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Soon: PA Police Give Update On Escaped, Armed Killer; Train Carrying North Korean Leader Travels Into Russia; McCarthy Expected To Endorse Impeachment Inquiry This Week; GOP Rep.: "I'm Going To Support" Biden Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired September 12, 2023 - 09:00   ET




SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: Very soon police in Pennsylvania are getting ready to update the public as the hunt for a killer intensifies. We knew he was dangerous. Now we know he is armed school districts are close as the desperation to capture him is building.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: North Korean dictator Kim Jon-un now inside Russia. The new warning from Washington ahead of his high stakes meeting with Vladimir Putin.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: New moves in court. Late night motions filed Donald Trump trying to get one judge taken off his case and asking another judge to toss out some of the charges against him.

I'm Kate Bolduan with Sara Sidner and John Berman. This is CNN News Central.

SIDNER: This morning a dangerous escalation in the search for an escaped convicted killer. Police now say to Danelo Cavalcante, the inmate who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison two weeks ago, is now armed. Sources tell CNN affiliate that a man who fits the description of Cavalcante stole a gun and that shots were fired last night. This amid the latest sighting of a fugitive in South Coventry Township.

Our affiliate's report that the stolen weapon is a 22 caliber rifle. There were also reports that shoes believe to be Cavalcante's were found overnight. Armored vehicles and heavily armed officers quickly swarmed the scene. Police have called nearby residents warning them to stay inside with their doors locked. It is the latest sighting of Cavalcante over his 13 days now on the run.

Moments from now, police are set to hold a news conference to update us all on the case.

CNN's Danny Freeman has been following these developments for us throughout since the manhunt really began. Danny, give us some sense of what's going on there behind you and what police are saying about how dangerous he has become now.

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Sara. I mean, just to start off, this was the update that so many feared for so many days. Danelo Cavalcante now armed and still on the loose.

Now where we are right now, we're at Ridge Road and Route 100. We're really at the corner of this now expanding perimeter just outside of South Coventry Township, where police are really throwing everything at Cavalcante at this point. We have seen armored vans, we just saw two trailers full of police horses taken into the search perimeter.

We've seen officers behind me with long guns, they're searching cars, they're opening trucks. You can tell there's an enormous presence right now, an all-out push to capture this escaped inmate. But I want to tell you exactly how we got to this point because, Sara, you might remember yesterday was really a relatively quiet day when it comes to the manhunt.

Law enforcement was focused on this area called East Nantmeal Township. It was about 20 miles north of the Chester County Prison. It's a small community. But importantly, it was the area where Cavalcante was said to have ditched his stolen dairy farm van that he stole over the weekend.

Well, later last night, though, that low-key profile completely changed. We saw a flurry of police activity. We saw police vehicles flying up Pottstown Pike, one the main roads here. We saw helicopters surrounding this area again in South Coventry right behind me.

And then a few things happened. First, Chester County alerted that there was a shooting in East Nantmeal around 10:10 p.m. last night in the area of Coventryville Road and Ridge Road. Remember, we're on Ridge Road right now. Police then confirmed to CNN at around 10:24 last night that there was a confirmed sighting of Cavalcante.

Then that reverse 911 call went up to folks in the South Coventryville Township community advising citizens to lock their doors, lock their windows, because at that time, they said Cavalcante may be in the area and he may be armed. Well then, Sara, overnight at around 1:45 in the morning, Pennsylvania State Police confirmed that Cavalcante is armed and they're searching this area.

So this perimeter is about 4.5 miles north of the area where Cavalcante is said to have ditched that van that I mentioned earlier. So police were right what they said yesterday that Cavalcante was still in Chester County, still in areas where they were searching but they were not able to get their hands on them at this time.

Sara, this really is the nightmare scenario that he finally has his hands on a weapon but we're hoping to learn more about what exactly happened last night to lead to this presence at a press conference like you said at 9:30. Sara?

SIDNER: For the parents there, for the residents there, what can you tell us about the schools in the area?


FREEMAN: Well, Sara, so like I said, we're right on the edge of the perimeter. You see this heavy police presence around me this direction. Just block east, that's Owen J. Roberts High School and middle school. One of the main high schools in this area. They announced it earlier this morning, they have closed all of their schools out of an abundance of caution, as you can see, because there is just so much police presence while this search is happening so close to that campus.

We also know the Downingtown Area School District, they said school activities will be contained to indoors. But listen, there's a lot of concern. We've been speaking to people who have come out to this gas station were perched up who just want to see what's going on behind us. And I got to tell you, the concern is high, but the residents here, they're ready for Cavalcante to be caught. Sara?

SIDNER: Yes, it's causing an extreme amount of disruption there. We will be watching. I know you will be waiting and watching to see what happens next. Appreciate your time, Danny.

All right, John?

BERMAN: All right, Sara.

This morning, the heavily armed private train carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un crossed into Russia's Far Eastern Region. There's new video showing Kim arriving at a Russian train station. Kim is expected to meet with Vladimir Putin with his top party leaders, members of the government and armed forces at his side.

U.S. officials have been warning that an arms deal could be on the table. Putin needs more ammunition and shells for his war on Ukraine. North Korea is short on cash and food. And after two decades of sanctions, the deal could give Pyongyang's nuclear capable ballistic missile program a boost.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us from Seoul in South Korea. This is the type of meeting that has a lot of the nations in that region including the one where you are nervous this morning, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, John. This is certainly a meeting that Seoul, Tokyo, Washington, the list goes on, would really rather did not happen. But it is looking like it's going to happen. In fact, we do have new video of Kim Jong-un in Russia.

This is the station of Khasan, which is in Russia getting off the train, meeting with Russian officials. According to state run media TASS, they say that the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources came to meet him as he crossed into Russia.

Now according to the defense ministry here in Seoul, he actually crossed into Russia in the early hours of Tuesday morning. It's now about 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday. So a good 12 hours ago, this is expected to be. And he is heading north. This train he's on is pretty slow at the speculation that he may not be going to Vladivostok, but to somewhere a little further north Vostochny where there is a Space Launch Center.

We've already heard from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, that he will be going to this area saying he has his own agenda there, not specifying that that is where he'll be meeting Kim Jong-un. But it is certainly what the speculation is. And of course, the fact that it is a Space Launch Center is significant.

U.S. officials have told CNN, they believe that satellite technology could be one of the benefits that North Korea might get if they were to agree to an arms deal with Russia. John?

BERMAN: Certainly, a very public journey. Kim Jong-un in that train. Everyone knows what it looks like, everyone knows when it crosses borders.

Paula Hancocks, thank you so much for that report. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Joining us now to talk more about this, John, is former White House Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia, Andrea Kendall- Taylor. She's now a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security. It's good to see you. Thanks so much for coming in.

What worries you most about this potential partnership and arms deal between Russia and North Korea? What do you see most that worries you?

ANDREA KENDALL-TAYLOR, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICER FOR RUSSIA: Well, most immediately, we know that Russia has after more ammunition, which it sorely needs in its confrontation with Ukraine. And we know that North Korea has a ready supply of that ammunition. And so first and foremost, it enables Russia to sustain its war in Ukraine. And we know that Vladimir Putin is looking to fight a long war in Russia.

But I think more importantly than that, I worry most about not what North Korea can give to Russia, but what Russia can give to North Korea. And as the previous commentator was talking about, we know that North Korea is after technology, they're after missile technology. They're after Russian capabilities that can help North Korea with its nuclear powered submarines.

And so, as Russia is getting more desperate because of its war in Ukraine, the more it's going to be willing to give away. And so this war really, by making Russia more desperate, is amplifying the other challenges that United States faces in North Korea, but also places like Iran and China. So it is amplifying the global threats that the United States is facing.

BOLDUAN: That's a really an important context around this. As you're talking, we're showing pictures and some of the video that was released this morning of Kim Jong-un arriving in Russia. As John said, very public arrival. There's no secret that he is arriving. You know, there's no secret of I'm kind of surrounding this trip, this visit and what will be expected to be this meeting. What does that mean? What are they trying to do with this in such a public way?


KENDALL-TAYLOR: Well, I mean, I think Russia is trying to build a coalition of countries that share its hostility towards the current status quo in the world. And that shares Russia's hostility towards the United States and our power and influence in the world.

So we see them drawing not just the North Koreans closer, but also the Iranians, certainly trying to pull the Chinese in. And that creates this kind of coalition of countries that are willing -- trying to demonstrate globally their willingness to stand up to the United States.

Also with the publicness, I think what you worry is now what North Korea gets out of this, they get top cover. In places like the U.N., Russia can be a very important partner for North Korea in trying to mitigate actions that the U.N. could take to sanction North Korea for things that it does and its nuclear program.

And in that sense, this very public top cover can embolden North Korea, lead them to be more belligerent on the world stage, which by the way Russia would welcome because that's a distraction from the war in Ukraine. It saps resources and time and attention that the U.S. focus on Ukraine and Russia.

BOLDUAN: I want to play for you something that we just heard this morning from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. He spoke with ABC's Martha Raddatz in a new interview, and I want to play what he said when asked how serious this potential partnership, this potential arms deal is. Listen to this.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: It was previously that North Korea was dependent upon Russia or China for support. And now because of the war in Ukraine, Russia is having all kinds of challenges. It looks to me as if Putin has gone to North Korea with tin cup in hand asking for weapons, munitions and support which is an inverse of their previous relationship, which is pretty fascinating.


BOLDUAN: And right to the point that you were just making, Milley also told ABC, though, that he doubts the new ammunition will make a substantive difference in Russia's efforts in Ukraine. What do you think of that?

KENDALL-TAYLOR: Yes, I think that's right. So it does -- you know, if there's not a lot that North Korea can really do for Russia. And so again, it's really the inverse that we worry about that Russia is amplifying the North Korea challenge. And as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said, they're going -- you know, North Korea has newfound leverage in this relationship.

And the thing that worries me too, is that, you know, Russia historically has been a productive actor on North Korea, they've passed sanctions, they've generally implemented sanctions on North Korea in large part because they perceived that there were geopolitical advantages in advocating non-proliferation.

Well, now that Russia is such a rogue actor, I worry a lot that then it's not -- it's no longer we'll see those advantages. And it's going to be much more willing to do things that it wouldn't previously have done.

BOLDUAN: So you lay this all out, is there any levers the United States then has to stop or slow this partnership or this coalition that he's trying to build?

KENDALL-TAYLOR: Well, I think the declassification of intelligence that we've seen, so that fact that the U.S. intelligence community has come out and very publicly warned about the trajectory of this relationship, about the nature of the deepening military partnership in particular, is one strategy that the U.S. is doing to really shine a light on what's happening, to make it more clear to other actors.

The second thing they can do in addition to declassifying this intelligence is to really try to pressure other countries and in particular, China, which may have more leverage in the situation to try to put the brakes on the relationship. But the United States itself, I think, given that both countries are so heavily sanctioned already have limited tools.

BOLDUAN: That's a great point adding to how complicated this whole thing is, as we watch it play out. It's great to see you. Thank you for coming in. Sara?

SIDNER: Good conversation, Kate.

All right, a new judge and charges toss, that is what Trump's legal team is asking for in new legal motions. Will the judge agree? And House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expected to get this conference to go ahead to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, but not everyone in his party is on board. He is between a rock and a hard place at this point.

New Yorkers pinned their hopes on him. Now Aaron Rodgers goes down four plays into the season. The very latest on his injury and new information on whether he can play at all this season, that's all ahead.



BERMAN: New this morning, CNN has learned that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is planning to endorse an impeachment inquiry into President Biden when he meets with House Republicans this week. McCarthy will tell his caucus the inquiry is the, quote, "next logical step" and the Republican investigations into the President and his son Hunter Biden, although, they haven't presented any evidence the President himself did anything wrong.

So there's that and a looming government shutdown at the end of the month. Not to mention the fact that some Republicans want to oust McCarthy as beaker potentially.

CNN's Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill this morning. Chaos ensues, Lauren. LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, welcome back from recess to the House of Representatives today. They'll return to Washington. They have a vote this evening at 6:30 p.m. And there's going to be a lot of meetings preceding that, where lawmakers are expected to huddle and have some initial conversations about how to fund the government.

But looming over all of this is that question of whether or not the House will move forward with trying to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Like you noted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for weeks has been inching closer and closer to endorsing the idea of opening an impeachment inquiry, telling people privately behind closed doors that it was likely it could happen as soon as September.


But we should note that he wants to put this on the floor of the House of Representatives. And John, that means he will need the support of his Republican conference. Right now, he's not there yet. More effort would have to be done in order to whip the votes, to get the votes in order to open that impeachment inquiry.

There are a lot of Republicans who are running in swing districts who are not so sure that this is the right step, especially because there is that large question looming about government funding and how the Republicans are going to find a way forward on this question of making sure the government doesn't shut down after the September 30 deadline.

This week, the House of Representatives is going to try to move one standalone spending bill on the Defense Department. The expectation is that they still have work to do to get the votes on that. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is moving forward on a bipartisan basis to try to pass their bills. And that just gives you a little sense of the split screen happening right now.

House Republicans are having this fight about the impeachment inquiry, trying to find a way forward on even individual spending bills. While the Senate is moving full steam ahead on a bipartisan basis to fund the government passed September 30. John?

BERMAN: And meanwhile, McCarthy needs to find a way through this potentially this week in order to keep his job. Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill, keep us posted on all this. Thank you. Sara?

SIDNER: All right. To talk more about this, we're joined by Paul Kane, Senior Congressional Correspondent for The Washington Post. Thank you, sir, so much for being here.

McCarthy sounds like he's particularly between a rock and a hard place. I mean, it took what, 15 rounds of voting to get him in the speakership. And now he has to work with Democrats in order to avoid a government shutdown, which is going to, of course, upset one section, at least, of his party. What he need to do and can he get through this without losing his job, do you think?

PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, he can get through it without losing the job. It will -- he could lose a heck of a lot more stature. I know that sounds hard to believe, given how much -- how little he has had so far. Ultimately, there is a belief in some corners that what they really want these far-right 20, 25, 30 House Republicans really just want a really weak speaker. And that's what the sort of goal has been for a long time.

Now, he has to balance these 20 to 25, who are always agitating against the broader interests of the National Republican Party. Senate Republicans want to know what nothing to do with an impeachment inquiry. Even some of the most conservative senators, people like Tommy Tuberville have expressed no interest in impeachment inquiry.

But then on the other hand, his far-right flank are saying, if you don't do an impeachment inquiry, then we're not going to vote to keep the government open. And once the government does shut down, nobody knows how and when they would be able to open it back up. When would they realize that this is such a bad political play, that we can really open the thing back up and wave the flag of surrender?

SIDNER: Yes. When you think about it, playing chicken with government spending every single time for the American people, it gets really old really fast. I do want to ask you what some of the main sticking points are. You know, I know that Ukraine funding is an issue, defense funding is an issue, what are some of the real problems that you see, some real sticking points that you see that he's going to have to fight through and try to negotiate?

KANE: Yes. Now, there was this deal back in May between -- negotiated between President Biden and his advisers and Kevin McCarthy and his top allies. And they set these top line numbers for what you're supposed to spend on domestic agency programs, and national security Pentagon issues.

And then after that, they're same 20 or 30 hard right Republicans basically said that deal wasn't good enough. And they have said that we're not going to move any of these bills forward, we're going to continue to undermine you and threaten your speakership unless you spend at dramatically lower levels, and also include a whole bunch of culture war policy riders on things like, you know, the woke Pentagon -- so-called woke Pentagon, and that has made it impossible for Democrats to vote for these bills.

So now, you have a Senate that is moving forward, not including any of these culture war issues, spending at the exact levels that Biden- McCarthy agree to in May, and they're going to be racking up 75, 80 votes for these bills out of 100. And over in the House, they're like barely getting these bills across the finish line.

SIDNER: Right.

KANE: So it's setting up a very bad negotiation.

SIDNER: Yes, a battle of royal, if you will. I do want to let you listen to what we heard this morning from Representative Nancy Mace, a Republican who supports going forward with the impeachment trial, if you will, or impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. Let's listen.



REP. NANCY MACE (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The inquiry, my understanding gets us or help -- will assist us in getting Joe Biden's bank records. And there's no doubt. Based on the evidence that I've seen whether it's the SARS reports or evidence from the FBI whistleblowers, et cetera, there's no way that any of this happens without Joe Biden. And so that is a tool in the toolbox we can use to get more evidence for the American people, then I'm going to support it.


SIDNER: Do you think there is any chance that McCarthy will not go forward with an inquiry because you have these few House Republicans who are insisting on it? And that may be the sticking point that he can't avoid?

KANE: It's all sort of a semantic thing right now. He could just say they're in an impeachment inquiry. That's what Nancy Pelosi did four years ago. She just declared it in late September. About five or six weeks later, for perfunctory reasons they went ahead and had a formal vote on it.

In 1973, the House Judiciary Committee on its own started an impeachment inquiry into Nixon and Watergate. About eight months after that, the full House held a perfunctory vote. So McCarthy could do this. But again, he's like trapped himself inside his own web of contradictions, because four years ago, he said Pelosi had to hold a vote. It's going to be -- it'll be an incredibly tight vote.

SIDNER: Really good giving us the history in the background. Paul Kane, thank you so much. You are so good at this. We appreciate you coming on. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes, it's great to see Paul came back on.

Coming up for us, the aftermath of two natural disasters has killed thousands of people. Nearly 3,000 people are now reported dead after Morocco's earthquake and rescue efforts continue there. And 10,000 people are missing now in Libya after torrential rains caused two dams to collapse. We'll have an update from there.

And any moment, we're waiting to hear from police in Pennsylvania. They're set to give an update on the search and manhunt for killer after warning the public he is now armed. That's a live look at that press conference. We'll take you there live once it begins. We'll be back.