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Democratic Presidential Candidates Speak At Forum In South Carolina; Presidential Candidate Beto O'Rourke Supports Study On Reparations; Beto O'Rourke Criticizes Kamala Harris's Statement On Justice Department Investigating Donald Trump After His Presidency; Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) Is Interviewed On Justice Department Agreeing Treasury Department Should Not Provide President Trump's Tax Returns To Congress; U.S. Officials Claim Video Proves Iran Attacked Oil Tankers In Gulf Of Oman; Investigation To Be Restarted Into Flint, Michigan Water Crisis; Police Pull Guns On Pregnant Woman And Children In Phoenix, Arizona; Amanda Knox Returns To Italy To Speak On Her Prison Experience. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 15, 2019 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Minutes ago, Beto O'Rourke talked about the importance of not leaving any voter behind.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are intentionally going everywhere, and intentionally asking everyone to participate and to come in, because intentionally we understand that for this country to be successful, everyone must be included, especially those who have been marginalized and locked out of this country's success in the past. So yes, I want to see everyone.


WHITFIELD: Let's check in now with CNN's Political Reporter, Rebecca Buck. So very important, South Carolina, one of the early primary states. What are the messages that voters are anticipating to hear?

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Fred. Well, today because we are focused here at this forum on economic issues that directly affect African-American voters in particular, we're going to be hearing a lot from these candidates and are hearing a lot from these candidates about how they intend to make the economy more equal for all, give African-Americans and people of color more access to capital to start their businesses, to pursue their entrepreneurial passions, and also diminish the racial wealth gap, close that gap.

Cory Booker, for example, one of the signature policy proposals in this race has been baby bonds, to give each American child a savings account at birth, grow that wealth for them over time. And he says that would help to eliminate the racial wealth gap in this country. So these are the sorts of things we're going to be hearing about today.

But the challenge for all of these presidential candidates here, all four of them here today, and there are going to be two dozen of them here in South Carolina next weekend as well, is to chip away at the support that former Vice President Joe Biden has among African- American voters in particular in South Carolina. Here in South Carolina, African-American voters make up a majority of the electorate for Democratic candidates. They're going to be a force in the Democratic primary here. And Joe Biden has a very strong well of support among these voters.

And so the challenge here today and in the months and weeks to come for the candidates is going to be showing that they are better equipped than Joe Biden to address the problems that these voters care about. That's the process that we're seeing unfold here today, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Rebecca Buck, thank you so much in Charleston, South Carolina.

Let's talk more about this, Congressional Reporter for "The Washington Post" Karoun Demirjian, and history professor from Rice University and CNN Presidential Historian, David Brinkley with me now.

So David, you first. How South Carolina became so incredibly important in selecting a president, and how much more so South Carolina is pivotal in this 2020 race.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, first of all, it's Douglas, not David. So just --

WHITFIELD: So sorry about that. Yes. We knew that.

BRINKLEY: Yes, I know. Look, South Carolina is deeply crucial. I think it's the final stand if Joe Biden is going to get the nomination because Iowa being a caucus, things are going to be up in the air. You never know, anybody who comes one, two, three or four in Iowa is going to be considered a frontrunner. New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren have that in their backyard, and one of them may win.

The big test is the African-American vote and South Carolina is the litmus test. And Joe Biden has had decades of building up civil rights credentials, relationships with Barack Obama and other civil rights leaders, Congressman Clyburn. And so Biden looks pretty good in South Carolina, and the question is can somebody else come in there and beat Joe Biden? If he can roll out of South Carolina, Biden, with a victory, he'll go to California and Nevada, Kamala Harris will probably pick up some support there. But if Biden loses in South Carolina, it doesn't look good for him. So it is it's a big one in 2020 for the Democrats.

WHITFIELD: So Karoun, is it going to boil down to face time, who is spending the most time with South Carolina voters, or is it something else?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think for the people who are challenging Biden that does actually matter quite a bit because they have convincing to do. As you said, Biden has a significant lead among the voters who matter in South Carolina.

And you can't just kind of hope by the virtue of ads and television spots and people catching wind of what you were doing in Iowa that that is going to work to actually change the minds of people who are making this decision and need to be appealed to. So I think that's what you're seeing when you see these other candidates who are trying to move their way up in the polls, trying to battle for these number two, number three positions, and hopefully challenge the frontrunner, trying to put in as much personal time as they can, trying to make a pitch and sell themselves in a different way maybe than they have defined themselves in their entire career.

And that's going to be very vitally important for the people like the Buttigiegs and the O'Rourkes of the world as they're trying to make a play to actually make it into the top standings in South Carolina, which they would have to do in order to be able to build support, as Douglas was saying, into California and the states that are really the big delegate count states that are going to matter in terms of building up their numbers heading into the convention.

[14:05:18] WHITFIELD: And Douglas, really honing in on the disparities of broad brush issues that really impact all Americans. And polling has shown that all Americans are worried about the economy. They're all worried about the minimum wage, raising it, health care, rising costs of education. But particularly in the black community, the disparity is even bigger, and they want that addressed.

Is that largely why Elizabeth Warren seems to be kind of nipping at the heels of what has been second place. Bernie Sanders, these were issues that he has won a lot of applause for. But she came right out of the gate when she launched her campaign, that these are things that she wants to -- the disparities are something she wants to tackle.

BRINKLEY: There's no question Elizabeth Warren has done the best job of promoting issues that Democrats care about. And she has a lot of energy. Beto O'Rourke does, too. She's an incredible campaigner. But in one way, Bernie Sanders is the worst enemy of Senator Warren because they're dividing the same vote.

The fact that they're both running really helps Joe Biden, ironically. And so the question I'd be interested down the line, say, after maybe the first six or seven primaries is will Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders form a team, a coalition of one to try to beat somebody like Biden who might have Kamala Harris more on his side, or she might get the nod. And it will be a fight between the so-called center left and the more leftwing of the party.

But Warren is doing well now. She is breaking through because she's talking straight. And she has a very sharp anti-Trump message, so does Biden. And I think that's why they're doing so well. They're going after the person everybody in the Democratic Party wants rid of.

WHITFIELD: And CNN's Jake Tapper spoke with Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He took issue with Kamala Harris and her comments about what her Department of Justice would look like and what it would do if she were elected. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Your fellow 2020 Democrat, your opponent, Senator Kamala Harris said this week that if she is elected president, her Justice Department would have no choice but to go forward with obstruction of justice charges against President Trump. Would you the Justice Department under a President Buttigieg feel the same way, do the same thing?

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My Justice Department will be empowered to reach its own conclusions.

Two things are true and clear. One, nobody is above the law. And two, the prosecutorial process should have nothing to do with politics. The less this has to do with the president the better. Right now we have a president who seems to think that the president can just dictate what the DOJ is going to do, call for political opponents to be jailed.

I believe that the rule of law will catch up to this president. It doesn't require the Oval Office putting any kind of thumb on the scale. I trust the DOJ to reach the right determinations, at least the DOJ that I would appoint and set up, and the less that has to do with the directives coming out of the White House, the better.

TAPPER: It sounds like you have an issue with Senator Kamala Harris saying that.

BUTTIGIEG: I'm just speaking to how I view the issue. But again, I think we can maintain these two principles, that nobody is above the law, and that prosecution decisions should have nothing to do with politics and should come from the DOJ itself, not from the Oval.


WHITFIELD: So former FBI Director James Comey tweeted about this on the same issue saying "Political candidates and elected officials should not talk about the future prosecution of any individual. Law enforcement decisions must be apolitical." Karoun, is this a big problem for Kamala Harris?

DEMIRJIAN: Well, Harris, her career was as a prosecutor, and there have been some political points to be gained from speaking tough against President Trump and speaking tough first. We saw that happen, people were commenting on impeachment, and then Kamala Harris went there in terms of the DOJ.

It's a little bit shakier just in terms of the fact that the DOJ is supposed to be able to operate independently for her to presume that and to say that on the campaign trail, and certainly she's getting pummeled for it from some of her competitors, and it's very interesting at this point to see a whole bunch of Democrats who are all trying to make themselves the anti-Trump obliquely likening some of their competitors to Trump in the process.

But I'm sure she is going to have to answer for this directly and try to clarify her comments. The question is how heavily does a punch like that from Buttigieg of, look, that's just as bad as what the president is doing effectively is what he is saying, how firmly does that land, and how much of the voters, many of whom are very angry at Trump and would like to potentially see people talk tough about him being prosecuted when out of office, where is their gut on that?

Do they think about the institutional integrity, as Buttigieg is hoping that they do, or is it just kind of the spleen venting that you can tap into with comments like that from Harris, depending on how she plays cleanup on this? We'll see whose message wins out with the voters.

[14:10:21] WHITFIELD: And so Douglas, do you see this underscores a real delicate balance that a lot of these candidates will have in being anti-Trump versus trying to stick with issues that might distinguish themselves and thereby help build some support among voters?

BRINKLEY: Yes, it's the trick that all the Democrats have to figure out how to play that. Remember, Donald Trump's real political hero is Richard Nixon, and Nixon won reelection in the biggest landslide in American history in 1972 because the Democratic Party disdained Nixon so much that the leftwing of the Democratic Party, the real liberals, got energized and chose George McGovern, senator from South Dakota. McGovern got slaughtered by Nixon in a landslide.

If you're Donald Trump, you want to run against someone like Elizabeth Warren. Joe Biden poses a bit of a problem for you because Biden is able to position himself a little bit more to the center, and he's a household name, a vice president for Barack Obama. And Obama's donor list is like the golden standard in the Democratic Party.

Whoever the Obamas eventually rally behind, which will be who the nominee is, the Obamas are going to be super surrogates in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. So I think the whole story in the Democratic Party now is who, it's going to be Biden versus who, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or one of the other up and comers. And they're going to -- yes.

WHITFIELD: OK. And no confusion between Brinkley, the historian Brinkley, the journalist Douglas Brinkley. Thank you so much, Karoun Demirjian, appreciate it.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And you can see that entire interview with Pete Buttigieg tomorrow on "State of the Union." Jake Tapper also talks with Beto O'Rourke. It all starts tomorrow morning at 9:00 Eastern and pacific only on CNN.

Still ahead, the White House is fighting tooth and nail to stop Congress from seeing President Trump's tax returns. They got a boost of support from the DOJ. So what will Congress do now? We'll ask one of the congressmen behind the subpoenas next.

And later, the U.S. says Iran is behind those tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman and says it has the video to prove it. The rising rhetoric in the dispute coming up.


[14:16:19] WHITFIELD: U.S. Justice Department is defending the Treasury Department's refusal to turn over President Trump's tax returns to U.S. Congress. In a new legal opinion, the DOJ argues the request is, I'm quoting now, unprecedented, and raises a, quote, serious risk of abuse, end quote. House Democrats are seeking six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns.

With me now is Congressman Lloyd Doggett. He is a Democratic Representative from Texas and a member of the House Ways and Means, the committee that has subpoenaed the president's tax returns. Congressman, good to see you, thanks so much for being with me. So let me start by getting your reaction to this DOJ legal memo alleging that your committee is motivated by politics, not oversight.

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D), TEXAS: Well, what's unprecedented is a president who as a candidate, unlike Republican and Democratic nominees in the past, refuses to provide the public access to his tax returns, and a president who so intermingles his personal businesses with his public responsibilities now. I think that the committee's request was well justified. And initially Internal Revenue Service counsel felt the same way. And so when Secretary Mnuchin could not determine that the word "shall" means shall, he turned to get a second opinion. That's the one we had yesterday -- 33 pages of legalese to convince us that "shall" does not mean shall.

I think more and more this whole Trump operation looks a little like a criminal organization. Don't talk, don't deliver any documents. If someone is about to talk, they're a rat, in the president's words. You threaten them or you promise some things in return for being part of the crime family. Just yesterday, of course, we found Kellyanne Conway in violation of the law. The president just believes, like Richard Nixon did, that if the president does it, if his organization does it, it's not a violation of the law, that he's above the law. And that's why our Congress is so important to provide some balance, to provide that checks and balances that our founders realized were critical for preserving our democracy.

WHITFIELD: So the president stands behind his adviser Kellyanne Conway and doesn't see that there was any kind of violation of the Hatch Act. So meantime, on this issue of the Treasury Department withholding or standing in the way of the DOJ supporting it, of the release of these taxes from the president, you sent out a statement shortly after that opinion came out from DOJ, and you did have some very strong words particularly for the U.S. Attorney General William Barr, saying, I'm quoting now, "What else but excuses could be expected from an Attorney General who has been acting as the taxpayer financed personal attorney of President Trump." So very strong language there, but what is your hope will happen next?

DOGGETT: Sadly, it's justified by Attorney General Barr's conduct. Where he initially held back the Mueller report, gave the impression that Mr. Mueller had cleared the president. They propagandized. And it is very relevant to these tax returns because it's the same office within the office of the Attorney General that back during the Nixon era said a president couldn't be indicted. That's what handcuffed Mr. Mueller and was really the basis for his report in not finding the president guilty of obstruction. He is a walking bit of obstruction, every day preventing access to information.

[14:20:00] And I think what's more outrageous are the Republicans that sit on their hands, they're silent or they provide excuses. And now some of the responsibility of course falls on us as Democrats to act, to act boldly, and to ensure that we push back against this president. Trump will not yield to timidity. He'll just keep grabbing more and more power.

WHITFIELD: So with this refusal of handing over these documents, tax returns with the Department of Justice supporting that act, it is clear that this is a legal road that is being built. It could take years, could it not?


WHITFIELD: For any lower court and then potentially a U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on this. So given that scope, is it worth it in your view to pursue?

DOGGETT: Well, you are so right about that, because this request was delayed until April, and no legal access has yet been filed to get the returns. It is certain we won't get them this year, and perhaps some challenge to even get them with favorable expedited rulings by the time this Congress ends. And that the total obstruction by Trump has convinced me that we need to institute an impeachment inquiry.

I think the president's conduct is -- certainly involves high crimes and misdemeanors, but I'm not prejudging that for the committee. I just think we need a thorough investigation and a strong pushback immediately to a president who believes he's above the law and who refuses to provide any of the information Congress needs for its overnight function.

WHITFIELD: Congressman Lloyd Doggett, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much.

DOGGETT: Thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: Still more to come, including new accusations against Iran. The U.S. saying the Islamic Republic fired at a U.S. drone right before two attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. More on this escalation in the Middle East, next.


[14:25:41] WHITFIELD: U.S. is leveling new accusations against Iran's possible involvement in two tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. A U.S. official says Iran launched a missile at a U.S. drone flying over the Gulf just hours before the attacks occurred. The drone wasn't hit, and it isn't clear if it was able to capture the full attack on the two ships. Iran continues to maintain it had nothing to do with the attack. Ben Wedeman joining me now from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

So the UAE, an important ally for the U.S. in this region. What has been the reaction there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, it has been a little confused. We heard one statement from the foreign minister here saying that he was referring not that these attacks that happened on Thursday morning, but rather those four tankers that were hit off the coast of the Emirates on the 12th of May. He said that there was no evidence pointing to a particular state's involvement in those attacks.

Then there's been another statement saying that he believes Iran was involved in those attacks. One of those states appeared on Twitter has been deleted. So it's not all together clear what the position of the UAE is at the moment. Certainly President Trump's claims yesterday that Iran was the guilty party was prominently figured in the headlines in the local newspapers here, but the government here is being cautious about pointing a finger directly at Iran.

I think they would like to see an increased naval presence, international naval presence in the Straits of Hormuz and in the Persian Gulf to ensure that there is not a repeat of this sort of incident. But I don't think there's a great appetite for a confrontation with Iran. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: So Ben, you've also characterized the U.S. strategy towards Iran as all carrot, no stick. Explain further on what you mean by that.

WEDEMAN: Well, essentially, since the United States itself unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, even though by all accounts Iran was abiding by the conditions of that deal and slapped some of the harshest economic sanctions on Iran, causing, for instance, the economy to go into free fall. Iran is now exporting a fifth of the oil it was exporting a year ago. And of course, oil is the main source of income for that country where now ordinary people are suffering as a result of these sanctions. And there's no sort of exit ramp for the United States when it comes to this very harsh policy on Iran.

And in a sense the stage has been set for a military confrontation between Iran and the United States, and very little has been offered by the Trump administration, which is sending confusing messages, frankly, that would begin to deescalate this very, very dangerous situation. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Ben Wedeman, thank you so much for all of that, appreciate it.

All right, coming up, years after the Flint water crisis began, prosecutors are now starting a brand-new investigation, citing serious concerns about the previous probe. We'll speak with a Michigan state senator about the situation, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:32:58] WHITFIELD: A restart for the investigation in the Flint water scandal. It has been four years since Flint, Michigan, declared an emergency over its water quality. And this week prosecutors announced they are dismissing all related criminal cases against government officials, and they will start the investigation from scratch. CNN Correspondent Polo Sandoval is live for us in Flint, Michigan. So what is the explanation that we are hearing from prosecutors about all this?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fred, when you hear from those residents of Flint after speaking to them today, I can tell you that there's certainly this growing a sense of outrage, this feeling that has been around for quite some time now, this growing call for accountability.

And so when you hear from people, there certainly seems to be this sense that they wish this case would have been renewed versus dismissed as the attorney general did, and announced earlier this week, basically promising that this case would be revisited, that we could potentially see those charges filed potentially against the same defendants from this round of cases. But as the A.G. said, she was afraid that all available evidence was simply not considered here. So basically what they're doing here is cleaning out the plate and starting from scratch.

But when you hear from residents, including Paul Macintosh, a 52-year- old who wears his community pride on his head, he feels like this is more justice denied more than justice delayed.


PAUL MACINTOSH, FLINT RESIDENT: I think it would be justice denied, but it's still out there enough that they really can't get away with it, and just swipe it up under the table. Everybody knows how politicians are.


SANDOVAL: So Mr. Macintosh and other community members we have heard from today certainly are telling us here that they won't believe this until they actually see it, until they see a potential round of charges that some of those defendants in those previous cases will face.

We should mention this move, announced this week, though, Fred, it does not affect the cases against seven other defendants who had entered guilty pleas in the past. So that's a really important point to make.

And finally, what we're hearing from community members, we are also hearing from some of those who were considered defendants in this case -- in these cases that were dismissed, including Nick Lyon who is one of the highest ranking officials that was facing those charges. Speaking through an attorney, he says he feels vindicated and actually welcomes another round of investigations, Fred.

[14:35:13] WHITFIELD: All right, Polo Sandoval in Flint, Michigan, thanks so much.

Meantime, the mayor of Flint is also responding to the news of these dropped charges, saying it doesn't mean justice will not be served.


MAYOR KAREN WEAVER, (D) FLINT, MICHIGAN: We've always had concerns and wanted people to be held accountable. And that was why I wanted to explain to them, because the headline has been that charges have been dropped or dismissed. But I really do wish the headline had read that new evidence found creating culpability which could lead to conviction, because one of the things we have said is no one has been held accountable for this criminal activity that took place in Flint.

You said people have died as a result of this. And while charges have been brought, there hasn't been enough evidence to convict anybody. And we know there should be evidence. And when it said they found the amount of documents that had not been looked at, that's very troublesome to us.

And while one of the things I told people is we recognize that the wheels of justice move slowly, but it's like the attorney general said, justice delayed does not mean justice denied. And I would like them to be able to introduce all of the evidence and hold people accountable and get some people convicted for what happened in Flint.


WHITFIELD: I'm joined now by the Michigan State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich.

State Senator, good to see you. What is your reaction to starting this investigation over again?

JIM ANANICH (D-MI), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Yes. I live here in Flint, and I feel like most people do -- very frustrated. I'm disappointed. It this feels like we're just never going to get the justice that we deserve. This was done to us. We didn't do this. And the fact that it's been five years and the only people that seem to be doing well are the attorneys that have made millions of dollars on the backs of suffering of my citizens and my neighbors and my friends.

WHITFIELD: So what, if anything, can you or other lawmakers do to help in this restart of an investigation? How can it have an outcome that does indeed substantiate that justice will be served?

ANANICH: Well, I think one of the things we should do and I'll be pushing for is to have some form of audit to make sure that the millions of dollars, upwards of $40 million has been spent and almost no justice has been shown at all, to make sure that we find out exactly where those dollars went, and make sure that going forward that people can no longer milk the taxpayers at the expense and suffering in my town. I think that's one.

I've been using my role to hold anybody accountable, to make sure that an investigation, whatever shape or form it comes in is thorough, it is fair, and it's swift. Obviously, we haven't had the swiftness, but I will continue to hold everyone accountable to make sure that my citizens get the justice they deserve.

And we have -- pipes still haven't been replaced, but every attorney has been paid. I think that people should think about that -- $35 million and then some of attorney fees, and we still have people that are not sure they can drink the water safely. That is just ridiculous.

WHITFIELD: And what are your constituents telling you now that charges have been dropped, there will be a restart in the investigation. Are they saying to you that they are feeling victimized all over again?

ANANICH: Yes, I think so. Yes, I think there's a lot of frustration. They have been lied to. I have been lied to do my face by some of the highest level people in the government. And they feel the same way, that they're just never going to get justice. I take the attorney general at her word when she says this investigation will be much more thorough and much better. And I'm going to hold her to that, and I have no reason to believe she won't do that.

WHITFIELD: What keeps you so optimistic about that?

ANANICH: I'm not saying that I'm optimistic about it. Actions speak a lot louder than words. But I will I'm going to continue to fight for every dime in office to make sure the citizens of Flint get justice. So all I can do is hold her at her word, but I will do everything I can to make sure that it happens.

WHITFIELD: So you underscored it. You have been lied to, and so your faith has been shattered a bit. Many of your constituents really feel like they'll probably never be able to trust government. They won't be able to trust prosecutors. They don't trust the tap water system. So then where are you when you feel like you can't trust anyone with basic trust, basic necessities, basic truth?

ANANICH: Well, I think that's a very good question. I think what we have in this community is we have toxic stress. People are just constantly under a feeling that they can't trust anyone. They don't trust the government that's supposed to protect them. They don't trust the water that comes out of their tap. They don't know if they allow their children or their loved ones to drink the water, are they in harm's way, because the half-life of lead is 20 days.

[14:40:06] You could have ingested lead-filled water for months and not been tested, and then all of a sudden now you find out later on that you know you could have put your kid in harm's way. There's just a lot of anger, there's a lot of fear, there's a lot of lack of trust. It is going to take forever to build this back. And I'll do the best I can to try to help build it back. But I live here in Flint with a three-and-a-half-year-old. So I have some of those same exact feelings.

WHITFIELD: Yes. The reported numbers are 12 killed and more than 80 injured as a result or at least connected to bad water. All right, Michigan State Senator Jim Ananich, thank you for your time.

We'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: Breaking news right now, all flights have stopped in and out of Newark airport, New Jersey. A United Airlines plan coming from Denver skidded off the runway this afternoon. No one is hurt, but all flights are delayed until they can move that aircraft. The aircraft needs to be towed off the airfield, but the left landing gear is stuck in a grassy area.

[14:45:06] So passengers have been evacuated from the plane using the stairs. The FAA currently in route to the airport to begin that investigation.

All right, meantime, a family is taking steps to sue the Phoenix police department for $10 million after police pointed a gun and shouted profanities at them, including their two young children. The parents say it was all because their daughter took a doll from a family dollar store.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the -- car!


WHITFIELD: So the family has filed paperwork indicating that they will sue the police department. CNN National Correspondent, Natasha Chen joining me with all of this. So what do we know about this altercation, how it happened, the videotape that we have all been looking at and trying to understand?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, Fred, it's important first to note that the family says there have been no criminal charges at all, and they were released shortly after this incident. Now, it happened in late May, but this video we're looking at only surfaced earlier this week. And we are not sure who exactly shot the video. We also know that there is no body camera footage from the Phoenix Police Department.

What you're seeing there is an officer frisking the man in a very aggressive manner and then shouting profanities as well. That officer is on nonenforcement duty. Then the other drew a gun on the pregnant fiance but did notice that there were a couple of kids there. So it looks like he put his gun away when he saw those kids. Now, of course a very frightening moment for the whole family. Here is what the dad had to say about it.


DRAVON AMES, STOPPED BY POLICE: We parked in the complex, dropping our daughter off to the babysitter. The next thing you know, a police officer or -- we didn't know who he was, a guy, random guy came up to the car, opened up the door, banging on a window with the gun, saying he's going to shoot us in our face, tell us to get out of the car. We don't know who he is.


CHEN: He says that there were no lights or sirens to indicate that they were wanted by police. Now, the family says, again, that this is because the four-year-old took a Barbie out of the dollar store. Police in Phoenix say that that is part of it but would not elaborate. They said there's more to this story. Of course, that might come out in the investigation. But right now, the city has about 60 days to respond to their notice of claim.

WHITFIELD: All right, keep us posted. Natasha Chen, thank you so much.

Still ahead, Amanda Knox vowed she would never step foot again in Italy. But today, years after her exoneration on a murder charge, she is back in that country delivering an emotional message in Italian.


AMANDA KNOX, EXONERATED OF MURDER AFTER TWO CONVICTIONS (through translator): He will also be able to come and see that I am not a monster. I am simply Amanda.


WHITFIELD: But first, two Florida boys with special needs have created a world where anything is possible. And they're the stars of the show. Meet the Go Go Brothers in today's "Turning Points."


ADAM KELLY, FATHER OF THE GO GO BROTHERS: Every kid loves the spotlight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just smell that fresh jungle air.

KELLY: The Go Go Brothers is about my two boys who are put on wild and zany adventures by kids who send in their drawing, then we bring those stories to life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today's idea comes from Mrs. Arnowski's (ph) art class from Maxi Elementary.

KELLY: It was something initially to just help them get through their challenges.


KELLY: Bean Boy, as we call him on the show, he's seven-years-old, and he was born with spina bifida, which is basically a final defect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I'm Rooey. KELLY: My other son, who is nine, he was diagnosed at age six with

autism. It's been our goal to focus on not what they can't do, but what they can do. And so the Go Go Brother were really born out of that idea. It's a place where everything is possible. We have had people from all over find it on YouTube. It really touches people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it makes them and us happy.

KELLY: Just because you have a disability, it doesn't mean that you're going to have any less of a beautiful life. And we hope that the Go Go world helps you feel important.



WHITFIELD: Amanda Knox is back in Italy, a place she said she would never return. She is there for the first time since she and her then boyfriend were acquitted of murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. Knox garnered the nickname Foxy Knoxy after her story was picked up by international media outlets. After years of trials and imprisonment, her conviction was overturned in 2015. Knox became tearful while discussing her ordeal at the festival on criminal justice this morning.


AMANDA KNOX, EXONERATED OF MURDER AFTER TWO CONVICTIONS (through translator): He will also be able to come and see that I am not a monster. I am simply Amanda.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Melissa Bell is in Modena, Italy, where Knox spoke today.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, Amanda Knox was back on Italian soil for the first time since her liberation from an Italian jail back in 2011, and many of the journalists who followed her ever since she landed in Milan on Thursday had been been wondering why she had come.

She had seen on one hand, keen to take up this invitation to speak here at this conference today on the question of people who have been falsely imprisoned, and yet every time she appeared in front of the cameras she seemed almost to physically to recoil. We had wondered why she bothered to put herself through what seemed to be yet another trauma. And it was through tears through much of her speech that she addressed herself to the audience.


AMANDA KNOX, EXONERATED OF MURDER AFTER TWO CONVICTIONS (through translator): I started sobbing. My dad then hugged me. [14:55:01] He hugged me really tight. And I implored him, and that's

the worst. I prayed for him, I implored for him to save me. Even though I knew that he was powerless, as powerless as I was.


BELL: Amanda there talking about her time in prison here in Italy. This is of course a much broader conference about people who spend time in jail and who shouldn't have. I spoke to one of the attendees afterwards who said, look, I understood these tears listening to her. This is a torment that only people who have been falsely imprisoned can understand. He said that he believed she was still in a sense a prisoner.

And to that question of why she's made this return after all the years, a return, after all, to a country in which many people still believe in her guilt. He said, look, she is still a prisoner. Here's a woman who was judged and convicted in the trial of public opinion, and it was in that forum that she needed to be exonerated. It was in 2015 that the Italian judiciary officially exonerated her. He made to point to me that he believed that she needed more than. She needed to convince people of her innocence. She needed to convince people of her battle, and to draw attention to this issue on which she's now been campaigning for many years. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Melissa Bell.

And thank you for joining me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We have so much more straight ahead in the Newsroom with Ana Cabrera right after this.