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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Man Indicted For 1975 Murder Of Sisters; Amazon "Prime Day" Disappoints Shoppers; Iconic NYC Toy Store Closes Its Doors; New Picture Shows Pluto's Surface. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 15, 2015 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:30:03]

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Those self-described very conservative voters are unlikely to support Jeb Bush in the GOP primary, and he is now trying to use Trump as a foil to appeal to more moderate Republicans.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to focus on the things that tie us together. And whether it's Donald Trump or Barack Obama, their rhetoric of divisiveness is wrong. A Republican will never win by striking fear in people's hearts.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, but how about Ted Cruz and how about Ben Carson? And how about others that say what Trump said is exactly right? You have to mention them too.

BASH: Those Republican candidates are embracing Trump. In fact, Ted Cruz, who has gone out of his ways to compliment the billionaire, is even meeting privately with Trump in New York today.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Now, back on Donald Trump's press release about his net worth, he said he made $27 million just in stocks, and almost 500 business entities. He says that's what he has, John, of which 91 percent are owned entirely by Donald Trump himself -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN GUEST HOST: He seems very interested in saying he's a very, very wealthy man. I'm not sure what the political value is in that, but it is important to him.

Dana Bash, thanks very much.

The national lead, a camera secretly set up, the conversation recorded, now questions about what Planned Parenthood does with aborted fetuses. But can you trust what's played out in that video? Or is there more than meets the eye? High-ranking Republicans call for answers, as Planned Parenthood calls the new claims flat-out false.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:35:35] BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

The national lead, an undercover video that shows a lunch discussion about aborting fetuses and how to preserve the organs for medical research. Some find the language shocking. Some find the topic controversial.

But a key question today, is it criminal? Anti-abortion activists say it shows a discussion about selling organs. That would be illegal. Planned Parenthood says it shows no such thing. What it does show is a senior director of medical services drinking red wine and matter-of- factly discussing hearts, lungs and livers. The language is clinical. And some people might find it disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not going to crush that part, I'm going to basically crush below, and I'm going to crush above, and I'm going to see if I can get it all intact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The video has ignited fury across the country.

Governors Bobby Jindal and Greg Abbott demanding investigations of Planned Parenthood in their respective states. House Speaker John Boehner says Congress needs to hold hearings on this, because Planned Parenthood does get some federal funding.

Planned Parenthood contends this is a political attack pinned on a heavily edited tape, eight minutes specifically constructed to do maximum damage, they say.

Athena Jones is standing by.

Athena, this is very complicated story. Walk us through it.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. It is complex. There's two versions to this video, and a lot of attention that it's getting and anger, as you mentioned, from conservatives as others.

A Planned Parenthood doctor talking about fetal body parties over wine and salad. The organization says it's done nothing wrong, but, as you mentioned, Republicans on Capitol Hill are demanding an investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I say, OK, what are your -- what are you looking to supply today? We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver.

JONES (voice-over): An abortion provider discussion how to collect body parts of aborted fetuses over lunch at a California restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people want intact hearts these days, because they are looking for specific nodes. Yesterday was the first time she said people wanted lungs.

JONES: The secret reporting made by anti-abortion activist from the Center for Medical Progress is the latest salvo in the decades-long debate over abortion rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every provider had patients who want to donate their tissue, and they absolutely want to accommodate them. They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as this clinic is selling tissue, this clinic is making money off of this.

JONES: The group posted two version of the video they say was shot last year, a heavily edited clip, just under nine minutes long, and a so-called full version that's nearly three hours long.

CNN can't verify the longer version is the complete unedited video. The Central for Medical Progress says the video proves Planned Parenthood sells fetal organs and tissues, a practice that is against the law. They point to this online form to order tissue by organ and age of the fetus and this exchange between the two actors, posing as representatives of a biologics company, and Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's director of medical services.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What price range would you...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I would throw a number out, and I would say it's probably anywhere from $30 to $100, depending on the facility and what's involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The $30 to $100 price, that's per specimen that we're talking about, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

JONES: Planned Parenthood calls the group's claims flat-out untrue.

"Our medical practices and guidelines in this area are clear. And we do this with important work just like other high-quality health care providers, with full appropriate consent from patients under the highest ethical and legal standards, and with no financial benefit for the patient or Planned Parenthood."

And those dollar amounts being discussed? The organization says that was about the cost to transport donated tissue, standard practice. But where is the line? Medical ethicists say exchanges like this one raise question, suggesting doctors adjust procedures to ensure the desired tissues are collected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they'll know where they're putting their forceps.

JONES: We asked CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen about it.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, what ethicists said to me is, look, if they were giving women abortions and they changed their technique, they changed their practices in order to get the best quality tissue after the abortion, that's problematic.

JONES: Legal or not, the video may be hard to watch.

[16:40:01]

COHEN: To hear a doctor talking about in between bites of salad and sips of wine will seem like she was sort of matter of fact to some people. Other people might find it disturbing.

JONES: And it's prompting a backlash from Republicans. House Speaker John Boehner calling for an investigation, a call echoed by others.

REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: Congress must and it will investigate. And I believe we will put an end to these horrific practices.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: Now, when it comes to the money changing hands, it's important to note that in the longer version of the video, the Planned Parenthood doctor explicitly says that this is not a revenue stream. We are not looking to make money on this.

But, John, this is getting a lot of attention, more than 1.2 million views and counting for the shorter version on YouTube, and GOP presidential candidates are also blasting Planned Parenthood. This is prompting a lot of debate, and it's not over yet -- John.

BERMAN: Not even close.

All right, Athena Jones, thanks so much.

We should note that CNN attempted to get a representative from Planned Parenthood to come on THE LEAD and answer questions, answer these allegations. As we noted, Planned Parenthood did release an official statement dismissing all accusations noted here as untrue. Several abortion rights advocacy groups also declined our requests for interviews. We also did try to reach out to anti-abortion activists to come on the show as well.

The national lead, two sisters out for a walk, then missing for more than 40 years -- now the new charge against one man that may explain what happened.

And the other world lead, about another world entirely, new pictures of Pluto. You have never seen these before, the stunning images just revealed by NASA.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Two sisters, all they wanted to do was share a slice of pizza instead they were never seen or heard from again. The Lyon sisters vanished on March 25th, 1975. Since that day their family has waited and wondered who stole their girls from them?

Today Maryland police may have finally provided that answer. Sunlen Serfaty has the story of a convicted sex offender, who was just indicted for murder.

Sunlen, for people who grew up in D.C., I mean, it was a terrifying story for decades. So how did the police put this all together?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a terrifying story, John. Police credit a younger detective who they say was able to put some missing pieces together with some new evidence and new testimony. These girls vanished 40 years ago and there were no answers until today. Police bringing murder charges today for the first time, charges that could bring the death penalty.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY (voice-over): For the first time since anyone saw their innocent faces 40 years ago, police say they now know who kidnapped, molested and murdered these two young sisters.

RANDY KRANTZ, COMMONWEALTH'S ATTORNEY, BEDFORD, VIRGINIA: The indictments that were unsealed were to charging Lloyd Welch Jr. with first degree felony murder during an abduction with the intent to defile Sheila and Katherine Lyon.

SERFATY: Lloyd Welch at that time was an 18-year-old carnival worker, now serving time in a Delaware prison for an unrelated child sex offense. Early 1975, Vietnam was winding down, Gerald Ford was president. Families gathered around the TV to watch "The Jeffersons."

They watched the agonizing search for the Lyon sisters, too, Sheila 12 and Katherine just 10 years old the case awakening a national awareness about missing children.

The two sisters were walking just a half mile from their home to Wheaten Plaza Mall in Montgomery County, Maryland to look at Easter decoration and have a slice of pizza.

The two never returned home to their family. A massive search effort came up empty. No bodies. No arrest. The trail went cold. Then last fall the first significant break.

Police identified Lloyd Welch and his uncle as people of interest, connecting them to the mall at the time of the disappearance.

KRANTZ: This team has spent over these past two years, 16,000 hours working on this case. They served over 50 search warrants related to this case. Dozens of subpoenas have been issued.

SERFATY: The parents of the Lyons sisters who never got to see their girls grow up have spoken over the years.

MARY LYON, VICTIMS' MOTHER: The brides that he didn't walk down the aisle. The grandchildren we didn't have. The sons-in-laws, we didn't have.

SERFATY: The sisters' bodies have not yet been found, but the search continues. Police focus now in these mountains of Bedford, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY: Police continue to emphasize this is still an active and ongoing investigation. They're leaving the door open just a bit that there could be another murder suspect, perhaps an accomplice. Now Lloyd Welch will be transferred from his prison in Delaware to be tried, John, in Virginia.

BERMAN: A long time coming, Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much.

Our Money Lead today, the anticipation was great, shop the Amazon Prime Day sale they said there will be huge deal they said, but Amazon's 24-hour sale event billed as having more deals than Black Friday, it turned out for many customers to be a bust.

Some said it was less like Black Friday and more like April Fools. Some people vented on Twitter, a great place to vent, saying even items Sharpies were sold out in seconds even Sharpies the Horro. Walmart, for its part launched its own competing sale today, haven't seen the quite -- faced quite the same outraged as Amazon.

Well, if it is on your bucket list, you have three hours to get to Manhattan to get on that piano and re-create the scene from "Big," the one where Tom Hanks jumps all over the piano at FAO Schwarz. The iconic toy store is closing its stores tonight for good.

The 45,000 square foot building made of pure childhood bliss blames high rent and online shopping for its demise according to some reports.

[16:50:00] So you'll still buy from FAO online, but you'll have somewhere else to test drive your baby escalate. FAO Schwarz says they are still looking for another lease.

In the meantime, who's taking over the New York space? Apple, of course, you can probably get an app for an iPhone so you can dance on it like a piano.

Wolf Blitzer now here with the preview of what's on "THE SITUATION ROOM." And Wolf, a great piano player in your own right, you'll be talking about President Obama's pitch to Congress on Iran, a remarkable news conference today.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": It certainly was and it went on and on and on. But there are still questions that need to be answered. Believe it or not, the president's national security adviser, Ambassador Susan Rice, she'll be joins us live in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

We have a bunch of questions for her and for the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Ron Dermer. He is also coming here to "THE SITUATION ROOM." We'll talk to him.

And Tom Freidman, the columnist of the "New York Times," he had an exclusive interview with the president yesterday, went through all of these issues, a 46-minute interview in fact that he did with the president. So we have a lot of coverage coming up. Lots of questions hopefully, John, we'll get some answers.

BERMAN: Yes, important questions, sometimes the answers are hard to come by. Wolf Blitzer, thanks so much.

The world wait the nine years, now a spacecraft is finally phoning home new images from the far away dwarf planet, Pluto, a dwarf planet with a big heart. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:30]

BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Our World Lead or out of this world lead, a love affair with Pluto, not unlike a teenage romance, we love you, we love you not. We built dioramas and then put you in the friend zone.

Well, Pluto, you played hard to get and may have taken us nine years, but we got to you and we love you all over again. NASA yesterday released stunning images that make all of us question whether this was the best Photoshop picture ever, but it's not over yet.

Even closer images have just been released. Joining me now is NASA Administrator and four-time astronaut, Charles Bolden. Thanks so much for being with us.

We did get brand-new stunning pictures from Pluto. You've had a chance to look at them. We've all had a chance to look at them right now. What do you make of the new images?

CHARLES BOLDEN JR., NASA ADMINISTRATOR: Well, we've been fascinated from the very beginning, but after watching the closest approach images that we have seen so far today, we are just blown away. It tells the story of what we are all about, about exploration.

We are seeing things that no one expected, 11,000-foot mountain, a lot of other structures that we never expected on Pluto. So it is continuing to be a phenomenal day for Pluto and for NASA and the United States.

BERMAN: We're looking at the terrain right now. Bill Nye, the "Science Guy," he was saying he didn't see as many impact craters as he might have expected. I'm wondering if there is any surprise to you?

BOLDEN: I -- you know, I don't know. Bill is a lot sharper than I am when it comes to planetary science and stuff, but one of the things that my science folks told me today was the fact that we have 11,000- foot mountains and little to no impact craters came really as a surprise to them.

That's secondhand information to me. You know, I loved the heart and the ice cream cone shaped thing when we did the false color images. It helped kids who liked Pluto anyway fall in love even more with this planet. BERMAN: You know, it's refreshing for us to know that even an astronaut can look at a planet and you know, astronomy and say a heart and ice cream shaped thing. That's the same kind stuff I used and I'm no astronaut.

BOLDEN: It has its own personality. This is reminiscent of my flight when we deployed the Hubble space telescope when people asked if we knew how big it was going to be. We said we had no idea.

No one had any idea that new horizons would do what it's doing for the world of astronomy, putting the United States -- if anyone questions our status as the number one nation in the world in terms of exploration, that should be done, you know.

We have now visited every planet in our solar system. We now been the first ever to actually, you know, go out of the solar system with a space craft and now we are at Pluto. What more can you ask for other than putting humans on Mars, which is also in our list of things we're going to do.

BERMAN: Well, I don't want new horizons to be done yet. That's what more we can ask for. So what's next?

BOLDEN: Well, for new horizons, I don't want to usurp the team, but when I talked to them last night after visiting with them, they're already thinking about what you do with the spacecraft in the coming years, because it's got fuel and it's in the Kaiper belt, a place where we have never had a spacecraft before that's in it the way that it is now.

So they're pretty excited about the potential of some of the things that they can do, but it's way too early for me to make a guess at what they're going to decide.

BERMAN: So you know, Pluto has had an image problem for the last few years, it's the only planet to ever get demoted from full scale planet to dwarf planet. Now that we take a good look at this thing, do you think it may get full planetary status once again?

BOLDEN: All I can tell you is I never stopped calling it a planet. The fact we found out that it was bigger than we thought it was on the way in yesterday, that's good enough for me. I'm going to continue to call Pluto a planet.

BERMAN: Never give up.

BOLDEN: Never ever. I'm a Pluto fan. I always have been.

BERMAN: Thank for you so much for being with us. It's a really great day for NASA, a really great, great for any of us who look at the sky.

BOLDEN: It's a great day for young astronomers anywhere from three years old on up.

BERMAN: Charles Bolden, thanks so much.

BOLDEN: Thank you very much.

BERMAN: Remember, you can watch THE LEAD anytime live or on demand on your desktop, cellphone or tablet, just check out CNN GO. Be sure to follow the show on Facebook and Twitter @theleadcnn.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm John Berman. Now over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."