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At This Hour
Suspect In Alleged Plot Against Jewish Michigan Officials Due In Court; Study: Long COVID Victims At Higher Risk For Stroke, Heart Disease; Ret. Col Paris Davis Receives Medal Of Honor For Heroism In Vietnam. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired March 03, 2023 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: "Sovereign citizens" of movement, the FBI calls a form of domestic terrorism. Joining me now with more on this is CNN's Omar Jimenez. Omar, I mean, do we know how serious this threat was or how close Carpenter may have allegedly been to following through?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the concern for law enforcement is they had seen these threats and they were under the impression or at least we're told that he had access to deadly weapons. Now, these threats were posted online out of state is what law enforcement believes the suspect, Jack Eugene Carpenter III. One of them reading in part, I'm heading back to Michigan now threatening to carry out the punishment of death to anyone that is Jewish in the Michigan government if they don't leave or confess. And now, later adding, any attempt to subdue me will be met with deadly force in self-defense.
And court documents show his mother told investigators that he had three handguns, a 12-gauge shotgun, and two rifles. He was eventually arrested, but a law enforcement source told CNN among those targeted was Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who confirmed that on Twitter but also, while testifying in support of gun safety legislation said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Not lost on me that as I sit here before you today, a mentally disturbed man awaits court proceedings in Detroit based on threats he made to use his arsenal of firearms to murder me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIMENEZ: Now, the suspect had also allegedly posted a declaration of sovereignty where he didn't believe law enforcement or the government had jurisdiction over him. Well, he's now in their custody awaiting a hearing a little bit later this afternoon.
WALKER: It's so disturbing. Omar Jimenez, thank you.
The House Ethics Committee is officially investigating New York Republican George Santos. An investigative subcommittee will look into several issues including whether Santos engaged in an unlawful activity related to his congressional campaign. Santos has been under scrutiny for lying about his background, including his personal life and professional record.
Joining me now with more is CNN's Lauren Fox. The Ethics Committee just announced this investigation yesterday, do we know how long it might take, Lauren?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a significant announcement even though it was expected because this is the committee that House leaders have been pointing to, is the reason they were not going to take action against Santos. They've been saying repeatedly this is really going to be up to House Ethics. Now, it could take weeks, even months really for the House Ethics Committee to go over all of these pieces of their investigation.
They announced yesterday a couple of the areas they're looking at if there was any misconduct on his campaign. They are also looking at whether or not he may have misfiled anything with the House of Representatives. That could be something like a financial disclosure that they're going to be probing. They also are looking at whether or not he engaged in sexual misconduct with someone who was seeking employment in his office.
Now, George Santos's office announced yesterday that they are fully cooperating with this ethics probe, but that they are not going to comment any further on this investigation at this time. And they are also -- we are also learning what exactly the House Ethics Committee could actually do. A couple of areas that they could pursue. They could recommend an expulsion. But that would take two-thirds of the House of Representatives to actually vote for that. They also could issue a censure, that would be a reprimand -- a public reprimand in the well of the House of Representatives from some of Santos's colleagues, or they could simply just reprimand him in a letter that, of course, really nothing more than like a slap on the wrist, Amara.
WALKER: All right, Lauren Fox, thank you for breaking that down for us. We'll see what happens.
So, there is new information this morning about the health concerns that victims of long COVID continue to face. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who experience long COVID are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and complications. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen, joining me now with more. Hi, there, Elizabeth. So, what did this study find?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Amara, this study looked at a question that really has been on people's minds for a few years now, which is what are the long-term ramifications of long COVID. And here's a huge study. What they did is they took more than 13,000 people who had long COVID and they compared them to people who had never had COVID and they looked at them for a year. So, that's a lot of people over a long period of time.
What they found is that over that year, 2.8 percent of the people who had long COVID died, and 1.2 percent of the people who did not have COVID died. Now, those are small numbers, thank goodness, but that is actually a pretty significant difference and represents many, many, many lives. Long COVID patients, they also found, were twice says likely to have stroke, heart failure, or other cardiovascular events during that year. Amara.
WALKER: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.
Well, President Biden is set to give the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War vet who risked his life to save fellow soldiers. He's got a really extraordinary story. We're going to talk about why it took 60 years for this moment to happen.
WALKER: A Special Forces captain who saved his fellow soldiers even after being shot multiple times is receiving the Medal of Honor today. Retired Colonel Paris Davis is a decorated officer who was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2019. When the gun battle where he earned the Medal of Honor happened in 1965, then-Captain Paris Davis was one of the first black Special Forces officers in the service and his team members believe that had something to do why it has taken so long, nearly 60 years for him to receive this prestigious recognition.
CNN's Oren Liebermann joining me with more. I mean, his story is an incredible.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.
WALKER: Can we first talk about, you know, the -- how this is such an overdue recognition and why took this long?
LIEBERMANN: Well, it's fascinating. We had a chance to sit down with Colonel Paris Davis yesterday to hear his side of the story and how he feels about this. And it was incredible. He was so relaxed about this. He has no bitterness, no ill will.
For him, it's simply an honor to be considered for the Medal of Honor. And to receive it, he said, it's beyond his wildest dreams. And that's why it is so special to him.
He was awarded the Silver Star for what happened back in June of 1965. And that was pretty much the end of it for a long time. But in fits and starts on and off some of the men he served with there, some of those who knew the story tried to get this forward to get this upgraded to a Medal of Honor. And it took more than 50 years. It got going again in earnest just a few months or years ago. And that has led us to this day.
He will receive, Colonel Paris Davis, a Medal of Honor. You see that ceremony beginning right now. The invocation at the White House with President Joe Biden standing there. And soon we'll see Colonel Paris Davis receive the Medal of Honor for the fight that day. And it's incredible.
He kept going back in over the course of a 19-hour fight, knowing his men needed him. I had the chance to ask him why did you keep going back in and he said others. He had the need to help in any way he could. He knew his men were out there. And he kept going in after them.
We also had the chance to speak with one of those who served with him who said you always knew Captain Paris Davis at the time, had your back. And not only would he be with you on the front lines, he would be in front of you. And that gave his men a measure of courage, a measure of confidence knowing their leader was with them in that fight.
It started as a pre-dawn morning raid. It began according to plan, but those plans quickly fell apart when they were outnumbered by North Vietnamese forces. And from there, that is where the story picks up, Amara. I suspect the ceremony here is about to get going, so we'll tune in in just a moment here.
WALKER: Yes. We'll definitely take those pictures, especially when President Biden is speaking right now there in the invocation as a ceremony is underway. But, Oren, I mean, back to this incredible story. Tell us more about how the retired Colonel actually, you know, made an impact on the field there because he was under fire.
I mean, he had been hit by automatic weapons fire, right? And this was during a 19-hour firefight with the North Vietnamese. And what really got me was that when help came in the form of a U.S. helicopter to get him and his men out, he said, no, I'm not leaving, I'm not evacuating, I'm going to stay behind and help my fellow soldiers.
LIEBERMANN: For Davis, that was simply not an option. He had men on the ground, he was their commander, and he needed to be there for them not only leading them but leading the larger fight as he was out numbered --
WALKER: Now, it's President Biden.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have to say at the outset, I've had the great honor that we have other Medal of Honor recipients here. And that I've been able to give one of those medals. And we have five here, but this, Secretary, maybe the most consequential day since I've been president. He's an incredible man.
I -- 158 years ago today, the white in this White House, President Lincoln was putting the final touches on his second inaugural address. And he wrote. Let us strive to finish the work we're in to bind up the nation's wounds and care for him who shall have borne the battle. Today, 58 years after he bore the battle, we honor a true hero of our nation, Colonel Paris Davis. I've had a chance to get to talk to him a little bit. We talked on the phone and he doesn't know it but we're going to talk a lot more. Incredible guy. The Medal of Honor created during Lincoln's presidency is our country's highest military award recognizing the gallantry of above and beyond the call of duty.
That word gallantry. It's not much used these days. Gallantry. But I can think of no better word to describe Paris, to describe you. I really can't. Gallantry.
And everyone here feels exactly the same way. That includes Secretary Austin and Secretary McDonough and Secretary of the Army Wormuth and the Vice Chairman Grady and General McConville, Representative Beyer. Where's Representative Beyer? Thank you -- thank you for pushing this little bit. Appreciate it, for joining us today.
Now, as many of you know, Paris will be the first to tell you that he hates the word I. That it was his team who served, to this team who sacrificed. So, today, I'm truly honored to welcome one of those teammates, Ron Deis. Where's Ron? Ron, thank you for being here. He was the airborne spotter for that team. And it's only a few days ago, right?
I also want to thank previous Medal of Honor recipients who are here and join us to recognize their brother in arms. Leroy Petry, William Swenson, Melvin Morris, Matthew Williams, and Earl Plumlee. Stand up (INAUDIBLE). You're looking at courage in the flesh.
And finally, Regan, Stephanie, and Paris, you already know this but your dad was a hero. But he didn't have to win this metal for you to know that. You knew it all along. You really did. Then you and your kids, they knew growing up. And you know unlike you, I wish your brother Christopher is still with us to see your dad's final right -- finally recognize his story.
And you know, it's a story that didn't just begin in the Vietnam -- in the Vietnamese village 58 years ago. Instead, picture Paris in 1956, the son of a Midwestern foundry worker starting his first year at Southern University in the heart of Louisiana. A college football team quickly noticed that Paris had the grit and guts needed on the team. It's before long, Paris not only joined the team but he's named all- American before us. A very slow learner, this guy.
I tell you what, but off the field, Paris saw constant reminders that too many -- to many, he was less than American. And that in the eyes of the law, he was less than a person. Signs on bars that read whites only, seats on buses were off limits for African Americans, school, street, shops divided by segregation. Paris endured all of this and still chose to join his college ROTC and volunteering to serve a country that in many places still refused to serve people who look like him.
Right away, it was clear that Paris was a born warrior. He became an Army Ranger. Then he jumped at the chance to join the Green Berets, becoming one of the nation's first black Special Forces officers. Paris length -- liked the Green Berets because they were elite. It wasn't just as Paris one said, Joe here, Joe there. But that didn't offend you said Joe here and Joe there. That didn't bother me.
But the Green Berets, like our country, then weren't free from discrimination either. People pull Paris aside to warn him. Are you sure you want to join? There aren't a lot of people like you who look like you in this outfit.
Well, remember, this was only 14 years after President Truman desegregated our military -- only 14 years later. But Paris didn't listen to them. And thank God he didn't. Paris helped to write the history of our nation. And this year, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of our first full integrated armed forces and the name Paris Davis will still stand alongside the nation's pioneering heroes.
You know, in the early hours of June 18, 1965, and his -- Captain -- then -- Captain Davis and his team with three of the Green Berets were wrapping up a job well done. And together, they just finished a 10- mile march through the night to support a company of South Vietnamese soldiers on their first combat mission, arrayed against the Viet Cong thick in the jungle of Bong Son. The raid was a success.
But as the sun began to rise, the men heard that haunting sound wring out, a bugle -- a bugle. A sure sign of a counterattack. Within minutes, the jungle lit up with enemy fire.
Hundreds of Viet Cong began to swarm Captain Davis and his team, pinning them down in a rice paddy with no cover. Captain Davis rallied his team to fight back. Getting so close to the enemy he was battling in hand to hand. Hours -- this is the part that stuns me.
Hours into that fight, Captain heard -- suddenly heard a sound worse than the bugle. His teammate crying out for help. His team sergeant had been shot badly in his foot and his leg, trapping him in the middle of the paddy. And it got worse. On the far side of the field, his weapon specialist was stuck in a cesspit after being temporarily knocked out by shrapnel, you know. And even further beyond him was his medic who had been shot in the head.
Captain Davis realized he was the last American standing. Without hesitation he yelled, I'm coming for you. I'm coming for you. He called in friendly fire and gave a little bit of cover to run out and rescue his team.
On his first attempt to get the team Sergeant, Captain Davis was shot in the arm and had to turn back. Captain Davis waited for another window and sprint it back out again. But his team sergeant was stuck. Captain Davis couldn't fully break him free before here to return -- headed return to cover.
He didn't give up though. That's not the Green Berets' way. For his third time, as enemy fire reigned down and he ran out, Captain Davis freed his team Sergeant, threw him over his shoulder, and started carrying him up the hill to safety. Captain Davis got about halfway up the hill before a bullet pierced his leg. Then, in front of him, another Green Berets sergeant who had just arrived at the battle to reinforce the team was shot in the chest and now needed to be rescued as well.
Captain Davis limped up the hill with his team Sergeant on his shoulder. He'd been fighting for around 10 hours but Captain Davis didn't hesitate. He went back down the hill to retrieve the reinforcement who had been just shot in the chest. All 240 pounds of him.
Next, Captain Davis ran to his weapons specialist who was struck and that cesspit. Viet Cong fighters continue to spray gunfire across the field as Captain Davis threw his teammate a rope, pulled him out, and began to haul him up the hill as well. But this time, rescue helicopter -- by this time rescue helicopters landed.
Captain Davis's commander gave him a direct order. Get on board. Davis's response was just as direct, sir, he said, I'm just not going to leave. I still have an American out there. I'm sure if he was still alive, Captain Davis began to plan how he would get his medic.
Just the day before the medic had found out, he was -- the good news, he was a new father. His wife had given birth to the first child. Captain Davis was going to give him a chance to see his baby boy. He pinpointed the medics' position and began crawling toward him with gunfire and grenades still exploding around him.
When he got there, the medics still alive asked him Am I going to die? Am I going to die? Captain Davis said not before me.
Still fending off Viet Cong assailants, Captain Davis hauled his medic up the hill. And nearly 20 hours -- nearly 20 hours later after that bugle first rang, Captain Davis saved -- have saved each one of his fellow Americans. Every single one.
Just as a story of Paris Davis did not begin in June 18, 1965. It does not end there either. Captain Davis went on to become Colonel Davis serving more than 25 years in our military and earning a Ph.D. on top of that. He received a Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Purple Heart. And even after he hung up his uniform, the Captain continue to serve the community, founding the Metro Herald. A newspaper that focused on his local community and civil rights issues.
I wish I could say this story of Paris's sacrifice on that day in 19 -- in 1965 was fully recognized and rewarded immediately. But sadly, we know they weren't. At the time, Captain Davis returned from war, the country is still battling segregation. Returned from Vietnam to experience some of his fellow soldiers crossing the other side of the street when they saw him in America. And all the men who were with him in that June day immediately nominated Captain Davis to receive the Medal of Honor. Somehow, the paper -- that paperwork was never processed. Not just once, but twice.
[11:55:00] But you know what Captain Davis said after learning he would finally receive the Medal of Honor? "America was behind me. America was behind me." He never lost faith, which I find astounding. He never stopped believing in the founding vision of our nation. The vision Lincoln kept alive 150 years ago. And the vision Paris fought to defend 58 years ago.
This vision for a more perfect union, one where all women and men are created equal. You know, we're the most unique nation in the world. We're the only nation founded on an idea.
Every other nation is founded based on a philosophy, based on ethnicity, religion, whatever, an idea is captured and we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, life liberty. We've never fully lived up to it but we've never walked away from it. This is evidence we're still not going to walk away from it.
Look, folks, we never ever walked away from our troops who dare all and give all to our nation. Paris, you are everything this medal means. I mean, everything this metal means. And look, you're everything our generation aspires to be. And you're everything our nation is at our best, brave and big-hearted, determined and devoted, selfless and steadfast American, American. And now at long last, it's my great honor to ask Lieutenant Colonel Rowe (PH) to read the citation.
LT. COL. ROWE: The President of the United States of America, authorized by act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress, the Medal of Honor to Captain Paris D. Davis, United States Army for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty. Captain Paris D. Davis, commander of the detachment, A-321, 5th Special Forces Group Airborne, first Special Forces distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.
While serving as an advisor to the 883rd regional force company, Army of the Republic of Vietnam during combat operations against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Bong Son, Republic of Vietnam on June 17, through 18, 1965, Captain Davis and three other U.S. special forces advisors accompanied the Vietnamese 883rd regional force company on its first combat mission. A daring nighttime raid against a Viet Cong regional headquarters housing a superior enemy force. Captain Davis's advice and leadership allowed the company to gain the tactical advantage, allowing it to surprise the unsuspecting enemy force and kill approximately one hundred enemy soldiers.
While returning from the successful raid, the regional force company was ambushed and sustained several casualties. Captain Davis consistently exposed himself to the hostile arms -- small arms fire to rally the inexperienced and disorganized company. He expertly directed both artillery and small arms fire, enabling other elements of the company to reach his position. Although wounded in the leg, he aided in the evacuation of other wounded men in his unit but refused medical evacuation himself. Following the arrival of air support, Captain Davis directed artillery fire within 30 meters of his own position in an attempt to halt the enemy's advance. Then, with complete disregard for his own life, he braved intense enemy fire to cross an open field to rescue his seriously wounded and immobilized team sergeant. While carrying the sergeant up the hill to a position of relative safety, Captain Davis was again wounded by enemy fire.
Despite too painful wounds, Captain Davis again refused medical evacuation. Remained with the troops fought bravely and provided pivotal leadership and inspiration to the regional force company as it repelled several Viet Cong assaults on their position over a period of several hours. When friendly reinforcements finally arrived, Captain Davis again refused medical evacuation until he had recovered an air -- U.S. advisor under his command who had been wounded during the initial ambush and presumed dead.
While personally recovering the wounded soldier, he found him severely wounded but still clinging to life.