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Trump's China Trade Comments; EPA Easing Regulation; Ten Candidates for September Debate; Youth Shot and Killed in St. Louis; Manhunt for Husband and Wife Murder; North Carolina Congressional Seat Face Off. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired August 29, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: There doesn't appear to be an end in sight for the trade war with China. You do have talks that have been delayed from July that look like they're going to happen in September. But the fundamental disagreements remain on the core issues. China's very aware of the political calendar here in the U.S. There was a view that China has Trump over a barrel to some degree here. Will there be pressure on President Trump to accept a lesser deal for the political benefit pre-2020, in effect give in on some of the key issues, worried about the economic consequences of this continuing?

PATRICIA MURPHY, COLUMNIST, "THE DAILY BEAST" AND "ROLL CALL": I think there is enormous pressure already on this president in regard to China and Chinese trade. And the pressure is coming for some of his most loyal supporters, the people he's asking to just hang with him, farmers, union workers, people working in auto plants, steel workers, industries just getting hammered by these trade deals. He's asking them, please, stay with me a little bit longer, I'm going to deliver a deal.

He must deliver a deal. When you talk to Trump supporters, farmers in particular, they believe that there needed to be a fight with China. They believe that there needed to be some sort of equalization in the tariffs economic in and out and the regulations in and out. I also hear a lot of concern from farmers about trade with China, as well but as Mexico and Canada. So I think he's got multiple problems in multiple fronts and the pressure will only increase as the election gets closer, and he knows that.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes, that's the thing, because the reworked NAFTA deal hasn't passed Congress and there are real question as to whether that will.

Another story. "The Wall Street Journal" was reporting, Molly Ball, that the EPA will reportedly announce a roll back in regulations on methane emissions. Methane, of course, a contributor to climate change. Part of a broader real assault by this administration on a whole host of environmental regulations here.

Is that an economic motivation for the removal of those restrictions, or is this just part and parcel of a broader rollback of environmental regulations? MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It appears to be the latter. I mean

these are the types of regulations that a lot of the business community has complained about for a long time, has said are stifling their ability to engage in economic activity. So we've seen this administration across the board engage in all kinds of deregulation.

And, of course, Trump's liberal critics will say, well, these regulations are there for a reason. It has bad effects, whether you're talking about effects on the climate and on pollution, or effects on things like consumer safety. So I think you can expect that to be a big part of the criticism of this president's policies in the next election, even as, I think, he and his Republican supporters, who strongly favor these kinds of actions, who've always felt that there was too much government involvement in these kinds of things, have used deregulation as a major talking point.

Deregulation is the kind of thing that tends to be popular when that's all you say. But when you point out the effects of it and when Democrats say things like, you know, that air and water are getting dirtier, that can cause some concern among regular voters.

SCIUTTO: All right, Patricia Murphy, 2020, we've got another debate coming up next month. The debate stage is set. It's going to be 10 candidates, half the overall field. Only ten candidates qualify. It means they're all going to be on the same stage.

And as you go into it, the polls showing Biden remains a strong leader there. His really closest competition, Warren and Sanders, what is the pressure on the other candidates who are further behind to turn that debate into sort of a make-or-break movement, to move beyond the low single digits really for most of the rest of them?

MURPHY: Just making the debate stage for a lot of these candidates has been a victory. They're like, OK, thank you, we've got that taken care of. But it is starting to look like a three-way race and particularly the top five when you look at Warren and Buttigieg, they really need to make some moves. Somebody like Beto O'Rourke has got to get out of the low single digits. And it's going to be harder and harder as they get closer to Iowa and New Hampshire to ask donors to continue to support them, volunteers to continue to support them, if they're meandering below 5 percent. It's a really tough ask and it's really tough for those -- even supporters of them to deliver and say, you know, I think it's time for me to move on to somebody who really has a chance right now.

It's such a huge field. Even to have top five, it's hard to break out of that. But for the people five and below, it's time to do it and that debate's going to be really important for them.

SCIUTTO: All right, Molly Ball, Patricia Murphy, thanks so much to both of you.

I should mention, I will be speaking to one of the presidential candidates, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, in the next hour of CNN. She did not make the debate stage in this one, but she is staying in the race. Please stay with us. We're going to have a lot more news coming up.


[09:39:25] SCIUTTO: Hundreds of people in St. Louis are demanding action after gun violence claims the lives of a dozen children in just a few months. The community gathered for an emotional town hall meeting last night, calling on city leaders to do something to stop the violence. Police say that 12 children have been shot and killed in St. Louis just since April. The youngest victim, just two years old.

CNN's Ryan Young was at that town hall last night.

And, Ryan, the city is hurting. The youngest victims of gun violence.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just unimaginable. And if you think about this, you can feel the pain in that community meeting last night because obviously people are upset. They want something done and they felt like last night was their chance to have their voices heard.

[09:40:08] We're actually in a neighborhood where a young man got shot. He was just seven years old. And you can see how they sort of painted something to say his name. His name was Xavier. His sisters were there when he was shot. This pain has been unimaginable for these families.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to be talking about what's going on. Let's take our city back!

YOUNG (voice over): During a community town hall in downtown St. Louis, passion and outrage against the gun violence epidemic.


REP. WILLIAM LACY CLAY (D-MO): Our nation and this community have reached a tipping point. Gun violence is a public health emergency. It's an emergency.

YOUNG: Losses beyond reason when children are running from bullets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would always make me feel safe.

YOUNG: Two sisters and a friend, too young to be saying this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I miss his laugh. I miss his voice.

YOUNG: They were all playing with seven-year-old Xavier Usanga in their backyard when gunfire broke out down the block. A bullet hit Xavier in the throat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been mad and sad sometimes.

YOUNG: Dawn Usanga could only watch as violence in the neighborhood took another child, hers.

DAWN USANGA, XAVIER'S MOTHER: Everybody says it's time for a change. You know what, it's really time for a change. We're killing more kids than we can keep count of.

YOUNG: That message repeated by at least a dozen families in St. Louis. That's how many kids have been killed here just since April. The youngest, only two. The pain, hard to watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The happy memories that we had ain't even enough. It's just --

YOUNG: These families told us they want the nation to feel their pain. If the photos aren't enough, listen to this man, a bystander. He tried to save eight-year-old Jurnee Thompson.

MARK VASQUEZ, WITNESS: She was unresponsive. I tried to find the bullet wound. Found it in her abdomen. You could see the life leaving her.

YOUNG: Jurnee was hit when shots rang out outside a high school football game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jurnee was a lover, a protector, a fighter.

YOUNG: Her father says Jurnee wanted to be a police officer. She was always the protector.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things will not just be the same anymore. My house is dry (ph).


YOUNG: There is a great impact in this community. Last night at that town hall, they said they wanted ten people to get up to talk and maybe ask for questions to the people who were on stage. More than 40 people lined up. And what we heard over and over again is very interesting. More than four people there had lost more than five family members to gun violence.

So, Jim, when you think about the impact here, a lot of these crimes are also being unsolved. There's a lot of pain and there were a lot of questions about, how do you move forward as a city if you can never heal?

SCIUTTO: It's just heartbreaking to see all those kids faces there.

What do community leaders say needs to change? What specifically do they want done?

YOUNG: Well, that is the great question here because there is a divide. And there's a lot of people who are saying there needs -- more resources need to be poured into the community. How do you keep kids off the street?

There's also the conversation about how the culture has changed, the idea that you would shoot up an entire block despite the fact that kids are there.

I will tell you, the city's also sort of wondering what will happen when the high school football games start again this weekend because obviously all the murders haven't been solved. There's a reward out there.

Jim, there's just a lot of questions and no real easy answers.

SCIUTTO: This community overwhelmed.

Ryan Young, good to have you on the ground there. Thank you.

This morning, an urgent manhunt is underway for two murder suspects. A husband and wife on the run after a brazen escape. The FBI, U.S. Marshals and sheriff's deputies all searching for Blane and Susan Barksdale. There are their pictures. They're accused of killing a 72- year-old man in Tucson, Arizona, back in April. The couple was being extradited from New York to Arizona on Monday when police say they overpowered two security officers in Utah.

Dan Simon is following the latest case.

Dan, are there any leads on their possible location there?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hey, Jim. They've been on the lam now for a couple of days, so authorities say they could really be anywhere at this point. We're talking about Blane and Susan Barksdale.

And what happened here is just crazy. This goes back to April when the couple is accused of killing a man in Tucson, Arizona, a 72-year-old man named Frank Bligh. About a month later, the couple is discovered in upstate New York. And then you have the extradition this week. And then somewhere in southern Utah the couple pretended to have some kind of medical emergency. They got the guards, who were escorting them, or who were taking them across the country, to pull over. And at that point they just overpowered them. They bound them and put the guards in the back of a van.

[09:45:04] And, as you can imagine, the victims' family is just incensed over this. They can't believe it. I spoke to the victim's brother during a FaceTime chat. Take a look.


WILLIAM BLIGH, VICTIM'S BROTHER: I know what it took to get them and be extradited back to Arizona, the paperwork and the courts and everything that were involved in this thing and all the work the detectives and everybody put into this thing. And to have the thing happen the way it did, it was just, you know, it's just stupid.


SIMON: Well, Arizona authorities had to contract with a Kansas based company called Transport Security Services. And, as you can imagine, as the name suggests, what they do is they transport prisoners across it country. We reached out to them. At this point they are not commenting on the situation.

I can tell you, Jim, that the U.S. Marshals office is offering a $20,000 reward for any information that leads authorities to this couple.

Again, Blane and Susan Barksdale, on the run now for a couple of days.

Back to you.

SCIUTTO: Dan Simon, thanks very much.

Believe it or not, the 2018 midterms are still not over. We're just weeks away from a special do over election in one congressional race because there was fraud committed there by a local GOP. It's quickly becoming a big test of President Trump's message for 2020.


[09:50:50] SCIUTTO: The candidates in North Carolina's ninth district congressional race set to go ahead in a special election in less than two weeks. It comes after the original results from the 2018 race were thrown out due to election fraud by the local GOP. As Republicans fight to hold on to this House seat, the race is increasingly turning into a test of President Trump's re-election message.

Dianne Gallagher is live in Charlotte, North Carolina, with more.

I mean this was really a shocking case of straight-up election fraud. They were taking absentee ballots, filling them out, apparently made a difference in this race in the House. So now you have a re-running of this race.

What is it looking like? How tight between the two parties here?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, so, Jim, it's incredibly tight right now. In fact both camps saying it appears to, at this point, be a tie. So as is typical, turnout is going to be key.

But, you're right, there have been people in this district who haven't had any representation for almost a year now. And they had a debate last night, the first and only. They tried to stay on local issues, but really Washington has loomed over this re-do race as they kind of look at this as maybe a glimpse into what could come next year on the election trail nationwide.


GALLAGHER (voice over): It's the final race of 2018 and, in a way, the first test of 2020. The do-over election in North Carolina's ninth district offering a glimpse into the future to see if the president's playbook still plays in a changing political battleground.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Dan Bishop. Dan. GALLAGHER: Republicans investing time and a lot of money to stop the Democrats from flipping their final midterm House seat, boosting two- time state senator Dan Bishop with the party's biggest draw, the Trumps.

DONALD TRUMP JUNIOR, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: This is going to be a big state for us in 2020.

GALLAGHER: Bishop tells CNN he feels the national narrative playing out here benefits him. He's closely tied his campaign to the president.

GALLAGHER (on camera): So in district nine, is a vote for Dan Bishop a vote for Donald Trump?

DAN BISHOP (R), NORTH CAROLINA HOUSE CANDIDATE: I certainly will go to the -- go to Washington and work very aggressively to help President Trump.

GALLAGHER (voice over): Democrat Dan McCready is entering his 27th month of campaigning in the sprawling district. A long-time Republican stronghold that stretches from the southern Charlotte suburbs, along the border of South Carolina. The former Marine lost the original 2018 race by just 905 votes. But state election officials refused to certify those results due to allegations of ballot fraud committed by a consultant hired by then Republican candidate Mark Harris' campaign, who, citing poor health, chose not to run again.

DAN MCCREADY (D), HOUSE CANDIDATE: This is a district that went for President Trump by almost 12 points. The fact that we're tied really means we're 12 points up of where we should be and it's a testament to our message of bringing people together.

GALLAGHER: Now, McCready admits some of the debates happening in his party's presidential primary don't exactly help him in a conservative- leaning district. Still, millions of dollars in outside spending have poured into the district from both sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they were banned from social media, Dan Bishop took their side.

GALLAGHER: Mirroring national controversies, attempting to tie Bishop to white supremacy, a charge he denies.

BISHOP: I will go to Congress and fight these clowns for you.

GALLAGHER: And paint McCready, who says he's running as a moderate, as a liberal who would align with the so-called squad.

MCCREADY: Do you feel like you're running against Dan Bishop or you feel like you're running against Donald Trump?

MCCREADY: Well, I'm running against Dan Bishop. Unfortunately for him, he's not running against a socialist, he's running against a capitalist, who's built a business from scratch. He's running against a United States Marine. (END VIDEOTAPE)

GALLAGHER: And, look, this race is so important, especially to Republicans.

Yesterday, Donald Trump Junior was here rallying at a fundraiser for Dan Bishop. They're bringing in the big guns, though, coming up on election eve. Donald Trump, the president, going to do another rally for Bishop in North Carolina.

Jim, McCready tells me that he's going to just stick to what he's been doing for the past two plus years now in this election, going and talking to individual voters, trying to tell them and convince them that he can be the best representative for them in this district.

[09:55:02] SCIUTTO: Well, it was a pretty remarkable case of election fraud, one of the most egregious in recent years. Of course the president's alleged a lot of election fraud around the country but has not mentioned this case.

Dianne Gallagher, thanks very much.

Right now Hurricane Dorian is getting stronger as it heads toward Florida's east coast and it could make landfall as a powerful category three hurricane. We are following it all. We'll have more when we come back.