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Biden Awards Medal of Valor to Nine Public Safety Officers; Pennsylvania Manhunt Ends as Authorities Capture Second Dangerous Inmate; Biden and House GOP Teams Set Talk Framework After Tuesday Meeting. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired May 17, 2023 - 10:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, we just learned that escaped inmate is back in custody. How police in Philadelphia caught the 18- year-old linked to four murders.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Major moves in the battle over abortion. A 12-week ban is now law in one state after Republicans override their governor. Plus, one of the nation's most conservative courts is taking on a popular abortion pill.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's about to become the only union of its kind in the United States. How one group of strippers is set to soon make history. These stories and more are coming up on CNN News Central.

BERMAN: All right. Happening now, there is a ceremony at the White House. We'll get to the news out of Philadelphia in just a minute, but President Joe Biden awarding the Medal of Valor to some slain police officers, EMTs and firefighters, as well. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Firefighter Justin Hespeler. Firefighter Justin Hespeler of New York City Fire Department for the absolute courage he displayed as he rush into a burning house and crawled through thick smoke and extreme heat despite an evacuation order to find and rescue a newborn baby. His undaunted determination under punishing conditions and willingness to put himself at grave risk saved the child's life and embodies the strength and spirit of New York's bravest.

Lieutenant Jason Hickey.

Lieutenant Jason Hickey of the New York City Fire Department retired for his fearless resolve and quick thinking, as he braved life- threatening obstacles to rescue a man from the surging Harlem River. His heroic action capped a 27-year career of decorated and selfless service to his colleagues and to the people of New York.

Gabina Amalia Mora accepting on behalf of her son, fallen Detective Robert Mora, Dominique Rivera accepting on behalf of her husband, fallen Detective Jason Rivera, and Detective Sumit Sulan. Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora and detective Sumit Sulan of the New York City Police Department, who put themselves in the line of fire to protect a mother and son from an armed man threatening violence in their home.

Officers Rivera and Mora positioned themselves between the assailant and the other occupants of the house. They were ambushed, shot multiple times and died from their injuries. Detective Sulan ensured the safety of the civilians on the scene and struck down the gunman with his service weapon bringing an end to the deadly episode just 45 seconds after it begun.

Together, the officers' poise and valor saved lives and Officers Rivera and Mora's sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Deputy Bobby Hua Pham.

Deputy Bobby Hua Pham of the Clermont County Sheriff's Office for his resolute determination to fulfill his mission diving into frigid waters to save a drowning woman despite being unable to swim. He demonstrated clear thinking and ingenuity and manatined his composure as he risked his life to save the life of another.


Sergeant Kendrick Simpo.

Sergeant Kendrick Simpo of the Houston Police Department, who demonstrated unflinching bravery as he fearlessly confronted a man carrying an assault-style rifle in a shopping mall who appeared intent on inflicting harm. Sergeant Simpo acted discreetly and decisively, placing the safety of others above his own and restraining the heavily armed suspect with his own hands.

And Firefighter Patrick Thornton.

Firefighter Patrick Thornton of the New York City Fire Department for diving instinctively toward danger to save a man trapped beneath a capsized boat and pulling him through treacherous waters to safety. His courage and decisive action saved the man's life and demonstrated a commitment to the highest traditions of public service.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, let's give one last round of -- big round of applause.

And thank you all for your service and your sacrifice, and I mean it sincerely. May God bless you and your families. America owes you a debt gratitude. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. You've been watching the east room of the White House, President Biden awarding the public safety officer Medal of Valor. That medal recognizes firefighters, law enforcement officers or emergency service officers who have exhibited exceptional courage regardless of personal safety in the attempt to save or protect human life. Two of the recipients were killed in the line of duty here in New York City. A lot of people remember NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera being shot and killed responding to a call in an apartment building. They received the awards posthumously. Also receiving an award was Officer Sumit Sulan, who ultimately shot the man who opened fire on the other two officers.

So, a solemn ceremony this morning recognizing fallen officers as well as people for their courageous work in the line of duty.

President Biden very shortly, by the way, leaves for Japan on an abbreviated trip to meet with world leaders. He cut that -- will be cutting that trip short to come back to Washington to get involved in the debt ceiling negotiations, which are frankly at a new level. We'll have much more on that in a bit.

First, though, the news that broke just before we saw this ceremony taking place. Authorities in Philadelphia have now captured a second escaped inmate after an extensive search. 18-year-old Ameen Hurst escaped a Philadelphia prison ten days ago alongside another inmate. They got out through a hole in the prison yard's fence. U.S. Marshals captured the other inmate last week. Now, they have both of them.

CNN's Danny Freeman has been covering the story from the beginning and is with us. Danny, the question is, so how did they get him?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, at this point, we are still waiting for specific details as to how they apprehended Ameen Hurst.


But like you said, this has been a ten-day search across largely Philadelphia and some of the other suburban areas of the city as well.

But let me tell you how we got this news today. It was only just about an hour ago the Philadelphia Police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, she tweeted saying, and I'll read it right here, escapee Ameen Hurst was just taken into custody at 62100 Washington Avenue without incident. That's in West Philadelphia, kind of in the Cobbs Creek area. And they thanked -- or rather she thanked the investigators and the U.S. Marshals Service for all their help. That arrest, we are learning now, took place at 8:50 A.M., and we got the notification just ten minutes later.

But let's remind us how we got here. Ten days ago, Sunday, 8:30 P.M., these two prisoners, Ameen Hurst and Nasir Grant, 24-year-old Mr. Grant, they escaped through a hole in a fence. And it was nearly 24 hours later until the law enforcement folks in Philadelphia, including the correctional officers, even realized that they had been missing. Well, after that, there was an all-out man hunt.

And, John, it's been interesting. There have been a number of arrests and captures that have trickled out over the course of these past ten days. First, we saw some arrest of potential accomplices to these two folks who escaped from this jail. There's 21-year-old Xianni Stallings, there's 21-year-old Michael Abrams, 35-year-old Jose Flores-Huerta. That last suspect right there accused of helping these two men escape. He was actually in prison at the time. Xianni Stallings, meanwhile, a woman who was charged.

But I think the thing that will interest you is actually 24-year-old Nasir Grant, that was one of the escaped insmates, and the question was, how did that inmate escape? Well, U.S. Marshal Service -- rather, how was the inmate captured? The U.S. Marshal Service said that they were tailing Mr. Grant and then they saw this man walk out of a building dressed in women's Muslim clothing. They then apprehended him. He was very surprised that it turned out to be him in the end. So, Nasir Grant captured last week, Ameen Hurst captured just this morning, this inmate manhunt now over in Philadelphia.

BERMAN: Over, and important, I know, for officials in Philadelphia, because this escape was an embarrassment there for the prison system. I think you told me they had missed three head counts after both of these inmates escaped through a hole in the fence.

Danny Freeman, you've been on this story from the beginning. We'll let you get back to work digging on how the second capture happened. Thank you so much. Sara?

SIDNER: In just a bit, President Biden will leave for the G7 summit in Japan and he's cutting his trip short, losing stops in Australia and Papua New Guinea, so he could get back for negotiations on the debt ceiling.

Both Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the latest meeting was productive. The pair agreed to appoint representatives for direct negotiations between them and it's a minor sign of progress. There are just 15 days until June 1st, the date the treasury secretary says the U.S. could default on its debt if no deal is reached.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill for us. Manu, what are you hearing now? Time is ticking fast.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Ain't no question about that. And the White House has resisted any negotiations for months, as have Senate Democratic leaders, but that posture changed in the aftermath of the refusal of the speaker of the House to simply raise the national debt limit without any conditions, without any spending cuts. He says there needs to be spending cuts and conditions.

They passed a bill in the House to do just that and, ultimately, the White House reversed course and now these direct negotiations are happening in earnest. We expect the House speaker's and top representatives, Garret Graves, to sit down and have negotiations with three top White House officials, including as well as the speaker's staff to see if they can hammer anything out.

The goal is to try to find an agreement by the end of this week, draft legislative text, will move it through the House and the Senate by June 1st, which is a significant order, a very tall order to move through all of those hurdles. But that is where the push is right now. But there are some major dividing lines, including one issue involving work requirements for social safety net programs, including for the Medicaid program for the poor. Republicans say there need to be some work requirements for certain Medicaid beneficiaries to get those benefits, but Democrats are pushing back.


REP. GARRET GRAVES (R-LA): What about that is bad? We should all be supporting it. It helps to shore up Social Security and Medicare that helps to put people in charge of their destiny. This is something we should all be supporting. I'll say it again, Senator Biden -- then- Senator Biden voted for this.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): What the Republicans are engaged in is just a cynical game to see if by tying people up on one more requirement and one more hurdle and one more twist and one more turn, that some people will walk away --

RAJU: Are you worried the White House give in on this, though?

WARREN: They should not.


RAJU: The White House indicated its opposition to end including any work requirements, but has not made that yet a red line in the talks.


But there are a whole wide range of other issues to resolve, how long to raise the national debt limit, what level of caps to include on domestic discretionary spending, what cuts to include all major issues here.

At the same time House Democrats are launching a fallback, long-shot effort to try to circumvent the Republican leadership and force a vote on the House floor. But they need 218 votes to force a vote for a bill of their liking. They only have 213 House seats, so they don't have that yet. But a lot of questions here as default looms over Washington.

SIDNER: Manu, we are just hearing now from the White House in about 30 minutes that President Biden is going to talk about these negotiations, or at least talk about what's happening with the debt ceiling in about 30 minutes or so, around 10:45. So, we will be waiting for that. This will happen just before he leaves for the G7 summit. All right, Kate?

BOLDUAN: Also ahead for us, a teacher is no longer in the classroom after being recorded using a racial slur. Ahead, why the student who recorded the teacher is also being punished.

And they're about to make history, after more than a years' effort, dancers at a topless bar in Los Angeles are about to becoming the only unionized strippers in the country. That story coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BERMAN: All right. We have breaking news just into CNN involving the duke and duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. We just got word from their spokesperson, and I'm just going to read this, they say Prince Harry and Meghan were involved in a near-catastrophic car chase involving paparazzi in New York, a near-catastrophic car chase involving paparazzi in New York. This happened last night here in New York City. That's all the information we have right now.

The phrase near-catastrophic car chase is in quotation marks in the statement from Harry and Meghan's spokesperson. Hopefully, the fact that it was near catastrophic does mean, in fact, that this morning they are okay.

I will just remind people the history here. Obviously, Harry's mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a high-speed car chase in Paris involving paparazzi many years ago. So, obviously, this has even deeper meaning for Harry and Meghan. We are trying to get much more information on this.

Max foster, our Senior Royal Correspondent is working his sources. We will get back to you as soon as we know more. But, again, the headline and, frankly, all we know is on the screen right there, Harry and Meghan involved in a near-catastrophic car chase here in New York City last night. Much more on this to come. Sara?

SIDNER: This morning, the battle over abortion is front and center. The fate of a widely used abortion pill is in the hands of one America's most conservative appeals court. Oral arguments and the fight to keep FDA approval for Mifepristone begins very soon.

Then in North Carolina, nearly all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy are banned. This after a supermajority of Republican lawmakers in that state voted to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper's veto of their bill.

Protesters began shouting shame, shame in the chamber as Republican state legislators now express hope that the plan becomes a new, quote, mainstream model for other states.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher is live for us in Raleigh, North Carolina. Look, I'd like to get to the point, like, what is the governor planning to do now that he has been overridden by a supermajority?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sara, there's really not much that Governor Roy Cooper can do at this point except for look forward and continue talking to North Carolinians about what happened last night, because, legislatively, he has run out of options at least right now.

We were there when the Republican supermajorities last night overruled his veto, thus making this now the law of the land. So, today in North Carolina, abortion is legal until up to about 20 weeks. But starting on July 1st, because of that veto override, that goes down to roughly 12 weeks.

Now, there are some exceptions that are included in this law. However, advocates and medical associations have pointed to all of the other changes that are located inside this law that maybe weren't talked about as much, including a medication abortion, the requirement of multiple in-person appointments to get that medicine, as well as the addition of all of these other regulations, reporting and licensing requirements that Democrats say could potentially make it even more difficult for people seeking abortions to get them even if they're doing it before the deadline.

Republicans, though, say, again, they feel this is mainstream. They call it a compromise, but it's only a compromise from within their caucus.


STATE REP. KRISTIN BAKER (R-NC): Senate Bill 20 is common sense. It balances protecting the life of the unborn child. It balances that with a woman's need for life-saving care.

STATE SEN. SYDNEY BATCH (D-NC): The bill is vague, at best, and that's one of the challenges that a lot of doctors are going to face whether they can actually save a woman's life or whether or not they're going to have to wait as long as possible where she may have irreparable harm.