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Stocks Tick Up after Loss; Farmers Worry about the Future; Epstein's Autopsy Results; Arrest in Seven-Year-Old Boy's Death in Missouri; Israel Considers Barring Congresswomen. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired August 15, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Are running really high. And that is largely because of the way President Trump has been handling the trade war.

The opening bell just rang here. And I'll give you that number in a second.

But it -- the recessions fears are really tied to the way President Trump has been handling this trade war.

Look, yesterday investors knew that he was losing leverage and that's why you saw a big sell-off. He ended up tweeting and that just smacked of desperation. That accelerated the selling yesterday. We may see a little bit of a relief rally.

We're actually up right now. So we're up about 30 points. We're probably going to stay pretty positive for the rest of the day.

But there's a real uncertainty right now not just in investor's mind but in the foundation of this economy at companies where CEOs have to make decisions about what to do in the future. And right now they are paralyzed because they're watching Trump kind of go back and forth on this trade war. And the Chinese today saying that they would retaliate and looking like they won't back down, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And, by the way, as even "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board aptly points out this morning, which is, you know, usually cheer leads the president on the economy, China going into a recession doesn't help us, right? That's a concern for us as well.

So keep us posted. Dow up 120. Cristina, thank you very much.

ALESCI: Of course.

HARLOW: One of the biggest victims of this escalating trade war with China are farmers. Farmers across America's heartland. Now that China has officially canceled all purchases of American farm goods, many farmers are giving the Trump administration an earful about it.

To cushion the blow, the president has handed two bailouts to American farmers totaling $28 billion. Those farmers not only say they don't want a bailout, but it's not enough, right? And there is irreversible damage to their industry.

My colleague, Vanessa Yurkevich, is in Renville, Minnesota, with more.

I'm so glad that you're there because I think their plight is not heard enough.


I mean farmers we spoke to here in Minnesota are drained mentally, physically and emotionally over this trade war. Right now we are standing on Gary Wertish's farm. And he says that while he initially supported the president using tariffs to bring China to the negotiating table, he says that strategy is clearly not working, and he says the president is in jeopardy of losing a lot of his base over this trade war.

We also spoke to a farmer named Cindy, who says that she believes this trade war could change the face of American farming forever.


CINDY VANDERPOL, MINNESOTA FARMER: It's very scary. I mean we -- I sometimes stay up at night worrying about what the future does hold. You know, what -- what do you tell your children that want to farm? Do you tell them, go find something else to do? One of our sons already has. He's already -- sorry. He always had a passion to farm. And because you don't know what the future is going to bring, you almost want to encourage them to go do something else.


YURKEVICH: You hear Cindy there very emotional about this. She's not the only farmer we've spoken to, Poppy, that has been incredibly fearful about what the future holds.

I also want to play for you sound from Gary Wertish, whose farm we're on today, who talks about how the president really needs to take this trade conversation off of Twitter and deal with this in a more private way.

Take a listen to him.


GARY WERTISH, PRESIDENT, MINNESOTA FARM BUREAU: Words and Twitters and tweets, that doesn't -- that doesn't pay the farmer's bills, that doesn't solve the problem we're dealing with. And, you know, this one, like I said earlier, this one's self-inflicted by our president. And we definitely agreed on it at the beginning, but we -- it doesn't appear that there's a plan b.


YURKEVICH: And that is the fear, Poppy, that planning is not working and there is no plan b. And it's important to point out that it wasn't the federal government who created this trading relationship between China and these farmers, it was, in fact, the farmers themselves who used a lot of their own money to develop this trade market with China and now the fear is that that market is being taken away by the federal government, Poppy.

HARLOW: Look, and, Vanessa, without a plan b, like you just heard there from that man who leads the farm bureau in Minnesota, what does that do to the president's plan to try to win Minnesota? He thinks that he can flip that state. If he doesn't have this key constituency behind him, that's going to be really difficult.

Thank you for being there, Vanessa, in -- in Renville, Minnesota, for us this morning.

[09:34:50] Turning the page here. We're learning new details about Jeffrey Epstein's death inside of a Manhattan jail over the weekend. He had multiple broken bones in his neck. What could that suggest, ahead.


HARLOW: All right, welcome back.

We have new details this morning on the death of the convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. "The Washington Post" is reporting that his autopsy has revealed multiple broken bones in his neck. Experts tell "The Post" that includes a broken hyoid bone.

Our chief medical correspondent and practicing neuro surgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with me now.

So, Sanjay, I mean I don't even know what the hyoid bone is. Where is it and why is it significant that it was broken?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes, I'll tell you, so let me -- let me just -- if you go like this and just sort of feel underneath your own jaw and push back towards your neck, that bone that you feel there, that sort of hard structure you feel there, is the hyoid bone. It's sort of a horseshoe shaped structure that goes around your windpipe.

[09:40:07] The reason this is relevant is that if that bone is broken, it oftentimes -- people, examiners will say, well, that might be a clue that the person died by strangulation or died by hanging. It really can be both. I think one of the things they said in that "Washington Post" article is that it's more commonly going to happen in strangulation. That may be true. But I think the more relevant point is that if that bone is broken -- and that's not that hard to break, especially in someone who's older, the bone gets harder and more brittle as you age -- but I think the relevant point is that it can be broken in both.

The other thing you mentioned, and I'll just say quickly, Poppy, is that you said there were multiple cervical fractures.

HARLOW: Yes. GUPTA: That means multiple bones broken in the neck. Now, if you think about that, I think that ends up being very important because in strangulation, while you can break the hyoid bone, it is less likely to actually break bones in the neck, whereas by hanging someone can break both the hyoid bone and other bones in the neck.

So none of these factors in isolation give you a complete story --

HARLOW: Right.

GUPTA: But that gives it a little bit of context here.

HARLOW: But, Sanjay, it -- it would be the autopsy, right, that tells us definitively or is it not always so definitive exactly how he died? Meaning, can an autopsy determine the difference between someone being strangled and someone who hangs themselves?

GUPTA: Yes, it's a good question. And the answer is that it mostly can tell you.


GUPTA: Not always and sometimes you're pretty certain but you're not conclusive, so there's these gray areas.

But, again, I think if someone has multiple fractures --

HARLOW: Right.

GUPTA: Not just this easy -- more easy to break hyoid bone, which can break in strangulation and in hanging, but also has other fractures in the neck, bones that have been broken in the neck, in fact there is a type of fracture known as a hangman's fracture, which is one of the higher bones in the spine. If those are broken as well, I think it definitely does indicate more likely that this wasn't strangulation alone.

HARLOW: But wouldn't you see -- for someone who is strangled, you would think that you would see marks of them fighting back, right? I don't know elsewhere on the body, bruises, scratching, anything? What do you think?

GUPTA: Yes. Great point. No, absolutely. And, you know, we don't -- we don't know all the -- all the findings of the autopsy.

HARLOW: Right.

GUPTA: But absolutely they would be looking for that. Were there signs of a struggle? Unlike someone who may be trying to die by suicide themselves, if someone is strangled and they struggle, you do look for defensive wounds they call them or defensive bruising, all that stuff. And that's going to be a very important part of the picture.

All that we've seen really from this reporting so far from "The Washington Post" is that this hyoid bone was fractured and there are other bones in the neck. There's a lot that goes into this, this autopsy.

HARLOW: Right.

GUPTA: They're going to look at toxin substances in the body, all kinds of things. But you bring up a good point, were there signs of a struggle?


GUPTA: If there were, that's going to be part of, you know, reaching as conclusion as well.


Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. I know we'll see you next hour on another really important story, so don't go far.

GUPTA: Thank you.

HARLOW: Gun violence has killed seven children in St. Louis so far this year alone. Now community activists and law enforcement are screaming "enough." We will have a live report from St. Louis, next.


[09:47:51] HARLOW: All right, so commanders in the St. Louis Police Department are fed up. Their exasperation comes after the seventh child has died from gun violence in the city so far this year alone. The most recent victim, a seven-year-old, Xavier Usanga. He was shot and he was killed on Monday while he was just playing in the backyard with his sisters.

Listen to one of the city's top police commanders lay out just how grave the situation is there.


MAJOR MARY WARNECKE, DEPUTY COMMANDER OF BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES, ST. LOUIS POLICE: We are here today because we have a seven- year-old who will not be starting school today. We have a 10-year-old murdered not that long ago in the city of St. Louis who will not be starting school today. We have a two-year-old murdered on Farris (ph) not so long ago. We have a three-year-old who was murdered on Michigan not so long ago. And I know people know who shot and murdered these children. I know for a fact people know who is responsible. And we are not getting the calls that we need.


HARLOW: Well, people there are grieving. They are angry. And police now have arrested a person in connection with the death of seven-year- old Xavier.

My colleague, Rosa Flores, is live in St. Louis this morning.

Rosa, what do we know about this? And it is just one more tragic death in that city of children.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, we don't know the name of the suspect that was arrested, Poppy. However, police are asking people in this community to come forward, asking witnesses to come forward with information because there's been a string of these children killed by stray bullets in this community and these homicides have gun unsolved.

And if you can just take a moment to process this with me because these are children that are attending vigils because their neighbors, their classmates are the shooting victims. And these homicides have gone unsolved.

And so, so far we know, according to police, that there are at least seven children this year who have died from stray bullets. They're being investigated as homicides. And police are trying to solve these cases.

[09:50:08] In the case of Xavier Usanga, seven years of age, he was supposed to start second grade on Tuesday, and on Monday he was just simply playing in his backyard and gunshots rang out and he was shot and killed.

Here's what his mother had to say.


DAWN USANGA, MOTHER OF SEVEN-YEAR-OLD BOY KILLED: Playing with a gun might be fun, it might be something, but do you really know, at the end of the day, if you take someone's life what that feels like? And then once that life is taken, there's no -- there's nothing -- that's nothing that's going to bring my son back.


FLORES: Now, Poppy, there are just so many heartbreaking stories, but I want to leave you with this because this little boy's dad says that there's a memory that weighs heavy on him because on the day the little boy was killed, he asked his father to fix his bicycle, and his dad didn't get a chance to fix his bicycle before that shooting broke out and this little boy died.


HARLOW: No words to explain the grief that they must be going through. Rosa, thank you for being there.

And, again, in that city there have been 12 child homicides since May.

All right, a man whose wife was killed in the El Paso shooting massacre is inviting the entire community to her memorial service tomorrow. Why? Because he says he now has no other family left. Antonio Basco (ph) says his wife, 63-year-old Marjory Recard (ph), was the love of his life and his last living relative. The couple had been together for 22 years. The funeral home says there's been a huge response to the open invitation. Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar tweeted that it is so large, they've had to move the service to a bigger venue.

Well, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar may have to scrap their plans to go to Israel in a few days because officials there may bar those U.S. lawmakers from entering the country. That's ahead.

Also, our new original series, "The Movies," it concludes on Sunday night with the early years of cinema, from "Casablanca" to "Citizen Kane" and "King Kong." Here the stories behind the movies you love on the final episode of "The Movies." That is Sunday night, 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.


[09:57:08] HARLOW: Israel is considering barring two sitting U.S. members of Congress from entering the country. An Israeli government officials say it's because Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar support that boycott against Israel.

Our Oren Lieberman joins me this morning from Jerusalem.

Good morning, Oren.

I guess my reaction to this was, can they do that? I guess they can.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They very much can, Poppy, because of a law passed in March 2017 that allows Israel to bar entry to those who support what's known as the boycott divest and sanctions movement, or for shorthand the BDS movement. And both Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have expressed support for the BDS movement against Israel and it is based on that support that Israel could bar them entry.

But certainly if Israel decides to do that here, it would be the most high profile use of the law to bar entry. Israel has, as far as we know, not barred entry to congressmen or congresswomen in the past, so this would be the first implementation against an American congress person and it would go against what U.S. ambassador to Israel -- or rather Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer (ph), said a month ago, where he said, out of respect for the U.S. Congress, we will allow these two to visit. It would be a very much change of position there to bar them from entering.

That visit is supposed to start tomorrow night and last until early next week with visits to not only one of the holiest site in Jerusalem in what's known to Muslims as (INAUDIBLE) and the Jews as The Temple Mount, but also visits to some of the Palestinian cities in the West Bank.

An Israeli government official saying there's a possibility that Israel will not allow the visit in its current proposed format, although we've spoken with the prime minister's office, the foreign ministry, the interior ministry, and asked, what is it about that current proposed format that concerns Israel and have not gotten any more details clarifying that, Poppy.

HARLOW: And what about political considerations? I mean outside of obviously not, you know, being supportive of their opposition, but Netanyahu, election time, what else is at play here politically?

LIEBERMANN: We're one month away from an election, so you certainly have to look at the political considerations for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He's facing a tough re-election campaign for what would be his sixth term with a fractured right wing voter base, denying them entry may very well score him some points, perhaps win him a seat or two with that denial.

And there's also no doubt that President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of both Omar and Tlaib, so he may score some points with Trump by not letting them enter. The White House, it should be noted, has said it's Israel's own decision whether they want to bar them to entry and Israel has made that decision alone without Trump's influence directly or indirectly.

HARLOW: Yes. Well --

LIEBERMANN: But, of course, Poppy, there's a huge risk here in angering the Democrats. Israel has tried to remain a bipartisan issue and this would definitely take a hit at that.


Except the president just weighed in about ten seconds ago, Oren, and he just tweeted that it would show, quote, great weakness if Israel were to let them in.

[10:00:04] We'll see where this goes. Thank you, Oren.

LIEBERMANN: And that may give you an indication of what Israel's going to decide.

HARLOW: Yes. I think you're right. Thanks, Oren.