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CNN NEWSROOM

David Ortiz Not Intended Target of Shooting; Syrian Refugee Arrested in Terror Plot; President Xi Jinping in North Korea Today to Meet with Kim Jong Un. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 20, 2019 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:30:26] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right, welcome back. So prosecutors in the Dominican Republic now say that a gunman that, you know, shot David Ortiz, actually meant to shoot his friend, not the baseball legend.

That friend was sitting at the table with Ortiz, outside on this patio, wearing similar clothes. Our Patrick Oppmann is in Santo Domingo this morning with more.

Maybe they were wearing similar clothes, but these guys could not look more different. Not to mention Big Papi David Ortiz is the most famous person in the D.R.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he is. He's 6'3", he's 250 pounds, he's got shoulders twice or three times as wide as mine. You can't miss this guy. Everyone knows who he is. He is the ultimate hometown hero.

And let's introduce you to the other person. Because you probably haven't heard of him, and no one has heard of him here either. So over here, we have Big Papi. He was shot, of course, as we know. And over here, we have his friend, Sixto Fernandez. He was the target. And somehow, the gunman, who was supposed to shoot this man, shoots Big Papi instead.

And on top of that, just to make it even more incredible -- because of course the gunman, we see him walk in, walk directly over to Big Papi and shoot him in the back -- but there was, according to police, an alleged spotter, somebody who was in the bar for hours, relaying what was going on, the arrivals, comings and the goings.

And after the shooting, he stays there. He's very calm, he's very collected. And there's really no reaction from him. That's really not the reaction you might expect if a hit went terribly wrong --

HARLOW: Right.

OPPMANN: -- so that is what the video shows us. But police say it actually is a very different picture, and that they have the story now worked out and it's not what they have been telling us. Big Papi was never the target. HARLOW: Wow. OK. We did not know and expected this twist. Patrick

Oppmann, thank you for the great reporting on the ground there, throughout.

Let's talk about this with former FBI supervisory special agent and CNN law enforcement analyst, James Gagliano.

Wow.

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes.

HARLOW: You buy this?

GAGLIANO: Well, it would defy credulity if you looked at it just from the outside, looking in. You say, "Big Papi is a -- not just a national hero in the Dominican Republic, a world figure."

HARLOW: Sure.

GAGLIANO: But I look at it like this. You've got to have a scorecard to keep track of all the players. There are 14 people --

HARLOW: Yes.

GAGLIANO: -- that police, the attorney general in the Dominican Republic and the director of the police services have suggested are part of this conspiracy. Eleven are in custody, Poppy. Three are still at large.

You take 11 individuals you bring into custody, you separate them, you interrogate or interview them. Any falsehoods in a story is going to fall apart. The fact that the police and the attorney general feel confident about this, that tells me they may have -- there may be more there, but it may be a plausible theory.

HARLOW: They also felt confident about their assertion two days ago --

GAGLIANO: Yes.

HARLOW: -- that (ph) was a court document. So it was a totally different story. But I hear you. So you mentioned these 14 individuals, right?

GAGLIANO: Yes.

HARLOW: You've got 11 of them apprehended so far, three on the run. One of them in the U.S., the DEA is looking for.

GAGLIANO: Right. So let's -- we got this scorecard here. So we know that the police are suggesting in the Dominican Republic, that Mr. Fernandez, Sixto Fernandez, is the cousin of a guy that's wanted by the DEA in the United States, a man by the name of Victor Hugo Gomez. Now, apparently, the cousin, Fernandez, had, in the street parlance, had ratted him out to officials before, in 2011. This is now a huge web between the two countries because it involves

people in prison talking to people in prison in the Dominican Republic, talking to people on the streets in the United States and streets in the D.R.

The fact that 14 people were part of this tells me that this was a haphazard, poorly planned assassination attempt. I've seen Latin American assassination attempts. The way that this went down, it almost looked like something out of the Keystone Cops. And the fact that you'd have 14 people involved in something you'd want to keep close hold --

HARLOW: Right.

GAGLIANO: -- makes no sense.

HARLOW: Why would you do that. OK. Thank you for your expertise. Thank you for the scorecard, my friend.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: That's a good way to do it. James Gagliano, we appreciate it.

[10:34:37] Still ahead, the FBI stops a terror plot, a plot to bomb a church in Pittsburgh. We will have details of the Syrian refugee accused of planning this attack, and his alleged link to ISIS, ahead.

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HARLOW: A really significant development. A Syrian refugee is behind bars this morning, accused of plotting an attack on a Pittsburgh church in the name of ISIS.

The FBI has arrested the 21-year-old man. They made this arrest just yesterday, and court records show that he bought bomb-making materials and had a multipoint plan for the attack. The thwarted attack comes less than eight months after a shooter opened fire on that synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people in that city.

Our crime and justice correspondent Shimon Prokupecz is with me now.

I mean, ugh, for this to happen anywhere, and especially in Pittsburgh after the synagogue was attacked --

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes.

[10:40:01] HARLOW: -- how -- I mean, what alerted them to this?

PROKUPECZ: So this is a person who's been on the FBI's radar, it seems, according to the court records, since April of 2018. The FBI first located him through social media. There was a posting on social media and they found him that way.

So this is someone that they've known and they've probably monitored for, now, over a year. And what led them to him was there was a post on his social media back in April, saying that he wanted to die by blowing himself up. And so the FBI was like, "OK, well this guy looks -- seems like someone who would -- could be a problem for us."

And then really, it wasn't until this year, in March of this year, that the plan and the plot to bomb this tiny church --

HARLOW: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: -- in Pittsburgh started unfolding. They used an undercover, they had an informant, the FBI did. So it was a controlled -- what we see in a lot of these cases, a controlled operation.

Recently as just a few days ago, he went and bought nails for his bomb-making, for his bombs.

So I think for us -- so what's important here is, though, while, you know, ISIS, right? This -- and ISIS sympathizers --

HARLOW: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: -- it seems, you would think, we are not seeing the same number of arrests or cases out there like we did at one time.

HARLOW: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: However, it's still very much a concern for the FBI. And we can see that. They're still monitoring folks, this guy came here in 2016. It was a Syrian refugee.

HARLOW: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: It's a concern, still, and an ongoing concern.

HARLOW: And I think it also speaks, right? To the power and strength of recruitment that ISIS maintains despite its caliphate --

PROKUPECZ: Correct.

HARLOW: -- being so shrinked, if not wiped out.

PROKUPECZ: Right. And that's social media and YouTube and other places --

HARLOW: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: You know, we still see cases involving other clerics (ph), right? Other terrorists, folks that the government has killed even, has arrested, their message lives on forever. And this is going to be a problem that is going to go on forever. And that's why the FBI still runs a pretty robust --

HARLOW: Sure.

PROKUPECZ: -- operation to try and prevent these guys --

HARLOW: Because you can't contain an ideology, right?

PROKUPECZ: That's right.

HARLOW: You can wipe them out on the ground, which the Trump administration has been successful in doing that to a large extent. But then the FBI's real challenge here, right? Is attacking the mentality --

PROKUPECZ: Correct.

HARLOW: -- and what got them there.

PROKUPECZ: Right. And it's finding them on social media, and also going back to, let's say, this person fell on their radar, came on their radar in 2018. They still worked it. They still monitored this person, they didn't let this person out of their sight. And it was just a couple of months ago, that they started introducing informants and undercover (ph) --

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: Do they think it was -- do you know, Shimon, a network of people? Or was this one isolated individual?

PROKUPECZ: So they do believe that it is an isolated incident or situation. However, what's interesting is that he was communicating with someone else that the FBI was monitoring, that was also an ISIS sympathizer and was distributing bomb-making material and also trying to call for other people to do these kinds of attacks.

TEXT: Syrian Refugee Arrested in Pittsburgh, Accused of Planning to Bomb Church: 21-year-old Mustafa Mousab Alowemer; Allegedly bought bomb-making materials; Allegedly communicated with ISIS supporter; Allegedly had 10-point plan for the attack

PROKUPECZ: So while it is an isolated individual and he's not part of a network --

HARLOW: Right.

PROKUPECZ: -- in a way, he still is. It's a larger network, it's a network of ISIS sympathizers --

HARLOW: Sure.

PROKUPECZ: -- that he was communicating with, that also, the FBI was able to monitor.

HARLOW: OK. Shimon, great reporting.

PROKUPECZ: Sure. Thanks.

HARLOW: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

All right. Ahead for us, Kim Jong Un meeting with China's president, Xi Jinping. This meeting in North Korea, so that is historic and significant. It's a major meeting between these two world leaders. But one other person, very much on their minds. And that is President Trump. All of this, ahead of the G20. Stay with us.

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[10:48:18] HARLOW: Chinese President Xi Jinping is in North Korea right now. This is a two-day meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. And this morning, the two reportedly discussed, quote, "a new era of relations between the two nations."

Of course, this summit marks the first state visit from a Chinese leader there in North Korea in 14 years. But U.S. officials reportedly see this summit as an attempt to leverage President Trump, all of this ahead of the G20. We'll get to that in a moment but let's go to our correspondent Will Ripley. He joins me from Beijing.

Of course, Will, you're the only journalist who's gotten so much access inside of North Korea. So just give us a sense of how significant it is that Xi Jinping is there right now.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you look at the pictures that have come in, Poppy. Kim Jong Un claimed that there were more than a quarter million people lining the streets of Pyongyang to welcome Xi Jinping. No country knows how to make a strongman feel welcome like North Korea. He got the parade, he got the crowd shouting his name.

Kim wants to flatter Xi because Kim needs something from Xi. He needs sanctions relief. He needs China to look the other way when oil shipments are illegally transferred at the High Seas. And he needs China to, perhaps, slow down some of the enforcement, the borders, of items that are being smuggled across. And he needs security guarantees as well.

What does Xi need from Kim? He needs North Korea to remain stable and to remain allied with China and not the United States. You know, every time that President Trump has met with Kim Jong Un, he -- you know, Kim met with Xi first, which hints that maybe there's another Trump-Kim meeting coming sometime in the near future --

HARLOW: Yes.

RIPLEY: -- of course, the United States has been hinting about that as well.

HARLOW: Well, that's true. Pompeo said a few weeks ago, they'd be open to a third summit. But can you talk just about sort of the politics of all of this and the significance of the timing here?

[10:50:01] This is right before the G20, right after the president says he had a very good and productive phone call with Xi Jinping. What's the deal here with the global politics and what this might mean for President Trump?

RIPLEY: This timing is definitely not a coincidence. That Xi is doing this a matter of days before he's expected to meet with Trump on the sidelines of the G20. Because Xi wants to remind Trump that he's an important player here,

that he can be an intermediary with the North Koreans. But he wants something in return, which is not -- you know, not for the U.S. to slap $300 billion in Chinese goods with new tariffs. And he wants the negotiations in the trade war to continue.

So if Xi can leave North Korea with something that he can bring to Trump when they're expected to have that chat in Japan, something useful for Trump -- North Korea's one of the president's key foreign policy issues -- well then, Xi wins, Trump could -- you know, could win as well.

But everybody is doing this -- all this friendship, the smiling here -- but it's all strategic, Poppy.

HARLOW: Of course it is. Will Ripley, thank you for the reporting.

Ahead for us, YouTube reportedly considering some pretty significant changes to the way that it handles videos that your children watch. Why? What might change and what motivated this move? Ahead.

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[10:55:39] HARLOW: All right, welcome back. So despite growing fears of a recession, the head of one of the nation's biggest banks says a recession is not in the cards. CNN's (ph) lead writer (INAUDIBLE) just sat down for an exclusive interview with the CEO of Bank of America, who thinks the chances of a recession are not going up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA: People talk about recession, they confuse it with slowing down. The economy was predicted by everybody last year to slow down. There was nobody saying that '19 was going to be bigger than '18, including ourselves. That's coming true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: That's reassuring. Moynihan's comments come as stocks sit near record levels, but a recent survey by Duke University of chief financial officers in this country, found seven in 10 of them think a recession will hit the United States by the end of next year.

All right. This morning, YouTube is weighing some major changes to the way that it handles content for children. It's part of the company's response to criticism that it just hasn't done enough to keep those offensive videos away from minors.

In fact, "The Washington Post" reports the FTC is in the late stages of an investigation into how YouTube is handling these children's videos. Our Brian Fung has reporting on this story. He joins me now.

So the parent company, Google, is apparently considering moving all children's content to the standalone YouTube app -- the standalone YouTube Kids app, which would change things dramatically. BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECH REPORTER: It would potentially. You know,

YouTube obviously relies heavily upon driving engagement, getting people to watch move videos more frequently.

And so by diverting some of that content off to its own individual silo, it could, you know, potentially reduce that engagement, which would be harmful for YouTube's bottom line.

But a person familiar with the matter has told me that would be a really drastic step and it's unlikely that YouTube would actually move in that direction. What's more likely, you know, YouTube has considered internally, things like stopping the practice where it automatically plays the next video in the queue, which could, you know, potentially cut down on instances where, you know, your kid might be watching a very innocuous video one moment, and then at the next moment, be watching a very harmful or disturbing video.

HARLOW: Yes. I mean, we were talking in the break -- it happened to my three-year-old this week. A video she should definitely not have been watching popped up after I turned on "Mister Rogers."

The issue is, YouTube has hired 10,000 people to get around this issue. And the Google CEO just told me, a week ago, "We're doing better and better but, you know, it's really hard to get a hundred percent of these videos that shouldn't be there, down."

What is sort of the long play here? Is A.I., is technology going to be able to fix the algorithm and the recommendation algorithm on this?

FUNG: Well, I think, you know, Sundar Pichai does have a point. It's a very hard technological problem. Just, you know, it's an immense amount of scale that you'd have to throw at this issue because there are hours upon hours being uploaded to YouTube every day, and there just aren't enough humans who can, you know, turn their attention to, you know, validating all of this content.

HARLOW: Right.

FUNG: So at some level, part of the -- part of the solution is going to be technological. But I think one of the things that regulators are really grappling with is what types of policies would YouTube have to put in place or what types of policies government regulators might have to put in place --

HARLOW: Yes.

FUNG: -- to ensure this content remains, you know, appropriate for children.

HARLOW: And speaking of government regulators, right? There is now this top-to-bottom House probe of --

FUNG: That's right.

HARLOW: -- Google and its Big Tech competitors. Is this going to be part of that? Because many would argue that Congress completely has abdicated its duty to regulate these guys. And by the way, Google wants more regulation.

FUNG: Well, I think this House antitrust subcommittee probe is sort of designed at addressing some of these big societal challenges. This is the first time the antitrust subcommittee has done something like this in decades. So they're really interested in going broad and deep on some of these questions.

You know, at the same time, this is a bit of a Rorschach test because, you know, Congress is looking at it from a very different perspective than the antitrust agencies might be looking at it.

HARLOW: That's true, that's true. OK. We'll keep following this. Great reporting, Brian.

FUNG: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

[10:59:57] And thank you for being with us. I'm Poppy Harlow. "AT THIS HOUR" starts now.