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Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders to Hold Rally in Vermont; Former Vice President Joe Biden Continues to Lead Democratic Presidential Primary; President Trump Visits Japan to Meet with Prime Minster and New Emperor; Hiker in Maui Rescued after Being Lost for Weeks; Theresa May Resigns as British Prime Minister; West Point Graduating Class Includes Highest Number of African-American Women Cadets; Man Convicted of Kidnapping and Murder Sentenced to Life in Prison. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 25, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: -- but the car landed in the water and sank. Investigators are working to determine whether alcohol or drugs were a factor.
Hello, thanks for joining me. I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield.
Any moment now, Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders will take the stage in his home state of Vermont to kick off the long weekend. It's still early, but for most of the race so far, Sanders has held a solid second place in the polls behind former vice president Joe Biden. But this latest Monmouth poll could show some trouble for the senator. He went from 20 percent down to 15 percent, with other candidates cracking the double digits.
Let's check in with CNN's Ryan Nobles at the rally site. And what are we expecting to hear from the senator today, Ryan?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin, we talked all day about how Bernie Sanders is trying to stand out from this crowded field of Democrats running for the party's nomination, and we've just received some excerpts from the speech that Sanders plans to give here in the next hour or so. And he is going to talk specifically about foreign policy, and he's going to defend his record when it comes to foreign policy during his time here as the mayor of Burlington and then a member of congress, and then in the United States Senate.
And there's been some written about Sanders and the kind of very aggressive action he took against the Reagan administration during the '80s as a mayor of a small town, setting up exchange programs with countries around the world, and cities in different countries around the world, that were in conflict or that were on different sides of where American foreign policy was at the time. And essentially what we read in these excerpts is that Sanders is going to forcefully defend his actions during that time, make no apologies for, for instance, his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War during that time.
So this also then plays into the current state of affairs because Sanders has been very vocal on two different foreign policy issues. First, he led a bipartisan effort to evoke the War Powers Act to try to prevent the Trump administration from being involved in this Saudi- led war in Yemen. Donald Trump ended up vetoing that legislation.
And secondly, he's very concerned about the escalating situation with Iran, and in particular John Bolton's role in all of that, the national security director. And what Sanders is going to say is that he opposed the Iraq War, he considers that one of the biggest foreign policy disasters in American history. And by the same token, he is very concerned about what could potentially happen with Iran. So there is no doubt, Martin, that Bernie Sanders is trying to find a way to show these Democratic voters that he's willing to stand up to the Trump administration, do so in a very forceful way, and that's part of what he is going to talk about here in Montpelier in about an hour or so.
SAVIDGE: Interesting that he goes home to talk foreign affairs. Ryan Nobles, thank you very much for that.
Pennsylvania also will figure, or figures to be a key state in the 2020 election. And right now polls show that Joe Biden holds a significant lead on Donald Trump in what might be a head-to-head matchup. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden held rallies in Pennsylvania over the past week, hoping that they would slay would-be voters. The question is, can either really convince voters to switch sides? CNN's Gary Tuchman found some people who may do just that.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Attending the rally for a Democratic presidential candidate was not the top of George Gallagher's list.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I asked him if he wanted to come, because I wanted to see Joe Biden, and he is such a dear.
TUCHMAN: Susan Rothrack (ph) and George Gallagher are partners and best friends. He's a lifelong Republican who enthusiastically supported and voted for Donald Trump in 2016. She's a lifelong Democrat who wants Joe Biden to be the next president.
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As one American, one America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One America.
TUCHMAN: And Susan hoped by bringing George to this Philadelphia rally and standing way in the back, where it was quieter, easier for them to talk --
BIDEN: Barack Obama was an extraordinary man.
TUCHMAN: She could possibly start to convince him not to vote for Donald Trump in 2020. George did not seem impressed in the beginning.
BIDEN: I believe Democrats want to unify this nation. That's what our party has always been about.
BIDEN: That's what it has always been about.
GEORGE GALLAGHER, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: I don't know about that.
BIDEN: To demonize your opponent, to spew hatred, they don't need me, they've got president Donald Trump.
GALLAGHER: Oh, boy.
TUCHMAN: But as the speech continued, George started agreeing with some of what Joe Biden had to say.
BIDEN: Our principles must never be compromised, but "compromise" itself is not a dirty word.
[14:05:00] GALLAGHER: It is not a dirty word. Compromise is a good thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what we need.
BIDEN: Folks, that success will come when we generate free community college, invest in job training and apprenticeships.
GALLAGHER: Make education cheaper, I think, we have to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We certainly do. The most important thing is education.
BIDEN: Let's stop fighting and start fixing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's fix it.
TUCHMAN: Here in Pennsylvania, polling shows Biden within a significant lead over Trump in a state Trump won in 2016. The polling, an early indication many 2016 Pennsylvania Trump voters are having some second thoughts in a state that is critical for both Republicans and Democrats.
From Philly to Scranton, from Montoursville to Harrisburg, from Erie to Pittsburgh, expect a lengthy presidential Pennsylvania political battle royal that is now just beginning.
BIDEN: God bless you, and may God protect our troops.
TUCHMAN: So with the rally now over, what is George Gallagher's verdict? GALLAGHER: I am open minded. I'll consider, yes. But the thing is
TUCHMAN: What does she have to do in addition to taking to you a rally to convince you to vote to Joe Biden? Is it possible?
GALLAGHER: It is possible. I have to listen more. If not Biden, maybe somebody else. Maybe another democrat. I happen to like the girl from Minnesota. The governor. The girl. Begins with a "K."
TUCHMAN: Amy Klobuchar, the senator.
GALLAGHER: Yes. I think I like her. She has some good ideas.
TUCHMAN: So you would consider a Democrat.
GALLAGHER: I would. Of course.
George Gallagher hasn't voted a Democrat for president since LBJ in 1964. He has opened the door to voting for one again.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Philadelphia.
SAVIDGE: And that opens up a whole line of discussion. And with me now, national political correspondent for "TIME" Molly Ball, and national reporter for the "Washington Post" Wesley Lowery. Hello to you both.
MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Hello.
SAVIDGE: So Senator Sanders will take the stage I think just about any moment from now. He is viewing this as kind of a homecoming rally. And Wes, what do voters need to see or hear from Sanders in his home state to stay competitive in what is a very crowded and still growing field?
WESLEY LOWERY, NATIONAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Certainly. It has been really interesting these last few weeks as Senator Sanders has leaned more into foreign policy and taken some of the return fire because of that. This is someone who has a long life in public service, someone who has staked out positions that at the time were pretty far to the left but now perhaps are more mainstream in the left as it relates to some of our foreign policy and our actions even going back to Vietnam and whatnot.
And so what's going to be interesting here to see, as Ryan Nobles was talking about a few minutes ago, Senator Sanders leaning in to his foreign policy stances previously. And as opponents attempt to frame him and paint him as extreme, whether or not he can convince Democratic voters that he was in fact right all along, and that his positions, many of which now are much more Democratically mainstream, are ones for which he should receive credit, as opposed to ones he should be demagogued against. So it's going to be really interesting. This is a race in which
unlike 2016 when Bernie Sanders enters the race with no expectations whatsoever, he comes into 2020 with a base of support, with higher expectations, as one of the best-known candidates. And so it's, when you're on a bigger stage, it hurts a lot more to fall off of it. And so it's going to be interesting to see if Senator Sanders can increase his support, or if he does have a ceiling.
SAVIDGE: Molly, of course, when he ran in 2016, it was him and Hillary, essentially. This time, you've got many, many different people. And I'm wondering, how does he try to stand out now in a field that is so crowded?
BALL: Right. As Wes was saying, he needs a differentiator, and perhaps foreign policy could be that not only because there are so many more candidates, but there are more candidates who share his views. Whether it's far left economic views, far left views on social issues, there are just a lot more candidates talking about the kinds of ideas that Bernie is talking about.
Now, Bernie has clearly gotten off to a strong second place start. He does have that durable base of support. But he didn't get into this race to come in second again. He got into this race because he thought he could come in first, and to do that, he is going to have to broaden that support. He is going to have to show that that base that he has isn't 10 percent or 15 percent, especially in a field that even with as many candidates as there are, you have a frontrunner getting as much as 35, 40 percent. These polls obviously aren't predictive this far out, but they do tell you where the base of the party is gravitating, and they seem to be gravitating toward Joe Biden who they consider electable and sort of safe and moderate.
So I think another point about taking about foreign policy for Sanders is to pass that commander in chief test and convince people that he becomes a viable general election candidate because people could envision him actually being a president and making those kinds of presidential decisions.
[14:10:00] SAVIDGE: Good point. So Wes, down five points in the Monmouth poll. Should the Sanders campaign be alarmed?
LOWERY: I don't know about alarmed per se. I do think that the entrance of former Vice President Joe Biden into this race did really begin to show and underscore where the Democratic base is in this moment. Again, who could they take seriously? Who could they see as a commander in chief? And the person who used to the understudy of that job has taken up a lot of the oxygen in this race.
I do think one of the challenges, as Molly was talking about for Senator Sanders, is proving to Democratic voters that this is not just a guy who has been right about a host of domestic issues, not a guy who, well, sure if we lived in an alternative universe and I could get everything I wanted, yes, put that guy in charge, but someone who tomorrow voters could see stepping into the Situation Room, into the Oval Office and making some of the most important international decisions happening. I think that is one of the reasons Senator Sanders has been leaning so far in to foreign policy, and we have seen this from some other candidates as well, Elizabeth Warren and others who are known for their role in domestic politics who have been leaning in to foreign policy as well to try to prove to voters that they really have the breadth of both experience and knowledge, and to try to convince voters that their stances on these issues aren't so far outside of the mainstream that would preclude them from becoming the president.
SAVIDGE: Molly, as much as this poll shows somewhat of a decline for Bernie Sanders, it does show other gains. In other words Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Elizabeth Warren cracking into double digits. So what do you think that is telling us?
BALL: They are really small changes really, just a few points here and there, and I think it's a very fluid field at this point. If you go in the field and talk to Democratic primary voters or even here in Washington, if you're talking to the Democratic beltway class and former members of the Obama administration, they'll tell you that even if they've parked their support with one candidate, they're really looking around. I have met very few Democrats who are absolutely decided in who they're going to vote for, and they would like to see these candidates perform, whether it's giving a speech at a rally or performing in a debate or interacting with voters in Iowa or South Carolina.
So I think you see these tiny incremental moves. We haven't seen any candidate really sort of bust out and make a really strong showing, except for I think the surprise rise of Pete Buttigieg. Bernie had a strong start. And Biden obviously has had a very strong start.
SAVIDGE: And real quick, Wes, do you see Joe Biden, in any way, does he have to worry about anything, or is he fine?
LOWERY: I certainly think he is going to worry. One of the things, we haven't seen is an open Democratic primary like this in a very long time, and we haven't seen anything close to this since the Clinton, Edwards, Obama race in 2007. But I think one of the things we can learn from the Republican races of recent years is that when you have such a big field like this, people get thrown all around. Or you can go back to points like this in the calendar in previous races, and you have frontrunners like Rudy Giuliani, or Herman Cain, folks who certainly did not become the candidate, much less the president of the United States.
And so while Joe Biden is certainly out front in the early polling, early polling is early polling, and there's any number of things that could happen between now and then. And again, as voters get to know some of these other candidates, perhaps they find other folks who they like as much as or even more than Joe Biden. So I don't think he can get comfortable with these leads, although it certainly is a good sign for him.
SAVIDGE: Yes. You need to only think about of where President Trump was at this same time in the runup to the --
LOWERY: Not even in the race.
SAVIDGE: OK, thank you. Molly Ball, Wes Lowery, good to talk to you both.
BALL: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Coming up, she was injured and alone. But today, she is safe. A hiker missing for more than two weeks on a remote part of the Hawaiian Islands. Hear from one of the first people to reach her, next.
SAVIDGE: She had vanished more than two weeks ago during a hike in Hawaii, but last night, Amanda Eller was found alive. And this is the moment the 35-year-old was air lifted to safety out of a Maui forest reserve. And now we're learning more about the miraculous rescue of the yoga instructor. Moments ago, I spoke with the lead rescuer. Let's take a listen.
SAVIDGE: Spotting her is one thing, though. There is still the rescue that has to be pulled off, and that couldn't have been easy given those conditions and the terrain.
JAVIER CANTELLOPS, LEAD RESCUER OF AMANDA ELLER: Yes, there certainly was. We actually had to do two different stops. The helicopter stopped and dropped us off, and we realized we couldn't make it to the other side of the ravine. So we had to load back up on the little bird and get up, go all the way out to another area, where the helicopter had to drop us off and take off. He was running low on fuel. He called, and then me and Chris and Troy had to literally bushwhack through some extremely thick vegetation to get just to the ravine edge, and then have to completely commando hike all the way down to her, and break through the brush. But seeing her for the first time in a long time was just unbelievable.
SAVIDGE: What was her reaction to all of you?
CANTELLOPS: She was like, I have been searching for you guys. We'd been passing her. She said she heard helicopters flying by her, and unfortunately, that vegetation is so thick, that it is just, it is a miracle that we saw her. I got footage of just some of our flight, and you look down and you're like, it is going to take a miracle.
I'm a hiker motivated guy. I'm a super positive person down here in Hawaii, and all of the speculation get in my head, and I started going down the rabbit hole of what could have happened, where could she be. I just, I refused to believe that she was gone, or she got abducted, or anything like that happened. Nothing else pointed that way. The only reason we haven't found her because she is still walking. And we just had to push on and we had to find her.
SAVIDGE: That was the leader of the rescue team that rescued Amanda Eller who had been missing in Hawaii for two weeks.
Coming up, President Trump has a close ally in Asia in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But will the president's state visit this weekend strengthen or strain that bond? We'll have an update and a live report next.
[14:23:40] SAVIDGE: President Trump is now in Japan for his state visit. The president will partake in the mostly ceremonial visit, complete with golf with the Japanese prime minister, and a sumo wrestling match. On the policy front looms the deepening trade rift with China and growing concerns of saber rattling from both North Korea and Iran. Trump meeting with business leaders as soon as he landed also wasted no time in reminding them of the trade imbalance between the two countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you know, the United States and Japan are hard at work negotiating a bilateral trade agreement which will benefit both of our countries. I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years. But that's OK. Maybe that's why you like us so much. But we'll get it a little bit more fair, I think. I think we'll do that. With this deal, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is in Tokyo. And Kaitlan, are we going to see more substance or ceremony on this trip?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we will see what President Trump says about that, because of course, he is an unpredictable president. But right now aides are saying it's mostly going to focus on the ceremony while he's here.
[14:25:00] They've talked about what an honor it is for him to be the first foreign leader to visit with the newly-crowned emperor, and that seems to be the focus on this, not that they're going to have some break through on a potential trade deal, even though in the past few months the president had been predicting maybe they could get one when he was here in Japan. Prime minister Abe visited the White House not that long ago. They talked about this. But Prime Minister Abe was pretty frank with the president that he does not want these auto tariffs to go into effect. That would greatly devastate the Japanese economy, he argued. So the question now is what the president is going to do about that and whether or not Abe can convince him no to do it when the delay six months away is up on whether or not that decision has to be made, whether they're going to impose those tariffs.
So that is certainly something that is going to be looming in the background as you're seeing them go play a round of golf, go to a sumo wrestling match, and then of course have dinner with the new emperor. That is something that is going to be in the background, along with North Korea, because the Japanese have favored keeping pressure on the North Koreans, and they do want the president, when he meets with Kim Jong-un, whenever that happens again, to bring up those Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea.
Those are big things that are going on, but right now they say they're going to focus on essentially Abe wanting to make sure that he maintains this close relationship with the president.
SAVIDGE: Can I ask, what is the significance of the president being invited to a sumo wrestling match?
COLLINS: Well they say it is a big one because, of course, sumo wrestling here is actually a pretty hallowed tradition. So to have the president come in for the championship, where he comes in and sits in the front row, those are seats that sell out all of the time, and the president is going to be there. And so they're saying it is a way for the president to show that he cares about the Japanese culture, to really immerse itself in it, which is interesting because this isn't a president who likes to go and do things that he doesn't feel natural at. He typically doesn't like to travel overseas either. So to see him there will be something.
But of course, there is going to be an American twist because the president is bringing his own trophy from the United States to give to the winner, in addition to the other trophies they will receive. They're referring to it behind the scenes as the Trump Cup, but officially the White House is calling it the President's Cup.
SAVIDGE: I look forward to every second of the video that appears of that tonight.
COLLINS: It is going to be great.
SAVIDGE: We'll talk about it more tomorrow. Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much. Good to see you.
Still ahead, saying goodbye, British Prime Minister Theresa May with an emotional resignation in London. And it comes at a critical time as Brexit negotiations still hang by a thread. We'll have more right after this.
SAVIDGE: We're keeping a close eye on the campaign trail, Senator Bernie Sanders set to speak at any moment. It's the first time he will address his home state this election cycle. We'll bring that speech to you live as soon as it happens.
A stunning announcement in London just days before President Trump makes the first official state visit to the U.K. British Prime Minister Theresa May says she is resigning. The process is set to begin in just two weeks. May has faced intense scrutiny over her failed attempts to pass a Brexit plan through Parliament. Now there are even more questions about how the U.K. can pull out of the European Union. CNN's Phil Black has more on Theresa May's political rise and fall.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday, the 7th of June, so that a successor can be chosen.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A moment so often predicted had finally come. Theresa May acknowledged she must step down. It marks the end of a prime minister notable for defiantly holding on to power, notorious for embracing short, repetitive slogans.
MAY: The strong and stable leadership.
Strong and stable leadership.
Strong and stable leadership.
And the strong and stable government.
BLACK: And both mocked and grudgingly admired for displaying a baffling willingness to dance terribly in public. The self-styled dancing queen of British politics is leaving the stage. Theresa May rose to become prime minister after her predecessor, David Cameron, found himself on the wrong side of the Brexit referendum result.
DAVID CAMERON, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.
BLACK: May, too, had wanted Britain to remain in the European Union, but promised to deliver the people's verdict.
MAY: Brexit means Brexit, and we are going to make a success of it.
BLACK: But what followed was stumbles and mistakes, none bigger than May's decision to call an unnecessary election in 2017. The result was disastrous. May lost her party's parliamentary majority. Suddenly, everything, especially Brexit, became much harder. The Conservative Party kept her as leader because there was no obvious alternative, and a contrite May was determined to carry on.
MAY: I hold my hands up for that. I take responsibility. I led the campaign. And I am sorry.
BLACK: But it was during that same speech that things began to fall apart, literally. After being interrupted by a protester and struggling through a coughing fit.
MAY: Our economy is back on track. BLACK: The letters behind her started to drop off, one by one. At the time, many saw it as a powerful metaphor for her struggling leadership. May clung on by promising all sides she could deliver a Brexit that would somehow keep everyone happy. But her tactical contradictions were exposed in a crunch cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's country residence Chequers. There she tried muscling senior ministers into backing her preferred Brexit plan, but two of her government's most prominent hardline Brexiteers announced they couldn't stomach it, and resigned. Among them was Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary, embracing a new role as the prime minister's chief critic on all things Brexit.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH POLITICIAN: -- self-governing Britain that is genuinely open to the world, not the miserable permanent limbo of Chequers.
BLACK: May also had to deal with difficult Brexit advice from America's president, who even backed Johnson as a potential successor.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Boris Johnson I think would make a great prime minister.
BLACK: Still May persisted as key deadlines in the Brexit negotiations loomed.
MAY: Ninety-five percent of withdrawal agreement, as I said, has been agreed.
[14:35:01] BLACK: But the stickiest issue in the divorce settlement never changed, guaranteeing the Irish border stays open while also ensuring the U.K. sovereignty over its own territory. Ultimately May's attempts to solve this and other Brexit puzzles failed to earn necessary support in order to pass an agreement with the E.U.
JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR LEADER, U.K. PARLIAMENT: After two big rejections by the House, she must have noticed there isn't much support for the deal that she negotiated.
BLACK: Brexit has forced out two Conservative prime ministers. Someone else must now try to steer the country through the most important and divided political challenge in recent British history.
MAY: I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold. The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.
BLACK: Phil Black, CNN, London.
SAVIDGE: Still ahead, the man who kidnapped then 14-year-old Jayme Closs and killed her parents learns his fate in court. What the teenager had to say to her former captor, that's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:40:20] SAVIDGE: Today, there is a celebration at one of our nation's most prestigious military academies. West Point held their graduation ceremony this morning. Nearly 1,000 cadets becoming enlisted officers, and Vice President Pence was there to wish them well, and had some words of encouragement for the history-making 2019 class.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, (R) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I couldn't be more proud to stand before the graduating class of 2019 that includes the highest number of African-American women cadets in the history of the United States Military Academy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: And I spoke with one of those graduates, Second Lieutenant Nikiay Comer, a short time ago. Take a listen.
SAVIDGE: One of those graduates joins me now, West Point Second Lieutenant Nikiay Comer. Nikiay is from North Point -- North Port, Florida, I should say. She majored in engineering and psychology. She will go on to assume duty at Fort Riley after acting as Director of Operations for Women's Soccer at West Point for six months. Congratulations to you, Nikiay Comer. Thank you for being with us. I'm just wondering how does it feel to be a part of this historic class?
SECOND LIEUTENANT NIKIAY COMER, WEST POINT GRADUATE: Sir, thank you for having me. This feeling is absolutely unbelievable. There are definitely no words to put into a sentence to describe how I feel about this. All of our work these past four years have just all come together on this day, and this is awesome.
SAVIDGE: It is awesome. I want to get your thoughts on a photograph. We are going to show it to our audience. I know you can't see it right now, but you have seen it, the significance of this picture. Women of color in uniform graduating in record numbers, 34. And I'm wondering what does that represent to you personally?
COMER: Personally, sir, I think that represents where the academy has come from and where they're going. I think that is a testament to West Point as a whole, and also the African-American women who have put themselves in a situation to succeed at West Point. But I think it is a good sign. I am definitely blessed to be a part of that. And I hope we can continue that as the years continue.
SAVIDGE: As you know, this is a very divisive time in our country's history. But you all have an opportunity to show strength that comes from diversity. How will you demonstrate that in your military career? COMER: Showing strength through diversity? I guess taking on every
situation head-on, free heart, open mind, willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, not sticking to a one-step plan, and just taking all that West Point has taught us and use that for any future situations that we run into.
SAVIDGE: And what do you want to accomplish now, as a graduate, and what's next for you?
COMER: What next, sir, I will stay here for six months after graduation, work with the soccer team as the director of operations position, which I am very excited about. And then after that I will head to Fort Riley, Kansas, and kick off my career as a quartermaster officer.
SAVIDGE: In 2014, we know that West Point moved to not just actively recruit more women and minority students, but to diversify its leadership. And I'm wondering how important is it to have a leader or classmates come from the same background as you do?
COMER: I think it's pretty fantastic. Like most people, when you see someone that has a similarity to you, you tend to go towards that bond, you tend to work together better. But I think that although it is good, it is also good to have people from all different backgrounds as well, because when we get into the real Army and when we are in the position to lead other people, our soldiers are going to come from all different backgrounds. So it is very important for us to be able to lead anyone from any background, and be able to connect with them on a special level.
SAVIDGE: Well put. You've written dozens of letters to elementary school students, pen pals in California, urging them to dream big. How does it feel now, knowing that you're blazing trails for those young students?
COMER: Sir, it feels incredible. I hope that they can look at me and maybe think that they can do this, too, and they can definitely be in my shoes, and that anything that they want to do is possible, and there are no limitations on their dreams.
[14:45:03] SAVIDGE: Well, I know they look up to you, I know we look up to you. Cadet Nikiay Comer, thank you very much for being with us today, and congratulations.
COMER: Thank you, sir.
SAVIDGE: What a marvelous young second lieutenant to be able to speak to.
Meanwhile, a young woman is fearlessly pushing back against Lou Gehrig's Disease with style. Her story is today's "Turning Points."
LAUREN "LOLO" SPENCER, DISABILITY LIFESTYLE INFLUENCER: I'm Lauren "Lolo" Spencer, and I'm a disability lifestyle influencer.
I'm on Instagram and also have my YouTube channel called Sitting Pretty.
It's your girl, Lolo.
I like to focus specifically on things for people with disabilities. I give dating advice, life advice.
At 14, my body started to have these weird changes. We started going from doctor to doctor, and ultimately, I'd be diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. It was scary. I made the decision that I was going to live my life to the fullest. I have been living now with ALS for 18 years.
When I started my YouTube channel, there weren't many YouTubers out there that were talking about disability lifestyle. There really wasn't anyone really giving the real deal advice. I had noticed that any time disability was talked about, it was this air of like sympathy, sadness. I was like, I ain't sad about my life.
I got a great opportunity to model for Tommy Hilfiger. With me, modeling is so important to represent that people with disabilities could be just as fly and fashionable as anyone else. You can live your life as full and fearless as you want it to be.
[14:50:41] SAVIDGE: Jake Patterson, the 21-year-old man who kidnapped a 13-year-old Wisconsin girl and murdered her parents, will face the rest of his life in prison. Patterson received two life sentences without parole for holding Jayme Closs hostage for months before she managed to escape. And before that sentencing was handed down. Closs's account of what she lived through in those torturous days was read to the court by her attorney. CNN's Jean Casarez has more.
LINDSEY SMITH, JAYME'S COUSIN: You so much from Jayme. You took her parents, her home, her childhood, and all of her happiness.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A packed courtroom in Barron, Wisconsin, listened as family members of Jayme Closs told the court how her kidnapping and the brutal murder of her parents devastated their family.
MIKE CLOSS, JAYME'S UNCLE: My wife came down screaming your brother is dead, Denise is dead, and they can't find Jayme.
CASAREZ: The 21-year-old man who pleaded guilty to the entire attack, Jake Patterson, listened as they relived the horrifying experience. Jayme not in the courtroom had prepared a statement for the man who took her parents' lives.
CHRIS GRAMSTRUP, ATTORNEY FOR JAYME CLOSS: My parents and my home were the most important things in my life. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory.
CASAREZ: Patterson then spoke through tears.
JAKE PATTERSON, CONVICTED OF KIDNAPPING, MURDER: I would do like absolutely anything to take back what I did. I would die.
CASAREZ: Then it was circuit Judge Babler who had the last word before sentencing him to life in prison without the possibility of release.
JUDGE JAMES BABLER, BARRON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: And these crimes rank as the most heinous and dangerous that I have seen.
CASAREZ: It was an early Monday morning last October, James and Denise Closs were asleep, but their only child Jayme woke up. Her dog was barking, Jayme later telling police she alerted her parents that someone was at their front door. Armed with a shotgun, the masked assailant shot and killed Jayme's father at the front door. Denise Closs called 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barron County 911.
CASAREZ: She and Jayme hid in a bathroom where Patterson found them. He bound Jayme and fatally shot her mother. Weeks before, Patterson had seen Jayme get onto the school bus from her home. He later told police when he saw Jayme he knew that was the girl he was going to take. Patterson then dragged Jayme from the bloody scene, put her in the trunk of his car and held her captive at his remote cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin. A massive search began, everyone trying to find Jayme.
CHRIS FITZGERALD, BARRON COUNTY SHERIFF: I believe she's still out there. And the hope is what we're riding on.
CASAREZ: Eighty-eight days later, she had the courage and ability to escape when Patterson left the cabin for a few hours. With no coat in the frigid temperatures, she bumped into a local resident walking her dog.
JEANNE NUTTER, JAYME APPROACHED HER WHILE SHE WAS WALKING HER DOG: She sort of fell into me and said I'm Jayme, and I said I know.
CASAREZ: The community rejoiced. Patterson was apprehended, charges were brought.
FITZGERALD: He is currently being held on two counts of first degree intentional homicide for the murder of Jayme's parents, and one count of kidnapping.
CASAREZ: As Jayme remained in seclusion with her family. Finally this month she appeared before the Wisconsin legislature, accepting the hometown hero award.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her courage, her bravery, and her spirit are things that inspire us and make us stronger and better. CASAREZ: Jayme's family says the sentencing hearing was very
important for her, that she has come a long way since January, but there is a lot left to do.
Jean Casarez, CNN, Barron, Wisconsin.
SAVIDGE: Thank you, Jean.
Still ahead, an intense manhunt under way on the streets of France. An explosion rocks the city of Lyon, injuring more than a dozen people. The latest right after this.
[14:58:13] SAVIDGE: Let's get a check of top stories. A terror investigation is underway after at least 13 people were injured Friday when a bomb went off at a popular shopping area in Lyon, France. Police say the man who may have carried out the attack is at large. A 10-year-old child among those hurt. Police tweeted this photo of the man they believe involved. They are asking the public for help with any information.
A federal judge has blocked Mississippi's law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The judge slammed Mississippi in his decision, saying the law prevents a woman's free choice, which he wrote is central to personal dignity and autonomy. The ban would have taken effect in July. It's among several laws recently introduced by Republican-led states in an effort to challenge Roe v. Wade.
And two men are dead after they tried to jump their car over an open drawbridge. Louisiana state police say the men arrived at the bridge while it was closed for a boat crossing. A witness told police that a passenger got out of the car, moved the gate arm, and then the men tried to reverse and drive up and over the ramp, but the car landed in the water and sank. Investigators working to determine whether alcohol or drugs may have been a factor.
And James Holzhauer, the reigning Jeopardy! champion, just hit another milestone. Friday night's win put him over the $2 million mark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX TREBEK, "JEOPARDY!" HOST: He had $39,400 and his response was Sun Valley. You wrote down Las Vegas Strip and you crossed it off. Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just didn't think it was in Idaho.
TREBEK: And you risked $35,000. That takes you up to $74,400, and $2,065,535. Enjoy the weekend. Come back on Monday. He'll be here to defend again. (APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: That's his 27th win in a row.