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Source Says, Epstein's Cell Not Monitored Night Of Apparent Suicide; Walmart Temporarily Removes Violent Video Game Signs, Displays; Market Volatility Is Back; At Least 680 People Detained In Mississippi ICE Raids; Trump Takes Aim At Big Cities, Stays Quiet On Struggling Towns; New Hampshire Family Receives $1,000 A Month To Test Andrew Yang's Plan; Daycare Fire Kills Four Siblings And Owner's Child. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired August 11, 2019 - 18:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Breaking news right now, details -- new details from the federal prison in New York City where a millionaire and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself. These new details coming from a source familiar with Epstein's time inside that jail, throwing a light on how many guards were watching him and just who closely the prison keeps tabs on inmates in Epstein's special situation.

First, that source telling CNN that at the time Jeffrey Epstein is believed to have hanged himself, nobody was monitoring him, no guards were watching his cell. And despite protocol, Epstein was totally alone.

Also, we're learning about how the prison was staffed at the time of Epstein's death. According to that insider, two guards were on duty at that special housing unit. One of them was working a mandatory overtime shift and the other was on his fifth overtime shift of the week. So far, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is saying nothing.

With us now, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Elie Honig, and former New York City Homicide Prosecutor, Paul Callan. Both of you have been inside this facility.

Elie, these new details that we're learning, again, no guards monitoring him, no one else in his cell, are you surprised?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I am. It's really hard to understand and it's pretty inexcusable especially given some specific things relating to Epstein.

First of all, he was probably the highest priority and highest profile person in custody of the Bureau of Prison at that time. And second of all, he reportedly had a recent suicide attempt. Now, they had him on suicide watch, which his more intensive than the housing unit, for about six days, from what I understand, less than typically they keep someone on suicide watch.

So why did they take him off of suicide watch? I want to know that. And they're supposed to document that. So that's an important piece of evidence that they need to gather. And apparently they dropped the ball even when he was in the SHU, the special housing unit as well.

CABRERA: And so, Paul, could those guards, those personnel at the prison can be legally in some trouble?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they could be in trouble in two ways. They could be facing disciplinary proceedings, of course, for not properly guarding a prisoner who attempted suicide, but they also subject to a civil lawsuit. The federal government can be sued civilly by Epstein's estate for not properly protecting him when he was sick.

Now, I don't think you're going to see that happen because I think his biggest problem, the estate's biggest problem is going to be victim- suing estate, but it's theoretically possible.

CABRERA: And I also wonder if they're supposed to check on him every 30 minutes, which we're told, and he wasn't being checked on. And if they have to, you know, I guess record their checks somewhere, if that's one of the place where investigators will look for for clues.

CALLAN: There's another big question too, and that is there are lots of cameras in MCC (ph), as a matter of fact, virtually, every foot of that facility with the exception of where lawyers meet with their clients, cameras, video and other kinds cameras are around. Was there a camera in this area and was it working?

Now, we haven't heard any reports on that yet. And it's going to be very curious if there was no camera working in this area to show what happened.

CABRERA: I mean, you said you thought every square inch of that facility is surveilled. How confident are you that they're going to the bottom of what happened?

HONIG: Well, they better -- there'd better be a video. Because if there's not, then we won't even have question one answered, which is what happened inside that cell. And I don't think there's going to be any faith given credibility given to DOJ and the Bureau of Prisons, which is part of DOJ, if there's not even that video. They need to have that video.

And also just for sort of a little bit of physical perspective, the Special Housing Unit where Epstein is being held is not big. It's essentially one hallway with cells along one wall. So it's the size of an average dormitory hallway, essentially straight lined down.

So it's not like these cells are sort of separate really from one another. You can see in here a lot that's going on basically the entire unit.

CALLAN: And I think also we don't have the autopsy report yet seen the ME's report. But it's not very easy to hang yourself in a small cell like that without being noticed if there are people who were supposed to be keeping an eye on you. We don't know yet the details of how he killed himself. So those details are going to be very important as well to see whether the institution, MCC (ph), bears a responsibility for this suicide.


CABRERA: You're a defense attorney. I know you've had clients there. Here is what Epstein's attorneys said, in a statement. Breathless reporters excavating every corner of Mr. Epstein's life to pile on, tear him down and kick him at his lowest while still presumed innocent before he'd had his day in court. All these actors appear to bear some responsibility for this calamity. All seem to have a share of Mr. Epstein's blood on their hands. All should be ashamed of their behavior.

As a defense attorney, what do you make of that statement?

CALLAN: That's a very aggressive statement for that defense attorney to make. And noticed I saw another statement that was made. I don't know if it was made by him or another defense attorney, actually making a reference to the judge in the case as well. And I found all of those statements to be extremely aggressive in a situation where we don't really know all of the facts.

And I think it's a big mistake to jump to huge conclusions here until we know the cause of death, precise cause of death, we know whether the cameras were working and we know where are all of these guards were.

And we'll probably know that by tomorrow or the next day, then we can form conclusions about whether there's a conspiracy to kill him, whether Epstein himself had a lot of money, did he use his money to get another inmate to help in the suicide or to bribe a guard in committing the suicide? There are all kinds of possibilities.

CABRERA: And then the mind just goes everywhere on this story because we don't have the answers.

CALLAN: It's pure speculation now.

CABRERA: We don't know exactly what happened.

I want to put up a cover of The Miami Herald today, Elie. Take a look at this. It says, the easy way out. And I wonder, does Epstein's death mean others who may be part of this alleged sex trafficking ring? Could they now have an easier way out themselves?

HONIG: No. They should still be very worried. Anyone who helped Jeffrey Epstein run this sex trafficking ring, promote it, profit from it, should still be very worried. Southern District has made clear, we're not done. We're still coming after the co-conspirators.

The only threat that this really be removes is the possibility of Epstein cooperating. Obviously, that can't happen now. So to some extent, some people may be breathing a sigh of relief, but no. Rest assured, Southern district is not going to breathe easy until they have everybody who is part of this. And he did not run this alone, indicted and brought to trial.

Epstein himself took the easy way out, and I think it's an apt headline there. And he did, to an extent, deprive his victims of that sense of justice.

CABRERA: Elie Honig, Paul Callan, good to have both of you here. Thank you both.

Walmart has found itself at the center of the gun debate after a deadly mass shooting and a spate of scary incidents at stores all around the nation.

Now, Walmart's CEO says they will temporarily ban displays of violent video games but they will continue to selling guns at their stores.

I'll ask the president of the American Federation of Teachers what she wants Walmart to do, next.



CABRERA: Several scares involving Walmart are being reported this weekend. Florida Police arrested a 26-year-old man allegedly threatening that he was about to get his gun back, people should stay away from Walmart.

And police in Texas, in Harlingen, Texas, say a man is awaiting arraignment there after allegedly posting an online threat against a Walmart in that community. All this happening after Walmart this week temporarily removed store displays for violent video games out of respect for the 22 victims of the El Paso shooting.

And there's this. Several 2020 candidates are calling on Walmart now to stop selling guns.

CNN's Alexandra Field has more now on Walmart's response to all of these controversies.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two deadly shootings in just one week at Walmart. My heartaches, writes Walmart's CEO Doug McMillan. First, a shooting on July 30th that claimed two lives at a Walmart in South Haven, Mississippi, then the massacre at a store in El Paso.

Days later, panic sets in at a Walmart in Missouri when a heavily armed man walks in wearing full body armor. This time, no shots are fired.

The company is facing questions, will America's largest retailer continue to be one of the biggest gun sellers? At the end of the deadly week, Walmart rolled out new guidelines, instructing employees not to show violent movies in the entertainment section and banning displays of violent video games.

The games themselves are still for sale, and so are guns.

PAUL LAMONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: They don't break down just how much revenue they generate from ammunition and firearms but it's a business that obviously does well enough for them that they want to stick with it.

FIELD: Top competitors Target and Amazon don't sell firearms.

LAMONICA: Walmart is in a fierce battle with a lot of other retailers around the country and they don't want to lose customers if they don't have to.

FIELD: Walmart markets its firearms for hunting and fishing, no longer sells handguns outside of Alaska. It stopped selling assault rifles in 2015 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook and a spate of others. After the tragedy Parkland, Walmart raised the minimum age to buy a gun to 21 and pulled toys resembling assault weapons.

But backlash is brewing. There are new calls for the retailer to do more.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, I think it would be more effective if instead of taking down pictures of guns, they actually stop selling guns.

THOMAS MARSHALL, WALMART EMPLOYEE: What we're asking really is our main reach is that we would like Walmart to stop the sale of all firearms and ammunition.

FIELD: This week, a Walmart employee sent an email urging thousands of workers to strike. Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders Tweeted his support, writing, Walmart should respect the voices of its workers who are calling on the company to stop selling guns.

The gun used in the shooting in El Paso is not sold in Walmart stores. But in the wake of the devastating week, Walmart's CEO says, we will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and South Haven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence.


CABRERA: Our thanks to Alexandra Field for that report.

Now, the largest teacher's union in America is sending a strong message to Walmart's CEO, Doug McMillan. Randi Weingarten is the president of the American Federation of Teachers, and she writes, if Walmart continues to provide funding to lawmakers who are standing in the way of gun reform, teachers and students should reconsider doing their back-to-school shopping at your stores. And Randi Weingarten is joining us now.


CABRERA: That was just one part of your letter. I know you had a number of demands or requests of Walmart. Have you had any response?

WEINGARTEN: No, we have not.


I mean, you know, we've had a public response but we have not had the kind of thoughtful response that Doug McMillan said that he was going to do post the tragedy in El Paso.

And, frankly, let me just be clear. Teachers care about kids. Kids, these days, 80 percent of them, teenagers, are more fearful about gun violence than anything else in their lives. And what we're asking Walmart, the biggest employer and retailer in the country, is to care about kids as much as we do, and, frankly, at the very least, care about them more than they care about the NRA.

CABRERA: Let's talk about what Walmart has done when it comes to guns. Walmart stopped selling military-style rifles in 2015, we know they raised the age to purchase handguns from 18 to 21, that happened just last year, and this week, as I mentioned, they announced a temporary removal of violent video game signs and displays. Do you think those actions have an impact?

WEINGARTEN: Look, I think that they are after Sandy Hook in a different presidency than saying that they would stop selling assault rifles and weapons was really important. And at that time, we and others praised them for that.

But let's talk about video games which seems to be a talking point of the president and others. There are video games in Canada. There are video games in Europe. There are video games in lots of other places. What there isn't is the kind of -- the guns that we have in America. And what has happened is we see in America a far greater use of guns, 250 mass shootings this year. We need to be outraged about that.

And it's not hunters and it's fishermen, it is -- and it's not the normal members, the regular members of the NRA, most of whom want background checks, most of whom don't want weapons of war on the streets. We need to have these corporations who have tremendous clout in the United States take the step that Congress hasn't been willing to take, keep our neighborhoods and our schools safe.

CABRERA: Do your teachers feel any safer knowing these video game displays are being taken down?

WEINGARTEN: No. Our members feel, just like students, that schools should be safe havens, not armed fortresses. And, obviously, all the hardening that's going on in schools given the number of guns that out there, obviously, we have worked with people li8ke them after Sandy Hook and after Parkland to try to figure out that balance. But when you have more focus on buying or on selling bulletproof backpacks as opposed to the kind of sensible gun violence, recommendations of background checks and getting assault weapons and those kind of ammunitions off the streets, red flag laws, this is what our focus should be.

Less thoughts and prayers, as important as that is, in every community that has gone through this has been scarred forever. Less thoughts and prayers and more policy changes.

CABRERA: Quickly, if you will, if the CEO of Walmart is watching right now --

WEINGARTEN: Sorry I'm so emotional.

CABRERA: It's an emotional subject.

WEINGARTEN: It's horrible.

CABRERA: I have children in school. That's the worst thing I can ever imagine is them having to deal with this.

WEINGARTEN: It's just horrible.

CABRERA: But if you have the ear, if he is watching right now, what is your message to the CEO of Walmart?

WEINGARTEN: Please do something that makes people safer. Do community buybacks. Bring together CEOs of all throughout the country to work together to put pressure on Congress to do the sensible gun violence things that other countries have done.

CABRERA: Thank you so much, Randi Weingarten, and for coming in. Good to have you with us.

WEINGARTEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Parents ripped away from their children in ICE raids in Mississippi, for the kids, a nightmare that won't end. Can anything be done about that? I'll ask the chairman of the House Committee and Homeland Security live next on the CNN Newsroom.

But, first, here is Alison Kosik with this week's "Before the Bell."

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Volatility is back. There were wild swings in the market last week as nervous investors piled into gold, government bonds and other safe havens. Wall Street is worried about slowing global growth and the escalating trade war. And it's watching China's currency very closely. Last week, Beijing allowed the U.N. to breach a key level versus the dollar, sending global markets into a tailspin.

Despite the roller coaster ride, some market strategists think Wall Street is overreacting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRIAN BELSKI, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, BMO CAPITAL MARKETS: The fundamental construct of the United States stock market remains the most stable and strongest in the world, period.



KOSIK: Their argument, the U.S. economy is still growing, and interest rates, inflation and unemployment remain low. So just how strong is the U.S. consumer who's been powering most of the country's economic growth? We'll get some indication this week when major retailers report results. Walmart, Macy's and J.C. Penney are among the companies reporting quarterly earnings.

In May, Walmart said it would raise prices on some products because of the Trump administration's tariffs. Did that hurt sales? This week, we'll find out.

In New York, I'm Alison Kosik.


CABRERA: Welcome back. We are still tracking the fallout from this week's ICE raids in Mississippi, nearly 700 undocumented immigrants swept up on Wednesday from seven food processing plants. For their children, it was traumatic.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need my dad. My dad did not do -- he's not a criminal.

Government, please put your heart, let my parent be free with everybody else, please. Don't leave the child with cryingness and everything.



CABRERA: The acting commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, responded this morning. Watch.


MARK MORGAN, ACTING COMMISSIONER, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: So I understand that the girl is upset and I get that, but her father committed a crime. And just so the American people know also is that girl, her mother was home and she was reunited with her mother within a few hours that night.


CABRERA: Some of those swept up in the raid are still being held. And although Morgan says the undocumented workers committed a crime there's no evidence that any of the plant owners have been arrested for hiring undocumented workers in the first place. And acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan insists the raids were conducted with sensitivity.


KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY: ICE took great pains (ph) to make sure that there were no child-dependent care issues that were ignored. 32 of the arrestees were released on site at the plant, another 270 within the first day of the operation. That's 45 percent of the people arrested released for humanitarian reasons, including child care.

They took this very seriously. They had a process with 14 different case workers and phones available to call and find parents and kids and make arrangements. So this was done with sensitivity.


CABRERA: Arrests at the border are down, by the way, by almost half since May. But CBP officials still maintain they are at crisis levels.

There is also the timing. Officials say they have been planning the Mississippi raids for over a year and they went ahead with them despite the El Paso attack just days earlier.

Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson is the chairman of the committee on Homeland Security and joins us now.

Welcome, Congressman.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Thank you for having me.

CABRERA: First, I would like your reaction or response to those comments we just heard from Mark Morgan and Kevin McAleenan.

THOMPSON: Well, it continues to show the insensitivity of ICE and Homeland Security officials to this issue. You can't separate children after their families, their parents go to work. As you know, some of the school districts were not contacted. The human service department, in many instances, have yet to be contacted. But it was the good people of those communities who rallied around the children. They are the real heroes in this situation, not ICE and Homeland Security officials.

CABRERA: We know border crossings dipped 24 percent, in fact, from June to July. They're down 43 percent since May, according to CBP. Here is what the acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said about those numbers.


MORGAN: But make no mistake, our daily apprehension numbers are still between 2,300 and 2,500. If you remember, the former Secretary, Jeh Johnson, said a bad day for him was 1,000. And I know it because I worked for him when he was chief of Border Patrol. So this is still crisis levels.


CABRERA: Congressman, do you think there's still a crisis at the border?

THOMPONS: Well, let me say that the crisis is not at the processing plants. Those individuals are going to work, they were not trying to hide. I don't say that they have not broken the law. But if I look at who they are, trying to take care of their families, they have integrated themselves into the community, doing the things that they really want to do, they're seeking economic independence. They're not murderers, robbers, rapists that many people in this administration want you to believe.

So they have significant sympathy for those individuals. They're not deadbeats. They're not standing on the corner. And they're doing a lot of work that many of those companies can't find people to do. So we need to find a solution.

But let me tell you, 600 people, to arrest 680 people, all of whom who were at work, not a single owner of a company has been picked up or anything. So these individuals go to work. All the records of them are there in the offices of those companies.

But, again, you pick on the little people and the big people seem to get away every time.

CABRERA: Well, the president has said as much that he believes that our coverage of that raid and showing the trauma on those children would be an effective deterrent to people coming from south of the border into this country.

THOMPSON: Well, it does not go to our values as Americans. I don't want to be known as someone who is separating families or picking on children. And the president, of all people, can't say anything. e has been accused time and again of working illegal individuals on his properties. So maybe we need to look at him just like we're looking at the processes here in Mississippi.

CABRERA: Let me ask you about something else. We learned the El Paso shooter told investigators he was targeting Mexicans.


This is according to the arrest affidavit.

And that's, also, as we learn the White House rebuffed attempts by DHS for more than a year to make combating domestic terrorism a higher priority. Of course, now, that El Paso shooting is a domestic terrorist investigation. Do you have confidence the administration is equipped to attack the threat from domestic terrorists?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY: No, I don't, and let me tell you why. We have just allotted significant resources to the Department of Homeland Security to address a lot of issues along the border and what have you. Nobody talked about domestic terrorism was a problem.

The White House continues to actually downplay it. They will want you to believe that our largest threat to the homeland is still the Islamist threat, but that's not the case. The facts don't bear it out.

So I'm not convinced at all that this administration really wants to address the right-wing threats that we can document in this country. El Paso, in my estimation, is just the beginning of other things unless we address it forthrightly, and that means from the White House all the way to Congress.

CABRERA: Congressman Bennie Thompson, we'll have you back when we can talk more about what you are doing in Congress to address that threat. Thank you for being with us.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

CABRERA: As the President rips on big cities like Baltimore, small towns and states that helped get him elected are suffering some of the same problems. Up next, how people in rural areas wish he'd highlight their problems minus the insults.


[18:35:18] CABRERA: When it comes to singling out U.S. communities for criticism, it seems like President Trump makes a habit of attacking big cities. Most recently, he has taken aim at places like San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and Baltimore, which he referred to as a rodent-infested mess. But when it comes to struggling rural areas that supported him in 2016, the President seems less vocal about their problems. So why is that? CNN's Miguel Marquez has more.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District, ruggedly beautiful in deeply poor Appalachia, for decades, has struggled with the boom and bust of coal.

GWEN JOHNSON, OWNER, BLACK SHEEP BAKERY AND PIZZA: We've had a mono- economy of coal for over a hundred years, so then --

MARQUEZ (on camera): And coal is gone?

G. JOHNSON: And -- pretty much.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Gwen Johnson, in her spare time, runs Black Sheep Bakery and Pizza in Hemphill, Kentucky. The money it brings in helps the local community center stay open.

G. JOHNSON: We're fighting for a better community here. We got people who are hurting, coming out of incarceration.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Not only have high-paying coal jobs sharply declined since 2012 --


MARQUEZ (voice-over): -- despite promises otherwise.

PETER HILLE, PRESIDENT, MOUNTAIN ASSOCIATION FOR COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: In 2017, we added fewer than 20 jobs; and in 2018, we lost a few hundred more. So the coal industry in Kentucky has not come back.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Opioid and drug abuse dealing rural Appalachia a double punch.

BRAD JOHNSON, RECOVERING ADDICT IN HEMPHILL, KENTUCKY: But once I tried heroin, I was a hundred percent addicted, like, the first time.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Brad Johnson served three years in the military, one tour in Iraq. He is now in recovery, what he calls the toughest fight in his 34 years.

B. JOHNSON: I'd drink so much that when I wake up and look around, I'd see all the drug paraphernalia that I'd done and don't even remember doing.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Trying to get off heroin, he became addicted to prescription opioids, eventually serving time for trafficking drugs and receiving stolen goods.

B. JOHNSON: I've been in recovery for four years.

MARQUEZ (on camera): How tough is that?

B. JOHNSON: Here, it's really tough.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Tough for thousands here, either addicted or in recovery, many with criminal records.

If you overlaid this map of economically distressed counties in 2018 and this one of deaths and drug overdoses in 2015, Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District is right in the middle.

The President and his administration have focused on combating the opioid epidemic and have spoken glowingly about places like Kentucky, which supported him by 30 points in 2016.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a great, great state. And he has turned out to be a great, great governor, Matt Bevin.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Compare with what the President reserves for his political opponents and their districts.

TRUMP: Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They're largely African-American. You have a large African-American population, and they really appreciate what I'm doing. MARQUEZ (voice-over): Baltimore is about 65 percent African-American;

Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District's about 97 percent White. Some 23 percent of Baltimore residents live in poverty. More than 29 percent of Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District lives below the poverty line.

The President had a similar attack on John Lewis' congressional district in Atlanta in the suburbs, tweeting shortly before his inauguration -- Congressman Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime-infested, rather than falsely complaining about the election results.

Crime rates have sharply declined in Lewis' district since he took office in 1987. But on many occasions, the President has portrayed cities with large minority populations as failed.

TRUMP: No one has paid a higher price for the far left's destructive agenda than Americans living in our nation's inner cities. For decades, these communities have been run exclusively by Democrat politicians.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Here in Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District, even some who voted for the President, say they wish he'd spend less time attacking his opponents and more time focused on making good on his campaign promises.

G. JOHNSON: Rural America rose up and voted for him, and he's talking about urban America. You know, he could throw us a bone, too.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So you think even if he's talking about Baltimore and other places negatively, at least he's talking about them?

G. JOHNSON: He's talking about them, and he's paying attention.


[18:40:01] CABRERA: That was Miguel Marquez reporting.

A quick programming note for you now, make sure you tune in tonight to CNN's original series, "THE MOVIES," taking a look at the '60s, from "Psycho" to "Dr. Strangelove" to "2001: A Space Odyssey." Hear from the actors, directors, and people who brought your favorite scenes to life. Get the stories behind the movies you love. "THE MOVIES" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. here on CNN.

2020 candidate Andrew Yang believes everybody deserves an extra $1,000 bucks a month, and he's putting his money where his mouth is. So how has life changed for one New Hampshire family getting just that? They'll join us live next.


CABRERA: Andrew Yang, a 2020 Democratic candidate for president, will be on the debate stage in September. This week, his campaign met that minimum qualification to make the debate, so he is now the ninth Democratic hopeful to make the cut so far.

Yang spent much of the past few days in Iowa, like many other candidates, at the Iowa State Fair, eating corn dogs and standing on the literal Political Soapbox. But his time in Iowa had some very heavy moments as well.

[18:44:57] I want you to watch this moment, Andrew Yang speaking to voters at a gun safety town hall yesterday. He was overcome with emotion while talking to a woman about her four-year-old daughter that she lost to gun violence.


ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a 6 and 3-year-old boy. As I'm imagining -- I was imagining it was one of them that got shot and the other saw it. (INAUDIBLE). I'm so sorry.


CABRERA: Yang went on to pitch his proposal to make guns personalized, meaning only owners can fire their guns reducing the chances for accidents, among other parts of his gun reform plan.

Yang also had a fiery moment this week, and pulling a page from the Trump playbook, you could say, calling out the President for his appearance and fitness level and getting some laughs at Trump's expense. Take a listen.


YANG: You know, I can't be eating crap on the trail too often because I need to stay in presidential form. I mean, I don't think Donald Trump could run a mile. Do you -- would you guys enjoy trying to watch Donald Trump run a mile? That would be hysterical.

What does that guy weigh, like 280 or something? And you just -- watch the guy try to -- try to run a mile. It'd be -- like, oh, my gosh, that would be so amazing for the American people.

I can do approximately infinity more push-ups than Donald Trump. And I would --




YANG: I mean, I definitely could show you. I take pride in my --


YANG: I take pride in my ability to do push-ups on a dime, but let -- but I want to go through this intellectually. Like, what could Donald Trump possibly be better than me at? An eating contest. Like, something that involved, like, trying to keep something on the ground and having really large body mass. Like, if there was a hot air balloon that was rising and you needed to try and keep it on the ground, he would be better than me in that because he is so fat.

Donald Trump, I challenge you to just about any physical or intellectual feat because you're a terrible president, and America would love to see you pass out trying to run a mile.


YANG: Says the guy who calls KIND bars his favorite comfort food.

Now, since day one of his candidacy, Yang has been all-in on an economic stimulus and growth program that he calls the Freedom Dividend. In short, it guarantees every single American -- rich, poor, and in between, employed or not -- a check every month for $1,000, no questions asked, starting at age 18.

It's not a new concept, this Universal Basic Income. It's been tested on a smaller scale. No developed country has ever put it into practice. This is how Andrew Yang pitched it at his town hall that I hosted back in April.


YANG: So we need to think bigger about how we're going to help Americans transition. And my flagship proposal, which many of you have probably heard of, is a freedom dividend of $1,000 per month for every American adult starting at age 18.

This would create 2 million new jobs in our economy. It would make children and families stronger and healthier and would help tens of millions of Americans transition through what is the greatest economic and technological transformation in our country's history, which is what we're going through right now.


CABRERA: I want to bring in Charles Fassi and his daughter, Janelle. And this is why Andrew Yang is actually testing his Freedom Dividend plan on a few families, giving them a $1,000 a month for an entire year. And the Fassis are one of those test families. Great to see both of you.



CABRERA: Thank you for being here. So you started receiving checks in January, I understand. What are you doing with the money?

C. FASSI: Well, most of it is going towards Janelle's tuition, so she doesn't have to, you know, graduate with a huge amount of student debt. So we're very appreciative to that fact. But that's basically where most of the money is. But we're, you know, using it to pay some bills and just have a little extra cash to kind of go out and do some things to, hopefully, spur the local economy.

CABRERA: And, Charles, I understand you lost your job and you got back into the workforce but it was a pay cut for you. If you -- if you didn't have that extra thousand bucks in your pocket every month, how would your life be different right now?

C. FASSI: We'd have to definitely rethink a lot of things, even possibly selling the house and downsizing a bit. It was definitely, you know, supplementing, you know, a good chunk of the income loss, but -- you know, not a hundred percent of it, but it's definitely something that's been helping us quite a bit.

CABRERA: I mean, skeptics of this plan have suggested just giving away money would reduce incentive to work. Is that the case for you?

C. FASSI: Oh, absolutely not. I mean, I -- you know, I had no desire to quit my job nor is $1,000 a month even close enough to be able to retire or, you know, to even live. I mean, it's basically just enough to survive, you know what I mean? So it's not something that you're going to want to just sit back and -- you know, and go on vacation with. It's not enough.

[18:50:05] CABRERA: And, Janelle, I want to bring you into the conversation because I know you were involved in even being chosen for this experiment. Walk me through how you and your family were chosen.

J. FASSI: So I met Andrew first at a Young Democrats event in Keene. I was interning for the New Hampshire Young Democrats, and I went to an event with Andrew. And he was talking to a group of individuals, trying to tell them about his UBI and tell them about himself and his family and his background with Silicon Valley and those types of -- types of folks.

And I was told beforehand that Andrew Yang is sort of like an Asian Bernie, and I was not -- I was not surprised at all when I met him because he was exactly that. He was just interested in helping so many people, and he had so many big ideas but he actually had the math to go behind it. And he had the math to strengthen up his argument for UBI.

So Andrew and some of his campaign managers were actually saying that they were nominating people for his Universal Basic Income. And so, only a day later, I started e-mailing and calling and getting in touch with Andrew and his campaign team and just telling them about my family's story and my dad's story. And then I found out that we were in the running a couple of months later. And then by December --

CABRERA: And that's how it came to be.

J. FASSI: Yes.

C. FASSI: Yes.


C. FASSI: I mean, it was a very stressful time, and that's like right after -- the first time she met him, it was probably maybe -- maybe two or three weeks after I had lost my job, so we were kind of really struggling. And I didn't even -- I didn't even know if I can collect unemployment at the time because of the way I was -- I was actually asked to resign, and, you know, you can't collect unemployment if you resign from your position. So it was -- it was a stressful time.

CABRERA: Well, I'm glad to hear you guys are back on your feet, and that this extra money in your pocket is helping. Jody and Charles Fassi, thank you for joining us and sharing what's going on. I -- let's keep in touch because I want to hear where this ends up in just a few months from now. Good luck to you.

C. FASSI: Yes, I would love to talk more about it.

J. FASSI: Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you.

C. FASSI: Thank you.

CABRERA: Thanks. We have new details about that daycare fire in Erie, Pennsylvania that has left five children dead. We'll give that to you right when we come back.


[18:56:01] CABRERA: Just in, new information about this heartbreaking story we've been following out of Pennsylvania. Five children were killed and four people were injured in a fire at a home that operated as a round-the-clock daycare in Erie, Pennsylvania. The children range from 8 months to 8 years old. Four of them were siblings. The fifth victim was the child of the daycare owner.

This fire broke out just after 1:00 a.m. today. Investigators found the daycare had no smoke detectors except for one in the attic. They say that if there had been the proper amount of detectors, most, if not all, of the victims, they believe, would have survived. The cause is still under investigation. Fire investigators believe it was an electrical fire, but they have still not ruled out arson.

We're back in just a moment.