Return to Transcripts main page


Gas Product Leaking into Houston Ship Channel; Democrats Ramp Up Legal Battle to Lift Lid on Trump's Taxes; Interview with Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) Texas; Rudy Giuliani Makes U-Turn on Ukraine Trip; U.S-China Trade Talks End with No Deal; Colorado School Shooting. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 11, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:09] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Good morning. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with this breaking news. The state of Louisiana under a state of emergency as intense flooding continues to hammer the south, some areas are submerged and the region could see another half foot of rain today.

Right now more than 20 million people face flash flood threats across the Gulf Coast and millions more are bracing for severe storms across the country.

In Texas, clean up is under way following a massive barge collision in the Houston ship channel. According to Coast Guard a gas product is leaking into the water after an oil tanker and a tug pushing two barges hit each other. One barge capsized and the other was significantly damaged.

At any moment officials will provide an update on the incident.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live for us in Houston. So Ed -- at this point, do you have any indication of how much this gas product has leaked into the channel?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were told in the initial hours after all of this happened that it was some 25,000 barrels of this gasoline blend stock is the way it's been described -- obviously toxic to marine life there in that Houston ship channel.

Emergency crews have deployed about 1,600 feet of boom to try to contain that spill inside that area around the barge. So a great deal of concern.

They've also urged residents to stay away from the coast line where other boom has been deployed as well. There is around-the-clock air monitoring testing that continues. And we're told that that will continue and that some residents had been smelling some gas fume smell on the coastline. But according to officials, the air monitoring tests so far have not revealed anything of great concern, but that testing continues. It is dramatic pictures, Fredricka -- when you look at what happened there yesterday afternoon in the ship channel. These two vessels collided. One of these barges almost sliced in half, which obviously sent all of that fuel into the water there so efforts to clean all of that up continues as we await further updates on how all of this is unfolding -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Ed Lavandera -- keep us posted. We'll check back with you there out of Houston.

All right. Now to the escalating fight over President Trump's tax returns. The Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal is issuing subpoenas to the IRS and Treasury Department demanding the last six years of the President's taxes.

The subpoenas give the IRS and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin until May 17th to hand over Trump's financial documents.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House for us. So Jeremy -- what is the President and his administration saying about these latest subpoenas?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, Fredricka -- we've heard from a Treasury Department spokesperson confirming that the Department received the subpoenas from this committee, but no comment beyond that at this point either from Secretary Mnuchin, the IRS commissioner, or the President.

But we can expect what will happen here. And that is, that the administration likely will not comply with these subpoenas. They have made very clear so far that their position is that they cannot furnish these tax return documents saying that they have a very different interpretation of this statute that says that the Treasury Department shall furnish these tax returns upon the committee chairman's request.

But just keep in mind this has been an escalating situation over the last month or so since Chairman Neal initially requested these tax return documents from the Treasury Department and the IRS. And we have seen the administration deny these requests over time.

And so this is now headed where we expected it to all along, and that is to the federal courts, which will happen after the subpoena as we expected will not be complied with by this administration.

And it is all part of a broader pattern of this administration denying subpoena requests. We saw the Attorney General Bill Barr held in contempt by the House committee on that matter. And so this administration is continuing to deny the House Democratic request for oversight and other documents that we've seen in the last several weeks.

WHITFIELD: And, Jeremy -- the President has been particularly busy on Twitter. He retweeted more than 60 tweets in the span of an hour this morning, mostly focused on the subpoena of his son Don, Jr. So what can you tell us about either his worry or preoccupation -- which is it? DIAMOND: That's right. Well, it was 62 retweets in the span of just

under 40 minutes. And as you mentioned, a lot of those tweets focused on Donald Trump, Jr. and the subpoena that he was issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which as we should remind viewers is run by a Republican Senator Richard Burr.

[11:05:06] And many of the tweets of the President re-tweeted were indeed criticism of that Republican Senator that the President was echoing. We know that he has been unnerved by this committee subpoena to Don, Jr. and so we're seeing that now flow into the President's Twitter feed this morning.

For now though, the President is at his golf course, and we haven't seen any tweets recently -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Diamond -- keep us updated. Thank you so much.

All right. Let's talk more about all of this. With me now is Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas. He's a member of the House Ways and Means Committee that just subpoenaed the President's tax returns. Congressman -- good to see you.

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D), TEXAS: Good morning.

WHITFIELD: All right. So far, the White House pretty defiant about these document requests. The Department of Treasury as well. Do you think these subpoenas will force the IRS and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to turn over these tax returns? He'd already testified no way, it's not going to happen.

DOGGETT: Yes. And I take them at their word. I'm not staying up late to await the arrival of the truck with the tax returns.

You know, this is as you just noted, part of a broader pattern. This struggle, the conflict over access to information is really about power, whether the Congress will have the power to hold this administration accountable.

The President so defiant -- no testimony, no documents of any kind, clearly fears what the truth might show. And to the extent that Republicans remain silent and empower him to do this, and Democrats timid he will continue to grab more and more power and take us on the road to tyranny.

WHITFIELD: And so Congressman -- the President has called this harassment. But remind people why the House Ways and Means Committee is so laser-focused on getting these tax returns.


WHITFIELD: What is the bottom line that your committee is in search of?

DOGGETT: There are so many reasons. One of the questions that we've asked is, is the President under audit? Has he ever been under audit? Has the audit been completed since that was his excuse at one point for this?

WHITFIELD: But more than that, you want to discover what?

DOGGETT: We want know whether this audit function is working because we know that under President Nixon, it did not work and that while the IRS praised the President at that time, it turned out he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional taxes.

But you know, I think we saw another reason this week when the "New York Times" in great investigative reporting showed that Donald Trump was not just a loser but the biggest loser of any taxpayer individually in America at one point.

His response was that dodging taxes was just sport, to use his words, not unlike his comment a couple of years ago that he was smart because he hadn't paid taxes.

Our tax system relies on our having confidence that everyone is being treated fairly. And when the most powerful person in our country encourages tax cheating and tax dodging and says it's smart, it really undermines our entire system.

WHITFIELD: But when that -- sorry, go ahead.

DOGGETT: Yes. I was just going to add that beyond that, there is a big question. After he stopped the problems he had at the times disclosed, who funded him after his father bailed him out? The Saudis? The Russians? A foreign bank gave him a loan? We need to know more about how current policies are influenced by the sources of his income, what debts he had, what interest he owed. Those kind of questions come into play as well whether these special provisions in the tax laws that he endorsed were designed mostly to enrich him and his family as appears to have been the case.

WHITFIELD: So thus far at least one deadline, you know, came and went and now there's a May 17th deadline. If the Treasury Department/IRS does not comply, what recourse does House Ways and Means have?

DOGGETT: Well, we need to hold the Treasury Secretary and the Internal Revenue Service commissioner in contempt and proceed to court to enforce that contempt. We also have something called the power of inherent contempt in which the Congress can protect its authority by assigning or perhaps restraining someone who's in contempt.

And I'm in favor of using that inherent contempt power. It's not something we've had to use in a long time but we've never had a president like Donald Trump who so abuses and shows such contempt for our constitution and our system of checks and balances that preserves our democracy.

[11:09:54] WHITFIELD: But then going through the channels of the courts, that means it could take years and, you know, running out the clock seems to be exactly what, you know, this administration might be trying to do.

And so how do you see it would be beneficial to House Ways and Means if, you know, contempt, going through the court system could take years?

DOGGETT: You are so right because their whole strategy is to run out the clock, to hide the truth from the American people for as long as they possibly can.

That's not only the tax returns, but trying to block Bob Mueller's testimony, trying to block the President's last attorney at the White House from testifying, and not giving any documents.

It is true that going to court to enforce civil contempt could take months, years. We don't have that much time. That's why I think in addition we should consider the power of inherent contempt -- an old doctrine that allows the Congress itself to issue a summons, an arrest warrant to an official and demand that they appear at a congressional hearing, be subject to fines, to jail time.

I think we ought to explore contracting with area correctional institutions, provide some additional support for our sergeant-at-arms so the White House will get the message that we're serious, that we're not going to be delayed for the rest of this term of Congress. We want action, we want the truth and the whole truth.

WHITFIELD: Yes. The likelihood of that, however?

DOGGETT: Well, I think it's still possible. It is a bold move, but if all else is not working, we need to do something that will get us to the truth. Certainly we haven't ruled out the possibility of impeachment if this stonewall is preserved but I think the contempt power needs to be used first.

WHITFIELD: All right. Congressman Lloyd Doggett --

DOGGETT: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: -- of Texas. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

All right. Still ahead -- a sudden about-face from Rudy Giuliani after he vowed to ask a foreign country to investigate former vice president Joe Biden to help President Trump win the 2020 election. This as Trump, in a new interview says it would be appropriate, his word, for him to have the U.S. Attorney General investigate the Biden family. Is the President opening himself up to more legal scrutiny?


WHITFIELD: Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani turned heads when he announced a trip to Ukraine to press for an investigation into Joe Biden. And he then defended the decision. Well now, it looks like Giuliani is not going.

Here's what Giuliani told Fox News.


RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY: Well, I've decided, Shannon, I'm not going to go to the Ukraine. SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You're not going to go.

GIULIANI: I'm not going to go because I think I'm walking into a group of people that are enemies of the President, in some cases enemies of the United States. And in one case, an already convicted person who has been found to be involved in assisting the Democrats with the 2016 election --


WHITFIELD: Ok. So it's not clear who Giuliani is referring to. His announcement however does come just hours after President Trump told Politico that he planned to speak with Giuliani about that trip to Ukraine.

Joining me right now CNN political commentator and "Washington Post" assistant editor David Swerdlick; and former senate judiciary staffer and Brennan Center for Justice Fellow Victoria. Good to see both of you.


All right. So David -- you first.

So the trip is off but you know, even though it's off, was this sort of another Russia if you're listening kind of signal but this time involving Ukraine?

SWERDLICK: Good morning -- Fred. I'm not exactly sure what it is. But the fact that the trip is off is sort of almost beside the point, right? If you look at the way that Rudy Giuliani approached this and as you noted this is the President's personal lawyer, not someone associated with the White House or the Justice Department going to sort of drum up an investigation.

He's gotten what he wanted or needed out of this already. He's gotten pickup in the New York Times. This is now being discussed by us here on CNN.

And so now, President Trump in subsequent interviews can kind of go out and talk about it because it's in the blood stream. Whether or not there's anything to this potential investigation of ties between a trip Vice President Biden took to Ukraine and what Hunter Biden was doing with his business interest in Ukraine, it matters less than the fact that now there's a new thread in the whole narrative of where the Russian investigation start and more convolution of about who is on which side with respect to the Ukrainians and Russians.

And that, I think, works to the benefit of the administration as they want to murky the waters as far as, you know, what's going on here with Russia.

WHITFIELD: And so Victoria -- do you see this benefitting the Trump administration or do you see it potentially backfiring especially when people look a little further into, you know, Hunter's involvement with this Ukraine energy company and Joe Biden apparently back in the day even trying to intensify investigations of what was going on in Ukraine while at the same time trying to protect his son?

VICTORIA BASSETTI, FELLOW, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: Yes, I think this does definitely benefit the Trump administration. I think what's going on is they've thrown up a lot of dirt, a lot of dust --


BASSETTI: -- and they're kind of create this whole narrative and conversation about something, which you know, is not even ripe for discussion yet. We don't know the facts, we don't know entirely what's going on. But they've managed to get coverage in the "New York Times". They managed to get, you know, coverage across all of the media about, you know, muddying up and tarring up Biden and his son.

And in the meantime what they're doing is they're using the power of 10,000 lawyers at the Department of Justice and the power of the presidency to essentially attack a political enemy and to use the power of the Department of Justice and the power of the federal government for those ends.

WHITFIELD: And David -- I mean it's extraordinary because we're talking about on the heels of an investigation stemming from the meddling of a foreign adversary, Russia, into the U.S. elections --


WHITFIELD: -- and now you hear the personal attorney of the President talking about, you know, Ukraine and potential meddling in the election so as to benefit the President and the President telling Politico that he thinks it would be ok for his attorney general now to investigate Joe Biden who, as Victoria just underscored, would be, you know, a potential opponent, you know, for his --

[11:20:00] SWERDLICK: Right.

WHITFIELD: -- incumbency. So this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And remember, it was Senator Kamala Harris who probed the attorney general about any kind of potential investigations. Listen.


SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone, yes or no please, sir.

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The President or anybody else.

HARRIS: Seems you would remember something like that and be able to tell us.

BARR: Yes. But I'm trying to grapple with the word "suggest". I mean there have been discussions of matters out there that they've not asked me to open an investigation.


WHITFIELD: So David -- you know, would this exemplify any kind of like overreach, some sort of violation?

SWERDLICK: OK. So Fred -- I think to be clear from that clip which we've all seen now a bunch of times, I don't think you can necessarily know which investigations or potential investigation that the Attorney General thought he was being asked about.

But the problem with that whole exchange is that Attorney General Barr, a very smart lawyer, the head of the Justice Department, you know, sitting there saying like, oh, Senator I'm not sure what you mean by the word "suggest" really was disingenuous, I thought.

Look, I agree with what Victoria was saying a moment ago about how everything is -- the waters are being muddied up. That doesn't mean that Hunter Biden or Vice President Biden or anybody in the United States is exempt from being looked into.

And if there's an up and up investigation to look into anything that's what the Justice Department is there for. But I think Victoria made the point that, you know, it is a little strange that you have the President's again, personal lawyer Mayor Giuliani going out there or saying he was going to go out there to fish for this information that would then potentially be a Justice Department investigation is what seemed so murky, so muddy, especially when you have a situation where we don't really know all the underlying details.

WHITFIELD: And then Victoria, you know, this Mueller report -- you've got ten attempted obstruction examples in that report. And now, you know, at the end of this two-year investigation, the White House requesting Don McGahn, you know, to state that there was no obstruction. He refuses, you know, by way of a statement coming from his representation.

The House Judiciary Committee now wants to subpoena McGahn and if he doesn't show up then, you know, start the process of contempt.

So what could potentially contempt look like for a former White House counsel Don McGahn who's now a private citizen working for a law firm?

BASSETTI: Right. It's not a pretty look. No lawyer, especially not a former White House counsel, wants to be cited for contempt of Congress. What it is, is the long slow walk to court while all of this gets litigated out, the executive privilege claims, the variety of kind of in many cases flimsy or shabby legal (INAUDIBLE) that the Trump administration is trying to throw up to bar effective congressional oversight.

McGahn is going to be one, if not probably of many members of the Trump administration, or former members of the Trump administration who are going to be in the crosshairs of the Trump administration versus congressional oversight.

WHITFIELD: All right. Victoria Bassetti and David Swerdlick -- we'll leave it there for now.

SWERDLICK: Thanks -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much.


WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead -- the impasse. As the U.S. and China walk away from trade talks without a deal, we'll talk about why that could end up costing you more money.


WHITFIELD: All right. The U.S. is preparing to slap even more tariffs on China as the trade war escalates. The Trump administration is beginning the process of increasing tariffs on all remaining imports from China, about $300 billion worth.

China, meanwhile, says it's preparing to retaliate after duties on almost 6,000 products the U.S. imports from China went from 10 percent to 25 percent and it could end up costing the average family almost $800 more a year because China doesn't actually pay the tariffs. It's U.S. customers do.

Max Baucus is a former U.S. Ambassador to China under President Obama and is also a former Democratic senator from Montana. Good to see you.

So despite firing another salvo in this trade war, President Trump also said that there is no rush to finalize an agreement. So does China think that there's no rush?

MAX BAUCUS, FORER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Frankly, I think this is a historic development, one that's inevitable. That is China and the United States -- biggest (INAUDIBLE). At some point it's going to collide. I think it's happened this past weekend. That is, the United States is asking for way too much that China just could not give. And as a consequence of their (INAUDIBLE) it's a very tragic situation. I think these tariffs are going to last for some time.

And this is a major problem that we're facing. It's true as you said in your opening there that frankly these tariffs are not paid by the Chinese but paid by Americans by and large. I don't think that President Trump understands that. It's a tax on Americans more than it's a tax on Chinese.

This is a big problem we're facing here. It will take a lot of very smart people to figure out how to manage this relationship --

WHITFIELD: So you see no winners here. The President has been boasting that, you know, just wait. He's telling people to be patient. Just wait. You will see that this is the right move.

BAUCUS: I think that's a fool's errand. The Chinese have a bounce in their step. They think history is on their side. Frankly they think America's in decline. They think that the Trump administration -- the Chinese, friends of mine I talked to think that Americans are in more decline. They do not like it because they want to mend this relationship and (INAUDIBLE). But they do not like seeing a president they cannot trust who's so vocal at trying to hit them with a bazooka. That just fires up nationalism in China.

After that, I think, well the Chinese will just wait, wait until these tariffs kicks in. Then American people are really going to start feeling the pain in another year or two.

[11:30:01] WHITFIELD: Sounds like you're painting the picture that it's China's President Xi who has the leverage here.

BAUCUS: I think he's got a lot of leverage. The basic leverage is Chinese nationalism. China is a big country. China will not let itself be bullied by the United States. Don't forget these negotiations is almost all one way -- the United States is asking for everything. China is not asking for anything, the United States is.

When you're being ask to do something in a very loud boisterous way, after a while you start to dig your heels in. And the United States (INAUDIBLE) is not to give in. That's partly what's happening.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ambassador Max Baucus -- always good to see you. Thank you so much.

Baucus: Thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, new details in the disappearance of a missing four-year-old Texas girl, why her mother and police now have questions for the stepfather. But they can't find him.


WHITFIELD: New allegations have emerged in the disappearance of a four-year-old Texas girl, Maleah Davis. Now police say the stepfather is nowhere to be found and the girl's mother now says she has changed her mind and believes the child's stepfather shares some responsibility in her disappearance saying, quote, "I don't believe his story."

CNN's Nick Valencia has more.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Darion Vence is the last known person to have been with missing four-year-old Maleah Davis. But police say since the beginning his story has been full of holes.

[11:35:01] SGT. MARK HOLBROOK, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT? I realize there's a lot of blanks in that story but we're hoping the public can fill in the blanks.

VALENCIA: Vence, Maleah's stepfather told police he was on his way to the airport with Maleah and her one-year-old brother last Friday to pick up their mom. En route he says he heard a noise coming from the car so he got out to check if he had a flat tire. It's then he told police he was ambushed by three Hispanic men in a blue pickup truck.

HOLBROOK: One of them makes a comment saying that Maleah looks very nice, she looks very sweet. The other male hits Darion in the head. Darion loses consciousness.

VALENCIA: Vence says he and the two children were carjacked and abducted. He didn't fully regain consciousness he says until 6:00 p.m. the next day. When he woke up on the side of a highway more than 40 miles from the airport, his one-year-old son was with him, but four-year-old Maleah was nowhere to be found. It took him five hours to go to a hospital for his injuries and report Maleah missing.

BRITTANY BOWENS, MOTHER OF MALEAH DAVIS: I just want to find Maleah. I just want to find Maleah.

VALENCIA: Maleah's mother Brittany Bowens initially defended Vence against those who doubted his story. In a long post on social media. She pushed back against his critics.

But in the days that followed and as the search for the missing girl intensified, there were more questions. On Thursday, the car Vence was driving the night Maleah disappeared was spotted in a shopping center parking lot just a few miles from where he said he regained consciousness.

Maleah's mother said the discovery added to her suspicions about Vence. His story, she says, just doesn't add up.

Do you still believe Darion? Do you still believe his story?

BOWENS: No. No, I don't believe his story only because I've been out here every single day doing what I have to do as a mother. I've been trying. And he hasn't been by my side not one time.

He hasn't called me. I haven't heard from him since Monday. I don't know what's going on. And it's like if you're innocent, why can't you save yourself? Why aren't you out here defending yourself? I defended you in good faith.

VALENCIA: Police haven't been able to reach Vence since Monday.

DET. KEN FREGA, HOUSTON POLICE HOMICIDE: You think -- you would think that if, you know, your love is missing, then you would be coming forward and so -- he may have a legitimate reason. I haven't spoken with him.

VALENCIA: CNN has been unable to reach Vence and up until this point, he's not been considered a suspect by the Houston police department. For now their investigation is focusing on any clues they might be able to glean from the car he was driving on the night of the disappearance.

Nick Valencia, CNN -- Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: And still ahead, new questions over potential missed warning signs in that deadly Colorado school shooting after one of the suspects reportedly joked about killing his classmates.


WHITFIELD: The two suspects accused of opening fire at their school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado will appear in court next week. Police arrested 18-year-old Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Alec McKinney. They're accused of shooting and killing one student and hurting eight others.

Now questions are emerging about warning signs being missed after a former student at the STEM school said one of the school shooting suspects always joked about killing his classmates. The victim Kendrick Castillo died charging at one of the gunmen and is now being remembered as a hero.

His parents spoke to CNN's Chris Cuomo about their loss.


JOHN CASTILLO, FATHER OF KENDRICK CASTILLO: We have to create good people in lives and in society. I think that, you know, we can put bars on our windows and we can put cameras and alarms on things and we can try to shelter our children and we can do other things. But you know, evil is out there in the world, and it lives everywhere, but there's more good and there's more love than there is evil.

And that's really the message, I feel, you know that will celebrate my son, you know, our son.


WHITFIELD: Enormous strength and sadness coming from those parents, the Castillos.

CNN correspondent Scott McLean joins us now in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. So give us an idea of where this investigation is, how is the town, this community feeling.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. A lot of people are asking the question, you know, how this happened here and why these two suspects carried this out or allegedly carried this out since neither had really any criminal history, but one, the 18-year-old suspect, Devon Erickson did have a history of some pretty concerning behavior according to his former classmate at the STEM school, Kevin Cole. Cole remembers Erickson as someone who tried to get a rise out of people, who was pretty easily offended and had a pretty short fuse as well.

But more concerning than that were some off-color jokes that he would make on a pretty regular basis about school shootings. Like for instance, saying to Cole on several occasions that he shouldn't show up for school tomorrow and other things like this. Listen.


KEVIN COLE, FORMER STEM STUDENT: He would walk into the classroom and from time to time he would say -- we always thought it was a joke, but he would say when the pencil hits the floor, I'm going to start shooting, and then he would drop pencils randomly throughout that class.


MCLEAN: So again Fredricka -- at the time Cole says that these types of comments were just sort of written off as jokes at a time and not really taken seriously. In hindsight though, of course, he says these look a lot like warning signs.

WHITFIELD: And then tell us about other reported warning signs and even complaints about this, you know, this potentially happening.

MCLEAN: Yes. I think the conversation about how this happened and why that happened and could this have been prevented is going to be taking place here for quite some time. It is not clear if tougher gun laws would have prevented this because according to a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation the two handguns that were used at the school were actually taken from one of the suspect's parents.

[11:45:05] There were no metal detectors at the school though. There is also no school resource officer. The sheriff's office explained why saying there was a dispute between his office and the school over funding or payment of that officer and also the responsibility.

So instead there was private security and according to the company that hired the private security guard, he was actually involved in apprehending one of the suspects.

And as we know, that other suspect was taken down by three students including Kendrick Castillo who was killed. Another student Brendan Bialy was uninjured and then a third student Joshua Jones -- actually just got off the phone with a family spokesperson for the Jones family who says he's doing well. He was shot twice, once in the calf, once in the hip.

Thankfully those two bullets didn't hit any bones. They didn't hit any vital organs. His goal is to walk across the stage at graduation without any crutches.

And one more thing, Fredricka -- when police arrived, it was Jones who was actually on top of one of those suspects who was restraining them until law enforcement arrived. Jones credits first responders with getting him to the hospital so, so quickly he actually wants to be an EMT himself in the future -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: I can envision (ph) these kids taking matters into their own hands. I mean it's extraordinary. Scott McLean -- thank you so much.

We have so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. But first all next week CNN will bring you "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE", individuals who have not only changed communities but affected the hearts and minds of people around them in the most outstanding ways. Take a look.



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: -- some stories --

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: -- are so powerful --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- they leave their mark.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Nobody has ever affected me the way your son did.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Their work creates real impact.




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Meet the changemakers we have never forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a difference seven years makes.

GUPTA: This is the place where we jumped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This is the place where I lived.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my first time today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- champions for change.

BURNETT: It is amazing.

GUPTA: I just get to tell your story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE", a week-long CNN special event, all next week.

[11:47:41] (END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on a new mission in his CNN Original Series, "CHASING LIFE", journeying across the world to find the secrets to living better for the mind, body and soul.

And this week, he visits Italy to find out how a country known for vices like smoking and drinking is actually one of the healthiest places in the world.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look how great it is.

GUPTA: On the menu -- the prized family recipe, minestrone soup.

Let me ask all of you, what do you think the secret is to a long life?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We live long because we eat minestrone soup. Even if it doesn't look like much it gives us energy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When eating, one must not eat too much.

GUPTA: What do you think, Celia (ph)?


GUPTA: Love?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It prolongs life, understand? It's like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never make fake love. It reduces your longevity by ten years.


WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me right now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent and the host of "CHASING LIFE". Dr. Gupta, Sanjay -- good to see you.

I'm all about traveling and allowing my stomach to lead. So clearly that, you know, really gives them vitality and life, these Italians in how they live their life. What were your discoveries there about food being central to it all.

GUPTA: I apologize, Fred -- you kind of in and out of my ear for a second.

WHITFIELD: Food, yum, Italy.

GUPTA: You know, once (ph) again, about Italy --- when you talk Italy overall, you are talking about very different food there. You could be eating the same sort of dish -- you know, pasta, salad, even a meat dish. If you eat it in the United States versus eating it in Italy, you have less processed ingredients in there, you have fewer chemicals, you have fewer things like corn syrup in the food in Italy.

So I think it's part of the reason is that it's not really how much you are eating, it's really the specific nature of the food. And food is just prepared so differently over there.

There's this thing called the slow food movement in Italy where you are pushing back against fast food. And that's part of why they say, you know, they live so long over there.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- we have so much enjoyed, I speak for myself -- I have enjoyed the journey to all of these incredible places -- Norway, Japan, Italy.

GUPTA: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Ok. You can hear me. So what's next?

GUPTA: I got you back.


GUPTA: Well, so Italy tonight. We've got Turkey next week.

And if I could just talk a little bit more about Italy -- it's interesting. You do have these places within Italy where you have some of the longest lived people in the world. Sardinia, for example, is one of these blue zones.

And I was fascinated by this. I got to work in a vineyard for a little bit of time actually cutting the grapes there. Tough assignment -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: I like it.

GUPTA: I almost did not come back. But you know, it's in part, you look at a country like this and you say why in the United States has life expectancy continued to drop three years in a row? In a place like Italy, it continues to rise.

Again they eat, they drink, they smoke, they're not for exercise. One of the big protective factors besides the good food is I think the social nature.

This vineyard, for example -- three generations working together. And every night having, you know, a big, social sort of gathering.

We have become increasingly isolated in the United States. I think that's been one of the destructive forces here. These other countries, I mean look, they -- you know, they may do all these different things that we don't necessarily consider healthy, and yet their life expectancy continues to rise.

[11:54:57] The secret ingredient I think is that that social fabric that they really invest in, in a place Italy. That and the fantastic food and the good wine which I had a little bit of.

WHITFIELD: That's right.

GUPTA: And all those antioxidants.

WHITFIELD: Ok. You've got to cap it off with that. Sometimes -- I guess that's maybe throughout the entire meal. It's not really just at the end. It helps it all go down.

GUPTA: That's right. Just a little bit. Just a little bit.

WHITFIELD: Just a little.

All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- thank you so much. Always good to see you.

GUPTA: You got it -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: So of course, don't miss another incredible all new episode of "CHASING LIFE" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It airs tonight, 9:00 Eastern and Pacific only here on CNN.

All right. Still ahead, more on our breaking news. A 755-foot oil tanker collides with a barge, potentially spilling 25,000 barrels of gasoline into the Houston ship channel. A live report, next.


WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone.

Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin this hour with stunning comments from President Trump about the Democratic front-runner in the 2020 race. In a new "Politico" interview, the President says it would be, quote, "appropriate" for him to talk to the attorney general about investigating Joe Biden and his family.

[12:00:00] This, coming as the President goes on a retweet rampage. At one point this morning, retweeting more than 60 things in an hour.