Return to Transcripts main page


Alabama DA to Decide on Prosecuting a Woman; Closing Arguments in Navy Seal Murder Trial; U.S. May Settle for Nuclear Freeze; 9/11 Hero Luis Alvarez Dies. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 1, 2019 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Decide to prosecute on manslaughter, or maybe to prosecute on a lesser charge, or maybe drop the charges all together. That decision is also expected very soon.

Meanwhile, Marshae Jones is resting in an undisclosed location, according to attorney. She's still very upset about the loss of her child and she fears going to jail for some time, even though she has a six year old daughter that would be left without a mother.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my gosh, Martin, it will be very interesting to see what prosecutors do in this case.

Thank you very much for the report from the courthouse.

So there are also closing arguments set to begin today in the court martial of a Navy SEAL. Eddie Gallagher is accused of killing an ISIS prisoner, shooting at civilians and other crimes during his deployment to Mosul, Iraq, in 2017. Gallagher faces life in prison if he's convicted of murder.

CNN's Nick Watt explains why this case has gotten so much attention.


NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR: A self-less war hero and a family man, that's the image the defense would like to leave the jury as it decides the fate of Chief Eddie Gallagher. The 40-year-old Navy SEAL stands accused of stabbing to death a young wounded ISIS fighter while deployed in Iraq in 2017, of shooting innocent civilians and pressuring his fellow SEALs not to turn him in, they did. This court- martial commanding the spotlight like few others ever have.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEWSROOM": The prosecution in the murder trial of a decorated Navy SEAL could rest its case in the next day or two.

WATT: Currently, because we're getting a glimpse into the usually secretive world of the elite Navy SEALs, partly because the president got involved even hinting at a pardon.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We teach them how to be great fighters and then when they fight, sometimes they get really treated very unfairly.

WATT: Partly because of the courtroom bombshell dropped by SEAL medic Corey Scott from the stand. The prosecution witness testifying under immunity he claim Gallagher didn't kill the alleged ISIS fighter. I suffocated him, Scott told the court. I held my thumb over his trach tube until he asphyxiated. I knew he was going to die anyway.

MARC MUKASEY, GALLAGHER'S LAWYER: Corey Scott took the witness stand, stood up like an honest person, stood up like a man, stood up like a real SEAL, and told the truth. And he should be, I think, applauded for telling the truth under those circumstances.

WATT: Two other fellow SEALs testified that they did see Gallagher unprovoked suddenly stab the prison in the neck. One of them saying the blood looked similar to a baby throwing up. But Gallagher's lawyers say this case isn't about murder, it's about mutiny.

TIM PARLOATORE, GALLAGHER'S LAWYER: This is a small group of SEALs that wanted to get rid of their chief and they went through -- they went through to try and find a way to do that.

WATT: Gallagher is also accused of posing with the corpse, trophy photos, as prosecutors call them, sent to friends with messages like, I got my knife skills on. Damning, say prosecutors, merely gallows humor say Gallagher's attorneys. The jury, seven fellow military men, will soon decide this decorated SEALs fate. Will he spend a quiet retirement with his family or the rest of his life in jail?

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


BERMAN: We will continue to watch that case very closely.

In the meantime, new reaction to the breaking news that the White House is considering letting Kim Jong-un keep some nuclear weapons. And new questions about what the president is getting back in return for his outreach to dictators. That's next.


[08:37:37] BERMAN: President Trump back this morning from the G-20 Summit. He's at the White House. He spent much of this time over there cozying up to dictators and strong men.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, a friend of mine, he sent me a very beautiful birthday card.

A lot of friendships have been made. And this is been, in particular, a great friendship.

We've had a very, very good relationship. And we look forward to spending some very good time together. A lot of very positive things going to come out of the relationship.


BERMAN: I want to get "The Bottom Line" with Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

And, Fareed, before we get to that, I want to start with breaking news in "The New York Times" this morning that the administration is reportedly considering accepting North Korea as a nuclear state. I mean I think that's the headline there, the tacit acceptance that North Korea has nuclear weapons and instead agreeing on some kind of nuclear freeze going forward. It's not unrelated, by the way, to the idea of cozying up to dictators because it gets to the idea of, what is the United States getting in return?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Right, the entire way that Trump has handled the North Korean negotiation seems bizarre. He has now met three times with the dictator of North Korea. This has always been a prize. The North Koreans always wanted to meet with the president, always wanted to be invited, obviously, to the White House. And this was always left hanging because the feeling was you're a rogue regime, you're a nuclear power, you're proliferating nuclear weapons, as the North Koreans who provided much of the nuclear technology to Pakistan, we're not going to give you these prizes, meaning the president, you know, White House visits, until you do something that suggests that you're, you know, moving back to at least denuclearizing a certain amount. Trump has given away these prizes for nothing. So that's the puzzle here.

As far as what the eventual deal will look like, yes, it's highly likely that we have to accept some kind of North Korean nuclear arsenal. But it should be small. It should be verifiable. It should be inspectable. There should be restraints that make sure they don't proliferate to others, as they have in the past. So what's worrisome here is Trump seems so eager to get a deal, he's given away so many concessions, is the deal he's going to get going to be a good one? Is it going to be bad for America? One thing we can be sure, whatever he gets, he'll claim as the best deal ever. But in reality, if we end up with a bad deal with North Korea, it affects the stability of Asia.

[08:40:03] CAMEROTA: But isn't there something else that's quite puzzling about this? And we heard it in those sound bites there. Why is a U.S. president so interested in having a great friendship with murderous dictators?

ZAKARIA: Well, this is the puzzle about -- about Trump, you know, which is highlighted in this G-20 because there were also at that meeting the democratically elected leaders of our closest allies, Germany, France, Britain. And you notice that he never -- he never speaks that warmly about Angela Merkel or about Macron or about Justin Trudeau. In fact, he often has negative, nasty things to say.

Again, what's striking about it is, it seems so easy to game, to play Donald Trump. He mentions that MBS sends him a birthday card. He mentions that Putin flatters him. You know, he's so taken up by that kind of personal flattery that it seems a pretty easy path to, you know, to getting in on his good side.

Now, some Democratic leaders have tried it, Abe in Japan, Moon in South Korea, and it works. But I think that the strong men have the ability to, you know, maybe go one step further and also he likes the strength that they present.

CAMEROTA: He respects them more than his allies (INAUDIBLE).

ZAKARIA: He finds democratic leaders constrained. You know, they have to be worried about democratic constraints.

CAMEROTA: Human rights.

BERMAN: And that's the thing is, look, I'm not naive, we're not naive here. The United States has long dealt with regimes that have questionable human rights records or regimes that might be autocratical or something like that. It's just that he seems to enjoy it. He seems to -- he seems to relish in these relationships somehow.

ZAKARIA: And it minimizes a core element of U.S. power, which has always been that the United States stands up for human rights, for values. You know, that has been something that even the most realist of American presidents have always recognized is an important component. It's why people listen to us around the world. It's why we have gotten to set the agenda for so many international meetings.

So even Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, who were regarded as the most realist of all -- of all administrations, they got the Soviet Union to sign the Helsinki Accords, which forced to Soviet Union to accept certain human rights standards.

I think understanding how to do that is not kind of peripheral to American power, it's what makes for the best use of American power because ultimately, you know, we're the largest country -- economy in the world, but we're not going to be that forever. But we will be the spokesman, the spokesperson for rights, values, democracy, freedom, if you handle it correctly.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, it's all -- it was also just so strange to see President Trump and Vladimir Putin. And President Trump behaving so obsequiously on Friday towards Vladimir Putin, not admonishing him for election interference, instead saying this. Watch this moment.


QUESTION: Will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?


Don't meddle in the election, please. Don't -- don't meddle in the election.


CAMEROTA: Don't meddle in our lection, please, he, he, he, he, laughing. Matthew Chance, our correspondent in Moscow, after that said that

Vladimir Putin was visibly uncomfortable with the obsequiousness. As you see Kim Jong-un also looks sort of baffled by much of this.

ZAKARIA: And you notice Kim Jong-un didn't reciprocate it at any point. Trump keeps saying how fantastically they had gotten on --

CAMEROTA: Their friendship is.

ZAKARIA: And the warm friendship and --

CAMEROTA: He's looking away. Kim Jong-un looks away.

ZAKARIA: Right, and -- and Kim Jong-un just pockets the concessions one by one.

I think that, you know, that's the larger and more worrisome point is, Putin gave an interview in the FT, in "The Financial Times." And I was reading it and it was an attack on western liberalism, it was an attack on the decadence of the west. And I was thinking to myself, most of this stuff Donald Trump agrees with. You know, to be reading the dictator of Russia, giving an interview and thinking to yourself that the president of the United States has at -- in various points said almost all these things.

BERMAN: A remarkable moment in time.

Fareed Zakaria, great to have you with us. Thank you.

ZAKARIA: All right.


BERMAN: All right, so he voted to fight for 9/11 first responders until the very end. UP next, we're going to remember and honor the life of New York City Police Detective Luis Alvarez.


[08:48:25] CAMEROTA: Nearly three weeks ago, retired NYPD bomb squad detective Luis Alvarez pleaded to lawmakers in Congress to extend health benefits to police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers who so bravely responded to the September 11th terror attacks. Alvarez died on Saturday in hospice from the cancer linked to his work at Ground Zero.

Here's what he told Congress earlier this month.


LUIS ALVAREZ: I have been lucky enough to have the pain and suffering of 69 months of chemo and countless other treatments and surgeries. It is my goal, and it is my legacy, to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Joining us now are John Feal and Rob Serra, both were 9/11 first responders and both were friends of Luis Alvarez.

Guys, great to have you here in studio. So sorry for your loss.

JOHN FEAL, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: Thank you for having us.


CAMEROTA: I know it's been a hard weekend.

FEAL: Sure, it's been a -- you know, the 9/11 community lost a giant. And it extends now past 9/11 community because Luis touched America. And the support we're getting from people across the nation." That's how Luis led his life with dignity and class and the American people see that and we'll take that back to D.C. with us. And Luis passing will not be in vein.

BERMAN: Dignity and courage. I mean, you know, it was striking us earlier this morning that he was willing to give his life twice, you know, going down to Ground Zero in the days after 9/11 for months after there putting his life on the line to recover whatever he could down there. And then three weeks ago with his 69th chemo scheduled for the next day, he goes to Washington before Congress. To me, the courage to do that, when he's three weeks away from his passing, just remarkable.

[08:50:24] SERRA: Yes, he's a hero (ph). It was unbelievable to witness. And I think Jon Stewart touched on it in his testimony. You know, the most precious commodity that we have is time. And, unfortunately, like we just saw with Luis, you know, time is running out for a lot of us. You know, when John and I met with Senator Mitch McConnell last week, my daughter was giving her first solo at school, you know. That's the type of stuff that we're missing because we have to go down to Washington, you know, and we don't have a lot of those moments left, unfortunately. So, yes.

FEAL: Luis had a target on his back.


FEAL: And Luis knew that target was going to get him. But like Rob and the tens of thousands of other people, we all have targets on our back and time is the essence of us. And Congress and the Senate, they need to sense that urgency now. These men and women are legitimately dying from their heroic actions. And let Luis' passing bring us together. Let Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell do this faster than usual what they're used to doing.

And I want -- you know, in 2015, when we get this bill passed, and two years ago when we lost Ray Pfeiffer, who was the face of the movement back then, I asked New York City and the mayor to give Ray the key to New York City. So I'm asking Mayor de Blasio to give Luis the key to New York City.

CAMEROTA: I'm sure he will do that. FEAL: He better.

BERMAN: He already has our hearts, I'll tell you that. Luis already has our hearts.

FEAL: Well, you know, and to Phil, his brother and his family and his three children, our heart bleeds for him. Our souls are crushed. And we're going to mourn today and tomorrow and we're going to bury a hero on Wednesday. But make no mistake, we're going to be sharpening our swords and we're going back to D.C. with a new -- a new vigor. And Congress better sense our urgency.

CAMEROTA: The shots of -- the photos of Luis then and now, you know, the pictures of him when he was a healthy --

FEAL: Yes.

CAMEROTA: More hardy man.

BERMAN: Look at that.

CAMEROTA: And then to think of what he physically went through to make it to Congress in those waning days of his life, to give that testimony, is so stark and so remarkable.

And do you, John, feel that now you are on the right track with Mitch McConnell and Congress and everybody else? Do you think that all this has made a difference?

FEAL: I pray. I hope so. We've done our job. We've done everything we can possibly do. We've left it all out on the field. We have given every ounce of energy that we can possibly muster to continue to go to D.C. And -- and Luis literally left it all on the field. And if they don't get that, you know, I -- you know, Luis said, I gave him purpose. I gave him hope. My Lord, how do you -- how do you live with that? I mean, he -- he made me, in my mind, a better person, and I thought I was pretty cool already.

BERMAN: I have to say, you know, you say you're just doing your job. You're going so far beyond at this point.

FEAL: No, Luis -- Luis went beyond.

BERMAN: Both -- all of you, all of you, you shouldn't have to go down like this. He shouldn't have to be down there the day before his 69th chemo, three weeks before he's dying, to ask for this. You know that's -- that's, I think, the mission and the message of what Luis was for and I --

FEAL: Yes, and that's why we've got to get legislation passed and that's why the city of New York needs to give this man a key to the city. And that's why we've got to remember and honor his legacy and not let his passing be in vein. And that's why the VCF needs to be fully extended. And that's why Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell and leadership on both sides of the aisle need to come together and put aside the politics, because politics is so ugly, and just think like human beings. Not even Americans. I hate that word. Stop thinking like Americans, think like human beings. Show compassion and show humanity, and then we'll all get along.

CAMEROTA: Now, Rob, do you know how Luis wife and three sons are doing?

SERRA: I think they're hanging in there as best they can. They have a good support system. But the unfortunate truth is, before the House even votes on this, we're going to lose at least one more 9/11 first responder. We're at an average of one every two and a half days. The NYPD lost --

CAMEROTA: One every two and a half days you lose --


FEAR: Two point seven days.

SERRA: Point seven days.

FEAR: We lose somebody every 2.7 days.

BERMAN: That's amazing.

FEAR: So if you take the monthly average, the yearly average, you know, since 9/11, it comes out to 2.7 days.

BERMAN: Rob, you know, obviously, we get a sense of what kind of a guy Luis was by just what he was willing to give up in his sacrifice there. But I want people to get a sense of him. And you tell a story, last time you saw him, what was the first thing he said to you?

SERRA: The first thing he said to me was, how you feeling, brother? And he gave me a hug. And he looked like you just saw him on TV. And if that doesn't make you cry, I don't know what will.

[087:55:09] FEAL: You know -- you know what's special about Luis, and -- and even Rob and all my guys, we're family. When we see each other, we hug each other. We tell each other we love each other. When we leave D.C., we're so close, that our bond and our love for each other, especially when we lose somebody, it makes us stronger. And I hope -- you know, I can't teach Rob, who's a firefighter, or my other guys who are cops, I can't teach them brotherhood. They already know that from their jobs. But I can teach them what it is to be -- to fight like a family, and family don't let each other down.

CAMEROTA: Well, you guys are an inspiration to us. And we really appreciate you keeping this story and all of the memories of all of your family and friends alive here with us. So we'll watch what happens in Congress. We're, again, we're really sorry for your loss. Thanks for being here.

FEAL: Thank you for having us.

SERRA: Yes, thank you for having us.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Monday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto. Poppy Harlow has the day off.

[08:59:55] Settling for a freeze, a potential major policy reversal by President Trump on North Korea. "The New York Times" reporting that the White House is now weighing a plan that would allow Kim Jong-un to keep his current and growing stockpile of nuclear.