Return to Transcripts main page


Warning on Plot to Blow Up L.A. Subway System; Trump to Cancel New Boeing Air Force One; Judge Declares Mistrial in Michael Slager Case; Oakland Warehouse Manager Speaks Out. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired December 6, 2016 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He says this anonymous tip, which was phoned in from overseas, that the caller was actually reporting something that the caller had heard from somebody else. Well, that information was then handed over to L.A. authorities and they decided to respond by holding this press conference.

Why make this information public? The mayor says they get these kinds of tips all the time, but what's concerning to them is it was very specific about a time and a place. The time being today. The place being the Red Line and Universal City stop. They decided to make this something the public should pay attention to.

They do point out, they don't know if this is real or if this is a hoax. But what you're seeing today on the Red Line across the city of Los Angeles is heightened police presence. There are zigzag security lines like you might see at TSA at some of the stops. And there are Homeland Security officers, uniformed police officers.

But in a sign that everything is normal, that there has been nothing verified, John and Kate, the mayor of Los Angeles did board the train and is riding the Red Line as we speak -- John, Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, all right, Kyung, interesting. Thank you so much.

So, Donald Trump this morning coming out strongly against the government's contract for a new Air Force One. He says the $4 billion-plus price tag from Boeing is ridiculous. Simply too expensive.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: "Cancel order" is what he says.

Want to bring in CNN aviation correspondent, Richard Quest. He's editor-at-large for "CNN Money," host of CNN International's "Quest Means Business."

BOLDUAN: Too many titles.

BERMAN: Quite a resume, which is necessary because this is an aviation story, a business story, Richard, and a government story.


BERMAN: I was going to ask you, but go ahead.


BOLDUAN: I'm scared of you right now.

QUEST: Why on a random Tuesday in December does the president-elect choose to tweet this?

BOLDUAN: Opening negotiating bid.

QUEST: For what? This is a decision that the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, has been looking at for a very long time. They put out a specific spec a couple of years ago, requiring a particular type of aircraft, with four engines that could do a certain structure in a certain way. There are only two aircraft on the market that were available or potentially opportunistic. One was the Airbus A-380. The other was the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental.

Obviously, the president of the United States is never going to fly in an Airbus plane. Therefore, Boeing got the nod.

But the contract's not been signed yet. There's no contract in place yet. They've decided it will be the 747-8 --


BOLDUAN: Right, no negotiation.

QUEST: What purpose --

BOLDUAN: He wants it to be cheaper.

QUEST: Right, he wants it to be cheaper, but he's already said cancel order.

May I remind you, by the way, he's not even president yet and he's already making --


BOLDUAN: -- taking literally on things --

BERMAN: Why -- why do they need new planes?

QUEST: The existing 747, a military version of the jumbo jet, came into service in 1990. It's been going for a good 20 or 30 years. Now this plane obviously is in immaculate mint condition and could fly until I've long since gone, and you as well. However, however, it becomes more expensive on parts. It's a 747-200, which is even before the 747-400. It's an old plane. It's an old plane that's done marvelous service and could keep flying but, frankly, it needs to be updated.

BOLDUAN: Look, the fact of the matter is you cannot have the president flying on a plane that isn't safe. They're either going to have to keep up the plane or build a new one. You just simply cannot and that is the fact of the matter.

QUEST: Bearing in mind, no other airlines are flying -- well, one or two maybe -- are flying the 747-200. Everybody moved on from that to the 744 and the 748.

BOLDUAN: What does Boeing say?

QUEST: Not much at the moment.


QUEST: Well, here's another reason why -- the seriousness of what took place today. Boeing stock dipped 1 percent immediately after the tweet. It's come back quite a bit. But that's not the point. I've come back to my first question. A random Tuesday in December when you get this tweet.

BERMAN: I'm going to step aside from your attack on Tuesdays, Richard, and talk more about Boeing. In addition to this contract, this deal as it were, Boeing's got a lot riding on this president. Boeing's got a lot riding on trade right now. There's one company, one well-known company that has a lot riding on the U.S. relationship with China, which has come into question recently, it is Boeing.

QUEST: Unbelievably important that relationship, which is why Boeing has a manufacturing plant in Tianging (ph) and elsewhere in China, which is why, if you look at the forecast that Boeing comes up with frequently, all the big sales in the future are going to be in China.

And in addition, you've got the Ex/I'm Bank, the Export Bank, which it was a huge row over the authorization of before it was finally allowed, crucial to Boeing's sales. You've got Boeing with its factories across the United States, its headquarters in Chicago. Boeing is one of those rare companies where you can actually see Boeing's effect in the national statistics on trade numbers.

[11:35:09] BOLDUAN: Donald Trump said, "The plane is totally out of control. It's going to be over $4 billion for this Air Force One program. I think it's ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number here. We want Boeing to make money but not that much money." That's the tweet.

I just read what he said to reporters this morning. Is $4 billion too much?

QUEST: It's not $4 billion. We don't know what the number is. It hasn't been published yet.


BOLDUAN: Is it conceivable --


BOLDUAN: Stop yelling at me.


QUEST: The list price is $379 million.

BERMAN: It's got some extra gadgets though.

QUEST: Fine, let's say the extras take it to $500, $600 million.

BERMAN: I've seen $2-point-something billion.

QUEST: For two planes?


QUEST: So that's $1 billion each.



QUEST: The American people have to make a decision, do they wish their president, your president, to have the very best, the very safest, the most modern and sophisticated communications in the time of massive crisis or war. That's what you're buying. You're not buying a plane to get him to a campaign rally in Indiana or in the western states. You're buying a plane that will keep him aloft in a 9/11 situation. You're buying a plane that will keep him in command in the event of war. That's what you're buying. Now, if $2.2 billion is too much for that, then please find a substitute.

BERMAN: Richard Quest, great to have you here with us.

BOLDUAN: Richard Quest just did this, he just dropped the pen.

BERMAN: Dropped the mic. Dropped the Air Force One.

BOLDUAN: Just dropped it.


BERMAN: We have a programming note. Vice President-elect Pence will be live on "The Lead" at 4:00 p.m. eastern time. Do not miss that.

BOLDUAN: Ahead for us, prosecutors say the fight for justice is not over after the judge declared a mistrial in the Michael Slager murder trial. But our next guest says it has left her hopeless. That's ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, the manager of the Ghost Ship warehouse, the site of that deadly fire in Oakland, says he's sorry but he refuses to answer questions about people living illegally in that building.


[11:41:22] BOLDUAN: A South Carolina prosecutor vowed she will re- try the former police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man, Walter Scott. Michael Slager's murder trial ended in a mistrial yesterday because the jurors couldn't reach a unanimous verdict. In April of last year, Slager shot and killed Scott, and this video that caught the nation's attention as Scott was running away after a traffic stop from the officer.

BERMAN: During his trial, Slager claimed he feared for his life. In addition to the retrial, he's scheduled to go on trial on federal charges related to the shooting next year.

Joining us, Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal; and CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos.

Senator, we got to know you after the events in Ferguson. You've been very active on this subject. You told "The New York Times" overnight that this mistrial in South Carolina has left you hopeless. Why?

STATE SEN. MARIA CHAPPELLE-NADAL, (D), MISSOURI: That is true. What I'm looking at is the institute of oppression and slavery. For over 100 years, many people of color have been realizing what it is like not to be equal to everyone else. Many people throughout history have said have hope, have hope you will receive justice at a given time when it is absolutely important. But we've been waiting for such a long time.

And as I'm listening to the voices of people here in St. Louis as well as people throughout the nation, they are concerned that they will not receive justice if they're in a situation like this. And that is the reason why I said that not only am I hopeless but I'm hopeless for the people who once had faith that the system would protect them when it came to the justice system.

BOLDUAN: What a lot of folks are pointing to, Danny, everyone, so many people have seen that video. So many people saw Walter Scott running away from Michael Slager, 18 feet, I think was what they talked about so much in the trial. And asking the question, why is it so difficult to convict a police officer?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Police officers occupy a different space than the rest of us civilians. I mean, I imagine since I wasn't in the jury deliberation room that maybe a juror perceived the police as being in a dangerous job and maybe that juror believed Slager's testimony that he was in fear for his life. Although that is an uphill logical battle when somebody's vector is moving away from you, already 18 feet away. It's a difficult hill to climb. But, however it happened, that one juror may have been convinced.

BERMAN: You hear this frustration from the Senator here. How do you answer that frustration? How can there be justice in the minds of so many? There's a video here which seems, to many, to prove the case.

CEVALLOS: As a defense attorney, I'm even more concerned because I always wonder what if we had not had that video. Obviously, we would -- we might have had a different story from the police. This is just conjecture. We'll never know. But what would that police report had looked like if we never had that video to begin with? Fortunately, we're living in an era where increasingly, for better or worse, there's more video of events like this, either security cameras or otherwise, to give us a little more objective if such a thing is possible.

BOLDUAN: Senate Senator, this isn't over, this case isn't other. The prosecutor said she vowed -- she's going to try him again. Are you hopeful there?

CHAPPELLE-NADAL: I am. Here's the thing. Just the other day I was watching one of the LBJ movies where three men were killed back in the '60s, and then we had many civil rights leaders who were talking about justice being served. The scrutiny is much, much higher for a dead male today, when they're already gone. And so, four police officers in these cases, when there's so much evidence that is out there and people are visualizing these incidents, which is by far different than in the '60s, it's much, much harder in every single case to realize, are they going to receive justice.

What is the message to citizens in America when someone is attacking you, when someone is approaching you? Are you going to give the same kind of space and leverage as police officers are? And the answer, more often than not, is that you are not -- if you are African- American, you are not going to get the same kind of consideration as a police officer.

[11:46:02] BERMAN: Danny, this morning, the vice president-elect was asked about the idea there will be a federal case after this and will the incoming administration follow up. What are the considerations for making this a federal case? What would they have to prove? How would that be different?

CEVALLOS: It brings up double jeopardy. Double jeopardy doesn't apply if the successive crime is different enough from the original crime. Remember, the federal government is considered separate. So, it can prosecute. The real question is, should it. And the federal government has a long-standing policy called the Petit Policy that says the federal government will not try a successive case if a federal interest is adequately vindicated. What that means here is the federal government looks at this case and probably says, yes, this is a murder charge, but we want to vindicate civil rights. That's a separate and distinct issue to us. And that's what justifies us using our, again, limited resources. Because there are thousands of federal crimes. The reality is the federal government can't prosecute all of them. How do they choose to do so in a case where somebody's already being prosecuted? They have to find, and they clearly have found because they are charging and trying him, that there is some federal interest and that is civil rights here.

BERMAN: Danny Cevallos, Senator Chappelle-Nadal, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.


BERMAN: Authorities are still trying to figure out what caused the huge warehouse fire in Oakland. This morning, the manager of that building is speaking out.


[11:51:26] BERMAN: Investigators searching for answers still in the horrific fire in Oakland. Death toll stands at 36. Authorities cleared a large part of that scorched warehouse. This morning on NBC, the warehouse manager spoke out and it got a little heated when questioned about people living illegally in the building.



DENCK ION ALMENA, WAREHOUSE MANAGER: I didn't do anything ever in my life that would lead me up to this moment.



ALMENA: I'm an honorable man. I'm a proud man. No, I'm not going to answer your questions on this level.

UNIDENTIFEID NBC ANCHOR: Are you -- are you worried that you would be --

ALMENA: I would rather get on the floor and be trampled by the parents. I'd rather let them tear my flesh than answer these ridiculous questions.

UNIDENTIFIED NBC ANCHOR: Mr. Almena, we'll - we'll --

ALMENA: I'm so sorry. I'm incredibly sorry. What do you want me to say? I'm not going to answer these questions.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Paul Vercammen joins us now in Oakland, California, as the search efforts get back under way.

Paul, what is the very latest on the investigation and how they're working through that warehouse now?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate and John, bracing another yet one of these unstable walls that could be rather dangerous. They say they now have 15percent of the warehouse left to comb through. If there's a little optimism, they don't expect to find any more bodies. Speaking off-camera to a fire battalion chief, he said these areas left to look through are against the wall and in the corner. Just not the type of place where people would hang out. They've also looked into the debris pile and can see pretty well. They don't see any bodies. Certainly, that's somewhat comforting to some of the people who have called this beehive of creativity, the Ghost Ship, home, and it's an emotional few days for them. Let's listen.


VERCAMMEN: What do you want to say to those who are mourning, who lost friends and loved ones? You yourself have lost friends?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's nothing I can say. There's just nothing anyone can say. There's nothing. It's just tragedy, horror and tragedy. It's not a time to fight each other. Just can we, please, embrace each other? It's just -- beyond --


VERCAMMEN: Does this unfathomable heartbreaking tragedy rise to the level of criminal charges? The district attorney is investigating. And the D.A. has said it is possible there could be charges, including murder and manslaughter.

Back to you -- John, Kate?

BOLDUAN: Thank you. You can feel the pain that woman is going through right now.

Paul, thank you very much for that.

Back to politics right now. One key factor in Hillary Clinton's loss in the 2016 election, not winning over voters who supported President Obama.

BERMAN: In a new CNN special, "The Messy Truth," Van Jones sits down with a family of Democrats to find out why they chose to support Donald Trump.


SCOTT SEITZ, LIFE-LONG DEMOCRAT: Thank you for this food, Lord, and thank you for bringing everybody together.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (voice-over): Scott Seitz is a lifelong Democrat who voted for Obama twice.

SEITZ: Thank you so much. Amen.

JONES: Cameron, his only son, old enough to vote in the last election, also supported Obama. This year, all four Seitz men voted for Trump.

(on camera): You can't imagine two guys more different, and yet, you supported one and then you supported the other. What did you like about Obama, and then what did you like about Trump?

[11:55:14] SEITZ: I think Obama represents a lot of love. And I think that he's a good man, and he did all he could. And we supported him, for two elections.

JONES: Yeah.

SEITZ: Then when those changes really didn't come about, and Obamacare affected me, personally, with my own mother, I think we needed a change once again.

JONES: Uh-huh.

SEITZ: Trump seemed to come through here and, he's speaking change again. So, I think we still voted for change.


BOLDUAN: It is a fascinating conversation. You can hear more of that conversation tonight, 9:00 eastern, on "The Messy Truth" with Van Jones.

BERMAN: Two of Donald Trump's picks for his White House team under intense fire over their backgrounds. And moments ago, we learned the son of one of those picks essentially got fired. Hear why.