Return to Transcripts main page


Police Expand Their Search For Two Escaped Convicts; Trans Fats Need To Be Out Of Products By 2018; Neil Young Slams Trump For Using Rock Classic. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired June 17, 2015 - 16:30   ET



[16:34:05] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

In other national news today, police announcing today that the desperate hunt for two cold-blooded killers is expanding. More than 10,000 square acres have been scoured and 1,400 leads investigated, this as we are now learning that Joyce Mitchell, the prison worker who allegedly helped the two convicts escape, tipped off her husband, Lyle, about their plan to bust out of jail and kill him.

Let's go right to CNN's Jason Carroll, who is live outside the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York.

Jason, do police at this point believe Lyle Mitchell was definitively involved in any way?


Investigators do not believe that Lyle Mitchell had prior knowledge of the prison escape. And, as for that alleged murder plot involve Joyce Mitchell, Jake, I also spoke to Joyce Mitchell's attorney this afternoon. And he says, yes, Joyce Mitchell did know about the murder plot, but she had nothing to do, he says, with planning it.



CARROLL (voice-over): Tonight, the search expands. Law enforcement is now releasing progression photos to show what escaped murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat would look like after more than 10 days on the run, as the search runs cold.

CAPT. ROBERT LAFOUNTAIN, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: We are concentrating our efforts not only in this vicinity, but throughout the nation and beyond.

CARROLL: CNN has learned Joyce Mitchell, the woman accused of helping the escapees, warned her husband, Lyle, of a murder plot, telling him, "Your life is in danger."

Mitchell apparently became so worried, that she warned her husband, Lyle Mitchell, that Sweat and Matt were planning to kill him.

ANDREW WYLIE, CLINTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: As of today, we had no information whatsoever that he had prior knowledge of the escape, or that he participated or actively assisted in the escape of the two inmates.

CARROLL: Officials say Joyce Mitchell is watching the new coverage of the manhunt from her jail cell.

And more news of a bizarre love triangle: Joyce Mitchell had relations, allegedly, with both David Sweat and Richard Matt. In 2013, Sweat was removed from the tailor shop when his inappropriate relationship with Mitchell was discovered. Later in that same year, a sexual relationship took place inside the tailor shop between Mitchell and Matt.

It's the only known place the two were together, according to a law enforcement source -- all of this unknown to Lyle Mitchell, who worked in the same tailor shop. Investigators are also looking at other prison employees and their possible role in the escape. One thing they are considering is whether or not any of the other prisoners may have created some type of diversion before, during or after Matt and Sweat escaped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't get how no staff person heard the steel being cut in the back of both of cells, but let's assume no officer heard it. A prisoner heard it. And, in a well-run prison, they would have ratted them out.


CARROLL: And, Jake, a little bit more about Joyce Mitchell's attorney and that alleged murder plot.

He said, just because she heard something about it doesn't mean she was going to act on it, going on to say -- quote -- "I don't believe she was involved in any attempt to kill her husband" -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jason Carroll, thank you so much.

There are still so many unanswered questions surrounding this brazen prison break. Did Richard Matt and David Sweat, the fugitives, force Joyce Mitchell into cooperating with them? Was her husband, Lyle, aware definitively of his wife's relationship with the fugitives?

Joining me to talk about all of this and the latest on the investigation is Andrew Wylie. He is the district attorney of Clinton County, New York.

Mr. District Attorney, thanks for joining us.

You said earlier today that the search area is expanding, but that you don't believe the killers have left the area. Why do you not think that they have left the area?

WYLIE: Well, the reason why we are taking that position is that we have no signs of the two inmates being anywhere else but here.

We haven't had any burglaries. We haven't had any stolen vehicles that we could tie into both Sweat and Matt. And so without any type of suspicious activity outside of the immediate area, we're still focusing on the local area within Clinton County, but we're expanding the region of the search.

TAPPER: Let's talk about how this happened. What, if anything, did Joyce Mitchell's husband, Lyle, know about the escape plans, do you think?

WYLIE: Well, we have no information that he knew anything about the escape plan prior to it actually taking effect early morning Saturday, June 6.

What we do believe, based on Joyce Mitchell's testimony or statements to us, is that she advised him after the escape of what happened, including the possible murder plot.

TAPPER: If the nature of the relationship between Joyce Mitchell and one or both of the fugitives was sexual, as we're being told by law enforcement sources, how was it that she was still working at the prison? I can't believe that only those three were aware of it.

WYLIE: Well, it is hard to believe, isn't it?

Now, we have situations where we have the tailor room shops that are behind the wall, and, in that room, there is one correction officer that is supervising the shift. And, so, Joyce Mitchell would be in that room with multiple amount of inmates.

And so, however they arranged to have the contact with each other, it went unobserved to the correction officer. But I think that's one of the issues where Joyce Mitchell and David Sweat's relationship was broken up because of -- it was observed by the supervising correction officer.

TAPPER: What can you tell us about this diversion potentially created by other prisoners to distract the guards while Sweat and Matt escaped?


WYLIE: Well, it's a theory that's out there. We don't have any information to support that that's actually what happened. We continue to investigate by speaking to the inmates, by speaking to the correction officers that were in the A-block.

TAPPER: Do you think that at this point she was the only prison employee that knew about the escape plot as it happened?

WYLIE: That's the only information we have at this point in time.

There are other leads that are coming in relative to it, but it's not something, based on that investigation we're conducting, that I can comment on tonight. TAPPER: Was Joyce Mitchell threatened by the fugitives, and that's

why she cooperated?

WYLIE: Joyce Mitchell has not told us that she was threatened in any manner by either Sweat or Matt. It's an issue in all likelihood that, on Friday evening, she came to the reality that this escape was taking place, and she couldn't handle that pressure.

That's only my theory, though.

TAPPER: NBC News has been reporting that there was a fight in the prison a week before the inmates escaped. And according to the protocol, we're told that that should have resulted in a lockdown, a search of each inmate's cells. That might have stopped this all.

Do you have any idea why that didn't happen?

WYLIE: I have not been able to speak to either the superintendent of the facility or of corrections relative to that allegation.

TAPPER: I know that you're not in charge of prison security.

You send dangerous people...

WYLIE: Not at all.

TAPPER: You send dangerous people off there, so you want them to stay in there.

Just as an observation, this prison was built when John Tyler was president. That's roughly 20 years before Abraham Lincoln. As somebody who sends bad guys away, do you think it's maybe time to build a supermax in the region?

WYLIE: Well, we have -- we do have a facility, Upstate Correctional Facility.

And if these two individuals are taken back into custody alive, that is likely one of the facilities that will be considered to place them at.

So, New York State has obviously spent millions and millions of dollars on building new prison systems in the past, and so there are facilities that are there to accomplish that.

TAPPER: All right, district attorney Andrew Wylie of Clinton County, New York, thank you so much. Appreciate you taking our questions today.

WYLIE: Thank you.

TAPPER: In our money lead today: It might be better for your waist, but what about your wallet? The ban on trans fats will cost companies billions of dollars. How much will it cost you?

Plus, outlets such as "The Daily Show" are really happy that Donald Trump got into the race, but Neil Young? Well, not so much. Why is the rock 'n' roll icon angry at the Trump campaign? That's next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Our Money Lead now, we have all heard of good fats and bad fats, unsaturated good fats such as olive oil and saturated fats found in meat and cheese, they are OK with limit.

But then there's transfat. That's a no-no. Transfats are all about taste and shelf life. They don't occur naturally. They are made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. Think cakes and doughnuts and margarine. Most of the stuff Homer Simpson thinks about all day.

Well, as of this week, the Obama administration has decided to order companies to get rid of transfats in their products by June of 2018. Cutting that fat, though, could cost the companies billions of dollars.

Joining me now from New York is Michael Moss. He is the author of "Salt, Sugar, Fat." So do you think the Obama administration is overreacting? Is this the nanny state going mad?

MICHAEL MOSS, AUTHOR, "SALT, SUGAR, FAT": I think when it comes to transfat, which isn't just the bad fat, it's the baddest of the fats. This is sort of a no-brainer. The scientific evidence seem as strong as any nutrition, 7,000 estimated deaths every year, another 20,000 heart attacks would be saved by having this last final push to get sort of the last remaining amount of transfats over foods that the industry hasn't been willing to do voluntarily.

TAPPER: What does that mean practically speak for, say, doughnuts?

MOSS: Well, the problem with the doughnuts are the sprinkles on the glazing, one of miracle aspects of transfats, it helps keep those sprinkles the color from leaking a bit into the icing. The industry is going to have to look for another way to keep our eyes happy and riveted on the sprinkle doughnut thing.

TAPPER: The FDA says this is going to cost about $200,000 per product. The public will bear of brunt of that cost, though, I assume, don't you?

MOSS: It's $6 billion is the cost that I'm hearing, which is the cost of converting over to alternatives. It sounds like a lot. This is a trillion dollar processed food industry, though, but you have to look at the savings, $130 billion in saved medical care costs from the continued usage of transfats. That's a big difference.

TAPPER: In the scheme of things, let's look at the big picture, Americans can smoke, they can drink, they can eat nothing but fried cheese all day if they want. Where do transfats fall on this continuum of dangerous things that Americans can do?

MOSS: You know, I think this is something that the government is convinced -- I'm not hearing a whole lot of pushback from the industry that this industry can do without. We're not talking about not having doughnuts. We're talking about finding an alternative fat source, and they're out there. It's not a ban on eating doughnuts.

It's an encouragement on the industry, and they have three years to switch over to go for the alternative. Mind you, you've got to be careful about the alternatives. Some of the other oils can cause problems beyond public health.

TAPPER: Three years, you say, why such a long lead time?

MOSS: Well, you know, because they have been trying as the industry says it's sort of pretty has picked the low-hanging fruit. It takes a while for the food engineers to sort find the perfect new ingredient that what the transfat does without messing up the rest of the formulas.

[16:50:12] So those doughnuts and those cakes and those cookies can look and taste as luscious as they do now.

TAPPER: What's the FDA's next target after it gets rid of transfats, do you think?

MOSS: That's a really good question. I think this was an easy one for the FDA. Frankly, I spent a lot of time in the book talking about how salt, sugar, fat, too much of those things are a problem, but really when you ask nutritionists what the big problem is with health is that we're not eating enough vegetables.

I think that's the biggest challenge for the processed food industry, which is losing public trust. Can they not only dial back on bad boy ingredients like transfat, but can they figure out a way to cram more vegetables into their products? I think that would make us a lot more healthy.

TAPPER: Yes, I was trying to cram some Brussels sprouts into my kids last night? It wasn't so successful.

MOSS: How did you do?

TAPPER: Not that well.

MOSS: I'm sorry.

TAPPER: Michael Moss, thank so much. There is one less wild animal on the streets of Tbilisi, Georgia today. Police shot and killed a white tiger after it killed a man at a warehouse. Severe flooding last weekend which killed at least 19 people ravaged the zoo there, destroying many of the enclosures where animals were held.

Lions, bears, wolves, a hippo and the tiger were roaming the streets. The tiger had been MIA since the weekend. The zoo said today another tiger is still missing, but could not confirm if it is dead or alive. It's probably a good idea to stay inside if you're in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Wolf Blitzer is now here with a preview of "THE SITUATION ROOM." Wolf, Republican presidential candidate, Lindsey Graham on the show today, he's probably not watching because he's probably preparing? You can tell me what are you going to ask him.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": We're going to talk about the war on ISIS, the emerging strategy. There was a major hearing on the Hill as you know. He's also released an e-book entitled "My Story," he has an amazing personal story when he was in college.

He lost both parents within a short period of time and basically helped raise his young little sister. He wants to be president of the United States, so we'll see where it goes. And Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he's going to join us live as well.

TAPPER: I know there is been a lot of innuendo by comedian about Lindsey Graham because he is single. He is bachelor. He would be the first bachelor president since Grover Cleveland. He writes about women that he dated in his book.

BLITZER: He said he almost got married to a Lufthansa flight attendant way back, found out, they split up. She had to go back to Austria. He tells a very personal story about that love affair. We'll get into that a little bit too.

TAPPER: Interesting. Wolf Blitzer, looking forward to it.

Coming up, what's the easiest way to anger a rock star? Donald Trump found out when he used one of Neil Young's hits in his presidential announcement. That story is next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Today's Pop Culture Lead, it has the words red, white and blue and it has freedom in it. What could possibly go wrong? That's what the conversation might have sounded like in Donald Trump's boardroom, while picking the theme song for his campaign kickoff yesterday.

But today the Trump campaign, like so many other campaigns before it is learning the hard way that some songs are about more than the hook.


TAPPER (voice-over): Take one candidate, one big announcement.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am officially running --

TAPPER: And one inspirational song to back it all up. This is the fastest way to anger a liberal rock star. Neil Young we just learned is none too pleased with Donald Trump's song choice yesterday.

His manager releasing a statement saying, "Donald Trump was not authorized to use "Rockin' in the Free World." Neil Young is a supporter of Bernie Sanders. But Trump's Republican opponent, Marco Rubio isn't faring much better. He angered the Swedish group by using their song "Something New" in his announcement. The group says they don't wish to be affiliated with a political party.

None of this is new. The list of rock stars riled up by the misuse of their music reads like a roster at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Tom Petty, Sting, John Mellencamp, that's the enviable lineup for just George W. Bush's acoustic offenses.

John McCain's playlist of myth musician after his presidential bid includes Van Halen, The Foo Fighters and Jackson Browne, who actually sued the senator for using his song "Running On Empty" without permission. He settled with the senator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't take someone's song and use it without paying them.

TAPPER: In the 2016 contest, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, wasn't sued, but he did receive this blunt tweet from rockers the Drop-Kick Murphys after he used their music. "Stop using our music in any way," they wrote him. "We literally hate you." Ouch.

As for Trump "Keep On Rockin' In The Free World" didn't make much sense. It's a protest song against '80's Republican politics and consumer culture in that way at least Trump is following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, who 31 years ago referenced "Born In The USA" to boost his message.

Much to the frustration of Bruce Springsteen, who wrote the song about America's problems, not its political promise.


TAPPER: Democrats, of course, are not immune from similar ruffling of rockers feather, but of course, the Republican has more of a track record when it comes to offending rock musicians, most of whom tend to be liberals.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."