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Capitol Chief: 400% Increase In Threats To Lawmakers Over Last 6 Years; State Dept. To Let Foreign Affairs Chair View Afghanistan Dissent Cable; GOP Probe On Covid Origins: Some Evidence But No "Smoking Gun"; Kohberger Indicted For Deaths Of 4 University of Idaho Students; Spurs Win Lottery & Right To Sign 7-Foot-4 19-Year-Old Phenom. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 17, 2023 - 14:30   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: A serious security breach is under investigation. The Secret Service is looking into how an intruder got inside the home of national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. His protective detail did not see him.

Sources tell CNN that late last month, in the early morning hours, Sullivan encountered this person inside his Washington, D.C., home. He told the investigators that the intruder appeared to be intoxicated.

We should note Sullivan was not harmed. And the source told CNN the intruder did not make a threat. The intruder was able to leave unnoticed by Sullivan's security personnel.



Amid word of that intrusion, we're also learning about an alarming surge in threats against members of Congress. U.S. Capitol Police chief, Tom Manger, who you see right here, he just testified that lawmakers have experienced a 400 percent increase in threats over the last six years.

I want to bring in CNN's Lauren Fox, who is on Capitol Hill following this.

This is a troubling trend.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, it truly is. For lawmakers and their staff who come to the capitol every day, it's not just a threat here in D.C., but also back home, in their district offices, many of which are not security like the U.S. capitol.

Here's what we learned in talking to members about their own security.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FOX (voice over): Just one day after an attack at Congressman Gerry Connolly's district office, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger telling a House committee about the alarming rise in threats against lawmakers.

CHIEF TOM MANGER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: It's gone up over 400 percent over the last six years.

FOX: Several lawmakers on Capitol Hill are now reviewing their district security protocols after a man with a bat attacked two staffers Monday at Rep. Gerry Connolly's district office in Fairfax, Virginia.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): It's a sad commentary if we now have to accept as a price of public service threats to everybody associated with us.


FOX: Some members of Congress now looking toward ways to enhance security at their district offices.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): We need to be proactive about these things, not reactive.

UNIDENTIFIED LAWMAKER: We just have to be, you know, extra cautious.

UNIDENTIFIED LAWMAKER: There's no room for political violence in our country.

FOX: Manger's testimony cited recent attacks on members of Congress and their families, like the assault in late October on then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband. Part of the incident captured on this police body cam video.






FOX: Other examples that have shaken lawmakers include an attack on former Congressman Lee Zeldin at a campaign event during his run for governor last July. Police say the suspect had a weapon. Zeldin wasn't injured.

And earlier this year, a man attacked Congresswoman Angie Craig in the elevator of her Washington, D.C., apartment building. According to police, Craig tossed her hot coffee on the attacker to defend herself.

Manger believes two things are causing the rise in threats to safety. MANGER: The proliferation of use of social media, and the -- just the

increasingly -- the increasing divide in our country politically has a lot to do with it. And a lot to do with the increase in threats.


FOX: And the challenge for lawmakers, Brianna, is that they have a public-facing job. They want to communicate with their constituents. They want to have town halls. They want to have meet-and-greets.

But they're constantly balancing that with the new threat assessments they are getting all of the time when it comes to both their safety and the safety of their staff.

I talked with one Democrat, Pramila Jayapal, who told me she doesn't think she's ever going to feel 100% safe in this job ever again -- Brianna?

KEILAR: That is tough, when they just want to be able to be there for their constituents.

Lauren Fox, thank you, live for us from Capitol Hill.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Just into CNN, the State Department has reversed course. It's now going to allow two top members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to view a dissent cable on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The State Department's refusal to allow access to that cable had led to Secretary of State Antony Blinken facing a contempt of Congress resolution.

CNN's Kylie Atwood is at the State Department for us.

Kylie, what can you tell us about this development? It's a significant concession.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris. It is a concession. Because what we have heard from the State Department up to today is that they don't think they should share in dissent cable in full with the House.

Because they think this is a very sacred channel. And they thought that their description of what they said in the channel to Congress was sufficient.

We have heard from this committee investigating the Afghan withdrawal during the Biden administration is that those descriptions of what was in the dissent memo just weren't enough.

Now the State Department is saying they will allow the top Republican and top Democrat on the committee to come to the State Department and in camera review that dissent cable without the names who signed that cable actually attached to the cable itself. So they'll be able to see the content.

The question here is if the committee is actually going to accept that. Are they going to want staffers who are actually leading this investigation to be able to see it? Are they also going to want to see the secretary's response to that dissent cable?

We're waiting to see exactly what they do. But this is a clear concession as the threat of holding the secretary of state in contempt of Congress was held out very clear with Chairman McCall planning a vote in the committee on that just next week.

SANCHEZ: And we'll see what Chairman McCall does now, now that this has been presented.

Kylie, we also want to ask you about Senate Republicans presenting their findings in an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 and the lab leak theory. What can you tell us about that?

ATWOOD: Listen, this report doesn't actually change a whole lot.

It is significant, in such that this report, which was done by Senator Rubio, who is the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee in the Senate.

It says there is circumstantial evidence that their investigation has unearthed that backs the lab leak theory, and that is the theory that Covid-19 accidentally leaked from a lab in China.

What we are recognizing when we look at this report is that they, in their own words, also say there's no smoking gun here.

As I described, circumstantial evidence essentially means they have unearthed new details that would lead one to believe that the lab leak theory is the most likely scenario for how Covid originated, but they don't actually make that case definitively.


And in terms of this new evidence, I want to read to you one thing that this report points out.

Saying, quote, "Indirect evidence suggests that the most senior leadership of the CCP" -- that's the Chinese Communist Party -- "likely had at least limited knowledge of this laboratory incident by no later than the middle of November 2019."

Obviously, that is much earlier than Chinese officials actually publicly acknowledged. That's significant. It could indicate there was some sort of cover-up that was happening by Chinese officials.

So painting a picture here that the lab leak theory is the most likely scenario, but we know there are still divisions in the U.S. government in terms of those who have studied this at length, not coming to a conclusive theory one way or the other -- Boris?

SANCHEZ: No smoking gun, but still significant findings there. Kylie Atwood, at the State Department, thank you so much.


SCIUTTO: Elon Musk, he says he will say what he wants, even if costs Tesla shareholders some of their money. We'll have that story next.

Also ahead, a massive underwater scanning project that shows the "Titanic" like never before. They also answered some questions. They're amazing pictures. Stay with us.



KEILAR: A grand jury has indicted the suspect in the murders of these four University of Idaho college students, victims of grisly stabbings.

Last Saturday, the four victims were awarded posthumous degrees exactly six months after they were killed.

Today, Bryan Kohberger, a graduate student in criminology from Washington State University, was indicted on four counts of murder and one count of burglary.

CNN correspondent, Jean Casarez, joins us now on this.

Jean, police arrested Kohberger for these killings back in December. Explain what today's decision means in this investigation.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it means this case is headed to trial, plain and simple.

The prosecutors, unbeknownst to anyone, decided to convene a grand jury. That grand jury heard testimony from witnesses. An order was just filed sealing what witnesses actually testified in the grand jury. So we will never know.

They decided to issue as indictment on those charges, which were four counts of murder, and a count of burglary. All secret. We will never know. But the case is proceeding to trial.

Why did they switch gears? There was supposed to be a preliminary hearing at the end of June, a very public proceeding, and witnesses would testify, they would be cross-examined by the defense. The community would hear this testimony. We would be able to learn even more about this. And now it's all in secret.

It preserves the jury pool in the Moscow area, but it also goes along with this gag order that no one can speak, no information can be disseminated.

But on Monday, in an open-court here Bryan Kohberger will appear in district court, which is the trial court. He will enter a plea. We will hear him speak. And then this case will proceed. The next thing to watch out for is, will the prosecution file notice

of intent to seek the death penalty?

KEILAR: And we'll be looking for that.

Jean, thank you so much for the very latest.


SCIUTTO: Such a case to watch.

Well, a couple of other headlines we are following today.

Outgoing Twitter CEO Elon Musk is standing by his long list of controversial, sometimes straight-up nasty comments, even, he says, even if it costs him and shareholders money.

The Tesla boss told CNBC he doesn't care if his tweets, which often support conspiracy theories, scare away customers or advertisers.


UNIDENTIFIED CNBC CORRESPONDENT: You want to share what you have to say.

ELON MUSK, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, TESLA: I'll say what I want to say. If the consequence of that is losing money, so be it.


SCIUTTO: It's a public company.

The "Titanic" like you have never seen before. A deep-sea mapping company used special technology to create the first-ever 3-D scan of the legendary ship. Look at those pictures. The company says the images could shed new light on how exactly how the "Titanic" sank in 1912.

I thought it was an iceberg, Boris.

SANCHEZ: It was an iceberg. I still have an ongoing dispute we'll settle during the commercial break with Brianna. I think Jack could have fit on the door with Rose at the end of the film.


SANCHEZ: He could have. He could have.


Still to come, against the odds. The San Antonio Spurs won this year's NBA draft lottery, and the presumed top pick, a 7'4" Frenchman. We'll have the highlights when we come back.



SANCHEZ: The San Antonio Spurs have won the 2023 NBA draft lottery. And the stakes for this year's number-one pick are extremely high -- or you could say extremely tall. And seven feet, four inches high to be exact.

All eyes now turn to Victor Wembanyama, a name you'll hear a lot about. This 19-year-old from France is expected to be the first name called at next month's draft. Expectations for him are sky high.

According to ESPN, although he stands at seven foot four, his wingspan is roughly eight feet wide.

Just for some perspective, some other basketball legends, Shaquille O'Neal is seven foot one. As far as his current competition, LeBron James, is six foot nine.

Another legend of the hard wood, CNN NEWS CENTRAL'S own Jim Scuitto is six foot three.


SANCHEZ: No word yet on Jim's jump shot. We still have to test that at some point.

SCIUTTO: To be clear, not an NBA legend.


SCIUTTO: My jump shot is respectable but it's never going to get me a -


SANCHEZ: Maybe your free throws are better than Shaq's at least.

SCIUTTO: It's possible.


SCIUTTO: I almost feel like I've got to be shorter than him. He's got to be way taller than me.


SANCHEZ: About a foot and an inch.


SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNN Sport's Patrick Snell. He joins us for some perspective.

Patrick, the Spurs getting lucky, really for a third time with the big men. David Robinson in the early '90s, Tim Duncan in the late '90s. And now someone who is forecasted to be a potential Hall of Famer.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Absolutely. I'll say Jim doesn't look out of place --


SNELL: But you're quite right. It's as close as a sure thing in as much as there can be a sure thing in sports.

And what a talent he is. This is someone who has already been compared to LeBron James when he came into the NBA 20 years ago in terms of his roaring potential.

I'll say it again, LeBron James no less. San Antonio should be absolutely thrilled with landing this young French phenom.

Boris, I say the teen himself also could not have asked for a better situation in which he now finds himself, at least from a historical perspective.

When you look at where he's likely going to land, he'll get to learn from one of the greatest NBA coaches ever. And that coach and the Spurs have a pretty good track record don't they when it comes to winning with big men. Pick number one they've selected.

You mentioned David Robinson first back in 1987. Tim Duncan first in 1997. Both of whom were Hall of Famers.

There's also the French connection as well. Another part, with all this running, all the way to central Texas. Tony Parker, the most beloved basketball player. He won four titles in San Antonio, including one with his compatriot back in 2014.

You know, young Victor will know all about that. And he's clearly excited about the prospects.


VICTOR WEMBANYAMA, PROJECTED #1 NBA DRAFT PICK: There is a special relation. And I know half of the country if not the whole country (INAUDIBLE).

I was looking at everyone in the room because I always do.


SNELL: And quite a talent, as I said.

Boris, Jim, 19-years of age. This young Frenchman, he is not short on talent, nor is he short on confidence. Why? He's already saying he wants to be an NBA champ as soon as possible.

Back to you.

SCIUTTO: Given the challenge, I'm going to pull Boris over here, see where does Boris stand? SANCHEZ: Right about six feet tall.


SANCHEZ: Right about six feet tall. I don't have --


SANCHEZ: Just for the record -- a better shot, though.

SCIUTTO: Way better shot.

SANCHEZ: We're going to put a rim in here and test this out.

CNN NEWS CENTRAL continues in moments. Stay with us.