Return to Transcripts main page


Three Americans Die at Dominican Republic Hotel Within Days; Joe Biden Publicly Announces Continued Support for Hyde Amendment; Michigan Auto Workers Mixed on Support for Donald Trump. Aired 10:30- 11a ET

Aired June 5, 2019 - 10:30   ET



[10:31:07] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Three Americans found dead within just five days at the same resort in the Dominican Republic. Well, this morning, Dominican authorities announced that they are investigating the death of 41-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner. The Pennsylvania woman died in her hotel room at the Bahia Principe Hotel in Playa Nueva Romana on May 25th.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Well, five days later, a Maryland couple was found dead in their room at the same hotel. All three checked into the hotel on the same day. CNN correspondent Martin Savidge has been following this story.

And, Martin, do we have any details about how this happened?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have a lot of details. What we don't have are specific answers here, Jim. And the question that authorities are grappling with: Are they dealing with what could be some sort of tragic coincidence? Or is it something more sinister than that?

It goes back to the 25th of May, as you point out. That's when 41- year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner checked in with her husband to that hotel. They were celebrating a wedding anniversary.

TEXT: Pennsylvania Woman Dies at Resort in Dominican Republic: 41- year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner; Collapsed and died May 25 in hotel room; Happened shortly after checking in to Bahia Principe Hotel in Playa Nueva Romana; Cause of death has not been determined

SAVIDGE: They go through the first day, had a wonderful time by what appears to be all accounts. And they're getting ready for dinner around 7:30 p.m. at night. She gets a drink from the minibar, and that's when things suddenly take a turn for the worse. She's in physical pain. She appears to be struggling. Her husband calls for paramedics. She collapses. By the time the paramedics, which are at the hotel, get to the room, she's already dead.

And then five days later, another American couple dies. They checked in on the same day as Miranda at the same resort in the Dominican Republic. Again, looks like, by their social media, they had a wonderful time. But on the day they were to check out, they didn't check out.

TEXT: Maryland Couple Dies at Hotel in Dominican Republic: Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63 and Cynthia Ann Day, 49; Died May 30; Found unresponsive in room at Bahia Principe Hotel in Playa Nueva Romana

SAVIDGE: So hotel staff went to their room. And when they went inside, they found both of them, dead. This is a couple from Maryland. And the autopsy reveals that they both died of respiratory failure due to pulmonary edema. In other words, fluid building up on the lungs.

In the case of the 41-year-old woman from Pennsylvania, an autopsy done there, no specific cause of death determined. No sign of violence.

Right now, authorities are digging deeper. Toxicology reports likely to tell us a lot on this. But as of yet, no specific answer.


SCIUTTO: Goodness. What a mystery there, and horrible for those families. Martin Savidge, thanks very much.

HARLOW: Thank you, Marty.

[10:33:27] SCIUTTO: Former Vice President Joe Biden has nearly 40 years of experience in politics. And with that, of course, comes a long record of policy positions that his rivals could use against him.


HARLOW: Former Vice President Joe Biden has decades of political experience. But some of his past positions on controversial issues keep coming up on the campaign trail, and they will continue to.

For example, at an event in New Hampshire last night, he was questioned again about prison reform, criticized over his role in the '94 crime bill. His experience and voting record, now potentially becoming a liability on the trail. It's a question.

SCIUTTO: Here with us to discuss is former director of communications outreach for Hillary Clinton's campaign, Jess McIntosh.

Jess, thanks for coming on.


SCIUTTO: There's some new reporting from "Axios" that my colleague Poppy noted here, that Trump allies are going to be framing Biden as a free-trading globalist who would undo the president's trade agenda.

He obviously thinks that the trade fight -- Mexico, Canada, E.U., et cetera, China certainly -- is working for him. Is this going to be trouble for Joe Biden?

MCINTOSH: I mean, I think whoever the Democrats nominate, the Trump team is going to frame them as some sort of globalist. That's coded language from them, and we've seen them use it over and over again.


MCINTOSH: So I think when we consider what Democratic candidates ought to do, how the Trump team is going to portray them probably shouldn't bother being part of the equation, since anybody who comes through is going to receive roughly the same treatment.


MCINTOSH: I think where Biden has challenges is that -- I mean, any Democrat who was around in the '90s is going to have to answer for policies that are now --


MCINTOSH: -- totally anathema to the progressive movement. He has a longer record than most. And he has not evolved on all of the progressive issues that the base are really --

SCIUTTO: That's a difference.

MCINTOSH: -- looking for yet. And that is where I think the difference --


HARLOW: Do you --

SCIUTTO: Remember Hillary Clinton on voting for the Iraq War --



SCIUTTO: -- in 2008, that was a big -- I don't know if it was a deciding factor, but aiding factor for Barack Obama's candidacy.

MCINTOSH: Absolutely.

HARLOW: Do you mean, for example, on the issue of abortion? One of our --


HARLOW: -- producers was pointing out to me this morning, his continued support for the Hyde Amendment, which is obviously four decades old. But it says you can't use federal funds to fund abortions --

[10:40:07] MCINTOSH: Yes.

HARLOW: -- and he is not opposed to that.

MCINTOSH: Yes. That's deeply troubling and puts him completely out of step with most Democrats, most Americans and absolutely the rest of the field.

It is a flat-out discriminatory policy. What it says is that the women who can access safe and legal abortion are women who can either afford private insurance or pay for it out-of-pocket themselves. But not women who are poor.

I mean, imagine treating any other right that way. You're allowed to exercise that right if you can pay for it, but otherwise you're on your own. It's not a right at all.

So the fact that he came out this morning to say that he's still in favor of this, which is news to most of us, is really quite shocking --


HARLOW: I think -- I think --


MCINTOSH: -- and something he's going to have to spend some time explaining.

HARLOW: -- going (ph) to get a lot more attention --


HARLOW: -- for -- I think he's going to be asked about that a lot.

MCINTOSH: I hope he is.

SCIUTTO: Biden rolled out his own climate change plan, of course. He wants to work with Republicans on this. He's being attacked by some of his more left-leaning Democratic opponents on this as too moderate. But why is that a dirty word, to propose a plan that would require political compromise, when clearly you would need political compromise to pass any potential plan, right?

MCINTOSH: I don't think that political compromise is a dirty word. I would be hopeful that Republicans would come to the table on it. It's sort of everybody's planet, theirs just as much as ours. So they should be just as invested in --

SCIUTTO: We haven't found another place to live yet.

MCINTOSH: Right. They should be as invested in making sure that it is habitable as we are. But they're coming to this debate from a complete place of intellectual dishonesty. They are -- the people who are purporting to be climate change skeptics largely understand that the science is settled on this. They just know they have to go there for their base.

So for Biden to lead by saying he wants to make sure that they are comfortable with what he's proposing, I think maybe undermines the urgency of the situation.


MCINTOSH: This is a global crisis that we have to solve whether Republicans want to be a part of the solution or not.

SCIUTTO: That the president denied again this morning, denied the science --


SCIUTTO: -- once again.

HARLOW: I think that the tactic that Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders are taking on talking to sort of working-class, if you will -- I don't really like that term, but -- working-class America is really interesting because it's sort of like Joe from Scranton, right? "I get you even though I'm a free trader."

And Bernie Sanders is in Bentonville, Arkansas this morning at the Walmart shareholder meeting, saying, "You should pay everyone at least 15 bucks an hour. By the way, you should put a -- you know, an employee, an hourly worker on your board."

What do you think resonates more within the Democratic Party right now?

MCINTOSH: I mean, I think Bernie taking it to Walmart on behalf of the workers is a great look for him and super-resonant with the Democratic Party right now. I'm excited to see that part of the campaign.

The fact that he can use his platform as he's running to possibly affect social change even before we have a nominee --


MCINTOSH: -- I think that's a great way to spend --


MCINTOSH: -- the next few months of this very protracted primary.

SCIUTTO: Yes. A sitting president might call that a victory, if he gets it before the election, you know --


SCIUTTO: -- not a bad thing to have on his resume.

HARLOW: Interesting.

SCIUTTO: Jess McIntire --

HARLOW: Thanks, Jess.


SCIUTTO: -- thanks very much. Always good to have you.

[10:43:00] HARLOW: In an industry that has largely supported the president, now automakers could be the ones to suffer. They will suffer, by the way, if these tariffs go in effect against Mexico. We will hear from autoworkers both for and against these tariffs, next.


SCIUTTO: Many of those states that produce a lot of America's autos supported President Trump during the 2016 election. But now it could be, this industry, among the hardest hit by the president's tariff threats against Mexico.

TEXT: Potential Impact of Mexico Tariffs on U.S. Auto Industry: $59 billion in auto parts imported into U.S. in 2018; Additional $52 billion in completed cars imported in 2018; Deutsche Bank: If tariffs reach 25 percent, estimated average of $1,300 will be added to price of U.S. cars

SCIUTTO: Last year alone, the U.S. imported $59 billion -- that's billion -- in auto parts from Mexico. It also imported an additional $52 billion in finished cars.

HARLOW: So what would tariffs mean? Deutsche Bank says that if the tariffs on Mexico reach 25 percent, as the president has said could happen as soon as October, that would mean the cost of every car sold in the U.S. that comes from Mexico would be $1,300 more expensive. So let's go to our national correspondent Erica Hill. She is live in the Motor City this morning.

I'm so interested in what the actual workers who make the cars are telling you about that.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So there's so much talk about what these tariffs could potentially do to prices. Of course, the trickle-down effect has people here talking about what the impact could be on their jobs. And like most things these days, the answer to that question really depends on who you ask.


HILL (voice-over): A proud third-generation Chrysler employee, Chris Vitale works on the engines of the future.

CHRIS VITALE, PROTOTYPE MECHANIC: I am the engineer's hands. I put things together.

HILL (voice-over): For years, politicians have campaigned for the support of the country's nearly 1 million autoworkers. Now, their future is linked to immigration. And the president's push for stronger borders.

VITALE: I feel like he wouldn't have to resort to that if we had a Senate and a Congress that would enforce the borders.

HILL (voice-over): Vitale, who voted for Obama twice, supports President Trump and his tactics.

VITALE: People have endured much worse than expensive avocados or a few more dollars here and there, you know, to protect the country. And I think that this is valid, what he's doing.

[10:50:04] SEAN CRAWFORD, G.M. AUTO WORKER: I think it's the wrong way to go about doing it. It makes us look awful in the eyes of the world. And quite honestly, I'm ashamed.

HILL (voice-over): Sean Crawford just moved back to his hometown for a job at G.M.'s Flint, Michigan facility, after the auto giant announced plans to close the plant where he worked.

CRAWFORD: I've really seen the ups and downs of the auto industry.

HILL (voice-over): He worries about his future under Trump.

CRAWFORD: If you raise the price of these products, less people are going to buy them. It's just common-sense economics. And if less people buy these products that I'm building every day, then they're going to have to lay people off.

HILL: How quickly do you think that could happen?

CRAWFORD: Well, in the contract it says they only have to give you 24-hour notice.

ANN WILSON, MOTOR AND EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION: This industry will not be able to survive in its current form with the increasing number of tariffs for Mexican goods. It just will not work. And this will directly and immediately affect the American consumer.

HILL (voice-over): After 25 years in the volatile industry, Vitale believes they can weather a storm. And he's confident this president has his back.

VITALE: The idea that somebody would actually fight for us after being told for years and years, "Oh, you don't matter. You're going the way of the buggy whip." He's won legions of fans for -- just for doing that.


HILL: Now, while they may disagree on these proposed tariffs and their impact, both gentlemen did say to me they're happy to see the president is tackling NAFTA. They believe it should have been renegotiated years ago.

They also pointed out that they were both glad to see that wages for Mexican workers are being addressed in the USMCA. The concern now, of course, is what these tariffs could do to the USMCA and whether that is now in jeopardy -- Poppy, Jim.

HARLOW: That's exactly the question, Erica. Thank you so much. It's important to hear from them. We appreciate it. SCIUTTO: Well, helicopter rescue turned into a dramatic ride. Who or

what was in that basket? Look at these pictures here --

HARLOW: Oh my gosh.

SCIUTTO: -- when it started spinning out of control.


[10:56:29] SCIUTTO: Seven million people are now under flood warnings this morning as communities along the Mississippi brace for that river to crest once again.

HARLOW: Yes. It is just horrendous, what's happening in the Midwest. People living near the Missouri and Arkansas River, also dealing with major flooding right now.

On top of it, severe storms expected to hit over the next few days. It could get a lot worse, with some parts of the country likely seeing up to half a foot of rain. Let's go to our colleague Dan Simon. He's in St. Louis.

So, I mean, it's already so bad and it's going to get worse. How is the city preparing?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Poppy, Jim. First of all, this is just kind of a crazy sight that we're seeing in downtown St. Louis. This gives you an idea of the conditions here. Look at this roadway that is totally submerged. You can see the lamppost in the background. That gives you a sense in terms of how high the water has risen. This is all Mississippi River that has flooded this roadway.

We're talking about 400 roads that have been closed as a result of the flooding throughout the state of Missouri. And in addition to that, you got a couple of dozen levees that have been breached.

Now, some of the folks who have been impacted the most by all of this, of course, are the farmers who just cannot get out in their fields and plant their crops because the fields are just inundated by water.

But in terms of what people are doing today, up and down the river, you see people filling up sandbags, doing the best they can to try to protect their homes and their businesses. But, you know, with more rain in the forecast, who knows what is going to happen.

We know that the National Guard is out in force, trying to assist folks as best they can -- Poppy, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Goodness. Farmers can't plant their crops.

Making matters worse, we understand that a water pumping station failed, leading to further issues. Tell us what you know.

SIMON: Right. This was quite a situation. You had a pumping station that sort of feeds the downtown area. And as a result, you had many businesses and hotels that did not have hot water. And it happened really at a bad time, as the St. Louis Blues, of

course, are in the Stanley Cup finals a couple days ago. You had all these guests coming to the city to watch that game, they had no hot water in their hotel rooms, not to mention the hotels that rely on hot water, the restaurants that rely on hot water just to, you know, service their needs.

Apparently, they're working overtime to try to get that situation under control, but that just gives you another example of what they're dealing with, with this historic situation. They haven't seen anything like this, really, since 1993 -- Poppy, Jim.

HARLOW: Gosh. Dan Simon, I'm glad you're there. Thank you very much. We're going to keep watching this because it's not just St. Louis. I mean, this is happening all over the Midwest.

SCIUTTO: Every other day, yes. You're seeing it.

HARLOW: It keeps getting worse and the rain, it keeps coming. OK. We'll stay on it.

In the meantime, take a look at this video. This is in Phoenix, Arizona. And in that carrier is a 75-year-old woman who was injured while hiking. She needed to be airlifted off the mountain. All of a sudden, things went very wrong.

SCIUTTO: Goodness. It had to be just miserable in there. You can see the basket, spinning completely out of control. Officials say the woman did feel nauseous and dizzy after being whipped around --

HARLOW: I mean --

SCIUTTO: -- of course she would. But thankfully, she is expected now to be OK.

HARLOW: Wow. Pretty remarkable.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I wonder how they were able to stop it. Because you can't land it, right?

HARLOW: Of course.

SCIUTTO: Because it's going to be hitting things on the ground. Goodness.

HARLOW: I guess I just thought that those things were made to not do that.


HARLOW: To prevent against that. OK. We're glad she's OK.

Thanks for joining us. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

[11:00:01] SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" with our colleague Kate Bolduan starts right now.