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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Police Believe Suspect Is Still In Chester County, PA; Meadows' Attorneys Ask Federal Judge To Put On Hold Ruling That Rejected Moving His Case To Federal Court; Biden Marks 22 Years Since 9/11 Terror Attacks; U.S. Man Trapped In Turkish Cave Could Be Rescued Within Hours; Nearly 2,900 Dead In Morocco After Magnitude 6.8 Quake. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 11, 2023 - 16:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: And knowing perhaps that one day, she might be on that court.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Really something.

THE LEAD WITH TAKE TAPPER -- I'll start that over.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: How is Danelo Cavalcante still one step ahead of authorities 12 days after his escape?

THE LEAD starts right now.

New sightings of that escaped inmate, though he's nowhere near the Pennsylvania prison where he escaped. New door bell cameras capturing his moves and his new clean shaven look and a stolen van and a security perimeter he slipped through.

Plus, on the scene of disaster in Morocco as the death toll rises to more than 2,800 people killed. We're starting to see the worst of the destruction.

And this hour, President Biden preparing to address the nation as the U.S. marks 22 years since 9/11, the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we're going to start in our national lead with a trove of new developments, images and clues regarding that Pennsylvania escaped inmate. It has now been 12 days since Danelo Cavalcante crab-walked between those walls in that Chester County prison and escaped. But just a short while ago, police said they have no idea where he is. And they no longer even have a defined search area. Police just said they believe Cavalcante is still in Chester County,

Pennsylvania, but that's not because they actually know. It's because they don't think he has the resources to travel far.

Investigators said that they think he's probably growing desperate because he was reaching out to old acquaintances for help. Over the weekend, we did see these new images in Cavalcante captured on a Ring camera. Look on the left there, that's from the Ring camera of one of his former acquaintances' homes. You can see, he has changed his appearance. He is now clean shaven and longer has that beard. He has not seen been in public since.

Danelo Cavalcante was serving a life sentence in prison for killing his 34-year-old girlfriend, Deborah Brandao. According to "The Philadelphia Inquirer", prosecutors in the trial said that he killed her to prevent her from telling police that he was wanted for murder in Brazil, an entirely different murder. He stabbed Brandao to death in front of her children.

In another new development, Cavalcante's sister is now behind bars in the custody of ICE. Police arrested Eleni Cavalcante for overstaying her visa and primarily it seems for refusing to cooperate in this investigation. She is now facing deportation.

Our coverage starts today with CNN's Danny Freeman who was at that update that the police gave just a short while ago and has been tracking the developments into Cavalcante's movements from the very beginning.


DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Now playing the long game. That's how law enforcement views its on going manhunt to find escaped Danelo Cavalcante, now 12 days on the run.

ROB CLARK, U.S. MARSHALS: I think the advantage switched to lawmaker. Before it was advantage Cavalcante, while he way playing that tactical hide and seek in the woods now, I believe it's advantage to law enforcement because he's in an urban setting.

FREEMAN: This new framing coming after the convicted ever he made his spider-like escape from the Chester County prison. Police believe he's still in Pennsylvania.

LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNYSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: I have no reason to believe that he is not. I don't believe he has the resources to get out of Pennsylvania. And, again, other pieces of information that we have generated within this investigation lead me to believe that he is still here.

FREEMAN: The search for Cavalcante has drastically shifted north of the original search area after the fugitive slipped through a show of force perimeter late last week. CNN asked if mistakes were made by police?

BIVENS: I don't know that I would characterize it as a mistake. I knew there were weaknesses in that perimeter. It was very strong as far as perimeters go, but there's always weaknesses in that place posed some very unique challenges.

FREEMAN: This all comes after Pennsylvania state police revealed Sunday that Cavalcante slipped out of its perimeter near the sprawling Longwood Gardens, undetected for hours. Police said Cavalcante stole this white van from a dairy farm on Saturday night not far from the prison. The keys were left in the car.

Investigators believe he then drove north more than 20 miles to Phoenixville area. There he tried to contact two former coworkers during one attempt, revealing this new appearance on a door bell cam. Now, clean shaven with a greenish hoodie.

Investigators found the van Sunday morning but Cavalcante was nowhere to be found.


Meanwhile, another new twist emerging, law enforcement revealing Cavalcante's sister has been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, though not saying explicitly whether she is believed to be helping her brother.

BIVENS: Her arrest was again because she's an overstay that was a process that -- that would play out for anyone in her same circumstance. And I would say that she has -- she has failed to cooperate and there was no value in law enforcement to keeping her here at this point.

FREEMAN: ICE did not return our request for comment.

FRANCO, FORMER ROOMMATE OF CAVALCANTE: I have no idea he could do something like this.

FREEMAN: Franco would not provide his last name say he was Cavalcante's old roommate.

FRANCO: He was someone super shy, like really quiet. He would drink his beers on the weekend and make barbecue and working a lot.

FREEMAN: Now he's offering to help police put him back behind bars.

FRANCO: I just want him to be caught so I could sleep, I can go live my normal life. Everybody can feel safe again. And, yeah, he has to pay for what he did.


FREEMAN: So, Jake, at this point, Saturday still the last confirmed sighting. Police say they now have the advantage. We shall see. We're on day 12 -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Danny Freeman in Chester County, thank you so much.

Let's bring in CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller and former senior FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole.

John, investigators believe that Cavalcante must still be in Chester County, Pennsylvania, not because they know but because they don't believe he doesn't have the resources to leave given the fact that he went by the home of one of his old acquaintances.

They don't have any evidence to back it up. It's a theory. Do you think it is a good hunch?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I think it is a good hunch. He got out of the woods and managed to make it a mile out of the perimeter and then found a truck with keys in it and then he put some distance. But where did he go? He went to Phoenixville, Phoenixville where he has friends, Phoenixville where he has former co-workers, Phoenixville, where he has family.

So this is a shift in his strategy as well, which is he is going to try to reach out to somebody who could give him the things that he needs to put more distance between them which is money, maybe a phone, maybe a car or the ability to steal a car, some different clothes to change his appearance.

But, again, the flip side of that is what authorities are doing, Jake, is their trying to shrink his world. His world used to be the woods and now, if his world is Phoenixville, they're trying to get in touch and they've already done this before he got out of the woods, with everybody he might reach out to and say if you help him, he's going to jail and you may end up being a cell mate. So if you hear from him, call us.

TAPPER: Mary Ellen, "The Philly Inquirer" said that prosecutors presented evidence that Brandao, his girlfriend, was wanted for murder in his native Brazil the day before she threatened to bring that information to the police after Cavalcante hacked into her Instagram account to spy on her. Prosecutors said, quote, he couldn't have that so he had to silence her and that's what he did, unquote.

So he stabbed her to death in front of her children. This is not just a common variety murderer, if I could say that even, this is a serial killer, really?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER SENIOR FBI PROFILER: Well, and he is, by definition, he is a serial killer. But it also demonstrates how he handles problems and frustrations in his life. He didn't like what his girlfriend was about to do. Rather than leave her, or sit down and have a discussion about it, he ends up killing her and he does it in a very extreme way with multiple stabbing injuries and then in front of her children.

So what we knew as profilers, we look at past behavior and we place it on top of current behavior. So what does that say about this person right now and how he handles his frustrations and handles how -- if he doesn't get what he wants, what's he going to do. And that makes him even more dangerous than say the average offender and the average fugitive. TAPPER: John, I think a lot of people at home are wondering just how

police could have let Cavalcante slip through the police perimeter. How does that happen?

MILLER: Well, I mean, perimeter is a word. But it is not the concept when you think of when we think of an electric fence. You know, you have to do it through putting road blocks at key intersections and then trying to post cops literally as pickets, you know, along the outside of the perimeter.

But the Norwood Gardens, I mean, if you look at the terrain there, it's thick, it's jungly in some places, terribly beautiful along the way. But it also has tunnels and ravines and things that may go under a road and come out the other side of the perimeter. And frankly, I mean, to be completely candid about it, you could have a perimeter like that and at 4:00 in the morning, if you're a quarter mile from the next officer down the road and someone belly crawls, you know, across the street, you just might miss it.


You know, monotony is the enemy in these things.

TAPPER: Yeah, no, sure. That makes sense.

Mary Ellen, I was surprised to hear that he went to an acquaintance's house. I figured as soon as he got a vehicle, he would just get the hell out of Pennsylvania. What could you tell us based on your skills about what's inside his mind right now?

O'TOOLE: Well, at this point, I think he does not like being a fugitive. The general public tends to think just based on TV movies and shows and stuff, that being a fugitive seems to be somewhat glamorous because you got all of this attention on you, and the offender and the fugitive doesn't mind that at all.

He's miserable, he's not happy, he's angry and he wants away, he wants to get away. So, this makes him more desperate. And he's also very impulsive guy. He's also a big risk-taker.

Those three personality traits make him very dangerous. If -- whether or not he comes into contact with a prior acquaintance or whether or not he comes into contact with a complete stranger, we look at what his prominent personality traits are and how they're elevated at a time like this.

But I could just tell you, he wants out of this situation. And he's going to do what it takes to enable that to happen -- again, raising his level of dangerousness.

TAPPER: All right. Mary Ellen O'Toole and John Miller, thanks so much.

Coming up, the new move today by former President Trump's White House chief of staff to get his criminal charges in Georgia moves to federal court, even after a judge ruled against that on Friday. Plus, the question one House Republican today refused to answer but

may say a lot about the future of his party's leader, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

And if you're monitoring what could be a remarkable moment in Turkey. That American trapped in a cave rescuers could be close to pulling him up and saving him. An update on that mission, ahead.



TAPPER: And we're back with our law and justice lead.

Today, lawyers for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows asked the federal judge to put the decision that denied the request to move his Georgia indictment to federal court on hold while he appeals that ruling. The move is intended to hold off a possible conviction in state court before Meadows has exhausted all of his appeals that argue the case belongs in federal court.

With us now, CNN political correspondent Sara Murray and senior legal analyst Elie Honig, a former U.S. attorney -- former assistant U.S. attorney with the Southern District of New York.

Sara, walk us through Meadows' arguments here.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yeah, essentially, Mark Meadows is arguing, look, in this state court, the district attorney team has made clear they want to go to trial really quickly. They want to go to trial in October of 2023 and it would harm my rights if we went to trial and I was convicted in this state court while I have not had a chance to play out this appeal.

So he's basically asking the judge who said, you know, I'm not going to move this to federal court, could you at least put that decision on hold in the meantime so I could appeal this and so we could assure that there's not a conviction on my behalf in state court while my appeal is playing out?

TAPPER: And, Elie, help us understand the appeals process. How long could this realistically take?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Jake, in my experience, it usually takes the federal courts of appeals anywhere from six to 12 months to get a case argued, briefed and decided.

Now, if you look at the specific data from the U.S. courts on this circuit that we're in now, the 11th Circuit, the average case there takes nine months.

But it's really important to understand this: the courts are in charge of their own dockets. They don't have external masters. If they want to prioritize and expedite, they could do that and if we actually look at some of the courts of appeals that have considered and rejected Donald Trump's executive privilege arguments, they've got those cases decided that in two to three months. So, there's every reason that this court, 11th Circuit, can act much more quickly than normal here.

TAPPER: And, Sara, how might the other defendants in the Georgia case might be -- how might they be looking at how this is playing out?

MURRAY: Well, one, I think they're looking at Mark Meadows' arguments that failed, right, before the federal judge in the first place.

TAPPER: Pretty harshly also.

MURRAY: Yeah, pretty harshly. I mean, they're going to look at the fact that Mark Meadows took the risk of taking the stand and the judge used Meadows' own words against him when he was ruling against him so they probably won't take that risk.

But, you know, they do get the benefit of Mark Meadows going first, so they get to see how the 11th Circuit responds to his appeal. And I think the other thing that's notable is, you know, they're going to have a better sense of where this state court judge is on timing. He's made clear that he wants to issue some rulings this week about where all of the other defendants stand as far as when they should go to trial and, you know, he seemed pretty skeptical of the argument they should all go to trial in October.

So, by the end of this week, we might just have a better sense of the timing for everyone, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Elie, an appeal could, theoretically, go all the way to U.S. Supreme Court. Do you think it is likely they would take up Meadows' case?

HONIG: So, of course, it's up to the U.S. Supreme Court whether and which cases they want to hear. They actually do hear a very small percentage of all cases presented to them, well under 5 percent. That said, this case has a couple of features that could make it a better candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court.

First of all, there is a really important issue here of what we call federalism, the complicate at times relationship between the federal courts and the state courts. And the other thing is the district court judge here in his very thorough opinion said, there is a novel issue here. What do we do with someone like Mark Meadows where some of his conduct within his role of chief off staff and some was out. And when the Supreme Court sees an unresolved issue like that, they are more likely than normal to take a case.

TAPPER: All right. Elie Honig and Sara Murray, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

We're standing by to hear from President Biden. He will be delivering remarks on this 22nd anniversary of that horrible day, 9/11. We'll bring those to you live when they happen. We're expecting them at any moment.

We're going to squeeze in a quick break. We'll be right back.


TAPPER: Turning to our national lead, we're standing by for President Biden to mark the 22nd anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Here he is. He's going to be speaking to service members and first responders and their families in Anchorage, Alaska, a stop over on his way home from the G20 summit.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Chief Master Sergeant Miller, for that introduction and for your service to our nation.

Governor Dunleavy, it's good to see you.

The governor and I have something in common. We're both from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I wish I had him playing on my high school ball club when I was playing, but I could have been an all American (INAUDIBLE) in front of me.

Representative Mary, thank you for speaking, and the Mayor David Bronson and Major General Eifler -- I really appreciate all you do. And as with General Saxe and the tribal leaders and stewards of these sacred lands, and all servicemembers and families at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and distinguished guests.

I join you on this solemn day to renew our sacred vow: Never forget. Never forget. We never forget. Each of us, each of those precious lives stolen too soon when evil attacked.

Ground Zero in New York, I remember standing there the next day and looking at the building. I felt like I was looking through the gates of hell, it looked so devastating because of the way you could -- from where you could stand. Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the Pentagon in Virginia, I spent many 9/11 on those hallowed grounds to bear witness and remember those we lost. Every day, but especially the last few days, their memory has been with me.

I'm just returning from the G summit -- the G20 summit in India where we strengthened America's leadership on the global stage, followed by a historic trip to Vietnam where we transformed our partnership with one of the most critical regions in the world.


These trips are a central part of how we're going ensure the United States is planked by the broadest wave of allies and partners who will stand with us to deter any threat to our security. To build a world that is safer for all of our children, something that today of all days will remind of it's not a given. You can see (ph) this military base is located in Ground Zero isn't -- we know the distance did not dull or diminish the pain we felt all across the nation on September 11th. Because we know that in this day 22 years ago from this base were scrambled on high alert to escort planes through the air space.

Alaskan communities opened their doors to stranded passengers. American flags sold out in every store and were placed in front of seemingly every home. We know that on this day, every American's heart was wounded, yet every big city, small town, suburb, rural town or tribal community, American hands went up ready to help where they could, ready to serve like so many of you here, ready like Chief Master Sergeant Shadi Taylor (ph) here with us today, who recently started college on Flight 93 went down a few miles from Shanksville. She said, and I quote, I immediately knew I wanted to sign up and suit up to serve my country.

Ready like General -- excuse me, General Eifler -- who said on that day, when our nation calls, we must be ready. It called and we went without hesitation.

My fellow Americans, September 11th, 2001 tested our strength, our resolve and our courage. The billowing smoke and ash that darkened the clear blue sky that September day, the shredded steel and concrete slabs that rained down from the World Trade Center, the plume of fire that shot up from the sky in Pentagon, and I remember seeing it as I got off the Amtrak train on my way to work in the United States Senate. The pit and into the earth in Shanksville, a testament to the unbreakable courage and resolve of the American people.

But we'll never forget that when faced with evil, and an enemy who sought to tear us apart, we endured. We endured. And while every year we mark this hallowed day, it's never easy, anyone here or anyone across the country who is grieving a lost child, parent, spouse, sibling friend or co-workers, for all those who still bear the wounds from the searing (ph) September morning, I know how hard it is, on a day like this.

How can we reopen up that wound? It is like opening a black hole in your chest, sucking you into it again. Bring you back to that moment, when you saw the news, the moment you got that phone call, the moment you realized you'd never say again, see you later, mom, or talk to you soon, son. Think of everything your loved one might have done if they have a little more time. What would they have done? And though that leave you so hollow, it also makes you full at the same time.

On this day, I'm thinking about a friend of mine named Davis who grew up with me in Delaware. Twenty-two years ago, he and his family had just passed the first year without their youngest son of three sons who died in a boating accident at age 15. His oldest son Davis Jr. was just six days in a new job at the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Davis went straight to Ground Zero to search for his son, searched deep into the last as he referred to endings hope as he put it. A few days later, I called David to talk, his father knows about losing a piece of your soul. I was on my way to speak to students at the University of Delaware to try to make sense of what happened and guess what? Having lost two sons within a year, Davis told me, just tell them, Joe, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid.

The terrorist stole 297 -- 2,977 souls that day, 2,977 souls, forlorning (ph) the future of so many families and story of our nation. But those terrorists could not touch what no force, no enemy, no day ever could. And that is the soul of America. What's the soul of America? It's the breadth, the life, the essence of

who we are, the soul that makes us, us. The soul of America is based on a sacred proposition that we're all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We haven't always lived up to it, but we've never walked away from that proposition either.


The soul of America is the fortitude we found in the fear of that terrible September day. The purpose we found in our pain. The light we found in our darkest hour, an hour when terrorists believed this he could bring us to our knees. Bend our will. Break our resolve.

But they were wrong. They were dead wrong. And the crucible of 9/11 and the days and months that followed, we saw what we were made of.

Firefighters and police officers and first responders running into an inferno of jet fuel to be at Ground Zero, and breathing in toxins and ash that would damage their own health but still refusing to stop for months. Civilians and servicemembers at the Pentagon rushing in to the fire breach again and again to rescue their colleagues in the Pentagon.

The patriot passengers on Flight 93 -- think of this -- who did not know the horror that awaited them. But they confronted the unimaginable, fear and terror with absolute courage. It's astonishing.

The poet Maya Angelou wrote, history despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if we face it with courage, we need not live it again.

My mother had it put it a different way. My mother was 5'2" little Irish lady with a backbone like a ramrod. And she used to say, and I mean this sincerely, courage, lies in every heart and the expectation is that one day, it will be summoned. On September 11th, it was summoned at 9:57 a.m. It was summoned and 40 incredible women and men in Shanksville answered the call.

Civilians -- they gave their lives and in doing so, they gave life to our country. We saw that courage at Ground Zero and the Pentagon. And we saw it so many other ways.

These are heroes like the faith community leaders all across country who pushed back against the fear and hate they saw directed at Muslim Americans, and Middle Eastern Americans and South Asian descent. Heroes like all of you, the brave women and men of the armed forces who never faltered, you never failed to defend our nation and our people and our values in times of trial.

Heroes like the 9/11 generation. Hundreds of thousands of brave Americans deployed to Afghanistan to make sure the United States would not be attacked again, who served in Iraq. Like many of you probably did, in war zones, around the world, risking their own safety and the safety of their fellow citizens -- for the safety of their fellow citizens who served and sacrificed again and again to defend our democracy and deny terrorists the safe haven, who followed Osama bin Laden to the end of the earth and ultimately send him to the gates of hell 12 years ago.

And then last year, I made the decision to take out Zawahiri, the number two who met the same fate. And today our intelligence community assessed and declassified memo that al Qaeda threat from Afghanistan and Pakistan has reached a historic low. So, all of this has changed over the last 22 years, the resolve of the American people has proved we never bow. We never bend. We never yield.

Our longest war is over but our commitment for preventing another attack on the United States and our people and allies will never, never rest. Never.

Terrorism including political and ideology violence is the opposite of all we stand for as a nation, but settles our difference peacefully under a rule of law. We're going to continue to track terrorist threat in all forms whenever it may be. We're going to continue to disrupt terrorist activity wherever we may find it.

And I will never hesitate to do what is necessary to defend the American people, just as I will never forget our sacred duty for those of you who serve. Never before in our history, never before in the history of America has so much for so many over such a sustained period for all voluntary force. You make up 1 percent of the population. You're the strength, the venue, you're the backbone, you're the sinew of America.

As a nation, we have many obligations. But I've been saying for 30 years, we only have one sacred obligation, to prepare those we send into harm's way and care for them and their families when they return home and when they do not return home.


It's an obligation, not based on party or politics, but on a promise, that unites all Americans and together over the last two and a half years, I worked to make good on that promise, signing more than 25 bipartisan laws to support our service members and veterans and their families and caregivers and survivors. We will not stop, we owe you. We owe you big and it matters.

Across the country, many Americans heard our nation's call in the days right after 9/11 and those that were children, not even born yet when this happened. But when their time came to choose to serve, not because they saw something, but because they felt something like many of you did. And the same feeling that brought Americans together on this painful day 22 years ago -- unity.

Now it shouldn't take a national tragedy to remind us of the power of national unity. But that is the truly honored -- that is how we truly honor those we lost on 9/11. By remembering what we could do together, to remember what destroyed, what we repaired. What was threatened that we fortified. What was attacked, and indomitable American spirit prevailed over all of it. Ordinary Americans responding to extraordinary and unexpected ways, that's who you are. You are the soul of the nation. That is not hyperbole. To me that's a central lesson of September 11th. Not that we'll never

again falter or face setbacks. It's that for all of our flaws and disagreements, there is nothing we cannot accomplish when we defend with our hearts, which make us unique in the world -- our democracy. Our democracy. Every generation has to fight to preserve it.

That's why the terrorist targeted us in the first place. Our freedom. Our openness. Our institutions.

They failed. But we must remain vigilant. Today, we could look across the country and around the world and see anger and fear in places many of you have been stationed before. But arising tide of hatred and extremism and political violence, it's more important than ever that we come together around the principle of American democracy regardless of our political backgrounds.

We must not succumb to the poisonous politics of difference and division. We must never allow ourselves to be pulled apart by petty manufactured grievances and must continue to stand united. We all have an obligation, a duty, a responsibility to defend, to preserve, to protect our democracy.

And always remember, American democracy depends not on some of us, but on all of us. American democracy depends on the habits of the heart of we the people, the habits of the heart.

Let me close with this. Earlier today in Hanoi, I visited the marker to honor my friend, war hero senator and statesman, John McCain. John and I disagreed like hell, like two brothers, we would argue like hell on the Senate floor and then go to lunch together.

And I went out to see John just before he passed away in his home. And as I was walking out I put my hand on his chest and he pulled me down and kissed me and said, I love you. Will you do my eulogy?

John and I were friends. Like a lot of us who had differences, like Ted Stevens and I were friends. We disagreed but we're friends.

One thing I always admired about John was he put duty to country first. And that's not hyperbole. He did -- above party, above politics, above his own person.

This day reminds us we must never lose that sense of national unity. So let that be the common cause of our time. Let us honor September 11th by renewing our faith in one another. Let us remember who we are as a nation.

We never forget. We're never afraid. We endure. We overcome. We are the United States of America and there is nothing, literally, historically, nothing is beyond our capacity when we set our mind to it together.

God bless you all. May God protect our troops. Thank you.



TAPPER: President Biden giving his remarks commemorating 9/11. He was speaking at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, talking to servicemembers, first responders and their families on this 22nd anniversary of 9/11.

Let's go to CNN's Kayla Tausche and CNN's Miguel Marquez at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Kayla, talk about the importance of the president marking this day even as he's returning home from the G20 global stage.

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE PRESIDENT: Well, Jake, President Biden there delivering remarks that served as a rallying cry to the thousand or so service members and their families who stood before him, is attempting to -- to talk about the instance of 9/11 as a unifying day. Suggesting that freedom still remains goal, trying to remind Americans that -- that we should not be a divided people and telling terrorists in his own message that the U.S. will find you at the ends of the Earth.

Now, this is the first time as president that Biden has delivered remarks commemorating 9/11, at a site other than one of the locations of the attacks from that day. Last year, he delivered remarks from the Pentagon. And the first lady, the vice president, and the second gentleman, themselves were at some of those more traditional sites throughout the day laying wreaths and making remarks of their own.

Certainly, President Biden is on his way back from a series of diplomatic whistle stops in both New Delhi, India, where he attended the G20 and in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he established a new strategic partnership, elevating the bilateral relationship with that country. He has set to make his way back to Washington later this evening where quite a big agenda awaits him, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Miguel, you're standing at the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan and I'm sure it seems quite obvious where you are and with the individuals with whom you're standing the pain never really goes away.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is pain and at event that reverberates today and will continue to do so for probably decades to come. Two thousand seven hundred and fifty-three people perished just a couple of hundred blocks from where I'm standing 22 years ago and it still hurts. It hurts the city. It is a somber day and a very emotional day in New York. You know, the memorial here is one where the city just stops. It is hard to make New York City stop.

But this is one where people gather, they hear the names read of everybody who died there. And it is a time of reflection and the politics of this also comes into play as we hear. But despite what a global event this was, it is -- it feels very local here in New York. It feels very personal here in New York.

And that is the way I think New Yorkers like it and that is the way it sort of plays out year after year. It is very, very difficult for New Yorkers who were personally affected by this, so many lives lost that day. So many lives changed that day. That the trajectory of history was changed that day and in a tectonic sort of way.

Despite all of that, it is a simple memorial and a remembrance to all of these people that died. It is such a shocking way that still reverberates today -- Jake.

TAPPER: Miguel Marquez and Kayla Tausche, thanks to both of you.

We're joined now by Terry Strada, who lost her husband on 9/11. She is the national chair of the coalition of families and survivors called 9/11 Families United. She's a frequent guest of the show and she always honors us with her presence when she's here.

First of all, as always, Terry, how are you doing? How are you coping with the anniversary this year and for generation that has come of age since 9/11? Tell us -- tell us a bit about your husband if you will?

TERRY STRADA, NATIONAL CHAIR, 9/11 FAMILIES UNITED: Yes. Of course, today is just a very sad day. I was down at the memorial for a couple of hours, remembering all of our friends, paying my respects and thinking about Tom. He was just a wonderful, very charismatic man, and a wonderful father. He had a great career on Wall Street but he loved the outdoors, he loved to fish, he loved to play golf, and he was just deeply missed by everyone that knew him and loved him.

TAPPER: Well, we will continue to say his name. And we'll continue to remember him as long as I have this show.

STRADA: Thank you.

TAPPER: You have been fighting for accountability and transparency when it comes to 9/11. And you come here a lot to talk about an issue that animates me as well, which is about the role of the Saudis when it comes to 9/11. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers and, of course, Osama bin Laden, they were all Saudis. The 9/11 report noted that, quote, Saudi Arabia has long been considered the primary source of al Qaeda funding, unquote.

Joe Biden as a presidential candidate swore he would make Saudi Arabia a pariah nation for that and for other reasons.


Yet, look at this photo from two days ago, at G-20, smiling and shaking hands with Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohamed Bin Salman, who according to U.S. intelligence ordered the murder of "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi and today, of all days, the White House on Twitter or X I guess it's called now, the White House touting the Saudi's commitment to spend $20 billion on Biden's partnership for a global infrastructure.

What was reaction seeing those images?

STRADA: Well, that photo was a slap into the face of all 9/11 families and survivors, to see our president smiling at MBS who is the man, the country that we are suing in a -- in the courtrooms in Lower Manhattan, you now, for giving all of the money that he was needed, everything that al Qaeda -- built up al Qaeda with Osama bin Laden and for the 9/11 attacks.

So the photo was extremely upsetting and the two words that you said, Jake, accountability and transparency is what I would hope the president would say in that speech and we didn't hear other of those and he knows because he released the documents that the kingdom gave everything that was needed for the 9/11 attacks to happen and that we are trying to hold them accountable in a courtroom.

And he's over there smiling and shaking hands, releasing that type of a message today. He's tone deaf. And it was just really painful to hear him go on and on.

Of course, I believe we should thank the military. I'm very thankful for everything they've done for us as well. But our president should be at one of the sites. He should stand with 9/11 families. And he should support us instead of giving cover to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially on the anniversary.

TAPPER: And we should note, Jamal Khashoggi was a real critic of the Saudi government and a real critic of their human rights violations and how brutal they were and MBS in particular, according to U.S. intelligence that President Biden ordered releases, he ordered the murder and the bone sawing of Jamal Khashoggi.

So, a lot of people for a lot of reasons dispirited of that image.


TAPPER: Go ahead. I'm sorry.

STRADA: Well, also, Jamal Khashoggi was a potential witness for the 9/11 families. He was speaking to our lawyers and he was scheduled to speak to them again when he was killed.

TAPPER: I did not know that.

STRADA: Yeah, that's something a lot of people aren't aware of. So, we're very concerned that that was a part of the reason, you know, they killed him also because he was a dissident and he was going to talk.

TAPPER: In preparation for today's ceremony at Ground Zero, the New York Fire Department added 43 more names to a memorial listing the firefighters who died on and after 9/11, because we know 343 brave firefighters died that day running into danger. But since then, an almost equal number have died of illnesses related to their work in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center and all that toxic air.

What does America owe the families of these survivors, especially since this list keeps growing?

STRADA: A debt of gratitude in that we always fund the victim's compensation fund that gives them the medical care they need. We should continue to never forget them. And it's sad that people are continuing to die from 9/11 which is even more reason that the president should be standing with us.

We have this new legislation that is pending in Congress right now ensuring justice for the victims of terrorism act. It is exactly what we're asking for, ensure justice and we've written letters to him and asked to meet with him. He chooses to meet with Mohammed bin Salman over the families.

But for those who continue to be sick and dying, we just owe them a debt of gratitude.

TAPPER: How is your family doing? The kids?

STRADA: We're doing okay, wherever we were right now, we're all over the place I should say. My oldest is in Las Vegas. Katelyn (ph) is in Charlotte, with my new granddaughter who is 7 months old, Blair. And Justin is at the University of Kentucky. He's also in the Kentucky National Guard.

So, I was down in Ground Zero today and I didn't see my children. But I will tomorrow and the next couple of days I'll go visit. Because as you know, Justin was four days old. So he just had his birthday on Thursday.

TAPPER: Well, what great monuments to your husband's memory. You must be so proud. Thank you so much.

STRADA: Thank you. Take care.

TAPPER: And as always, may your husband's memory be a blessing.

When we come back, the scene of disaster in Morocco and the massive operation helping those who did survive Friday's powerful earthquake.



TAPPER: In our world, nearly 200 rescuers in southern Turkey are getting closer to pulling an American researcher out of a cave more than 4,000 deep. Mark Dickey seen laying on a stretcher as they heave his body up and over narrow crevices fell ill more than a week ago during an expedition mission and could not get himself out, the Turkish Caving Federation says it could be complete by tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile in Morocco, rescuers are working against the clock to find survivors trapped in the rubble after Friday's magnitude 6.8 earthquake. The death toll now more than 2,900. It's sadly expected to continue rising.

Those who survive now live in makeshift tents surrounded by piles of debris that were once homes.

CNN's Sam Kiley reports from Asni, Morocco, where crews are struggling to get crucial aid to the hardest hit areas.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Asni, the royal Moroccan armed forces have established a field hospital in response to the earthquake that has already killed some 2,500 people. A similar number have been gravely injured so 2,500 people across the country gravely injured. But the problem in this location in Asni at the bottom of the foothills of the Atlas mountains is that people will be coming down off those mountains seeking urgent medical since.

And this is a highly sophisticated hospital that's been deployed around the world to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Jordan and elsewhere to deal with emergencies internationally, but here, they're dealing with emergencies locally obviously but they've got radiologist, they've got laboratories, they've got operating theaters, they've got pharmacological tents and they've even got psychiatric help is here.

And ultimately though the real problem is for the rescue services up in those mountains where the needs are gravest because the roads up there have been cut, helicopters are being sent in to deliver aid to try to pick up patients to try to do assessments, to try to figure out how wide this catastrophic problem really extends in this country.


There have been some amazing successes because this is still within the golden hours of three days when people buried under the ground have a reasonable chance of survival.

People have been pulled out in almost miraculous recoveries around the country, particularly in these very isolated areas.

And doctors said one of the striking things for them is the importance of the psychological help because everybody recognizes here that even after the end of the emergency response to this massive earthquake, the shock waves, the psychological shock waves are going to be felt by this country for years to come.

Sam Kiley, CNN in Asni.


TAPPER: And our thanks to Sam Kiley for that report.

This just in, Donald Trump asking a judge in one of his prosecutions to recuse yourself from the case. His rationale such as it is for the request, that's next.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, what might a second Donald Trump term actually look like? Well, the former president is laying out a stark vision for his supporters and it certainly sounds extreme.

Plus, the Democratic governor of New Mexico issuing an executive order banning carrying guns in public for 30 days. Now, the governor is being sued and even some prominent gun control advocates say that the move is clearly unconstitutional.

And leading this hour, global concerns front and center as President Biden lands back in the U.S. from his trip to Asia where Russia and China were no-shows in terms of their top leaders at the G20 summit.