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One Killed, Five Hurt In Deadly Crane Collapse In Dallas; Beyond The Call Of Duty: Honoring The Fallen On The Baseball Field; Former Obama Adviser Says Trump Is Using Obama's Playbook. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 10, 2019 - 07:30   ET



[07:31:32] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you see that? A piece of wood just flew off the -- oh my God, the crane is falling over. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, that was incredible video capturing the moment that a construction crane fell onto an apartment building in Dallas. One person was killed, five others hurt, two of them in critical condition this morning.

Joining us now is a resident of that building that was hit by the crane, Sammy Sandquist. And, former federal crane accident investigator and a former crane operator himself, Thomas Barth. He joins us by phone. Thank you both for being here.

Sammy, tell us what -- as I understand it, you were walking up to your building as this happened. Tell us what happened at the moment.

SAMMY SANDQUIST, WITNESSED DALLAS CRANE COLLAPSE: When we got there we could see that there were fire trucks and ambulances that had started to arrive on the scene. We had walked up to see what was happening. Things weren't quite taped off yet. We couldn't really see all the damage that had been done.

We knew that the crane had fallen, but right when we saw it we could actually see how much damage had actually been done and were starting to see what had actually happened.

CAMEROTA: It's so scary. We're looking at the aftermath right now of your building where the crane had fallen. Was that your -- I mean, how close is your apartment to where it fell?

SANQUIST: So, we know that the crane had gone through a few of the walls and is by where the pool is, which is in the interior of the apartment. And so, we don't know how much, if any, damage was done to our apartment. We have no idea how much damage was done to one of our vehicles --

it's in there. It was on the top floor and we know that there was structural damage from every level of the parking garage and every level of the apartment building, so we don't know if it's still there. We don't know if it's at the bottom of the pile.

We have no idea what damage is done to our apartment. We don't know yet.

CAMEROTA: When do they -- you haven't been able to get back into your apartment, obviously, since this happened. When do they think you will be able to check your belongings and see your home?

SANDQUIST: Hopefully, today we can go in. We're not sure if we'll be -- if we can get in. We'll be escorted by somebody to get to our room.

We know that nobody will be able to be living there, if at all, for at least 48 hours. But -- so we're just going to -- hopefully, we'll have the chance to go in at some point today and grab some of our belongings and then we'll just be waiting to see what next steps are.


Thomas, as I said, for 38 years you were a crane operator, inspector, and instructor. What do you think when you see -- when you see this accident, why do you say this didn't have to happen?

THOMAS BARTH, FORMER FEDERAL CRANE ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR (via telephone): Well, the reason I say that is there was nobody on the job.

CAMEROTA: What does that mean?

BARTH: It was -- it happened on the weekend. Why didn't anybody check the weather for the weekend knowing that this storm was coming in? Why didn't they prepare the crane for --

CAMEROTA: What would that have entailed? If they -- if they had been able to know this storm was coming in or if they'd somehow been prepared, what would "prepare the crane" have looked like?

BARTH: One of the things that I would suggest, and a lot of people do it, is they tie a heavy weight on the crane for the boom tank to go over backwards or anything like that or they let the crane weathervane.

There's a lot of information that I don't have. I've seen it on video and high winds blew it over backwards. And these cranes are able to withstand winds up to 140-miles-an-hour.

[07:35:10] Was it installed properly? These are things will come out later in the investigation of why it happened. This crane should not have gone over backwards.

CAMEROTA: Wow. And so, if they did not prepare it, as you're suggesting, with a heavy weight tied to it, why not?

BARTH: Money. Nobody's taken -- you know, there was a crane accident over in Mecca a few years ago. High winds tipped it over. We had the dangling crane in New York. High winds tipped it over, you know.

And, inexperienced people. The industry has grown so fast for cranes, a lot of people are doing things that are pushed into these positions without the proper training.

CAMEROTA: That's really chilling, actually, to hear.

Sammy, when you hear that this accident didn't have to happen -- that a crane like that should have been able to sustain -- I think the winds in Dallas were 70 miles per hour -- that it should have been able to sustain that, what do you think?

SANDQUIST: It really just breaks your heart. I mean, the things that we saw yesterday and what we were going through seeing people who -- at some points, people didn't know where their friends were, people had no idea where their animals were.

Luckily, I was with my fiance at the time and we just moved here so we were together -- we could be together. But, knowing that that didn't have to happen -- it just changes your whole entire self. You just completely change and you view things like -- it just really breaks your heart and you want to just wish you could go back in time and make sure that none of this ever happened in the first place.

CAMEROTA: Yes, understood.

Sammy Sandquist, Thomas Barth, thank you both very much for being with us this morning.


CAMEROTA: Obviously, we're monitoring the progress of the people who are still in the hospital.

But our best to you, Sammy. We hope you get back into your home soon.

SANDQUIST: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thomas, thank you very much for all that information.

BARTH: You're welcome. Thank you -- bye-bye.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I've got to say, really scary. We've got a whole bunch of cranes right outside the window in this building now and a lot of construction going on.

CAMEROTA: And, everywhere, as he points out. So many cities have cranes dotting the skyline everywhere and obviously, you have to have been trained as well as he has to know what you're doing.

BERMAN: All right. So, the Trump reelection campaign looks just like the Obama reelection campaign in 2012. It's not me saying that, it's the press secretary for the Obama campaign. Ben LeBolt joins us, next.


[07:42:09] CAMEROTA: In the shadows of Yankee Stadium, kids have been playing baseball on the Michael Buczek Ball Field for more than three decades, not just for the love of the game but also to honor those who have gone beyond the call of duty.

Here's Brynn Gingras.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the Yankees versus the Mets --


GINGRAS (voice-over): -- but this isn't the Subway Series and these athletes aren't playing for big bucks.


GINGRAS (voice-over): On the back of 12-year-old Michael Pena's jersey is the name "Office Michael Buczek.

JOHNNY MOYNIHAN, NYPD SERGEANT, RUNS MICHAEL BUCZEK LITTLE LEAGUE: I was a friend of Michael Buczek and when he was killed in the line of duty -- he was killed by drug dealers -- he was only 24 years old. And I was 23 years old at the time and it really just hit me hard.

GINGRAS (voice-over): That was 31 years ago. Every year since, boys and girls have been coming to the Michael Buczek Ball Field in Washington Heights. It was the Buczek family who started the league as a way to give back to the community he patrolled.

Johnny Moynihan, now a 33-year veteran with the department, immediately took the reins.

MOYNIHAN: Really, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.

GINGRAS (voice-over): After 9/11, Moynihan added the names of every NYPD officer killed in the line of duty to the back of the jerseys.

MOYNIHAN: None of the kids were number one. All the number ones hang for the hero for that team.

GINGRAS (on camera): Tell me what it's like to come to the field and see your brother's name on the back of the shirts of these kids.

MARTIN HOBAN, BROTHER OF OFFICER CHRISTOPHER HOBAN: It's nice, it's nice. It makes me feel good knowing that good things are coming out of the tragedies that happened. MICHAEL WILLIAMS, FATHER OF OFFICER MICHAEL WILLIAMS: And as it turned out, this was probably more of an honor than having his name on a wall down in Washington. And that's an honor, I'll tell you.

MOYNIHAN: If we don't remember the heroes that laid down their lives for our city, then who are we as human beings?

GINGRAS (voice-over): Moynihan estimates 10,000 kids have come through the league. Nearly 40 have grown up to become officers in the NYPD. Some have come back to coach.


GINGRAS (voice-over): Officer Frankie Diaz does both.

DIAZ: I played with Johnny when I was seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12. It was our safe haven in the community. The least I could do, growing up in this neighborhood, is give back and teach the kids what I was taught.

Marcus, I need runs this inning, all right?

Just so the kids can see someone else aside from the uniform and just an authoritative figure. They see someone -- oh, this is Coach Frankie.

MOYNIHAN: Marcus batting fourth and catching.

We're really trying to build major league citizens one game at a time and that's our motto. And if we can accomplish that we've more than done our jobs.

GINGRAS (on camera): Do you think you want to be a cop, yourself?

PENA: Yep, if I don't become a baseball player.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: It's a lovely story.

All right, is President Trump's 2020 campaign taking a page out of former President Obama's playbook? Our next guest says yes and he's warning that Democrats could end up hopelessly behind before the general election even begins.

[07:45:09] Joining me now is Ben LeBolt, former national press secretary for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. Ben, thanks so much for being with us.

You wrote this column, which I have to say sent shockwaves throughout the Democratic establishment because of this sentence. "What worries me is that I've implemented many aspects of the strategy that the Trump campaign has been executing. This is the way Obama did it." What do you mean?

BEN LEBOLT, FORMER NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY FOR BARACK OBAMA'S 2012 REELECTION CAMPAIGN: Well, I've been taking a look at how the primary process is playing out and we have 23 candidates competing on the Democratic side of the aisle.

We have a number of great candidates who could all beat President Trump, but that has left Donald Trump with a free year as Democrats have focused on winning the primary and meeting targets like qualifying for the DNC debates.

At the same time, the Trump campaign has been building. They've been advertising in battleground states. His campaign manager is fundraising. They're focusing on the long game and on messaging that could win him the general election.

That's the exact same thing that we did on the Obama campaign in 2011 when "The New York Times" had run statistical analysis that said that President Obama only had a 17 percent chance of winning in 2012 based on the historic economic indicators of whether a president's reelected.

I don't blame the primary campaigns. They're doing the job they need to do.

But I believe that the DNC and allied organizations need to start advertising in battleground states now to make sure that Donald Trump doesn't set the terms for the general election before we've even selected a nominee.

BERMAN: You're saying there needs to be a national cohesive anti- Trump message from the party or from non-candidate groups. What exactly would you target?

LEBOLT: Well, I would look at states like Ohio, and states like Wisconsin, and states like Minnesota and Florida. They may be a little bit later on the primary calendar where there's a group of undecided voters that are likely to be undecided a month before the election next year that we can begin to talk to.

They're focused on their families and their lives. They don't tend to be overly political. And they often make decisions late about who they're going to vote for.

And they need to be reminded that Donald Trump raised taxes on them if they live in a state that had a state where local tax exemption. They need to be reminded that his immigration policy has resulted in kids being detained in cages on the border.

That's not who we are. I think everyone knows, who follows politics --


LEBOLT: -- how offensive and terrible this presidency has been. BERMAN: You --

LEBOLT: But we need to reach persuadable voters today and that's what the Trump campaign is doing. And, Democrats have been silent in front of those voters.

BERMAN: And you're also saying that you're not saying that current Democratic candidates need to do that. It's more of a party or outside group thing.

But you do have a word of warning for the current candidates, which is about the idea of a purity test.

You say, "The Democratic candidates should be careful not to get caught up in a primary debate that rewards purity over preparing a precise plan to win the broadest set of voters in order to halt President Trump's historic assault on Democratic" -- that's big "D" -- "and democratic" -- small "d" -- "values."

What do you mean there?

LEBOLT: Well, I think a number of candidates have made commitments that may constrain us in the general election.

So, for example, some have committed not to participate in high-dollar fundraisers. Now look, I believe in campaign finance reform, I believe in publicly-financed elections. I believe the best way to get there is to elect a Democratic president who is committed to those reforms.

But if the -- if the Trump campaign entertained entreaties from the Russians and WikiLeaks the last time around, Lord knows what they'll do to win reelection this time around. And I get concerned when we make commitments that will constrain our ability to win and fight on an uneven playing field in the general election.

BERMAN: What will you say to Democrats who look at some of the poll numbers and say the president's approval is at 41 or 42 percent, who say that more than 50 percent of people say they would never vote to reelect the president, so Democrats might be thinking we've got this in the bag? What's your message to them?

LEBOLT: Well, I think we thought we had it in the bag in 2016.

And I'm not being overly pessimistic here. This wasn't meant to wave the white flag. This was meant to say now is the time to engage and take a look at what the president's doing. Don't assume that his Twitter feed communicates everything the campaign is doing.

Outside Democratic organizations spent $900 on advertising on Facebook in the past 90 days.

The Trump campaign has been spending tens of thousands of dollars since the beginning of the year. They're targeting persuadable voters with a general election message. That's a sophisticated effort. That started in January. [07:50:06] We need to match that and we need to take nothing for granted. Everything's on the line.

BERMAN: And it also paints the president trying to define Joe Biden right now, which has been criticized by some in the White House. It paints that in a little bit of a different picture he's laying some groundwork maybe for something down the down.

Ben LeBolt, great to have you on. Thanks so much for the discussion -- Alisyn.

LEBOLT: Thanks for having me, John.

CAMEROTA: All right, John.

The Trump administration just silenced one of its own officials because he was about to testify on climate change. We'll bring you the story in our reality check.


CAMEROTA: Time for "CNN Business Now." Dow futures are up and now more executives are speaking out on a polarizing social issue.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us with more -- Christine.

[07:55:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Hi, guys. I'll get to that issue in just a minute, but let's talk about markets here.

Wall Street -- Wall Street looking like it tried to build on the best week of the year. You've got futures higher here, up a little bit. But last week was a strong week and the Dow closed up 263 points on Friday, snapping what had been a 6-week losing streak.

For the week, the Dow closed up almost five percent, the best week of the year and the first five days in a row of gains since January.

So why? What changed? Well, investors are now confident that the Federal Reserve will be the stabilizer for the president's experiments in trade and they could cut interest rates to buffer the economy -- to help the economy.

A surprisingly low -- weak jobs report also added to that expectation. The economy added only 75,000 jobs last month and that's the latest sign of a softening American economy.

Now, new this morning, top executives from more than 180 companies have a message for lawmakers. Restricting abortion is bad for business.

A letter endorsed by a bunch of business leaders appeared as a full- page ad in today's "New York Times," saying, "It's time for companies to stand up for reproductive health care." Yelp, Slack, Tinder, H&M, Postmates, Uber, Mac Cosmetics all on this list of endorsers. Now, these companies say "Limiting access to comprehensive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence, and economic stability of our employees and our customers," adding that "strict abortion laws are against our values."

You'll recall last month, three of the world's biggest entertainment companies --Netflix, Disney, and WarnerMedia -- all said they may stop producing movies and T.V. shows in Georgia if that state's heartbeat law takes effect, you guys.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans. Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting.

BERMAN: Watching that closely.

Climate change is, of course, a global crisis but don't fret. The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, he has a solution.

John Avlon with a reality check -- John.


So, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finally has a plan to deal with climate change. You should get ready to move, as in relocate -- seriously.

In an interview with "The Washington Times," Pompeo said, quote, "Societies reorganize, we move to different places. We develop technology and innovation. We will do the things necessary as the climate changes."

Now, I'm all for innovating our way out of a problem but that requires admitting you have a problem, and that's what the Trump administration refuses to do as a matter of policy when it comes to climate change.

Now, Pompeo dusted off the climate change denials line that, quote, "The climate's been changing a long time. There's always changes that take place."

Which, not coincidentally, echoes his boss earlier in the week.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that there is a change in weather and I think it changes both ways.


AVLON: Now, Pompeo also used the interview to blast the Paris Climate Accords, calling it "aspirational" and its mechanisms "near non- existent." But still, somehow, putting a, quote, "real burden on ordinary people in places like Kansas that I come from."

And speaking of burdens on ordinary people in places like Kansas, the state and the region is suffering from disastrous flooding, from record-smashing rainfall in May, with another five inches falling just in the last week alone.

Roads are closed, railroads severely damaged. They can't be fixed until things dry out.

And shipments are backing up. That puts pressure on trucking companies.

It turns out that climate change maybe isn't good for shipping lanes, as Pompeo said ahead of a meeting at the Arctic Council.

Now, this is all in line with what the EPA warned in 2016. Quote, "Kansas' climate is changing. The soil is becoming drier. Rainstorms are becoming more intense and floods are becoming more severe."

Even the current administration's own climate change assessment singles out Kansas and its neighbors for some of the worst effects of climate change.

Now, Kansas can expect to see average temperatures rise as much as four degrees by the end of the century, leaving the catastrophic cycle of more flooding, and more droughts, and more wildfires.

And get this. Kansas can also expect to see its number of days over 100 degrees to explode by as much as 30. Think about that. Thirty additional days of triple-digit temperatures.

So, when Pompeo blithely talks about relocation, he's not just talking about folks in coastal Florida. He's talking about friends and neighbors in his native Kansas, whether he knows it or not.

Denial is not a strategy but the Trump administration is committed to this ostrich-like approach, even trying to shut down -- shut up its own experts that don't fit the party line. And here's the latest example.

"The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" reporting that the White House went to unprecedented lengths to silence a State Department senior intelligence analyst simply because his congressional testimony called climate change "possibly catastrophic."

Trump officials marked up almost every page of the original draft, objecting to scientific facts it contained, like stating the past five years have been the warmest on record. Then the administration took the extraordinary step of refusing to OK the written testimony for the permanent congressional record.

Now, the State Department refused to change it and the analyst testified before Congress on Wednesday anyway, proving that the Trump administration can continue to use its own hot air to fight hot temperatures. But ultimately, the truth will out.

And that's your reality check.

CAMEROTA: I'm so glad you keep doing this topic. This is so helpful, John. Thank you very much -- AVLON: Unbelievable.

CAMEROTA: -- for that.

All right. Baseball legend David Ortiz has been shot in the Caribbean. We have the video of it and details of the shooting. So, NEW DAY continues right now.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running for president to beat Donald Trump.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nineteen of the 23 candidates making.