Return to Transcripts main page


Brother of Murder Victim Forgives and Hugs his Killer; WWII Plane Crash in Connecticut; Sanders Has Heart Procedure; Trump Rages as Subpoena Loom; Reality Check on Trump's New Statements. Aired 6:30- 7a ET

Aired October 3, 2019 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: An extraordinary, truly extraordinary moment in a Dallas courtroom after a former police officer was sentenced to ten years for murdering her black neighbor in his apartment.

CNN's Ed Lavandera live in Dallas after a stunning trial to begin with, Ed, I think this moment took everyone's breath away.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Incredible, John. Botham Jean's 18- year-old brother Brandt could have said anything in this moment, unleashed anger toward the woman who killed his brother. He would have been forgiven and understood. Instead, this teenager, from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, provided one of the most breathtaking moments we've ever seen in an American courtroom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find unanimously that the defendant did not cause the death of Botham Jean while under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause and assess the defendant's punishment at ten years imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

LAVANDERA (voice over): The words left Botham Jean's family appearing dismayed and shocked. Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years in prison. She'll be eligible for parole in five years at just the age of 36.

CROWD: No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!

LAVANDERA: Outside the courtroom, the sentence angered protesters, sparking chants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The police department around the country has (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not a joke! This is our lives.

LAVANDERA: But, at the same time, inside the courtroom, a dramatic scene was unfolding.


LAVANDERA: Botham Jean's 18-year-old brother, Brandt, spoke directly to the former Dallas police officer who killed his brother. He told Guyger that he didn't want to see her rot in prison and that he had one request before she was taken to her jail cell.

B. JEAN: I love you as a person. And I don't wish anything bad on you. I don't know if this is possible but can -- can I give her a hug, please? Please?


LAVANDERA: Guyger's attorney called it humbling and the most amazing moment he had ever seen in a courtroom. The emotion lingered long after the case ended. Judge Tammy Kemp hugged Botham Jean's family and in a rare move also hugged Amber Guyger, the convicted murderer, and gave her a Bible.

JUDGE TAMMY KEMP: You can have mine. I have three or four more at home. This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm proud of you young man.

LAVANDERA: Allison Jean, Botham's mother, shared her hope for how Amber Guyger spends her years in prison.

ALLISON JEAN, MOTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: That ten years in prison is ten years for her reflection and for her to change her life.

If Amber Guyger was trained not to shoot in the heart, my son would be standing here today.

He was no threat to her. He had no reason to pose a threat to her because he was in his own apartment, in his sanctuary.


LAVANDERA: John and Alisyn, Botham Jean's father told the congregation of a local church last night that he was not surprised by his youngest son's actions in the courtroom yesterday. Botham Jean was described as a beacon of light during this trial. It's clear that little brother is following in big brother's footsteps.

John and Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, boy, Ed, what a powerful moment for all of us to see. You know, if only forgiveness were as contagious as contempt and anger, which we have seen so much of, obviously, in this moment in time.

[06:35:01] And we're going to be talking to that young man's father and I look forward to talking to that father about how he raised such beautiful, open-hearted, forgiving men.

BERMAN: Look, and I think that Brandt Jean, his compassion is extraordinary. I do want to note, it's not without controversy in the black community. There are people that I have heard from, Bakari Sellers wrote overnight, why do black folks always have to forgive. You never hear I'm sorry before the violence. Shannon Sharpe (ph) wrote, if it -- if the situation had been reversed, what are the chances some of her family, Amber Guyger's, would hug him as his family hugged her. Black people are always expected to be compassionate, but rarely receive compassion.

CAMEROTA: Well, I don't know that we expected them to be compassionate. I mean I think what is so beautiful about what happened was that it was so unexpected. And I don't know if it has to do with black and white, but I just know that that family are role models. And what he did was a role model for the rest of us and we should all try to emulate that young man.

BERMAN: Again, all I would say is that there are some within the black community who don't necessarily feel that same way and I think it's notable.

CAMEROTA: That's fair. I think that is totally fair. But we'll talk to the dad about it.

Seven people were killed when a vintage B-17 bomber crashed while trying to land in Connecticut. Six others on the plane survived and one person on the ground was injured.

CNN's Jason Carroll looks at what went wrong here.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A stunning scene after a World War II era B-17 bomber crashes at a Connecticut airport killing seven of the 13 people on board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a distant rumbling and saw a massive cloud of smoke from -- come from the direction of the airport.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was way too low. He was way too low. When I ran over to the field and actually a guy had turned around in his car and he's like, oh my God, I thought it was going to land on me.

CARROLL: The accident sending a billowing plume of smoke and flames hundreds of feet high.

KEVIN DILLON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONNECTICUT AIRPORT AUTHORITY: Five minutes into the flight, the aircraft indicated to the tower that they were experiencing some type of problem with the aircraft. We did observe that the aircraft was not gaining altitude.

CARROLL: The pilot then radioed to make an emergency landing at the airport.

DISPATCH: And what's the reason for coming back?

PILOT: The number four engine. We'd like to return and blow it out.

CARROLL: The vintage bomber jet circled back to the runway, attempting to land.

JENNIFER HOMENDY, BOARD MEMBER, NTSB: The plane veered to the right, crossed over a grassy area, crossed over the taxiway, and impacted a deicing facility.

CARROLL: Emergency services immediately rushed to the scene.

WINDSOR LOCKS POLICE, FIRE AND EMS: I'm on scene. I got -- confirming aircraft into a building. Heavy fire.

Hey, I've got explosions. I've got one victim. We're going for the grass.

CARROLL: But the fuel in the plane only intensifying the blaze, making rescue efforts more difficult.

JAMES ROVELLA, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY SERVICES AND PUBLIC PROTECTION: Any time you have a fire driven by the fuel of that type, the fire is extremely hot. And the firefighter that was injured was only minor, but that is a challenging fire to put out.


CARROLL: And, John, out of the six survivors, three are said to be in critical condition. The NTSB also talking about some of the heroic actions they say of those who were involved in the accident. They say those stories are going to be coming out within the next few hours.


BERMAN: All right, Jason, thank you very much.

So, Bernie Sanders has canceled campaign events indefinitely as he recovered from a heart procedure. We will get a fresh update on his condition, next.



BERMAN: So, this morning, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is off the campaign trail while he recovers from heart surgery. He remains hospitalized after doctors treated a blockage in an artery.

We want to bring in CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles, who covers the Sanders campaign, and CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip. Ryan, brings us up to speed on exactly how the senator is doing this

morning and what the plans are going forward because I know they canceled or postponed an ad buy, which has raised some eyebrows.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, John, things are very much up in the air right now for Bernie Sanders and his campaign. We do know that he's feeling much better after he had those two stents inserted into one of his arteries that was dealing with a potential blockage. But we don't know exactly when he's going to return to the campaign trail. In fact, it was very difficult to get any kind of clear information from his campaign staff yesterday, which is unusual. They simply just don't feel comfortable talking about the Sanders campaign and where it stands right now and where it could potentially go.

Now, there are two important dates that are coming up. There's the LGBTQ town hall which is being hosted by CNN on October 10th. And then, of course, the CNN debate on October 15th. Those are two important watermarks that at this point we just don't know whether or not Senator Sanders is going to take part in.

And, John, you also mentioned that decision by the campaign to postpone a $1.3 million ad buy in Iowa. That was significant. It was their first time being on TV in Iowa. At this point the campaign only calling it a postponement. And just like everything else with him returning to the campaign trail, they won't tell us when we should expect those TV ads to go back up on the air.

CAMEROTA: Abby, that part I don't understand. If he can't be on the campaign trail for the next however long because he's had heart surgery, why not let his ads do the talking? Why suspend those?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's the most puzzling aspect of all of this, especially coming after Bernie Sanders just announced that he raised about $25 million in this last quarter, you know, leading the pack of Democrats with this grassroots fund raising juggernaut. He has plenty of money to air ads. So it really does, you know, suggest that perhaps his aides are really in a true wait and see mode about what this medical scare means for him.

I mean, it is a very serious thing. And for someone who is the oldest candidate in this race, it has been the elephant in the room about whether or not health is a real issue for Bernie Sanders and how this is going to affect how voters see him.


I think that's really the other thing here. What voters interpret by this medical scare and does that affect his chances overall?

BERMAN: He's been one of the most vigorous candidates to date. Let's make that perfectly clear.

And I remember covering Vice President Dick Cheney after he had stents put in after I don't even remember what number heart attack it was. You know, you can recover from this and move on. We just have to wait and see. It may be just the case of first things first.

I want to get your takes on what we heard from former Vice President Joe Biden last night, who perhaps more forcefully than he has to date responded to much of what the president has been doing and the revelations that the president leaned on Ukraine to dig up dirt on the former vice president and his son.

So listen to this.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, let me make something clear to Mr. Trump and his hatchet men, and the special interest funding his (ph) attacks against me, I'm not going anywhere. You're not going to destroy me and you're not going to destroy my family. I don't care how much money you spend, Mr. President, or how dirty the attacks get.


BERMAN: Abby, there are those within Biden world who would like to see him speaking out more about this.

What did you make of it?

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, as someone who lived through the Hillary Clinton campaign when they were dealing with the e-mail probe, Biden is taking a different tact. He's addressing it directly, going after these attacks because he has no choice. I think Democrats understand that even if these allegations prove to be unfounded, which so far they have, it doesn't make a difference. The president and his allies are still going to use it against Biden. And they've been raising hundreds of millions of dollars to do it. So it's a real problem for Biden that already the Trump campaign has been airing ads about these issues. And they know that and that's why you're seeing this kind of forceful response.

CAMEROTA: OK, Abby, Ryan, thank you both very much for all of the information.

So, President Trump expressing anger and frustration as the impeachment probe heats up. Is this all possibly part of his brilliant impeachment strategy, or is it something else? John Avlon knows the answer in his "Reality Check."

BERMAN: Is there an option c?



CAMEROTA: President Trump's fury over the impeachment inquiry was on display at a press conference in the White House as he stood next to a foreign leader. At one point, President Trump stepped in on a question meant for Finland's president.


QUESTION: The WTO rule today, in favor of the United States --


QUESTION: Saying that the United States can now impose tariffs on European goods because of illegal subsidies against Airbus.

TRUMP: That was a big win for the United States, right?

QUESTION: Yes. It was a big (INAUDIBLE) --

TRUMP: You never had wins with other presidents, did you? But we're having a lot of wins at the WTO since I became president.

QUESTION: This was a case that started I think 10 or 15 years ago.

TRUMP: Yes. OK, excuse me, your wins are now because they think I don't like the WTO and they want to make sure I'm happy because all of those countries were ripping off the United States for many years. They know that I'm wise to it. We've had a lot of wins. This was a $7 billion win. Not bad.

SAULI NIINISTO, FINLAND'S PRESIDENT: But I -- I think the question is for me.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Jane Harmon. She's the director, president, and CEO of the Wilson Center and the former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congresswoman, awkward.


CAMEROTA: I mean what -- what could the Finnish president have been thinking while listening to some of these tirades?

HARMON: What all the rest of us are thinking, which is that the president's under a lot of pressure. He is pushing back in his way. Nobody should be surprised what his way is.

The difficulty for Finland is it's been a buffer state between Russia and the United -- and the west for -- for -- you know, forever. And he managed, I thought, pretty well to hold his own. Good for him.

CAMEROTA: Is there any problem on the world stage -- and I mean beyond just the awkwardness or the embarrassment. Is there any actual policy problem or a foreign relations problem with the president doing things like this on the, you know, so publicly with foreign leaders president?

HARMAN: Yes. I was at a small dinner at an embassy the other night with several ambassadors in attendance. They're very confused and wary.

What I worry about is not just that a president of some country may be reluctant to take a phone call from President Trump. And, by the way, President Rouhani apparently didn't come on the phone at the U.N. I think that was a missed opportunity. I don't think it was all Trump's fault. I think Rouhani's worried about his support back home. But, nonetheless, he didn't get on the phone.

And I think others will worry about what transcript and where. But I worry even more about our intelligence capacity when intelligence agencies abroad won't share intel with us because they're afraid it will be leaked or in some way misused.

I mean there was just a missile test just the other day, Alisyn. Did we notice? It was briefly on CNN. I'm not blaming CNN. The markets also fell. But missiles and markets. But the missile test was a two stage submarine launch missile from North Korea with a range to hit Japan. A three-stage missile that could be launched by North Korea, would have the range to hit us. The re-entry problem is still there. But, nonetheless, this was not a joke. Not any kind of joke. And President Trump has made no comment about it. And this is the day before or the day after new talks were just announced.

CAMEROTA: But, Congresswoman, what are you suggesting, that the impeachment is all -- too all consuming?

HARMAN: It is -- it is all consuming. I'm suggesting that foreign leaders are wary of us and are also emboldened to chart their own course because they don't think there are enough brain cells on the problem. State Department's now preoccupied with a subpoena and there is also far less, I think, a process than there should be on foreign policy issues. And I worry that we don't have the eyes on target that we need to protect the United States and protect our interests around the world.

CAMEROTA: It's not just, by the way, the phone call with the Ukrainian president in which we see in the transcript President Trump pressing him to help him politically. Here's another example.


This comes from our team, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins. They report that Trump believed that he could persuade British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help him discredit the Russia investigation. Trump raised the matter in telephone conversations with Johnson and Morrison over the summer according to people familiar with the calls.

And so this is happening. I mean we just happen to be focused on Ukraine, but this seems to be a pattern.

HARMAN: Well, I don't know the details of those calls. It worries me that all this information leaks everywhere. And -- and -- but, you know, Trump's style is bilateral to deal with senior people and try to make deals. And that's how you make a deal. You do this and I'll do that. I'm not excusing it. But it shouldn't be surprising that he would do this kind of thing, to go after dirt on an opponent in foreign countries is troubling, got to say. And a lot of members of Congress, on a bipartisan basis, are saying that.

I mean --

CAMEROTA: Well, not out loud, they're not, Jane.


CAMEROTA: I mean --

HARMAN: I wish there were a bigger bipartisan chorus about what's right and what's wrong. We have to follow the facts here. Impeachment is a rough remedy. You've heard me say that on this show, Alisyn.


HARMAN: And if there isn't bipartisan and popular support for it, it could really hurt the country.

What we're after here is what the facts are and then Congress, with popular support, hopefully on a bipartisan basis --


HARMAN: Needs to make a tough decision.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman -- former Congresswoman Jane Harmon, thank you very much for your perspective on all of this.

HARMAN: Thank you, Alisyn.


BERMAN: All right, distract, deflect, confuse, and especially divide. The Trump impeachment defense strategy, if we can truly use that word, was on full display during this press conference with the president of Finland yesterday.

John Avlon, who speaks fluent Finnish, has a "Reality Check."


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: A little known fact. I appreciate you acknowledging it.

Look, there is a strategy behind the blizzard of lies. The idea is to overwhelm our ability to reason with constant distractions, like a game of Whack-a-Mole, and it works on some folks.

A band new Monmouth poll finds that 40 percent of Republicans don't believe Donald Trump mentioned investigating Joe Biden on the call to the Ukrainian president, despite the fact that Trump admitted it. But Trump's off the rails press conference yesterday was a textbook example of his reality distortion field (ph) at work and it demands a reality check. And all this started with the very first question.


QUESTION: Will you cooperate with those subpoenas?



AVLON: OK, that's the opposite of true. The Trump administration has blocked testimony after testimony and refused to turn over documents, suing to stop the release of tax returns, even using the Justice Department to do it.

But buckle up for the next one because there's a lot going on here. Now, it starts with Trump slamming Congressman Adam Schiff for the genuinely dumb unforced error of paraphrasing a rough transcript in a congressional hearing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I think he had some kind of a mental breakdown.

When he looked at the sheet, which was an exact transcript of my call, he said, wow, he didn't do anything wrong.


AVLON: OK. So, first, the president accusing an opponent of having a mental breakdown is a classic deflect and project that we don't do armchair diagnosis here. So let's focus on the idea that this was an exact transcript, word for word. No, it wasn't, and the president should know that because right on the first page it says it's a memorandum of the telephone conversation, not a verbatim transcript.

OK, how about Trump's repeated attacks on the whistleblower.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a lot of respect for whistleblowers, but only when they're real.


AVLON: The whistleblower is real, Mr. President. He or she went through all the proper channels as the acting director of national intelligence you nominated testified. And the whistleblower's complaint lined up quite precisely with the rough transcript, which Trump released.

And then came this question from Jeff Mason.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: Do you consider anyone who opposes you treasonous?



AVLON: When they lie. I think you know where I'm going with this one because the president has made more than 12,000 false or misleading statements while in office. 58 false claims in the last week alone according to CNN's Daniel Dale.

And as for treason, Trump's used that loaded word eight times in the last week alone according to fact pace, going so far as to say that some people even say it was treason with regard to Adam Schiff. Those some people are you, Mr. President.

But, wait, there's more.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Believe it or not, I watch my words very carefully. There are those that think I'm a very stable genius.


AVLON: A very stable genius who watches his words very carefully wouldn't be talking about coups and treason and civil war, wouldn't be reports that he asked for a border moat stocked with alligators and snakes.

None of this is normal, folks. It's the sign of an increasingly desperate president's disregard for the truth and decency, opting instead to try to divide to conquer.

And that's your "Reality Check."

CAMEROTA: OK, John, thank you very much.

No Finnish, but we'll wait for it next time.


CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

OK, a very big moment on Capitol Hill today in the Ukraine probe.

NEW DAY continues right now.

BERMAN: Tamnusali (ph). I only know hockey players names --

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY.

[06:55:59] Today will be another defining moment in Donald Trump's presidency. In

just hours, the first witness will answer questions by lawmakers about the president's Ukraine dealings.