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Some Republicans Support Impeachment Proceedings Against President Trump; White House Acting Chief Of Staff Mick Mulvaney Meets With GOP Leaders At Camp David; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) Endorses Bernie Sanders For Democratic Presidential Nomination; Ceasefire Between Turkey And Kurds Reportedly Not Holding; E-mails Released Indicating Boeing Pilots Had Concerns Over 737 Max Plane; Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Returns To Campaign Trail After Heart Attack. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 19, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone. Thanks so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Happening right now, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is set to speak at his first rally since suffering a heart attack earlier this month. In addition to marking his return to the campaign trail, Sanders is using the rally to pick up a key endorsement from progressive Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We'll continue to monitor this rally and bring you the developments as it happens and when someone there starts speaking.
Meantime, we continue to follow new developments in the impeachment inquiry as new cracks are emerging in President Trump's wall of support. Former Republican governor and CNN Political Commentator, John Kasich of Ohio now says the president should be impeached. This comes as GOP Congressman Francis Rooney tells CNN that he would not rule out voting to impeach the president.
The fallout coming after Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted to a quid pro quo in the quickly expanding Ukraine scandal. Then he tried to walk it back. "The New York Times" reports that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now believes an impeachment trial is, quote, inevitable.
All of this as sources tell CNN that the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani asked the U.S. State Department and the White House to grant a visa to a former Ukrainian official who promised to dig up dirt on Democrats. Let's start with that storm swirling around Mick Mulvaney's stunning quid pro quo admission.
The president's acting chief of staff is now planning to meet today with a group of Republicans at Camp David for damage control and strategy. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House for us. So Jeremy, are we learning anything more about this meeting at Camp David, who is there, who is not, and that will include the president? JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, what we're hearing
right now, Fredricka, is that Mick Mulvaney will be joined by a small group of Senate Republicans at Camp David this weekend. Mick Mulvaney has held these kinds of impromptu retreats with Republican members of Congress in the past, but of course this comes now as the president is facing more and more criticism from Republicans on a range of fronts.
There is, of course, as you mentioned the question of the impeachment inquiry and Congressman Francis Rooney now signaling his openness to potentially impeaching the president. But of course, the president is also facing criticism on policy fronts, particularly as it has to do with the situation in Syria and his rapid withdrawal of American forces from that country.
But it also comes, Fred, as Mick Mulvaney is facing criticism of his own for comments that he made a couple days ago when, as you said, he admitted to that quid pro quo involving security aid to Ukraine, and then, of course, he quickly walked it back. But let's listen first to those comments from Mick Mulvaney a couple days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, INCOMING ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Did he also mention to me in past the corruption that related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that's it. That's why we held up the money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened, as well.
MULVANEY: We do that all the time with foreign policy.
I have news for everybody, get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: Now, Fredricka, shortly after that news conference, Mick Mulvaney completely walked that back, saying in fact that there was no quid pro quo, despite, as you can see there on camera, him admitting that there was one, and pressed, in fact, on that very word, "quid pro quo." That being said, Fredricka. The Trump campaign is not stepping back, not walking away from Mick Mulvaney's comments. In fact, they're turning it into campaign merchandise. There's now a "get over it" t-shirt on the Trump campaign website.
WHITFIELD: OK, Jeremy Diamond trying to cash in on that, not you, but them, trying to cash in on that statement. Thank you so much.
All right, let's talk further about where all this is going. David Sanger, a national security correspondent for "The New York Times" and CNN political and national security analyst, also joining me Ross Garber who teaches impeachment law at Tulane University and is a CNN legal analyst. Good to see you both. So, Ross, let me begin with you. Mick Mulvaney trying to walk this
back, this stunning quid pro quo admission. The White House or reelection campaign saying, get over it. Let's cash in on this and not take it too seriously. But then in the big scheme of things, how potentially damaging is this, particularly with this impeachment inquiry ongoing?
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, Fred, it sounds like you're not over it. We haven't gotten over it. I don't think we're going to sort of get over it any time soon.
Here's the thing for me. I think there are ways to explain, even if there were quid pro quo, it was motivated by public policy. Look, you know I've spent months before trying to explain why I thought the Mueller investigation actually wouldn't damage the president too much. This, I think, actually is of much more concern to the president and his administration.
The big issue, I think, with that Mulvaney press conference was that he didn't seem prepared for it. It seems like the White House actually just doesn't have a system in place to deal with these issues. And they're serious. You've got the president's lawyer, his personal lawyer, under federal investigation for issues related to his interactions with the president and other state agencies.
This is serious stuff. And for the chief of staff to the White House to get up at the podium and sort of free style it on these issues and kind of admit to a quid pro quo and then walk it back, just shows a lack of preparation and that they're not actually taking it seriously. And the White House, they shouldn't get over it.
WHITFIELD: Yes, because at the core we're talking about requesting, asking a foreign country, currying favor, influence democracy, U.S. elections, none of that can be just kind of glossed over. And that really is at the core. And so one would think that the chief of staff and the rest of the White House has been talking about the optics of how it looked, the realities of, and the many admissions.
From the president admitting to it, the personal attorney admitting to it, and now the chief of staff admitting to it. So it kind of says, David, that perhaps the White House doesn't think it's a really big deal and is hoping that the majority of the public will think it's not a really big deal either.
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's exactly right, Fredricka. And I think that one reason that they may think that is it's a little bit complex. It requires parsing a few things in Mick Mulvaney's statement.
Two things jumped out at me in that statement. The first is he said the aid was held up as they try to figure out the Ukrainian involvement in where the servers were for the DNC. Well, for them to believe this somewhat crazy theory, that the Ukrainians have the DNC server, they have to overlook the Trump administration's own indictment of a number of GRU, Russian intelligence officers in the summer of 2018.
It was not an Obama era indictment. It was a Trump administration indictment. And the indictment lays out in great detail how they got into the DNC servers. So either the theory is right and the indictment is false, or the indictment is right and the theory is long ago discredited, as the president's own former homeland security adviser at the time said just a few weeks ago.
The second thing I'd look for in the Mulvaney statement, he said, look, politics often guides foreign policy decisions. And they do. Of course, an administration changes and foreign policy can change. But those are the politics of national interest. And what's coming out here is the question of whether or not it's the politics of personal reelection chances. And that is very different. That gets at that difference that Ross was referring to about why people aren't getting over it.
WHITFIELD: And potentially undermining national security. There is that. So, Ross, you've got the impeachment inquiry that is heating up, or intensifying. There is still the whistleblower complaint. And there are some experts who are saying, you don't even need the testimony of the whistleblower because so much information is coming, whether it be from diplomats or others.
What is potentially next when you've got the Senate majority leader who is now saying out loud that an impeachment trial is inevitable?
GARBER: Yes, so, what I'd be looking for over the next few weeks is, first of all, does the House actually hold public hearings with testimony about these issues? So far the testimony has been held behind closed doors. It's something that House Republicans have been very critical of.
Is there going to be public testimony, because without public testimony, I think David's right, this stuff is very complicated and it's unlikely that middle of the road voters are going to be swayed. And, therefore, middle of the road Republicans won't be swayed, and even some of vulnerable Democrats may have trouble voting for impeachment. So I think that is one place to look.
A second place to look is what else comes out? I think a lot of us were quite surprised by the indictment of Rudy Giuliani's colleagues. What else comes out? Is there financial information that comes out as a result of these lawsuits against Trump-related entities? Is there other information that comes out? I think that is the next thing to look for over the next week or two.
WHITFIELD: And quickly, do you think, David, much more is needed to tip the scale of where the momentum goes on impeachment proceedings?
SANGER: It may not be needed to tip the scale on impeachment, but it would certainly be needed to tip the scale if this got to trial in the Senate. Look, 20 Republicans would have to vote to convict for the president to be convicted and removed from office. I don't count more than two or three possible conviction votes in the Senate right now. So, they're a long, long way away, and you probably have to learn a fair bit more before you saw the Republicans in the Senate begin to crack on that.
WHITFIELD: David Sanger, Ross Garber, good to see you both. Thank you so much.
GARBER: You bet.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, Bernie Sanders back on the campaign trail, and he's gaining new support just days after suffering a heart attack.
Plus, an already tense situation boiling over in Syria. U.S. officials now saying a ceasefire between the Kurds and Turkey is not holding. More on that, coming up.
WHITFIELD: All right, well, in Queens, New York, they're getting ready for Senator Bernie Sanders where he is back on the campaign trail in a big way. Right now a rally is being held for him right there in Queens, New York. This is Bernie Sanders first campaign event since suffering a heart attack earlier this month. And then today's event comes with a major announcement. New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is set to announce her official endorsement of the Vermont Senator.
CNN Correspondent, Ryan Nobles is joining me right now from that event. So, Ryan, it seems like it's the warm up that's under way getting ready for Bernie Sanders arrival. What's happening?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's a pretty incredible big crowd here, Fred. This is certainly going to rival the biggest crowd that Sanders has had of his entire campaign here today. We're in the Queens Bridge Park, it's a pretty big park just outside of Manhattan over the river in Queens here, and it is packed. It is at capacity. There are still people waiting to get in, and we expect Senator Sanders and Representative Ocasio-Cortez to speak at any minute.
A lot of energy and enthusiasm here, and the theme that you're starting to see with these opening speakers that are coming out before Senator Sanders is it's time to move on from his health issues. He had the heart attack about two-and-a-half weeks ago. He is feeling better, and he is ready to move on. In fact, Michael Moore, the filmmaker, was one of the warm-up speakers here today, and he said the only heart attack that people should be talking about right now is the heart attack that Wall Street bankers are going to have if Bernie Sanders becomes president.
So they are sending a message here today that Sanders is up for the challenge, that he is ready to get back on the campaign trail in full bore fashion, and he's going to do so now with the support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of course a rising progressive star, someone who has huge support here in New York but also huge support across the country.
She is going to help Sanders solidify that progressive wing of the Democratic Party but also bring in some younger voters and voters of color that are going to be very important in this Democratic primary. So, we expect to hear from Ocasio-Cortez here in the next few minutes, and then we'll hear from Sanders himself, his first big rally, his first big speech since that heart attack. And Fred, the message here is that he's in it for the long haul, and he still believes he can win this Democratic nomination. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right, we will check back with you. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.
Let's talk further on all of this now. Let me bring in Nathan Gonzales editor and publisher at "Inside Elections" and a CNN political analyst. Welcome back, Nathan. So Bernie Sanders, he's been mostly sidelined since that heart attack, even though he did come out in the video with his wife saying I'm ready to get back to business. But how important is this rally, of this magnitude, particularly, for him to kind of reassure his supporters that he is still in it and he's got the vigor to go all the way?
NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I'm not sure if this rally will put to bed the health issues or health questions. But he is about to land one of the most coveted endorsements in this entire Democratic race.
As Ryan talked about, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party. She gets a ton of attention for being in office for a year. And she, this is an endorsement that I think many of Sanders competitors in the race would have loved to have had, and he's about to land it.
Now, I think it's remarkable, though, that out of all the candidates in the race, that she has chosen to endorse the 78-year-old white guy in the race who is not even a Democrat. He's an independent running as a Democrat for the Democratic nomination.
But I think it says something about the direction of the party or at least part of the direction of the party that she's trying to lead that she would go with someone who is an independent senator from Vermont rather than a Democratic -- someone who has been in the Democratic Party for years.
WHITFIELD: So it says as much about him as it does about her. Why do you suppose she is throwing her support behind him and not, say, Elizabeth Warren?
GONZALES: I think she believes in the policies that he's giving voice to, not only in this campaign but what he's been giving voice to for years. And I think that that is more important to her rather than the vehicle or the messenger.
But I'm also, but I'm skeptical that this will be a boost for Sanders campaign. I know that she's a popular figure, but I'm wondering how many people are looking to her, who have been waiting on the sidelines waiting for her to tell them who they should support. And I think increasingly endorsements can lead to positive media coverage.
But I don't expect it to fundamentally change this race, in part because Bernie Sanders, remember in 2016, he had the advantage of being a one-on-one matchup against Senator Clinton. And now there are five or six candidates in the Democratic race that have the same message, but might be a better messenger, someone such as Senator Warren.
WHITFIELD: All right, Nathan Gonzales, we'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much.
GONZALES: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, breaking news out of Syria. U.S. officials now say a negotiated ceasefire is not holding between Turkey and Kurdish forces. Details, next.
WHITFIELD: The U.S. brokered ceasefire in Syria is not holding, and that's according to two U.S. officials. Turkish-backed forces broke the agreement Friday morning, just one day after the ceasefire was worked out, according to a U.S. official.
Earlier this month, President Trump announced U.S. troops were pulling out of northern Syria, and then just days later Turkey began its military offensive to force Kurds from the area. Earlier I spoke with the Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who warned of the consequences if Congress cannot convince the president to keep U.S. forces in the area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. AMI BERA, (D-CA): You saw a real big bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives. I would hope if Leader McConnell feels that way there'll be a big vote on the Senate side this coming week, and then we're sending a message to the president.
We've got to maintain a presence in that region, otherwise you'll see a resurgence of ISIS. I understand the president's reluctance to keep forces there, but this week he increased our troop presence in Saudi Arabia by 3,000. So as much as we'd like to bring everyone home, we've got interest in that region to protect our national security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Nick Paton Walsh is in the Kurdish territory of nearby Erbil, Iraq. So Nick, what is happening with this ceasefire, or lack thereof?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These two U.S. officials saying it's not holding, kind of echoing of what we've really been hearing from the ground. But they provide a bit more detail, possibly from a less involved party, although the U.S. was, obviously, a close ally of the Syrian Kurds until the last week's developments causing a precipitous U.S. withdrawal.
Their interpretation is that this occurred because of the Syrian rebels fighting on behalf of Turkey. Remember, while Turkey's military is in force at the border and apparently at times inside Syria, most of the fighting on the ground is being backed by Turkey, which one U.S. specialist called mostly extremists. Now, they, apparently, have continued to move on the town of Ras al-Ain that is split, mixed control, the Syrian Kurds retaining a small part of it, and they have pushed further on towards that.
This U.S. official says that the Syrian Kurds for their part stopped operations but were attacked, but not with air strikes necessarily as the Syrian Kurds have suggested at one point. In terms of Turkey's role in this, well, it's unclear if this U.S. official of Turkey is in control or whether or not it doesn't really care what the Syrian rebels are in fact doing during the ceasefire.
The problem rally is this, though, is that it's really hard to exactly define what the ceasefire is, because there are very different interpretations of it. Turkey thinks it's about the Syrian Kurds leaving an enormous stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border, very deep into it where there are large Kurdish population centers.
The U.S. version, as far as we can fathom for an explanation by the Syrian Envoy James Jeffrey is a smaller area is where the ceasefire is supposed to be that's already controlled by the Turkish on the outskirts of which is this disputed town of Ras al-Ain. The Syrian Kurds wouldn't have to withdraw from areas already controlled by the Turkish.
So great confusion about what the ceasefire means. Yes, it was supposed to stop the fighting, but both sides have accused the other of not doing that entirely. It's clear violence has dropped since it came into play, but the Turkish accuse the Syrian Kurds of 14 separate attacks trying to harass them since the beginning, and the Syrian Kurds have said they've been a number of attacks, too, including air strikes, which the U.S. official says was not the case.
We're also hearing that a humanitarian corridor has managed to push through to this disputed town of Ras al-Ain and evacuate some of the Syrian Kurdish wounded and civilians. But a messy situation here. If this continues to collapse before the vital Sochi diplomatic meeting between Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin where most people think the ultimate deal here is in fact to be made, then that could possibly jeopardize that meeting in Sochi. Back to you.
WHITFIELD: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much, in Erbil.
Still to come, demanding answers. Boeing facing tough questions after internal messages reveal concerns about the 737 Max jets years before deadly crashes grounded the planes. Details on that straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. You're looking at freshman progressive Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helping to kick off a rally in Queens for Bernie Sanders in his race for the presidency. Soon he will be emerging there. This is his first big rally back on the campaign trail after his heart attack almost two weeks ago and just days after the last presidential debate. We'll dip in as we merit.
Federal regulators are demanding an explanation from Boeing after the company failed to disclose internal communications between two of its pilots discussing fundamental issues with the 737 Max software system linked to two fatal crashes. Here's Rene Marsh.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: CNN got a hold of internal instant messages between two Boeing messages in 2016 when the Boeing 737 Max was in development. There are two alarming things here. The first, a Boeing test pilot is raising concerns about the very software at the center of two fatal 737 Max crashes.
He says that the plane's automated flight controls were making it extremely hard for him to control the plane in the flight simulator. In one message he tells a colleague, and I'm quoting, granted I suck at flying, but even this was egregious. Here's the second alarming point. This system was meant to operate in the background.
Boeing told the FAA that pilots didn't even need to know about it to safely fly the plane. But engineers over time at Boeing ended up making this system way more powerful. And Boeing's pilot only learned about it during flight simulator testing. So, here's what that pilot said, that test pilot.
He said, I'm quoting, it's running rampant in the sim on me. "Sim" is short for simulator. So I basically lied to the regulators unknowingly. His colleague then says, it wasn't a lie. No one told us that was the case. Now, the FAA has fired off what sounds like a really angry letter to Boeing, demanding an explanation for why it withheld this documentation.
In a statement the FAA said that it finds the substance of the document concerning. It says that the FAA is also disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to their attention immediately upon its discovery. Boeing, for its part, has said that it is cooperating with the investigations.
Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.
[14:35:00] WHITFIELD: All right, joining me right now to discuss, Peter Goelz, former managing director for the National Transportation Safety Board and CNN aviation analyst. Peter, good to see you.
So about four months after these messaging are timestamped, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the 737 Max for flight. So how much of a difference do you think these messages would have made if Boeing had disclosed them to the FAA?
PETE GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I think they're certainly, as the FAA administrator said, concerning. We don't know the full context of these, and it's not unheard of that test pilots can be somewhat cavalier in their communications. But these are very concerning.
And if there was a problem with the MCAS system showing up repeatedly in the sim tests, boy, that is going to be a damming piece of evidence. And President Muilenburg is going to be before Congress in 10 days. You can bet he's going to take a tough grilling.
WHITFIELD: So, how much trouble would Boeing be in if it was revealed that the company was deliberately trying to hide these messages?
GOELZ: Well, I just saw that the American Airlines and Southwest have postponed reintegrating the 737 Max into their schedules until Friday. I would say it's going to push it back some more. This is not good news. An effort to try to get that plane back into the air, and, most importantly, it throws into question the whole certification process.
WHITFIELD: So, what kind of trouble might it mean for any airline who wants to, or wants to continue or do business with Boeing?
GOELZ: Well, Boeing is very loyal customers. They are going to be paying a heavy penalty to their customers for this plane being grounded. But it really is the broader question of how do you certify new aircraft that are increasingly complex with a federal bureaucracy that may not be able to keep up with the technologies. It's a really challenging question.
WHITFIELD: And how do you see this, I guess, going? What do you see as potentially next here?
GOELZ: I think Boeing is just starting the soul-searching and the reorganization that they're going to have to go through to regain not just the trust of customers, but the trust of the public, and, more importantly, the trust of regulators. The regulators across the world no longer trust Boeing.
WHITFIELD: And then we're heading into a big travel season. Folks just can't help but think about their personal safety, the safety of their families as they're about to fly. How do you suppose all of these discoveries, upcoming hearings might impact people's travels?
GOELZ: I think, well, we're not going to have the 737 Max to fly over the Christmas holidays. That's for sure. Then the question is, what's next? How do you regain trust in a plane that's been so heavily damaged in the press?
WHITFIELD: Yes. Peter Goelz, thank you so much. Always appreciate hearing from you.
GOELZ: Thank you, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, a big decision in Great Britain. Will Brexit be delayed even further than it has already? A new hurdle in Boris Johnson's promise to strike a deal before the end of the month.
WHITFIELD: One of Mexico's most wanted men is now free from police custody after gun battles erupted in the streets of Mexico following his arrest. Mexican authorities say Ovidio Guzman, the son of Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo, was detained briefly during an operation on Thursday, but as gun battles dragged on, officials say they were forced to release Guzman in an effort to save lives. Here's CNN International Correspondent, Matt Rivers.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The gunfire Thursday was at times constant and deafening. This is what it sounds like when a drug cartel overpowers the state. It began when government troops served a warrant on Ovidio Guzman Lopez, the son of notorious drug lord El Chapo Guzman. The U.S. requested his extradition, saying he now helps run the Sinaloa cartel his father founded. He's charged in the U.S. with drug trafficking.
He was briefly taken into custody, seen here in an undated photo. That's when things went very wrong. Authorities say they were soon besieged on all sides by cartel members seeking to free Guzman, with gun battles breaking out across the city. The operation to capture Guzman, authorities say, was led by municipal police who didn't expect the cartel response.
In a rush to obtain positive results, he says, they acted rashly and with poor planning. Critics wonder how that's possible, given Culiacan has long been known as a cartel stronghold. The result, an entire city could not move, some filming as they hid. Eventually, a stunning decision from authorities. They would release Ovidio Guzman, one of the country's most wanted men, in exchange for the cartel backing off. He was let go and it was over.
Friday, Mexico's president justified the decision, saying innocent civilians were at risk. The capture of a criminal cannot be worth more than the lives of the people, he said. This was the government admitting it was unable to secure one of its cities, an all but unprecedented act in its war on drugs. Lopez Obrador's administration has argued fighting fire with fire is not the solution, but only long- term economic reform can stem drug violence.
Perhaps, but in the short-term people keep dying. Nearly 33,000 people were murdered last year, and this year it might be worse. The bloodstained aftermath on Culiacan's streets is Mexico's reality, and its government has no immediate solution to fix it.
Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.
WHITFIELD: And checking our other top stories, the funeral for Atatiana Jefferson has been postponed amid what appears to be a bitter family legal battle. Jefferson was supposed to be laid to rest today one week after the she was shot and killed in her Texas home by a police officer.
However, Jefferson's father has been granted a temporary restraining order to stop the burial after he claims he was cut out of the funeral planning and would like to be involved. A hearing is scheduled for Monday to determine if the restraining order will continue.
Jefferson was just 28 years old when former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean fatally shot her while she was playing video games with her nephew. Officers were responding to a wellness check. Dean has since been charged with murder.
In Alabama, the search continues for a missing three-year-old girl. Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney has been missing for exactly a week now. Police say 39-years-old Patrick Stallworth is one of the two people connected to a vehicle that witnesses saw take McKinney from a birthday party Saturday night.
Stallworth was taken in for questioning earlier this week before he was released on bond. Stallworth has not been charged in Kamille's disappearance, but he now faces federal charges after police say they found child pornography on his phone.
More parents are changing their pleas in the sweeping college admission scandal. The U.S. Attorney's Office for Massachusetts says Michelle Janavs is the third parent to agree to a plea change this week. Prosecutors say she agreed to pay college scam mastermind William Rick Singer over a half-million dollars on behalf of her three children. Janavs plea hearing is scheduled for Monday.
And right now, the country continues to mourn the loss of a true American patriot. Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings passed away this week at the age of 68. The body of the chairman of the House Oversight Committee will lie in state in the National statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol next week. A formal memorial service is scheduled Thursday morning followed by a public viewing.
All that knew or interacted with Congressman Cummings had described him as compassionate, generous, selfless, and an endless fighter of justice. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi penned a touching tribute to Cummings in "The Washington Post." She says in part, "In the House Elijah was our North Star. He was a leader of towering character and integrity who pushed the
Congress and country always to rise to a higher purpose, reminding us why we are here. As he said whenever he saw that we were not living up to our Founders' vision for America and meeting the needs of our children for the future, "We are better than this."
In lieu of flowers, Cummings family is asking for donations to the Elijah Cummings Youth Program.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Happening right now in Queens, two weeks after his heart attack, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders there at a rally back on the campaign trail. Let's listen in.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- bad news for them.
SANDERS: Things are going to change, and we're going to have a government of working people, not the one percent.
SANDERS: Let me begin by thanking our great musicians Anit (ph) Khan (ph) and Max (ph) for their great music. Thank you, guys.
SANDERS: Let me thank my wife, Jane.
SANDERS: Whose father was a cab driver from Brooklyn.
SANDERS: And who is going to make an outstanding first lady for our country.
SANDERS: Let me thank my four kids and seven grandchildren. This is a family you will be proud of.
SANDERS: Let me thank Michael Moore for his support for so many years. Michael's father worked on an assembly line at General Motors in Flint, Michigan. Michael knows what side he is on.
SANDERS: Let me thank the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulin Cruz.
SANDERS: Who has stood up to Trump in her fight for justice for the people of Puerto Rico.
SANDERS: And I want to thank Yulin for being one of the co-chairs of our campaign.
And let me thank Senator Nina Turner.
SANDERS: Nina grew up in a low-income family in Cleveland, and at the age of 14, started working part-time jobs in order to support her family. Nina knows which side she is on.
SANDERS: And let me thank Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
SANDERS: It is -- that's right.
CROWD: AOC! AOC! AOC!
SANDERS: I've been around politics a few years, and it is hard to believe the degree in which less than one year this woman, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress --
SANDERS: It is hard to believe the degree to which she has transformed politics in America.
WHITFIELD: You're going to hear more from Bernie Sanders as we're going to continue to cover this rally there out of Queens.
For now, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for being with me this afternoon. See you back here tomorrow. Ana Cabrera is up next with more of the Newsroom right after this.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.