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Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty; Pence, Oprah Stump for Georgia Governor Candidates; Questions Swirling over Mysterious Deaths of Sisters; Employees Protest How Google Handled Sexual Misconduct Scandals. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired November 1, 2018 - 10:30   ET



JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He had a red jumpsuit on. He was shackled at his legs, shackled at his waist. He had his handcuffs on. He sort of walked like this, but of course, he was shackled. But he walked well. There was a very large bandage on his left upper arm, almost the entire area of his left arm. And it appeared as though there was still a fresh wound or medication underneath it because I saw some oozing through the bandage. He came. Actually, they undid his handcuffs before he sat down. He nodded.

I looked straight at him as he walked in. So I got the front facial shot, and I don't know what he was thinking inside, but outwardly, the way I interpreted the look on his face, I felt it was a smug look. He sat down in the chair, immediately began to talk to both of his attorneys. Acknowledged what they were saying to him, nodded to them as he greeted them, and then the proceeding began.

And the magistrate judge then asked a couple of the same questions. Are you in fact by name the defendant? Yes, the answer. Are you aware? Have you been given a copy of the indictment? Yes, he answered. And then the judge turned to the assistant U.S. attorney, saying shall we now arraign him? Will there be a reading of the indictment?

So the female U.S. assistant attorney stood and faced the defendant who was seated and read out the various groups of charges. 44 charges in all, but read the groups. The defendant intently turned his body, looked at her. There was not a smug look on his face. He listened to the charges, nodding after every group of charges had been read, and then the male assistant U.S. attorney stood up to read the penalties, the possible penalties including death.

And the defendant nodded, nodded, and when the judge asked if he was aware of all the possible penalties, it was a different nod. It was like that. And then the judge said, as the prosecutor the trial length, three to four weeks will be the trial length. But if the U.S. attorney certified this as a death penalty case, it would be longer.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: What a moment, Jean Casarez. Doesn't look like the face of remorse. Does it?


SCIUTTO: That you witnessed in there, tough moment, touch moment for the city of Pittsburgh.

HARLOW: Jean, thank you for being there, for your reporting throughout.

SCIUTTO: Vice President Mike Pence and Oprah are both in the state of Georgia today, stumping for opposing candidates for governor there, major star power building even more momentum just days before the midterms. We are on the ground in Georgia.


[10:37:21] SCIUTTO: Some very big names are stumping right now in Georgia's candidates for governors, Vice President Mike Pence campaigning for Republican Brian Kemp, Oprah Winfrey rallying support for the Democrat, Stacey Abrams. These are live pictures outside of Oprah's event in Marietta, Georgia which is set to begin in just a few minutes, some long lines outside those doors there.

HARLOW: Shows you how important this race is, all that star power coming in. This comes one day after a federal judge blocked state and county election officials from rejecting absentee ballots under Georgia's exact match law. Under the current law, the state can reject ballots if voter signatures do not match exactly the ones they have on file. And the judge's order is giving voters a chance to fix the discrepancy on their ballots so that they will count on these absentee ballots.

Our Kaylee Hartung joins us now. She's there outside of the event for Oprah. Look, there has been a lot of back and forth over this. Stacey Abrams has said this exact match law targets women and African- Americans and it's wrong, but it's the law in Georgia. What can you tell us from there at this point?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Poppy, all of the energy and excitement and focus is on turning people out. At this point, we have seen more than 1.5 million ballots cast in this election, setting records for early voting numbers to this point in the state of Georgia.

And right now, I'll tell you, all you feel is excitement for what these candidates are bringing from their respective bases. That's what this race has been about. Energizing and motivating their respective bases, today for Stacey Abrams, she's doing that with the help of Oprah.

How do you try to upstage your opponent when he says that the sitting president is coming to the state on his behalf? First, you announce that former President Barack Obama is coming, and then you drop the big surprise that Oprah, this transcendent and inspirational figure will come to town on your behalf.

I'm told about 20 minutes after this announcement was made yesterday, tickets for this event sold out. As one woman in this line told me, she feels like this is an historic moment to see Oprah on stage with the woman who could be the first African-American female governor ever elected in this country. And so this line has formed, about 600 people will make their way into this auditorium. This, the first town hall of two that Oprah will hold today, but right now, Jim and Poppy, Oprah is knocking on doors in the Atlanta metro area, an important area for Stacey Abrams to turn out the vote, particularly from suburban women. I don't think she's given away any cars. But we are promised today that she will be sharing an uplifting and hopeful message to the people of Georgia.

[10:40:04] HARLOW: Can you imagine opening your door, like in your pajamas and Oprah is there?

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well -

HARLOW: There's that.

SCIUTTO: We should ask her Kaylee if she's going to run in 2020.



SCIUTTO: So a lot of speculation out there. Thanks very much.

CNN's Drew Griffin, he is outside the competing event in Dalton where Vice President Pence about to hold a campaign rally there. Tell us about the scene there.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they just opened up the doors. It's starting to fill in here. We expect the vice president to be here with Brian Kemp about 11:30 a.m. So it is starting to fill up here.

But Kaylee hit it on the head. These three campaign stops that the vice president has with Brian Kemp today are all about getting out the base. We have a razor thin projection here in Georgia. I think Kemp is up 1.4 percent, Jim and Poppy, in the real clear politics average poll. And this is not a race to find new voters. This is a race to get your voters out. So Oprah trying to help get out that white suburban women vote that Stacey Abrams needs.

Right now, Kemp coming to this most red part of a red state here in Dalton, Georgia, the northwest corner of the state, the carpet capital of Georgia. Just trying to get these Republicans energized and get out to vote because it does look like with these record turnout numbers, it is going to come down to every last vote. Jim?

SCIUTTO: And Kemp, dropping out of a debate there to campaign, perhaps a measure of that. Drew Griffin thanks very much.

HARLOW: Thank you.

In just -- this also just in. We've just learned the president is adding another event to his schedule today. Let's go to Abby Phillip at the White House. Abby, look, this is you know off the heels of that very controversial immigration ad. ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. Last week, we reported that the White House was considering an immigration speech this week, days before the midterm elections, and CNN is now learning according to multiple sources that President Trump is planning on giving some remarks on immigration later this afternoon around 4:00 p.m. on the issue of immigration. This is just before he leaves for campaign rally in Missouri.

And our sources tell us he's going to be addressing this issue of asylum. This has been central to how he's framed the problem of migrants coming up from Central America. The administration is said to be considering ways to limit how migrants can claim asylum as they approach the U.S. border. So Poppy, we're not sure exactly what President Trump will say, but it's fair to say as he's going into this final stretch, the White House is refocusing as much attention as they can on this issue of immigration -- just hours before President Trump hits the trail again. Poppy and Jim?

HARLOW: Abby, thank you. That's happening this afternoon.

Questions this morning, serious questions about the mysterious death of two sisters here in New York, these two women, their bodies found duct taped together along the banks of the Hudson River, hundreds of miles from their home in Virginia, two Saudi girls. What we have learned ahead.


[10:47:27] HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. We have new disturbing details this morning about the death of two Saudi sisters found bound together with duct tape on the banks of the Hudson River last week.

SCIUTTO: This is Just a horrible story there, their young faces there. Law enforcement official telling CNN that authorities have so far not found any evidence to suggest foul play or that this was a potential honor killing.

CNN's Athena Jones, she has been digging into the details of the case. So what are you learning here and why are they now leaning away from any possibility of foul play?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well this is interesting. We have been hearing from the New York City detectives that they have been making significant progress in the case. They traveled down to Virginia to interview immediate family members and others.

And now, we're learning that NYPD investigators believe this to be a suicide at this time. But they're still actively investigating the circumstances. We know that there were no signs of trauma to the bodies. Water was found in their lungs which suggest to investigators they were alive when they entered the water. So, we'll get more details about all of the cause of death from the medical examiner. That office is going to be doing an autopsy and toxicology reports and they're taking their time with it.

But as of right now, there's no known nexus to Saudi Arabia, but this law enforcement official speaking to my colleague, Mark Morales, said that through this investigation, through these interviews with the family and all, it's become evident that these sisters did not want to go back to Saudi Arabia.

Now, there is a question about this issue of asylum. "The New York Times" and others cited police has reported that the girls' mother was informed by the Saudi embassy in Washington that the girls had applied for asylum, but I spoke with a Saudi official who told me that while the Saudis are aware of reports that they may have applied for asylum, embassy officials have not communicated with the family about this matter, anything having to do with asylum and they're still looking into it.

HARLOW: What do we - I mean what do we know about these two girls, what they did here, what their family, you know - Do we know --

JONES: We know a little. We know that from the Saudi consulate here in New York, they have described them as students who were accompanying their brother in Washington. We know that the 16-year-old, Tala Farea, had been reported missing at the end of August, August 24th. And one thing investigators had been looking into was trying to piece what went on in those two months or so since she went missing. But we still don't know a whole lot when it comes to what led to this death. Right now, they think it's a suicide.

SCIUTTO: Just the saddest story. Athena Jones thanks very much for following it.

There are new details in the death of the notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger in a federal prison in West Virginia.

[10:50:00] HARLOW: According to law enforcement, the attackers tried to cut out his tongue, apparently a popular punishment in the mob boss crime world for people who snitch. Let's go to Jason Carroll. He is here with more. Not an appetizing story for, you know 10:00 a.m., but very disturbing. What can you tell us?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very much so, Poppy. So many movies have been made about Whitey Bulger. I mean if you were squeamish, this would be the part where you were turn away, but law enforcement sources telling CNN that the 89-year-old was beaten so badly that he was practically beaten beyond recognition. And as you say, those who attacked him tried to cut out his tongue. Again, that is in the world of the mob world, this is retribution for if you will, you know, snitching on someone else.

And you do know that Whitey Bulger, for several years, was an FBI informant. His body was found on Tuesday. This, after he failed to emerge from his cell for breakfast. Security guards went in there. They found that his body was wrapped in a blanket. There was blood all over the floor.

"The New York Times" identifying one responsible for his death as Fotios, a Mafia hitman for Massachusetts, Whitey Bulger, as you know was also for Massachusetts. "The Times" saying Geas was moved to solitary confinement after the killing. Again, in the world of organized crime, as you say, to cut out one's tongue is for those people who snitch. And again, Whitey Bulger was for many, many years an FBI informant. There are many questions though about, Poppy and Jim, why someone like this man, a high-profile former mobster was allowed to be in gen pop or the general population. So these are going to be some of the questions that a lot of folks are going to have going forward.

HARLOW: That's what I was thinking. He wasn't by himself. He wasn't isolated or protected clearly.

SCIUTTO: How does that happen in a prison? Fellow prisoners kill you in your cell and the cops don't discover it until the next day.

HARLOW: Jason thanks very much.

Coming up for us, around the world, employees at Google walking out, staging big protest after a stunning and disturbing report about how they handled misconduct and harassment allegations.


[10:56:42] HARLOW: All right. So today around the world, employees of Google from London to Berlin to Tokyo, are staging walkouts. They're protesting how their company has dealt with sexual harassment allegations.

SCIUTTO: This outcry follows a "New York Times" report detailing how the company stayed silent about allegations against three Google executives, including Android creator Andy Rubin who left the company in 2014 with a reported $90 million exit package.

CNN business correspondent Hadas Gold is live at Google's headquarters in London. Hadas, what do these employees say and were they afraid of some sort of penalty for participating?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, Poppy, a few hours ago at 11:00 a.m., there was a crowd, I would say about 50 Google employees who walked out of the headquarters behind me. And they said that there were many, many more inside who were gathered in one of their largest meeting rooms as part of this walkout, as you know, that this is happening across the world at 11:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. in each of these time zones. And we've seen some images from around the world, what look like a ton of employees who have walked out.

And also that they're walking out in response to that harrowing really "New York Times" article about exactly what you said, these alleged payouts of some of these executives who were accused of alleged sexual harassment and then were still giving these giant golden parachutes. And they said what they want is transparency and accountability.

They want Google to do an entire sexual harassment report to explain how many times somebody has been accused of sexual harassment, what was done, had anybody left because of it? They want more. They want more information. And they were, some of them were a little bit apprehensive of speaking to the media and others were not. We actually spoke to one developer who talked to us about why he was walking out. Take a listen.


SAM DUTTON, DEVELOPER ADVOCATE AT GOOGLE: There's a walkout from some members of staff, and we're walking out in support of those who have been harassed anywhere in the workplace. And to insure that perpetrators are not rewarded and are not protected.


GOLD: So while they felt support from management for walking out and they felt OK talking to the press, the real question is what happens next. What does Google do next? Poppy, Jim?

HARLOW: I mean that last payment to Andy Rubin of that $90 million chunk is still going out this month. If this payment has still been going on and no one knew about these allegations. That's a big issue here. Do the employees feel like Google is - I mean not make it right now, but you know better report this stuff?

GOLD: Right. Well, I mean, they did say that they felt support from management that they could participate in this walkout and in a statement from Google's COO, Sundar Pichai. He wrote, "We let Googlers know that we're aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that employees will have the support they need if they participate."

But as another female employee actually who told me, she said that the statement from the CEO is great, but it's a question of what actually happens down on the ground. What happens in all of these individual offices around the world, and that's what these employees are looking for.

HARLOW: Yes, absolutely. What is the net result of this in total? Hadas thanks for the great reporting. Thank you for being there. We'll keep you posted on the story.

Thank you all for joining us today. We'll see you tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "At This Hour" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.