Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Source: Judge Has Delivered Jury Instructions To Prosecution, Defense In Trump Hush Money Trial; Alito's Long History Of Candid Remarks About His Conservative Views; RFK Jr. Rails Against Trump, Biden At Libertarian Convention; NY Times: GOP Sen. Cotton Emerges As Top Pick In Trump's VP Race; 2 American Missionaries And Staffer Shot To Death In Haiti Gang Attack; Kenya Plans To Lead A U.N.-Backed Multinational Security Support Mission To Haiti; Today Marks The 2nd Anniversary Of Mass Shooting At Uvalde's Robb Elementary School; AAA Predicts Nearly 44M Travelers This Memorial Day Weekend. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 24, 2024 - 20:00   ET



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "These revelations that I am not some innocent bystander, I am also part of the problem."

He stepped down as chief executive of his production company, but remained a prolific writer and director. Morgan Spurlock was 53 years old.


ELAM (on camera): And Morgan Spurlock passed away in New York, surrounded by his friends and family, according to a statement from his brother Craig, who went on to say that Morgan gave, "so much through his art, ideas and generosity. The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man." Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Stephanie Elam, thank you so much.

And thank you so much for joining us tonight. AC360 starts right now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, breaking news on the criminal hush money trial. New details about the jury instructions coming just days before prosecutors and defense attorneys deliver their summations and a jury decision could come as early as next week.

Also tonight, it is not just flags, Justice Samuel Alito's history of speaking his mind about both cultural and political issues.

Plus, a young American couple risked their lives to help those suffering in Haiti. Two U.S. missionaries killed in a gang attack. Their story tonight.

Good evening to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in for Anderson this long, warm Memorial Day weekend.

Breaking news now about the former president's hush money trial. Days ahead of Tuesday's make or break summations, a source tells CNN that Judge Juan Merchan has issued the final jury instructions to prosecutors and defense attorneys. This happened on Thursday. These instructions are a critical road map for the jury once deliberations begin. We will likely know more about them after the closing arguments on Tuesday.

Those summations will attempt to weave compelling but competitive narratives after more than six weeks of documents, texts and emails. Plus, exhausting, sometimes contentious and occasionally sordid testimony about allegations of an affair, a payoff and a cover up.

Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, was the key witness for the prosecution. He gave damning testimony that went to the heart of the 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. But the defense also sought to undermine his credibility, even getting him to admit that he stole from the Trump organization and raising questions about a conversation Cohen said he had with his former boss about the scheme.

Ultimately, it will be the burden of the prosecution to prove and beyond a reasonable doubt what they claimed in their opening statements, quote, "It was election fraud, pure and simple."

Also, because of the current political timeline for the former president, we may hear the final decision of the jury about his face - fate weeks, perhaps days before the first presidential debate here on CNN. That happens exactly one month from Monday on June 27th.

On Wednesday, Anderson spoke with former FBI Director James Comey about the case. Comey believes the jury may convict.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Where do you think this is headed?

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I think it's highly likely to result in a conviction.

COOPER: You do?

COMEY: Oh, yes. Some a small possibility I think of a hung jury. I think there's almost no possibility of acquittal.

Yes. I think they built a case that was not subject to cross- examination, really. It's based on documents, and texts, and emails, in the words of the defendant and then they presented their most controversial witness, the cooperating bagman.


SCIUTTO: I'm joined now by former federal prosecutors Alyse Adamson and Temidayo Aganga, former Manhattan chief assistant DA Karen Friedman Agnifilo. She has recently joined a law firm now representing Michael Cohen. However, she does have nothing to do with the case and knows nothing beyond what is already public. Also with us, former New York State Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser, a longtime friend, it happens, of the trial judge, Juan Merchan.

Judge, if I could begin with you. There's been a lot of talk about the jury instructions and how central they are to how the jury will decide this case because the judge has some influence on defining for them the terms in effect and giving them a road map for deciding guilt or innocence. Why? Tell us why they're so central.

JILL KONVISER, FORMER NY STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Well, jury instructions are a road - are definitely a road map. And of course, jurors pay very careful attention when a judge speaks happily. And so they do want to get their information from the judge. They'll be paying careful attention.

Essentially, I would say probably 80- or 90 percent of the charge will be boilerplate. In other words, it's what you're going to hear in every other case, the presumption of innocence, the burden of the burden of proof, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, credibility and so on and so forth.

In this case, there's going to be - it maybe a little bit longer.


There are a lot of counts that they have to go through and there's going to be some wrangling over if there hasn't been already about what the actual language will be.

SCIUTTO: Okay. So, Karen, to that point, what do you believe the gist of the jury instructions will be? Because the wrangling has been over, as I understand it, as a layman about describing what's necessary to convict on the felony portion of this charge that, in effect, Trump knew what this was about and he did so with intent to, in effect, break federal election law. Can you explain how the judge can kind of lay that out for the jury as they make this decision?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So in New York, falsifying business records can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. You have to intentionally cook the books, if you will, right? It's not a mistake. You didn't make a mistake.

And if you just do that, that's a misdemeanor. What bumps it up to a felony is if you also had the intention to either do so to cook the books in a way that committed another crime or concealed another crime. And that's the theory that the prosecution is using in this case. They're saying, yes, they falsify the business records by calling it a legal expense when it was a reimbursement for a hush money payment. And they structured the payment over time and they tripled - essentially tripled the reimbursement amount so that it made it look like it was income instead of a repayment of hush money.

So that's what they're going to charge the jury on and one of the questions that the judge resolved in the jury charge was the jury doesn't even have to unanimously agree on which crime they think the defendant intended on committing. It could be state election fraud. It could be federal election fraud. It could be tax fraud. SCIUTTO: Temidayo, the timing is interesting here because the judge, in effect, gave the jury a break and said, I'm not going to, you know, we're not going to give closing arguments before the holiday weekend. You're not going to start deliberating before the holiday weekend. But they've heard a lot of testimony. They've seen a lot of evidence. Their minds are going to be going over the weekend. How does that affect their thinking and how might that affect the deliberations once they do begin?

TEMIDAYO AGANGA-WILLIAMS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I don't think it affects it that much. I mean, they've had a long trial. They've been at this for four or five weeks now. And this entire time, they haven't been allowed to talk to anyone about it and that includes each other.

So this whole process, they've really bit (ph) in their own heads and thinking about the evidence. So to the extent it has any impact, I think the last view they had of the case was the - you know, the failed attempt of the Trump defense to put up some witnesses to have any real impact. I mean, you know, they put up Michael Cohen's former lawyer and he really got destroyed in cross-examination.

So to the extent that there's a remnants of memory there, it's going to be that. But I think overall, they really are thinking about the broad entire case that they've been looking at for so many weeks. And I think, you know, when they get in the next week, that's the first time they get to speak about it. And they're going to be bursting to really unpack the evidence and get and dive into it.

So the - I wouldn't put too much weight on that. It's when they come in, they get that jury charge, they sit in that room and they get to finally exhale and talk about this. That's when it's going to get interesting.

SCIUTTO: Alyse, there are going to be two people in that room who are lawyers themselves. And I imagine beyond the evidence they've heard, you know, that they went to law school, right? They have a lot of experience in the field. And I've heard a lot of lawyers on the air talk about that being a potential problem in particular for the prosecution, because the lawyers will - perhaps, they have a higher standard in their mind of - as to what's necessary to prove and therefore to convict the former president.

Do you agree with that? Do you agree that those two lawyers are the biggest obstacle or biggest challenge for the prosecutors?

ALYSE ADAMSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. I don't think that they're the biggest obstacles. But I can tell you when I was trying cases, I did not want lawyers on my jury. You know, all of the jurors are going to be following the law and the burden is the same. It's beyond a reasonable doubt. I think the problem is when you have attorneys, they're going to want to look at everything.

You know, attorneys, we hang on every word. And I actually see the two of them being the reason that deliberations may possibly be drawn out here, because please believe they're going to want to examine all the evidence. They're going to be going over all of the jury charges, trying to explain that to the other jurors. Again, I'm a lawyer. I'm a little long winded. I like to explain and legally nerd out frequently.

And so I don't think they are the greatest obstacle to the prosecution, but I don't think they're necessarily helpful.

SCIUTTO: Lawyers and television correspondents, right, like to nerd out and maybe talk about it.

Judge Konviser, if the jury - listen, there are - you know, there are a bunch of possibilities as to where they go there, they could convict, they could quit.


But if they cannot agree on a verdict, what then?

KONVISER: Well, it doesn't happen that quickly. So if the jury fairly soon goes back and they send a note to the judge that says, we can't reach a verdict ...


KONVISER: ... my first reaction would be, you have not yet begun to fight.

SCIUTTO: You've got time. Go back and do your homework.

KONVISER: Go back and do your homework.

SCIUTTO: Right, yes.

KONVISER: And I might do that a couple of times. And if it seems that they've been working hard or trying and asking questions and asking for a read back and they still can't do it, I would give what's called an "Allen charge," which is to say, there's no jury better than you. I have faith in you. It's not easy. This wasn't meant to be easy. I'm glad you're taking the time. If you don't reach a verdict, we've got to start all over. That doesn't mean anyone else is in a better position than you. I have faith in you. Keep going. You'll get there.

SCIUTTO: Temidayo, if there is a guilty verdict, of course, this lasts longer as well, right? Because it's not like they're going to be sentenced and carry the former president off in cuffs at that moment, it'll be months, would it not be until a sentencing hearing?

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: Yes. It's not going to be immediate sentencing. But I think it does change the game for the former president. I mean, it's one thing to be charged with felony. So nothing has to be walking around as a convicted felon. And to the extent that he is - you know, he's trying to win the presidency, but he's also going to be thinking about one day Judge Merchan is going to be deciding, does he go to prison.

So as, you know, he's - for this last few months, been undercutting, you know, the gag order, not obeying the judge, attacking witnesses, if that kind of disobeying of the law continues after he's convicted, those are the kinds of things Judge Merchan is going to be thinking about for possible sentencing here.

He's going to be thinking about, does this defendant need to go into prison to learn his lesson here or is he someone who's - as now learned to respect the law. So I think that is what I would be concerned about if I were the former president, that his behavior suggests that a judge will find the prison time here is really necessary and not something less.

SCIUTTO: So that's notable. And Karen, I wonder if you agree, because I've also heard the argument that given that Trump has - it'd be a first time, right? First time, a felon here and, you know, not exactly a flight risk, given his public profile. I mean, do you find - and, again, we're several steps away from this, right? We've got to get through arguments and jury deliberations, but would you say that prison time is at least potentially on the table?

AGNIFILO: I mean, let's just level set for a second. If any other defendant was convicted of 34 counts or some number of class E felonies with three open indictments, federal and state in three separate jurisdictions, and I, as the judge, had to hold him in contempt 10 times for violating intentionally and willfully violating my gag order 10 times during the course of the trial, there is no way any other defendant would not get prison time in this case.

However, it's Donald Trump, and it's very different. He is treated differently than everybody else, just not in the way he claims. So I think for him, it is particularly tricky because he is guarded by the Secret Service. And obviously, Judge Merchan can't do anything until - in terms of sentencing to prison, if he's going to be president of the United States. So there's so many different things in play here.

SCIUTTO: That is quite a potential outcome to contemplate, but well, it's on the table. Thanks so much to everyone.

So many questions to answer and still to come tonight, despite demands for his recusal, as well as a report about a second controversial flag flown above a home he owns, Justice Samuel Alito remains defiant and not for the first time as our Randi Kaye reports just ahead.

Also tonight, a young American missionary couple killed in a gang attack in Haiti. David Culver, who has recently been in Haiti, he's going to join us.



SCIUTTO: There is mounting pressure for Justice Samuel Alito to recuse himself from the cases related to January 6th and former President Trump, but still no comment from Justice Alito about the second of two controversial flags seen flying above a property his family owned. According to The New York Times, this flag was flown last summer at his New Jersey beach property. It's known as the "Appeal to Heaven" flag. Its history dates back to the Revolutionary War, but more recently, it's become a symbol for supporters of the former president.

The Times also reported an upside down American flag was seen at the Alito home after the January 6th riots. Alito said it was raised by his wife in response to a clash with their neighbors. Both are associated, we should note, with the Stop the Steal movement, which believes falsely that President Biden did not win the 2020 election.

These episodes come after a long history of Justice Alito publicly sharing his views. The details from Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was one of Washington's longtime unwritten rules, Supreme Court justices attend the State of the Union address, but they don't react to anything the president says. That's why it was stunning in 2010 when Justice Samuel Alito was caught on camera shaking his head, appearing to say not true when President Barack Obama criticized the court's landmark Citizens United campaign finance decision.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit.


KAYE (voice over): In the years since, the conservative justice has been candid about his Republican aligned views on same sex marriage.


JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT: You can't say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Until very recently, that's what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now it's considered bigotry.


KAYE (voice over): On gun control.


ALITO: The ultimate second tier constitutional right in the minds of some is the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.


KAYE (voice over): on what he says are threats to free speech.


ALITO: It would be easy to put together a new list called things you can't say if you're a student or professor at a college or university or an employee of many big corporations.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [20:20:06]

KAYE (voice over): The now 74-year-old Alito was nominated by President George W. Bush in late 2005 after White House counsel Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to the High Court as critics questioned her qualifications.

Alito emerged as the court's most pointed conservative voice after the 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. And he became a full-fledged hero to the conservative right with his 2022 opinion that struck down guaranteed abortion access nationwide. "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Alito wrote for the court's majority. "Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences."

Alito's critics say the January 6th connected flags that flew over two of the justice's properties should disqualify him from voting on the related cases before the Supreme Court. Those include an immunity case which could clear Trump of any criminal liability related to the attack on the Capitol. But Alito may have already tipped his hand on Trump's immunity claim.


ALITO: If an incumbent who loses a very close hotly contested election knows that a real possibility after leaving office is not that the president is going to be able to go off into a peaceful retirement, but that the president may be criminally prosecuted by a bitter political opponent, will that not lead us into a cycle that destabilizes the functioning of our country as a democracy?


KAYE (voice over): Randi Kaye, CNN.


SCIUTTO: Perspective now from a former U.S. district court judge, Shira Scheindlin.

So good to have you.


SCIUTTO: You have these two flag controversies. You have a history of public comments on cultural and political issues there, do you believe he should recuse himself and is this more broadly an ethics problem for him?

SCHEINDLIN: I do believe he should recuse himself, and I doubt he will. But he should, because I think his comments show that he can't be a fair and impartial judge. And even if he says he could, the real issue is the appearance of lack of impartiality. And that - there's a law that says that Supreme Court law says if a reasonable person on the street would question whether this judge could be impartial, that's a reason to recuse. Now, there is a federal statute that governs recusal. It's a statute. It's on the books. It's been passed by Congress. It's called 28 USC 455. And it says that a justice, a judge, any federal judge, including a justice, shall recuse if their impartiality can be reasonably questioned in that matter. Well, I would think that these facts show that his impartiality can be reasonably questioned.

SCIUTTO: And that statute applies to Supreme Court (INAUDIBLE) ...

SCHEINDLIN: It does. It's a governing statute. The problem is that who's going to enforce it? I mean, is somebody going to actually say you violated the law and bring a criminal case or even a civil case against him? No. Nobody's going to do that. But we have our senators today and our congressmen calling on him and saying, you need to recuse because what you've done would at least give a person on the street pause that you can really be an impartial judge in these cases.

SCIUTTO: Should the chief justice, John Roberts, be acting here then?

SCHEINDLIN: No, I think the only thing he can do is behind the scenes. I don't think he would have any power to force a colleague to recuse. But I believe that when the information was coming out about Justice Thomas, I'd like to believe that Justice Roberts called him in and said, we need to have a little chat, Clarence. This can't go on. And I think he did that.

SCIUTTO: But the trouble is with Thomas and with Alito here, have they not essentially been given a free pass? Because one could argue that - and many have, that Thomas should recuse himself as well, given Ginni Thomas' quite public involvement in the Stop the Steal effort.

SCHEINDLIN: Oh, a hundred percent. Thomas has been completely compromised by his wife's activity, some of his own statements, some of his own conduct, but certainly because of his wife's activity. There's no doubt in my mind that he should recuse. And all of the other information that's come out about him causes the people of this country to disrespect the court. And that's what worries me as a longtime federal judge. I'd like to see our courts respected and for the people to believe they have integrity.

And the conduct we've seen from these two longtime justices, these are the senior justices, and their conduct is, to me, reprehensible.

SCIUTTO: I mean, the thing is, we all pay, in effect, because we suffer the consequences of the loss of confidence in the court, as does the court itself.

SCHEINDLIN: Yes. And I think it's never been lower.


There are statistical studies that show more Americans think less of the court than ever before. And you can understand why.

SCIUTTO: Well, Judge Scheindlin, you know a thing or two, having been a judge yourself. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. SCHEINDLIN: Thank you for having me.

SCIUTTO: Coming up, a Memorial Day weekend showdown between the former president and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., both presidential hopefuls are speaking at this week's libertarian party convention, hoping to court that party's base. We're going to have a live report from the convention next.



It is one of the great unknowns of the presidential campaign. What effect will independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have on the November election. The number of state ballots Kennedy will appear on still remains unclear, and his famous family is largely supporting President Biden. Among other things, Kennedy's critics point to his habit of spreading baseless conspiracy theories about vaccines, including a debunked link to autism.


Several of his own siblings have condemned his third party candidacy as, quote, "dangerous to our country." Yet a new poll finds that Kennedy is garnering a sizable amount of support.

According to Marquette Law School's National Survey of Registered Voters, 40 percent say they would vote for Trump, 37 percent for Biden, which falls within the margin of error indicating no clear leader among them, but 17 percent of voters say they would vote for Kennedy. And that is up three points since March.

This comes as both Trump and Kennedy are spending part of this Memorial Day weekend at the Libertarian Party convention, trying to court some of that party's voters. Kennedy delivered remarks earlier today. Tomorrow evening, the former president will take the stage.

CNN's Eva McKend is at the convention. So Eva, what case did RFK Jr. make today?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, it's going to be a little bit loud in here because former Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy is on stage and he's got the folks in this crowd riled up. But earlier this evening, RFK Jr. gave a speech that was really catered to this our -- this audience here.

He talked about being a defender of civil liberties. You know, protecting individual freedoms is a cornerstone of his campaign. He lamented what he characterized as being silenced and censored during the pandemic. And he actually reserved his most pointed criticisms for former president Donald Trump on the pandemic response. Let's listen.


ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He closed down 3.3 million businesses with no due process, no just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment. With the lockdowns, the mass mandates, the travel restrictions, President Trump presided over the greatest restriction on individual liberties this country has ever known.


MCKEND: You know, Jim, something else that stuck out to me that Kennedy said was when he talked about guns. He told his crowd that he will protect their gun rights and that is really a departure from where he previously was on this issue. You know, the Kennedy Democrat, he once supported an assault weapons ban, you know, no more. Jim?

SCIUTTO: And listen, of course Kennedy family has suffered greatly from gun violence, of course, through the years. So I wonder how his message, RFK Jr.'s message, has been received by folks there at the convention.

MCKEND: You know, some people were sort of puzzled by this decision that the Libertarian Party made and said that ultimately why would you bring the rivals here, Kennedy and Trump, who will take away from their nominee that they will ultimately support over the weekend. But others were very supportive. They were excited to see him here.

Two people that I spoke to that told me they would vote for him. They actually voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020. So that gives you a sense of the ideological diversity, Jim, among his supporters.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And a lot of debate as to who he is more likely to draw support from, Trump or Biden.

Eva McKend, thanks so much.

So amid the never ending speculation about whom Donald Trump will choose as his running mate, there is news that a somewhat unexpected strong contender has now emerged. That according to the New York Times, which reports that Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a staunchly conservative Harvard educated army veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is now at or even near the top of the list.

We caution, of course, that the former president is notoriously unpredictable, and the GOP convention is not until mid-July. Still, news of 47-year-old Cotton's prominent spot in the so-called veepstakes provides a sense of which qualities Trump is now prioritizing, at least for now.

Joining me now is the reporter who broke this story, New York Times Political Correspondent Michael Bender.

So, Michael, I mean, the thing about Senator Cotton, while certainly not out of the blue, I mean, quite a prominent in public Republican voice, but he's hawkish, he's socially conservative, he's a white male from Arkansas, which are not demographics that the former president needs help with. So why is Cotton such a strong contender?

MICHAEL BENDER, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I think it's a -- it is a surprising showing for him landing on a kind of a narrow list here for Trump. I think what this shows and what the rest of sort of Trump's top tier shows us is, at the moment, Trump seems to be valuing kind of what I'm calling the do-no-harm candidates.

The folks he can bring, experienced politicians who've held office, who have -- who he thinks perform well are effective on TV at driving a message.


And remember, this is a candidate who is facing some pretty serious legal troubles right now. And the last thing he needs is additional distractions, unwanted chaos and questions about a running mate. And I think what you see from the folks we're reporting as sort of this top tier are people he thinks right now sort of fit that bill.

Now that works in the personal space, I imagine. But --


SCIUTTO: -- if you're talking about --


SCIUTTO: -- not causing trouble, I mean, it would strike me given Trump needs, he's even talked about how he needs suburban women voters and abortion rights, certainly, a central issue and we've seen that in a lot of polling, but also in a lot of recent elections and so on. I mean, it's certainly not going to -- it's certainly going to create some controversy in the issue space.

BENDER: Yes. Yes, no, I think that's absolutely right. I mean, and not just to the issue space with voters, but also Trump, right? I mean, you mentioned his sort of hawkish views on foreign policy.


BENDER: How is he going to square that. They're going to have to figure out how to address that for the public if that was the case. It's several of these folks have that issue as well. I think for Trump, it sort of depends on what he values here --


BENDER: -- as part of the kind of his metrics on making this decision. I do think part of Trump's calculation is he doesn't see -- I don't think he values sort of -- the way we sort of traditionally think about political value for running mates is sort of like from battleground states or --


BENDER: -- a particular issue set as all that meaningful. And even though he did it in 2016, right, Pence helped him reassure evangelical voters, but he may need some help reassuring kind of the traditional Republicans, either -- both of these presidential candidates heading into November, they need every bit of their own party and their own basis they can get.

SCIUTTO: All right. So time, temp table on when he makes and announces this choice?

BENDER: That's a great question. He's kind of been vacillating on this a little bit, but look at the Republican convention in Wisconsin and what, mid-July.


BENDER: Right before the convention in 2016 is when he announced Mike Pence. He's talked about doing that -- repeating that again but he's also said in a couple of interviews that he might announce it at the convention, which would be a pretty wild story, certainly --


BENDER: -- and pretty dramatic logistics for the party and the convention planners to try to figure out. But if he decides who he wants, I mean, we've seen this before Trump, like he could very -- he's very capable of moving very quickly and, you know, just kind of blurting it out at some point in June if we want. But right now, I'm kind of scheduling out a series of stories waiting -- anticipating mid-July.

SCIUTTO: Sure. And, listen, I mean his attention to spectacle is what we have a lot of experience with. So the idea of doing a convention, I suppose, shouldn't write that off.

Michael Bender at New York Times, thanks so much.

BENDER: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Now to a young American couple, missionaries in Haiti, the latest victims in the country's ongoing gang violence there. The couple, the daughter and son-in-law of a Missouri state lawmaker, were ambushed while leaving church, later killed. A third person from their organization also killed in the attacks

CNN's David Culver reports.


DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An outpouring of grief for two young missionaries brutally killed in Haiti's capital. They went to heaven together. Missouri State Representative Ben Baker posted his daughter, Natalie, and her husband, Davy Lloyd, attacked by gangs Thursday night in Port-au- Prince.

The couple, in their early 20s, served as part of missions in Haiti, a Christian non-profit organization run for more than two decades by Lloyd's parents. The organization, posting Friday, "They were ambushed by a gang of three trucks full of guys. Davy was taken to the house, tied up and beat. The gang then took our trucks and loaded everything up they wanted and left."

At some point, as the attacks unfolded, Davy Lloyd called his father.

DAVID LLOYD, DAVY LLOYD'S FATHER: He was injured, so he was hurt. And he was very nervous and very scared. Because I asked him why they tied him up. And he's like, well, because you're the only one that's got strength that we have to worry about. And so they wanted to make sure he couldn't put up a fight back.

And then he was begging me to find somebody to get in there to help him. And I did all I could, but I couldn't locate anybody.

CULVER (voice-over): Three hours later, the group posted that the couple was shot and killed by the gang. Missions in Haiti says a third person, a Haitian staffer named Jude, was also killed in the attack. We're told he'd been with the organization for 20 years. The violent incident started as the missionaries were leaving church and lasted for several hours.

Davy Lloyd's father says the three died barricaded in the Lloyd family's living quarters on the mission's compound. Haiti has been spiraling into gang fueled chaos, which forced the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in April. The U.N. estimates some 80 percent of the capital city is under gang control.


In recent months, CNN's made multiple trips to Port-au-Prince. We've met victims of the gang's brutality, including rape, kidnappings, and murder. Hundreds of thousands now refugees in their own cities, as gangs have torched their homes and forced them to flee.

We've also met with the leader of one prominent gang, he and others demanding a say in Haiti's future. A future that may again be shaped by foreign forces. President Biden hosted Kenya's President William Ruto for a state dinner in Washington Thursday, around the same time that the deadly attack on Davy and Natalie Lloyd was taking place.

Top of the two leaders' agenda, Haiti.

PRESIDENT WILLIAM RUTO, KENYA: We are going to take up that responsibility alongside the Haitian police.

CULVER (voice-over): Kenya plans to lead a U.N.-backed multinational support mission to Haiti with at least 1,000 Kenyan police officers set to deploy. President Biden stating Thursday the U.S. will not send troops but is providing equipment and intel.

The White House reacting to the killings in a statement on Friday. "Our hearts go out to the families of those killed as they experience unimaginable grief." Missions in Haiti, among many others, has been warning Haiti is on the brink of collapse.

A group posting last month, "It seems the world has turned their backs on Haiti, and it's going to be left in complete gang control." Now three of their members just the latest victims of that unrelenting gang violence.


SCIUTTO: David Culver joins us now. And it's just an awful story about this poor couple.

CULVER (on-camera): Yes.

SCIUTTO: But, of course, one of many, many hundreds, thousands of stories in Haiti today.

CULVER (on-camera): Right.

SCIUTTO: Kenya is going to be truly diving into the fire, right, with this, if you want to call it, peacekeeping the security mission here. What are they likely to encounter? Is a force this size? Do people believe a force this size can make a difference?

CULVER (on-camera): I mean, peacekeeping, that's going to be the big challenge. I mean, they're going to step into this where gangs have told us. One leader who we interviewed firsthand has said, they will face resistance. We don't want any foreign influence, including these Kenyan forces.

There's about 1,000 or so that they're planning to bring in. These are police officers. Granted, Kenya says they're well trained. They're used to dealing with Al-Shabaab. They've been in other outside cultures that they feel like language wise they will be able to adapt even though they don't speak Creole or French.

That said, they've been delayed and delayed and delayed. We were supposed to see 200 of those officers yesterday on the ground. They're still not there. These murders, though? This could raise the temperature even more. It's expected that it'll add more pressure to have and get them on the ground as soon as possible.

SCIUTTO: Well, and listen, Al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization, if they can handle -- if they -- that's where they hone their experience.

CULVER (on-camera): Yes.

SCIUTTO: They've dealt with this kind of violence before, but, boy, the challenges there are just seeming to be unique and enormous.

David Culver, thanks so much for your reporting.

CULVER (on-camera): Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, two years ago today, 19 children and two teachers were killed in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. This program has been committed to remembering the many victims and investigating the inaction by police officers on that day.

Tonight, we hear from survivors who, of course, will never forget what happened.



SCIUTTO: Today marks two years since 19 students and two teachers were killed by a shooter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. On May 24, 2022, the gunman stormed into the school and barricaded himself in two adjoining classrooms. It took officers 77 minutes to finally confront the shooter, and for the last two years, families of the victims have been fighting for justice.

Tonight, the Uvalde community is holding vigils to remember the victims. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz went back to Uvalde to speak with some of the survivors.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The community has been gathering here in the town square with family members and victims raising orange flags to end gun violence and to remember the 21 who died two years ago.

And we've been speaking to the families and the victims who are still seeking justice and accountability for the failures that day.

ARNULFO REYES, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: This is a piece of my back, the muscles that are right here, you know which ones they are.

PROKUPECZ: I've never seen it because you used to cover it.



REYES: And sometimes I still cover it, right. But I got to get used to it and people got to see it.


REYES: Face it and say, hey, you know, he got shot in the arm and hopefully they see it that they'll change their minds about guns, right?

You just put them there together like that.


PROKUPECZ: Arnulfo Reyes is the teacher who survived two years ago. He was shot in his arm and his back and then was just simply tortured for 77 minutes by the gunman. Police were outside as he was inside fighting for his life. Somehow, a miracle, he survived.

REYES: After speaking with parents and stuff, they're like, they saved you.

PROKUPECZ: The kids?

REYES: Yes. They saved you. They became angels instantly. And they saved you.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): AJ was in the classroom next to Reyes's. The gunman shot him in the leg.

PROKUPECZ: Walking for you, has it been better a little? Walking or is it still? I know you have the injury.

AJ MARTINEZ, INJURED IN SHOOTING: Yes, it's been better.

PROKUPECZ: It's been better.

MARTINEZ: Yes, I don't feel it.

PROKUPECZ: Tell me what life has been like for the past two years since this happened.

MARTINEZ: It's been sad, I've been mad, and it's been happy.

PROKUPECZ: And the two -- as the two years have passed and you've reflected on different things, what do you want people to know?

MARTINEZ: Please don't elect any town school or people who are not going to step up to the plate.


PROKUPECZ (voice-over): 11-year-old AJ is still trying to make sense of the failures that day. Nearly 400 law enforcement officers responded, and yet they failed to immediately take action and enter the classrooms with the victims.

PROKUPECZ: Do you miss being in the classroom?

REYES: I do. I do miss it. You know, that was my identity, my life, you know.

PROKUPECZ: Do you ever want to go back?

REYES: Oh, no. I don't.

PROKUPECZ: How come?

REYES: I don't want to have that responsibility again.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Many of the victims have had trouble returning to school. A newly elected school board member with ties to the families is bringing new hope to this town.

JACLYN GONZALES, UVALDE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: We need to rebuild trust and transparency and get them in school. I had a family member reach out to me and she said, if you get on that board, I'm taking my daughter back to that school. It's a lot. I mean, I feel like it's a big weight on my shoulders, but I take it very serious.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Reyes now spends all of his time at a store he runs with his mom. PROKUPECZ: One of the gifts that you bring is sort of telling us, you know, what happened that day. And if it wasn't for people like you, I don't know that we would ever get.

REYES: Yes. Some part of the story that was -- that happened inside, yes. They probably would have told -- not told anybody anything. But we survived and I think that's the reason that I keep going. I keep going and I keep on talking because it's for them. It's for the kids and for all 21 of, you know, that day.

MARTINEZ: I just want the world to be more -- no more like school shootings and nothing.

PROKUPECZ: Every time I see you, you're always smiling. And I think, you know, in these situations, people always want to find hope. They always want to see that there's something positive. What do you think that is for you?

MARTINEZ: Just be happy. Be happy in every single life you have in this life.


SCIUTTO: Yes, good for him. It's such a reminder, right, that for the survivors, the trauma, physical and mental lasts long after the event. I wonder, what's the status of the lawsuits, the multiple lawsuits filed by the victims' families? It's not going to erase that trauma, but they're looking for fairness, they're looking for justice.

PROKUPECZ: They're looking for justice. They're looking for accountability. And there's been a flurry of activity from the lawyers that are representing the families. In just the past couple of days, they filed lawsuits against the Texas Department of Public Safety, the officers that responded that day against them individually.

And then just moments, you know, tonight, just -- they filed additional lawsuits against Instagram's parent company Meta for accusing them of sort of, you know, helping in marketing the weapon that was used here and guns in general that helped groom this gunman. And they also say that they filed lawsuits against the gun manufacturer, Daniel Defense.

They say all of this helped to create an environment that allowed the gunman who was socially isolated to carry out the shooting. A very significant lawsuit. No doubt, Jim, very challenging for the families and for the attorneys in this case. But some two years later now, they're just now filing these lawsuits.

SCIUTTO: Goodness. Well, great reporting as always invariably. I'm sure, like a lot of folks watching --

PROKUPECZ: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: -- makes you think about your own kids. Shimon Prokupecz, thanks so much. Coming up next, whether by car or plane, a whole lot of people are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, a lot of them probably on the road already. Our Harry Enten has the numbers, next.



SCIUTTO: This Memorial Day weekend, of course, we honor U.S. service members who died while defending our country. It is also the unofficial start of summer and will mean that a record number of holiday travelers are on the road, in the air this weekend. Some airports certainly reporting big crowds.

So we brought in CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten, who knows the numbers, always takes us inside the numbers. Tell us about this weekend because I feel like there's always talk of record breaking, but it looks like this one's actually going to be record breaking.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: We are back from COVID, baby. We are back. We're looking at 44 million people traveling at least 50 miles this holiday weekend. That beats from where we were back in 2019. Of course, we had a real gully in 2020 when we were just a 23 million.

This is, in fact, the highest number we've seen in 19 years. And I can tell you on the road to the studio, there are a lot of people on the road, OK? There was a lot of traffic getting and I was a little worried I wasn't going to quite make it but I did in fact make it.

And this, honestly, I think also gets it to me. One is the -- one of the big myths. You know in your intro, you mentioned the airport crowds. Most people when they're going 50 plus miles in Memorial Day weekend, they ain't going by plane, baby, they're going on the roads. They're driving their cars.

88 percent of those who are going at least 50 --

SCIUTTO: Interesting.

ENTEN: -- miles are going by their car. Just 8 percent by plane. Other, I'm not exactly sure, maybe they're taking a boat to their summer house.

SCIUTTO: So I was on the road this morning. I was one of those people coming up from D.C. Tell us about spending specifically as well, grilling spending.

ENTEN: Yes. So, you know, if you ask folks, OK, how much are you going to spend this holiday weekend? In fact, the vast majority of folks in terms of this holiday are going to spend less than $100, right? There are some people --

SCIUTTO: For the whole holiday weekend?

ENTEN: For the whole holiday weekend, right? For their Memorial Day celebrations. But what's the number one thing they're spending money on, Jim? It's food. And I can tell you what the Jewish deli earlier today, I spent a lot of money on food. It was actually my friend Noam's (ph) money.

But, you know, the big thing when it comes to holidays and Memorial Day is, of course, you're grilling, baby, you're grilling. You're putting food on that grill. So what are you grilling? What's the number one thing? What are you?

SCIUTTO: So, listen, I'm actually a pretty good griller, even though I'm a city boy.


SCIUTTO: So typically, I mean, I'll grill steak, hanger steak, whatever.

ENTEN: Yes, that beef --


ENTEN: -- is number one. I am more in the fish category.


ENTEN: That's --

SCIUTTO: Which is fundamentally harder, we should say.

ENTEN: It's harder. But, you know, if you're truly a skilled chef, you can grill that fish. Or how about some veggies? That's also down on the list, but I like my healthier things. Unless it's the Jewish deli, in which case I go red meat.

SCIUTTO: Harry Enten, you're skilled at everything you do. Enjoy your holiday weekend.

ENTEN: You as well, my friend.

SCIUTTO: All of you, please do enjoy the holiday as well. The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.