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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Sixth Officer Relieved Of Duty After Tyre Nichols' Death; Secretary Of State Blinken Visits Israel Amid Outbreak Of Violence; Biden And McCarthy To Meet Amid Debt Limit Standoff; Ukrainian Commander In Bakhmut Says Possible Withdrawal Would Be For Sole Purpose Of Saving Ukrainian Military Lives; Biden And McCarthy To Meet Amid Debt Limit Standoff; Trump Hits The Campaign Trail; Defense Suggests Two Shooters May Have Been Involved In Killings; Oregon Police Search For Man Accused Of Kidnapping, Torturing Woman. Aired 4- 5p ET

Aired January 30, 2023 - 16:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: I'm not plagued by perfectionism. As you know. I'm a student of good enough parenting and anchoring, as you know.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good enough. Just good enough.

CAMEROTA: Just good enough. That's where we will leave it.

BLACKWELL: Sometimes that's the goal.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Now a sixth officer in the Tyre Nichols case has been relieved of duty.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Memphis police take no action taking yet another cop off the streets. What we know about this officer's role in the death of Tyre Nichols and what his body camera shows.

And new urgent calls for calm after violence in the Middle East claims more than a dozen lives in just the last few days. A path to peace from the Biden administration as America's top diplomat visits the region.

Plus, a woman kidnapped, beaten, and tortured police say the man responsible maybe using dating apps to find his next victim.


MARQUARDT: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Alex Marquardt. Jake Tapper is on assignment.

We do start today with our national lead. A sixth officer involved in the arrest of Tyre Nichols has now been relieved of duty. Memphis police say that Officer Preston Hemphill has not been fired. He is on leave while the investigation unfolds. A source confirmed that Hemphill was part of the same Scorpion police unit, as the other five officers who were fired and were charged with murder.

And the local district attorney says Hemphill could face charges as well. Tampa's lawyer confirms that this footage from the police encounter with Nichols is from Hemphill's body camera. It shows Hemphill firing his Taser at Nichols during that initial police stop.

And a warning, it may be difficult to watch.


POLICE OFFICER: One of the pros (ph) hit the bastard.

POLICE OFFICER: Right now, (INAUDIBLE) did you also read that poured my Taser?

POLICE OFFICER: I hope they stomp his ass. I hope they stomp his ass.


MARQUARDT: CNN senior crime and justice correspondent Shimon Prokupecz is with us here with more detail.

Shimon, what can we see and hear? What does that body camera from Officer Hemphill reveal?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, important to note, Alex, this is from the first stop. This is the first encounter between the officers and Tyre Nichols. And then you see the body cam footage of this newly-identified officer approaching the car. You see another officer pulling Tyre Nichols out of the car. This officer who we now know as Preston Hemphill, he's been identified by the Memphis police department, deploys his Taser.

And it's truly disturbing, obviously, the video is very disturbing and many of us have seen this video and just the sounds and the things the officers were saying that day certainly very disturbing. Some of what this officer was saying was that, quote, I hope they stop his ass. This is after Tyre Nichols takes off and runs to the second location.

Now, this officer was not at the second location. His attorney says that he is cooperating with investigators. This makes the sixth officer with the Memphis Police Department. But we also know that two sheriff deputies are under investigation as well. So it brings a total of eight law enforcement officials who were on the scene.

What's important here, we are learning about this today, Alex. The Memphis Police Department say that they put him on leave once they started this investigation. But they are just now telling us about it, and they are just now telling us that he too was part of now the Scorpion Unit which has been disbanded.

MARQUARDT: Yeah. It is showing this investigation is now expanding. Shimon, we also know that Tyre Nichols funeral is scheduled for Wednesday. What more do we know about the plans?

PROKUPECZ: Yeah. So, the plans are still very much underway. It's going to be at 11:30 Eastern Time in Memphis. The Reverend Al Sharpton is expected to give the eulogy. Obviously, family members and other dignitaries and politicians I suppose will be present. It's expected to be a very emotional day.

Certainly calls, much as we have seen during the George Floyd funeral and other funerals involving individuals who have died at the hands of police, the calls for reform, that's going to take front and center, of course, as well. Again, that will be Wednesday at 11:30 Eastern Time, Alex.

MARQUARDT: No doubt, it will be a very emotional service, Shimon Prokupecz, thank you very much for that reporting.

I want to bring in Eric Guster, a criminal and trial attorney along with retired sergeant Cheryl Dorsey who served with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Thank you both for joining us this afternoon.

Eric, I want to start with you, and with the latest here. The sixth officer now relieved of duty in Memphis. It's not clear as Shimon was just saying whether he's going to be facing any charges. Why not? And do you expect more officers who are on that scene to face disciplinary action?

ERIC GUSTER, CRIMINAL AND TRIAL ATTORNEY: I expect a lot more people to face disciplinary action. When you have a unit where one of these offers tase him. That is what Preston did. He tased him and then said I hope they stop his ass.

This is what this unit did. And you cannot convince me in 1 million years that only these few people knew what this unit was doing. Some of their higher ups in the department had to know because this was obviously their normal method of operation. This is what they did all the time because everyone involved, including the guy at the first top, Hemphill, said I hope they stop him, which he knew that's what they're going to do.

He had indication that is their style, because he was part of it. So, I do believe that this is one of many which when I watch the tape I noticed what this guy said. Why is this guy not being suspended? Why is he not being disciplined? Why does it take several days for us to get him right now?

MARQUARDT: Sergeant Dorsey, in terms of watching the tape, according to DOJ's National Institute for Justice, they did a comprehensive review of 17 studies on those body worn cameras. Those studies showed no consistent or statistically significant affects. So, of course, it's thanks to the body cameras those officers are wearing. Surveillance cameras that we saw the actions of these officers in Memphis.

So, that begs the question, did these officers just not care? SGT. CHERYL DORSEY, LOS ANGELES POLICE (RET.): Well, they were in his

own, adrenaline was pumping. This is what they do. It just happened so naturally.

This is how they conduct and comport themselves. And so, we hear this confirmed and corroborated by Hemphill who didn't have that physical stamina to go and foot pursuit and go in on that second attack on Mr. Nichols. He said, I hope they stop his ass.

So, the problem at the police chief continues to have so much for transparency. We are just finding out about Hemphill. Her problem is multifaceted. She unleashed inexperienced, unsupervised, miscreants on an unknowing community.

She created this Scorpion task force. She put these officers on that unit. And then she failed to acknowledge complaints are coming and from the community about excessive use of force. So, she has a part to play. She is complicit and she needs to go.

MARQUARDT: Sergeant, are you surprised that these officers knowing how, many cameras around, did not act differently? That is what away would head with it.

DORSEY: I'm not surprised, because they were just in the zone. And that's why it's so important to have supervisors which, the chief admitted, she doesn't have. You need to have a patrol sergeant like I was to roll up on these calls when you hear your officers go code six. So you can monitor their activity.

If you observe a use of force, you can then manage it. You can pull those officers off. You can say, hey, that is enough. You know that these were just basically officers who were one click away from being a rookie out there unsupervised.

So, I'm not surprised at all. We know that these officers understood what they were doing, because they were creating an audio record to manufacture the probable cause. I one point, even see an officer shine his flashlight up at the sky up as if he was thinking, the flashlight on the camera might preclude anyone from seeing exactly what was going on. It was very troubling.

MARQUARDT: That's interesting point.

Eric, one of the fire officers who has been charged in the Nichols death, Demetrious Haley, he was also a defendant in a 2016 civil lawsuit where a county jail inmate claimed to have been beaten. That lawsuit was then dismissed. But do you think evidence collected in that case could now be used in this time?

GUSTER: Yes, when you have incidents of prior acts, especially acts that are very similar to a case, they can be used on the criminal side and the civil side. For example, when we have cases on the civil side, we can subpoena prior evidence. We can talk to the experts. We can bring in the police reports and the victim and the witnesses to talk about what that person did. Because if it shows that he had a percentage before violence, and that goes into what the Memphis PD's issues will be, the negligent hiring, the supervision of these officers, they should've known about his past. They should have him under very close scrutiny to make sure he didn't violate something like that again.

PROKUPECZ: We have heard calls for years for police reform on the national level from protesters, from lawmakers, from President Biden. Sergeant Dorsey what kind of legislation on a national level, federal legislation, could have prevented this kind of horrific incident?

DORSEY: I don't know if there's anything that could've prevented it. Certainly, there needs to be an end to qualified immunity. While I don't say no to anything, that they want to do on a national level in terms of legislation, the problems that we are seeing our local. So, understand this police chief has complete autonomy over her police department. So, she will decide which officers will be investigated if any, which officers will be disciplined and to what extent.


And so, there needs to be now an independent audit done of that unit and every specialized units across these 18,000 police departments. Perhaps President Biden again compel these police departments to do just that, withhold funds, create a consent decree across all 18,000, so we can see exactly who the bad apples are and get them off the department.

MARQUARDT: Yeah, that unit, the Scorpion unit has been disbanded.

Eric, just a follow-up there, do you see laws going forward that are going to be up for debates as a result of nickels death?

GUSTER: One lot that we have been pushing for four years was body cams. Without the body cams, none of this would come to light. You have the cameras on the polls that were crime prevention cameras. However, body cameras worn by officers will tell the whole story.

And we have to make sure nationally that they can not just on their own cut the body cameras off and on. Make sure they are recorded with every single thing they do, because without that footage, the story like the officer said, he reached for so and so's gun, he reach for my gun, man, those stories, when they write those, the public and the officials tend to believe them.

So, we need that level of scrutiny with cameras to show us every single thing that happens when an officer intervenes with any type of citizen.

MARQUARDT: All right. Eric Guster, Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey, thank you so much for your time and expertise.

DORSEY: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Ahead, in South Carolina, the theory of a second shooter is introduced in the trial for Alex Murdaugh. An attorney accused of killing his wife and son. Plus, the political showdown playing out as President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy prepare to meet when a House Republican leaders say they already won.

But, first, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is in the Middle East. His message as the U.S. tries to stop a tinderbox from igniting and turning into a full blown conflict.



MARQUARDT: In our world lead, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel for his first visit since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office. Blinken's visit, which will also include the occupied West Bank, comes as violence in the Middle East as claimed more than a dozen lives in just the past few days.

CNN's Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem where Blinken is trying to navigate some dicey diplomacy.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the U.S. secretary of state's plane landed in Tel Aviv, so did hopes that Anthony Blinken's visit will dial down the raging temperature on the ground here, after days of some of the worst of bloodshed for both Israelis and Palestinians in the years, from the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are urging all sides now to take urgent steps to restore calm, to deescalate, we want to make sure that there is an environment in which we can, I hope at some point, create the conditions where we can start to restore a sense of security. For Israelis and Palestinians alike, which, of course, is sorely lacking.

GOLD: Blinken's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was already set to be prickly. The top U.S. diplomat's first visit since the new government came into power, largely considered the most right wing nationalist and religious government and Israeli history, now reaching an even greater urgency.

BLINKEN: We continue to believe the best way to achieve it is through preserving and then realizing division of two states. As I said to the prime minister, anything that moves us away from that vision is, in our judgment, detrimental to Israel's long term security and the long term identity as a Jewish and democratic state.

GOLD: Blinken seemingly alluding to Israeli moves in the week of attacks, including demolishing homes of attackers, even pushing draft legislation that would revoke the Israeli residency cards of the families of those deemed terrorists.

Netanyahu facing his own internal pressures from the more extremist members of his cabinet, to go even further in response to these latest attacks.

The Israeli leader barely mentioning the recent wave of violence, arguing that it is through expanded normalization agreements with Arab countries that will ultimately help bring peace on the ground here.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: I also believe that expanding the capabilities, working to close finally the file of the Arab Israeli conflict, I think that would also help us achieve a workable solution with our Palestinian neighbors.

GOLD: Blinken heads to Ramallah on Tuesday to meet with Palestinian leadership, where he will likely be pushing for them to restore the security coordination with Israel and the Palestinian Authority cut last week, seen as one of the few tools available to help prevent an escalation of violence.


GOLD (on camera): Another thing that really resonates today from Blinken's visit as he made the Biden administration's strongest and most direct comment in response to the Netanyahu government's plan to judicial reforms, that will essentially allow the Israeli parliament to overturn Supreme Court decisions. That's hundred thousand protesters this street recently.

Blinken urged Netanyahu to build a broad consensus before enacting the reforms, and seemed to allow what he said, the vibrancy of Israel's civil society that has been on full display a clear reference to those protesters that have been out on the streets recently -- Alex.

PROKUPECZ: Very intense times. Hadas Gold in Jerusalem, thank you very much.

Also in our worldly, there are now conflicting reports about who is responsible for today's a deadly explosion at a mosque in Pakistan. It happened in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar, that is near the border with Afghanistan. At least 61 people were killed. And 157, we understand, are injured.

Pakistani officials blame a suicide bomber. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban says the group had nothing to do with it even those statements earlier today indicated that the bombing was revenge for last year's killing of a leader of the Pakistani Taliban.

To Ukraine now, the ferocious ongoing battle around Bakhmut in the eastern part of Ukraine. The man who currently commands Ukrainian forces there has mentioned a possible withdrawal from his troops, saying such a move would be done for the sole purpose of saving Ukrainian soldiers lives.

CNN's Sam Kiley is back in Kyiv for us.

Sam, this is the first time that we've heard a top Ukrainian official openly talk about pulling back from Bakhmut.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alex. You'll recall a couple of weeks ago, the Iranian forces withdrew from Soledar, which is just to the north of Bakhmut. Again, citing the need to protect the lives of its soldiers. Really, the focus in Bakhmut, the Russian focus on Bakhmut is always

baffling to the Ukrainians. Whilst they've been able to use it as an environment in which they've been able to in their words kill large numbers of Russian troops, it has also taken a very heavy toll both in the city and indeed on Ukrainian troops. There was always really going to be, certainly this has been a view expressed privately by senior commanders on the ground, even some months ago, back in December, they were saying, well, eventually we will withdraw once we've done enough damage to the Russians.

The reason for that, Alex, there is no particular strategic importance to Bakhmut other than for the Russians, perhaps, an opportunity to Trump it a victory, albeit one that is, if it does finally fall to the Russians, it would've been an extremely bloody one victory, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yeah, the battle is much more symbolic and strategic. Sam, the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, he was down in the southern Mykolaiv region today. He had another plea to Ukraine's allies. What did he have to say?

KILEY: Well, he's repeating, indeed getting more volume with his demands almost for strategic weapons. Just in the last week or so, the international community in the form of NATO and other allies have agreed to send a modern battle tanks to Ukraine. Those are tactical weapons.

What Ukraine is saying, yes, thank you, very much we are happy with that. What we really need is a service to air missiles, to protect the airspace long range missiles, which they are being denied, particularly by the United States for fear that they could be used to strike targets inside Russia itself.

And similarly, they want fighter bombers, either MiG-29s and other similar Soviet era aircrafts which is still on the inventory in some Eastern European nations even though they have all switched to NATO and Western aircrafts, or indeed in the form of F-16, which has been frequently muted here.

MARQUARDT: All right. Sam Kiley, great to have you back in Ukraine. Thank you very much for that reporting.

And next, to the political showdown playing out here in Washington that could have national consequences.

Plus, Donald Trump's loyalty task for the man who could be his biggest rival in 2024.



MARQUARDT: In our politics lead, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are set to meet on Wednesday for the first time since Republicans took control of the House earlier this month. This meeting comes amid a standoff between the White House and House Republicans over raising the debt ceiling, which is raising fears that the U.S. could default on its loans for the first time in history.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill.

But I want to start with CNN's Phil Mattingly who's at the White House.

Phil, the Biden administration, they are maintaining that they are not going to negotiate on raising the debt ceiling. So, how is the White House characterizing this meeting?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting, Alex, just a few months ago, I asked President Biden, what was his message going to be to Speaker McCarthy? This is what he said.


MATTINGLY: What is your message to Leader McCarthy, to Speaker McCarthy? Sorry, sir. What would be your message?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Show you me your budget. I'll show you mine.


MATTINGLY: That message, show me your budget and I'll show you mine, it really gets to what we heard about White House officials over the course of the last couple of days. The idea that they need to see some kind of plan for Republicans, not that they're willing to negotiate over that plan.

To some degree, there's a political element to wanting to see a plan. In the absence of a plan, you've also seen White House officials trying to seize on something that Speaker McCarthy has said is off the table, potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

We just got a statement from Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, trying to allude to idea of Speaker McCarthy taking those cuts off the table entirely pushing instead for a domestic budget cuts. Bates saying, as they vote for even more tax welfare for the rich, Republicans across the house conference are demanding cuts to Medicare and social security as ransom for not triggering another economic crisis, sites that McCarthy said that they were often off the table, but also points out if there's another plan for White House officials to consider, how do they know that that's not the case?

That gets at the reality right now. This is a moment of very clear posturing by both sides in, terms of who can win the political day. But one thing is very clear, despite the messaging back and forth, White House officials are steadfast. There will be no negotiations in their eyes. They believe this is something Congress has to do, something Congress must do. No matter what Republicans put to the table, it's pretty clear they want something on the table, it for political reasons, and no other Alex.

MARQUARDT: And, Manu, Republicans in the House, obviously seeing this very differently. So, what is Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they are ruling out whether the White House is calling for, the raise the debt ceiling without any conditions whatsoever. They say there needs to be a negotiation and a back and forth. Also spending cuts tied to it.

Now, Kevin McCarthy has not specified exactly what he wants, but he is indicating and his allies, we are learning that they are open to cuts to domestic programs, steep cuts to domestic programs, some cuts to defense programs. As McCarthy indicated yesterday, they are trying to steer clear of cuts to Social Security and Medicare.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: What I'm talking, about Social Security, Medicaid, keep that to the side.

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Is defense spending on the table?

MCCARTHY: Look, I want to make sure we are protected in our defense spending, but I want to make sure it's effective and efficient. I want to look at every single dollar we're spending, no matter where it's being spent. I want to eliminate waste wherever it is.


RAJU: But the challenge for McCarthy is that there is no consensus yet among House Republicans.

Some believe the idea of cutting simply discretionary funding will not get them to where they need to go. Other Republicans, including one Congressman Greg Pence told me that he would vote against any debt ceiling increase even if every single one of his priorities was included as part of the package. That is reiterated by a handful of members here.

So, Alex, even as they're trying to put together a plan, can they get a plan against 218 vote in the House? A big question at this moment.

MARQUARDT: A big question indeed. And, Manu, George Santos, the embattled new freshman Republican congressman, he met with Speaker Kevin McCarthy today. What more do we know about that?

RAJU: Yeah, he did meet him. We saw him coming out of the meeting. He declined to even confirm that they met. He did -- was asked about whether or not he'd be open to any sort of cooperation, any sort of House ethics investigation. He said that, quote, I am not hiding anything and said that he would indeed cooperate.

Now I did also ask the speaker as he's walking to the office, did you meet with George Santos today? He said, yes, I did. But he did not respond when I asked him, what it was that meeting about. Now, McCarthy has said that he would judge Santos on how he acts going forward. While not calling him to resign, saying up for the vote of the district. And, of course, Alex, if you are to resign, that would be a political

headache for McCarthy because that is a seat that Joe Biden carried, a district that he carried by eight points. And we defended a special election if he were to step aside for now, staying in Congress.

MARQUARDT: And such a slim margin that Republicans have in the House.

Manu and Phil, thank you very much for that reporting.

Let's discuss all this with our panel.

I do want to start with this fight over the debt ceiling, we also heard from one of Kevin McCarthy's top deputies. The Republican conference chair Elise Stefanik, she said this earlier today about this meeting coming up between Biden and McCarthy.

Let's take a listen.


REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Well, first of all, this is a win. Remember, President Biden and the White House wanted to refuse to negotiate. So, the fact that now, Speaker McCarthy is sitting down with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, that is a win for House Republicans.


MARQUARDT: Nia, is that what this is about, scoring a political win?

NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, listen, I don't think this meeting is necessarily a political win. I think it's a meeting that is happening because there's a new Congress, there's a new speaker of the house. This meeting I think was telegraphed for many weeks by the White House.

I think sort of the good news about the debt ceiling fight is that sort of we've got a couple of months before a calamity sets in and, you know, that's sort of the good news. I think the bad news is that the two sides are very, very dug in. We hear from, obviously, the house saying they want cuts. It's not clear what cuts they want.

And then we hear from the White House essentially saying they are not going to negotiate. They are not going to see this as a ransom, because they know that if there is the default, what it could mean for this economy, which is starting to pick up, which is starting to expand and see some of the effects of what the White House -- the correct course of, you know, administering the budget and the economy. But, listen, there is some time, but I think we're going to be here weeks and weeks and weeks talking about this.

MARQUARDT: Scott, Republicans did vote to lift the debt ceiling back in 2019. So what's so different now?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A lot of things have happened since. Then we had this thing, COVID, we spent a lot of money around that. And then we head to budget reconciliation packages with Democrats did without any Republican votes. We spent a lot of money. Republicans ran their House races in this last election, on needing to control spending, and the role that played on inflation.

So, I actually think they are on firm ground, I think on this meeting. It's a good thing they are meeting. I think Kevin McCarthy's going to come out and see a shadow. We will have six more months of posturing on this because we have some time.

But the fact that they are talking is a good thing. I think most people want a deal here. They want to get something done. I will say in the reporting races sought, the congressman who, said I won't vote for anything, the one thing I worry about is, do you have a handful of Republicans who say, I will never vote for anything to matter how good it is.

You know, how many of the other Republicans are going to say, well, why do I have to walk the plank when such and such doesn't. That does give me some concern.

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And, look, I mean, if you have a drop of Republicans who won't vote for a deal that does include cuts, which is by no means, something that we know can happen, then there is literally no incentive for the White House to even contemplate making concessions, right? That this is the burden on the person making demands, and the negotiation is to say, if you agree to what I want, then I will deliver the votes to execute that. We have no reason right now to believe that Kevin McCarthy can do that.

And I will just say, Alex, this is where Republicans really, really do feel the absence of figures like a Paul Ryan who, very articulate and intelligent about talking about spending and what would need to happen in order to bring the government back into balance. It has been quite a while since the party has had someone as comfortable as Ryan was in his day, or as John Kasich was back in the 90s, going on TV, and talking about where we are now and the sacrifices that they believe the American people should make.


MARQUARDT: I do want to turn to 2024. Obviously, it's been some time since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency yet again.

We have now seen him back on the campaign trail. Two early primary state stops over the weekend, South Carolina, he was joined by Governor Henry McMaster, as well as Senator Lindsey Graham, multiple congressmen.

Now, we've heard a lot of talk, Alencia, about turning the page and moving on from Donald Trump. Are you surprised by the level of Republican officials who appeared with him?

ALENCIA JOHNSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I'm not surprised, honestly, because they will say one thing and then when Donald Trump mentions their name, or he decides to go their state fair, some of them are behind him. However, a majority of the Republicans, another public and, clearly what we have been hearing is that behind the scenes, they wish that he would go away. They wish that the thorn and on their sign or, something would happen with these investigations, or he would say something, or somehow he would disappear.

But, for right now, it's unfortunate. What they know is, there is a base that still actually is with Trump, and in order for them to win and some of these areas by slim margins, they need his base. And so, they're trying to figure out behind the scenes what to do with him while he is still flailing out in public trying to have some salvage of a campaign while he is under criminal investigation.

JENNINGS: He's got to get some support wherever he goes. I mean, I don't know if he's a front runner, I don't know if there is a front runner because I think DeSantis on net is more popular than he is right now. But, sure, there are going to be politicians but step up for him.

But this race isn't going to be decided on endorsements. I think the macro overlay of this whole race is either political party going to acquiesce to the clear market demand for new leadership both parties, the American people do not want a rematch. And if one party nominates someone new, and one party nominate someone old, all issues and personalities aside, new is going to have an advantage.

And this I think is going to be one of the key arguments DeSantis can make. You don't have to nitpick at Donald Trump, but there's one immutable fact. He is way older than DeSantis and that ain't going to change.

MARQUARDT: And DeSantis -- it wouldn't be a Trump campaign stop without Trump going after one of his potential rivals with a nickname. It seemed like DeSantis was the main person who is in his sights over the weekend. Let's take a listen to what he has to say.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Ron would not have been governor if it wasn't for me, and that's okay. And he -- number one, he would've gotten the nomination. Number two, he wouldn't have beaten his Democrat opponent. So then, what I hear he might run. You know, I consider that very disloyal, but it's not about loyalty. But to me, it is. It's always about loyalty.


MARQUARDT: It's not about loyalty, but to me, it's always about loyalty.

HENDERSON: Yeah, yeah.

MARQUARDT: But, Mia, aside from the loyalty, what do you make of him going after DeSantis?

HENDERSON: Yeah, listen, he did include his nickname, which I guess is Ron Desanctimonious. I don't know -- MARQUARDT: Right, he's sticking with that one.


HENDERSON: Listen, Ron DeSantis is clearly in his crosshairs. Not clear in polling I'd seen so far that he can sort of match the solid 30 or 40 percent of support that Donald Trump has right now. But it's early on, we don't know if Ron DeSantis is actually going to run. He certainly is raising his national profile by going after AP studies courses and African American history and fighting with Mickey Mouse.

BURNS: I think it's so revealing, the way he goes after DeSantis. It speaks to the basic limitation of Trump as a political player at this point. It's all about Donald Trump all the time, right?

I think Scott's absolutely right that the future usually beats the past in American elections, the candidates to talk about what they're going to do for you usually do better than candidates to talk about themselves. And so, the notion that your attack plan against Ron DeSantis is that he is not adequate grateful to me, I am not sure there's a huge slice of the country that's very preoccupied with that question.

JOHNSON: But I also think he's showing that he sees DeSantis as a potential threat to whatever momentum he has. That is very clear. And so, we'll see what happens between these very extreme Republicans.

MARQUARDT: We heard from "The Atlantic's" McKay Coppins. He wrote that while many Republicans do want to see Trump go away, that they really don't have any plan. I want to read a bit of what he wrote. Lots of Republicans want on Trump to disappear from politics. Their main strategy here is hope. Faced with the prospect of another election cycle dominated by Trump and uncertain that he can actually be beaten in the primaries, many Republicans are quietly rooting for something to happen that will make him go away. They would strongly prefer not to make it happen themselves.

Scott, is hope a strategy?

JENNINGS: No. There's only one strategy for getting rid of Trump, it's to beat his ass. I mean, I don't know what else to say. Ron DeSantis is going to have to get into this race and beat him, that's the only to make this go away.

Now, he might have legal troubles and other things are going to happen and that's it. There's no other strategy except to run and get more votes and win. And there are things that will complicate that.

HENDERSON: Other people getting to the race.

JENNINGS: Look, let me just tell you, you got Trump and DeSantis who are in a different universe in terms of their level of national support.


And everybody else is like fighting for 1 percent of the rest of the oxygen.

If DeSantis wants to make a go with this, the reservoir of support exist to do it, the message, the generational message exist to do it but he's got to do it.

MARQUARDT: And they're going to have to get out there and meet him on the battlefield.

Thank you all. I appreciate it.

All right. Next to South Carolina and the murders of Alex Murdaugh's wife and son. Hear testimony from an agent who investigated the case and what she says about the theory of a possible second shooter. We'll be right back.


MARQUARDT: In our national lead, it is day four in the double murder trial of former lawyer Alex Murdaugh, who's accused of killing his wife and son. Today, defensive attorneys grill the prosecutions crime scene expert during several hours of quite intense cross examination.

CNN's Randi Kaye is live outside the courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina.

Randi, we heard new audio from Alex Murdaugh in court today. What did we learn from it?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Alex, this is the second interview that we've seen of his. He gave this interview to investigators on June 10th of 2021. So, that would've been three days after the murders of his wife and son. And it takes place in the car. Those murders were on June 7th.

So, he runs through the day basically on June 7th, the day of the murders. He tells them you got home from work he left work early, he was hanging out with his youngest son Paul, they were riding around the property together, they were going hog hunting, he talked about the weapon, the gun that they were using to hunt these hogs.

He said he is a 22 magnum, which is not one of the weapons that was used in these murders. It was a rightful and a shotgun that was used. Apparently, this is much smaller according to the witness for the state. He said he then took a nap and then went down to the dog kennels much later on. And that's when he found the bodies of his wife and son.

Now, earlier in court, the defense floated the idea there could be a second shooter, given that there were two weapons used. Here's what was said.


DICK HARPOOTLIAN, ALEX MURDAUGH DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What does this indicate to you there were two shooters? A shooter up here and a shooter down here? Is it possible? Let me say it. Is it a possibility that there are two

shooters? Based on the data you collected, what explanation would be two shooters. One explanation, not the -- but one. But it is a reasonable explanation, just like one shooter went up that way, correct?

So, one of the reasonable explanations is there are two people there. There are two guns there. One is a shotgun, one is an AR. And we now see that the AR has been shot from way up here, correct? That line goes a dozen, two dozen, three dozen yards from the field, if you follow straight-up.

Could someone have been a look at? That's a lookout? Maggie surprised them. They thought she was gone? Right, right?

I know you weren't there, but none of us were there. We're trying to figure what happened that night. Clearly, one reasonable explanation is two shooters.


KAYE: And, Alex, the prosecution was quick to point out that even though the defense was saying there could be two shooters, they were quick to say that one person could've simply used two different weapons.

MARQUARDT: All right. Randi Kaye outside the courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, thank you very much for that report.

Now, ahead, the manhunt underway for the man who police say maybe using dating apps to hunt down his next victim.



MARQUARDT: And we are back with our national lead, and the race to find a man who police say maybe using dating apps to lure and then attack women. Thirty-six-year-old Benjamin Foster is suspected of kidnapping and torture after a woman was found beaten unconscious in Oregon last week.

And as CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports, this is not the first time that Foster has been accused of attacking women.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In southern Oregon, a manhunt is underway for 36-year-old Benjamin Obadiah Foster, on the run after allegedly kidnapping and trying to kill a woman, beating her into unconsciousness. Police describing him as an extremely dangerous suspect who may attempt to change his appearance by updating his beard and hair or by changing his hair color.

The public being asked to pay particular attention to foster's facial structure and eyes, sense those features are very difficult to change. Court documents allege Foster tried to kill the victim while in potentially torching her and severely confining her in a place where she was not likely to be found.

Police say the victim was discovered last Tuesday in Grants Pass, Oregon, bound and severely beaten now hospitalized in critical condition, the suspect fleeing the scenes.

CHIEF WARREN HENSMAN, GRANTS PASS POLICE: This individual behavior clearly shows that he is capable of doing anything to anyone within our community. Everybody is hurt by this. We typically think that this did not happen in our small community of 40,000 people, but this can happen anywhere in the United States.

KAFANOV: On Thursday, local state and federal authorities raided a property about 20 miles north of Grants Pass, where they seized evidence, including Foster's 2008 Nissan Sentra. During that search, police arrested a 68 year old woman for hindering prosecution, and allegedly helping Foster evade law enforcement.

Police say Foster evaded capture and likely received assistance in fleeing the area and believe he is actively using online dating applications to contact unsuspecting individuals who may be lured into assisting with a suspect's escaped or potentially as additional victims.

This isn't Foster's first run in with the law. Court records show he was charged in two separate cases, accusing him of attacking women while living in Las Vegas years earlier. In the first case, Foster was charged with felony battery constituting domestic violence. His ex- girlfriend testified that he had attempted to strangle her in a rage and 2017 after another man texted her.

Well, that case was still pending in court in 2019, Foster was charged with felony assault, battery and kidnapping for allegedly attacking another women. His girlfriend at the time, the victim, told police Foster strangled her to the point of unconsciousness several times, and kept her tied up for most of the next two weeks.

Court records show she said she escaped after convincing Foster to go shopping. Foster ultimately agreed to plead deals, sentenced to a maximum of 30 months in prison, but given credit for the 729 days served in the first case.


The police chief in Grants Pass, Oregon, expressing concern that he was set free.

HENSMAN: My response to that question is that, am I troubled by what I know already, the answer is yes. We're laser focused on capturing this man and bringing him to justice.


KAFANOV (on camera): And, Alex, I just interviewed the Grants Pass police chief who told me the Oregon victim in the suspect had a prior relationship. She was only found because a friend went to the house, discovered the victim unconscious, and identified the suspect, she describe the crime scene as absolutely horrific and disgusting. He told me he believes Foster is a threat to others who might be friend him, that he isn't around to attack, or added that nothing is off the table with an individual like this -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: What a disturbing story.

Lucy Kafanov, thank you so much for that report. I appreciate.

Coming up next, the Memphis Police Department under scrutiny by city council member will be joining Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".

Plus, the Biden administration's urgent message for Israelis and Palestinians in the wake of a deadly week. We'll be hearing from the White House, next.

Stay with us.