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CNN RIGHT NOW
Official: Friend Who Gave Dayton Shooter Body Armor Faces Charges; Joe Biden Campaign Senior Advisor Symone Sanders Responds to Biden Gaffes, Discusses Presidential Race, Gun Control, Labeling Trump a White Supremacist; A Woman Recorded Her Rapist's Confession & Now Supreme Court Might Hear It; U.S. Official: Russia Blast Likely Caused by "Skyfall" Missile. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired August 12, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:31:13] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We have some breaking news into CNN. An official tells CNN that a friend who provided body armor to the Dayton, Ohio, shooter is facing federal charges.
Let's go to Miguel Marquez. He is live, following this story.
What exactly is this friend being charged with?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's being charged because he did not fill out federal forms correctly in purchasing his own weapons.
To be very clear this is the friend who provided body armor to the shooter there in Dayton. But it is not clear whether this is the individual who was in the vehicle when the shooter first showed up to the Oregon District there in Dayton.
There were three different firearms, two pistols, and a modified rifle with a shortened barrel, sort of a pistol/rifle configuration. Three different forms that federal officials say that this individual was not truthful on. He's being charged with that.
We should know more exactly about what the specific charges are, who this person is, what his relationship is to the shooter.
To be clear, none of these guns were used in the shooting in Dayton either.
In about 30 minutes, we'll hear more from federal officials on the specific charges related to this individual -- Brianna?
KEILAR: OK, Miguel, we'll wait for that along with you as you follow this.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has called himself a gaffe machine in the past, but is it becoming more of a problem as the candidates flood Iowa? His campaign will respond live, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:37:23] KEILAR: Right now, Joe Biden's campaign is playing cleanup following the Democratic frontrunner's swing through the key state of Iowa this weekend. And that's because the former vice president, who is a self-declared gaffe machine, made several of them in just a couple of days.
Here's one instance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I watched what happened when the kids from Parkland marched up -- and I met with them, and then they went up on the Hill, when I was vice president, they went up the Hill, to go into those neighborhoods. All those congressmen were like, no, I'm not here, I'm not here. Don't tell them I'm around. They're afraid of it. They should be exposed.
I watch what happened when those kids from Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president and they went -- and some of you covered it. You watch what happened when they went up in the halls of Congress. Congressmen were basically cowering, not wanting to see them. They did not want to have to face it on camera.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now, Biden, of course, was not in office when the Parkland tragedy occurred in 2018. He did meet with the Parkland survivors. He did do a lot on gun policy when he was in the Obama White House.
And while this is hardly his first slip of the tongue, Democrats are concerned how these misstatements will play out if he were to take on President Trump in the general election.
I want to bring in Symone Sanders, a senior advisor to the Biden campaign.
SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISOR, JOE BIDEN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Brianna.
KEILAR: -- do you think voters care about this? And why should they overlook these gaffes? What's your case for that?
SANDERS: Brianna, I want to be really clear. This is a press narrative, not a voter narrative.
If you were to look at the coverage in Iowa this weekend and juxtapose the local newspapers and local television coverage to national media coverage, you would have thought these reporters were at two different events.
I really believe -- I'm not in the business of telling the press how to do their job because no one -- (INAUDIBLE). But I just think meeting this moment that we're in requires all of us
to elevate our conversation. If we're going to elevate the conversation, we cannot allow this election to devolve in a tit for tat over name calling and, quote unquote "gaffes." Again, something that does not matter. This is not something that's registering with the American people.
KEILAR: Does it require this time, though, the former vice president to elevate his conversation?
For instance, if you look at Congressman Tim Ryan, who's also running, but he makes this point -- and I think a lot of Democrats have echoed this. He said, "This is such an important election and we've all got to be at our best. We all can't make mistakes because with the right- wing noise machine, they take something like that and put up the false equivalency making him and Trump sound like their the same."
SANDERS: -- Brianna --
SANDERS: And that's why you need to not take the bait.
KEILAR: Symone, my question is, is it also incumbent on the vice president to do his best, to do better at how he speaks?
[13:40:02] SANDERS: Brianna, the vice president got into this race -- you know -- today is a very important day in America. We remember Charlottesville this weekend, and especially all this week. Charlottesville was an inflection point for many people across the country, the vice president included.
From day one, he said he got into this race because we are in a battle for the soul of this nation and that has never been more evident than last week.
If anyone uniquely understands how high the stakes are, if any of the Democratic candidates, it's Joe Biden.
And so, look, I think if you put a camera in somebody's face and a microphone on them and you follow them around 100 days, any one of us, I'm pretty sure we would be caught with a slip of the tongue. We would be caught making a mistake.
The difference is Vice President Biden, every single time, has immediately corrected himself.
Meanwhile, you have Donald Trump in the White House who the "Washington Post" says he lies --
KEILAR: And we cover it.
SANDERS: -- Brianna --
KEILAR: If you watch our show today, you're going to see that. But I want to ask you --
SANDERS: I just want to say -- I just want to be clear. Our campaign's point is this is not something that's registering with the American people.
KEILAR: We heard --
SANDERS: If the president wants to talk about this --
KEILAR: I want to ask you --
SANDERS: This election is too important.
KEILAR: -- he said initially poor kids are as talented as white kids and this was corrected, right?
SANDERS: And he immediately corrected himself.
KEILAR: That said, the statement initially -- that still matters, what people say still matters, even when it's corrected. It ignores the fact that there's a lot of poor white kids in the country.
KEILAR: Symone --
SANDERS: Brianna, he corrected himself.
KEILAR: Symone? Symone?
SANDERS: This is a false narrative.
KEILAR: Symone, I've been giving you time to answer. Give me time to ask my question.
So I guess my question is, ignoring the fact with that statement that there are poor white kids in the country, especially in places that are so essential that say Joe Biden or any other Democrat win because those are the areas, as you know, that President Trump bested Hillary Clinton in to Democrats' devastating effect. Did he miss an opportunity to talk about that?
SANDERS: Brianna, the vice president immediately corrected himself. He didn't need to wait two, three, four days.
KEILAR: That wasn't my question.
SANDERS: That's not what he meant.
KEILAR: That's not what I'm asking.
SANDERS: Vice President Biden is from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Any assertion that he doesn't understand the plight of poor white people, the plight of working-class white people, working-class people, period, in this country is absurd and is not something the American people will buy.
KEILAR: I want to talk about his gun proposal. He put out an op-ed and part of that is -- here's what he said: "We'll only see more and deadlier shootings if we continue to dodge the core issue of unregulated assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in our communities."
He's talking about a buy-back program, he's talking about universal background checks.
I want to talk about the political feasibility of this. I was covering the Obama administration during Sandy Hook. Biden was tasked with the efforts to try to make sure something like that didn't happen again. It really went nowhere.
I mean, he saw that firsthand. Why does the vice president think that right now is different?
SANDERS: Well, first, Brianna, Vice President Biden has beaten the NRA twice. He truly believes, if elected president, he can do it again. I think a number of people out there agree.
We think this is a different moment for a number of reasons. I think we're living in a very different time. The feeling is just different. But also, 70 percent of Americans, including 54 percent of Republicans, support a ban on assault weapons.
KEILAR: But Symone --
KEILAR: You know it felt similar.
SANDERS: Yes, it felt similar.
It's kids, it's sad. It's sad we're in a place in this country where even children being gunned down at schools did not move Republicans to act.
But I do believe that we're at a place --
KEILAR: Some Democrats, too.
SANDERS: We're at a place, Brianna, where 70 percent of Americans believe this is what we need to do.
I think folks want to do something right. No one wants their kids going to school -- it's schools, it's churches, it's mosques, it's the mall. It seems as though you cannot walk down the streets of the United States of America without fear for your life. That, I know, is not a place we want to be.
Vice President Biden is ready to lead on this issue and we encourage Republicans and the United States Congress to do so as well.
KEILAR: Democratic candidates, as you've been watching, have been really split on whether to label President Trump as a white supremacist or not. This is something that Joe Biden has been reluctant to do. Tell us his thinking on that.
SANDERS: Well, Brianna, Vice President Biden dedicated 35 minutes last week to give what many people are calling one of the most poignant and important speeches thus far in this entire election. He talked about white supremacy in that speech.
He said that Donald Trump is fanning the flames, flames of white supremacy. He laid out the case to the American people and really spelled out for them what's going on.
I know a lot of people in the media would like to -- I think there was a tally going on that I saw last week.
SANDERS: Not you, Brianna, but a lot of people in the political press corps, there's a tally of who has called Donald Trump what name this week. And --
KEILAR: Here's my question, and I think this is important because this is a conscious decision that some candidates are making and some are not.
The question is, do candidates like Joe Biden think to label the president with that moniker is to associate him with everyone who has voted for Donald Trump and essentially bring them under that label as well? Is that a worry of the former vice president's?
[13:45:11] SANDERS: Brianna, the worry of Vice President Biden is to allow white supremacy to run rampant through the streets of America, is to allow this moment to go unchecked. That's what he's worried about, which is why he dedicated 35 minutes talking about this issue. It's one thing to just throw flippant names. It's another thing to lay out --
KEILAR: Are other Democrats going over the top by calling him that?
SANDERS: That's for other campaigns, other campaigns to decide, and the American people.
I think what Vice President Biden has done and our campaign has done is to be very clear and to clearly articulate what this moment means.
Again, Vice President Biden got into this race because he believed this was a fight for the soul of our nation, Brianna. At the time, many people said that we were, quote unquote, "making a general election argument" and we were missing the moment and we were miscalculating into being too forceful on Donald Trump. Then what happened last week? A spat of mass shootings, one hate motivated.
So I believe that our case has never been more poignant and more clear than right now. And I think the American people will agree with us. And that's what we're going to talk about on the campaign trail.
KEILAR: Symone Sanders, thank you so much.
SANDERS: Thank you.
KEILAR: Good to see you.
A woman records her rapist's confession and now the Supreme Court may hear it.
Plus, why Universal canceled the movie called "The Hunt" in the wake of two mass shootings.
[13:51:21] KEILAR: A rape confession tape could make its way to the Supreme Court. One of the comments on the tape says, "I am sorry, I've been sorry, I will always be sorry for raping you."
That's is what Lieutenant Colonel Michael Briggs said to his victim in a 20-minute phone call that she recorded.
He was found guilty in a military court and sentenced to five months in jail, only five months. And then last year, his record was wiped clean, his benefits reinstated after the top military appeals court said that a five-year statute of limitations should have applied to cases before 2006. The victim was rapped in 2005, the year before. And she recorded his confession eight years later.
Over the last 18 months, four military rape conviction have been overturned because of this appeals decision. And at least 10 new cases have been dismissed outright.
The Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to step in and fix this now. We have CNN Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic, to join us now.
This is a statute-of-limitations decision that set military rapists free. Tell us what the Justice Department is now saying.
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: The Justice Department is saying a couple things. Primarily, that longstanding language in the military code has exempted rape from deadlines, from the statute of limitations of reporting. It's based on the fact that the military wants to root out cases of sexual assault whenever they are discovered. It stresses that sometimes people don't want to come forward, as we all know, so leave the deadline open ended.
It also notes, just as you said, in 2006, Congress amended the military code to make clear that rape doesn't have a statute of limitations.
The problem comes in this ambiguity of what was classified before 2006. The open-ended deadline for rape is tied to offenses that were punishable by the death penalty. For all practical purposes, in a constitutional vein, the Supreme Court has not allowed the death penalty for rape in a civilian case. So that's where the ambiguity comes from.
KEILAR: Will the Supreme Court be persuaded by the Justice Department? Will they move on this?
BISKUPIC: It really makes a difference since it's the Justice Department that brought this petition. Because, as you know, Brianna, the Supreme Court hears fewer than 1 percent of the appeals that come its way.
But the Justice Department is saying this is important because it -- the lower court opinion misinterpreted a federal statute. It conflicts with congressional intent.
So this case has a good chance to be accepted by the justices this fall.
KEILAR: Very interesting. We'll be watching.
Joan Biskupic, thank you. Great reporting.
And the president reportedly lashing out at his aides because he was called racist. We'll have those details ahead.
[13:54:10] Plus, the special surprise that John Legend gave the families of Dayton shooting victims. You're going to hear from someone who was there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking new
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, here we go. Monday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me.
We want to begin with breaking news in the investigation of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. The Justice Department any moment now is expected to announce charges related to the investigation into the gunman.
This whole thing revolves around the friend of the shooter, who is actually the one who provided him with the body armor he was wearing when he murdered nine people. That person could be facing firearms charges.
As soon as we see DOJ, we'll keep you posted there.
We have other breaking news this afternoon. This is from the Pentagon involving the Russian explosion that's being called one of the worst since Chernobyl.
Let's go straight to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
Barbara, what's the story here? Was this likely a missile test?
[13:59:55] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, Russian intelligence mystery is slowly being pieced together by the United States. A U.S. official now telling us they do believe this explosion last Thursday at a missile factory site deep in northern Russia was in fact a prototype missile that the U.S. and NATO call "Skyfall" -- nod to James Bond there -- that is a prototype of deep concern to the West.