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Trump Ramps Up Pressure; Pilots to Testify on The Hill; Trump Refuses to Apologize to Central Park Five; Buttigieg Speaks to New Officers; Alaska Teen Online Murder Plot. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 19, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Feeling it from the markets. Investors want to see an interest rate cut. They want to keep the party going on Wall Street.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: But that's not what he's supposed to make the judgement based on.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, not on the stock market.

SCIUTTO: The stock markets or the president's political -- he's supposed to make it based on inflation and economic growth.

ALESCI: Economic data. And there are so many data points that the Fed uses. Like it -- there -- there are so many that we can't even see. You're right, they're going to have to -- the Fed looks at whether or not this expansion is sustainable or whether it needs to step in and get more aggressive and cut interest rates to spur people to spend money and therefore the economy.

HARLOW: So just explain to people very quickly also, if you cut rates now, you have less power to fight off a recession later, right?

ALESCI: Yes, you're eliminating the tools in the toolbox.


ALESCI: And so when we're faced with a recession it's -- you can't cut below zero. You can use other methods, which we've seen the Fed do before.


ALESCI: But those are very extreme measures.

Look, one of the things that investors are going to be looking for today is whether or not the Fed removes the word "patience" from its forward guidance. That is a critical word because patience meant the Fed was going to step back and let the economy do its thing. If they've remove that word, that means that they'll take a more aggressive stance. And we already saw Jerome Powell indicate he might do that two weeks ago when he said, quote-unquote, we'll act appropriate to sustain the economic expansion. He unleashed animal spirits at that point. HARLOW: Yes.

ALESCI: The question is, does he deliver today and possibly cave to the market and the -- and the president?

HARLOW: All right.

SCIUTTO: And that's precedent -- there's the precedent.



HARLOW: We'll watch. Cristina, great reporting. Thank you so much.

ALESCI: Of course.

SCIUTTO: Four people will face murder charges over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The announcement comes five years after the plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine over Europe killing all 298 people onboard, many of them children. Investigators will issue arrest warrants for three Russians and one Ukrainian. They will not ask for extradition because both countries prohibit extraditing their citizens. Authorities have said that flight MH-17 was shot out of the sky by a missile fired from a Russian military launcher in Russian controlled territory. Moscow has denied any involvement. It's created a whole host of conspiracy theories around this. But the data is pretty clear. Let's --

HARLOW: You have a whole chapter of this in your book.

SCIUTTO: And because it really is one of the most shocking crimes of Russia's military action in Ukraine.


SCIUTTO: Two hundred and ninety-eight people blown out of the sky. And I tell the story in the book how U.S. intelligence knew within hours of the plane going down, it identified what kind of missile that it was, that it came from Russian-controlled territory, and now you have Russians who were in charge of that area being charged with this murder here. It's really one of the most shocking crimes.

HARLOW: But not extradited.

SCIUTTO: Sadly, you can't extradite when you don't have agreements.


All right.


HARLOW: So, just minutes from now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will hear from pilots, pilots who have been criticized and who have criticized Boeing in the wake of these two deadly crashes. Captain Sully Sullenberger, who, of course, became famous after safely landing that plane in the Hudson River --

SCIUTTO: Just behind us.

HARLOW: Yes, in 2009, he will be among those testifying today. This is a House subcommittee hearing and it's looking into a Boeing and the 737 Max.

SCIUTTO: The plane has been grounded around the world since two crashes killed more than 300 people.

Drew Griffon has the very latest from Washington.

And, Drew, it's been a remarkable story to follow here because there were clearly so many warning signs either missed or ignore by Boeing.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I know Sully will be the movie star in the room, but really look for Dan Kerry (ph), he's the head of the Allied Pilots Association. He represents the American Airlines pilots. That's a company that flies the Max. He is just infuriated at all this innuendo and talk up on Capitol Hill by Boeing and the FAA that somehow or another you can blame this on pilots, especially when it comes to the Ethiopian Air crash. He wants to put the focus back squarely on this plane, the design of this plane and why and how the FAA certified this plane to fly.

And if this did have something to do, in the end, Jim, with pilot air, he wants to know why the pilots in the 737 Max were never told about the system that's at fault here and were never trained on the system that is in fault here. So he wants to make sure this goes back squarely looking at why the FAA and Boeing put this plane up in the air in the first place and get off this idea that you could just kind of blame the pilots. So I'm looking for fireworks out of him especially in this hearing.

HARLOW: For sure.

SCIUTTO: And Boeing has implied often not too subtly particularly foreign pilots just don't know quite how to handle this plane.


SCIUTTO: And that's kind of remarkable to watch.

Are the issues solved now and will this plane fly soon again?

GRIFFIN: The answer is no and maybe. What you're seeing is I think what we're going to -- in fact, I've just talked to a source this morning who says the certification flight for the FAA is probably going to be in the next two week. So that's when the FAA takes this plane back up in the air and sees if Boeing fixed all the problems. Then you have four to six weeks after that, maybe end of September, October, U.S. airlines take this plane back up in the air, Jim.

[09:35:22] SCIUTTO: Well, we'll see if passengers are comfortable with it base on what they know. HARLOW: Well, that's the question, right?

SCIUTTO: Drew Griffin, great to have you on the story.

President Trump now saying both sides are to blame in the case of the exonerated, we should note, Central Park Five. Does that comment, both sides, sound familiar? We're going to discuss the topic as it relates to this, where there is very hard evidence as to who was really behind that crime. We're going to discuss it next.


[09:40:05] SCIUTTO: No apology from President Trump for his actions during the height of the Central Park Five case back in the late 1980s. At the time, the president took out a full page ad to "The New York Times" calling for the death penalty, the death penalty, for five New York teenagers falsely, we would learn, accused of rape. Thirteen years later, DNA evidence exonerated them.


QUESTION: Mr. President, will you apologize to the Central Park Five? They've been exonerated. There have been videos, movies shown about the case. And you came out with a full page ad saying that they should die, that they should have the death penalty.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why do you bring that question up now? It's an interesting time to bring it up.


TRUMP: You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein (ph) and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we'll leave it at that.


HARLOW: All right, so why did April Ryan bring up that very appropriate question? Well, because everyone is talking about it based on the Netflix mini-series "When They See Us." It has renewed national attention to the case. It has caused some of those prosecutors to step down from their current roles in boards.

So let's talk about it with White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and our politics analyst April Ryan.

It was a very appropriate question, a very timely question, and an important one for you to ask. And I just wonder, April, what was your reaction when the president not only denied the facts but used those words, "both sides"?


APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICS ANALYST: Both sides. I mean both sides stood out from Charlottesville. And I listened for his apology, which he did not give at all. He wants to stand on the wrong that he, I guess, put in "The New York Times," that full page ad. If it was left to the president, these five men would not be with us today, even though they are innocent. DNA evidence has proven that they are innocent.

So the president, I mean, I'm wondering now, after he's probably found out about the DNA evidence, and even more, if he would take back what he said yesterday or if he would change it even.

SCIUTTO: Well, DNA evidence, widely reported. He should know it now.

HARLOW: I mean they found it in 2002.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it's been a while.

This case, as you know, resonates deeply in the black community. It speaks to injustice in the criminal system. What are the implications for the black vote in 2020? Does it resonate to that extent?

RYAN: Well, Jim, it's not just the black vote. The Central Park Five consisted of black and Hispanic men. The implications are is the fact that the president keeps talking about, oh, the economy is great, you know, the economy is great for all America, well, and the black unemployment numbers are dropping. Well, they're dropping without him doing anything.

If this president were to put his hands on something to target the black community when it comes to high unemployment numbers, it could probably come down to those of our white counter parts. But the black vote, when it comes to these issues, particularly at a time when the president is talking about prison reform and sentencing reform, which really entails this Central Park Five case, it looks like hypocrisy.

When you look at prison and sentencing reform, the president is talking about fixing wrongs of the penal system. This was a wrong with the Central Park Five that was fixed. And the black community is a crucial vote. And Democrats are trying to court the black vote.

I mean Hillary Clinton got 94 percent of black women and 80 percent of black men when she ran. If the president wants to cut into those numbers, he needs to apologize for this because the black community is really speaking out about what was said yesterday by the president on this matter.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well, denying the facts, right, I mean that's another element to this.

April Ryan, smart question. Good to have you on the program.

RYAN: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Just moments ago, Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, addressed an officer involved shooting in his community that prompted him to take some time off the campaign trail. He was speaking to South Bend police officers. We'll have what he told them coming up. HARLOW: And the CNN film, "Apollo 11," takes you inside humanity's great feat with newly discovered, incredible footage. You'll see it only right here on CNN, Sunday night, 9:00 Eastern.


[09:49:10] HARLOW: All right, welcome back.

2020 contender and South Bend, Indiana, mayor, Pete Buttigieg, is still off the campaign trail. He is back in his hometown today dealing with a lot of fallout from a deadly police shooting that happened there in South Bend on Sunday night.

SCIUTTO: This morning, Buttigieg spoke at a swearing in ceremony for the newest members of the South Bend Police Department. In the wake of Sunday's shooting, Buttigieg ordered all body cameras to be turned on during encounters with civilians.

CNN business and politics reporter Vanessa Yurkevich is with us now.

So he's got to answer to this. Of course, he's running for president at the same time. And these issues are hot-button issues, even in the broader, national debate. So how is he answering these questions?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS REPORTER: Well, this morning, there was a swearing in ceremony for new officers. It's supposed to be a celebratory time. But he really took this time to focus on this shooting that just happened on Sunday that resulted in the death of one South Bend resident and he took the time this morning to explain to officers how important their job was now and going forward into the future.

[09:50:12] Take a listen to what he said just moments ago.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Understandable anger over why our system of body worn cameras did not lead to a clearer picture of what happened Sunday is just a reminder of how much work we have yet to be done, how much work it will take all of us to reinforce trust, how far we all have to go before the day when no community member or officer would hesitate to trust one another's word.


YURKEVICH: And I was in South Bend on Monday evening at a candlelight vigil for that victim, Eric Logan. And one of the thing that people in the community talked about is what Buttigieg is talking about, the fact that now, because of this shooting, and the fact that there's no body cam footage to basically explain what happened, the community feels like now the relationship between them and the police department, any progress that was made, has now taken many steps back.

HARLOW: So here's the thing. For Pete Buttigieg, there's a history here, and a really important one, because of actions that he took with the police department prior to running for president.

YURKEVICH: Correct. When he came into office in 2012, he was faced with his first major decision. He demoted and then fired the first black police chief in South Bend. And this was because of a scandal with police tapes. Police officers in the department were being recorded and the police chief found out at the time that there were allegedly racist comments made. The police chief said we're going to continue recording these people. When the mayor found out about this, he had to make the decision, was this legal and he decided that this was not appropriate at the time. He demoted and then fired that chief.

But this -- this tape's case, as it's known, is still being litigated in the city of South Bend. So this is going to stick with Pete Buttigieg for quite some time as he's still running for president.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely, and they're tied to broader national conversation about the behavior of police in these encounter. So it will be -- it's a big test for him locally and nationally.

Vanessa, great to have you on the story.

HARLOW: Thank you.

All right, let's listen to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, speaking to reporters on -- oh, he just stepped away.

So this is, obviously, a big deal because Hope Hicks is testifying before his committee today. And we know the White House is limiting, Jim, what she's -- what she's actually going to say, what questions she'll answer.

SCIUTTO: Exactly. And will they, and they said that they will claim executive privilege and therefore not answer many of the questions.


SCIUTTO: Maybe all the questions. We're going to stay on top of that. We'll come back to you with exactly what the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said after this short break.


[09:57:23] SCIUTTO: There are new developments this morning in the case of an 18-year-old woman who allegedly killed her best friend after someone she met online offered her $9 million to do it. Just incredible.

HARLOW: You cannot make this stuff up. The woman now faces both murder and child pornography charges.

Our correspondent, Dan Simon, has more details.


We have seen these catfish schemes play out time and time again. The manipulation and the deception can run really deep. In this particular case, it took a fatal turn involving a teenager from Alaska.


SIMON (voice over): This young woman is at the center of a disturbing catfish scheme, induced online, prosecutors say, to murder her supposed best friend.

DENALI BREHMER: I know what I did was wrong. And I know I could have probably done something different.

SIMON: Eighteen-year-old Denali Brehmer's arraignment in an Alaska courtroom turned into something of a confession. Authorities say it all began after Brehmer struck an online relationship with someone she thought was a wealthy man named Tyler from Kansas, who prosecutors say offered Brehmer at least $9 million to rape and murder someone in Alaska and to have photos and videos of the murder sent to him. What Brehmer didn't know is that Tyler was a fraud, a catfisher. His real identity, police say, 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller from Indiana. The victim of this twisted scheme, Cynthia Hoffman. The 19 old-year was bound with duct tape, then shot and killed.

TIM HOFFMAN, FATHER: All's I know is my daughter didn't deserve all this. She should have had the friends that she wants.

SIMON: Hoffman's father says she had a learning disability that could have made her venerable. According to court documents, the killing was carried out by Brehmer and four of her friends, including two juveniles. All, including Schilmiller, have been charged with first degree murder. It's unclear if he has an attorney.

On June 2nd, under the guise of going on a hike, Hoffman was taken to the bank of an Alaskan river. She was shot one time in the back of the head. Her body then thrown into the river.

HOFFMAN: I have one thing in my mind right now. And that's to send all six of them to hell. And I ain't going to rest until it's done. And then after it's all done, I'll show my emotions.


SIMON: And court documents say that Schilmiller, the alleged mastermind of all this, directed Brehmer in Alaska to commit sexual assault against some minors, one of whom was eight or nine years old. Investigators say they've recovered video evidence showing those crimes. This is just such a jaw-dropping case, Jim and Poppy.

[10:00:02] HARLOW: Yes.

SIMON: And, of course, still a lot of unanswered questions.


SCIUTTO: Oh, it's disturbing beyond belief.

Dan Simon, thanks very much.