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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Sources: Government Data Breach Impacted 18 Million; Source: Tools Possibly Smuggled In Frozen Meat; Escaped Killer's DNA Found In Upstate New York Cabin. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired June 22, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:32:04] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
Some more breaking news in our politics lead. He called in the National Guard to help quell Baltimore riots from exploding violence and anger, and now Maryland's governor, Larry Hogan, a Republican who has only been on the job for a few months, has a different kind of fight on his hands, at stake, his life.
I want to bring in CNN national political reporter Sara Murray.
Sara, a shocking story. What can you tell us?
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was just incredible.
He came out and he gave this press conference. And I can't imagine what it's like having to share such a personal moment, that you have been diagnosed with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, so publicly.
Take a listen to what he said in his press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R), MARYLAND: A few days ago, I was diagnosed with cancer.
It's an aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, to be specific.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Now, as the governor said, he just received this diagnosis.
He made it clear in that press conference he's not going to be stepping down. He's going to be looking to his lieutenant governor to sort of step up and fills the gap while he undergoes an 18-week treatment of chemotherapy. They are hoping that will help him beat the cancer, but obviously going think chemo, it just wrecks your body.
And he's telling people to be prepared for that. He could lose his hair. He could be thinner. It is going to be much tougher for him to do this job along the way.
TAPPER: It's so sad. Our thoughts and prayers are of course with him and his family.
Sara Murray, thank you so much.
Coming up, he has said the N-word before, but not like this, the less guarded side of President Obama, as he talks about race in a candid way. It's his second term, and he's more candid.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Our other politics lead today, some candid comments from President Obama on racial divisions in this country. In a podcast interview with comedian Marc Maron released today, the president said it's undeniable race relations have improved since the days of segregation, but he added that the impact and legacy of slavery is still being felt.
He also purposely used the N-word to demonstrate that inequality and oppression go well beyond the use of racial slurs.
A word of caution here. CNN, before airing this from the podcast, we're choosing not to bleep anything out, so take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that's still part of our DNA that's passed on. We're not cured of it.
MARC MARON, COMEDIAN: Racism.
OBAMA: Racism, we are not cured of it, clearly.
And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination.
We have -- societies don't overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: Joining me now to talk about the remarks and President Obama and the race issue in general are CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill and Larry Elder, host of "The Larry Elder Show" on CRN Talk Radio.
Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here.
Larry, let's start with you.
Do you think people are making too big a deal about the president using the N-word here? LARRY ELDER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I'm kind of surprised that
people are surprised, Jake. He wrote a book, his first book, in which he did use the N-word. You can even hear Obama using the N-word on a book on tape.
To me, the lead ought to be how negative he is about race relations in America. My goodness. We have been talking about what happened in 1963 with -those four little girls who were bombed in Birmingham, a town that had so many bombings, they called it "Bombingham."
The sheriff was a guy that sicked water hoses and dogs on people. The governor, George Wallace, said segregation now, segregation forever. The Klan was so virulent. It was probably the most virulent chapter in all of the South in Birmingham.
Fast-forward to South Carolina, you're talking about a female governor who's of Indian descent. You have one of the two senators who is black. You have widespread vigilance. And in the case of Birmingham, it was decades before they brought the people to justice. We knew who did it right away.
And this man did not pull out a Confederate Flag and shoot people, Jake. He pulled out a firearm. I don't understand why we're talking about the flag when the real issue is, maybe something might have happened if we had had concealed weapons in that church. Maybe something might have happened if one of the friends had intervened.
It's a sideshow to be talking about the Second Amendment. And it's a sideshow to be talking about the Confederate Flag or whether Obama had used the N-word, as far as I'm concerned.
The issue is whether or not somebody today can work hard, go to school, and make it to the middle class if he or she works hard and tries hard.
ELDER: And the answer is a devastating yes.
TAPPER: All right, Marc, I'm sure you have some strong opinions on what Larry just said.
TAPPER: Why don't you weigh in?
ELDER: One or two, I suspect.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: A few things.
First, I agree with Larry that the N-word shouldn't be the lead, pardon the pun, in our national conversation. I think that it's interesting. I'm not surprised by it, and I think it was perfectly acceptable, one, because President Obama is an African-American man, and, two, because he was using it heuristically. He was using it to make a point that I think is an important one.
HILL: And that is that racism is an intractable feature of American life, that you don't get rid of racism. Think about how powerful this is. He said 200 or 300 years later, racism -- you can't undo and cure racism.
Slavery just ended in 1865. So, the president is actually saying that racism will be around for the next 150 years. It's an important point. But the president also said that progress exists. That is to say that we don't -- we're not in Selma, we're not in Birmingham. Things have improved. There are differences in race relations.
But, nevertheless, even the description that Larry just offered, where the response to the Charleston shooting is different than the response to the Birmingham bombing, there are still people dead simply because they're black. Anti-black racism still exists.
But to the president's point, it's not just about foaming-at-the-mouth racism. Most white people don't approve of what happened in Charleston. Most white people don't want to walk down the street and kill black people or see black people killed. I would agree that with 1000 percent. That is not the issue.
As the president said, it's about structures and institutions. And the answers to Larry's rhetorical question of can people access the middle class, if that's our goal, it's a devastating no if we're staying on par with their white counterparts.
Black people still die more at birth. We don't live as long. And in between those two extremes, we don't have the same level of access to health care, housing, food. We're overly charged. We go to prison more. We get expelled more. We get suspended more in school for the same behaviors as our white counterparts.
There are so many just glaring points of evidence to show that things aren't the same.
ELDER: Jake, in 1969, another white man wanted to start a race riot. His name was Charlie Manson. And he ordered seven white people to be murdered over two days ago.
He even had a family. He had a following, unlike Rudolph -- unlike this guy in South Carolina. And we did not consider Charlie Manson to be a spear of some sort of movement. We thought of him for what he is, a deviant.
And that's what Rudolph -- that's what this guy is, a deviant, and not some sort of representation of race relations in America, for crying out loud. Let's call this guy what he is, a nutcase, a deviant, an evil deviant, to be sure, but he certainly does not reflect a movement.
HILL: I think Larry and I are having two different conversations.
I'm not suggesting that he represents most white people. Does he represent -- he does represent a movement. He represents a white nationalist movement that, according to all of our law enforcement experts, if we trust law enforcement experts, suggests that has been revived and expanded over the last 10 years.
What I'm saying is, is that racism isn't measured by the number of white people in lynch mobs. Most white people are not in lynch mobs. It's represented by the structural issues. That's what President Obama just said. It's not about whether somebody calls me the N-word or not. It's not about whether or not people are polite.
There is nothing more racist than polite people who still don't give me a job. Studies show that black men without felony convictions are less likely to get a job callback than white men with felony convictions. If my name is Tkwanda vs. -- I can't think of black -- a white name -- vs. Jane, I have a much less likely chance of getting into -- going a job callback. This is based on students.
TAPPER: Larry, do you disagree with any of that?
ELDER: I most certainly do.
Take a magic wand, wave it over the hearts of white America, and let's expunge every smidgen of racism from their hearts. We still have the same problems.
HILL: That's my point.
ELDER: The implosion of the black family, government schools that -- government schools that don't work.
And the fact is that unemployment for the black community is twice as high as in the white community. What does that have to do with getting rid of white racism? Tell me.
HILL: OK. So,...
ELDER: Explain to me what that would...
HILL: I'm trying -- I will.
So, again, remember, my point was...
ELDER: Explain to me getting rid of all white racism.
HILL: I'm trying to.
ELDER: What will that do about schools, family breakdown, and lack of jobs?
TAPPER: Let Mark answer your -- Larry, let Mark answer your question.
HILL: OK. Waving a wand over white people's hearts isn't the point. I'm something called post-intentional racism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the point then?
HILL: I'm trying to tell you. It's not just what's in people's heart. It's about destructions. You pointing out the fact that black people are unemployed at a much higher rate than white people is proof that racism still exists, unless you think that black people don't really want jobs. I can see --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of the 50 percent dropout rate in the inner city. That's why bad government schools that don't work.
HILL: You can call it a dropout rate or you could call it a push out race because when you look inside of school, usually the black people don't have the same access to books, same access to quality teachers.
Black boys and girls at this point get suspended three times at the rate and expelled as their white counterparts for the same behaviors, according to an expert in this area.
So again, yes there's room for responsibility. Yes, people can make better choices, everybody deserves to make better choices, but the difference is white people have access to healthy choices and second chances, and for too many people who were marked black, brown or poor white for that matter, healthy choices and second chances aren't offered.
If I'm in Detroit, I have to go 5 miles to get fresh fruit and vegetables. That's not about my own desire to not eat pigs' feet out of the jar. It's about the fact that I have live in a food-insecure neighborhood. That's a very real --
TAPPER: Let me say one thing and then I have to say goodbye to both of you is that I think we honored what President Obama wanted us to do, by not focusing on the "n" word talking about bigger more important issues of race in America. And Marc Lamont Hill and Larry Elder, I thank you both for coming bringing your passion and intellect. I appreciate it very much.
The National Lead, investigators may have new information on those two prisoners escaped from a maximum security prison. Get this -- they may have actually used frozen hamburger meat to hide their tools. That's in addition to a new confirmed lead today that pinpoints where they spent some of their time on the run. The latest on that fascinating, terrifying story is coming up next.
[16:51:35] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD now for some breaking news, the Obama administration, specifically the Office of Personal Management originally said the Chinese hackers got the goods on 4 million federal employees, names, Social Security numbers, addresses, everything and anything that the Chinese might need to blackmail someone into giving up U.S. government secrets.
But now CNN has learned that the scope of the breach is far, far worse than the Obama administration initially told us. Let's get right to CNN justice reporter, Evan Perez. He's breaking the story. Evan, just how bad is this?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Jake, we're told that the number is 18 million, that's estimate of the number of current, former, retired, and even prospective government employees. This includes people who applied for government jobs, Jake, but never actually worked for the government. Their information is all compromised by a hack that is believed to be traced back to the Chinese government.
TAPPER: It was about a year before it was detected. Why is there such a huge disparity between the first number that the U.S. government announce to the public 4 million and now 18 million, and do you think we're ever really going to know the full extent of this hack?
PEREZ: Well, you know, there's some dispute why it is that OPM has been slow to acknowledge this number. This number came -- we've learned about it because Jim Comey, the director of the FBI told this to a number of senators in briefings on the Hill.
So we've been asking the OPM why they haven't provided this, they say that they're still an ongoing investigation and still trying to determine this exact number. Whether this number is actually the real number, and the answer to your question is, we may never know.
Because to this day the government still doesn't know everything that Edward Snowden took, and that is the nature of hacking is that they never truly know what these thieves get when they get into this systems -- Jake.
TAPPER: Very disturbing story. Evan Perez, thanks so much for bringing that to us.
Now to our other national lead today, the hunt for convicted killers, Richard Matt and David Sweat that's heating up. Law enforcements have a confirmed lead on the two men who escaped from the prison in upstate New York, now 17 days ago.
And this just in -- tools possibly hidden in hamburger meat delivered to one of the convicts. I want to get right to CNN correspondent, Boris Sanchez. He is in Alzed, New York closely tracking all the development there.
We should note that the law enforcement has sung this song before that they are closing in, but why are they more certain now? BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this is the biggest lead in the case so far. Out of 2,000 tips, the strongest indication that these two escapees are still in New York, it was DNA that matched Richard Matt and David Sweat that was found in a cabin that was broken into over the weekend.
We've also learned that investigators, as you said, believed that the men got tools into their cells through frozen hamburger meat, believe it or not.
We've also learned that they are now looking into hotel registries near the Clinton Correctional Facilities, looking at anyone who may have stayed there in the past six to eight months that may know the two escapees, clearly investigators looking into every possible lead.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): Tonight, the first conclusive lead since the brazen prison escape more than two weeks ago, DNA discovered in a burglarized cabin. Police descended on a wooded area in Owl's Head, New York today, just 22 miles west of the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility.
MAJOR CHARLES GUESS, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: We have developed evidence that the suspects may have spent time in a cabin in this area.
[16:55:02] SANCHEZ: DNA from Richard Matt and David Sweat was found on personal items inside the cabin that coincides with an eyewitness account of a person running from the cabin into the woods on Saturday.
GUESS: It's a confirmed lead for us. It's generated a massive law enforcement response, as you can see, and we're going to run this to ground.
SANCHEZ: The discovery shifts the hunt back to the killers back to the area not far from where they escaped on June 6th. Saturday afternoon a possible sighting of the two fugitives 300 miles near the Pennsylvania border in a small town of Friendship, New York, on high alert.
Police swarmed the region with helicopters and search dogs, but nothing was found. Sources now tell CNN there's no evidence the escaped killers have the support network needed to get away from the prison once they broke out.
Joyce Mitchell, a prison employee is in jail, accused of helping the two men escape, but investigators say she does not follow through with the plan to pick them up.
A corrections officer at the prison has placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation into the men's escape. Gene Palmer was questioned by law enforcement for 14 hours Saturday, but he's not been charged.
ANDREW BROCKWAY, ATTORNEY FOR GENE PALMER: I can 100 percent confirm that he did not know that they were planning to break out of the prison.
SANCHEZ: One last note, Jake, investigators are looking at whether or not Joyce Mitchell may have convinced a guard at the prison to pass that frozen meat through without going through a metal detector.
TAPPER: Thank you so much. Let's talk about this ongoing manhunt with retired U.S. Marshall John Cuff. He is in New York. Here with me in Washington is former assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigation Division, Ron Husko. Thanks to both of you for joining me. John, how significant a lead do you think this is?
JOHN CUFF, RETIRED U.S. MARSHALL: Jake, this is a game changer. This is a significant break for law enforcement. A lead like this, provided it is accurate, you're tightening a noose at this point. Having said that, this DNA, as we all know, we don't know if it was left there this weekend or over the past two weeks.
Until they can determine, if also, how long they have been holdup in in cabin is going to be key. They're going to treat that as a crime scene. They would have processed it for any indicia of flight, personal effects, and things of that nature.
If there was clothing up there, obviously, what was left behind, was it issued from the prison? That kind of thing. Possibly anything that they might have done to alter their identity, for example there might be hair dye, things of that nature.
But when you tie it in with the fact that there was a sighting from someone on Saturday, that kind of closes this gap, providing that it was one of these individuals. That closes this gap, and law enforcement will now throw out a wider net and hopefully in short order get these guys.
TAPPER: Right. Ron, how accurate do you think this DNA testing is?
RON HUSKO, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: I think it can be incredibly accurate. In some cases it can be very thin, it can be an indicator. It can include a more diverse group of people, but here based on what we are hearing from the state police, this is a huge step forward in a high stakes, high tech game.
TAPPER: Ron, let me keep you for one second. Law enforcement has seemingly been close before, do you think the involvement of the public is critical more than ever.
HUSKO: It is more and more critical, Jake. Before, I think there were sightings, but not conclusive sightings, and so we have seen this, what looks like a game of soccer with 6-year-olds, moving around from place to place.
But here where you have a piece of hard evidence that may have led us to much more evidence that indicates how long they have been there, hopefully they can look at utility records from that cabin, determine electrical usage, it may tell you they've been there for 5, 10 days.
TAPPER: John, we only have about a minute left, but there's no way to predict. If these men are armed and dangerous, how concerned would you be they would want to go out guns blazing, not go back to prison?
CUFF: That's certainly concern for law enforcement and the public. If they did acquire a weapon up there, their mind-set, do they want to go back to prison or suicide by police? That's always a possibility. There will be a heightened level of alertness with law enforcement and the community whoever is up in that wooded area up there.
TAPPER: All right, John Cuff and Ron Husko, thank you both. Appreciate it.
That's it for THE LEAD. I am Jake Tapper. You can follow me on Twitter @jaketapper or @theleadcnn. You can also follow us on Facebook. I turn you over now to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer who is right next door in a room that I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.