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THE SITUATION ROOM
Ex-Inmate Drops Joyce Mitchell Bombshell; Convicts May Now Be Armed; Lawmaker Apologizes for Saying Victims Waited to Be Shot; What ISIS Left Behind: Bomb Factory Revealed; Governor Bobby Jindal Announces Run for President. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 24, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:08] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, armed and dangerous. As they hunt for two convicted killers, searchers find strong new clues deep in the woods of upstate New York. But there's also concern right now the fugitives may have found shotguns or other weapons in the area's many hunting cabins.
Confederate rebellion. A pastor and state lawmaker killed in the Charleston massacre lies in state at South Carolina's Capitol as the Confederate flag waves outside. We'll take a closer look at the growing effort to take down a symbol of white supremacy.
ISIS bombs. A CNN exclusive, we'll get you behind the scenes in a town recently recaptured from ISIS, where danger lurks behind every corner, as the terror group leaves behind bombs and bobby traps.
And Jindal jumps in. A 13th Republican throws his hat into the ring this hour. The Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal announcing his run for the White House. We'll bring it to you live. I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: New information is emerging about the help a prison employee allegedly gave to two convicted killers, as searchers develop their strongest clues yet in the 19-day manhunt for the pair who broke out of a prison in upstate New York. Numerous personal items and DNA traces were found in a cabin in a very remote location. There's also concerns the fugitives may have found a shotgun and other weapons available in the many cabins dotting the area.
At the same time, an ex-inmate is now revealing extraordinary details about the relationship between one of the fugitives and prison worker Joyce Mitchell, who's accused of aiding the escape. The former inmate saying the pair would often sneak off to a storage closet for sexual encounters.
And today's other big story. Even as the Confederate flag waves outside the South Carolina capitol, the state lawmaker killed in Charleston church massacre is being honored there. The body of Pastor Clementa Pinckney has been lying in state. He was one of nine church members murdered during bible study.
Our correspondents and analysts and guests are all standing by with full coverage on these and other major stories.
Let's begin with Alexandra Field. She's over at the center of the search area in Owls Head, New York. Alexandra, today, the New York state police didn't deny that these escaped killers could be armed. Explain what's going on.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is certainly a possibility that police are preparing for. They've been prepared for it all along. State police point that these are obviously two men who are very cunning, who are very dangerous. And it would defy logic really to think that they wouldn't make some attempt to arm themselves. And if that's the case, they've perhaps stumbled into the right area. We've been talking repeatedly about how this is an area that's filled with seasonal camps and cottages. A lot of homes are used for hunting camps, which means that certainly there would be the possibility of having rifles and shotguns inside a lot of those homes.
What's more complicated here, however, Wolf, is the fact that state police can't confirm that any specific shotgun or rifle is actually missing. And they say that's because so many of these homes are shared by a number of people who all hunt together, who all camp together. They might not have a system for inventorying which guns belong in the home, and they wouldn't perhaps be able to even notice if a gun was missing at this point, Wolf.
BLITZER: There are also questions, Alexandra, about whether one of the men had an injury. Tell us what we know about this.
FIELD: So we know that a pair of boots was left behind in this cabin where investigators believe that both men were both staying. There have also been reports, unconfirmed by CNN, that a pair of bloody socks were left behind. That's a question that was asked to state police today; they have still not publicly confirmed whether or not there were bloody socks found in that cabin. But police are saying it could indicate something very small, perhaps a blister, or a more serious injury.
Of course police are hoping to see some sign that their travel would be impeded in some way. So if these men are barefoot, if one of them is injured, they're hoping that those factors, combined with the difficulty of navigating the terrain, could slow their movement down as police continue to attempt to close in on them.
BLITZER: How has the search area shifted, Alexandra, since authorities believe the men haven't been seen since Saturday?
FIELD: Look, the focus remains here. You've got more than 1,000 law enforcement officers who are on the ground in Franklin County doing these perimeter searches, doing these grid searches, moving through areas and responding to any possible reports of possible sightings, anyone who is suspicious they may have seen someone suspicious in their area.
At the same time, yes, Wolf, you point out that the last credible lead came on Saturday. It's been four days since that. They have not come up with another credible lead. So they've really got to move through this area and continue to widen and expand the search. We know that they widened their search up to Malone today. That's a more populated area, so it's a place where they wanted to put police, they want to show the community there is a police presence there, and they really are taking a careful look at every corner of this region, Wolf.
[17:05:08] We know that the search area is now some 75 square miles.
BLITZER: Alexandra Field, thanks for that report.
Meanwhile, there were some explosive new claims about a sexual relationship between the alleged accomplice, Joyce Mitchell, and one of the escaped inmates. And there's also new information about a prison guard who's being investigated in the breakout.
Let's go to Brian Todd. He's here; he's got new information. Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this man tonight, Clinton Corrections officer Gene Palmer, is now the focus of a lot of key questions. He is the person who delivered a package of frozen hamburger meat with tools inside it to inmate Richard Matt. Now, Palmer's lawyer says that Palmer didn't know the tools were inside. Still, Palmer is being scrutinized tonight over his own access and his interactions with the inmates.
TODD (voice-over): He's a 28-year veteran correction officer at Clinton whose career is on the line. Gene Palmer's lawyer says Palmer regrets not running the frozen meat through the metal detector. Palmer says the hamburger meat was handed to him by Joyce Mitchell. According to his lawyer, Palmer asked Mitchell if there was anything wrong with the meat. Was told no. Then Palmer delivered it to inmate Richard Matt.
ANDREW BROCKWAY, ATTORNEY FOR GENE PALMER: We're learning now that there were tools hidden inside of that package. Mr. Palmer did not know what was inside the package. He had no knowledge beforehand there were any kind of tools inside. The only mistake he made was trusting Joyce Mitchell.
TODD: Or make not the only mistake. Palmer, according to his attorney, knew the two escaped killers well, once received a painting done by Richard Matt.
Former Rikers Island commander Arnett Gaston says corrections officers should never take gifts from inmates.
ARNETT GASTON, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER, RIKERS ISLAND PRISON: Because it places you in a compromising position. Once you have set up that situation, then it could be manipulated further where you are now in their debt.
TODD: Gaston also says if Palmer used Matt and David Sweat as sources for information, which kept the facility safe, as he claims, he shouldn't have done that either unless it was sanctioned by authorities at Clinton. Was it? The New York State Corrections Department would not comment.
Gene Palmer is on paid leave. He's not been arrested or charged. A former inmate at Clinton, who says he knew Palmer, doesn't think he would help people escape. But did say this.
ERIK JENSEN, FORMER CLINTON CORRECTIONAL INMATE: He wasn't like the other officers. He was more -- he would mingle with us a little more.
TODD: That inmate, Erik Jensen, worked at the Clinton tailor shop with Joyce Mitchell and David Sweat. And tonight he drops a bombshell. Jensen says about four times a week, Mitchell and Sweat would disappear into a closet at the tailor shop, sometimes for a half hour or 45 minutes.
JENSEN: I believe they were getting it on. I believe they were getting it on in that back room.
TODD: Mitchell's husband Lyle says she swore she never had sex with either inmate, but Jenkins says Mitchell's interactions with Sweat suggested otherwise.
JENSEN: Giggling like a schoolgirl, and not only that, it's actually like when -- when like, you know, the superstar football player, he asked the girl out on a date or for the prom or something like that.
TODD (on camera): I spoke a short time ago with Joyce Mitchell's attorney, Steve Johnston. He says he's not been able to speak to Joyce Mitchell yet today about Erik Jensen's specific allegations, but he says Mitchell has told police investigators, and told him, that she never had sex with David Sweat. And he says the corrections officer has so far has found no evidence of that.
When I asked if she'd had sex with Richard Matt, Mitchell's attorney said he couldn't comment. The New York Department of Corrections would not comment on the Jensen's allegations, Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, did this former inmate at this prison, Jensen, did he ever ask David Sweat about a relationship with Joyce Mitchell?
TODD: Erik Jensen says that he and other inmates asked Sweat if anything was going on between him and Joyce Mitchell. Jensen says Sweat would often laugh at that, but never confirmed or denied it. Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Brian, thank you. The search is focused on 75 square miles of very rugged country and rough terrain.
Joining us is Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill of Franklin County in upstate New York. Sheriff, thanks very much for joining us. First of all, what's the lateest information that you can share about the ongoing manhunt?
SHERIFF KEVIN MULVERHILL, FRANKLIN COUNTY, NEW YORK: Not a lot of new leads today, Mr. Blitzer. The manhunt continues. We've had a number of potential sight sightings that we've run down, one earlier today in the town of Malone, the area of the Porter Road that there were two men that were reported as a sighting. We tracked those two gentlemen down and they obviously weren't the people we were looking for.
BLITZER: It looks like there was a little activity going on right behind you. Sheriff, I don't know if you saw those police vehicles rushing right by you back there. Is that common or is that unusual?
MULVERHILL: Well, I would say that they're probably responding to something.
BLITZER: Potentially maybe involved in this manhunt.
[17:10:02] As you also know, Sheriff, you know this area well. There are a lot of cabins in the area, hunting cabins more specifically. There have not been reports that a shotgun was missing from the cabin where these two men's DNA was found. Do you believe these men, these two killers, are armed right now with guns?
MULVERHILL: I think they're smart people. Obviously they broke out of a maximum security prison. I think if they had the capability or if they had the potential to arm themselves, obviously they would, there's no doubt about that.
BLITZER: And you have no doubt that they would use those weapons, right?
MULVERHILL: Yes, correct.
BLITZER: All right, we heard Major Charles Gaston of the New York state police say earlier today he believes the last sighting of these men was around 10:30 a.m. Saturday. So how can you be sure that they haven't traveled way beyond your county and other areas in the past four days?
MULVERHILL: I was fortunate enough to get up in a helicopter today and do a flyover of that area, of that cabin where they were last seen. And I can tell you that is some very thick, very rough terrain. It's not easily moved in or about. It's nestled in in between a couple of mountains. Even following the valley out, trying to get out of that location, is going to be very difficult. I can't imagine that their movements are very vast and they're able to move through that country very quickly at all.
BLITZER: You believe that they're walking, they don't have a vehicle. Is that right?
MULVERHILL: Yes, correct. They're on foot.
BLITZER: Do you think these infrared heat-seeking devices from helicopters, from aircraft, are useful in this kind of hunt?
MULVERHILL: Well, any technology we have, including the infrared, is a tool. And those tools kind of help point us in the right direction. I'll be honest with you, since this detail has started, especially since we've moved into Franklin County here, we haven't turned away any technology. So the infrared -- the infrared's being used. Everybody, the FBI, the federal, the state agencies -- any kind of technology that we can use, we are using.
BLITZER: Sheriff Mulverhill, I want to take a quick break. There's a lot of police activity going on behind you. If you can update us, maybe you can check to see what's going on because a lot of cars, police vehicles are zipping by. We'll take a quick break. Much more with the sheriff, right after this.
[17:18:03] BLITZER: Let's get back to our top story. Armed with new clues, searchers for the two escaped killers worry the fugitives may now be armed with guns.
We're back with Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill, of Franklin County in upstate New York.
Sheriff, I'm told, and I want you to -- if you can help us better appreciate what's going on. Local authorities, police there not right now using aircraft or that heat-seeking equipment as part of the search. Is that right?
MULVERHILL: I'm not sure. All that is being controlled out of the main command center, which is over in Cadyville, New York. I'm at the forward operating post here in the town of Malone (ph).
BLITZER: The other question, once again, quoting Major Charles Guess of the New York State Police, he said today that items were found, left behind in that cabin where the DNA link was found. What were the items that they may have found there that could be connected to these two killers?
MULVERHILL: I'm not sure, Wolf. To be honest with you, that's been a state police investigation since it was first called in on Saturday, and they followed up on that. And I've got a lot of information on that.
BLITZER: Do you know who owned that cabin where the DNA link was found?
MULVERHILL: No, I do not.
BLITZER: There are reports it was owned by someone who actually worked at that Clinton Correctional Facility. And I was wondering if that's true. Because if it is true, that sounds suspicious.
MULVERHILL: I can't confirm that. I'm sure the state police are following up on all those leads.
BLITZER: How close do you believe, Sheriff, that you and your colleagues are to finding these two killers.
MULVERHILL: Well, like I say, after doing the fly-over in the helicopter today, I think it's possible for them to really be circling and wandering around in that heavy thicket there. If that's the case, you know, we go under the assumption that they were in that cabin on Saturday, that they had at least a little bit to eat. They haven't had anything to eat since Saturday. They're -- you know, they're hungry. They're tired. They're fatigued. And they're wandering around in a heavy thicket. You know, we're going to come across them. I can tell you that if they're here in Franklin County, we're going to find them.
BLITZER: And you believe -- you're working on the assumption these two guys are still partners. They're still together. They haven't separated.
MULVERHILL: We have nothing to indicate otherwise. So until we do, we're going to go under -- we're going to go under the premise that they're together.
BLITZER: Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill, a Franklin County sheriff, we'll check back with you tomorrow. Good luck.
MULVERHILL: OK, thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's bring in our law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes; the former ATF special agent in charge and security expert, Matt Horace; and retired chief deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg. Guys, thanks very much for joining us.
Matthew Fogg, first to you. What's your reaction to what we just heard from the sheriff?
MATTHEW FOGG, RETIRED CHIEF DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: Well, it's -- I'm a little concerned with the fact that they're saying they're together. But we only saw one person -- we only saw one person run away from the cabin. I've always believed all along that they would separate.
BLITZER: Why do you believe that?
FOGG: Because, I believe, that's normally to be what they do in these cases. A lot of time, we know that traveling together they're more likely to be identified if these separate.
Again, when I look at this, the fact that I believe somebody helped them from the outside. Got them into a place where they were able to stay undercover for a good while. That's the reason why nobody heard from these guys for such a long time. I believe they had food and water, everything they needed. And I just believed that somehow they probably have moved out of the area.
BLITZER: You do?
BLITZER: Tom, what do you think?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Same thing.
BLITZER: You agree? FUENTES: Because the question I have in this is how long did it take that to get that perimeter set up around that cabin. You know, it's great that four days later they have a thousand officers there, but what did they have Saturday afternoon, Saturday night into Sunday morning? Within the first 24 hours of the sighting, how far could they think these guys have gotten before the police were set up?
BLITZER: Matthew -- Matthew Horace, many more details are emerging right now about Joyce Mitchell's relationship with these two men. She apparently brought them baked goods that she and David Sweat in particular, they spent a lot of time together. Maybe even in a backroom closet in that tailor shop there. He was in the honor block, if you will. Both of them, even though they're convicted killers were in that honor block.
What do you make about this? What, if anything, will help in the search for these two guys, this new information?
MATTHEW HORACE, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Well, No. 1, I don't think anything we hear at this point we should be surprised at in terms of what was happening in actuality up in the jail.
We've heard things day in and day out about inconsistencies and violations of protocols related to the security of the prison. This was a security breach, nothing more, nothing less.
BLITZER: Matthew Fogg, the fact that these two killers were in this honor block, if you will, if they could walk around this tailor shop and one of the them, at least, according to this other inmate, who's now free, used to go a few times into some back room with this woman. I mean, it sounds like, what, a high school. What is it? What does it sound like? Sounds like some sort of fraternity, frat house.
FOGG: Actually, it does.
BLITZER: Must be a maximum security prison.
FOGG: But what happens, a lot of times these type of these situations, the guards wanted -- everybody wants this thing to run smoothly. And the bottom line is a lot of times guards will sometimes do exactly this.
Nobody's escaped out of this prison, of course. So I'm sure there are a lot of protocols that were probably compromised at times, thinking nobody's going to escape, so if I turn my head maybe this time or that time, it's going to be better for me as a guard when I come to work. Better for the prison they stay calm.
That's what a lot of times what happens in these prisons. That's why a lot of times contraband is introduced to these prisons. How do they get drugs? Because a lot of guards, this is a whole new world, a different society. And they've got to live there with these people 24/24. A lot of times people will do just that.
BLITZER: It's shocking to me, Tom. I mean, I don't know if this kind of stuff, this kind of detail is shocking to you, but it's pretty shocking to me.
FUENTES: Not shocked, but one thing I'd like to know a lot more about is, has there been serious budget cuts at that prison over the last couple years? Has there been, you know, work put on these correctional officers that made them really irate or disgruntled employees? Because oftentimes, we'll see a disgruntled employees want to get back at the city, get back at the police department, get back at somebody, and then do something that would embarrass the management, embarrass the people running that prison. So do we have correctional officers, one or more, that maybe helped these guys just because they were disgruntled employees.
BLITZER: Is it possible, Matthew Horace, these two guys are going to just be out there for a long time? They're not going to be found?
HORACE: Well, I think it depends on how we evaluate a long time. Remember, Eric Frein was on the run for 48 days. We're a little over two weeks out right now. We're hearing more information.
If we let the information guide how we report and understand, the information is that they may have guns now. The only way that information will come out is perhaps because investigators have interviewed all the owners of the cabins, and there are guns missing. Presumably, if there are guns missing, these guys are wanted, and their DNA was close, then they may be responsible for the theft. And That's a game changer for us.
BLITZER: It's day 19 in this search. Guys, stand by. We're going to have much more on this story coming up. There are new developments coming in.
Also South Carolina honoring a victim of the Charleston church massacre while continuing to fly the Confederate flag. You're going to hear from one lawmaker who wants that flag to stay up.
Later, an exclusive look at lingering hatred: bombs and booby traps, left behind by ISIS.
[17:28:56] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news in South Carolina.
Public viewing of the coffin of the slain pastor and state senator, Clementa Pinckney, just ended at South Carolina state capitol. The procession carrying Senator Pinckney's casket passed next to the Confederate flag, which has of course, become a focus on national controversy.
Pinckney and eight others were shot and killed a week ago by a white racist gunman.
State lawmakers agreed yesterday to schedule a debate on removing the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol.
Our senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin spoke with one of the lawmakers who voted no, and now is apologizing for some of his remarks, which were very controversial. Drew, tell us what he told you.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, I can tell you that he deeply regrets what he said to me. We're talking about William Chumley. He's a state representative up near Spartanburg, South Carolina, one of 10 who voted against opening up the debate.
And when I asked him about it yesterday, coming out of that vote, he and I had this exchange where he seemed to be putting some blame on the victims in this case. Take a listen to this, Wolf.
WILLIAM CHUMLEY, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, SOUTH CAROLINA: These people sat in there, waited their turn to be shot. That's sad. If somebody in there with a means of self-defense could have stopped this...
GRIFFIN: Take a listen to this, Wolf.
WILLIAM CHUMLEY, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, SOUTH CAROLINA: These people sat in there, waited their turn to be shot. That's sad. If somebody in there with a means of self-defense could have stopped this and we would have had less criminals.
GRIFFIN: Are you turning this into a gun debate?
CHUMLEY: You said guns. Why didn't somebody just do something? I mean, you've got one skinny person shooting a gun. You know? We need to do what we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: I asked if point-blank he wanted to change his words, he didn't, but today a change of heart. He sent out an e-mail this morning, deeply regretting his words. He said, "The responsibility for the despicable murders in Charleston rests solely on the murderer. And if any of my remarks suggests differently, I am deeply sorry." That's William Chumley. He's regretting that interview yesterday in Columbia, South Carolina -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Drew, what did he tell you about his stance on the Confederate battle flag there in South Carolina?
GRIFFIN: He's opposed to opening up debate on removing it, and he's opposed about taking it down. He said that 15 years ago when the state moved that flag from the capitol dome down to where it currently stands on the capitol grounds, the compromise ended the controversy in his mind. He does not want it to come down.
BLITZER: All right. Drew, thanks very much. Let's get some more on what's going on. Joining us now here in THE
SITUATION ROOM, the former colleague of the Reverend Pinckney, the South Carolina state senator Marlon Kimpson.
Senator, thanks very much, as usual, for joining us.
Just hearing this state Representative Chumley's words, these people sat in there and waited their turn to be shot. I mean, it's just awful to hear that. He's now apologizing, saying he's regretting those words. But what was your reaction when you heard that?
MARLON KIMPSON, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: Well, I think Mr. Chumley brought disservice and dishonor to the South Carolina General Assembly.
First of all it's a reckless disregard for the families, who are in a period of grieving. But also, equally important, is the fact that he has no evidence to support his statements. He doesn't know what exactly happened in that church.
We -- we had a very constructive debate yesterday. And for our progress to be marred by some legislator who is so inconsiderate really disappoints me.
BLITZER: I know. It is shocking to hear those kinds of words, especially -- especially during this particular time of mourning.
Senator, the governor of your state, Nikki Haley, she's declining, at least for now, to remove that flag, even temporarily, saying she doesn't have the authority to do so. Others say she does have the authority to remove the flag for cleaning or for whatever.
What do you think? Should that flag, which is still flying there in front of the state capitol, be removed, at least during these days of mourning?
KIMPSON: If I were governor, I would have used that provision to remove -- that you just cited, to remove the flag. I think that would have sent a powerful message to the rest of the country that she is willing to exert all of her energy examining the statutes and, you know, the statute provided that support.
Now, having said that, I'm not here to speak on her behalf. I do appreciate her showing some leadership earlier this week, because that leadership allowed us to get a vote in the house and the senate, and so I think that she has moved some of our legislators towards the sine dei -- signing the sine dei legislation so we can take up the matter.
BLITZER: Do you believe the votes are there, Senator, to remove that flag, once and for all?
KIMPSON: Well, Wolf, we counted the votes yesterday. We had a very good day. I can tell you this. The tone started off with Senator Paul Thurmond, son of Strom Thurmond, followed by a speech that I made on the state senate floor. There were passionate remarks in the house that were made by both Republicans and Democrats. I am cautiously optimistic that the legislators have the desire and
the will to remove the Confederate flag from the front of the statehouse.
Wolf, if we look at what is happening across this country, this movement is now spreading to Mississippi. I understand the governor of Alabama used his executive statutory authority power to remove the flag. And also, I'm told that the governor of Virginia will no longer issue license plates bearing the symbol.
[17:35:20] So South Carolina is a proud state. We have a number of newly elected officials who understand the significant impact across the world. People are willing to do the people's business and bring this state united. There's too much -- there's been too much division.
But let me be clear. After we remove the flag, we still have to have a serious dialogue about race relations in the state, including an economic empowerment agenda, because many citizens feel disenfranchised from economic opportunities and procurement. And that is the solution for the future. We have to come away after honoring these victims of this horrific tragedy, and make sure we do more than just remove symbols.
We need a substantive agenda so that all citizens can participate in economic empowerment and have retirement security, be able to send their kids to college, to be able to get a good education. And that's what we're going to focus on in the aftermath of this tragedy.
BLITZER: All right, Senator, thanks for joining us. We'll check back with you tomorrow during these days of mourning. Senator Marlon Kimpson joining us from South Carolina.
Coming up, we'll have the latest on the manhunt for a pair of escaped killers. Police now say the escapees may have guns.
[17:41:36] BLITZER: Syrian officials say ISIS has blown up two ancient shrines in the captured city of Palmyra, a U.N. world heritage site dating back 2,000 years. Monuments and temples there have reportedly been mined by ISIS.
Meantime, another Syrian town has been recaptured from ISIS by Kurdish fighters who've uncovered the terror group's tools of destruction. CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon has this exclusive report.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was an ISIS bomb- making facility. Bags filled with a sticky white powder, low-grade explosives, which, as we are shown, is highly flammable.
The YGP, the Kurdish fighting force in control of Tal Apia (ph), is busy clearing it out. Half the bed of a truck already filled with mortar round that they collected here.
At the rear of a mosque named after al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.
Tal Apan (ph) is a minefield of boobytraps.
(on camera): Come take a look through here. See what they found in there?
(voice-over): It's hard to see through the crate, but stacked along the wall, makeshift bombs, strands of detonation cord snaking out.
This was a park where children used to play. The local YPG commander said something did not feel right. They put a warning on the gate, and a resident told them ISIS had booby-trapped it.
(on camera): Do you see the juice thing? You see a thing coming out of it? OK. Don't touch the door.
(voice-over): ISIS no longer controls Tal Apia (ph), but their terror lurks in every corner, and the town is still cloaked in fear. A certain unease emanates from the adults. Anger evident in their voices. Their answers short and sharp.
Mahmud Darwi (ph) says ISIS forced him to purchase from them black clothing for his little girls. The three say they were sometimes scared. Now they are just enjoying being outside without head scarves, and they want to go back to school.
"We went for a month, and then they closed it," the girls tell us. "They made it a base for the state," mean for ISIS. That was two years ago. Now they say they are happy. In an environment like this, one can only hope it stays that way.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Tal Apia (ph), Syria.
BLITZER: What a development over there.
Here in the United States, the 2016 presidential race is about to become a bit more crowded. We're watching as the Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, becomes the 13th Republican to enter the race.
Also ahead, the latest clues and the surprises in the hunt for a pair of dangerous escaped killers. Are the escapees right now, are they carrying guns?
[17:48:58] BLITZER: All right. Take a look at this. This is just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM, an awful situation, a heckler interrupting the president of the United States just a little while ago during an LBGT Pride Month event in the East Room at the White House, drawing a very sharp rebuke from the president. Let me play the video for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've told you the civil rights of LBGT Americans -- yes, hold on a second. OK, you know what? No, no, no, no. No, no, no. Hey. Listen, you're in my house. Don't start -- come on, it's not -- you know what? It's not respectful when you get invited to somebody --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Pretty ugly situation, although the president handled it well.
[17:50:00] We have a key race alert happening right now. We want to go to Louisiana, the Republican governor there, Bobby Jindal, he's getting ready to announce he's running for president of the United States.
This is the 13th Republican to make this decision and a few more expected in the coming days, as we await -- here he is on the stage. He's about to make a statement. You know what, let's listen in to Bobby Jindal.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: My name is Bobby Jindal.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
I am governor of the great state of Louisiana and I am running for president of the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Forty-four years ago, a young couple who had never before been on an airplane, they left their home on the other side of the world to come to a place called America. They had never seen it. There was no Internet to search. But they had heard the legend. There was a place in this world where people were free. And the opportunities were real. They weren't really coming to a geographical place, they were coming to an idea. And that idea is America.
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To them America represented all that was good in the world. Where you can get ahead if you worked hard and played by the rules. A place where what matters is the content of your character, not the color of your skin, the ZIP code you were born in or your family's last name. My dad -- my dad grew up in a house without electricity without running water. He was the only person in the family past the fifth grade.
He and mom, they came to Louisiana because they believed in America. And when they got here, they found that the legend was true. They found that the people of Louisiana accepted them. And they found that America is indeed the land of the free and the home of the brave.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Thirty-seven years later, my parents' eldest son became governor of Louisiana. It was the aftermath of Katrina. Our economy was locked in a downward spiral. Our biggest city was reeling. For 25 straight years, more people had left this state than had moved into it. Louisiana was in big trouble. So we had to make big changes. We had to believe in Louisiana again and that is exactly what we did.
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We reformed our ethics laws, we went from one of the worst states to one of the best states in the country.
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We privatized our outdated government-run hospital system, we reformed education with nearly 100 percent, charter schools in New Orleans. And now we have statewide school choice because every child deserves an equal opportunity for a great education.
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Instead of the child following the dollars, we made the dollars follow the child because we trust the parents not the bureaucrats to make the best decisions for their kids. We did what they said could not be done, we shrank our government. We cut our budget by 26 percent. We cut the number of government bureaucrats by more than 30,000. And it wasn't easy. The big government crowd fought us every step of the way. They protested, they filibustered, they even took us to court but in the end we won.
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Today we have more people moving into Louisiana than out of it. Our highest population in history. Our kids are coming home.
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And now we have more people working than at any time in our state's history. With the highest incomes in our state's history. A job for your family. A paycheck in your mailbox. They're the ultimate proof that your state is doing things right.
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[17:55:02] But of course there is another side to the story. The big government crowd they hate what we have done. They say that we have cut the government more than anyone. The government budgets are always running low on funds with me in the governor's office. My response to the big government crowd is simply this -- yes, I am guilty as charged. And our state is better off for it today.
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It's time for the folks in Washington to admit the truth. You can't grow the economy and the government at the same time. It is an either/or choice. Now Hillary Clinton she wants to grow the government in Washington.
We want to grow the real economy out here in America.
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Here's the key difference. Democrats evaluate success in terms of the prosperity of government. We define success in terms of the prosperity of our people.
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My approach is different from most of the other people running for president. The United States of America was made great by people who get things done. Not lots of talk or entertaining speeches. I want to be sure, there are a lot of great talkers running for president already. But none of them, not one can match our record of actually shrinking the size of government. If great speeches helped our country, we'd be on easy street right now.
The guy in the White House today, he is a great talker. We have a bunch of great talkers running for president. We have had enough of talkers. It is time for a doer.
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I am not running for president to be somebody, I'm running for president to do something.
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Oh, it is easy to talk about the mess Obama has made of our country. Every American knows about it. Every Republican candidate talks about it. That's not even half of what we should expect from our next president. We owe voters more than just a tirade about the problem. We owe them honesty about our solution. I will do the things that you cannot do in Washington. I will say the things you cannot say.
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I served two terms in Congress. I can tell you how it works in Washington. If you want to be with the cool kids, if you want to be liked by the media, if you want to be invited to the right cocktail parties, you have to accept there are things in Washington you just cannot do. They say, you cannot reduce the size of government or the number of bureaucrats. Oh, you might be able to cut the rate of increase here and there, but they say you cannot actually cut government spending.
But we can and we will.
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They say the $18 trillion national debt can't really be addressed. It is just a part of doing business so it is better not to talk about it. But we can and we will.
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They know Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt. But they're afraid to do anything about it. So they deny the math, they pretend everything is fine. But we can't reform and save these programs, and we will.
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In Washington they say term limits is a quaint idea that we are naive to believe in. They think we need a permanent class, a ruling class of elites. It is safer to not rock the boat. But we can rock the boat, and we will rock the boat.
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BLITZER: All right, we're going to continue to monitor, Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, becoming the 13th Republican to formally, publicly, enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination. He becomes the first Indian American to make this announcement. He's going to wrap it up, his speech, we'll continue to monitor it. We've got a lot of other news, though, we're following here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, into the woods. The manhunt for two killers zeroing in on a remote area around the cabin hideout as we learn intimate new details about the relationship between one of the convicts --