by attempts at garnering a little bit of support from various nations for things like humanitarian aid. But to answer your question, Victor, I'm sorry for going off track -- yes, it's bluster right now. It's the kind of bluster being associated with advancements in military capabilities. That's always scary to me.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll continue to watch it and continue our conversation. General Mark Hertling, thank you.

HERTLING: Thank you, Victor.

KOSIK: New developments in a story CNN has been following. Nine deputies fired in a Georgia town for their part in the death of a college student found in restraints while in jail. Could criminal charges be far behind?

Plus, hail storms, high winds and flooding across parts of Oklahoma. But the severe weather threat deepens today as almost 20 million people could be impacted.


BLACKWELL: All right. Fourteen minutes after the hour now.

There are new developments this morning in a story that CNN has been following very closely. In Savannah, Georgia, nine deputies have been fired in the death of a college student, at least connected to that man's death. A Chatham County sheriff's spokeswoman says that Matthew Ajibade was found dead in an isolation cell on New Year's Day.

[07:15:02] His family says he was put in a restraining chair and tased.

Now, he had been taken into custody after allegedly hitting his girlfriend at a gas station. His family says he was having a bipolar episode and they allege police knew that. A police report says the girlfriend gave police pills for Matthew's disorder. The district attorney is reviewing the case and will decide whether to file criminal charges.

KOSIK: Let's bring in retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg.

Good morning to you. Thanks for joining us.

MATTHEW FOGG, CHIEF DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL (RET.): Good to be here with you.

KOSIK: So, first, is it right to, you know -- is it right, do you think to fire the deputies right now, you know, it's been four months since this man died.

FOGG: I think so. I mean, what, 180 days or more, at least four months. I mean, the bottom line, that's enough time to do a thorough investigation to determine what role these deputies played in the man's death -- and, again, we've been looking at possible -- I would say they're looking at if there can be criminal charges out of this. But, definitely, that's enough time for -- to come to a conclusion that deputies violated some policies or procedures.

KOSIK: OK. So, we know there's been an internal police investigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the case. Now, the district attorney is reviewing the case. You've got these multiple investigations going on. You mentioned criminal charges could be next.

Do you think that that could actually happen? What is the D.A. really looking for to bring the case to a grand jury?

FOGG: Well, the biggest thing is I think they want to know that they've got enough evidence that it's not just a witch hunt. But bottom line is they've got some solid evidence here that can -- they can present to a judge and actually to a grand jury and actually have a solid case. So that's what the D.A. is looking at.

So, again, when you're talking about somebody dying in custody, especially being locked in a chair like that and being a U.S. marshal and having been around the country panned worked with a lot of institutions where there prisoners involved and how we treat prisoners, for me, with cases like this, the bottom line is there are strict rules and a lot of times we get off track, when we do, you know, life at stake.

So, I think the D.A. is looking into that very deeply to understand whether or not these officers were complicit in this man's death.

KOSIK: So, how unusual is it to put someone who is having a bipolar episode in a restraining chair and then tase him and, if that's unusual, then how do you handle that kind of thing?

FOGG: I don't -- to be honest with you, I'm not sure if it's unusual because I've seen it happen a lot where prisoners get out of control and they restrain these people.

The bottom line is, a lot of times the officers haven't had enough training in the mental aspects of what people -- what preexisting condition they may have had. Now, in this case, obviously, it seems like someone told them this man was suffering from bipolar disorder, which they should have immediately had protocols in place to fix it -- to deal with that. A lot of times law enforcement officers don't know. They just react to someone reacting back to them. And in that case, the person, if they have a disorder, they're going to continue to react more when you tase them and you restrain them, the gas is in their system.

All these things, I guarantee probably led up to this man's death.

KOSIK: All right. Thanks for your analysis, retired chief deputy U.S. marshal, Matthew Fogg.

BLACKWELL: All right. Nearly 20 million people are under a tornado threat today across the Plains and the Southwest. You probably know this is a part of the country that has dealt with severe weather all week. We're talking the hail and the flooding. Look at this -- I mean, this is in Oklahoma last night. We'll check in on the timing of these potential tornadoes and the storms on the way.

And check this out on Facebook.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, we want to give you a chance to give your mom a shootout this Mother's Day. Go to our Facebook page,, and send a message to your mom this mother's day.

Also, you'll hear from me. I want to share with you a couple of things that I've learned from other moms that I think are really valuable.



[07:22:39] BLACKWELL: Consider the number: nearly 20 million people are under a threat of severe weather today. You know, the rainstorms and the hail, they've been drenching the central plains for the last few days. Look at this -- I mean, this is someone's backyard. Nearly the entire state of Oklahoma is under a flash flood watch.

KOSIK: And now, the possible or the threat of possible tornadoes throughout the weekend. It's already making everybody nervous over there in that region.

Ivan Cabrera is here with details.

Is this just the beginning of this trend that we're going to see that time of year?

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The continuing trend, this is like day seven of severe weather there. And the scenes you saw there I think are going to be repeated today in Oklahoma City will get hit with heavy rain once again. So, this is just incredible.

Oh, yes, and did we mention there's a tropical storm right off the coast of the Carolinas. We'll talk about that in a second. But this is the area at that we're talking about severe weather. Yes, then there's snow across the Rockies.

So, there is a lot going on. Let's get to it here as we talk about the potential for damaging winds, straight-line winds. But then tornadoes and not just a few tornadoes but we could be seeing multiple tornado touchdowns today and also potential for them to be strong. So, we want you pay attention if you are in the path of these storms from Austin to Dallas and then, of course, the bull's-eye here, Dodge City into Wichita. This is the highest risk. But that doesn't mean we won't get them in Dallas. I think in Texas, we're going to see action as we head through later this afternoon.

So, let's put the forecast radar into motion. You'll be able to see this line of storms here. I don't think that's going to be severe.

It's these storms that begin to fire up in the afternoon and evening. Between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m., I think that's the window that we're going to be talking about the potential for the greatest threat to see the worst of the weather as we continue with the radar later this evening. Things then wind down.

This -- what is this? This is snow. And it's going to be accumulating anywhere from 10 to as much as 24 inches. So, places like Denver are going to go from thunderstorms today to snowfall by the time we get into tomorrow. This is just incredible. It's that clash of the air masses which is why we have the severe weather threat.

Now, there's tropical, Ana. Yes, we are three weeks away from hurricane season, but we have our first named tropical system in the Atlantic. It is Ana and it is headed towards the north and west. Sixty-mile an hour winds right now.

We're expecting it to make landfall early Sunday morning with heavy rainfall and some gusty winds right along the coast, Myrtle Beach into Wilmington. Then it becomes a rainstorm in the next few days across the eastern U.S.

[07:25:04] There you see the tropical storm warnings in effect for a good portion of the Carolinas right now.

BLACKWELL: Far too much going on for a Mother's Day weekend.


CABRERA: Tornadoes, snow, incredible.

BLACKWELL: Far too much. Thanks, Ivan.


BLACKWELL: Here's a question. Should Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby be kicked off Freddie Gray's murder case? Attorneys for the six officers charged say she needs to be replaced in immediately. We'll tell you why.


KOSIK: Not much movement this week. Mortgage rates held steady. Have a look.


KOSIK: Welcome back.

Here's a look at some stories developing now.

BLACKWELL: Coming close to the bottom of the hour. A South Korean defense official tells CNN that North Korea has fired three ship to ship missiles. This is coming after state TV reported that Kim Jong- un oversaw a successful test firing of a new underwater ballistic missile.

It's still unclear when and where that launch took place, but news of the launch and several launches in fact, comes just days after the country threatened to open fire on any South Korean naval ship that enters disputed waters.

[07:30:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Tanks, dozens of planes and helicopters and more than 16,000 soldiers. Russia's vast military on display in Moscow this morning, part of a massive parade celebrating the defeat of the Nazis 70 years ago. But there were a lot of world leaders who boycotted because of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: And we are following breaking news. Former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak could be a free man as early as today. That's according to state media. A Cairo court of appeals has upheld a three-year sentence against Mubarak on corruption charges but credited him for the time already served. Mubarak has also been slapped with a multimillion dollar fine for embezzlement. A live report is coming up just ahead.

Freddie Gray's case took another twist. Now, attorneys for the police officers charged to the 25-year-old's death are calling for prosecutor Marilyn Mosby to step down from the case immediately. A motion filed last night spelled out what the defense sees as five conflicts of interest.

CNN's Sara Sidner has the latest.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Alisyn, new details coming out that the attorneys for the six officers who were charged in this case are saying that the state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, should recuse herself or her office should recuse itself from this case because they accused her of having too many conflicts of interest. They name about five conflicts including that her husband is a councilman in the district where Freddie Gray was killed and that he would get political gain from her charging this case and winning this case if she does that.

Also, that she has a relationship, she and her husband both a friendship really with the attorney that is representing Freddie Gray's family. And they say that is a huge conflict and that at some point he was actually her attorney.

They also say that she has some relationship with potential witnesses. And the lists go on and on. They were also quite upset with all the details that she gave out when she talked about charging the case.

But we know that she has responded to that, because I've talked to her about some of these allegations that were made early on by the police association and she says there's absolutely no conflict and her office is going forward. We also know this is happening as the DOJ plans to investigate the Baltimore police department.

That investigation into the police department is expected to take some time. We know from just looking at when they were in Ferguson, Missouri, it took them at least six months to go through all of the information they gathered, a large amount of electronic data. They talked to many, many, many witnesses doing exhaustive interviews. So, we're not expecting to hear the results of that investigation for some time to come -- Alison, Victor.


BLACKWELL: All right. Sara, thank you very much.

Let's bring back HLN legal analyst and defense attorney Joey Jackson to talk about this.

Joey, I want to know, is this a capital D development here or would you have expected this to come along at any point?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, good morning again, Victor. I certainly would expect that, because as an attorney, you do your job. And certainly, the attorneys representing the officers would love to have her off the case. It would be a grand slam. Why? Because it's so rare that you see police officers charged and then, of course, you'll move towards the indictment.

But she's made very clear that this won't be business as usual and even took the step of charging false imprisonment predicated upon not having probable cause -- the officers, that is -- as the prosecutors claim to even arrest him. And so, she really is aggressively going after these officers, you know, and she works for the community. So as she should.

And so, removing her from the attorney's point of view would be huge. That being said, I think it's an uphill battle for the defense attorneys to be able to do that. Recusal is a very high standard, not just a mere conflict. We all have conflicts. We all know people. We all have friends.

People who are elected officials, they get contributions. The issue is, is the conflict so grave, does it so impair your judgment and ability to move forward in a fair fashion that they could not have a fair trial? And that's a standard that will very unlikely be met in this case, Victor.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, there are five points that these attorneys point out the reasons she should be removed from the case. One of them is that there's a pending civil claim against her office which was filed one day before the attorneys asked to have her removed by these attorneys.

I wonder how much weight is given to that considering that, I guess, defense attorneys could file a civil claim against any state's attorney and use that as a reason to get them off the case.

JACKSON: Exactly, Victor.

And so, again, not making light of it, but my response to you would be, and there needs to be certainly something more than that in order to just get recusal. I get and understand the fact they don't want her moving forward based upon her charging full steam ahead at getting these officers, particularly when you looked at the depraved heart murder charge, the manslaughter charges, the false imprisonment charges, the assault charges.

[07:35:08] She's made clear this is a new day in Baltimore and from her perspective, she wants accountability here. So, I get why they want her off. I'm suggesting that what they're using in this motion may not be the most persuasive and the motion will be heard and it will be aired obviously and they're doing their job. But at the end of the day, the bases within the motion may not carry the day to have her removed.

BLACKWELL: Let's listen to what Marilyn Mosby has to say about the request for recusal.


MARILY MOSBY, BALTIMORE CITY STATE'S ATTORNEY: There is no conflict of interest. I mean, I'm going to prosecute. I'm the Baltimore City state's attorney. My jurisdiction covers every district in Baltimore city. I have -- there's a number of crimes that take place in Baltimore City and unfortunately in the district we live. Where is the conflict?


M. MOSBY: But I have to take myself away from every case or crime that takes place in West Baltimore? That makes absolutely no sense.


BLACKWELL: So, the narrative we've heard up to this point before the death of Freddie Gray was that in many cases these district attorneys, the state's attorneys are too close to police. Police are now saying that this state's attorney is too close to the protesters to other attorneys.

Is there now a stronger argument or any more consideration to special prosecutors in these cases?

JACKSON: It's a fantastic question, Victor. I think it raises a much larger issue not only in Baltimore but nationally, because whenever you see police being prosecuted, the issue is -- hey, look, as a former prosecutor, I can tell you, you work with the police, you rely upon the police. You trust the police.

The police are in your office reviewing evidence, examining evidence, preparing for trial. And then have to turn around and prosecute them to prosecute you? It's very difficult.

And so, I think the issue needs to be examined nationally in terms of how you move forward against police officers in a way that everyone would trust, that everyone would respect and that everyone would buy into in terms of its fairness for everyone.

So, we'll see moving forward how it affects Baltimore and how it affects the larger United States of America.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll wait for the decision on this motion to have her removed from the case.

Joey Jackson, thank you so much.

JACKSON: Pleasure, Victor. Have a great day.


KOSIK: And we're following some breaking news this morning, former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak could be a free man as early as today. We've got a live report coming up.

Plus, a really bizarre and frightening development. The Ebola virus can actually live in a person's eye. How an American doctor is living this nightmare right now.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: As a parent, you might think -- well, I would know if my child were overweight.

But it turns out, according to a new study, often that's just not true. The researchers asked parents of overweight preschoolers, is your child overweight? And 94 percent of the time the parent thought their child was fine. They didn't think their child was overweight.

Now, part of the problem is that there are so many overweight children these days that their parents thought their child was OK because they look like other children. But children in the study, they were ages 2 to 5. Sometimes, it's hard to tell because they're growing if they're overweight or not.

So, you can do two things. One, go to the CDC Web site, they have a body mass index calculator for children. And also go to your pediatrician, of course, your doctor will be able to tell you if your child is overweight.

If your child is overweight -- well, we all know what the answer is. They need to move more and they need to consume fewer calories.

Here's a few tips for how to do that:

One, avoid sugary drinks. Kids can really suck down juices and sodas. It's a lot of calories, and you don't even realize it.

Two, do fun physical activities. If your child enjoys soccer, that's great. But if not, playing tag, jumping rope, all of those burn calories.

Number three, turn off the electronics. Sitting still for long periods of time is terrible for all of us, including children. Teaching them good habits now is important because overweight children grow up to be overweight adults. So, keeping your child healthy now, you're helping to keep them healthy when they grow up.



[07:43:02] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KOSIK: And we have some breaking news to tell you about.

Sentenced to three years for corruption and slapped with a multimillion dollar fine, actually a Cairo court of appeals is upholding the sentence of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, but he could walk free as early as today. All of this according to state media.

Let's go ahead and bring in CNN's Ian Lee joining us live now on the phone from Cairo.

So, Ian, walk me through how it is that he could be a free man today.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Alison, he was found guilty but the judge said that he could walk free after time served. He has been detained shortly after the 2011 revolution that toppled him, but the judge ruled that, because he has been detained since shortly after that, that that is time served according to Egyptian law.

So, he is technically a free man. He could walk free. We haven't seen any pictures or indication that he has left the custody of Egyptian police, but he is a free man. There is one more case, though. He may not be free for a long time.

There is one more case, though. He may not free for a long time. There is one more on June 4th. An appeals court could hear the charges against him over the killing of protesters during the 2011 revolution. Now, that case has been thrown out before and we're expecting a final appeals decision on that on June 4th, which could see him back in jail.

But the mood here in Cairo is drastically different than what we saw in the first days of the court session when the whole country would stop and watch the TV screen to see what was the latest updates on this trial. Today, there really is a lot of indifference, no one really paying attention to it.

[07:45:00] There's a lot of fatigue here from court cases and protests over the past four years. There are people who are definitely invested in the outcome of these trials, especially people who lost loved ones during the revolution. But by and far, many Egyptians are going on with their daily lives today.

KOSIK: All right. Former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak could be set free because of time served today.

Ian Lee, thanks so much for that.

BLACKWELL: All right. The campaign for the White House is now in South Carolina. The podium at Freedom Summit is packed with presidential hopefuls, one after another. Marco Rubio one of them.

We'll ask our political panel who's got the best chance to make it to the general election on the Republican side.


BLACKWELL: Time to talk politics.

Republican presidential hopefuls are now in South Carolina, taking part in the Freedom Summit, and with about 18 months to go before the presidential election, the Republican field is growing. Maybe some would say crowded.

All of these candidates, all of them, have declared or have formed now some exploratory committees for 2016. So, this is page one. There are so many we couldn't fit them on one page.

Let's try to thin out the crowd a little bit. We've got Republican strategist Lisa Booth, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona. Now, I've got a challenge, ladies. Good to you first.



[07:50:00] BLACKWELL: So, the challenge is -- if we can talk only about the Republicans for this segment and then we'll talk only about Hillary Clinton and the other Democrats running in the next segment. Deal?

CARDONA: Sound good. Deal.

BLACKWELL: So, Maria, first to you. Top GOP candidate right now.

CARDONA: I think it's actually Marco Rubio, because he is seen as being somebody that's new. He has terrific oratory skills. He actually has risen in the polls.

And so, I think that right now he has sort of got the star power and he's the one that a lot of conservatives are looking at and I think a lot of them see in him the future of the party as somebody who can really reach out to younger voters. They think that he can reach out to Latino voters. I have an issue with that, which we can talk about later.

But I think that in terms of the promise that a lot of Republicans see in terms of the field, they see him as the rising star who really needs to focus on a new face of the Republican Party that really needs to reach out to new voters because if they don't reach out to new voters, there's no way they're going to be able to make it to the White House.

BLACKWELL: OK. Lisa, who's your pick?

BOOTHE: I actually agree with Maria for once.



CARDONA: Look at that.

BOOTHE: Breaking news here.

But, no, I do like Marco Rubio a lot. I also like Scott Walker a lot and, quite frankly, the juxtaposition between someone like Marco Rubio and Scott Walker against Hillary Clinton that I like so much. You know, Marco Rubio did a brilliant job when he announced to framing Hillary Clinton as yesterday's news when he announced, because he does represent a brighter future for the --

BLACKWELL: We're keeping to just Republicans on this segment.

BOOTHE: I know, I understand that. But it's also the contrast that is so important and also an issue if you look at something like income inequality that has really been at the center of the debate for both Republicans and Democrats for the 2016 election. If you have someone like Marco Rubio who comes from immigrant parents, his father was a bartender. His mother was a housekeeper. They came here with grade school educations.

And, you know, Marco Rubio has repeatedly spoken. He spoke at the Republican convention. His speech was probably the best speech out of anyone there.

And he talked about how his dad worked in the back of the room so he could be in the front of the room. And I think the argument of American exceptionalism could really speak to younger voters and speak to people that wouldn't necessarily, you know, vote for Republican.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's go now to the other side of the aisle and let's talk about Secretary Clinton. The headline on CBS News/"New York Times" poll counts (ph) that Clinton possibly now has weathered the storm on her private e-mail used as secretary of state. The numbers here, 35 percent view her favorably, 36 percent unfavorable with -- what surprises me, 17 percent undecided.

Maria, are there still after so many decades in public life, still converts. There are still people out there who can be swayed on Hillary Clinton?

CARDONA: Sure. I think, absolutely. You know, those of us who have seen the Clintons through thick and thin and have essentially grown up politically with them forget that there is a whole new generation of voters who don't necessarily know the history of the Clintons.

And I think for somebody like Hillary Clinton who is poised to make history if she makes it to the White House, she'll be the first woman out there to be president of the United States. That is hugely appealing to younger voters, to women voters everywhere, to younger women voters.

So, I think that there is a whole new generation of voters who she really has the potential and the opportunity to frame herself as history-making, as somebody who is clearly, especially if you juxtapose her to the Republican field, somebody who focuses on voters' anxiety on the problems of ever everyday middle class families and the struggles that they have had in this -- what has been a rising economy and we saw that the job numbers yesterday were fantastic, but there are a lot of people who still aren't feeling that.

BLACKWELL: Let me get Lisa in here.

CARDONA: You juxtapose that with Republicans who have absolutely nothing to say.


CARDONA: They talk about common equality, but their policies just really make it worse.

BLACKWELL: Lisa, is this over? Has she weathered the storm of the e- mail controversy? I would imagine you say she hasn't.

BOOTHE: No, she absolutely hasn't. If you look at somebody like Marco Rubio, he would be making history, too. But making history isn't the reason to elect someone.

And the reality is that Hillary Clinton hasn't done anything. She doesn't have anything to run on. She has been running for a decade and she is absolutely yesterday's news.

And the problem that Democrats have right now is income inequality has gotten a lot worse under President Obama. Top earners are making more money than they were making before middle class families are suffering more than they were suffering before President Obama took office.

So, that income inequality argument really falls flat, especially with Hillary Clinton as the messenger. She's going to have an incredibility difficult time trying to drive a populist message.

And the problem that she's going to face, although there's nobody really on the left to challenge her.

[07:55:00] But someone like Bernie Sanders is going to push her to the left. She's already flip-flopped on immigration. She's flip-flopped on gay marriage. She's flip-flopped on criminal justice and she lied about her e-mail. She lied about the Clinton Foundation, as well.

BLACKWELL: Lisa, we have heard that quite possibly, we're going to hear from Governor Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, this month. His decision to get into the primary.

We got to all it there.

Lisa Boothe, Maria Cardona, thank you, both.

BOOTHE: Thank you so much.

CARDONA: Thank you, Victor.


KOSIK: All right. So, this is a reunion one woman never dreamed would happen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Haha! Aahh!


KOSIK: Can you feel it? I can feel it.

A woman reunited with her daughter after she was allegedly stolen from a St. Louis hospital, possibly by the same nurse who was supposed to help her. We'll be talking to Zella Jackson and another mother now wondering what happened to her baby. That's live in our next hour. You're going to want to stick around for that interview. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A plane just crashed on the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) highway in front of us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Go get it. Hold this, hold this.


KOSIK: Incredible. Incredible video to look at here. Investigators are working to find out what caused a small plane to crash right in the middle of Interstate 285 north of Atlanta. No one on the ground was hurt. But all four people in the plane, a dad, his two sons and one of the son's fiancees were all killed.

BLACKWELL: This is one that will make you wince. Ebola, the virus living in the eye of an American doctor.

Ian Crozier contracted the virus in Sierra Leone last year. He was treated in Atlanta and declared virus free in his blood system, at least with that testing. But Ebola caused him a lot of pain in the eye and turned his eye from blue to green.