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Police: Searching Longwood Gardens After Report Of Sighting; Turkish Rescuers Race To Save American Trapped In Cave; New CNN Poll Raises Concerns For Biden's 2024 Hopes. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 07, 2023 - 15:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: There were some questions about this thermal imaging. It is so hot outside right now in this area. Is that interfering? What he basically said was it's giving some false positives and maybe some rocks and things that are giving off so much heat. They're showing a heat signature. There are things that have to be checked, but they're not missing anything. Is pretty much what he was saying.

I want to go now to CNN's Danny Freeman. He is outside of the prison in Chester County. Where also, Danny, we just learned from the DA there, she said he will not be going back to Chester County prison. You know, when and if he is captured by authorities.

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, I heard the DA say that. That doesn't seem too surprising. That was similar to what we saw back in that manhunt earlier in the summer in Warren County, Pennsylvania. Where some local authorities actually wanted to bring him back to the prison where that inmate escape from. But then he was very -- it became very clear they were going to bring him to a state facility.

But, Brianna, I want to shed some light on the citing that Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens from the state police mentioned earlier that you were just talking about. Because we actually saw some of the action and the police action that was happening in that area a little earlier today.

So like you said, the Pennsylvania State Police said that there was a report of a person running in the area just east of Longwood Gardens. And again, for viewers to remind you, Longwood Gardens is kind of a large tourist attraction, it's a botanical garden. It's over 200 acres large and it's sprawling. It has a lot of forest areas. It has meadows. It has fountains, things like that.

We actually saw it today while driving through the area -- it's about 5 miles south of the prison. Here we saw helicopters that were flying very, very low to the ground and taking very tight circles around that area. But again, you also heard from the Pennsylvania State Police in that press conference that they have not confirmed that that was a setting they have not actually seen Cavalcante from the law enforcement perspective. One of the things, Brianna, that I really want to home in on is

Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens remains convinced that this suspect, Cavalcante, is still in the perimeter. Like you said, that 8 to 10 square miles. But specifically, he said, because there has been no other sightings of him outside of that perimeter. Not because there have been tremendous amount of sightings in this new perimeter. But just because there have not been other reports outside of it. So this search is continuing into its eighth day. And again, law enforcement still hopeful that they can catch him. But they said they have searched longer for more prisons -- prisoners before and they'll continue to do so here -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, they said they're checking homes. They have found some open homes. We know that you've been able to get some supplies and some that they may not know about that could be of concern as well. Danny, thank you so much for the very latest there. You've been following this all week long.

I want to get now to former NYPD Lieutenant Darrin Porcher. Darrin. This is stretching on. I know we've seen other searches that have taken a lot longer. It's not incredibly unusual for there to be an occasion where an inmate is evading capture. But what about what you heard today that is standing out to you?

DARRIN PORCHER, FORMER NYPD LIEUTENANT: Well, good afternoon, Brianna. Good afternoon to your listeners. This is a very interesting narrative. One of the things that we want to focus on when we're looking for an escaped inmate is, who actually visited that inmate. We're going to look at the logs. We're going to speak to those people that actually visited that inmate. In addition to that, we're also going to look at who that person called when they were initially arrested. Those are people that would have a better understanding of Mr. Cavalcante in this particular situation.

Then when we look to what the search or the grid pattern search would be, we're going to take into consideration that, and hey, look, this is a person that is very desperate. We've heard a lot of allegations as it relates to him breaking into people's homes, but at the same token, we have 100-degree weather. So he needs to acquire some level of nutrition, be it water and food. So he is going to be grossly devaluated.

But in addition to that, we also want to take into consideration. He can possibly carjack someone and take their vehicle. I hear the Lieutenant Colonel speaking to a grid pattern that is roughly 8 to 10 miles. But you also have to take into consideration that if he was to acquire a vehicle, he can go much further.

The most important component is the human commodity. That human commodity is going to capture any sightings of our suspect and provide that to law enforcement, and that's really what we're going to rely on.

KEILAR: And they've been doing that. I mean, it's pretty amazing eight sightings at this point, Darrin. The there was a question. Does he have family in the area? We heard from the Lieutenant Colonel of the state police. Yes, there is some. Yes, authorities are in touch with them. He would not expand on what the discussions have been.


But I wonder what you think. The fact that we keep hearing of these sightings. Is that an indication to you that Cavalcante is not getting help from anyone that he is out there on his own on the land trying to get into these homes that we think that he has at this point, broken into because there have been some evidence of burglaries, is that your impression he is out there just using his own resources?

PORCHER: Well, it's very difficult to make that assessment because I can understand the Lieutenant Colonel is going to be somewhat surreptitious in introducing information or intelligence that can aid this individual. Because they want to get to him as quickly as possible. That being said, it is an arduous task when you're looking for an escaped inmate. And I'm confident they will take him into custody. However, is a steeplechase in terms of how quickly this will occur to prevent someone to be -- from being hurt. Because this is a very dangerous individual and he needs to be behind bars.

KEILAR: Yes, he's incredibly dangerous. And as we just heard the Lieutenant Colonel there say, he's getting more desperate here on day eight. Darrin Porcher, thank you so much for your insights here. We do appreciate it -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Still ahead, alarm bells for the White House and the Biden campaign. New polling shows the president is doing poorly with voters on a series of important issues, as fellow Democrats are reacting. Not all of them coming to his defense.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Rescuers in Turkey are rushing to save an American trapped extremely deep inside a cave today. Mark Dickey is more than 3,000 feet below the Earth's surface. The 40-year-old is an experienced caving instructor who was part of a research team in Morca Valley, the third deepest cave in Turkey. The Hungarian Cave Rescue Service says that Dickey suffered gastrointestinal bleeding and now needs to be carried out of that cave on a stretcher. Officials say the rescue operation could take days. CNN's Eleni Giokos filed this report.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an operation that has brought 150 rescuers from across the globe to here, the Morca sinkhole, Turkey's third deepest cave, to help evacuate a caver who fell ill on a research expedition. 40-year-old U.S. national, Mark Dickey, is an experienced caver. An instructor at the National Cave Rescue Commission. These photos posted on his Facebook page just last month. The Turkish Caving Federation says Dickie fell ill more than 3,600 feet into the cave. He's currently at base camp, Camp Hope.

Rescuers say he suffered gastrointestinal bleeding and has had six liters of blood delivered to him. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We contacted the necessary

people. The doctors gave medicine that was taken down to the cave. His treatment has started and I'm positive our friend will set out on his own after getting stronger in a few days.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Dickie is now said to be stable. And according to the Turkish Caving Federation, can walk on his own. But experts say getting to the surface could take 15 hours for an experienced caver in ideal conditions, and some saying the rescue could take days.

Eleni Giokos, CNN's Dubai.


SCIUTTO: Now to some other headlines we are watching this hour. New pick from the president for the FAA. The White House announced that Michael Whittaker will be the next nominee for FAA administrator. Whittaker served as deputy administrator and is currently Chief Operating Officer at a company working on making electric flying cars. Biden's previous nominee withdrew after strong criticism from Republicans.

And praise for a policeman's heroism. Lieutenant Cory Brooks of the Salisbury, North Carolina Police, pulled an unconscious driver from a burning truck just moments before it exploded. The rescue was recorded in the bodycam of that officer Brooks. With the help of a woman on the scene, the officer dragged the driver across two highway lanes to safety -- look at that video there. The driver was eventually able to walk on his own.

Finally, a pie in the face protest today by climate activists. Two of them threw a cream pie in the face of the CEO of Ryanair. You see him there. Welcome -- welcoming him to Belgium, yelling at him to stop playing pollution. It happened in Brussels, outside the European Commission. The CA -- CEO later tweeted, quote, shame it was soy-based ice cream. Definitely not as tasty as the real stuff. Taking it in good humor there -- Brianna.

KEILAR: New concerns for President Biden and his campaign. What is behind his plunging poll numbers next?



SCIUTTO: Brand new CNN polling out today. The numbers paint a bleak picture for President Biden and his reelection campaign for 2024. Biden's approval rating is now sitting at just 39 percent. That much where Donald Trump's approval rating was in 2019. Americans are worried about Biden's age, including a growing number of members of his own party. 49 percent of Democrats say his age is their biggest concern.

Biden is essentially tied in head-to-head matchups with nearly all of the 2024 Republican candidates, including former President Trump. The one exception is former South Carolina governor and current candidate for the Republican nomination, Nikki Haley. She leads Biden 49 to 43 percent in a hypothetical matchup. Though Haley remains stuck in single digits in primary polls, far behind Trump. Earlier today, Democratic Senators on The Hill reacted to Biden's dismal poll numbers.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I think the people basically spoken loud and clear, they're not happy with the two choices and only two choices.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And so there could be a third-party Candidate?

MANCHIN: I think that's up to the public to decide that.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I think that every time Donald Trump opens his mouth, he draws that contrast pretty starkly.



SCIUTTO: Joining us now, CNN chief national affairs correspondent, Jeff Zeleny. You know, these were tough numbers for Biden. And by the way, they've been tough for a while on a lot of these issues. But we're getting close to the election campaign. I wondered does his campaign -- does the White House have a response or an explanation for this?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well look, Jim, they're not surprised by these numbers. I mean, they have seen it in their own polling. We've seen this in several polls. But there are some different questions in our poll that really raised some new alarm bells, if you will. And take a look at this. This is among Democrats. I mean, never mind the Republicans who have issues with the President. Among Democrats, 67 percent say they would like a different candidate, 33 percent say Joe Biden. But there is no consensus of who that would be. And there is no candidate.

So that is what the challenge here is. I mean, clearly not satisfied with their current choice, but there's, A, no one else running. So the best news probably for President Biden is that he's not in the middle of a competitive primary fight.

SCIUTTO: If he was, that would be so far.

ZELENY: So far, but time is running fairly short. I mean, deadline to get on ballots is next month in some states. So for all the hand wringing here, Democrats are likely, you know, stuck with the ticket that they have. And there are some, you know, some strengths in here, but it is alarmingly pretty overwhelmingly alarming for him.

SCIUTTO: So the economic numbers dismal for him as well, which has been a consistent story despite economic number. The numbers for the economy itself being strong, certainly historically with unemployment, et cetera. ZELENY: Some metrics in the economy certainly have improved. Inflation

is down, but prices are still high. What this shows clearly is that people aren't seeing it. People aren't seeing the effect the policies are having in the economy. But look at this, 58 percent say the Biden policies have worsened the conditions.

Now most historians and others would say the policies that he's enacted from lowering drug prices, to infrastructure, to a variety of other things, will at some point contribute to economic growth. But clearly, Americans aren't feeling it. Only 24 percent say it's improved conditions here. So what that tells you is the White House clearly believes they have a sales job to do. But clearly overall this is more than just selling the message. It's the messenger.

SCIUTTO: And you wonder how much a sales job with this time frame can improve numbers that are really starkly against them. Other issues, of course, the President's son and his legal troubles and how that's impacting voters view of the president.

ZELENY: Now this is something that's very interesting. I mean, if you look at this number, when it comes to Hunter Biden's business dealings with the president, 42 percent say that he acted illegally, 18 percent unethically, only 38 percent say was not involved. Now a lot of this is talking to White House advisers and others, they say look, they've essentially stayed out of this. The president has made a point of staying away from this. The Justice Department is investigating, so there's been no pushback on this. But this is clearly a problem. It's a personal problem, a parental problem. And now clearly a political problem as well.

And think of the idea of a trial unfolding at the same time this campaign is unfolding early next year. So even though the White House does not want to talk about this, the president doesn't want to talk about this. Clearly on the minds of voters, they think that something happened here.

SCIUTTO: And David Weiss, special counsel, intends to indict the president's son. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much. Please do stay with CNN CENTRAL. We'll be right back after this short break.



KEILAR: This just into CNN. Actor Danny Masterson, best known for his role on that 70s Show, has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after he was convicted of two counts of rape. Let's go to CNN's Stephanie Elam with the details on this. Steph, what's the latest here?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, what we know is that he was found guilty on two out of three counts and that the judge has ruled that he should serve two consecutive 15-year sentences, so therefore the 30 years to life in this case.

What we also know is that Masterson had pled not guilty to these events. These accounts of rape that happened between 2001 and 2003 in separate incidents. But what we also know is that the Assistant District Attorney for Los Angeles, spoke after the ruling was made and after his sentencing was done, Reinhardt Mueller saying that they do believe that this is the appropriate sentence. Those are the words that he used there. And said that the judge pointed to, quote, the manner in which the offences were committed.

The district attorney's office, also speaking to the two named victims who spoke out in court and also gave their personal impact statements and this is what he had to say about them. Let me just read a little bit of the statement here. He said:

I am extremely proud of the named victims in this case that came forward for and during the long time that it took to get the justice today. He went on to say, I'm very happy for the victims. I'm happy they got their justice, which was a long time coming.

Now obviously this is some 20 years ago that this happened, but they were looking at what they did have that they could prosecute him on. Found guilty on May 31st of those two counts. And now the other thing that's noteworthy, that third count, the District Office -- District Attorney's Office saying they have no intention to retry that case. They're going to stick with these two guilty verdicts -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Any chance of parole here, Steph?

ELAM: According to the District Attorney, there is a chance because he is 47 years old. So if he serves these 30 years, he will be in his elder stage of life.


And so there is some provision for paroling somebody because of elder care. But that's a long way off before we'll know if that even applies to him.

KEILAR: Yes, that certainly is 30 years to life in prison in this rape case. Danny Masterson, the star of "That '70s Show." Stephanie Elam, thank you so much for the very latest. We appreciate it.

And thank you so much for joining us today. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.