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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With Rep. Brad Sherman; Police: Obama Aide Fired Gun At Boyfriend; Police: Undocumented Immigrant Killed Woman. Aired 4:30- 5a ET
Aired August 10, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The rebirth of a civil rights movement, the police killing of teenager Michael Brown. The peaceful marches planned by day were shattered that same night.
SIDNER: A barrage of bullets sent dozens scattering to safety, both protesters and police, and that included Ferguson's new interim police chief, forced to take cover as we were recording him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to be as patient as possible.
SIDNER: The standoff between police and protesters suddenly dissipated after police say a shooting happen. This video from @search4swag on Twitter may disturb you. It appears to show 18-year- old Tyrone Harris after allegedly exchanging fire with police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect engages them with gunfire almost right at the grill of the car. Strike the hood. I don't if you have seen pictures of it yet three or four times. Strike the windshield I think four or five times.
The plainclothes detectives returned gun -- returned fire from the inside of the van. But they don't know if they hit him or not. They don't really know. So the suspect ran to the east on the north side of that building. He turned back around as the detectives got out of the car. Shots were fired again. He ran around behind the building.
SIDNER: The chaos was a jarring reminder of what happened along the same street, West Florissant, exactly one year ago, after the police shooting of Michael Brown, the police officer later cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury and the Department of Justice.
But this time, protesters acted differently, and so did police, saying it was criminals, not protesters, creating the mayhem. Police say the suspect shot a plainclothes officers with a stolen .9-millimeter. As word circulated along with the video that the person shot was another black man, many left the scene, but some reacted in anger. On the other end of the street, please say bottles and bricks were
being hurled at officers on the anniversary of Brown's death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was truly a tragedy. There's a small group of people out there that are intent on making sure that we don't have peace that prevails.
I don't know how else to say that. But that's just -- that's just the bottom line on this. And that's unfortunate, because even with the folks that they were in the street with last night, listen, a lot of emotions, I get it, but this is something different. And we can't sustain this as a community. We need the public's help.
SIDNER: And there are a lot of emotions. Today was supposed to be a day of civil disobedience. That is exactly what it turns out to be. Dozens of people arrested, most of them in Saint Louis -- Jake.
TAPPER: Sara Sidner in Ferguson, Missouri, thank you so much.
The world lead now. Instead of spending these summer days right now hearing from their own constituents back in their district, in their congressional districts, more than 10 percent of Congress is in Israel right now. They're touring that region and listening to the concerns of that country, an American ally. It's the timing that's interesting. How will it influence many members of Congress who say they're undecided on how they're going to vote on the Iranian nuclear deal?
That story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Topping our world lead today, a looming showdown over the Iran nuclear deal. Moments ago, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who is seeking to be next Democratic leader in the Senate, for the first time publicly about his controversial decision to break with the White House and vote to reject the agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I thought the agreement fell short. What is the solution? Some say the only answer to this is war. I don't believe so. I believe we should go back and try to get a better deal. The nations of the world should join us in that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: This comes as 58 members of a bipartisan congressional delegation, 22 of them undecided Democrats, are in Israel right now meeting with staunch opponents of the deal, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Let's get right to Oren Liebermann. He's in Jerusalem.
Oren, you spoke with Congressman Steny Hoyer, who is leading the delegation there in Israel. What did this top House Democrat have to say about President Obama's insistence that a no-vote is basically voting to go to war?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, he came right out and disagreed with that assertion from President Obama, saying there are other options here. It's not just vote for the deal or essentially vote for war.
Here, he even when he answered the question sounded a bit like Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying sanctions are still an option. They were used once, he says, to bring Iran to the table and they can be used again, if need be, to bring Iran back to the table to get a better deal, if need be.
He does say, and here he says the president agrees with him, that a military option is still on the table, but part of the deal is to make sure that military option is not the next option, to push it essentially down the list moving forward here, Jake.
TAPPER: There are nine House Democrats who have now come out to say they will vote against the deal. Did Steny Hoyer give you any sense of which way he might be leaning?
LIEBERMANN: I came right out and asked him, will you vote for the deal or against it? And here he very much hedged. He said he listened to what Prime Minister Netanyahu and others here in the security establishment had to say, but he wouldn't give a definitive answer on that one.
He says he has to think about it. He has to meet with the administration again, and so do the other Democrats he was with. He wouldn't give us any indication on which way they're leaning, but, Jake, an interesting point.
Congressman Hoyer says he's been to Israel 14 times. If Netanyahu can't convince Hoyer to vote against the deal, someone who has been to Israel 14 times, it could be a very tough sell to many other Democrats.
TAPPER: All right, Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, thanks so much.
If all Republicans in Congress vote against the Iran nuclear deal, Republicans will then need 44 Democrats in the House and 13 Democrats in the Senate to join their cause to ensure a veto-proof majority.
As I mentioned, by CNN's rough count, they have nine of the 44 House Democrats. And right now, they only have one in the Senate. Let's talk about the mounting Democratic skepticism over the Iran
nuclear deal with Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman from California. He serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and over the weekend he announced his opposition to the proposed pact.
Congressman, thanks so much for being here.
You met personally with President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in the last several weeks. They failed to gain your support. Was it a close call at all?
REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: It was a close call, in that I respect the effort they have put into this.
I mean, compared to the prior administration, which talked about Iran, but not only didn't do anything, but disobeyed the law and fought us successfully in Congress to prevent us from imposing new sanctions, this administration has taken the problem seriously. They have wrestled with it.
I just think that this is a deal which we cannot lock our country into over the next 15 years. It has got some good and bad aspects in the first year, but next decade, it really gets ugly.
TAPPER: President Obama gave an interview to National Public Radio in which he really pushed for the plan and said that disagreement with it doesn't make any sense.
One of the things he said was the following:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If in fact the breakout times now are a few months, and we're able to push that breakout time out to a year, so that we have more time and space to see whether or not Iran is cheating on an agreement, kicking out inspectors, going for a nuclear weapon, if the breakout time is extended for 15 years, and then it goes back to where it is right now, why is that a bad deal?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Why is that a bad deal, Congressman?
SHERMAN: Well, short-term, that is the advantage. Short-term, we have the disadvantage that Iran gets its hand on at least $56 billion, some would say closer to 100.
And they will use that money to support Assad, who has killed so many tens and hundreds of thousands of people. But the bigger problem is long-term, not so much breakout time, but sneak-out time. They will be able next decade to have an unlimited number of centrifuges, to have heavy water reactors, to have reprocessing plants. And a country that has any one of those three things is going to be able to sneak out in a way that Iran could not do at this time. TAPPER: As you know, President Obama has been saying that the choice
is basically between this nuclear deal or war. He told National Public Radio the following:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If we don't want to see a nuclear arms race, if we're seeing Iran getting closer and closer to breakout capacity, and we have, before the entire world, rejected what every serious nuclear expert who looks at this says is a serious deal to constrain their nuclear program, then in fact that leaves one option, and that is some form of military strike.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So President Obama is basically saying that you are going to be voting to go to war. What's your response?
SHERMAN: I think that's just wrong. And we're looking at 60 percent of each House of the Congress thinking that Congress should not vote to approve this deal.
TAPPER: Congressman Brad Sherman, thank you so much.
SHERMAN: Good to be with you.
TAPPER: Next in the national lead, she is a White House staffer, an aide to President Obama. He works on Capitol Hill -- now the criminal charges over what happened between this Washington power couple that has one of them facing possible jail time.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Another developing story in national news today, an unusual one, a White House aide has been charged with first and second degree assault after she allegedly fired a gun at her boyfriend, a U.S. Capitol police officer, his gun.
Let's get to Michelle Kosinski. She is with President Obama in Martha's Vineyard. Michelle, what do we know about this White House staffer and what happened?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean, this is such an unusual story, one we didn't expect to be telling from here. But this is a special assistant to the president, a legislative affairs liaison, who works at the White House, who has been in jail since Friday.
She was just let out today on $75,000 bond, 37 years old, her name is Barbetta Singletary, has worked at the White House for about a year. This is a highly paid staffer. She makes $125,000 a year, which is on the high end, clearly a very well-respected member of the White House staff.
But according to this police report from Friday in Prince Georges County, Maryland, she called up her boyfriend and invited him over to her home. He's a Capitol police officer so he protects Capitol Hill. They spent time together.
She then got him to go to his car, where she got ahold of his two cell phones and his service gun that he uses for work. According to the report she was demanding that he show her what was on her phones, accusing him of cheating her.
He refused to give her the passwords to his phones. The report says that she went inside with his gun. He followed and then she threatened him with the gun.
She allegedly pointed it at him and told him that you showed me how to use this, don't think I won't use it, and then shot the gun in the direction. According to the report, he then ran out of the house and called 911.
Granted this is what we are reading from the police report. This was clearly what was told to the police. We haven't been able to get in touch with Singletary herself or any lawyer representing her.
[16:50:06] The White House is saying very little about her job and what exactly it entailed, but they did put her on unpaid leave and have denied her access for now to the White House -- Jake.
TAPPER: Michelle Kosinski in Martha's Vineyard with President Obama. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Also in the National Lead today, a woman sexually assaulted and beaten to death with a hammer. A police chief blaming a broken immigration system for this death, saying, that there is a blood trail from Washington, D.C. to her bed. We'll take a closer look at his claims and the horrific story coming up next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. In the national news today, there's growing anger and outrage over the sexual assault and murder of a 64-year-old Air Force employee, allegedly at the hands of an undocumented immigrant.
[16:50:03] Marilyn Farris was bludgeoned to death while asleep at her California home last month. According to police, Victor Aureliano Martinez, one of the two men charged in her death has been living in the United States illegally for years and has a long history of run- ins with the law.
Let's get right to CNN's Stephanie Elam live in Los Angeles. Stephanie, the local police chief says the blame for this incident lies squarely at the feet of federal immigration officials. Explain.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he did not -- any bones about that. When you take a look at this story, Jake, the issue is you have someone who is an undocumented person within the country. Whose job is it to highlight who that person is and whose job is it to get that person out? That's the crux of this sad story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ELAM (voice-over): The attack was brutal. It was just before 10:00 a.m. on July 24th, when two men broke into the home of Marilyn Farris. They beat her with a hammer and sexually assaulted her.
Despite injuries, Farris was able to call for help. Police found the 29-year-old Victor Martinez Ramirez hiding in a nearby home. The 20- year-old Jose Fernando Viagomez, born in San Francisco was arrested five days later.
The charges include attempted murder, sexual assault, and residential burglary. For Martinez Ramirez, the charges carry a special circumstance of torture, but 64-year-old Farris died of her injuries on August 1st, upping the charges against the men to first degree murder.
JOYCE DUDLEY, SANTA BARBARA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: These charges carry the possibility of death penalty or life without possibility of parole.
ELAM: A native of Mexico, Martinez Ramirez is undocumented, but had tangled with law enforcement before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two weeks before this murder, San Maria police officers arrested him for possession of meth, and we had to cite him out. That's the problem with the system. This is not just in Santa Maria. This is all over the state of California and all over the United States.
ELAM: In fact Martinez Ramirez was booked at least four times in Santa Barbara County since 2009. In May 2014, he faced felony drug and assault charges that were reduced to misdemeanor battery.
Immigrations and Custom Enforcement or ICE says it lodged an immigration detainer on Martinez Ramirez, and asked that ICE be notified before he was released to, quote, "Enable the agency to take custody to pursue possible administrative immigration enforcement action."
But the sheriff's office decided the request did not meet immigration detention requirements. So Martinez Ramirez posted bail and was released. According to ICE, nearly 178,000 undocumented immigrants, who were also convicted criminals, were deported in 2014.
That's 56 percent of the total number of people who were returned to their home countries in the same period.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a national issue. I think it starts in Washington, D.C. with this administration that we see in their policies. I think you can draw a direct line over to Sacramento with the policies of, I'm going to say this, governor and the legislature, and I am not remiss to say from Washington, D.C. to Sacramento, there's a blood trail into the bedroom of Marilyn Farris.
ELAM: Now as far as this most recent transgression, this July incident that led to the death of Miss Farris, ICE did put out a statement saying that they did not actually request an immigration notification.
Because they said this individual did not have any prior deportation or felony criminal convictions, but when you look at what's happened from here, a lot of people are saying this is a problem and we need to figure out how to highlight the people who just do not belong here in the United States -- Jake.
TAPPER: We saw this similarly play out with Kate Steinly in San Francisco. Where exactly is this disconnect between local police and ICE, which is supposed to be deporting individuals like this?
ELAM: Right, and you take a look at a city like Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County, and it is not a sanctuary city, but the issue you have here is that you're asking for the federal government to ask the local government to help and point out these people in time. They don't necessarily have to do that in the same amount of time you would like the response to come -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Stephanie Elam, thank you so much.
Also in the National Lead today, the federal agency in charge of protecting the environment is admitting to doing this, and they're now saying it's much worse than expected.
This is a river in Colorado glowing bright orange, and that's not mud. That's toxic sludge. A team of workers with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accidentally released 3 million gallons of heavy metal wastewater from an abandoned mine in Western Colorado last week.
That is three times the amount that the EPA first disclosed. Preliminary testing from the EPA shows potentially hazardous amounts of arsenic and lead in the water. People are obviously being told to stay away along with their pets and livestock. The EPA still has no idea how long it will take to clean up this mess.
That's it for THE LEAD. I turn you over to Brianna Keilar. She is in for Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.