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Biden Campaign Amends Climate Plan; Three Americans Found Dead in Dominican Republic Hotel; New Cuba Travel Restrictions; Former School Officer Charged in Parkland Shooting. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 5, 2019 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Many climatologists say support for environmental justice programs and then also, I'm told, but we didn't include it, the workforce retraining that is so important because, you know, that's what -- I mean Hillary Clinton said, well, we all know that, you know, coal --


CAMEROTA: Coal, you know, jobs are going away. Obviously that gets people's attention in a negative way.


CAMEROTA: And so the retraining seems that it would be vital.

So what do you see here, J. Mart?

MARTIN: Look, I think that it's a very ambitious plan. I think net zero by 2050 is not as fast as Governor Inslee, for example, but it's pretty ambitious. And it's the kind of thing that would, I think, give the GOP some fodder in a general election. But that -- that is not Biden's challenge right now. His challenge is first surviving this Democratic primary.

And as Josh said, I think part of the reason that Biden moved to this plan as fast as he did, it's his second major policy rollout after education, is because there was that Reuters story where there was a quote from an adviser saying he wanted to find a middle ground on the environment. Of course, that set off alarm bells on the left. And this is Biden's way of saying, you know, yes, tonally I'm going to be more moderate and consensus oriented and I'm somebody that can work with the Republicans and that wants to heal the breach. But, on the substance of policy, I am not some kind of, you know, DLC-type figure who wants to only find safe ground. And that does reflect, I think, the Democratic Party today that wants to turn to a more ambitious agenda.

BERMAN: And, very quickly, Josh, the controversy was this, that several lines in the proposal itself, no that bidden spoke, but in the proposal itself were lifted word-for-word from some progressive think tanks. And the Biden campaign was forced to put out a statement saying several citations, some from sources cited in other parts of the plan, were inadvertently left out of the final version of the 22-page document. As soon as we were made aware of it, we updated to include the proper citations.

Now, this is a really sensitive issue for Joe Biden and one I'm sure he wishes the campaign didn't slip into, correct?

JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, because it, of course, calls to mind the 1987 plagiarism scandal where Biden plagiarized a speech from a British politician that ended up driving him out of the race about a week later.

Look, I think this is a reminder that a Joe Biden presidential campaign is like a walk through a minefield. You know, he has a long history of gaffs and problems. And having a plagiarism incident like this flare up, even if it was a staffer and not Joe Biden, is enough to begin to do some doubts, I think, in people who, you know, may be on the fence about Biden, may want to look somewhere else.

BERMAN: I will just say, Chris Coons, who we had on in the first hour, had a really interesting defense to this, though, which is, come on, guys, I mean this compared to the things that Democrats say the president is getting away with, that might be something the Democrats use to offset any potential gaffs or problems that arise during the campaign.

CAMEROTA: I mean, not only that, don't you go to the experts, to the experts' website and lift some of their terminology and put it into your -- like, I don't -- I don't know that --

BERMAN: That's a footnote. But that's --


GREEN: No. No, you cite where you get your information from otherwise it's plagiarism. That's what --


CAMEROTA: Citing, right. So it's the citations --

GREEN: That's what got him into trouble in the first place.

CAMEROTA: I hear you. I hear you.

MARTIN: I think two things. I think it's an unforced error that he should obviously not have made that is a distraction from his policy. And, secondly, I think the -- most Democratic primary voters aren't going to even be aware of it.

CAMEROTA: Well, here is President Trump talking about climate change, just for an interesting contrast. He doesn't understand, I guess, or doesn't at least draw the distinction -- or doesn't think there is a distinction, I guess I should say, between weather and climate. Here's what he said after his talk with Prince Charles, who, for whom this is a very important topic. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that there's a change in weather and I think it changes both ways. Don't forget, it used to be called global warming. That wasn't working. Then it was called climate change. Now it's actually called extreme weather.


CAMEROTA: Well, there's your contrast, J. Mart. That's different than the plan that Biden has out.

MARTIN: Right. Right. I mean the president is just sort of, you know, acting in his role as kind of the bystander in chief commenting on the passing scene there, which obviously -- what it used to.

So, yes, I mean, this is what sort of Democrats are looking at, which is a president who has not taken steps to address climate change. In fact, doesn't even believe necessarily in the science.

And I can't -- I think that this presidency is what is causing the sort of -- the reaction among Democrats. I think there were -- you know, there's less room now among Democrats for a sort of moderate, consensus oriented flavor because of this president's cavalier views on issues like climate change. It just -- it strikes people as insufficient to have a Democrat who is not coming back with something in full force, aggressive, bold and ambitious, when you've got a president in office talking like that.

And the question for Biden, to bring it back full circle is, can he get away with being tonally moderate, but at the same time more progressive on policy --

[08:35:08] BERMAN: Right.

MARTIN: And still appeal to this Democratic base in a Trump era.

BERMAN: Hence the proposal on climate change he put forward yesterday.

Josh Green, Jon Martin, thank you very much for being with us.

CAMEROTA: All right, there is a mystery in the Dominican Republic right now. Three Americans have been found dead inside the same hotel in less than a week. What is causing their deaths? A live report, next.


BERMAN: All right, a mystery is growing in the Dominican Republic this morning. Three Americans discovered dead in the same hotel in the span of five days.

CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now with the latest on this investigation.

Martin, what's going on here?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Yes, a lot of people love going to the Dominican Republic. This is no reason to change your plans, but it is reason to pay attention.

May 25th is when 41-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner and her husband Dan check into a Bahia Principe Hotel. That's in La Romana, located in the Dominican Republic. They're celebrating a wedding anniversary. They spend the day taking photos, having a good time.

[08:42:02] Getting ready for dinner, around 7:30 at night, she has a drink from the mini bar and that's when things begin to spiral out of control. She is suddenly in physical pain. She calls out to her husband, collapses on the floor. He calls the hotel paramedics. They get there, but she dies in the hotel room.

Same day, another American couple checks into the same resort, 63- year-old Nathaniel Holmes, 49-year-old Cynthia Ann Day, they're from Maryland. They're celebrating the fact they're getting married. And they spend five days in this resort. The day they're supposed to check out, they don't check out. Hotel staff members go to their room, find them both dead.

Now, an autopsy in their case revealed that they had died of apparently respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. Both of them dying of the same exact condition.

Well, that's when the family of Schaup-Werner began to say, well, wait a minute here, same resort, three people died within five days, there's something wrong. They report it to the State Department. The State Department is investigating here.

The toxicology reports, which we have not heard about yet, are going to be apparently key in trying to determine what mysteriously killed all three.


CAMEROTA: Yes, Martin, we need to know much more about this investigation. Thank you very much.

So the Trump administration announcing major restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba. They're banning many education and recreational trips, including all cruise ships.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is live in the Port of Havana with more.

What's this about, Patrick.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you see behind me, by the end of today, will be illegal. That's a U.S. cruise ship, the Empress of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's ship here, this is the last U.S. cruise ship in Havana. And by the end of the day, under new restrictions that were released yesterday by the Trump administration, that will be illegal and it will also be illegal for Americans to come to Cuba under the most common way they have been coming here for the last several years, which is so called people to people travel. SO cruise ship travel is ending. The cruise ships tell us that they are reassessing, that they're looking at if there's a work around. But privately industry experts say that the new laws make it impossible for them to continue cruising to Cuba.

Airlines, which also have direct travel service under the Obama opening to Cuba, say that they will no longer, as of today, accept people to people travel. Reservations, that that is going away. There are still other ways to come to Cuba if you're American, but it's going to become much more difficult.

The administration says they're doing this because of Cuba's support of the Maduro regime in Venezuela and that too much of the American money, too much of the tourism dollars that comes here goes directly to the Cuban government and they're trying to force the Cuban government to stop their support of the Maduro regime in Venezuela. But the Cuban government says they have endured U.S. sanctions for 60 years and they're not buckling under this new pressure.


CAMEROTA: Really interesting developments. Patrick, thank you very much for that live report.

Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 11:30 a.m. ET, Sanders Walmart speech.

11:45 a.m. ET, Trump Irish prime minister meeting.

12:30 p.m. ET, Biden in Boston.


BERMAN: A former school resource officer is facing charges for not running into the Parkland high school to stop the massacre, but will the charges he's facing hold up in court? Our legal experts discuss, next.


[08:48:03] BERMAN: Former Broward Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson arrested yesterday in connection to last year's school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The state attorney says it was Peterson's duty to protect the students and he failed to do so. Peterson faces 11 criminal charges and up to 96 years in prison.

I want to bring in our legal analysts Joey Jackson and Paul Callan.

Let me put these charges up on the screen now. Seven counts of child neglect, three count of culpable negligence, one count of perjury.

Joey, do these charges make sense?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Listen, this was an event of tragic proportions. I think that anyone who witnessed it, certainly the families and certainly the victims who have endured this, it's unspeakable. And I think that it gives us all pause and it really wants us to get accountability.

That being said, I think that accountability has to lie where it lies. And I think in these charges, as a factual matter, if we argue factually whether the charges should be applied, I think everyone, even the audience and viewers will say absolutely yes. But as a legal and practical matter, they're dangerous, and let me talk about why.

In terms of the perjury charge, I think it's a no-brainer. If anyone lies, obviously there's criminal statutes that provide that your duty is to tell the truth. And to the extent that you don't, you need to be held accountable. When you start looking to hold police officers or resource officers accountable criminally like this, it becomes problematic for two reasons. Number one, it's not constitutional. The Supreme Court has addressed that issue in 2005, Scalia, in fact, and what they said was police don't have a duty, a responsibility, a legal obligation to offer protection.

The second basis, quickly, and that is that under the statute, which provides for caregivers, right, child neglect, a police officer is not a caregiver. So is every officer on a child detail going to be deemed to be a caregiver? I get the sympathetic facts. Certainly this is tragic. But to start criminalizing it is problematic indeed.

CAMEROTA: Paul, he is actually live in a Broward County courtroom right now, Scot Peterson, having to face some of these charges. I think we have some shots of that.

[08:50:02] I mean, so, look, it's -- it's -- as Joey said, it's terribly tragic. In the face of a life and death situation, he choked. But is that criminal?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, customarily, prosecutors do not bring charges like this against the police. This is highly unusual. In fact, there's -- there are some people who worry that it may create a precedent across the United States causing people not to wait for SWAT teams to come in and set up to go after a shooter, but they will -- will act precipitously.

Now, on the other side of this, I've looked carefully at the facts. The warrant for arrest indicates that 75 shots were fired from the time Peterson was at the scene until the time he went and got under cover for himself. Seventy-five shots. He attended a training session that said when a school shooting occurs, you have to assume that every single shot is a person being killed. So you're not supposed to wait around for a SWAT team to come in and set up. You're the only person with a gun. You're supposed to enter that building and protect those children.

Now, Joey raises two interesting questions. One, he says, all right, there's no constitutional duty for the police to protect people. Now, this is kind of a crazy thing that most people would understand, but it is, because otherwise every police officer could be sued for every crime, all right, so that's the reason for that. But there's an exception to the rule. If you hire a police officer for a specific duty, like in this case being the resource officer that he was for over eight years at Parkland, he now has a special duty. And what is his duty? It's to care for the safety of the children. He's the most important caregiver in that building on the issue of safety of the children.

So I say he bears substantial responsibility and they may, in fact, be able to prove a case against him.

BERMAN: Let's me just quickly -- let's hear from some of the parents now because I think this will play a factor.


LORI ALHADEFF, DAUGHTER ALYSSA KILLED IN PARKLAND SHOOTING: He needs to go to jail and he needs to serve a lifetime in prison for not going in that day and taking down the threat and -- that led to the death of our loved ones.

FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER JAIME WAS KILLED IN PARKLAND SHOOTING: He deserves to rot. He is -- he is responsible in large part for why my daughter is gone. And I have no sympathy for him. I'm glad he's been arrested.


BERMAN: Obviously this emotion would be very powerful to a jury, but will a jury hear that?

JACKSON: Look, if a jury hears it, John, Alisyn, they'll convict. There's no question. I think we have to be sympathetic to the parents and what occurred here. It's not going to be a factual issue. If you argued the facts, as Paul laid them out to be, they're damning. I think it's on a legal question. And on the legal question of a constitutional duty, the officer will prevail.

On the legal question of whether he's a caregiver, the officer will prevail. On the legal question of whether this sets a horrific precedent for law enforcement throughout the country that could be charged, I think then it will be overturned on appeal.

CAMEROTA: Joey, Paul, thank you both very much for helping us understand this very strange development.

JACKSON: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right, "The Good Stuff" is next. But first, some more good stuff. Jessica Cox (ph) is the first woman to fly an airplane with just her feet. She was born without arms, but through raw perseverance she earned her wings. Here is her story in today's "Turning Points."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JESSICA COX: I had numerous flight instructors and contributors to my training to figure this out, to figure out, how can you fly an airplane with your feet?

We're in good shape.

I was certified by the FAA to fly in 2008.

In preparation for flying, there is the critical thing being able to reach the yoke with my right foot, also having my left foot there for controlling the throttle and then also be able to reach the radio controls.

I was born without both of my arms. To this day, the doctors don't know the reason why.

At the age of five, I was introduced to two prosthetic arms. So I actually didn't like the prosthetics from the beginning because I could do things better and more efficiently with my feet.

I wanted so much to be normal and I was told too often that I couldn't do something or that I was handicapped, which I absolutely resented the word "handicap."

Other than being a pilot, I'm a certified scuba diver. I've learned how to surf. I'm a cyclist. I love to swim.

I am married and we met through tae kwon do. I'm a third degree black belt in tae kwon do.

When I climb ladders, I use my chin and my shoulder.

I have traveled as a speaker now to 23 countries. I've had role models and leaders and because I've had that now it's my responsibility to be the same for the next generation.



[08:59:00] BERMAN: It is time now for "The Good Stuff."

You're about to meet one special teacher from Denver. Fin Lanning (ph) jumped into action when he found out his 13-year-old student Damian (ph) was sick. It turns out the teenager is in dire need of a kidney and also happens to be homeless.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the course of the years, I ended up in foster homes because of my medical needs.


BERMAN: In order to get a kidney, Damian needed a stable home. So his teacher, Mr. Lanning, took him in. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been weird. Like, at first, he still called me mister a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're planning on just staying together. Hope for adoption probably.


BERMAN: He still called me. You call your teachers mister forever.

The pair remain very optimistic that Damian will soon get a match. What a big heart Mr. Lanning, to bring had in there. And I have to say, hopefully someone will see this and maybe reach out.

CAMEROTA: I hope so too. This is the power of TV. I really hope that we can find a match for him. That's a great story.

[08:59:58] OK, so President Trump is wrapping up his state visit to Britain and he's heading to Ireland later today. So our coverage picks up right now.