Return to Transcripts main page


Report: U.S. Drone Strike Kills ISIS Leader; Donald Trump to Speak in Phoenix Today; Eurozone Leaders Gather to Decide Greece's Fate; FBI Admits Mistake in Massacre Gun Sale; FBI: Church Shooter Should Not Have Had Gun; Florida State Football Player Faces Battery Charge. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 11, 2015 - 07:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump zeroes in on undocumented immigrants and protesters zero in on him. But in spite of the Trump bashers, some are calling them, he is packing in an overflow crowd in Arizona today.

[07:00:05] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, a stunning admission from the FBI. The series of mistakes that allowed Charleston church shooter to get his hands on the gun he used to kill nine people.

BLACKWELL: The rebel flag comes down in South Carolina. But there's a Confederate flag that is going up in Florida in a county there. Why it's being hoisted again over a government building.

PAUL: We are so glad to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

Let's start with the breaking news just in to CNN.

An American drone strike has reportedly taken out a top ISIS leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, used to be a Taliban leader who is believed to have been one of ISIS top men in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was killed along with 30 other insurgents. This was during a strike on an eastern province of Afghanistan. That's according to Afghan authorities.

We've got back with us, CNN military analyst, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

General, how big of a blow is this for ISIS?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, if this is the individual, if this is truly a hit against Saeed, it's a pretty big blow. This is a guy who was born in India. He has traveled all around and he received his religious studies in Saudi Arabia and just like any terrorist connection, the flow of terrorists between Pakistan, India, Mumbai, Yemen, Saudi Arabia.

You track that and this is one of the individuals who was one of the leaders in the 1990s and he is a big deal. If it is the individual that was struck, there was a $10 million bounty on his head, at least four different nations to include Russia wanted to go after this guy. So this would significantly affect the capabilities of ISIS in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

BLACKWELL: OK. It's important to say that CNN cannot independently confirm that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is the person who was killed. That's a report that's coming from Afghan authorities.

But when you say that this would be a big blow, if this is him, is this a blow that is logistical in nature or is it a morale blow? Because often what we see in ISIS is that there are leaders who are waiting on the bench who can simply move up into some of these higher ranks.

HERTLING: Well, that always happens in a networked organization, Victor, but any time you can continue to decrement and attrite the top layers of any kind of organization, and this is not only logistically, this is command and control because he was top emir for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. And as we see the Taliban beginning to coordinate with the Afghan government to try and bring a more peaceful solution to this country, this is a guy that continue to foment terror in that region. So, this he is connected. There are certainly others who could take his place from the bench, but again, whenever you can continue to attrite the top leaders of an organization, it affects their ability to conduct a task.

BLACKWELL: All right. Retired Lieutenant General Hertling, thank you so much for joining us. We'll talk more in just a bit.

HERTLING: You got it, Victor. Thank you.

PAUL: Turning now to Donald Trump's West Coast swing. Today, the 2016 presidential candidate is expecting thousands for a rally in Arizona. Thousands of people here, organizers even had to change the venue because of the amount of people who are expected to turn out for this event. Not everyone, though, is a Trump fan.


PAUL: A Los Angeles protesters you're looking at there. They are angry that Trump keeps saying that Mexicans that are coming across the border are rapists, that they're criminals.

Inside the event, though, Trump was meeting with families who have people they love who were killed by undocumented immigrants.

CNN's Kyung Lah was right in the thick of it -- Kyung.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Victor, Donald Trump arriving at a private event here in Brentwood to this crowd, protesters who are carrying signs and, incidentally, carrying Donald Trump pinatas that are filled with garbage because these protesters say that he is speaking garbage.

He is here speaking to conservatives and the entertainment industry but these protesters say that they want to greet him with all of this passion. They believe that he has been saying offensive things about immigrants.

Trump, for his part, has been unfazed. He is doubling down on what he has been saying, meeting with families whose relatives have been killed by undocumented immigrants.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The illegals come in and the illegals killed their children.

[07:05:02] And we better get smart in the United States. So, we are housing people from all over the world that other countries don't want.

Should I apologize? I think it was so -- it was stated as fact. I know it's not pleasant, but it was stated as fact.

LAH: These protesters do acknowledge that he is doing well among Republicans in the polls right now. But they say in the general election, you can't get to the White House without the Latino vote -- Christi, Victor.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's pick up right at that point. Kyung Lah, thank you so much.

Let's discuss more on Trump's comments and his campaign trip to Arizona.

We've got with us, Republican strategist Lisa Boothe, and CNN political commentator Errol Louis.

Thank you both.


BLACKWELL: And I want to pick up where Kyung left off. You can't get to the White House without the Latino vote. I think we have to put on the screen, but if not I'll read them to you. George W. Bush got 44 percent of the Latino vote in '04, John McCain 31 percent in '08, Mitt Romney down to 27 percent.

I mean, is this what we are see you now with Donald Trump and Joe Arpaio, as we're going to see later in Arizona today -- is this the Latino outreach that the Republican Party was hoping for, Lisa?

BOOTHE: Well, no. But Donald Trump doesn't represent the Republican Party. He is not a Republican nominee. He is also not a member of leadership. So, you know, Donald Trump --

BLACKWELL: He's near the top of the polls.

BOOTHE: Well -- but -- Victor, you remember in 2011 at this point, Michele Bachmann had about 17 percent of the vote. And shortly thereafter, you know, she got down to 4 percent. At one point, Herman Cain was at 23 percent, and shortly thereafter, he dropped out of the race.

So the fact of the matter is, Donald Trump's comments don't represent the Republican Party and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find individuals in the Republican Party, especially in leadership or any of the other Republican candidates that are standing by those comments.

BLACKWELL: Errol, is there more to be gained by going with this single issue it appears for Trump, more to be gained by going with this than there is to be lost by losing some of the percentage of the Latino vote will likely be lost if this narrative continues?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Victor, Lisa raises a good point. What Donald Trump wants and what the Republican Party wants or the Republican Party leadership wants might be two very different things, especially at this point.

What Donald Trump wants is more attention. What any candidate would want, enough of a lift in the polls that you could make it into the debates, a chance to sort of make your case in various markets and talk to donors if you're trying to raise money and so forth. Donald Trump is doing that admirably well on this particular issue.

Now, will that help him and will that help the party are very different question. I'll give you two numbers to go with the ones that you already gave, Victor -- 8 percent is about the level of turnout you get from the Latino vote. About 8 percent of the votes cast in most presidential races in recent years. On the other hand, they have become 11 percent of eligible voters. And so, you know, it's only going to get more and more difficult for any party that doesn't have sort of a soft touch when it comes to this particular group of voters and Donald Trump clearly does not have a soft touch.

BLACKWELL: Lisa, you make a good point that Donald Trump is not the nominee but is he is forcing other Republican candidates to come out and speak about immigration and it's difficult for many of them of them to split hairs in just, you know, saying that, of course, Donald Trump is wrong in what he says about Mexicans who are coming to the country being rapists, but there is a large part of the Republican base that agrees with much of what Donald Trump is saying.

BOOTHE: Well, I don't necessarily think that is true. I think it's important to point out right now --


BLACKWELL: But again, I've got to come back and say he is still at the top of the polls. Someone agrees with him if he is 12 percent behind Jeb Bush.

BOOTHE: Well, at this current, yes, absolutely, he's having a moment in the sun, but is it fleeting? I absolutely think that's the case.

But, look, Victor, I think it's important to point out, the Republicans right now are the ones that are the Republican ticket or running for president right now, we have two Hispanics Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and an African-American. So, look, if you really want to look at the party right now that's not really representative of the diversity of this country , it's the Democrat Party right now.

So, I think it's absurd to category everyone with Donald Trump.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol, let me come back to you. We've got Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, coming in on Monday, we're expecting on Monday, but he already tweeted out he is coming into the race. That was a mistake, we understand. Twitter is saying it's their fault.

I don't know how that works. Do you ask Twitter to hold the tweet for you a couple of days? I don't know how that works but we will get more about that.

Errol, what do we expect from the governor? What should we expect?

LOUIS: Well, you should examine a barn-burner of a speech. The appeal that Scott Walker has is to the Iowa Republicans. The conservatives, social conservative base of the party as opposed the libertarians. Scott Walker has made very few appearances in New Hampshire and is not polling very well.

[07:10:04] He's sort for in the middle of the pack up there. So, I think what we are going to hear is sort after made for Iowa speech. They are social conservatives, lots of evangelicals, they like his record of standing up to unions. I think we're going to hear all of that.

He is also going to do what I think most of the gubernatorial candidates for president are doing, which is really tout his record in the state. Of course, there'll be people who come along and sort of poke holes in it and they have had a number of problems up in Wisconsin. But we're not going to hear that from Scott Walker. What we're going to hear is that Wisconsin has been doing great, he is the reason and he'd like to do it for the rest of the country.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol Louis, Lisa Boothe -- thank you both.

BOOTHE: Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, new this morning, Greece, they make a U-turn essentially on overhauling its budget. A move that could keep the country in the Eurozone, but the next 48 hours are crucial to your money. Come opening bell, of course, on Monday.

BLACKWELL: And the mysterious case of Baby Doe. Look at the screen. Do you know this little girl? People wondering how she died. What we know as we wait for the toxicology report.


BLACKWELL: We have breaking news out of Greece right now. At this moment, Eurozone leaders are arriving in Brussels to decide Greece's economic fate. This, of course, after the Greek parliament voted to approve reforms aiming to end the country's financial crisis. Now, this new proposal would result in spending cuts, increased taxes. Some of those reforms are the very reforms, however, that voters rejected in a referendum last Sunday.

[07:15:00] So, listen here to CNN's business correspondent Richard Quest.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): It's basically exactly the same proposal that was put forward weeks ago, but was rejected by the Greek and was, indeed, was rejected by the Greek people in the referendum. But there were no better terms on the table, so they have had to accept it, whatever they like.

And now -- but this is the interesting bit, because although in parliament they have accepted, begrudgingly. Many MPs were against it. Many of the ruling party were against it, but it did pass.

What's interesting now is it gets discussed in Europe. I'm in the heart of Europe. I'm in Brussels now, where they are going to be looking at a study that has been done to decide should this bird fly? Because although the Greeks have asked for it, the Europeans still have to decide whether they are going to grant it.


PAUL: All right. We want to bring in John Sitilides, international relations specialist.

BLACKWELL: Yes, John, good morning to you.

We had -- you remember just a couple of days ago, the prime minister there lobbied hard for a no vote on this bailout and meant to vote against the tax hikes, the spending cuts and the pensions and the like that are now likely part of this austerity plan that he was pushing and that the parliament voted for. I wonder if there has just been a waste of time and energy going through that vote if the Greek people are going to get exactly what they voted against?

JOHN SITILIDES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SPECIALIST: Victor, essentially, the Greek government had bluffed on the last five months and on July 7th, the European creditors called the bluff. Two days later, we see that the Greeks have put together a reform package and a proposal for the European creditors, as you mentioned correctly, is actually more austere and calls for more greater disciplines than the very package what was rejected by the Greek voters overwhelmingly just seven days ago.

Going forward, it's going to be a very difficult process for the Eurogroup finance ministers who are going to be meeting today because technically, I think there is considerable skepticism about the ability of the Greek government to actually implement many of these most difficult measures. But, politically, there's tremendous pressure from the U.S. and China on Europe to make sure there is no Greek exit from the Eurozone.

BLACKWELL: We know many in Germany are asking the leader there, Chancellor Angela Merkel, to not give Greece this bailout package, to reject it. I mean, is that likely to happen and what happens if she does?

SITILIDES: If I had to make a prediction, I would say there is going to be very, very tough meeting today, eight or nine hours of very tense discussions among the Eurozone finance ministers. But in the end, politics (AUDIO GAP) European project (AUDIO GAP) and that not country is forcibly ejected from the Eurozone.

But I do believe that this is going to be a start of a very serious negotiations between the European creditors and Greece and may take weeks. In the meantime, the Greek economy, which is largely a cashless, semi-barter economy right now, needs a new round of cash on Monday and that's going to be the critical issue regarding whether or not Greece is able to stay in the Eurozone on Monday or not.

BLACKWELL: So, that's the economic part of the conversation. Briefly, let's talk about politics. We saw the finance minister resign immediately after the no vote.

What is the standing of the prime minister now? Because he stood up in front of the crowds and said vote no, and now, he is giving them what he urged them to vote against?

SITILIDES: For all we know, last week's referendum may have been simply a social or political venting progress. But the fact is, that the Greeks (AUDIO GAP) of again, cashless semi-bartering economy that is unprecedented in modern Greek history. I think the Greek society has been shocked by the events of the last several days and it's been sort of cold splash of water on their faces about what awaits them if there are reckless activities going forward.

So, right now, they realize the bluff has been called, they've got to accept these measures if there is going to be any hope of Greece surviving within the Eurozone.

If the prime minister does things right over the next couple of days, I think he can bring together all of the major parties in Greece, have essentially a national unity of government of sorts. He is going to have problems within his own party, though, because there are many members of parliament who voted against this proposal. He has not able to have his own coalition implement the reforms if the European creditors approve them over the weekend. So, it could be a very dicey road ahead over the next few days in Greece.

BLACKWELL: Will those creditors, the Eurozone leaders, they are arriving now to begin the meetings today, that's the breaking news at this hour. Well, of course, continue to watch that and see if is a decision comes out during the program this morning.

John Sitilides, thanks so much.

SITILIDES: Thanks for having me. BLACKWELL: And still ahead, the FBI admits to a painful failure.

Could a proper background check have saved nine lives in that Charleston massacre?

[07:20:04] PAUL: Plus, President Obama goes where no sitting president has gone before -- to prison. We'll explain.


PAUL: Twenty-three minutes past the hour. We want to alert to you some of the stories making headlines this morning.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Italy says it not be intimidated after one person was killed outside of his consulate in downtown Cairo. A car bomb exploded there early this morning. Seven others were injured, including two police officers. No group has immediately claimed responsibility. But Islamist militants have stepped up attacks on police and troops there.

PAUL: Well, President Obama, next week, will become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. The White House announced yesterday that he'll tour Oklahoma's El Reno federal correctly institute and meet with inmates and officials there. The visit also includes an interview for an upcoming HBO documentary that examines America's criminal justice system.

BLACKWELL: Texas arson investigators say two churches were intentionally set on fire. Both incidents happen Friday morning in the town of Hargill. The sanctuaries suffered significant damage. Look. But there was no injuries reported at either location. Authorities are investigating if both fires are linked.

PAUL: And the war of words between San Francisco County's sheriff and federal officials is ramping up. The sheriff says his department is not to blame for the murder of a woman who was walking along the city's pier. Now, that murder suspect Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez is a Mexican national who has been deported five times. Questions arose about whether the sheriff's department failed to properly informed ICE when it released Sanchez on a prior drug charge.

[07:25:06] The sheriff said he followed the law and was under no obligation to call immigration officials.

BLACKWELL: So the system failed. There is no way around that. People are committing it. The FBI even admitting a background check should have stopped the Charleston shooter from getting his hands on that weapon he used in the massacre. Is the problem fixable? If so, how?

PAUL: Plus, the Confederate flag comes down in South Carolina. It is rising again in one Florida county. We are going to talk to a state representative who says, let it fly.


PAUL: Mortgage rates fell this week. Have a look. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Thirty minutes past the hour. So glad to have you with us.

I want to share with you some of the stories developing this hour.

BLACKWELL: Yes, an American drone strike has reportedly taken out a top ISIS leader. Hafiz Saeed used to be a Taliban leader who believed to have been one of ISIS top men in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was killed along with 30 other insurgents in a strike in an eastern province of Afghanistan. That's according to Afghan authorities.

[07:30:00] Now, if the name sounds familiar, there is another terror leader by the same name who has a $10 million bounty on his head. Now we do not believe this is the same man but in breaking news situations often, the facts are fluid, we are getting it in now. We'll have a live report at the top of the hour.

PAUL: And hundreds of thousands cheered in the streets of Paraguay ahead of a mass today by Pope Francis. Take a look at these pictures we are getting in. Yesterday, he met with activist, including an LGBT campaigner in Paraguay, that's first. The pontiff also visited the largest and most notorious prison in Bolivia, as he's wrapping up this week-long trip to South America.

BLACKWELL: Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program had been extended again. The State Department says the so-called "Joint Plan of Action" will extend through Monday. This is the third extension of talks aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program.

PAUL: And developing now, the FBI is investigating what some say is a stunning failure that allowed the Charleston church shooter to buy a gun and kill nine people. It's ordered a 30-day review, but this after the FBI director acknowledged that accused shooter Dylann Roof was able to get the .45 caliber handgun allegedly used in that massacre because of deadly mistakes in what should have been a routine background check.

I want to go to CNN national correspondent Sunlen Serfaty to sort all of this out for us.

Good morning, Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christi. Well, this was a shocking admission that contradicts what the FBI has said previously in the past that the background check on Dylann Roof was done properly. But now, the FBI director revealing this bombshell of an error on their part. A mistake he says that makes them all sick that it happened.


SERFATY (voice-over): The man who confessed to gunning down nine people inside a South Carolina church should never have been able to buy the .45 caliber gun used in the slaughter. That admission coming from FBI Director James Comey who told reporters his bureau made a mistake during Dylann Roof's background check, a mistake he said, quote, "rips all of our hearts out."

According to law enforcement officials, within days after the shooting, agents on the ground new something was amiss and suspected that Roof's arrest record should have prohibited the gun purchase.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It just shows how a bureaucratic mistake can cost human life.

SERFATY: Director Comey says the FBI examiner during Roof's background check didn't discover Roof had previously admitted to illegally possessing drugs when he was arrested in late February. That information would have prevented roof from passing the background check.

CALLAN: There's a regulation that says if he was a drug user, he shouldn't have got a gun, and there was abundant information for the FBI to have had that information. Had they had it, no gun sale and possibly no shooting here.

SERFATY: Comey says the FBI examiner failed to make contact with the Columbia, South Carolina, police department, which arrested Roof on that felony drug charge, in part, because of a clerical error that listed the wrong police department in the online court system.

After three days of waiting for the background check, the South Carolina gun shop legally used its discretion to sell Roof the gun, even though his status was still tending.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Grassley stayed in a statement, quote, "It's disastrous that this bureaucratic mistake prevented existing laws from working and blocking an illegal gun sale."

But for the family of one Charleston victim -- surprise and understanding.

REV. ANTHONY THOMPSON, WIDOWER OF MYRA THOMPSON: I thought, you know, being that it was an FBI, you know, checked that they were very thorough, so I was surprised they weren't very thorough, and so -- but I know people make mistakes.


SERFATY: An FBI officials met with some of the families of the victims this week to try to explain to them in person the mistake and also promise to try to fix the system -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All righty. Sunlen Serfaty, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring back CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes.

Tom, you were the assistant director of the FBI. And, you know, I think there are a lot of people who would be disappointed simply if someone who should not be able to buy a gun was able to buy one, but because this ended with the deaths of nine people, this makes it even more outrageous to people in that community and across the country. And it comes down to a clerical error.

How common is something like this?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think, Victor, we don't know how common it is because you have some disaster result from a mistake to actually find out that there was a mistake. You could have people being sold guns that shouldn't be and if they don't do something bad with it, you don't know about it later.

But in this situation -- I know the director has pretty much put on this the woman that did the examination, but she wasn't provided all of the information. So, it's true that someone that admits to use using drugs is not supposed to get a gun, but that wasn't in the record that she was provided by Lexington County, the county where the arrest took place in South Carolina.

[07:35:01] A small portion of Columbia is in that county. The other county is Richland.

So, later, when she is trying to get more information, she knew an arrest had taken place but you have to also, in addition to that, either have a conviction or an admission that the person is a drug user and that part was left off. So, when she tried to get additional information, you know, she found out that county didn't have it. When she looked at her directory for that county, it didn't list that Columbia is also part of that county, it listed West Columbia which is also where the gun was purchased.

So, it's really you know, the mistake isn't as horrible in itself as a mistake, but the outcome is horrible.

BLACKWELL: Indeed a horrible outcome. So, it sounds like they've learned a lot about how this specifically happened. There is this 30- day review that's been ordered. What's going to happen over the next 30 days, likely?

FUENTES: Well, I think there will be a better interest in making sure that the records of which arrest is in which county and which city is in which county are more accurate. You know, many of the states do these record checks themselves. South Carolina relies on the FBI to do it. About 30 states use the bureau.

And the problem there is you have an examiner in West Virginia at the bureau's facility for doing these checks that is just not familiar with Columbia and West Columbia and which part of the city is in which county. So, if an examiner isn't furnished the complete rap sheet which happened in this case, it's hard for them -- you know, I should say it's not hard but easier for a mistake to be made if exactly which jurisdiction has the record that they need.

BLACKWELL: Well, you're the former FBI assistant director. I'm going to put out the spot here. It sounds as if the three-day waiting period would not have, at the end of it, allow the seller to then sell the gun if not having heard back from the FBI, that this could have been avoided. Should that be extended or should there be some change in protocol there?

FUENTES: Well, there could be a change. In this case, I think the purchase was attempted on a Saturday, so you're trying to contact records departments to get rap sheets and other information, that if it's not automated by that county or by that city to be accessible by the federal government, by the FBI, in this case, it makes it more difficult.

So, maybe you need to say three business days or five business days for a record check like this to go through.

BLACKWELL: All right. Some changes possibly coming down the pike after this revelation that he should not had that gun in the first place.

Tom Fuentes, thank you so much.

FUENTES: Thank you, Victor.


PAUL: You know, tens of millions of you have seen this image -- Baby Doe, her body found weeks ago near Boston. Why has no one come forward to claim her? We are going to tell you the latest that we have learned.

Also, will it happen again? Another Florida State football player accused of punching a woman. So, what's next for Dalvin Cook?


[07:41:24] PAUL: That little girl there is dead. Her name, her identity is still a mystery this morning. But more than 50 million people have seen or shared this computer-generated image of what is believed to be a 4-year-old. Her remains were found discarded in a trash bag two weeks ago along the shore near Boston. Now, police call her only Baby Doe and they released that haunting image of her big brown eyes and her long brown hair, hoping that someone might recognize her.

CNN's Boris Sanchez has the latest on a story CNN was first to report to you last weekend.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, this case gripping the nation. There were no obvious signs of trauma found on the girl when she was discovered here. Investigators are now waiting the results of a toxicology report to see if she may have been poisoned or drugged. Still, way more questions than answers in this case.

(voice-over): A gruesome discovery on a remote beach of Deer Island overlooking Boston harbor, a child, a victim without a name. For more than two weeks, Massachusetts state police have been trying to identify the little girl now known as Baby Doe. Authorities circulating this computer-generated image hoping for break in the case, but even after being viewed more than 50 million times on Facebook, Baby Doe's identity remains unknown.

ELLEN BONILLA, LOCAL RESIDENT: I think it's very sad. It's horrific. It's a little child.

SANCHEZ: Ellen Bonilla walks this stretch of beach almost every day.

BONILLA: We live for our children. I have kids. I have grandchildren. We live for our kids and for someone to just throw this innocent little child, you know, out like trash, it's awful. It's heartbreaking.

SANCHEZ: Other than a water treatment plant, there isn't much to be found on Deer Island. Baby Doe was discovered in a trash bag by a dog walker. The young girl believed to be no older than 4, about 3 1/2 feet tall and weighing 30 pounds, and found wearing polka dot leggings and covered in a zebra print blanket. Investigators are chasing hundreds of leads, including potential links to several high profile missing children cases, but there is little to go on.

DAN CONLEY, SUFFOLK COUNTY DA: If you're the parent or the caregiver of this young girl, please step forward. Clear your conscience and help us identify this young child.

DR. JACK LEVIN, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY CRIMINOLOGIST: You know, this is not as unusual as you might think. There are hundreds of thousands of children, including young children, under the age of 5 who are missing, abduct and usually not by strangers. Actually, more than half of all homicide against children are committed by their own parents.

SANCHEZ: Criminologist, Dr. Jack Levin, says somebody close to Baby Doe knows what happened to her, but that person may not be close to the shore where she was found.

LEVIN: I think it's much more likely that she comes from a great distance away. If she had been in proximity to Deer Island, someone would, by this time, have known that she was missing.

SANCHEZ (on camera): Investigators say it's very possible she floated here from somewhere else. They are not ruling out the possibility she may be from Canada, even as far away as Latin America -- Victor, Christi.


PAUL: Just so baffling. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

Now, listen. If you have any information on Baby Doe, please call the county, state police or the local police tip lines here. Those are on your screen. And we're going to be tweeting them out a little bit later this morning as well.

BLACKWELL: Well, the fight over the Confederate flag rages on this morning.


[07:45:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a Southern tradition, Southern flag. It should be flown like any other flag.


BLACKWELL: While South Carolina lowered their flag and sent it to a museum near the state capitol, a county in Florida is raising the flag of its own at the government building. We've got details after the break.


BLACKWELL: You hear the cheers there from hundreds of people outside the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, as uniformed officers lowered the Confederate flag there on state grounds and the decades of deep-rooted controversy over the banner, you know, gained steam in the wake of last month's massacre of nine black church-goers in Charleston, after the shooter Dylann Roof, the photographs of him holding that flag were made public.

Now, the exact opposite is happening in Florida. The Confederate flag was taken down after the church massacre a couple of weeks ago, but take a look. It's now flying again above a government building in Marion County. Because this week the board of county commissioners voted unanimously to reinstate the controversial flag.

We have with us Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley to talk about this.

And, Representative, good to have you with us this morning.

DENNIS BAXLEY (R), FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you, Victor. Great to be with you.

BLACKWELL: So, I know you're a student of history. I have read a lot about you and your views. And I wonder why the flag, the Confederate national flag, it's not the battle flag, the Confederate national flag, that's above a county building in Marion county, is not best suited for a museum instead of flying on the pole next to the U.S. flag.

[07:50:14] BAXLEY: Well, part of the misunderstanding here is that this is not a flag on the building. It's actually a display of all the flags that Florida and this has flown over the history of Florida. So, it's really a historical display of all the flags that have flown over Florida next to our fallen officer memorial, which is in an appropriate, I think, place to be represented in the government complex.

So, I think that's a different discussion than being on a government building.

BLACKWELL: Well, this isn't -- BAXLEY: My biggest concern --

BLACKWELL: The flag in South Carolina wasn't on a building, it was there on the capitol grounds.

BAXLEY: On the grounds.

BLACKWELL: But why not sent it to a museum and take it off the flagpole?

BAXLEY: Well, because it's part of our history and I think it fits in. My biggest concern is, Victor, that this effort to converge anything Confederate or Southern from our culture is going to create divisiveness. You know, the only thing to heal these wounds are going to be respect and honor for each other. And I would hope that we move in a better direction.

We have too many things to work on together to solve and to reopen these wounds and it's moving in a bad direction. When you start desecrating graves and memorials, this is not helping any of us. We should all honor our ancestors in history. It's good, bad and ugly, but it's our history together.

BLACKWELL: But should that not happen in a museum and not on county grounds where there are people --

BAXLEY: Well, I'm fine for it to happen in a museum, but there's nothing offensive of displaying all the flags that flew over Florida and its history.

BLACKWELL: There are people offended by that banner. Let's play what we have from U.S. Representative John Lewis who talks about the Confederate flag. Listen.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: There's no way, but no way the federal government should ever display this flag on a federal site or sell it on federal property. It is a symbol of the division, a symbol of separation. It is a symbol of hate. It is a relic of our dogged past. We must defeat every attempt to return this flag to federal property.


BLACKWELL: So, that's a discussion on federal property. As it relates to county property or government property in large part, this is the Confederate national flag we're talking about. Let's put it back up on the screen so people know the difference between the national flag and the battle flag. I mean, this was a nation that was founded on the superiority whites over black people and the preservation of slavery. That is offensive and why should it still be?

BAXLEY: Yes, well, in the United States we had 100 years of slavery. Slavery has been a worldwide plague on all of us and a conscience issue that America has had to deal with. And this is where America has come together.

But really, what we are looking at now is an obstruction. You know we're distracted by this discussion. I think Charleston handled this perfectly. They came together and lifted each other up and pray for one another. They didn't go and reopen wounds.

BLACKWELL: But they also took the flag down --


BAXLEY: The most moving thing was a mother who even forgave the person who murdered her daughter.

BLACKWELL: Understood, Mr. Representative. But they took the flag down and put it in a museum. Why isn't that right for Marion County?

BAXLEY: Well, I think museums are a great place to illustrate history, but I think purging every place that this has been memorialized as a part of Southern history is a mistake and is simply going to provoke a conflict that we don't need. We need to come together as a country and we all need to honor our ancestors. And I think it's appropriate as part of our Southern history that it's there as part of this display.

BLACKWELL: You mentioned inclusion. You mentioned honoring Southern history. But in 2014, when there was a move to erect a memorial to Union soldiers on -- at the Battle of Olustee, the grounds there, you introduced a bill to fight that. So, I hear for you are all for inclusion when it talks about confederate soldiers and Confederate history --

BAXLEY: No, I --

BLACKWELL: But you fought the parks manager was putting up a Union memorial. So, it seems to be --

BAXLEY: Well, my point, my whole point there is that we should reference any memorial. I have 43 years that I've been a funeral director. And these are sacred places, and this was a small three- acre spot for this huge monument. And it was already a unity monument. And that's not to say there are other ways to commemorate them there and there isn't an appropriate way to do it.

But that -- I just think we need to honor our heritage.

[07:55:02] We need to honor each other and I would protect any monument or any statement of history because it's a person's family, it's their ancestors and it's a sacred thing. We need to get off of this and to move to solving solutions -- finding solutions for the challenges of our day.

This perch is only going to create divisiveness and a cultural purge is not an American way. We hear a lot of messages and see a lot of symbols that we may not all connect to, but that's a part of our diversity together as a nation and the Southern heritage of the Southern states --

BLACKWELL: All right.

BAXLEY: -- is part of that.

It's not all pretty and I'm not proud of all of it. But I am proud that we are in a different place, and it doesn't mean we have to desecrate the memory and the honor. Where is respect and honor for each other and for our history? That's all.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Representative. Representative Dennis Baxley, thank you so much for speaking with us this morning.

BAXLEY: Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right. A quick break. We'll be back.


PAUL: Well, a Florida State football player is facing charges after allegedly hitting a woman.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this is the second time in less than a week.

Coy Wire joins us now.

You reported this last hour and I imagine the response has been pretty strong online.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: It has been strong. And we'll get to the comments here shortly.

Let's catch you up quickly on the history. Yesterday, Florida State's running back Dalvin Cook was suspended independently after he was charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly punching a woman in the face. This happened outside of Tallahassee bar back on June 23rd.

Now, according to the Leon County sheriff's office, he turned himself into authorities hours after the warrant was issued for his arrest. But he's denying the allegations. Now, last year, Cook was named in an aggravated assault case, where two men were alleged to have waved a gun at a neighbor.