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FaceBook Killer Manhunt News Conference; Manhunt Intensifies for FaceBook Murder Suspect; Trump Won't Release Tax Returns. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired April 18, 2017 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:30:00] CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: In North Korea, in Turkey, as you guys were just talking about, and in the Middle East. So really investors have got their eye on key domestic policies and also what is going on elsewhere in the world and how that might impact them here.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the market opening sharply down this morning. Down 100 points seconds after the bell.

Cristina Alesci for us. Thank you so much.

The accused FaceBook killer, a nationwide manhunt underway for a man believed to have killed the father of 10, then posting the video. We are moments away from an update on the investigation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right, happening now, you're looking at a news conference in Cleveland, the mayor right there and law enforcement, talking about the nationwide manhunt for the so-called FaceBook killer. Let's listen in.

MAYOR FRANK JACKSON, CLEVELAND: They ought to be commended and thanked for their leadership in this because they have demonstrated, even in this tragedy, this personal tragedy to their family, that they have forgiven and that they have come together in a way that they've asked us as a community to forgive and to begin to heal because what happened on Easter Sunday was traumatic. It was traumatic to the Godwin family, but it has been traumatic to Cleveland in particular. But with social media, this has gone all over the country and people are having the same kind of response and reaction to this of how the loss of innocence has affected them. And so I want to say to the Godwin family that we are proud of them and that we really thank them for showing us the way in this situation.

Chief and our federal partners will begin to talk about some of the things that we're doing. A lot of - there may not be a lot of new stuff, but there will be - what we want to do is keep you informed so that the facts will be the facts, not anything else, OK?

[09:35:07] Chief.

CHIEF CALVIN WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND POLICE: Thanks, mayor. Good morning.

Just a couple of things.

First and foremost, we have not located Steve. We're still asking the public's help in that regard.

Just a couple of little technical things for the community to understand.

This is currently a nationwide search, and we are getting calls from all over the country. As far away as Texas. If there is a perceived sighting of Steve or this vehicle, we want you to dial 911 right away. If you think you see Steve out there or if you think you have spotted that vehicle, we want you to call 911 right away. If you think you have information that may lead to Steve or that vehicle, then that's what that FBI tip line is all about.

We're getting people as far away again as Texas. They are saying, hey, I just saw him in a Walmart and they're calling that tip line and then we relay that information and then we have to get back to that jurisdiction to have boots on the ground right then and there go and check that out. So if you think you spot him or that vehicle, call 911 in your local jurisdiction so they can get officers there right away. If you think you have information that may lead us to him or the vehicle, then call the FBI tip line.

There are a couple of things floating around out there as far as us tracking this vehicle through some kind of GPS or a vehicle locating system. That vehicle is not equipped with any of those systems. Of course, that's the first thing that we looked at from the dealership aspect and also from Ford Motor Company itself. That vehicle is not equipped for that type of tracking.

But, again, we're still asking the public's help in locating Steve. We have received to date almost 400 tips nationwide on this. So we encourage people to keep sending in those tips.

With that, I'm going to quickly turn it over to Steve Anthony from the FBI.

STEPHEN ANTHONY, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Thanks, chief.

Just a quick follow up. I can't over emphasize that point enough. Look, someone out there with 100 years plus of experience of the U.S. Marshals, FBI and many other state, local and federal agencies have told us that someone out there has a key piece of information that could help us resolve this matter. They just might not know it. So when in doubt, they have to make the call as the chief just said, 911, 1-800-CALL-FBI. We don't care. Call someone and let law enforcement come in and follow up on that.

As you know, we have a $50,000 reward out there that was announced yesterday by the mayor. Of course that's - that is still out there. We do - we have issued the U.S. Marshals and the FBI on an unlawful flight to avoid prosecution warrant based upon the underlying murder warrant filed by the city of Cleveland. All that does is, again, lets everyone know very clearly, every federal agent, local agent, state agent that there is a - that there is a federal warrant issued. And, again, any individual across the United States could act on that warrant, execute that warrant to resolve this matter and to take Steve into custody.

Also, as you know, we had billboards up throughout the country. Again, in the effort to make sure that Steve's face, his vehicle is out there for the public to see. We can't thank you all enough for making sure that that's out there. We definitely believe that that will be - that will be critical in resolving this matter. And again, as I know the marshal would agree and he'll stand up here in a second, is that what we're trying to do again is to sort of close the aperture and to try to narrow the space.

We wish we could provide more information and to more narrowly focus the search. Obviously, if we had that information, you would know about that. And again, we hope we get to that point so we can share that with you and, again, try to elicit the public support to resolve this matter.

So with that, again, just reiterate, 911 or 1-800-CALL-FBI. See something, say something. When it doubt, call it.

Marshal Elliott.

PETE ELLIOTT, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE: We're very fortunate here in Cleveland with our partners because I really believe our - you know, our strength here is in our partnerships together.

So we have our task forces nationwide on this investigation across the country. Not only within the Marshal Service, but within the FBI. I know I made the comment the other day, I think, we're going - we are going to get this individual one way or the other. We've seen a lot of cases through here, through northern Ohio, over the last ten plus years. Some have run for a couple of days. Some have run for a couple years. Some have killed themselves after they ran. So, at the end of the day, we're going to use all our resources, put everything together, not only locally but nationally, and follow up on every single lead, no matter where it takes us, within this country or other countries.

[09:40:27] So, you know, I'm very proud of all our partners here on both sides and, again, you know, I'm very optimistic that we're going to bring closure to this.

Thank you.

JACKSON: If I may add one more thing. Over the last few days we've been talking to a lot of the clergy in regards to this, and they've asked us to communicate to Steve Stephens that they are available to him if he needs their help. In particular, one of the people - pastors that he had been talking to, Pastor Vernon (ph), he had been talking to him early on. I think even before the incident occurred. And so they - the clergy wanted me to mention that they are available for him if he, in fact, needs their counseling or feels that they could be of assistance to him in turning himself in.

All right.

QUESTION: Chief Williams, has the investigation stalled or given so much exposure why aren't we seeing more developments faster (ph)?

WILLIAMS: No, I don't think the investigation is stalled. You know, like the marshal says, these things can take two days, they can take two weeks, they can take two years. It depends on the individual that's out there. It depends on their mindset and what they're planning on doing. And like I stated yesterday, it depends on if they're having - if they're getting assistance or not. When people go on the run like this, at some point in time they need help. And we're telling people, you know, the only assistance in this case is to call us and let us know where this person is so that we can resolve this.

QUESTION: Chief, when's the last time anybody had any communication with him? Can you pinpoint that time frame for us?

WILLIAMS: As far as we can tell, it was the day of the actual incident.

QUESTION: Are you sure that he's still alive?

WILLIAMS: We're not sure, no.

QUESTION: Can I ask Agent Anthony, has he been added to the FBI's Most Wanted List?

ANTHONY: Yes, that's been reported. That's not accurate. He is, you know, an extremely wanted fugitive by the U.S. Marshals and the FBI, but he's not technically on the top ten list.

QUESTION: Not the top ten, but do you have some level below that just called most wanted?

ANTHONY: Mr. Stephen - Steve is a most wanted. He's a -

QUESTION: And what does it - does that trigger something in the FBI? Does it change anything or does it, you know (INAUDIBLE) -

ANTHONY: He has been - Steve has been the hugest priority of everyone up here from day one. So nothing has changed, sir. I mean the emphasis, the priority to resolve this matter could not be at the higher level. Just, rest assured, law enforcement does not hold any tools in its tool bag. We're playing everyone out. We're using everything we have. And, of course, in this circumstance, as the marshal and others have said, we need the public's help.

But again, we're using every tool in our tool bag. Rest assured we're doing that. But, again, the fact that he is not a top ten or a marshals' top 15 doesn't change any of the fact that he is a wanted fugitive. And, again, this information is getting out across the country and, quite frankly, across the world.

ELLIOTT: For us in northern Ohio, he's our highest priority at the end of the day.

QUESTION: Does your experience tell you anything about how this plays out? I mean he's been, you know, on the lam, as it were, for a couple of days now. Do you think he's alive?

ELLIOTT: Well, I want to give you my personal opinion based on the past. There's two things. Either he's dead somewhere or someone's holding him up somewhere else in a house. So we've seen a little bit of both again over the years -

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're hearing from authorities there in Cleveland, still searching furiously for this fugitive who killed a man and posted it all on FaceBook.

Deborah Feyerick is here.

Some of the headlines, the investigation there insisting has some stalled. They are getting leads from as far away as Texas.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. And that's actually good. You know, we were on our way yesterday down to Philadelphia because they've gotten some 911 calls that he - that somebody fitting his description was seen in that area. What we do know, according to our Sara Ganim who's there at the press conference, is that Cleveland Police have been searching abandoned buildings. They want to make sure that he isn't holed up, as you heard the U.S. marshal say, that he in fact stayed close in the area, as opposed to far out.

What we do know is that he's been on the run for about 48 hours. That's about the time that he posted this YouTube video of himself shooting this older man allegedly, 74-year-old Robert Godwin. And yesterday we heard the strength of the family and what they're suffering from this loss.

[09:45:09] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOROTHY CRUMPTON, FORMER WIFE OF ROBERT GODWIN SR.: He was my best friend. We shopped together. (INAUDIBLE). Did things for each other. He was just - just my best friend. Beside God, that was my best friend. We decided a long time ago that we had six children together and it's a lot of married couples will never have what Robert and I had.

ROBBY MILLER, SON OF ROBERT GODWIN SR.: Boys need their fathers and mine was taken away from me. And all I want to see is him brought to justice. I want - I want my family to have closure. It's just - it's a hole in my heart right now. It's a hole in my heart right now. But one thing I do want to say is, I forgive him because we all sinners and we need the shared blood of Jesus Christ to save us. And I'm so grateful for that. So, if you out there, if you listening, turn yourself in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: And one of the reasons there's such urgency is this manhunt is simply because he made a threat that he was going to go on a rampage, that he was going to try to kill as many people as possible. He alleged that he had killed other people in addition to Robert Godwin. And so that's why you've got the amount of resources.

He blames his girlfriend, saying that she made him crazy. That, in his words, "I lost everything I had. I'm out of options." He also blames his mom, saying that the day before this shooting he actually went to her home and told her that he was suicidal, that he was about to murder people and apparently she didn't care. And that's one of his big gripes is that, you know, here he is, he's a youth mentor, and he's counseled young people. He said, I listen to everybody else's problems and nobody listens to mine.

And so his state of mind is a big factor in this hunt, in this search because they don't know whether these are just threats. You know, he has more than one cell phone. We know that. He's talking on one cell phone, answering phone calls, taking phone calls from people, but at the same time he's videotaping this or he's uploading this to FaceBook. So there's really social engagement so that he's showing everybody why he's doing this. He's justifying this. And police want to find him, obviously, as fast as they possibly can.

BERMAN: And they seem to be trying to communicate directly with him through these news conferences with the message, turn yourself in before you get into deep - deeper trouble.

FEYERICK: Yes.

BERMAN: Deborah Feyerick, thanks so much.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:51:28] BERMAN: So, it is tax day, if you want to be legal. And, no, you can't claim your co-anchor as a deduction.

HARLOW: You can't?

BERMAN: There are signs this morning that the chances of a sweeping tax overhaul this summer are fading and there is no sign that we're going to see the president's tax returns any time soon.

HARLOW: Here's the press secretary, Sean Spicer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're under the same audit that existed and - so nothing has changed.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Is it time to say once and for all the president is never going to release his tax returns?

SPICER: We'll have to get back to you on that.

ZELENY: Oh, he may?

SPICER: No, I said I'd have to get back to you on that. I think that we're - he's still under audit. The statement still stands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: When you're under audit, you can release your tax returns. Just saying.

Also, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin now says tax reform by August not realistic. Stephen Moore is here. He is a CNN senior economics analyst and formerly the senior adviser to the Trump campaign.

So nice to have you here.

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Thank you.

HARLOW: Liberals have found this uniting force, this rallying cry on this tax day, which we know you filed already, my friend. And the way that the front of "The New York Times" puts it is basically that, you know, them calling on the president to release his tax returns could actually hurt the president's tax reform effort. Do you buy that?

MOORE: No. By the way, the reason I look a little tired this morning is I've been up four nights in a row trying to beat that tax deadline, but I got my tax return in.

So, look, I don't think that most Americans care that much about the president's tax returns. "The New York Times" and others tried to make a big deal out of this during the campaign, and it - I don't think it really swung a vote one way or the other. But I think the big picture is - here is, we've got to get tax reform done, and I was disturbed by that story that was reported yesterday that the White House now thinks they're not going to be able to get this done by August and maybe it's going to drift into the fall. And then there's even some reports that this is going to be in 2018.

And, Poppy, my view is that the delay in the tax bill and the kind of uncertainty is actually hurting the markets. I think it's slowing down business a little bit. We've seen a little bit of that Trump bounce that we saw for the last few months has slowed down. So I think this is hurting the economy and I think the White House has to show some more urgency. And Congress as well.

BERMAN: What I hear from you, as a former adviser to the president when he was running, is you seem to be pleading with this White House to get it done. And when you hear the Treasury secretary, not by August, you know, because you've seen this game before, then it drifts to the fall.

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: If it drifts past the fall, it drifts into sort of this twilight zone where things almost never happen in an election year, Stephen.

MOORE: Well, first of all, let me say, John, I do think there's a pretty high certainty that this is going to get done. It's just a question of when it's going to be done. And we saw with the health care debacle that that's obviously been delayed. And now there's talk, John, that, well, maybe we can't do tax reform until we get this health care bill passed. Well, Lord knows when that's going to happen. So that kind of uncertainty out there is, I think, slowing business investment. I talk to a lot of CEOs who say, you know, we're kind of on hold right now because we don't know what's going to happen with the tax bill. I happen to think if we can get that business tax rate down and simplify the system, it will have a lot of very positive effects for the economy, but the uncertainty's hurting.

HARLOW: Why - I'm interested as to why you think it's going to get done. I mean what makes you so sure, Stephen? Well, seriously, there's a reason this hasn't been done since I was like two years old.

MOORE: OK.

HARLOW: And that's because it's really hard, arguably harder than health care, and they couldn't get that done.

[09:55:02] MOORE: OK, that's a great point. And, Poppy, I'm glad you asked that because I want to clarify what I just said because I wasn't precise. I do think we're going to get a tax cut done. I think that, in fact, I have a -

HARLOW: Oh, that's easy.

MOORE: A piece in "The New York Times" that will be tomorrow or the next day. And we basically, my buddy and I, Larry Kudlow, we basically just said, look, get the business tax rates down because we know there's a lot of bipartisan support for that, and I think it will provide juice for the economy. But the bigger big bang of really simplifying and overhauling the tax system, which you're right, Poppy, that hasn't happened in 30 years! I mean it was 1986 since we cleaned out the stables of the tax system. I don't think that's going to get done this year. I think that's going to be probably pushed to 2018. But what I am saying is I think that we're going to get a tax cut done for businesses and workers this year.

BERMAN: Stephen Moore, great to have you with us. Happy tax day to you. Get some sleep.

MOORE: OK. Sure, guys. You, too.

BERMAN: All right, it is Election Day. A key race right now everyone in the country watching. What will it say about the health of the Trump presidency? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)