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At This Hour

Escaped Inmate Captured, Former Corrections Officer Dead; Biden Urges Congress To Quickly Pass $40 Billion Ukrainian Aid Bill; Prince Charles Gives Queen's Speech At Opening Of Parliament. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 11:30   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning. Escaped convict Casey White has been captured in Indiana after being pursued by police hundreds of miles from the Alabama jail that he escaped from. Vicky White, the former corrections officer who police say helped him get out is now dead, bringing a nationwide manhunt to an end. We're minutes away from a press conference with officials. CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in Indiana with the latest. Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, Vicki White, interestingly enough officials say cold 911 in the final moments of this chase. The manhunt came to an end here in Evansville. Officials track them down because of a tip from a carwash here where one of the vehicles they had in Evansville was at that carwash.

They then tracked it to another vehicle and a hotel where they believe they were staying here. When they -- when they went to that hotel, they found them in a third car, a Cadillac that we hadn't seen before. They gave chase. Here's how the sheriff here describes the very end of this nationwide manhunt.


SHERIFF DAVE WEDDING, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: It was a short pursuit. They went through a factory parking lot and went through a grassy area. Our task force officers rammed the vehicle, push them into a ditch. That time, we went to investigate who was in the vehicle and what was going on. She was unconscious with a gunshot wound to her head and the male suspect gave up without incident.


MARQUEZ: Now, Vicky and Casey White share a last name but they are not related. And one thing that Casey White said to investigators as they got him out of that car was she had already shot herself says the authorities here is that it was his wife, you need to help my wife. They are not aware of them ever being married at any point but that is certainly something they will look into.

Next steps for him, he has been through as first extradition hearing. He's waived his right to an extradition hearing here in Indiana so it is possible that he needs to be sent back to Alabama soon. But the sheriff here is saying that an autopsy is being performed on Vicky White, and if he had any role in her death, he could be charged with murder or accessory to a murder here in Indiana before going back to Alabama, back to you.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, hopefully, we'll get more details in that press conference and you will be covering it for us. Miguel Marquez, thank you. Well, joining me now is Matthew Fogg. He's a former chief deputy of the U.S. Marshal Service. And also with us is Percy Pitzer. He is a former federal prison warden. Thank you both for joining us today. So, Matthew, let's begin with you. What do you make of how this massive manhunt came to an end?

MATTHEW FOGG, CHIEF DEPUTY OF THE U.S. MARSHALL (RET): Well, it's amazing because of the fact that I would have thought they would have been up in Seattle halfway across the country by now. So the fact that they only went like maybe 100 miles from the prison, it was crazy.

And then the fact that they were still together, I mean, I thought that a lot of these fugitive investigations I worked on a -- when it broke out of prison, like that usually they separate so -- then I thought maybe there was a chance that he would probably take her out, killer or something because of the fact that she would be a liability.

But the bottom line is they caught him. They got a tip. They moved in on it. We're really good at this stuff when it comes down to tracking fugitives, the monsters, and that's what happened. It seemed like they did a really good job of taking them down.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Well, we still have no confirmation as to how Vicky White died.

FOGG: Right.

GOLODRYGA: Percy, when officers took Casey White you heard in Miguel's reporting out of the vehicle. He told them, you all help my wife, she shot herself in the head and then he said I didn't do it. There's a lot of questions raised by that single sentence, especially given his background.


FOGG: That's right. And I've always said, you know, the fact that they had a two-year relationship in the prison, I mean, that should have been -- flags should have been all over that. And I'm surprised at the sheriff constantly saying that she was an exemplary employee, the fact that she was visiting an inmate.

So -- but the bottom line is they both had the last name and maybe they could have been using that information in the prison saying that that was his wife or some relative to him and maybe that's why some of the security guards seemed to turn a head but two years, you would have had to know that there was a special relationship going on with them and that would have raised all kinds of flags. It was normal protocol. GOLODRYGA: Percy, a big question here then is how this could happen, and could this happen again? I mean, here's what the Lauderdale County Sheriff told CNN's John Berman earlier this morning.


SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: Casey White didn't escape from the facility. He's basically just let out. So, you know that kind of situation scenario, I don't know. You know, it'd be hard, but I couldn't sit here and tell you it never happen again but I can tell you we got policies in place to prevent it.


GOLODRYGA: Percy, how concerned would you be about the security at this county jail going forward?

PERCY PITZER, FORMER FEDERAL PRISON WARDEN: I wouldn't be very concerned. I mean, if there's policies in place that they've never -- they never followed them, how in the world can an employee walk an inmate who was doing 75 years standing trial for murder out of the facility by herself? I mean that's total negligence on the part of the facility.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and --

PITZER: And it could happen again. If they don't -- if they don't review their policies, if they don't provide more training, absolutely it could happen again.

GOLODRYGA: And we know that he could very well be transferred as well to another state. Percy, you know, the sheriff also said that he believes Vicky White was the mastermind behind this whole plan because she was the one on the outside able to make all the preparations. Do you see it that way?

PITZER: Well, the times that I've seen situations like that, I would wonder if -- what her life outside work was. I mean, why she got involved in this to start with. But I think that he did mold her for two years and manipulated her. I don't think Vicky is a terrible person. I think she got manipulated that seeing it over and over. And he took advantage of it. Now whether she shot herself, I have questions about that. But I think that'll come out in the wash with the investigation and the autopsy.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, right.

PITZER: As far as the Marshals, I mean, they are good at what they do.

GOLODRYGA: Well, I am --

PITZER: And I am very surprised, not more do that.

GOLODRYGA: Well, now, unfortunately, we'll never be able to hear from Vicky White, and so in terms of what motivated her. Matthew Fogg, Percy Pitzer, thank you. We appreciate it. PITZER: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: And coming up, President Biden is urging Congress to act quickly to get Ukraine billions of dollars in new aid and more COVID funding. So how will they get it all? I talk to a Democratic senator up next.



GOLODRYGA: We are just moments away from hearing from President Biden speak on and address inflation. The President is also calling on Congress to immediately approve an additional $40 billion in aid for Ukraine. The President says funding is set to run out in about 10 days, and he wants Congress to do it without 10 billion and COVID money that Congress has struggled to pass for weeks now.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Tina Smith. Senator, thanks so much for joining us. So President Biden reversing course here now agreeing to decouple COVID and Ukraine funding, do you think that's the right call, and will it get this package for Ukraine approved as quickly as the president is asking for now?

SEN. TINA SMITH, (D-MN): Well, thank you, Bianna. It's wonderful to be with you. I mean, I don't think the president -- the president is responding to Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell said that it would not pass. Republicans would not support Ukraine Aid if it included aid for Americans for therapeutics and vaccines and additional testing, which we know we're going to need in the coming months as we move into the fall. So, think the president you know had to deal with reality, which is that Mitch McConnell was not going to go along with this.

It's very important that we move forward on this Ukraine Aid, it's $40 billion. It is very much needed. I think we've got bipartisan support for that. I'd like to add that I think it is crucial that we also include in the Ukrainian aid, support for Afghan refugees who are languishing waiting on -- waiting in lines to get a path to being able to work and being able to be here with legal -- legally.

It is unconscionable that we are not addressing that need as well. So yes, let's get Ukraine Aid passed and done as soon as possible, and then it's urgently important that we move forward on the COVID aid, which is also absolutely essential.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, important that you brought up the Afghan refugee crisis. Let's talk more about the COVID aid because the White House is warning now that without any additional resources, the U.S. could potentially see 100 million COVID-19 infections just this fall and winter.


GOLODRYGA: This aid has been stalled for months now. Do you worry at all that it loses urgency, though, if the funding is separated from that Ukraine aid that is very much needed? SMITH: Well, let's keep in mind what happened here. There was a bipartisan negotiation between the Democrats and Mitt Romney on the Republican side to come up with a COVID package was not all that I think that we need, I believe, for example, it's extremely important that we provide global vaccine aid if we want to finally get control of this pandemic. But you're absolutely right. We need to have a real sense of urgency here.

And here's one example why it matters. If we don't take steps right away to purchase the vaccines and therapeutics that are available, then the companies that many facture these products are going to end up selling them to other countries around the world. And we're going to lose an opportunity to make sure that Americans have the very best therapeutics and vaccines heading into the fall. So it is not time to be dilly-dallying around and playing politics with this.

That's why I think it was so wrong for Senator McConnell to separate these two things. That would have been better if we'd been able to do them together, that would have been quicker, that would have kept the urgency up for both of them but if he refuses to do that, then we have to move quickly on COVID as very soon.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Another urgent issue for Democrats is codifying abortion rights and that's something that you're going to vote on tomorrow, a bill that would codify access to abortion into federal law. Democrats don't have the votes to pass this so is this just to get Republicans on the record here?

SMITH: Well, let's understand first what this vote is. This vote is all about who has the power to decide what happens in women's lives and to women's bodies. And Democrats are on the side of the vast majority of Americans who say that decisions should rest with women who know best and who have the capacity to make the best decisions for themselves. So, yes, I think it's very important that we put our Republican colleagues on record as being completely out of step with where Americans are.

My Republican colleagues have been pushing for decades to overturn Roe vs. Wade. And now what we have is them all sort of running for the Hills and trying to change the subject. I think that's what accountability looks like in a democracy and that's why it's so important that we have this -- that we have this vote.

GOLODRYGA: It's interesting because Republicans are framing this debate over abortion rights in terms of what Americans value more and they are arguing and betting on Republicans focusing on the economy and inflation and that's something that's going to get voters to the polls. But it was interesting to hear from Treasury Secretary Yellen just this morning because she was asked about the economic impact of overturning Roe and she said that it would have a "very damaging effect on the economy." Here's her explanation. Listen.


JANET YELLEN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Roe v. Wade, in access to reproductive health care, including abortion helped lead to increased labor force participation, it enabled many women to finish school that increase their earning potential, it allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers. And research also shows that it had a favorable impact on the well-being and earnings of children.


GOLODRYGA: Now, she's basing that on empirical data. But Senator Rick Scott just called that explanation callous and harsh. What do you think about framing this debate in those terms -- in terms of economic impact?

SMITH: Well, I served on the Banking Housing Committee and was there when Secretary Yellen made those comments that she was expressing what I believe almost every woman knows. If you don't have control over your reproductive life, you don't have control over any aspect of your life, including your economic opportunity, your opportunity to provide for your children and the rest of your family.

That's why abortion is a fundamental freedom. It's a fundamental opportunity for us. It's fundamentally about autonomy. So I think that this new argument that is coming out of the Senate Republicans, which seems to suggest that women have to choose between addressing economic opportunity on the one hand, or having this fundamental freedom over their and control over their own bodies, on the other hand, just shows how out of step they are.

Women and people don't actually think about their lives in those terms. They're not all siloed off like that. Of course, these two things go hand in hand and it is one of the reasons why I think we are going to be holding this vote tomorrow to really dramatize what's happening here and what Republicans think -- who Republicans think ought to have the power over this most personal decisions.

GOLODRYGA: Senator Tina Smith, thank you. We appreciate your time.

SMITH: Thank you very much.

GOLODRYGA: And coming up, Britain's Parliament open today without one very important person, Queen Elizabeth II. Why the Queen's absence is raising more concerns about her health. That's next.



GOLODRYGA: New this morning, Queen Elizabeth was absent from the ceremonial opening of the British Parliament because of what Buckingham Palace calls episodic mobility issues. The Queen's son and heir, Prince Charles, and her grandson Prince William jointly stepping in for the 96-year-old monarch. CNN's Max Foster is live in London with the details. So what more are we learning, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianna, it really was a symbolic moment. We got used to Prince Charles stepping up and representing the Queen when she can't make an event.


FOSTER: But this was one of those core constitutional moments. She absolutely prioritizes them, the Opening of Parliament. It can't happen without her. But she was unable to attend because of this recurring mobility issue so she had to issue these special legal orders to allow Prince Charles and Prince William to represent her instead.

And Prince Charles read out the Queen's speech, which lays out the government's agenda for the next parliamentary term is hugely important. And the Queen would usually be there, but she just couldn't make it this time, very sort of pointedly represented by her crown, the crown that Prince Charles will one day wear.

So, this is a reminder really that she is weakening, but she's still in position. She has no intention of giving up the throne. But Prince Charles will be in that position at some point and we're only finding out last minute at the moment actually whether or not she'll turn up to these events. That's the other thing that we're seeing, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: What more do we know, Max, about her health overall these days?

FOSTER: We're not being given specifics. I mean, she has spoken about how she literally can't move in certain situations but we're not being told specifically why she can't move.

GOLODRYGA: We're wishing her a speedy recovery. Max Foster, thank you. And "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after a quick break.