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Man Identified in Ortiz Hit; Gunman Killed Outside Dallas Courthouse; DOJ Spares Manafort a Transfer; Facebook Announces Digital Currency. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 18, 2019 - 09:30   ET



[09:33:42] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, authorities in the Dominican Republic are searching for a fugitive suspect who they say orchestrated and paid for the attempted hit on the baseball star David Ortiz.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: This is just remarkable. Newly obtained court documents name Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota as the financier in the murder for hire plot that has rocked the Dominican Republic and, of course, all of Ortiz's fans.

Patrick Oppmann joins us again this morning from Santo Domingo with the latest.

What's the newest development, Patrick?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we now know who at least paid for this hit. He may have been just been the (INAUDIBLE). He may have been the person who ordered, for reasons unknown, the hit on David "Big Papi" Ortiz. But every day we get more pieces of this puzzle and it is just stunning.

We now know that a week before "Big Papi" was shot, there was the beginnings of the plot coming together. You had people in prison helping this fugitive suspect get in contact with what we know and call in Spanish (INAUDIBLE), those are assassins. There's no other way to put it. And then over the next week, the plot begins to take shape until the day that Ortiz is shot, the day of Ortiz's shooting. The suspect's meet at a gas station. There are shown a photo of him that was sent from one of the suspects already in prison on unrelated homicide charges. But despite that, he had contacts, he had a phone apparently and he was able to contact this team of assassins, a getaway driver, the alleged gunman and others who then go in and nearly kill Ortiz.

[09:35:21] And then immediately these suspects scatter as police have been arresting more and more of them. They have learned more information now. They have at least two cellphones in custody. They have several suspects that have turned on their fellow hitmen and are giving up what they know. And police say that by the end of this week they promise to not only tell us who the mastermind of this plot was, but also the motive. We still don't know why all these people would have gone to all this trouble and spent, for the Dominican Republic, a considerable amount of money to kill one of this country's most beloved sports stars.

HARLOW: It is confounding. Great reporting on the ground there, Patrick. Getting those court documents, getting those sources to talk to you, we appreciate the reporting. Keep us posted.

Well, this morning, the FBI is scrutinizing the military and the social media background of a former soldier who they say tried to storm a federal building in Dallas with a cache of weapons. A witness says he heard gunfire and started recording from his apartment window.

Watch this.


SCIUTTO: Just shocking. The suspect, thankfully, never got in. He was eventually shot and killed by officers in a dramatic standoff. This -- a mass shooting averted.

Dianne Gallagher has the latest from Dallas now.

And really such a close call here. What are we learning about both the suspect but how police managed to stop this?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, Jim, I don't think that you can say that enough. What we have here is a potential massacre averted in this situation.

And I want you to kind of take a look behind me because, look, this is a federal building and courthouse. There were 300 people inside at the moment. This shooter, 22-year-old Brian Clyde, shot through the door here according to authorities in this parking lot area. And, of course, it was at 8:48 a.m. Central in downtown Dallas. It was busy out here. Plenty of people walking around, going to work, getting breakfast.

One of those people who was working was a "Dallas Morning News" photographer. He was waiting outside. You can't take the cameras inside the federal court. Waiting for a shot when he came. And you're going to see this picture in the background of him describing this. He came face-to-face with this gunman.


TOM FOX, PHOTOGRAPHER: Just prayed, just prayed that he didn't walk past me, because I'm in -- I'm in -- I'm in plain sight. And if he saw me sitting there with a camera, he would -- I have no doubt he would have shot me. Instead, all I heard was the sound of breaking glass and repeated gunfire into the building. And he was literally just around the corner, eight to 10 feet.


GALLAGHER: Yes. And by that repeated gunfire, look, on him at the time, he had five 40-round magazines. Now, the ATF is still trying to trace that rifle that they say he used

in this shooting.

The good news here is that there was nobody else shot. There was one injury. One worker who was injured because she was trying to hide from the chaos in that situation. But, really, Jim, Poppy, the question they're trying to answer now is why. Why did this 22-year-old who served two years in the U.S. Army, why did he come and basically, you know, bombard this federal building? They don't know. They're looking at social media, like you said, and his record, trying to get the answer to that right now.

SCIUTTO: Why and how he got all those guns. I mean he looked like a soldier there in that picture.



SCIUTTO: And it's just amazing how often we see -- we see that.

Dianne Gallagher, thanks for being on the story.

President Trump's former campaign chairman will not be going to New York's infamous Rikers Island prison after all. And Paul Manafort has the nation's second highest ranking law enforcement official to thank for it.


[09:43:27] SCIUTTO: President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was spared a transfer to New York's notorious Rikers Island. That after the U.S. deputy attorney general himself intervened. Of course, the deputy A.G. appointed by this president.

HARLOW: The question is why. So instead Manafort was moved yesterday to a federal correctional center right in Manhattan where he awaits a hearing on state charges. A senior Justice Department official tells us the DOJ decided to, quote, err on the side of caution and keep Manafort in federal custody.

Laura Jarrett has been digging on this. She joins us this morning from the Justice Department.

So, why? I mean how unusual of it is for -- is it for someone so high up at the DOJ to get involved like this?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, it's certainly not something you see every day, Poppy. But several aspects of this case make it atypical. Just, for the benefit of our viewers, to give a little bit of a back story here.

Remember, Manafort was convicted and sentenced several months ago back on financial -- wide-ranging financial crimes stemming from the special counsel's Russia investigation. But then, in an effort to make sure that if President Trump ended up pardoning him, the Manhattan district attorney's office also charged him in Manhattan on state charges, on mortgage fraud and other crimes, but having to do with some of the same conduct that we saw in the federal case.

And so the issue became, where do you house him while he's awaiting this state trial. And so his attorneys, his defense attorneys, reached out to the Bureau of Prisons, federal authorities, citing his age and health issues to try to make sure that he wasn't transferred to a state facility. Obviously, Rikers being an infamous prison and a place that is not nearly as pleasant as a federal facility.

[09:45:11] The Justice Department then gets involved. They consult with the state prosecutors. And because the state prosecutors didn't object to transferring him, he now remains in federal custody. That doesn't mean that he won't be transferred at some point later on, but for now he's going to remain in Manhattan in federal custody.

SCIUTTO: So to be clear, Laura, just so our viewers are clear here, this request came usually from the deputy attorney general, but the local prosecutors did not disagree with the request to keep him from Rikers Island, is that right?

JARRETT: That's right. They disagree with some of the insinuations about the idea that sort of -- the prosecution is political. It's something his defense attorneys have raised about why are you doing these state charges on the exact same thing he was already convicted for. But the prosecutors did not object to at least keeping him in federal custody for now while he awaits trial.


JARRETT: So we'll see what happens next, though.

SCIUTTO: What happens to him. Well, and folks should remember that the president can pardon on federal crimes not on state crimes.

JARRETT: Precisely.

SCIUTTO: That's something to watch out for. Laura Jarrett, thanks very much.

Harvey Weinstein is losing another high profile attorney. A source tells CNN that Jose Baez filed papers asking the court to let him withdrew from Weinstein's sexual assault case. Baez is best known for winning acquittals for Casey Anthony and Aaron Hernandez. Weinstein's representative declined comment. Another attorney who defended Kobe Bryant against sexual assault charges also withdrew from Weinstein's defense team. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting two women in New York. His trial is set to begin September 9th.

And FaceBook now has a plan to put virtual dollars in your digital wallet. The latest on a new type of currency from FaceBook. That's coming up.


[09:51:22] HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. So, FaceBook is get into the banking business. This is fascinating.

The social media giant announcing this morning it's creating a digital currency. Essentially a cryptocurrency. This, Jim, really is like a competitor to bitcoin and apparently it's called Libra.

SCIUTTO: Well, the launch comes as FaceBook is under intense scrutiny for its massive influence. I want to say too much influence. Also how it handles user data, privacy, all these questions that would seem relevant if you're going to start a currency.

Joining us now, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

So, first of all, what do we know about Libra and do we need a FaceBook currency?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly, do we trust FaceBook enough to be the -- the person for your digital money?

Look, will consumers trust it and will FaceBook and its partners finally bring digital money, cryptocurrency, to the mainstream?

What is it? It's a coin that exists in a digital wallet using FaceBook Messenger and WhatsApp and later through an app you can download on IOS or Android and then consumers can spend the money. They can receive money. They can send money to other users. Imagine sending money as easily and as cheaply as you send a text message.

So what is it worth? It's based on a basket of real government issued currency to prevent big swings. I say real currencies because so much of the action in cryptocurrency so far has been volatile. It's like been made up Internet money in search of a standard. The foundation here is block chain technology and the backers include some big names, some of the biggest names in spending, PayPal, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, eBay, Visa, Vodafone. These are household names.

But can you trust FaceBook with your Internet money given its track record? FaceBook is saying it will not co-mingle its financial data with other FaceBook social streams, but, obviously, a lot of pressure, you guys, on FaceBook given its lapses in privacy and self-regulation.

SCIUTTO: Interesting.


SCIUTTO: We'll see how many folks are takers of this.

So President Trump has just tweeted that he had a good phone with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.


SCIUTTO: Of course this is as trade talks to try to reach a deal and avert more devastating --

ROMANS: Right. SCIUTTO: Trade sanctions, tariffs, rather. How should we read this and how are the markets reacting?

ROMANS: The markets like it. There are hearings underway in Washington right now where companies are imploring the White House not to put more tariffs on Chinese goods. The president has just said he got off the phone with President Xi of China. They are on track for an extended meeting at the G-20 in Osaka in less than two weeks and that our respective teams will begin meeting prior to this, which is really important. You want to see those trade delegations putting some framework behind whatever is going to be the next step here between the United States and China. The markets clearly, clearly like that.


Whose going to back down? Someone's going to have to back down or both sides are going to have to back down. I mean that's the big question.

ROMANS: You know, he's meeting -- President Xi is going to North Korea first. So he could come to the table with maybe a win for the president on North Korea perhaps that could be a bargaining tool for him.

SCIUTTO: Or a win he could claim as one.

ROMANS: Right.

SCIUTTO: Christine Romans, thanks very much.


HARLOW: All right, this just in to us at CNN. A tsunami advisory has just been issued for parts of Japan. This is after a large earthquake struck in the northern part of Japan and it measured 6.4 magnitude. This happened at 10:22 p.m. local time. Again, a tsunami advisory for parts of Japan. This is just coming into us. We'll bring you more as soon as we have it.

Well, the president with a new threat to millions of undocumented immigrants in this country. They could start being deported as early as next week.

SCIUTTO: That's right. If the president follows through.

[09:54:37] And the CNN film "Apollo 11" takes you inside humanities greatest feat with new discovered --


SCIUTTO: A very good morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow in Washington.

Well, President Trump kicks off his re-election campaign tonight in Florida, but a vague and rather confusing threat that he made overnight is raising some serious, important questions this morning. Here's what the president did overnight. He vowed that ICE will start rounding up and arrested millions of undocumented immigrants beginning next week, but that's all we know about the president's plan.

[10:00:01] SCIUTTO: And the timing of it all. Of course, just before his re-election launch certainly raises some questions about whether this is politics or policy. The White House has not responded to CNN.