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Six Philadelphia Police Officers Shot In Hours-Long Standoff; Markets Rattled By Recession Fears, Slowing U.S. Economy; Jeffrey Epstein's Autopsy Found Broken Bones In Neck; Steve King Under Fire For Rape And Incest Comments. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired August 15, 2019 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get up here now. Get up here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yo, there's kids in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) house.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: One witness said the suspect fired more than 100 rounds. Six officers were shot. Police originally went to the house to serve a narcotics warrant when they say the suspect opened fire.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Then who officers were trapped inside the house. A SWAT team responded rushing the officers and three other people away from the scene. You can see the officers running to safety right there on your screen. Remarkably, none of the injured officers was injured seriously.

So, CNN's Athena Jones is live in Philadelphia with all of the breaking details. Watching this unfold live yesterday was just incredible, Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. It was really something. Police say serving a warrant is one of the most dangerous aspects of their job. And we saw why yesterday when police officers became the target of a gunman as America watched it all unfold on live TV.


JONES (voice-over): A tense standoff coming to an end in Philadelphia overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired at police inside the property.

JONES: Six police officers were shot on Wednesday afternoon. It all started around 4:30 p.m. when officers tried to serve a drug warrant.

JONES: Six police officers were shot on Wednesday afternoon. It all started around 4:30 p.m. when officers tried to serve a drug warrant.

COMMISSIONER RICHARD ROSS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: They had already entered the premises and got towards the rear and the kitchen area when gunfire erupted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was like a hundred shots.

JONES: The gunman targeting police officers as more of them arrived at the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple gunshots. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Shots still ringing out. Give me SWAT ASAP. Long gun ASAP.

ROSS: The shooter fired multiple rounds. Officers returned fire, many of whom who had to escape through windows and doors to get from a barrage of bullets.

JONES: Residents looking on as police swarmed the streets, some wearing tactical gear, trying to negotiate with the suspect. You can see an officer help another from the ground, taking cover from the bullets behind a car. SWAT teams and armored vehicles called in to help the area under siege while two other officers who were serving the warrant were trapped inside the home.

ROSS: SWAT was able to successfully extract the two police officers that were trapped upstairs as well as three prisoners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got an officer shot in this location in the leg.

JONES: All of the officers who were shot were treated at local hospitals and released.

ROSS: They were struck throughout their body. One officer sustained a gunshot wound, a graze wound to his head. Thankfully that was all that was.

JONES: Authorities even have to evacuate children at two nearby daycare centers. Philadelphia's mayor expressing his frustration about gun violence.

MAYOR JIM KENNEY (D), PHILADELPHIA: Our officers need help. They need help. They need help with gun control. They need help with keeping these weapons out of these people's hands. Our officers deserve to be protected and they don't deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets.


JONES: The mayor visibly upset there. And in that press conference, he added that once this situation is resolved, there will be questions about someone, quote, "having all of that weaponry and all that fire power" -- John, Alisyn.

BERMAN: All right. Athena Jones for us, in Philadelphia. We're going to have much more on this dramatic standoff in just a

moment. But first this morning, questions about the economy that haven't been asked in more than a decade. Warning signs that haven't been flashing this bright in more than a decade and clouds that some analysts say haven't been this dark in a decade. Get the metaphors here?

CAMEROTA: I'm picking those up.

BERMAN: All right.

CAMEROTA: You're running with metaphors this morning.

BERMAN: Fears of a global recession. That's right. The "R" word. And a weakening American economy have rattled Wall Street. The Dow plummeted more than 800 points yesterday. That's the worst day of the year. Overnight trading, this is the stock futures, they just turned south. They were actually positive for the U.S., but they just went negative on some new news that has people concerned. A lot of people looking at this saying it's serious.

Joining us now is John Avlon, CNN senior political analyst, Catherine Rampell, opinion columnist for the "Washington Post," and a CNN political commentator, and Rana Foroohar, global business columnist and associate editor for the "Financial Times," and CNN global economic analyst.

Rana, you look at this and you say it's here.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: It's here. And in fact, I said that on Sunday in a column. And I'm not sure whether to be happy that I was right or really devastated that my retirement savings has gone down but --


CAMEROTA: I mean -- but I mean, that that's important to say. Before what we saw yesterday, the warning signs that everybody picked up on on Sunday, you were the oracle that predicted this. And I just think it's important to say because you had already seen signs that were happening.

FOROOHAR: Yes. You know, if you look out on the landscape, we've heard a lot this week about this crazy inverted yielded bond curve. Very technical and geeky. But a simple way to think about this is there is $14 trillion of investment globally in bonds that are giving a negative yield.

[06:05:07] That means that people are paying for the privilege of a bank to hold their money and they're losing money on that investment. Now, they're willing to lose a little bit today as a hedge against not losing a lot in the future. That's very, very unusual. That says that a lot of investors around the world are worried.

You also look at the real economic data in many countries, not just the U.S. but all across Europe. The manufacturing sector has been down for over a year now. Even the U.S. consumer which, you know, we hear a lot about how robust the U.S. consumer has been, if you'll dig down beyond the headline figures, people are starting to cut their credit card debts. They're spending less on gasoline in the middle of a holiday vacation season. There's lots and lots of little indicators that say to me things are going south.

CAMEROTA: So, Catherine.


CAMEROTA: Do you agree that we are already in a recession?

RAMPELL: The official arbiters of whether we are in a recession or not have not yet decreed anything and they generally don't until long after something has happened, so I don't want to -- I don't want to get ahead of my skis. I mean, there are a lot of things that are worrying about the data.

I think the things that are most concerning to me are not whether we'll fall into a recession which eventually we will, the business cycle turns. That's why it's a cycle. The real concern is how badly it will be mismanaged. And I think that's part of what markets are freaking out about right now.

BERMAN: Can I read you a quote?


BERMAN: I want to read a quote here that I read on Twitter yesterday. It says, "The real economic risk if things go wrong, White House doesn't have a plan and doesn't have any competent personnel to come up with one. Trump's economic brain trust consists of a guy who plays an economist on TV, a nut case the entire real economic profession has disowned, and the producer of 'Lego Batman'."

Who wrote that?


RAMPELL: I did. And I'm still very concerned about this. But yes, the White House has no clue what it's doing. They have revealed this many times over. They have limited tools, to be fair or unfair, I don't know. It's their own doing.

They have limited tools to deal with a recession because we've already spent $2 trillion for these tax cuts. So, there's not a lot of fiscal room to stimulate the economy. And beyond that, you know, they just don't have competent people. Like who's the smart person in the room who has the good idea and who Trump will listen to?

The only competent economic policy makers that we have right now are over at the Federal Reserve. And what is Trump doing? He's spending all of his energy trying to discredit them.

FOROOHAR: Well, and also, I mean, you're hitting on two really important things. The Fed is trying their best to keep the economy afloat, but we're really at the end of what monetary policy can do to keep stocks up. And, you know, you're seeing that. The last rate cut had no effect on the markets.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and that's part of the problem is that while the president is beating up on the Fed, we actually don't have many tools to use once we go down this path. And you know, to some extent, it's stunning that now is when the markets have decided to recognize reality.

I mean, things have been coming a little bit unstuck for quite a while now and we are due for a recession, and there are massive debt problems in addition to the trade war. But all this is cascading. And my concern is that we're not actually going to have the tools to deal with it the way we typically would.

BERMAN: You mean Twitter? Twitter is not a tool? When the president was -- seriously. The president was live tweeting the crash yesterday, 800-point plummet, and this is how the president respond. Most of these tweets are attacking the Fed.

AVLON: Are you saying this would not calm markets and give a sense of steady leadership at the helm in a storm? I don't know where you'd get that idea, John Berman. I'm just surprised it's taken this long frankly for folks to get a little spooked.

FOROOHAR: Well, right. And that's interesting. I mean, we've been -- we've known about how this president acts. We've known we're probably not going to get a U.S.-China trade deal. I mean, I think that that's another thing that the markets are really worried about.


FOROOHAR: Despite the president kind of doing this head fake, and saying we're going to hold off on tariffs until after the Christmas season to help people through that, I don't think we're going to get a deal. The Chinese have drawn a line in the sand and they've said we want a deal of equals. But we're dealing with a president who has shown time and time again that winning for him means crushing the other side. He doesn't do win-win.


FOROOHAR: And so I don't see any way out of this psychology unless the president changes and the Chinese changes, and I don't see that happening.

RAMPELL: Yes. I don't know what a path to victory would look like. And part of the problem is that we don't know what victory would mean to this president. He keeps changing his mind about what concessions he wants from China. Is it he wants them to buy more soybeans which by the way they were doing before we launched this trade war? Is it that he wants them to close the trade deficit which is impossible? Is it about intellectual property? He doesn't know.

So how do you sit across the table from someone and negotiate if they don't know what their own demands are? So, there are a lot of ways to make everyone worse off at this point. I don't know what the solution is to make everyone better off particularly given the position this president has taken.

AVLON: And just to put a finer point on the politics of all this, because obviously we are now heading into the election season. The president has been under water for his entire presidency in terms of job approval. The one area where he's been above is the economy. People have given him credit for the economy. And if the economy goes south, he is in a world of hurt because his floor is probably in the high 20s.

[06:10:05] That's the strong support number. There are a lot of folks who have been backing him despite all the chaos because of the economy. If that goes away, watch out.

CAMEROTA: And to your point, just very quickly, we had one of our panels of Trump supporters on. These were swing voters in Michigan who had become big fans of the president. They had voted for Obama and then voted for Donald Trump and become big fans because of the economy.

So I just want to take one little trip down memory lane to a month or two ago with what they said could ever turn their ardent support. So listen to this.


CAMEROTA: And has any influence on those feelings?

DARRELL WIMBLEY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I really don't because we make the choice. The person that kicks somebody out of the family because of how they voted, they chose to do that. President Trump doesn't have any superpowers to take over someone's mind and make them -- ex- communicate a family member or not -- I think my brother here said that --


CAMEROTA: Sorry. That wasn't it.

BERMAN: Do you want me to read it? I'll do a -- I'll do a dramatic reading. Alisyn Camerota asked, is there anything --

CAMEROTA: Are you playing Alisyn?

BERMAN: You want to play Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: No, you play Alisyn.

BERMAN: All right. Alisyn asks, is there anything that he could do that would lose you?

CAMEROTA: And Darrell, his most ardent supporter says, start losing money. And then the other ardent supporter says the economy crashing. And then they say the economy start going backwards. If that happens, we're done. RAMPELL: Yes. I think the real issue here is that Trump, as in his

personal business, inherited a very good fortune. A good economy. Right? I mean, basically all of the trends are pretty much the same as they were when he came into office. Unemployment has been falling kind of a straight line, GDP growth is now where it was when he took office. He was able to convince the public that what was actually luck was in fact skill. And now that his luck is turning partly because of his own actions, you know, he could lose a lot of those supporters.

FOROOHAR: I worry that we're going to see a lot more volatility in the next six months because I think as the stock market goes down, he's going to become more volatile. He's probably going to get tougher on China because he sees that as a winning strategy for 2020.

The Chinese are not having it and the markets are panicked. And so I think we're going to see this sort of trend line going down. Maybe a few relief rallies like we've seen this week. But not looking good for 2020 which I think is going to hurt his prospects.

BERMAN: The market -- just to be clear, how does the market feel when he live tweets a crash like yesterday?

FOROOHAR: Oh, terribly jittery. I mean, there's been a -- it's sort of a double-edged sword. There's been a willful blindness to this president, in part because every time the market goes down, a lot of trading these days is computerized. An algorithm of traders come in and they buy on the dip regardless of what market signs are being given.

And that's why I think you're going to see a lot of big crashes. Once the psychology of the market really catches on to the fact that this president isn't going to make a deal with China, things are as bad as we think, then you're going to see big crashes.

CAMEROTA: We're keeping an eye on it, by the way, John, before you tie this up in a bow, it's down, futures are down 90 points.

AVLON: So over the course of really our conversation, things have been getting worse.

RAMPELL: It's all Rana.

FOROOHAR: Yes. It might be.

CAMEROTA: Actually, Rana.

AVLON: Look, you know, to put it in layman's terms, imagine if you're in a plane and the plane hits serious turbulence and the president -- and the pilot starts getting on the speaker and starts expressing his thoughts in real time and his anxieties and concerns about what might be going wrong.

RAMPELL: Ill-informed thoughts, by the way.

AVLON: Yes. FOROOHAR: I'm anxious now.

BERMAN: And the pilot hasn't taken flying lessons.

AVLON: Yes. And there might be a deficit in the basic flying regard. Yes. That's what we're facing. So buckle up, folks.

BERMAN: And also interesting among the Republican support in Congress, one of the things that I've often thought is when will Republicans in Congress stand up to the president on some of the offensive things he says? When the economy turns south.


AVLON: Maybe the one thing that --

BERMAN: That could be a trigger.


BERMAN: All right, thank you, all. Learned a lot here.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Thank you very much.

All right, meanwhile, breaking news. "The Washington Post" is reporting that an autopsy has found that Jeffrey Epstein had broken bones in his neck and that, of course, continues to raise questions about his death.

So, CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now with more. You've been following this, Brynn. What is this development?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gets more interesting, Alisyn. Epstein sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones. That's according to "The Washington Post" who added among the bones broken was the hyoid bone, that is the bone near the Adam's apple in men. And this sort of break can happen if a person hangs themselves.

Now the "Post" says they're learning this from sources familiar with the autopsy. Remember, the results of the autopsy have not been released. The New York medical examiner says it's pending, but these new details certainly raise more questions about how he died. Of course, that autopsy is going to give us important information because it'll give the cause and the manner of death which will help investigators moving forward who still have a lot of questions to answer.

Particularly about the timeline. What happened before the financier's death? We know that the two guards who were supposed to be monitoring him were on overtime shifts. One guard was filling in as a corrections officer. And the "New York Times" reports that Epstein wasn't checked on for three hours when guards are supposed to do checks every 30 minutes.

[06:15:05] Two staff members are now on leave, though it's not clear if it is those two guards. And the warden of the MCC where Epstein was housed on sex trafficking charges has been reassigned. Teams from the Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice, FBI all investigating to try to get these answers -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Brynn. Thanks very much. We're waiting for more information on that, obviously.

So, members of Congressman Steve King.


BERMAN: His own party, another way of saying that is Republicans in Congress call Steve King's latest controversial comments appalling and bizarre. His thoughts on rape and incest that have colleagues saying it's time to go.


[06:20:26] CAMEROTA: Well, Republican Congressman Steve King says a lot of weird things. He is no stranger to controversy, but his latest comments, John Berman, on rape and incest may be his weirdest yet.


REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rape and pillage that's taken place? And whatever happened to culture after society. I know I can't certify that, that I'm not part of a product of that.


CAMEROTA: Oh, boy. Back with us, John Avlon. Let's also bring in Margaret Talev, Axios political and White House editorial person, and CNN political analyst, and Kirsten Powers --


BERMAN: Human.

CAMEROTA: Human being. When there's something missing in the prompter, I just go with human. And Kirsten Powers, columnist for "USA Today" and CNN political analyst.

I don't even understand his point, John Avlon. What was Steve King trying to say?

AVLON: I think it's very unfair for you to ask someone to put themselves in Steve King's head space, but what it appears he was trying to do was to defend the idea that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. As Steve King wants to do, the logical leaps he made go into this sort of dystopian place that's very, very hard to parse into form and defend, which is why his colleagues are anew calling him to get out of Congress because he's just a total disgrace and a distraction. Again, a long litany of pretty horrific things Steve King has said.

But this somehow takes the cake from at least the ick factor. And also just to answer the question, I think the human race would be fine.

BERMAN: White supremacy wasn't bad enough.

AVLON: No. No. We had to double down or triple down.

BERMAN: Let me show you what Liz Cheney, who's the number three Republican in the House, says about Steve King, "Today's comments by Steve King are appalling and bizarre. As I've said before, it's time for him to go. The people of Iowa's Fourth Congressional District deserve better."

Kirsten, what do you see here?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, I think that it's -- he's somebody with a long history of really problematic behavior and language that he's used in terms of racist language. And so, I think he already was somebody who -- you know, he's been stripped of his committee assignments. I mean, he's somebody who's already been problematic, though tolerated for a very, very long time by the Republicans until the comments defending white supremacy.

I think that it is hard to get into his head to figure out exactly what his point was. I think it's kind of an ace -- ahistorical statement to say that, you know, the whole world basically came from rape and incest. And I think it just shows his lack of understanding and empathy also for women who are facing pregnancies that are unplanned and unwanted because they are the results of something as heinous as rape or incest.

And I just don't think this is a person who should be in a position to be influencing the public debate when he really has no understanding and no empathy around this issue.

CAMEROTA: Margaret, just to remind people of some of his doozies, he questioned why white nationalist is offensive language. He says not all cultures contribute equally to society. He suggested an electric fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. He compared immigrant children to drug mules. He questioned what minorities have contributed to civilization.

So, OK. So, if this is the tipping point that he was somehow, I don't know, defending rape and incest, what now?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Alisyn, I'm not actually sure it is the tipping point because, as you said, it's actually not the most divisive thing he's ever said. It just --- just doesn't make a lot of, like, sort of sense. It's hard to understand what he was actually trying to say.

But there is a question now for the Republican leadership in Congress which is, do you try to make some sort of move to actually remove him from office before the election. Theoretically, there is a procedure for that. It's almost never been used and never in a case like this, you know, or do you just wait for the next election to play out and hope that this doesn't damage the Republican brand in the process.

You've seen every Republican in Congress take a step back from him. Some calling for him to go. Others just saying that, you know, no, he's been removed from committees. But you see he's got a primary challenge as well as potentially strong general election challenge.

And for Republicans, you know, this comes at a time when there are -- you know, a lot of questions about what would happen on abortion rights given the direction the Supreme Court may be heading in.

[06:25:09] There are a lot of Republicans who actually even do not support the right for a woman to have abortion in cases of rape or incest. And interestingly, many of those are women in a recent poll by PBS and NPR. But there is no polling to suggest that large swaths of voters in either party believe that the course of humanity is better for this.

BERMAN: Nostalgic. Nostalgia somehow.

CAMEROTA: By rape and pillaging. All right. So, we'll monitor Congressman King's fate. But let's move on to something that does affect every single American. And of course that's gun violence.

And so, speaking of tipping points, some people have wondered as we wondered after Newtown, as we wondered after Parkland, as we wondered after Las Vegas, if this would be the moment where there would be some action. And the only -- the thing that gives people hope is that you are starting to hear on the Republican side because they hold the cards, people saying that enough is enough and now something has to happen.

Here is a quote from Senator Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana. "My gut tells me that Leader McConnell wants to bring something to the floor for a vote. This is the moment when you have two incidents like that in the same weekend, I think conservatives and Republicans lose in the long run if we don't do something to change the dynamic and I'm about as hard a Second Amendment guy as there is."

That's interesting, John.

AVLON: That's very interesting. It's a sign of how the politics around this may be changing. Obviously everything depends on Mitch McConnell. And we need to clarify that McConnell is not talking about supporting the to-be-mentioned bill that he helped kill after Newtown. He's talking about opening up for debate and possibly a vote. That itself is pretty significant.

When you've got guys like Senator Mike Braun from Indiana expressing an openness to this, from just the political reality of consequences of not doing something, that's a sign that finally I think the painful cynicism people have felt in the face of defeated gun legislation supported by 90 percent of the American people, we may be at a tipping point. BERMAN: I got to say, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin, both of

whom are going to be on the show coming up, have a great article today which suggests that Mitch McConnell basically says the president needs to bring people along if there's going to be expanded background checks. That the president is going to have to do the work there. That same report also says there's a split inside the White House. Staff doesn't agree on which way to go. And that the campaign is polling on this issue.

That's interesting, Kirsten, that the president's team is looking into the political implications of all this.

POWERS: Yes. I mean, I think that this is something that really should, though, transcend politics in the sense that, you know, sometimes there's a time to lead and it doesn't really matter how people are going to respond to it. And I think leadership means looking at this issue and saying this just can't go on. It's going to keep happening.

It's probably going to get worse. And universal background checks are not going to solve this problem. You know, that's something I feel like it's a band-aid and people sort of throw it out there to show that they're doing something because they're so afraid of the NRA and they're so afraid, you know, of people who demagogue this issue.

But I think that the ground has shifted on this issue. And I think there are a lot of people who are opening up to the ideas that we might need something a little more radical. You know, I mean, we certainly need at a bare minimum some sort of ban to -- you know, the ban that we had and expired on assault style weapons. But I think that Democrats should maybe think about being even more bold than that.

TALEV: But there is also -- there's this new polling, right? This new FOX polling that suggests that inside the Republican Party with Republican voters, there's some really interesting shifts. The NRA under water now for the first time in this poll. Right? And increased support, even some increased support for the assault weapons ban, although it's still not popular with Republicans, but it's like a split now. And support for background checks and the red flag legislation.

When you hear about the president talking about mental illness and you're like, why is he talking about mental illness, that poll gives us some good clues as to why because it shows that for Republican voters, there's the feeling that mental illness is one of the biggest reasons why people commit gun violence.

CAMEROTA: One other question in the FOX polling that I know got your attention, John.


CAMEROTA: They asked, is President Trump bringing together the country or tearing it apart? And this again FOX News poll, 59 percent said tearing it apart. AVLON: Tearing it apart. That's what jumped out to me. It's not

just the approve or disapprove. It's the words. Tearing it apart. A FOX News poll says that 59 percent of Americans believe the president of the United States is tearing us apart. That's a significant, significant milestone in people's characterization of this president and his impact on the fabric of our country.

CAMEROTA: Kirsten, Margaret, John, thank you, all, very much.

So there's this passenger plane in Russia. It just crash-landed into a field after striking a flock of birds. We have the incredible pictures and why authorities are calling this pilot the crash-landing hero. Next.