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Local Leaders Say Inappropriate for Trump to Visit Pittsburgh Until Next Week; Officials and Congress People Will Not Appear with Trump in Pittsburgh; Notorious Gangster Whitey Bulger Killed in Prison; Pittsburgh Islamic Community Offers to Support Synagogue. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired October 30, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there, I'm Brooke Baldwin, along with Anderson Cooper there in Pittsburgh. You're watching CNN's special live coverage as the first funerals for those take place on the deadliest attack on Jewish people in America and the lines to pay respects are so long for brothers David and Cecil Rosenthal and Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, but as mourners unite in their grief and solidarity, the city of Pittsburgh is divided over whether President Trump should be visiting today.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: At this hour President Trump will depart Washington to drive here later this afternoon. He will be joined by Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, both of whom are of course Jewish. The First Lady will be the President. The President will not be with any of these congressional leaders who have declined a White House invitation to Pittsburgh, plus the question is who will meet with the president when he gets here. That's not exactly clear. The Pittsburgh mayor told me last night he wants to focus on the funerals, which will require extra police security sadly. Listen to what a county leader said earlier to CNN's Miguel Marquez, Rich Fitzgerald has lived in this Squirrel Hill neighborhood for 35 years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)'s
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is this the appropriate time for the President to come?
RICH FITZGERALD, RESIDENT OF SQUIRREL HILL NEIGHBORHOOD: No, it really isn't. In fact, I'm on my way to one of the first funerals for the Rosenthal brothers. I think in a week or two maybe we can sit down and talk about this, but today and the next few days is really a time for us to try to heal. And I think, you know, for myself, for the mayor and the governor and other elected officials who are from here, it's about to be with the family in the community. We're trying to heal right now. Yes, I think a later time would be better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now is CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Is there any word on what the President will be doing when he gets to Pittsburgh? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: MOST of it is still a
pretty big question mark here, Anderson. The White House hasn't shed any light on what exactly the President's schedule is going to be. He is expected to go to the hospital nearby at one point close, not far from the synagogue behind me now, to meet with some of the officers who were injured Saturday and with the first responders. That is what President Trump has expressed interest in doing. We are seeing an increasing number of officials say they don't want to meet with President Trump, not just national figures who have declined his invitation, but the Pittsburgh mayor explicitly saying that the President should not come right now. In the White House's eyes, they don't know when else he would come.
They thought about maybe a Wednesday or Thursday visit for the President a little bit later on but, Anderson, the President's schedule is jam packed with campaign rallies for the next few days leading up to the midterm elections. The White House thought it would be bad optics to have the President come here, have a trip where people are mourning and then go to one of those politically charged rallies. They say he believed if they did delay it, he would be criticized for that. Officials are trying to plan what exactly the President is going to do. One big question is whether or not the President is going to visit the synagogue behind me. He's going to be on the ground for about four hours when he arrives here.
COOPER: All right, we'll see. Kaitlan Collins, still a lot to be determined. As Kaitlan mentioned one person who welcomes President Trump's presence here, the rabbi of the Tree of Life Synagogue, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers says while he is for the president coming, he is resoundingly against any words of division or hate from any political leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RABBI JEFFREY MYERS, TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE: I said to our elected leaders that you're our leaders, we turn to you. You're the models for our country. When you speak words of hate, when you speak ill of the other candidate, any words of hate, Americans listen to you. They get their instructions from you. When you speak words of hate, you say to them this is OK, you can do it as well. So, I turn to all of our elected leaders because hate doesn't know a political party. Hate is not blue. Hate is no red. Hate is not purple. Hate is in all. I turn to them to say tone down the hate, speak words of love, speak words of decency and of respect. When that message comes loud and clear, Americans will hear that and we can begin to change the tenor of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:05:00] COOPER: I want to focus on the important things happening on the ground. Joining me is a psychologist who has been helping family and synagogue members, figuring out what services can be available to survivors. Jordan, first of all, just in terms of what the needs of the survivors, of the community are, how are you trying to respond? JORDAN GOLIN, COUNSELING AND MEETING WITH FAMILIES: Well,
unfortunately, Anderson, we're not the only community to ever experience violence because of hate so we're doing the best that we can to provide support to the members of our community. We're going into the Jewish day schools and providing teachers and staff with support so they can help the kids suffering, providing was information to parents so they can learn to talk to their kids in a developmentally appropriate way about what's happening. I'm hearing from co-workers and colleagues about children in squirrel hill afraid to go to school, afraid to go to the JCC and afraid to have their parents separate from them. The JCC --
COOPER: The Jewish community center.
GOLIN: They've been incredible offering space to survivors, family members, to anyone who needs some support. We have drop-in hours staffed by professional clinicians who have experience managing trauma so if they have someone they want to talk to or if they want to talk to each other, there's a safe place where they can do that.
COOPER: You and I were talking about this before and it's been said before, this literally is Mr. Rogers' neighborhood. This is where Fred Rogers actually lived and it is kind of a picture-perfect neighborhood that you would never expect this kind of hate, this kind of violence to rear its head here.
GOLIN: Pittsburgh is an amazing community. My wife and I moved here 25 years ago. It's a great place to raise kids, great community, friend live people. People who know how to get together and come together in good times and in bad times and people who take Fred Rogers' words very seriously. I've heard this from across the country every time there is a horrible event like this, that people believe it could never happen here. Just to echo that, we really never believed it would happen in this neighborhood. One of the important things your organization does is you help resettle refugees. That's obviously something which, the killer, whose name we're not saying, hated and despised about certain groups, one of the groups of which you work with.
COOPER: For you that work is something that people in Pittsburgh have embraced and that work is going to continue.
GOLIN: We are absolutely going to continue. Jewish community family services, we were founded in 1937 to help Jews escaping from eastern Europe, from the holocaust. We've helped refugees come here from everything from the communist Soviet Union back in the 70s. Now we resettle refugees from all over the work, from Iraq, some Somalis, everyone all over the world fearing persecution. We believe that bringing immigrants and refugees to this country is an American tradition, it's what our country was founded on. It's something that our organization was founded on. Refugees help to revitalize -- economically revitalize communities. Most of the major cities in America that have thrived have done some because of immigrants and refugees. Refugees and immigrants bring cultural diversity to communities. They bring wonderful traditions, they bring language, they bring food, they really help our community thrive. COOPER: And you've seen them also importantly embrace the person
GOLIN: Absolutely. They are tax-paying citizens, they start community organization, they are coaching soccer teams, everything Americans born here are doing, they're doing right here in Pittsburgh.
[14:10:00] COOPER: Thank you. There's a lot here happening on the ground, Brooke, as you were talking about. Funerals have begun today, three funerals, two brothers and also a doctor, who we're going to talk to some folks who knew all three men a little bit later on. Let's go back to you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: We'll look forward to those interviews and remembering those incredible people in Pittsburgh. Breaking news, infamous mobster, Whitey Bulger, who is serving not just one but two life sentences for his involvement in 11 murders, has been killed in federal prison. We have those details ahead.
Also, critics of the President are calling it a racially loaded attack, Trump labelling the Democratic candidate for governor in Florida a, quote, "stone cold thief." Andrew Gilliam is responding, is this all part of the Presidential playbook a week out from mid terms?
[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: We're back, you're watching CNN. Here's the breaking news. Notorious and much feared Boston gangster and FBI informant Whitey Bulger was killed this morning in a maximum-security prison in West Virginia. Bulger, who had been serving two life sentences for his involvement in 11 murders plus a string of other crimes had only recently been transferred to this West Virginia federal facility. We'll speak with a U.S. Marshall coming up, who has plenty of stories about Bulger. Stand by for that. I want to bring in -- we'll be right back.
[14:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: All right, so here's the breaking news. As we mentioned a second ago, whitey bulger killed this
All right, so here's the breaking news. As we mentioned a second ago, Whitey Bulger killed this morning in this maximum-security prison in West Virginia. According to reports, Bulger had only just yesterday been transferred to this facility in West Virginia. So, I have with me now former U.S. Marshall Art Roderick and Jason Carroll, who has been covering this for us today. You first, sir, what happened?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a lot of questions here, aren't they? Who is responsible? How exactly did it happen? We know when it happened. He was discovered at 8:20 a.m. this morning according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons. We just got a note where they gave us some details. They say that he was found unresponsive. They said life- saving measures were initiated immediately but they did not help this man. He did not die of natural causes. The big question is how did it happen? Who was responsible? Was it retribution for someone that he ratted out in the past? We do know it happened and he was discovered this morning at approximately 8:20 a.m. he was transferred from a prison in Florida to another facility in Oklahoma. This just happened. We do know he was serving two life sentences. For some folks who may not know very much about this man, this man lived a violent life. He had a violent history. Some may say even though he was 89 years old, not surprising that his life came to a violent end. But still a lot of questions about how this happened at a max security prison.
BALDWIN: Let's ask art. Art, the fact that he ends up in West Virginia and that night is killed. How can that happen?
ART RODERICK, FORMER U.S. MARSHALL: It's kind of unusual. But the Oklahoma City facility is usually the transfer point the Bureau of Prisons uses to move inmates around the country. It's not unusual he was being transferred. What is unusual, and I've heard some information, but usually when you go to a new facility, for about five to seven days you're in segregation until they can classify you, take a look at your background. Obviously, Whitey's a well-known individual. But the word I'm getting is he opted to go into general population, and apparently that's where this incident occurred that he was killed. And it really is sort of the end of an era here. Whitey was one of the last big mob bosses. He was 89 years old, I heard his health was failing. But it really is the end of an era.
BALDWIN: So, your paths also crossed several life chapters ago, right, when he was at Alcatraz and there was a big Alcatraz escape, can you tell me a Whitey Bulger story?
RODERICK: Yes. The big escape from Alcatraz where Frank Morris and the two Anglin brothers escaped in June of 1962 and Whitey was in the facility, he got there in 1961. I believe he was there until it closed in March 1963. I started investigating the Alcatraz escape case in 1989, it was the first lead I covered on that particular case and Whitey was in that familiar and was familiar with both Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers. He was part of the controversial program, MK Ultra program that he volunteered to take LSD and other psychedelic drugs the government was testing at the time. Whitey has had quite a colorful life. He also implicated in the Gardner Art Museum heist and other homicides besides the 11 that he was convicted of.
BALDWIN: I just remember the day -- I want to say it broke on our show, after the 16 years he was on the run, found him living and hiding in plain sight, not far from the beach in Santa Monica.
[14:25:00] CARROLL: Everything breaks on your show.
BALDWIN: Welcome to the 2:00 to 4:00 slot, Jason Carroll. Jason, thank you very much and Art Roderick, thank you as well. Meantime, one Islamic leader in Pittsburgh gives a moving speech after the massacre in Pittsburgh. He'll join Anderson along with the local rabbi. Also, we'll hear from one couple who went to the courtroom to stare down the suspect in that synagogue shooting. Hear what they say as President Trump gets ready to leave for the city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WASI MOHAMED, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ISLAMIC CENTER OF PITTSBURGH: We just want to know what you need. If it's more money, let us know.
If it's people outside your next service protecting you, let us know, we'll be there. [applause] If you need organizers on the ground, we'll provide them. If you need anything at all, food for the families, if you just need somebody to come to the grocery store because you don't feel safe in the city, we'll be there and I'm sure everybody in the room would say the same thing. We're here for the community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:30:00] COOPER: That was Wasi Mohamed the Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh speaking out in support and offering assistance to the Tree of Life Synagogue. That inspirational moment happened during a vigil in which interfaith religious leaders gathered to honor the victims and to show unity. The Pittsburgh Muslim community have backed up those offers for help. An online crowdfunding site called Muslim Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue has raised more than $190,000 so far to help families affected by the shooting.