Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

NY Prosecutors Suggest Probe Of Trump For Possible Fraud; Update On Coronavirus Responses From Around The World; NJ Federal Judge Speaks Out About Deadly Attack; Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Reacts To Court Vacating Death Penalty For Bomber. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 3, 2020 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Elie, if you have anything of note on this, tell us. But tell us where this goes next with this case.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, so first of all, I can confirm, as a former prosecutor, we do look at the media. A good lead is a good lead. And I did cases started off of good journalism and reporting. It sounds like, from some extent, that's what the Manhattan D.A. is doing here.

The court will rule on this. I strongly suspect they'll uphold the subpoena. In which case, it's up to Trump Org. to try to appeal it again.

Remember, this is the same case that went to the Supreme Court a couple of weeks ago. The Supreme Court rejected President Trump's absolute immunity defense by 7-2. Sent it back down.

That's where we are now. They're making the standard, sort of normal subpoena arguments that any non- president would make but not shaping up well compared to what we're seeing.

KEILAR: Elie, thank you.

Kara, thank you so much for your great reporting.

Russia is rushing to become the first country to have a COVID vaccination in place. And is says a mass vaccination is set for October.

Also ahead, a woman and federal judge is living her worst nightmare after her son was killed and her husband seriously injured in an attack aimed at her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ESTHER SALAS, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE; While my husband is still in the hospital recovering from multiple surgeries, we are living every parent's worst nightmare, making preparations to bury our only child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now Judge Esther Salas is pleading for change to help protect her colleagues on the bench.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:35:36]

KEILAR: Brazil is second only to the U.S. in total coronavirus cases. Even the Brazilian president tested positive in July. Yet, this is what President Bolsonaro was up to yesterday, riding a motorcycle with no mask.

Bolsonaro's wife and six of his cabinet ministers have tested positive as well. Today we're adding Bolsonaro's chief of staff to the list.

Let's check in with our reporters around the world on how other countries are handling the coronavirus pandemic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matthew Chance, in Moscow. And approval of vaccine in a week. Frontline vaccinations of medical officials and teachers in September. And mass production in October. That's the ambitious timetable that Russia has set out for what it says will be the first COVID-19 jab.

But there are huge questions. The normal three phases of human trials have been cut to two. Both finished, according to Russian officials. And there's still no published data for peer review to prove this Russian coronavirus vaccine is either safe or effective.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ann Coren, in Hong Kong. Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, is under the toughest restrictions ever imposed in the nation's peacetime history in response to the second way of the coronavirus pandemic.

The five million residents of Melbourne have spent the past month under stage three restrictions. But due the soaring number of daily infections, the government has announced stage four restrictions for the next six weeks.

That means a curfew will be in place from 8:00 to 5:00 a.m. All nonessential businesses will be closed along with schools and childcare centers. And only one member of each household will be allowed to go out each day to buy groceries.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN INDIA FIELD PRODUCER: I'm Vedika Sud, in New Delhi. The shah has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. He asked people who have been in contact with him for the past few days to isolate themselves and get tested.

Shah was present at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

The last week has been the deadliest for the country with more than 300 deaths and over 315,000 infections being reported in seven days.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KEILAR: And a thank you to all our international correspondents on that.

Back in the U.S., district judge, Esther Salas, is speaking out for the first time since a gunman came to her son, killed her son and critically injured her husband for an attack aimed at her.

In a heartbreaking post, Salas details her final conversation with her son and explains how this attack highlights the vulnerability of public servants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SALAS: Two weeks ago, my life as I knew it changed in an instant and my family will never be the same. A madman, who I believe was targeting because of my position as a federal judge, came to my house.

Our family had just finished a weekend celebration in honor of our son, Daniel's 20th birthday. Daniel always wanted to spend his birthdays with his dad and me. So, he asked that we host a party for a few of his Catholic University friends.

Because of the pandemic, Mark and I, my husband and I, had some concerns. However, we thought we could adhere to safety guidelines and we agreed to allow his friends to come spend the weekend.

The weekend was glorious one. It was filled with love and laughter and smiles.

As Daniel's last friend departed on Sunday, we decided we'd give Daniel a pass on his usher duties. When Mark and I returned from church, Daniel was upstairs sleeping and we decided to give him a little rest.

But as the afternoon progressed, it was time to clean up from the weekend festivities. Daniel and I went downstairs to the basement and we were chatting as we always do.

And Daniel said, "Mom, let's keep talking. I love talking to you, Mom." And it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang and Daniel looked at me and said, "Who is that?"

[14:40:11]

And before I could say a word, he sprinted upstairs. Within seconds, I heard the sound of bullets and someone screaming, "No!"

I later learned that this monster, who had a FedEx package in his hand, opened fire. But Daniel, being Daniel, protected his father. And he took the shooter's first bullet directly to the chest.

The monster then turned his attention to my husband and began to shoot at my husband, one shot after another. Mark was shot three times. One bullet entered his right chest, the other his left abdomen, and the last one in the right forearm. While my husband is still in the hospital recovering from his multiple

surgeries, we are living every parents' worst nightmare, making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel.

My family has experienced a pain that no one should ever have to endure. And I am here asking everyone to help me ensure that no one ever has to experience this kind of pain.

We may not be able to stop something like this from happening again. But we can make it hard for those who target us to track us down.

As a federal judge, I took an oath to administer justice without respect to a person's race, gender, or economic status. As I speak to you today, I can honestly say that I have worked tirelessly to uphold that pledge.

As federal judges, we understand that our decisions will be scrutinized. And some may disagree strongly with our rulings. We know that our job requires us to make tough calls. And sometimes those calls can leave people angry and upset. That comes with the territory. And we accept that.

But what we cannot accept is when we are forced to live in fear for our lives because personal information, like our home addresses, can easily be obtained by anyone seeking to do us or our families harm.

To everyone who is keeping my family in your thoughts, thank you. The outpouring of love has been overwhelming. And I can tell you that it has lifted us during our darkest hours. I just want to say thank you to you all. And I love you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: I want to bring in CNN correspondent, Alexander Field.

It is so devastating to listen to Judge Salas. It's hard, unless you're in her position to understand what she's going through but she's giving us a look into her life right now, which has and always will be, it's devastating.

It's amazing to learn that her -- that she says the gunman knew where she lived and what church she attended. What kind of protections do judges have right now? And what is the judge calling for?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is wrenching to hear her speak in these heartbreaking terms about it what happened on her doorstep to her family.

She is very much calling for action. You do have the U.S. Marshal Service that does provide protection for some 2,700 judges nationwide. But there have long been calls for greatest protections. This is now this mother's mission.

She speaks very clearly in this video about the fact that the suspected shooter was able to compile a dossier, about her family and that home addresses is readily available online. People can go and look up where their federal judges live.

[14:45:10]

She's saying people need step up and protect the privacy of these judges who have been targets before, you are so vulnerable as a result of the accessibility of this personal information on the Internet.

She goes on, Brianna, to say that she doesn't have all the answers and she knows this will be a difficult topic to take on but she calls for greater dialogue and national discussion.

Really, she is imploring for lawmakers to act to take further steps to protect families like hers.

KEILAR: Yes, what is at stake, as she describes it.

Alexandra Field, thank you.

A disturbing statistic that 36 out of 50 states are reportedly seeing a double-digit increase in homicides.

Plus, a federal appeals court vacated the death sentence for the Boston Marathon bomber, setting in motion a penalty retrial. We will speak to a survivor of that horrific attack who says the court's ruling is, quote, "disgusting."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:50:29]

KEILAR: Outrage, shock and disbelief. Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing want answers after a federal appeals court overturned the death sentence against convicted bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Rebekah Gregory, who lost a leg in the bombing, took to Twitter to voice her anger. Twitting this, in part, "All this does is give him the attention he wants and prolongs the nightmare that we've been living last seven years. Disgusting."

Rebekah Gregory is joining us now.

And, Rebekah, first, tell us how you learned about this?

REBEKAH GREGORY, LOST LEG IN BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: It was crazy, because I was actually really excited to announce the launch of my brand-new podcast, "Pain to Purpose" on Friday. And I was getting ready to hit send.

And my nurse had actually texted me from Boston and showed me the headlines of what was going on and I was in complete disbelief. I couldn't believe it.

KEILAR: So you were basically caught off guard. I imagine a number of other survivors and families who lost people were caught off guard as well.

What was your reaction specifically to the judge who said jurors in the case were not adequately screened for bias ahead of the trial?

GREGORY: I think that there are so many different factors of this that don't make any sense. And it is sad because, what happens is that we're having to relive this nightmare over again.

And specifically the Richards family. They didn't want this in the first place. So a lot of us signed a document beforehand saying to throw out the death penalty before the case even started and we weren't given that chance.

And this is exactly what they were afraid of, that it would be this ongoing process that we'll never be able to end. And so this is what is happening. And I don't get the bias.

KEILAR: You don't get the bias.

So, from the beginning, it didn't matter to you, as long as you felt he was in prison for life. That was sufficient to you and a number of other folks?

GREGORY: Absolutely. I think that he has consequences for his actions. If you bring two bombs to the Boston Marathon and kill people and maim so many others, those are consequences that you have to face.

Now whether or not it is the death penalty or life in prison, that is not the point. The point is that it is rehashing all of these terrible memories that we've all had from the trial and opening up of these wounds that all we've try to do is heal from for the last seven years.

KEILAR: Take us through what it is to feel like, OK, this chapter is come to an end and now the healing process has begun, only to have it reopen like this?

GREGORY: I think, for the most part, it was just we were blindsided by everything. So the survivors and the victims' families -- I'm so proud to be part of this community. Because everyone has done so much to turn things around. And we all believe that we need to be the good in this world and not the bad.

And so people have set up foundations. My family has set up a nonprofit for mental health treatment. And we've all moved forward trying to do the best we can out of the circumstances we've been given.

And then now, here we are five years out from the trial in 2015, and it feels like it is starting again. It is just really exhausting for everyone that is trying to just move on.

KEILAR: And so what does that look like now, to know that you are putting off that process? How does that affect you in your life?

GREGORY: I think it brings back a lot of psychological trauma that we have tried a number of years to heal from. Certainly, PTSD. I think a lot of people have different opinions on it.

But if you were laying on the same pavement that we were, fighting for our lives, our body parts were lying next to us -- my bones were on the sidewalk. I was in a pool of my own blood with nails and ball bearings and B.B.'s and everything they packed under the pressure cooker bombs.

So to say that we are having to do this over, I don't even know what that means. I don't know if we have to testify. I don't know what the process looks like.

Just the fact that it's here and this is something in the news and, most importantly, the fact that his face is in the news again.

And all the nightmares that we have been trying to set aside and move on from are now back in full force.

[14:55:06]

KEILAR: Rebekah Gregory, thank you. Thank you so much. I know this was not the news that you wanted to be surprised by. We really appreciate you speaking with us about it.

GREGORY: Absolutely. We're going to move forward no matter what. We're not his victims. And we'll never think of ourselves that way. So we just want to be part of good. And I'm so proud of everyone to the response for this and we appreciate the support.

KEILAR: And we'll be checking out your podcast, Rebekah.

Thank you so much for being with us.

GREGORY: Thank you.

KEILAR: President Trump is usually taking aim at Dr. Fauci, but today, he zeroed in on Dr. Deborah Birx after she went on CNN and warned about widespread coronavirus infections.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)