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New Developments Reported in Alleged Affair between President Trump and Adult Film Star; John Kelly's Tenure as Chief of Staff Examined; Young Man Suspected of Killing Parents at Central Michigan University Captured; Storms Threaten Parts of Massachusetts; President Trump Announces Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 3, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning. We're so grateful to have you here with us. I'm Christi Paul.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. CNN Newsroom begins right now.
This morning a troubling and tumultuous week for the Trump administration is getting I guess you could say even more complicated.
PAUL: Yes. The "Washington Post" claims porn star Stormy Daniels threatened to cancel a deal that she made to keep her alleged affair with Donald Trump a secret.
SAVIDGE: It is the very latest in a series of controversies to rock the White House this week from international backlash on a trade deal to changing stances on gun control. And now chief of staff John Kelly is facing blowback after he tried to defend how he handled a domestic abuse scandal.
PAUL: We're also learning the president may be ready to get his daughter and son-in-law out of the West Wing.
SAVIDGE: CNN's Boris Sanchez traveling with the president. He joins us live now from Florida this morning. Good morning, Boris. We want to find out the latest on this John Kelly story. It just all seems to be piling up in a very chaotic way.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Martin. Good morning to you and Christi. It comes at the end of an already tumultuous week for the White House in which sources close to the president are privately telling CNN that they worried about the president, that he may be losing control. He spent the week lashing out at staff. We saw the departure of some key figures in the administration, and now we're getting this news about John Kelly and his exchange with reporters yesterday. It started off as an off the camera, off the record briefing. Portions of it were later put on the record in which Kelly defended his handling of the Rob Porter controversy, one that the White House would certainly like to leave behind.
Kelly essentially made the case that the same day that he found out that Rob Porter was accused of domestic violence by two of his ex- wives, he secured his resignation, something that contradicts the timeline. Two sources at the White House telling CNN they are puzzled by these comments. One of them saying flatly the chief of staff is not telling the truth.
If you recall the date after these revelations about Rob Porter came out, the White House put out a statement defending him. It also contradicts reporting that CNN has obtained that indicates that the White House, the chief of staff and the White House counsel received documents detailing the allegations against Rob Porter back in November of last year. Despite that, the chief of staff told reporters that, quote, "I have absolutely nothing to even consider resigning over." So the White House is likely going to face a lot more questions about the chief of staff going into this new week.
A note about the president's schedule. He's here in Mar-a-Lago just for one night. He leaves today to D.C. after a pair of fundraising events at his estate in Palm Beach. He returns to D.C. to attend something called the gridiron dinner. It's a roast-type event where cameras are not allowed but journalists have a good natured ribbing at politicians. Not a whole lot for this president to be laughing at, though, this week, Martin and Christi.
SAVIDGE: You got that absolutely right, Boris. Thank you very much.
PAUL: So, the "Washington Post," want to get back to this story where they say porn star Stormy Daniels nearly canceled a deal that she had made to keep her alleged affair with Donald Trump a secret because Trump's attorneys were late in paying her so-called hush money.
SAVIDGE: Joining us on the phone now is "Washington Post" Frances Stead Sellers who helped break this story. Thank you very much for joining us.
FRANCES STEAD SELLERS, "WASHINGTON POST": Thank you for having me.
SAVIDGE: So, the political implications here. We are learning ten days after she threatened Trump's attorney that she received the payment of $130,000. So in essence does this prove that the payment was about the election and to influence the election?
SELLERS: I don't think we have proof yet. What we have is evidence of a level of brinksmanship leading up to the election. And, of course, this does feed into the complaints being made, the SEC complaints, there are a couple that have been made by a Democratic group American Bridge and also Common Cause. And Paul Ryan from Common Cause has made the statement that the fact that the payment was made immediately before the general election strongly supports their claim that this was to influence the election.
This was a tumultuous time for Trump. Let's think back to that period. The "Access Hollywood" tape had just been broken and other women were coming out. The Stormy Daniels alleged affair of course is allegedly a consensual relationship, but there were other women at that moment coming out with allegations against the candidate, against candidate Trump. And some of those also were moving an interesting ways. There's Summer Zervos, of course, who case, a defamation case against the president is sitting in a New York state court waiting for a judge's ruling to see whether it could proceed. So these moments in the final weeks leading up to the election show a level of tension for the campaign right before the election.
PAUL: So, Frances, Stormy has not -- she hasn't actually admitted to anything publicly at the end of the day. So, what does all of this really mean?
SELLERS: So, Stormy has recently said she will speak again. But, if we go back, again, this is a complicated story. She had gave this long interview which was not published when she gave it in May, 2011, in which she described a love affair. That has been brushed aside by the president's lawyers, all recycled news. It did surface briefly in October, 2011, in a blog, a gossip blog called TheDirty.com and it was aggregated under that site. So there were hints of something, but it was not until January of this year that the "Wall Street Journal" broke this story about the hush money, the alleged hush money.
PAUL: All righty, Frances Stead Sellers, we appreciate you coming on to talk us through what you've learned, thank you.
And we have Chris Whipple with us now as well, author of the "New York Times" bestseller "The Gatekeepers, How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency." Chris, thank you so much for being here. We're, obviously, you know, absolutely, thank you. We're obviously talking about what happened with General Kelly as he, this week, made this statement about -- he brought Porter back into the mix here, Rob Porter. And a lot of people are wondering, why would he even -- why would he even bring that back under the spotlight? It seemed to be over to some degree.
CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, "THE GATEKEEPERS": Well, you know, God may or may not be punishing John Kelly by making him Trump's White House chief of staff, but it's clear to me that he has just failed at almost every level as Trump's White House chief. He has been unable to tell Donald Trump hard truths, and at the end of the day he has failed by his own very narrow definition of the job which is to be the hones honest broker of information to the president. The Stormy Daniels changing timelines have been part of that.
Look, the reality is I heard somebody say the other day that this White House is guilty of spinning. Spinning is not what this White House does. Lying is what this White House does and has done from day one. Truth was the first casualty when Sean Spicer stepped up to the podium on day one, a story that I tell in the new chapter of my book. And, sadly, John Kelly has enabled that. He's participated in that. And, you know, you make a -- when you work for this president, you make a Faustian bargain, and it comes back to haunt you.
SAVIDGE: On this same issue, John Kelly of "The New York Times" is reporting that he has been asked by the president to deal with Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. You believe that?
WHIPPLE: Well, of course, it's always a very delicate proposition when you're White House chief. Often you have to deal with family. James A. Baker III who was the quintessential chief under Ronald Reagan had to, obviously, had to deal with Nancy Reagan, who was the so-called personnel director. He had to deal with Mike Deaver who was almost like a son to Reagan. It requires real political savvy. You have to be very deft at this kind of thing.
I see no evidence that John Kelly has any political savvy, and he demonstrated that when he stepped up to the podium in the White House briefing room and told untruths about Representative Wilson. So this is a tricky proposition for Kelly, and he's not out of the woods by any means.
PAUL: General Michael Hayden, who is the former NSA director, said this. He thinks a lot of the problem here is the style of the president and his administration, that this incoming administration didn't necessarily respect the norms, regard the norms of what goes into the political process here. He said there are norms out there not because they're arbitrary. There are norms out there because through lessons learned, through history we understand that if you don't do it that way you are really increasing the odds things are going to end up unhappy.
Here's the thing. Voters didn't want him to practice norms. They wanted him to do things differently. Does this serve him somehow?
WHIPPLE: No. I mean, look, the most important thing a White House chief of staff can do is walk into the Oval Office, close the door and tell the president what he does not want to hear. That's what James A. Baker III and Leon Panetta knew how to do. It is clear after a year that Donald Trump had no idea how to govern. He may not be interested in governing. The only thing that interests Donald Trump is making Donald Trump look strong.
You know, in the new chapter of my book I tell the story about how he wanted to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel, 25 percent tariff on cars, and scrap NAFTA on his first week. Reince Priebus had to sit him down and explain that if you kill NAFTA, you're going to kill all the farmers in the swing states. Well, Donald Trump didn't understand that. He still doesn't understand the consequences of his actions. It's the job of the chief of staff to help the president learn how to govern.
PAUL: All righty, Chris Whipple author of "The Gatekeepers." we appreciate your perspective sir, thanks for being here.
WHIPPLE: Thanks for having me.
SAVIDGE: Up next this morning, compelling pictures from a bomb cyclone that hammered the northeast. Listen. We've got more than a million people without power. And the worst may not be over.
PAUL: Also, oh, this rescue. That is a man buried in the snow, a snowboarder there, after a powerful avalanche. We're going to tell you more about what happened here. Stay close.
SAVIDGE: Also Jared Kushner's business deals are under scrutiny. Has he been using his father-in-law's presidential power to his financial advantage? We'll look into that.
PAUL: So, we're waiting for a press conference to begin any minute from Michigan with more details on that deadly shooting suspect that has been caught overnight. Central Michigan University police arrested James Davis Jr. -- you see him there on your screen -- for allegedly killing his parents when they came to pick him up for spring break.
SAVIDGE: CNN's Scott McLean is live from outside that press conference that will be getting underway soon. And Scott, what more do we have this morning?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martin. So yesterday this campus was wondering if it was safe given that there was an armed, dangerous suspect on the loose. Today it is just wondering what happened. Police and university officials there getting set to hold a press conference that may answer some of those questions.
What we know at this point, though, is that James Eric Davis Jr., a 19-year-old student on this campus, was arrested yesterday after he has been accused of killing his parents inside of a university residence. And what makes his time on the lam, more than 12 hours, especially bizarre is that it doesn't appear that he actually got very far. Someone on a train that was passing through the north end of campus actually spotted him, according to the university, and then called police. He was arrested without incident.
His father, he's actually a military veteran. He is a police officer. People in his home community call him a pillar of the community. His father and his mother, they were actually here on campus from the Chicago area to take him home for spring break. It is unclear what exactly might have caused this domestic disturbance that police are calling it. But one thing that we may know, one clue is that police actually spoke with Davis Jr. on Thursday evening. He was then taken to hospital for a possible adverse reaction to drugs or drug overdose. Martin?
SAVIDGE: Well, that in itself is horrific news on top of everything else. We will wait to hear more from that press conference. Scott McClean, thank you.
PAUL: Listen to the strength of that wind, right. A bomb cyclone hammering the northeast. It toppled trees and damaged homes. The strong winds are expected to last for the next 24 to 48 hours. And we're talking in some instances hurricane-force winds.
SAVIDGE: And that means of course more widespread damage, power outages. Violent winds have torn down several main power lines and more than 1 million people are without power from Virginia to New England. Massachusetts has been seeing the worst of it with nearly 400,000 people without electricity.
PAUL: There are states of emergency as well in Virginia, in Maryland, and at least five people we know have died as a result of this storm. So, let's get over to CNN's Ryan Young. He's live in Quincy,
Massachusetts. That's just south of Boston. And have people been able to get back into their homes? Earlier you were saying, Ryan, they couldn't even get to them yet.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have already started to walk back towards their homes and taking pictures of some of the damage that has been left behind. Conditions have changed since we first joined you this morning at 6:00 a.m. We're going to turn around and show you the water that is coming over this line right here. We actually saw a front loader dumping sand on the other side of this to make sure the barrier is protected. But as the water started to rise, again, we are once again getting pounded by that rain and sea mist.
To show you some of the damage, though, look in the backyard here. You can see what has been left behind in terms of all the damage, all the waters flooding this neighborhood. Some cars were stuck in the middle of the street as people tried to evacuate.
YOUNG: Coastal communities in Massachusetts pounded by monster waves. High tide sent water rolling down streets and into homes. In Quincy, dozens of residents had to be rescued by trucks and scooped up by front loaders. Christine Way-Cotter was one of those getting a ride out of danger.
CHRISTINE WAY-COTTER, RESCUED IN FLOOD: It was kind of scary because we were the ones standing up on it and having to hold on. So, but, you know, we're lucky. It just things that will get lost.
YOUNG: Storm conditions are expected to improve on Saturday, but the wind is still a factor, so is coastal flooding. Near Portland, Maine, storm surge left this home teetering on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
DANA STERLING, HOMEOWNER: The plan is to lift it and move it back a little bit, I believe. But it's a lot of things that have to happen before that happens. So we're just trying to keep it from going anyway.
DOUG CAMPBELL, SACO, MAINE RESIDENT: You feel bad for the people, but that comes with having a house on the water. Ocean wins, you lose.
YOUNG: Another issue is power outages. In Watertown, Massachusetts, high winds made power lines fall like dominos.
CAPT. RAYMOND DEPUIS, WATERTOWN POLICE: We had traffic lights all over town that were out and affected by this grid. But the first responder, he isolated the area and have them shut the circuit off. It was pretty dangerous, dangerous situation.
YOUNG: One woman in Brockton, Massachusetts, says her son is lucky to be alive. He was sitting in the backseat of a car when a tree came crashing down. CYNTHIA CREIGHTON, MOTHER: The house shook and then we heard a noise.
We didn't know what it was. We ran out, and my son was still in the car with the tree on top of it.
YOUNG: I walked up the street up there and was talking to one of the neighbors. They said the water yesterday got up to the second level of some of these homes. Once again, the water is back pounding. People are wondering what this next high tide is going to be like. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next six hours as people start to assess the damage. Guys, back to you.
SAVIDGE: Ryan, thanks very much. Be careful out there.
PAUL: Yes, take good care there.
And as we wait to see what this third round brings, the flood waters across the northeast really took its toll on cars, especially when there were people trapped inside of them.
SAVIDGE: Reporter John Atwater from our affiliate WCVB show us what some of the dramatic rescues look like.
JOHN ATWATER, REPORTER, WCVB: Entire families were plucked from the floodwaters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very grateful.
ATWATER: The end of a terrifying attempt to ride out a monster storm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very scary. It's the worst one ever.
ATWATER: National Guard troops rescued dozens of people. Their video shows crews in waist deep water going door to door to grab families who did not evacuate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is all clothing.
ATWATER: Many basements are full of water and without heat or electricity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Furnace is gone and the basement has a foot of water.
ATWATER: Flooding was just one concern for first responders as high winds ripped apart fences, brought down trees, and sparked fires as powerlines snapped. And this is just round one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely horrific. But we're OK. We're OK. That's all that matters.
SAVIDGE: Our thanks to John Atwater with our affiliate WCVB for reporting on that story for us.
PAUL: There is more coastal flooding expecting, in fact, in the next 45 minutes to an hour as that high tide you saw there starts making its way down into the area. Reporter Kerri Corrado from our affiliate WHDH in Boston is telling what she's seeing in Sandwich, Massachusetts.
KERRI CORRADO, REPORTER, WHDH: I just spoke with one woman. She said she was in this parking lot, and I was here, too, yesterday. Cars were parked all over this parking lot. And then everyone started to back off because the water started to hit that sea wall and then cascade over and fill this entire area. So this is basically what's left. But the big concern is what happened when that next tide comes in. And then you have the wind pushing the water towards those homes. So you add the water and the wind, you wonder what damage could be next. And then we're also seeing some downed trees. We're seeing power outages, beach erosions. But we've seen it all here in Sandwich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: And our thanks to Kerri Corrado from our affiliate WHDH for that report there.
We should point out that the storm has been so bad more than 1,000 flights have been canceled or delayed so far. Amtrak was forced to cancel its service but has begun restoring service within the last couple of hours.
PAUL: But we want to share some more of the images with you of this storm's impact that we're getting in this morning. This is damage from a homeowner and what they're dealing with here. He says seven trees, seven fell on his house during the height of the storm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD, SEVEN TREES FELL ON HIS HOME: Last night were just sitting down, the lights went out and all of a sudden we didn't hear anything. We heard somebody coming up to the house. I said, gee, maybe it's one of the neighbors coming over for coffee. And he said, did you know there is a tree down? And then they just started falling, falling, falling. And this morning we woke up and they're all down. And even my next door neighbor, his tree is down too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And Boston is getting hit. Parts of the city are underwater as you see there. And I want to take a look at one person who is just trying to make it all worthwhile. It's a kayaker paddling down a water-logged Boston street there. There's always somebody who says I'm going to find the good thing.
SAVIDGE: Usually it's the skier who is cross country down the roadway there. But kayaking. Meanwhile, the National Guard had to rescue dozens of people from
their homes and cars in nearby Quincy, and it wasn't just high winds and rain. Heavy wet snow and sleet have been falling across major cities like New York and Philadelphia.
PAUL: So take good care out there.
CORRADO: Coming up, more of this incredible footage of a snowboarder unearthed from an avalanche.
PAUL: And listen, there's a trade war that some say could raise prices on millions of products. The president and his commerce secretary say, listen, this is not as big a deal as some say. Both of these men, though, are billionaires. So does it affect them the way it affects the rest of us? We'll talk about that.
PAUL: It's 30 minutes past the hour on this Saturday. Good morning to you, I'm Christi Paul.
SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: So the president has said new tariffs on steel and aluminum are going to go into effect next week.
SAVIDGE: In several tweets President Trump said trade wars are good and easy to win. But the European Union is planning to strike back if the president follows through. They good put their own tariffs on major U.S. brands like Levi's jeans, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and bourbon whiskey. Here is the president of the European Commission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (through translator): The European Union will have to take a stand against this plan because we cannot stand aside and watch how for some reason the industrial dislocation in Europe is going to be marginalized and tens of thousands of jobs are lost in Europe, and Europe needs to defend itself against this, and we will defend ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, President Trump and his commerce secretary, a fellow billionaire, both say a trade war is really nothing to fear.
PAUL: Wilbur Ross held up a soda can and he did this to make his point. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILBUR ROSS, SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: For beverage cans, there's only about three cents worth of steel or aluminum, in this case, it happens to be aluminum, in it to begin with, so if that goes up 10 percent, you're talking a fraction of a penny. These products sell for over $1 in the store. So, it's nonsense to say that there's a great tragedy looming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Well, joining us now to talk more about this is Michael Froman who was the U.S. trade representative in the Obama administration. Thank you, Mr. Froman, for being with us.
MICHAEL FROMAN, FORMER U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Thanks for having me.
SAVIDGE: So do you buy that argument? I mean, the Coke can argument for all I can really call it there, I'm not so concerned about a coke can. I might be concerned about, say, an automobile or something very large that takes a lot of steel.
FROMAN: Well, that's right. Most auto companies will tell you that they make virtually all their money off of trucks, and that their small cars are barely profitable. So if the cost of a small car is going to go up by several hundred dollars because of the taxes on imported steel and aluminum, that's going to make those unprofitable and less competitive. And from a consumer perspective, if you're facing the choice between a made in America car that is costing several hundred dollars more and an imported car, you might buy the import instead. So that would be counterproductive.
PAUL: President Trump has said he wants to incentivize companies in the U.S. to buy from fellow U.S. companies. Would this encourage that?
FROMAN: Well, I think, first of all, we should all stipulate. We want a strong steel and aluminum sector here in the United States, and there are unfair trade practices abroad that need to be dealt with. The problem is, those trade practices are emanating largely from China which are not really hit through these actions. It's countries like Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Germany who are going to bear the cost of this, not actually China. China is not in the top 10 in terms of the sources of our imports of steel, for example. So, yes, on one hand we certainly want to drive more production to the United States. But this is a very blunt tool that is not really being directed at the cause of the problem.
SAVIDGE: And to sort of talk about these unintended consequences. The president has made it clear that he wants to renegotiate NAFTA. How does this complicate that kind of conversation?
FROMAN: Well, coming as it is in the midst of a round of negotiations, it makes it very difficult for the Canadians or the Mexicans to compromise on the proposals that the U.S. has put on the table. We have to remember that other countries have politics, too. And they have to be able to justify back home standing up to the United States at a time when the United States is imposing a tax on their exports to the United States. So I think they just made their task of renegotiating NAFTA somewhat more difficult.
PAUL: I think a lot of people are sitting at home thinking how really at the end of the day how will this affect me. We know that Secretary Ross admitted that he doesn't know specifically what is in this tariff proposal, what he says is going to happen next week. But he said market reaction is an overreaction. Do you expect the markets will stabilize when they open on Monday? It's still going to be in question?
FROMAN: I think what we're seeing in the market reaction is the concern about the uncertainty and instability that this introduces into the system. There are really three elements of cost here. One is the direct cost. This is a tax on imports. So, anybody who uses an aluminum or steel product and production of a product here in the United States or who consumes an aluminum or steel product is going to face a higher cost.
Secondly there's the cost of retaliation. And as other countries decide to impose tariffs on our exports, that could hit a wide range of industries. Agriculture, motorcycles, airplanes, and workers in those areas could be adversely affected. But there's a third cost which is also very, very important. And that is this national security exception is something that we have used very rarely once in the last 30 years. And that's because we've always been concerned that other countries would use national security as an excuse to keep our products when there was no real national security concern.
And so if we begin doing this, other countries will say, you know what, our food supply is a national security issue. Let's keep out American agricultural products. And that could affect a wide range of products across the United States from all sorts of producers.
SAVIDGE: All right, Michael Froman, thank you, as always, for your insights, much appreciated.
FROMAN: Thanks for having me.
PAUL: Absolutely. Do stay close, we are watching a press conference that is about to begin, we believe, in Michigan, regarding the two people who were killed, the parents who were killed at Central Michigan University yesterday. They have overnight caught the suspect. The two people that died, it is their son. We're hopefully going to hear more about exactly what has happened on the campus there. Stay close.
CHIEF BILL YEAGLEY, CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY POLICE: Within two minutes, CMU police officers were on scene, and within a minute after that had the suspect in custody, which put an end to the threat of violence to our community. So, we're very, very pleased that, again, someone in our community got involved, made the phone call. They saw something. They said something. And we were able to respond.
It's very difficult for all of us to say that on our campus two people were killed. What makes this, I don't know, worse or better, I guess you have to figure out for yourself is it was really a domestic issue. It was a mother and a father and a son involved in this initial confrontation that ended up with tragically losing two people. And there are a lot of people suffering in that family. But, I tell
you what, there are a lot of people, faculty and staff and our students and the Mt. Pleasant community and people who are watching on TV or following social media, I was on a plane coming back for this, and it was the talk of the plane coming from Florida to Detroit. I just listened to people speaking, and some quite emotionally about what had just happened here. And, so, I know there is a lot of people suffering. And our prayers and thoughts go out to all of those folks.
I want to back up a couple of days here and tell you where all this started. Our interaction with James Davis Jr. started on Thursday, March 1st, at approximately 9:45. And CMU police have a community policing officer refer to them and they have an office in our high rise dormitories, our residence halls. The officers assigned to those have been there. That is their regular shift. That's where they show up and work. They have relationships with the students. They have friendships and they provide a sense of access as well as safety.
And James ran into the office of our community policing officer very frightened. He said someone was out to hurt him. Someone was going to harm him. And the officer calmed him down and tried to gain more information what was going on. And Mr. Davis was very vague. And he kept talking about somebody had a gun. And the officer said, when did he have a gun? Did you see a gun? And just again, everything was extremely vague.
So we got other officers involved and eventually were able to actually get a name of someone we thought might be involved in threatening Mr. Davis. Mr. Davis talked about riding down the elevator in the high rise with this individual. So, we had officers locate the individual, stop the individual, have conversation, actually took him to our department to interview him to see if there was a threat that really did exist.
In the meantime, we're talking with Mr. Davis who is really not making a lot of sense. He's not putting the pieces together for us. He kept talking about the guy who was trying to kill him had a warrant for him for murder. He had already committed a murder and was wanted for a murder, that he knows he had a gun. How did you know he was going to hurt you if you didn't see a gun? And he was saying things like it's just a feeling. I just know it.
So what we did, our investigation, we were not able to see any risk for anyone. This other person that Mr. Davis identified did not have any risk, pose any risk to Davis or anyone else. We reviewed the video in the elevator which showed Mr. Davis riding down the elevator with this other person and they were laughing and appeared certainly to have a good relationship, not one of a threat.
The other person had no registered weapon. So, we felt comfortable and we told Mr. Davis, you know, with just this amount of information, there is really no crime and nothing more we're able to do. What can we do to help you feel safe? He said, I'm fine. I'm going home in the morning, so I'll be good and thanks for your help.
So about 1:15, four hours, three or four hours later, our officers are over in the high rise area dealing with a different issue and see Mr. Davis in the hallway with a number of suitcases and bags. The officers approach him to say, hey, are you all right? What's going on? I thought you were going home tomorrow. Mr. Davis, again, acts in a fashion that isn't reasonable or logical. He was not able to make a lot of sense. So the officers saw his cellphone and asked him to call his parents.
So Mr. Davis calls his parents. The officer speaks to the parents over the phone. They explain to the mother what we've observed and what the actions of what Mr. Davis have been over the last few hours. The mother also very concerned saying she and her husband will be coming up to Central immediately and the officer said that we had some suspicion it might be drugs. Does he have a drug history? The mother said, she, too, is concerned this could be drugs.
So after speaking with her, the officers tell Mr. Davis we need to take him to the hospital to get him checked out because just clearly, mentally, and he's not making a lot of sense. And the suspicion and some of the behaviors we see suggest there may be drugs involved. So for his benefit, we take him to the people who are best qualified to look at those kinds of symptoms, to measure those things and to manage those if in fact they are there.
So we took Mr. Davis to the hospital and explained what our interaction was with the hospital staff where Mr. Davis stayed until the following morning where he was picked up by his parents. Once he was picked up by his parents, they came back to Campbell hall to load the car up to take him home. Actually, about 15 minutes ago our investigator briefed me on where we are in our criminal investigation, and there is one witness who stated that Mr. Davis was seen coming from the parking lot into the residence hall with a gun in his hand. And we had video photos of that, as well, to support that.
So, just prior to the actual incident, Mr. Davis came into our residence hall with a weapon and went to the fourth floor where we believe he shot and killed his father and his mother. Mr. Davis then left on foot. He went out into the building and on to the railroad track and was running north on the railroad track. And it was, we have, again, a number of video photos that show the progression of moving north along that railroad track. And the last place we could actually put him from the video is around Cherry Street on the railroad track.
So, at that point, we have all of these folks coming in to assist us and to set up a perimeter and to take care of our communities. Not only are we looking for the suspect so that no one else is injured, we also are trying to protect those folks who are still on campus and in the Mt. Pleasant area and help them to be safe.
So, the last thing I wanted to tell you is we did recover a weapon at the scene, and we had the Michigan state police crime lab spend many hours processing that scene as well as some other pieces of evidence that we need to take a look at. So, I just want to say that the investigation has many, many more hours and much more in front of it. We are not at all done with this investigation. And so as we work with our city partners, the city detective involved in this right from the beginning, the fire detective, the resources from all these agencies and their expertise including the FBI and we'll continue to move forward in that.
What I'd like to do is introduce you to director Paul Lauria from the city police. When our unified command came together, I think Director Lauria can provide some information to you in regards to how we proceeded and what we tried to do to keep folks safe.
PAUL LAURIA, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY, MT. PLEASANT POLICE DEPARTMENT: Hello, thanks. On behalf of the city of Mt. Pleasant, I appreciate all of you coming and for the information, again, that you put out to help us bring this tragic situation to a peaceful end with the apprehension of the suspect.
Once the suspect left campus and went into the city's jurisdiction, we had responding officers immediately set up a perimeter. That perimeter was in the neighborhood and area along the railroad tracks and Millpond Park. Once that was completed, the unified command with all the responding agencies and resources was put into place at a command center where we started coming up with a plan on how we were going to go and search for the suspect.
At that same time, we got a hold of Mt. Pleasant public schools and asked them to do a lock down due to the concern of the suspect still being at large. We put out, obviously, social media posts about it, alerting our community along with utilizing the code red system that we use in emergency situations.
Once all the incoming resources were coordinated, and based on some video evidence in the last location where Mr. Davis was seen, a methodical, slow, and thorough search of Millpond Park took place by emergency services teams from Isabella County and the Michigan state police.
As the incident extended and it got around to the dismissal time of schools, we had to take that into consideration. A plan was talked about with Mt. Pleasant superintendent Jen Verliger which allowed the students, or which allowed parents to come pick up with the students with the presence of police officers stationed at the schools in the affected area of the search.
As this continue under to td into the evening hours we regrouped. Decided that we were going to no longer hold the perimeter, but put in rotating, rolling patrols in the affected area with the use of -- or from personnel from the Michigan state police, and then shortly after midnight we received the tip from the train company.
On behalf of the city of Mt. Pleasant and our community, our condolences go out, again, to the Davis family. As the director of public safety, our community is trying to get back to normal. I ask that everybody respect that. We are safe. This threat of this that existed during this incident, the suspect has been apprehended. Right now, I'll turn it over to Mt. Pleasant city mayor --
PAUL: All right, you've been listening to authorities there in Mt. Pleasant as they discuss what has happened in this situation at CMU yesterday where the man you see on the screen there, James Eric Davis Jr., 19-years-old, allegedly killed his parents in the dorm room that he was staying at. We're going to take you back there, but we'll continue to listen to this. Do stay close, we have more in a moment.
SAVIDGE: Kristina Fitzpatrick is here with the story of an athlete making an impact ahead of next week's Paralympic Games.
KRISTINA FITZPATRICK: That's right, good morning. An inspirational story for everybody this morning. Your Difference Makers is presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150. Mike Schultz was a top snowmobiler racer, but a freak accident left him unsure if he would compete again. Mike soon realized he would need to go beyond what he thought possible, and now he is determined to help others reclaim their lives in the world of adaptive sports.
MIKE SCHULTZ: December 13th, 2008. During a competition in northern Michigan I was thrown from my snowmobile and I had a compound fracture of my left knee. I ended up having to have my leg amputated about three inches above the knee. I thought my competitive days were gone. I learned to walk, but I need to go beyond that.
About three months after my injury, I had my sights set on racing motocross at the summer X-Games, and in order to do that I had developed the prosthetic equipment to get me back in action.
Here we are several years later on the top of my game on the U.S. Paralympic snowboard and I'm going to be competing at the Paralympics. I don't ever want to give up. I look at life as a challenge, and whether it's solving a problem of a prosthetic leg to get back in action or training my butt off to achieve this goal as a Paralympic athlete, my ultimate goal is definitely to bring home a gold or two, but really goes deep is seeing the reaction on people's faces when I help them do something that they thought was out of reach, helping them get back into an activity they thought was lost because of equipment that I've developed. That is way more powerful and rewarding for me.
FITZPATRICK: That is certainly another level of strength. The Paralympics kick off Thursday and Mike will be competing as part of team USA in snowboard cross and banked slalom snowboarding.
PAUL: And good luck to him. Kristina, thank you so much.
FITZPATRICK: Thank you, guys.
PAUL: We love spending our Saturday morning with you. Thank you for being here. We hope you make good memories today.
SAVIDGE: There is much more ahead in the next hour of CNN's Newsroom right after this quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome. It's 11:00 on east coast. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Welcome this Saturday. We begin with the White House in the midst of relentless chaos. President Trump is spending the day away from Washington at his Florida golf course today.