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Friend Of The Gunman In The Ohio Mass Shooting Has Been Charged; Lower Manhattan Today, Questions And Confusion Surrounding Jeffrey Epstein's Death; Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci Said He Had Enough; Five Russians Were Buried Today After What's Been Called One Of The Worst Nuclear Accidents Since Chernobyl; Nearly 100 People Being Deported To Guatemala. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired August 12, 2019 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: The U.S. attorney for the southern district of Ohio just announced new charges against the friend of the gunman.

CNN's Ryan Young is following these developments for us.

And so Ryan, what more can you tell us about who this is?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Brooke, so many questions about this case in terms what police have been able to find out so far. We know federal investigators have moved in. And apparently the Sunday after that shooting they were already identifying this man, Ethan Collie, 24, as someone who might have provided some of the instruments that used obviously in the shooting. That drum that was on that A.R.-15 with 100 rounds, apparently he purchased it along with that body armor. And when investigators were inside his apartment, they also noticed drugs inside his apartment.

But listen to investigators talk about how he was involved in this case.


BENJAMIN GLASSMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO: He also acknowledged that he had purchased four bats, body armor, as well as the upper receiver of an A.R. 15 weapon and the 100-round double drum magazine that was ultimately used by Betts in the August 4th shooting in the Oregon district. Collie indicated that he purchased these items for Betts and stored them at collie's residence in order to assist Betts in hiding the items from Betts' parents.


YOUNG: Yes, Brooke, apparently this man also indicated they had done hard drugs together. Not sure if that played a role in what happened.

Now both of us have covered the story. We were there. The big question is was it the friend who was there that night? It doesn't appear that way. So police of course are continuing this investigation to figure out who may have known what. Let's not forget Connor Betts killed his own sister at that scene. And so many people were worried about him turning the corner and going inside that club and shooting more people than what he did before those brave officers were able to take him down.

One thing we did find out from this new news conference today is that they have been able to get into the shooter's phone. They are going through the records right now because, of course, that community would love to know the motive before his crime. But the new development here is this man has been arrested. He was charged on Friday. Now they are opening up the records for us to see exactly why he was charged and what serious charges he is facing -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Got it. Ryan, thanks for the update very much. Ryan Young.

Meantime in lower Manhattan today, questions and confusion surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, a multimillionaire, who died of an apparent suicide in his jail cell. El Epstein who had been protective housing at the MCC, that's the Manhattan Correctional Center, was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges that span more than a decade. He had been placed on suicide watch last month but that watch was removed just days later. Attorney general William Barr whose justice department is ultimately the one in charge of the jail where Epstein died says the case will go forward against him.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me assure you this case will go on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it.


BALDWIN: Vicky Ward is a CNN senior reporter. She has covered Jeffrey Epstein extensively. Elie Honig is a CNN legal analyst and a former assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York which filed those charges against Epstein in early July.

So good to see both of you. And I want to just dive in on these women, on these victims, right. One of the accusers came forward and said that she is angry. She is angry that she and so many other women won't have their day face to face with him in court. And I want to point out your tweet in response to that. You said let me assure you Jeffrey Epstein's death is not the end of the story. There is more to yet to come. Stay tuned.

What makes you so confident on that?

VICKY WARD, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Well, I think you just heard the attorney general, right. He couldn't be more emphatic. Co- conspirators should not rest easy. This indictment had that really important word, conspiracy. So I think now that all eyes go to --

BALDWIN: His orbit.

WARD: His orbit. And obviously the number one sort of fail is that of Ghislaine Maxwell, who was so prominently with him during the period that the indictment covered and has, you know, been known and named in other paper to have been, you know, Epstein's alleged procurer and alleged madam.

BALDWIN: I want to come back to her in just a second.

To you sir, just on -- you have been at MCC a bunch.


BALDWIN: Can you just talk to me about the conditions there and some of the questions would that you would be asking?

HONIG: Yes. It's a horrible place. Like any jail or prison state or federal, it is hot and crowded and loud and scary. But the thing that's really unique about the MCC is it is claustrophobic. It's a high-rise prison. You don't see that often. Most prisons are sort of low and sprawling. So when I just spent there and get out, I need a little fresh air here, right.

[15:05:04] BALDWIN: Wow.

HONIG: And the point is everything is really close together. There's not a lot of space to hide. There is not a lot of space open space. And so everything that goes into that prison comes out of that prison, moves within the prison is documented somehow, by a record that needs to be filled out, by a video camera. So there really should be a lot of clear answers that DOJ and office of inspector general can and should get. We should have answers. And if we don't have answers, we need to ask why not.

BALDWIN: Well, there are some key questions, such as the fact that he had been on suicide watch but he has been taken off? Where was his cellmate? That was against policy. He was found 6:30 in the morning. Where were the guards? How would they have not discovered this sooner? So can you answers some of those questions?

HONIG: Yes, I don't know. I think those are great questions. Those are questions I would have for Bill Barr, first. We just saw the clip earlier him talking about irregularities. Bill Barr, this is on you. This is your house. The bureau of prisons is part of U.S. department of justice. So those are questions that Bill Barr and DOJ need to answer.

How was he moved out of suicide watch in just six days? What specific steps were taken to guard him after that? And for Bill Barr personally, what did you know about this? What steps did you take, attorney general, to protect really the guy who has to have been the highest priority, most important prisoner they had at the time.

BALDWIN: Do you want to jump in on that, as you are nodding?

WARD: Well, I'm just agreeing. The idea that he could be suddenly not considered to be a suicide risk is just extraordinary. I mean, I would love to talk to the psychologist -- psychiatrists examining him. There are questions for them, too, right?

BALDWIN: Well, my executive producer just jumped to my ear and said according to Evan Perez, out senior justice correspondent, he found out that the guards, correct me guys, so they hadn't checked on him for a number of hours, right. So how often should you be checked on? Every at least half hour?

HONIG: Yes. I think the protocol is a half hour, right, in that situation. Also the specific unit in which he was housed, I have been in that hallway, it's small. You know, it's maybe a hundred feet long or something like that. There's a lot of cells lined up all in a row there. But it's not like something dramatic could happen without you having some sense of hearing something or sensing something unless the guards completely dropped the ball here which is possible. Bureau of prisons has a long record. They have a very difficult job to do. But they also have a long record of security failures. And so, we will see what the fact show us on this.

BALDWIN: Back to your point about the Trump orbit and the woman, Ms. Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell, tell me more about her role in his life. And when you again going back to these victims, these victims right, so criminal case closed, civil case opened. So how could they see some sort of justice here?

WARD: So there's a lot to unpack there -- in the Epstein orbit. So Ghislaine Maxwell, unlike Jeffrey Epstein, was very educated. And when she came to this country after the death of her father, who was a disgraced tycoon who died soon after it was exposed that he had robbed pension funds.


WARD: So she had grown up with a very lavish lifestyle but was in fact penniless when she came here and she needed Jeffrey Epstein to facilitate her expensive lifestyle. In return, she gave him social cache. She introduced him to Prince Andrew. She introduced him to a lot of the very rich people he would try and solicit for business. But she also was a great front for him for the women.

I spoke to Annie Farmer, one of Epstein's alleged victims back in 2002. She would never have gone and stayed with Jeffrey Epstein where she says he molested her when she was underage.

BALDWIN: But she felt comfortable because of this woman.

WARD: Because of Ghislaine. Ghislaine spoke to her mother and she was the acceptable face, great enabler so it's being claimed. We shall see.

BALDWIN: Thank you both. I still have a gazillion more questions. We will save it for another day.

Vicky and Elie, appreciate both od you very much on the Jeffrey Epstein story.

Now to politics and a man who was one of the key players in the early days of the Trump White House. Even after his brief 11-day tenure as communications director, Anthony Scaramucci was loyal to President Trump, defending him on television and elsewhere against attacks of all kinds. And let's just say those days appear to be over.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think you have to consider a change at the top of the ticket when someone is acting like this, when someone is that lax of either intellectual curiosity to take ideas from friends. But I think the policies are very, very good for the American people. But the rhetoric is so charged and so divisive that we have to all just take a step back now and say what are we doing actually? So one thing that I find reprehensible and the President continues to do this and I think what will end up happening is sound and reasonably minded men and women in the Republican party will say wait a minute, we can't do this. He is giving people a license to hate, to provide a source of anger, to go after each other and he does it on his twitter account.


[15:10:34] BALDWIN: CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash is here.

And you just heard Scaramucci say that the President's rhetoric is charged. So we have actually just put together a list. And let me just read this. This is from (INAUDIBLE) Chris Lizza (ph), put together this list of all the things that President Trump said before Anthony Scaramucci joined the White House, including attacking the gold star family, a fallen soldier Leon Khan, launching his campaign by saying Mexico purposely sent rapists and criminals to the U.S. and of course that "Access Hollywood" tape. Again, these was all said before Scaramucci signed up to be the White House comms director. So what changed?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: It is a great question. I spoke to him earlier today and asked similar questions. And the gist of his answer was that it's the compound acts. And it was just that the latest series of tweets that were, in his eyes and we have called them at least the tweets racist in tone and tenor, and that he had enough.

And look, let's just get to the reality of it. And the reality of it is that Scaramucci is a Republican, he was a Republican donor, he was somebody who supported more traditional Republicans than Donald Trump but he knew Donald Trump socially. And during the campaign, Brooke, they had a -- particularly towards the end of the campaign, my understanding real-time back then is that they had a pretty good relationship to the point where he was kind of an adviser that not a lot of people really knew existed that the President, then-candidate, really listened to him and that they had a relationship from the New York days, from the business world and that's where it was really planted.

If Scaramucci was someone who was an elected official right now, it's hard to imagine you would hear these things, unless he was going to be primaried, knowing he was going to be primaried or he was getting ready to retire. Because that's the only thing we've heard in terms of Republicans speaking out in an aggressive way on any of these things, going back to the campaign until now.

BALDWIN: This is -- let me just get to White House response. Jim Acosta got this Stephanie Grisham quote "he worked at the White House for less than two weeks and is certainly no expert on this President. This is all self-serving on his part and the media pays right into it. It is embarrassing to watch."

But to watch someone who, to your point, was such an insider, had had then candidate Trump and then President Trump's ear might be worried that others will follow suit?

BASH: Possibly. And I think that's a warning shot so they hope that that doesn't happen. And that other people don't come out against the President and face backlash. Again, people who aren't just businessmen or women with -- people like Anthony Scaramucci who are in business now, it's actually beneficial for him what he is doing now to speak out against racism. It's not a bad thing.

BALDWIN: Speaking out against racism is a good thing.

BASH: He speaks about politics, he speaks about his experience on CNN and elsewhere but he is not a politician or political figure.


BASH: You know, for people -- again, who have constituents who are huge Trump supporters, particularly in the house where it is so gerrymandered and the Republican districts are so red, it much more politically perilous for those Republicans to speak up. Not that they are not necessarily saying it in private, they are just not saying it as aggressively in public.

BALDWIN: Dana Bash, you wise one. See you. Thank you very much.

Coming up next, five Russians were buried today after what's been called one of the worst nuclear accidents since Chernobyl. And a source tell CNN the explosion was likely caused by a new missile that Vladimir Putin has touted in the past.

Plus, presidential candidate Andrew Yang breaks down in tears after hearing the story of mother who lost ha child to gun violence. His take on how the nation can take action.

And I will speak to a reporter who rode along on a flight as nearly 100 people were being deported to Guatemala. What he learned on ICE air coming up.


[15:19:44] BALDWIN: We are back. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

There's breaking news out of Russia. The U.S. now believes it knows what caused an explosion that being called one of the worst nuclear accidents since Chernobyl. U.S. officials now tell CNN that the blast last week was like live caused by a missile prototype known as Skyfall. Russian president Vladimir Putin claims a nuclear-powered weapon will winder NATO defense's completely useless/ At least five employees of Russia's atomic energy agency were killed in that blast. "The New York Times" first reported that U.S. intelligence officials believe it happened during a test of the nuclear propelled cruise missile.

Putin had actually been showcasing this missile as a centerpiece of the arms race with the U.S., boasting the missile can reach any spot on earth, weaving this unpredictable path, making the missile virtually unstoppable for U.S. defense systems.

And David Sanger, he is the national security correspondent for "The New York Times" who broke the story. He is also a political and national security analyst for CNN.

So David Sanger, a pleasure, sir. And you tell me more about your reporting. What was it? And how does this compare to Chernobyl?

[15:20:56] DAVID SANGER, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's on a much smaller scale than Chernobyl. Chernobyl initially killed a bit more than 30 people but ultimately we think it killed thousands because of the radiation.

Fortunately, this test was happening on a platform at sea, Brooke, so it does not appear to have had a large number of people around. But the radiation was detected in the nearest city at significantly high levels, at least for a brief period of time before the Russians took that off the city's web site.

So what happened here? We think what happened was that the Skyfall cruise missile, which, as you said, weaves around and thus doesn't follow the normal path of say an intercontinental ballistic missile was being tested. It is supposed to be repealed by a small nuclear reactor. This is a technology the United States tried in the 50s and 60s and gave up on because they just couldn't make it work and it had all kinds of radiation risk.

We now know that at least five of the seven people who were killed were scientists from the institute. And the institute's director has told the Russian that they were working on the reactor and could not get it under control and essentially it melted down on them.

BALDWIN: So to that point, you make this whole -- you know, your point in the back half of the "Times" piece is does it actually work? Isn't that one of the key questions?

SANGER: I think there are two big questions here. The first is Putin has invested a huge amount on this, sort of a lot in the new arms race with the United States as a way to sort of restore the old glory of the form are soviet union. If in fact this thing killed seven people, as the Russians seemed to have indicated, clearly it doesn't work and they have got a lot of work to do, if they will ever make it work.

But the second and interesting thing here on the strategic basis, the United States and the Trump administration has been using the Russian move to new weapons is part of the excuse for the American investment in billions more in nuclear weapons and the question is whether that class of weapons that we are competing with has been oversold.

BALDWIN: So what do you think the U.S. will do about this?

SANGER: My guess is that they are going to use the moment to learn as much as they possibly can about what took place there and what this tells you about the weapons systems. Now, the United States' buildup is based not just on what Russia is doing but on what China is doing. And I don't expect the Trump administration will change course because of this one accident. But it does suggest to you the Russian nuclear feet is not ten feet tall. And that Putin, who himself has run into troubles lately, with protests taking place and questions about his leadership suddenly faces questions about whether this nuclear buildup he has been touting is actually beyond capabilities.

BALDWIN: As you point out, this is the animation he showed in that sort of state of the union speech he gave live just last year.

David Sanger with the scoop, David, thank you very much.

SANGER: Great to be with you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: One woman's story about losing her child to gun violence made 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang break down in tears. We will play his response for you are.

And I will speak live with a mother and gun owner in Iowa who is fighting for tougher gun laws.


[15:28:03] BALDWIN: It is the one-way flight no aspiring American would ever want to take. ICE air when immigration and customs enforcement flies back undocumented people who have been deported. And now with President Trump's major immigration crackdown, there are plans to increase a number of flights on ICE air. This is all according to "the Washington Post" whose national security reporter actually got to fly on this plane a couple of days ago with dozens of deportees in route to Guatemala. The flight departed from Alexandria, Louisiana, one of five deportation hub operated by immigration and customs enforcement.

Nick Miroff of the "Washington Post" is with me now.

So Nick, I mean, you tell me first who was on this flight? And as you described the shackling of passengers, does that mean a number of them were criminals?

NICK MIROFF, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: No, all 95 of the deportees who were on this flight were in handcuffs and chains when they boarded the plane. Their leg restraints were removed at the stairway up the plane and then they were all sitting in their seats with their hands chained in their laps.