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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Police: Mansion Murders Suspect In Brooklyn; Rupture May Have Released Up To 105,000 Gallons; State Department Releasing Emails Soon; Finale Draws Nearly 13.8 Million Viewers; Judge Dismisses All Domestic Violence Charges. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired May 21, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Harry -- go ahead.
HARRY HOUCK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Jake, you know, the thing is he ordered two pizzas -- was he feeding the family at this time or were they all bound the whole time he was there? Except for when I guess the father had to make the phone calls to get the money to the house.
So getting the two pizzas might be a little significant, might show that there might be a second person there. Also if he did this himself, I would tend to think that he got into the home when just the mother and the child was there, being able to take care of them.
Because the father was a karate expert and teacher so he didn't want to have to confront him. If the father came home and he already had the child and wife bound, then he'd be able to control him.
TAPPER: Mary, it's so gruesome and personal especially with the 10- year-old boy and the torture. Is it possible that it was just about the money, or is it likely that there was something personal involved? We know he used to work for the father.
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: I would say at least in my experience with working a whole assortment of violent crimes, there is never just one motive. The $40,000, I'm sure the father would have said, I'll triple that money. Just leave us alone.
So no, I doubt that it was just about the money. When you look at a crime like this and you see them spend so much time inside that home, committing this crime, that tells me when I see that, here's an offender who is really enjoying himself, who enjoys the thrill, and the excitement and control that he has over these people.
That certainly can be a motivator, and then there also could be me type of revenge or anger towards the family, because he had a prior relationship. There's never just one motive.
TAPPER: Harry, this seems pretty quick. This happened a week ago, they found the DNA in this pizza, I suppose that means that the suspect, Mr. Wint, has been arrested before and his DNA is on file?
HOUCK: Yes, definitely. It's been reported that he's been arrested for -- several times for some violent crimes, and I believe one of them was for rape so if he was arrested for rape, then his DNA would be in the system. So when they checked that pizza for saliva, got the DNA from the saliva, went into the system and he came up.
TAPPER: What if he changes appearance? We are looking at these pictures of him. He is very recognizable dread locks. Is it possible, though, that he changed his appearance and how would police correct for that when they are looking for him?
HOUCK: Well, you know, I'm sure. Look at that picture right there that you're showing right now. It doesn't show his dread locks. The face they're looking for. The problem, he's going to make some kind of connections with people he knows, all right?
So that's how we're going to get this guy. It doesn't matter, because, yes, I'm sure those photographs are going out to every radio car in New York City. Every detective squad and it doesn't matter if he cuts his hair, you got that one picture with a cap on. That's all we're going to need.
TAPPER: Mary, what more can you tell us about this man? Obviously, the police chief has said he's armed and dangerous, likely.
O'TOOLE: Let's say he's not armed. Let's say he doesn't have a weapon. He is dangerous because he's just systemically dangerous. His personality is very dangerous. He's somebody you don't want to mess with at all, and this violence that he's evidenced at this scene, this just didn't happen a couple of days ago.
This kind of violence begins to show itself when somebody's a preteen and a teen and then gets older so his history will go back a long time. And even exacerbated or gotten worse so this has been a work in progress for quite a long time.
TAPPER: All right, Mary Ellen O'toole, Harry Houck, thank you both so much. In our National Lead, officials knew it was bad. Now they say it's five times worse than originally thought, an ecological disaster reaching the shores of California.
But also we are going to bring you that press conference from Baltimore, the state's attorney, Marilyn --
TAPPER: Let's get right to CNN's Paul Vercammen joins us live from California. Paul, what's the latest on the cleanup? Are they making any headway?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they seem to be making some headway, Jake. That's because they said, advised us, there were some 105,000 gallons of oil spilled. They said only 21,000 gallons, though, made it into the ocean.
Remember this was offshore spill and that they've been getting after it and the water does indeed look cleaner today. We are, however, seeing some of the first signs of wildlife impacted. Pelicans covered in oil.
They have also told us that they're seeing lobster coated in oil. Off here, people actually go shell fishing. They've banned that for this Memorial Day weekend.
Now wherever these official and white-suited cleanup groups can't get we're seeing volunteers for it. And you get a sense just how mucky and gooey this mess is with the oil, as you see, the volunteer workers putting some of this oil literally into buckets offshore.
It's a lot of work to do and then out at sea, they're going after the oil with these booms -- look at them as floating fences, corralling it, skimming it and getting it into boats. So some multi-prong effort now and they say they have collected out at sea some 7,700 gallons of oil mixed with water -- Jake.
TAPPER: Paul, what do we know about the company that own and operated the pipeline and how this happened?
VERCAMMEN: Well, they have an interesting record, to say the least, 175 safety and maintenance violations, in the last few years. They were basically targeted by the EPA and the Justice Department.
[16:40:08] At one point, they paid more than $40 million, goes back to 2010, to repair pipelines, and there were ten infractions, if you will, all spills stemming from corroded pipe. They also paid a $3 million fine.
This is Plains All American and it's interesting to note that now the environmental defense center here in Santa Barbara is keeping an extremely close eye in all of this, and while they haven't come right out and said Jake, we're going to sue you. They have that right at the front of their thoughts.
TAPPER: And Paul, the beach you're standing on would normally be packed on Memorial Day weekend. I'm assuming that that is off. Do we have any idea of how long it's going to take for this mess to be cleaned up?
VERCAMMEN: Well, you're absolutely right. Even right now you would have people streaming in here to camp. They would be doing shore fishing, going on kayak trips. They say that this beach and the one right down the road, El Capitan, very popular. Both sold out for Memorial Day weekend, won't be open until a week from today at least.
So they've got a lot of work to do and a lot of people having to shift plans and money reimbursed. When that family's work for a year to secure this treasured campsite and all of a sudden are told you've got to go home, sorry. It's a tough break for them.
TAPPER: It's just a disgusting display. Paul Vercammen, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
In our Politics Lead today, the first batch of Hillary Clinton e-mails finally going public. The former secretary of state response days after the Benghazi attack. Did her messages seem to anticipate the political fallout?
And last night, a huge night for David Letterman signing off after 33 years of "Late Night." More people may actually remember another night by this living legend. That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The Politics Lead now, it is the controversy that cast a shadow over Hillary Clinton's presidential run before it began. Even before she announced she was a candidate.
Today we got a glimpse at some of the hundreds of pages of e-mails released from Clinton's time as secretary of state, including sensitive information in Libya.
The e-mails come from her personal account via a private server. Clinton ran it out of her home. Republican members of Congress have been pressing the State Department to release e-mails as soon as possible as part of an investigation into what Clinton may have known leading up to and immediately after an attack in Benghazi that, of course, killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
We are joined now by "New York Times" reporter, Michael Schmidt, who broke news of some of the e-mails before their official release today among the many scoops you've had on the story.
Michael, it's so good to see you. Thanks for coming in. In one e- mail exchange just days after the Benghazi terrorist attack, Sydney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton hand, tells her that according to sources the attack was planned by al Qaeda not pulled off by protestors angry about the anti-Muslim video.
To which Clinton response, quote, "We should get this around ASAP. Now that's interesting because that is obviously not what the Obama administration said for weeks.
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": There was a lot of information coming in to the State Department, to DOD, to the CIA, but what she had was the information that basically directly contradicts what Carney comes out and says, at the same time at the White House, he says not a pre-planned attack.
He says this was a spontaneous outgrowth that's similar to what Susan Rice says, you know, who knows where that e-mail went. We only know Hillary Clinton sent it to Jake Sullivan, one of her close aides. We don't know how far it went from there, but it gives a little glimpse of some of the information that she had at the time.
TAPPER: And, of course, there is this role of Sidney Blumenthal, this long time Clinton hand, who is barred by the Obama White House from working for her at the State Department. They didn't like some of his campaign tactics during 2008. And yet he lands this job doing some business things, and also working for, I think some of the Clinton Foundation, and clearly had a very influential role unofficial, with the secretary of state?
SCHMIDT: Well, he is being paid by the Clinton Foundation. At the same time, he was sending her memos. This was not just, like, I heard this at a cocktail party. These were detailed things that were based on sources that he said that he had directly addressed to her and he would send them to her on a consistent basis about 25 of these that we know about over a two-year period of time.
The funny thing is that the Obama administration didn't want him at the State Department, but what was actually happening is that she was forwarding some of the advice that she was getting from him to Jake Sullivan, her aide, and saying, send this on to the White House, send it on to Ben Rhodes.
So even though they didn't want him there, his stuff was sending up there.
TAPPER: And when she was asked about this earlier this week by our CNN's own Jeff Zeleny, she said, I have a lot of old friends and a lot of old friends are always going to, always going to talk to them.
But it seems a little bit more intriguing than that, because he was talking to people with their own intelligence and retired spies and who knows what the business interests were?
SCHMIDT: Well, the argument that people at the top of government say, you know, folks, journalists would say, you hear from a lot of different people. I got a tip on this. I got something like this.
The Clinton aides say this was something that was unsolicited. It was just him sending it to her, you know, perhaps he was trying to show his influence what he knew. How he could help her.
But it's more systematic than that, and she was certainly asking her assistants to print them, saying, please print. That's the way that we understand that she was reading them.
She forwarded almost all, but maybe a few on. You know, and then they would end up, what happened was that Jake Sullivan would take them, copy the text, send them to Chris Stephens in Libya, what do you think about this? Get responses from them, send them back to her so --
TAPPER: Intriguing, curiouser and curiouser as they say. Michael Schmith from the "New York Times, thank you so much for coming in and talking to us about this.
In the sports lead, he knocks out his then fiancee cold in an elevator, as we all remember from this TMZ video, but now domestic charges had been dropped against former NFL star, Ray Rice. And some are asking did Rice get special treatment? That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. The Money Lead, the numbers are in, and as expected David Letterman's star-studded finale drew huge ratings, about 13.8 million viewers, but it was not his highest rated show of all-time. In fact, it won't even go down among his top three.
David Letterman said goodbye last night after more than 30 years on the air. The finale will go down as his fourth highest rated show and his largest audience since 1994 when his show followed Olympic coverage.
In fitting fashion last night, Dave bid his audience adieu with an epic twist on his show's staple by having some of his favorite guests give the top ten things they've always wanted to say to Dave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your extensive plastic surgery was a necessity and a mistake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just glad your show is being given to another white guy!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dave, I'll never have the money I owe you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:55:13] TAPPER: The new white guy, Stephen Colbert, will replace Letterman as host this coming fall.
Sports Lead now, he was caught on video knocking his then fiancee now wife to the ground and then dragging her out of the elevator from an Atlantic City Casino.
Despite the violent nature of the act and the fact that it was caught on tape, released to the world by TMZ, former Baltimore Raven star, Ray Rice, today had all domestic violence charges against him dismissed.
That's because Rice completed a pretrial intervention program, which was agreed upon between his lawyers and the district attorney's office. It's a program that domestic violence advocates say Rice should never have qualified for.
And, according to a report on ESPN's excellent outside the lines it's only offered to fewer than 1 percent of assault cases in that state.
I'm joined now by CNN's sports anchor, Rachel Nichols. Rachel, great to see you as always. Is this special treatment for a big, powerful sports celebrity?
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Anytime you're talking about less than 1 percent, it certainly seems like it. This is one side of what we see in sports, when an athlete commits a crime. We either see the court system go very light on them. Seemingly impressed by their sport celebrity, or we see the opposite. Look what happened with Plaxico Buress in New York City when violated a gun law. Basically the people in charge of that case made it clear explicitly we are going to make an example of him because he is a high-profile case. We see it both ways.
You would have to think after the Ray Rice case and the amount of attention it got, when there is an athlete arrested for domestic violence in the coming years, you would think, you would hope, the legal system would say, there is going to extra eyes on us.
We're going to have to go the route of making him more of an example, or being under the spotlight more, but we'll have to see.
TAPPER: Especially when the person is a role model like an NFL star. Rachel, what's next for him? After all this, do we expect to ever see Ray Rice on an NFL team again?
NICHOLS: Well, look, I'm personally of the opinion that if you do commit a crime, that doesn't mean necessarily that you aren't allowed to work ever again. There are certainly a lot of people around the NFL, who feel that way, who feel that Ray Rice has definitely come clean. He has apologized.
He has gone through both a public and private wringer and that he may deserve to play in the NFL again. The question is, is an NFL team going to want him? He's got two strikes against him, Jake.
First of all, he didn't have a very good season before all of this happened. That's bad luck, because in sports, if you play well, people can forgive almost anything. But he was averaging only about three yards a carry.
That's not what teams want to see from their number one running back. He's 28 years old. Teams often look at that 30-year-old mark, age of being too old and a very good running back draft class just drafted this past April.
So it's going to be interesting to see if another team picks him up and then deals with that second issue, that second hurdle, which is the public reaction, because when a team does sign him, if a team does sign him, the first thing that's going to air on all the local TV stations is that video that you guys just showed.
So does a team want to be associated with that? We'll have to see. If he is signed, I would expect it to be closer to training camp when the next images after that are quickly football field images, and they can make the transition a little bit quicker.
TAPPER: After the Ray Rice story happened and we talked about all of the cases like this in the NFL, during the Super Bowl there was a public service announcement in which the NFL decried domestic violence.
But realistically, how much of an impact do you think Rice's case will have on the NFL going forward? Are we going to see any actual changes away from press conferences and PSAs in how the NFL deals with players, who are violent to people, especially in cases of domestic violence?
NICHOLS: Women and children, absolutely. Look, the NFL had a horrible track record of penalizing its athletes, who were involved in these cases. The bar was so low, Jake, that you could pretty much, you know, make a tiny hop and try to get over it.
So they only had better to get to, and they have gotten better. This was a watershed moment for the NFL. There is no question that they have changed their tune on how they deal with these cases.
Greg Hardy, high-profile case, a violation in the state of Carolina, well, in North Carolina, well, now that he's signed with the Dallas Cowboys, he has a ten-game suspension.
We have seen Adrian Peterson miss most of the season after a case he was involved in. So there's definitely been a change. Is there more ground to be covered? Absolutely. No question.
The NFL knows how serious this is and you can even translate it out to say, deflate-gate, and the Patriots scrutiny under. Everything that falls under them now they know the public is watching them closer to see how they discipline. You have to think they'll have harder discipline from here on out.
TAPPER: Rachel Nichols, always great to have you on. Thank you so much. As we've been telling you, Baltimore's State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby is about to start speaking any minute to give an update in the Freddie Gray case. That press conference was slightly delayed. It should be starting any minute.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over now to Brianna Keilar. She is in for Wolf Blitzer.