Return to Transcripts main page


Georgia Inmates Escape; Sessions Faces Senate; Second Day of Cosby Deliberation; Rodman in North Korea; North Korea Releases Student. Aired 9:30-10:00a ET

Aired June 13, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:57] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we have some breaking news out of Georgia right now. A manhunt is underway for two escaped inmates who apparently killed two correctional officers.

Want to get to CNN's Nick Valencia. He joins us now by phone on route to the scene.

Nick, what can you tell us.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Good morning, John.

This manhunt was reportedly underway as of early Tuesday morning. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, two inmates killed two correctional officers in Putnam County. That's about an hour and 20 minutes southeast of Atlanta proper. According to the Putnam County Sheriff, these two correctional officers were killed while transporting prisoners during a work detail. There's no indication exactly how these correctional officers died or the description of the alleged suspects. But these prisoners were last seen in a dark green Honda. According to our local Atlanta affiliate, WSB, CNN has a team on the way, we're in route right now. We'll get you more details as we get it.


BERMAN: All right, Nick Valencia, keep us posted on this developing throughout the morning.

Meanwhile, we're just hours away from Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: The list of questions that he should be asked, well, pretty endless. Will he answer them? That is another question. Or will he cite executive privilege over and over again?

Joining us now to talk about what we can expect, Paul Callan, CNN legal analyst and former New York City prosecutor, and Steve Vladeck, CNN contributor and professor of law at the University of Texas.

Nice to have you both here.

Steve, let me begin with you. What can Sessions file under executive privilege and what can he not?

STEVE VLADECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: So, Poppy, and I think we have to distinguish between when Attorney General Sessions asserts executive privilege and when he's allowed to do so. The privilege is designed to protect internal, confidential, executive branch communications. So, for example, conversations the attorney general had with the president that were not already privy too, those probably fall within the heartland of executive privilege. As we get further and further away from that kind of one-on-one private conversation, we get further away from the heartland of privilege and into an area where it's going to be harder for Sessions to really invoke it.

BERMAN: So, Paul Callan, does that mean discussions that perhaps Jeff Sessions had with James Comey and not President Trump?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It could be used in that context, but most likely it wouldn't be upheld by the court. Normally, this is - the executive privilege has to do more directly with presidential conversations. But it has to do with other things. For instance, an ongoing criminal investigation, that's the thing that shields those discussions, and we hear that often in congressional hearings.


CALLAN: But, in the end, the court balances public interest against the need for secrecy in the executive branch. So the privilege is not absolute, which is why often presidents assert it and when they go into court they say, all right, let's not fight, I'll give you 90 percent of what you want. And so we don't really have a lot of clear court decisions.

HARLOW: But that delays everything.

CALLAN: Yes, it does.

HARLOW: Even if the court does decide that, you don't get answers for a while if you're going to get them.

CALLAN: Absolutely. Yes.

HARLOW: So here's the thing. The White House playbook on this, Steve, could be, play it just like Admiral rogers and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein played it last week, which is basically answer pretty much nothing, even if it's not classified, just because you say, well, I'm not going to talk about that in a public setting, and it infuriated lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and then they kind of forgot about it because Comey testified the next day. If that is the playbook today with Sessions, can he be compelled to answer these questions by the Supreme Court, you know, ruling that we saw in '74 with the Nixon case? Could he be held in contempt of Congress? What happens?

[09:35:32] VLADECK: Yes, I mean I think the real question, Poppy, at that point is, how does the Senate Intelligence Committee respond? It has a number of options, but they all require buy-in from both the Democrats and the Republicans on the committee ranging from some kind of civil litigation to get a declaratory judgment that Session's statements aren't covered by privilege, to holding him in contempt. I mean I think that's where we can see this really play out.

Those only work, though, if you have the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee just as invested in having Sessions answer the questions, produce the requested material, as the Democrats clearly already are.

BERMAN: You know, Paul Callan, one of the issues here we'll delve into, did, in fact, Jeff Sessions completely recuse himself -


BERMAN: From the Russia investigation after he said he did. My question to you is, you know, is recusal in this case an actual legal thing, you know, human stone, or can he un-recuse himself as easily as he recused himself?

CALLAN: Well, you know, in courts, it is a real legal thing. If a lawyer or a judge says, I'm going to force your recusal or I recuse himself, the lawyer goes out of the courtroom and he can't participate again. But, here, this is him saying, well, I'm not going to get involved. He can re-involve himself if he wants. Obviously, I think there would be a political price to be paid because he would be suggesting that although before I said I was - there would be a conflict, now there isn't. Well, what disappeared, you know?


CALLAN: So I don't think - it's really a tough situation, but it's not absolute.

HARLOW: Thirty seconds left. The - anything, though, said before January 20th at 10:00 a.m. or so on Inauguration Day -


HARLOW: Is totally clear, not covered at all by executive privilege, right?

VLADECK: Should be. And I think that's going to be the key today, how much can the senators get Attorney General Sessions to talk about those statements, to confirm or deny things Jim Comey said under oath last week. I think those are really the points to focus on.

HARLOW: All right.

BERMAN: All right, Paul Callan, Steve Vladeck, thanks so much for being with us, guys. Counselors, always a pleasure.

Our special coverage of Attorney General Jeff Session' testimony to Congress begins this afternoon at 2:00 Eastern right here on CNN. HARLOW: All right, Bill Cosby arriving in court this morning while

five women and seven men are behind closed doors deliberating. The jury is out. They're deliberating his fate. Will we get a verdict? We could in moments. Stay with us.


[09:41:51] BERMAN: A verdict could come at any moment in the Bill Cosby sexual offense trial.

HARLOW: The jury is deliberating for a second day. Cosby arrived at the courthouse last hour. He's waiting for the decision.

Our correspondent Jean Casarez is live outside of the courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

You've been there throughout the entire trial, Jean. What are you hearing?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just came out of the courtroom right now because the jury had requested a read back of deposition testimony of Bill Cosby. And that's happening right now. They allowed me to leave. But it is the deposition testimony that is by far from Bill Cosby the most graphic testimony of this trial. In 2005, when Andrea Constand brought a civil suit, there ultimately was the deposition. So the jury wants a read back of him saying that he first saw Andrea Constand. He knew he liked her. He had a roman interest in her. He wanted to get to know her. He gave her his number. He got her number. And what was the point of that? I wanted a romanticness with her. I wanted to go into an area of permission or rejection. He describes the second visit when it is so graphically what he says that she didn't say anything but allowed him to do it. Of course, this is contrary to everything the prosecution's case is about, that Andrea would always stop him, not by word but by action.

Now, the question is, why does the jury want the words of Bill Cosby? There could be people that believe that he's telling the truth and they want confirmation of that. There could be jurors that believe he is not credible and they want to look at details in all of this to try to see those inconsistencies or what is not credible.

As far as color, Andrea Constand is in that courtroom right now. She was not there for the read back last night. But she is in that courtroom. I watched her. She's talking with people on the prosecution team. She seems very relaxed. She doesn't feel tense from what I'm seeing. But it was so noteworthy, Bill Cosby walked into the courtroom this morning. She didn't even see him. She didn't even look at him because she was talking with who have become her friends in the prosecution's office.

And behind her, rows behind her, I don't think she even saw them, there are at least four accusers, four other women have traveled here to Philadelphia to be in this courtroom. One of them, Barbara Bowman. Barbara Bowman, who was the one that came forward. No one knew it. But at the time in 2005 saying I've heard about Andrea Constand. She's not alone. He did it to me, too. Of course the defense is denying all charges and all accusations.

BERMAN: All right, Jean Casarez at the courthouse there in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Keep us posted. The jury getting a read back right now.

In the meantime, he calls it basketball diplomacy. I'm not sure what to call it, frankly. Dennis Rodman in North Korea. Why?


[09:49:08] HARLOW: This morning, Dennis Rodman is back on familiar soil. He's in Pyongyang, North Korea. The former NBA star and "Celebrity Apprentice" alum arrived a few hours ago. He's been to the country at least four times before. And his visit comes as tensions are high, to say the least, between Washington and Pyongyang.

BERMAN: You know, four Americans - so stand by on that number - are currently being detained in North Korea. North Korea's fired 16 missiles this year. Yesterday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis called North Korea an urgent threat to national security.

Joining us now live from Beijing, CNN international correspondent Matt Rivers, who actually caught up with Dennis Rodman on his way to North Korea.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. We were able to catch up with him at the airport. When you go to North Korea, you have to transit through Beijing, and so it was a convenient place when we got a tip that Dennis Rodman was coming through to go to North Korea, we figured we'd go meet him at the airport to ask him, well, what exactly he would plan on doing while inside the country. Here's a little bit of what he had to say.

[09:50:11] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you here just as a private citizen? Have you spoken to President Trump at all?

DENNIS RODMAN, NBA HALL OF FAMER: Well, I'm pretty sure he's pretty much happy at the fact that I'm over here.


RODMAN: Trying to accomplish something that - that we very - we both need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what are you trying to accomplish here?


RODMAN: He's - just trying to open a door. To open a door, that's it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to talk at all about the detained Americans?

RODMAN: Well, that's not my purpose right now.


RIVERS: And there were a couple answers that Rodman wouldn't answer. We asked him specifically, is he bringing a message directly from the Trump administration? He wouldn't answer that question. We also asked him if he planned on meeting specifically with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. He wouldn't answer that question either.

We should note, the State Department has said they are aware of the fact that Rodman is in North Korea. They said they wished him the best of luck. However, they said he is traveling strictly as a private citizen, not in any official capacity, so it doesn't appear that Dennis Rodman will be carrying the mantle for the Trump administration in what could very easily be called one of the greatest diplomatic challenges over the last 20 or 30 years.

But one interesting note here, Dennis Rodman is unique in the sense that he does have a personal relationship with Kim Jong-un. He's been there several times since 2013. And he also knows Donald Trump, being on "The Celebrity Apprentice" two different times.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

RIVERS: So, in that sense, he's quite unique.

HARLOW: And he didn't - you know, he certainly didn't say, well, I haven't spoken to the White House about this, you know. He sort of skirted around that question of yours a little bit.

Let me ask you how long - do we know how long this trip is? How long he's supposed to be there?

RIVERS: He's supposed to stay until Saturday, but exactly what he's going to be doing while there, we're not sure. You know, the last time he was really quite visible. He had a documentary crew following him around. He actually led a rendition of "happy birthday" to Kim Jong-un while he was there. We're not sure if it's going to be just as high- profile, this particular visit. His entourage was much smaller this time as compared to last time. But time will tell. We'll see. We'll keep an eye on North Korean state media and see what comes out.

HARLOW: Indeed, we will. Matt Rivers, thank you very much.

Moments from now, the only man in America who can fire special counsel, Robert Mueller, in the Russia investigation will sit in that room and testify on Capitol Hill. What will he be asked, and, more importantly, what will he actually say, next.


[09:56:56] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

HARLOW: All right, we have some significant breaking news for you out of North Korea. We have learned that one of the four Americans detained in North Korea, Otto Warmbier, has been released. Let's go straight to our Will Ripley, who is in Pyongyang.

And, Will, you spoke with Otto's parents. What are you hearing?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they just confirmed, Poppy, moments ago news that they have been waiting desperately for since last January when their son was detained here in Pyongyang. I want to read you this statement, first of all, from Fred Warmbier, Otto's father." He says, quote, "he's being medevaced to the U.S. The brutalization and terrorism the North Koreans have put upon Otto and the Warmbier family have ended, thank God."

This has truly been a nightmare for this family after they allowed Otto to come here to North Korea as part of a sight-seeing tour with other young tourists traveling -

BERMAN: Sorry, Will, I didn't mean to interrupt you. I thought we - Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, was just speaking about the release of Otto Warmbier moments ago. We're going to get that recued up. Please continue with your report from Pyongyang, which is remarkable to have you there, Will.

RIPLEY: He, as I was saying, Otto was here in North Korea as part of a sight-seeing tour with a private company. He and other young people actually celebrated the new year here in North Korea. And it was after the new year's celebrations that North Korean authorities claimed that Otto Warmbier snuck on to a floor where tourists were not allowed at the Youngato (ph) Hotel here in the North Korean capital, and they actually released surveillance footage, very grainy surveillance footage, purportedly to show him trying to take down a propaganda banner off the wall, presumably to pack it up, maybe put it in his suitcase, take it home as a souvenir. But apparently he may have had second thoughts because he left the banner on the floor and then went back to his room.

But it was at the airport when he was leaving the very next day that North Korean authorities arrested him. They later charged him after several months of detainment with trying to undermine the regime. They sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor for trying to take that political banner off the wall. It just goes to show you the real danger that particularly American tourists can face if they violate the laws here in North Korea.

And so, Otto's parents, they did have some limited communication with him initially through the Swedish embassy here in Pyongyang, which serves as an intermediary whenever Americans are detained. But then as tensions really ratcheted up here on the Korean peninsula, North Korea enacted what's known as wartime law, cutting off all communication between Otto and his family and even with the Swedish embassy for a year. And so his parents now, in the coming hours, presumably, will be seeing him and really speaking with him for the first time in over a year. He would have graduated from college just a couple of months ago. He missed that event. They have a lot of catching up to do.

HARLOW: Yes. BERMAN: All right, Will, stand by for a moment right now because we did just get a statement from the U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, on this. Let's listen in.

[10:00:07] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Secretary, is the president getting rid of Mueller? There's talk of that, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any reaction to the North Korea news, Dennis Rodman there? Is that