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Police Say, Escaped Killer Fled With Homeowner's Rifle; Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Expected to Endorse Impeachment Inquiry This Week; North Korean Leader Meets With Russian Government Official. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired September 12, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we do have breaking news, dramatic developments in the search for the convicted killer who is now armed. Moments ago, we learned that Danelo Cavalcante stole a 0.22 caliber rifle with a scope and a mounted flashlight from a Pennsylvania garage, stole it from the home overnight. The resident actually fired on him as Cavalcante ran away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: And at 10:10 P.M., a call was received from a resident on Coventry Road indicating a short Hispanic male, no shirt and wearing dark pants, had entered his garage while the homeowner was in it, and that he grabbed a 0.22 rifle leaning in the garage. The homeowner drew a pistol and fired at Cavalcante as he fled with the rifle.
We have no reason to believe that he is injured as a result of that shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: That homeowner fired several shots, but, again, you heard there, that he, they don't believe, was injured.
Throughout the night, officials are issuing warnings to residents to stay inside. They're basically using reverse 911 to get those messages out, to tell people to stay inside and make sure that everything that they own is locked.
Let's go now to CNN's Danny Freeman, who has been following all these developments. Danny, I know that not much has changed in the last few minutes, but what has changed is this man is now arm and even more dangerous than he was when the police were first starting to search for him. And what can you tell us and what stood out when you were listening to the press conference?
DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Sara, armed and extremely dangerous. And you can see the urgency reflected out here on scene. We are at the intersection of State Route 23 and State Route 100. This is the north eastern most edge of this new tight perimeter that law enforcement has put together overnight into the morning after these two sightings that we just learned about in more detail at this press conference.
And just quickly before I get to the details of the press conference, we have been seeing that tremendous show of force. We have seen horses come through on trailers. We see a number of heavily armored vehicles with law enforcement officers in the back in their full fatigues. And we've also seen off-road vehicles as well. You can see there's just a tremendous amount of activity in this immediate area.
To that press conference, just to recap some of the things that we learned and that stood out to me, at 8:00 P.M. last night, that was actually the first sighting of the day yesterday. And, remember, yesterday was otherwise a very quiet day when it came to the search, but then 8:00 P.M., according to Pennsylvania State Police, a woman who was driving car in the area where Cavalcante ditched that stolen dairy van over the weekend, so he has not gone far, she said she saw someone running on the road. Police then found footprints and then they ultimately discovered Cavalcante's prison shoes. They were off of him. They were discarded.
They also then discovered that a pair of working shoes or working boots, I should say, had been stolen from a nearby resident's home as well. Then we learned the big news that at 10:10 P.M., so after police swarmed the area, after they found the footprints, they realized and they got a call that Cavalcante, they believe, entered into the open garage, saw a rifle sitting there, and stole the rifle, which had a scope on it and a flashlight, and the owner of the home, the resident there, he saw Cavalcante, took out his handgun, started firing, but it seems did not injure him, as far as police can tell at this particular point.
Police say the response time to that incident was a matter of minutes, but then Cavalcante was gone as night fell.
And I just want to emphasize what the police have stated. That area, a ton of police officers have been out there all last night, even before these sightings. Media has been out there as well. And still Cavalcante was able to slip into this densely wooded area around these homes.
The other thing that I will note is that Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens said that Cavalcante knows this area and has been in this area before. That was brand new information that we had not heard before. You know, we heard that over the weekend, Cavalcante went to Phoenixville. He went to another spot to try and go meet up with old acquaintances. Those made sense to a -- in a sense, but then this area where he dropped off that van, it was seemingly a random place for him to drop it off in an otherwise pretty sleepy community. Now, we know that Cavalcante knows the area, knows where he is and has been there before.
And the last thing, Sara, that I'll just note here is, I think it was Kate who mentioned the last hour that there was a different tone in this press conference. Certainly, urgency, but, certainly, the lieutenant colonel there appearing more defensive of this operation. He's saying that, listen, we have had a needle in a haystack operation here in terms of what we've been searching for, but we've located the needle many times insisting that nothing has gone wrong here. But at this point, Sara, it's day 13. Cavalcante was seen twice in the past 12 hours or so, still no capture.
SIDNER: Danny Freeman, thank you so much for going through all of those really important details that we have just learned in the last few minutes.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And Danny's on the ground on one of the part of the perimeter of this search area. He's going to be keeping us updated as things develop.
I want to get over, though, to Brian Todd, our Brian Todd. He was in the press conference that we were just listening to. We heard all of these developments. I think we might have an issue with Brian. Do we have Brian? Okay, let's get to Brian Todd. We're having a bit of a technical issue, but I think, Brian, we've reconnected with you.
Tell me, you were inside, Brian, and you were able to speak to the official in charge.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Kate. We just spoke to Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens shortly after that news conference. I think to add to what Danny's been reporting, what we now know is that Danelo Cavalcante is carrying around a 0.22 caliber rifle with a scope and a flashlight. That's just the key piece of information that we've gotten from these overnight developments, one of the many key pieces of information.
Here's a little bit of a chunk of my post-news conference interview with Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Are you concerned about possible what they call suicide by cop, that if you close in on him, it's going to be a violent ending and he just will not want to go back to prison?
BIVENS: You know, that's certainly a possibility. I mean, it's a possibility that he'll attack the police to try and get away. It's a possibility he would attack at a civilian. It's a possibility it would be a suicide by cop. Any of those scenarios are possibilities.
Our people are trained to deal with them and, again, we've considered him to be very dangerous right from the start. This really doesn't change anything in terms of our tactics and equipment and so forth that we're utilizing.
Maintain a high level of confidence. I would hope that we're able to get him in this perimeter. We are going to search and I anticipate we will find him in there. All I can tell you is we will do our absolute best. We will capture him one way or another.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And Lieutenant Colonel Bivens did say that he has -- Danelo Cavalcante has been in that area before.
To recap the sequence of events that we've learned about this morning, last night, the first sighting of him last night was by a female motorist who saw him crouch on the side of a road. She drove past him and then turned around and drove back. By the time she got back, according to Lieutenant Colonel Bivens, he was gone. But they (INAUDIBLE) Danelo Cavalcante's prison shoes.
BERMAN: All right. Brian Todd, we lost Brian, his connection. Brian did great work speaking to Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, who just held that news conference and gave us all this information about Danelo Cavalcante, now armed with this 0.22 rifle with the scope and the flashlight on the run in this area about 20 miles north of the prison where he broke out of 13 days ago.
Let's bring in Chief Law Enforcement Analyst John Miller and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Andy, since you are just joining us now, this situation, despite the fact that Lieutenant Colonel Bivens continues to say nothing has really changed for them, it seems very much more urgent now that Cavalcante is armed.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's absolutely more urgent, John. And I totally identify with the lieutenant colonel and he's trying to send a very consistent message and certainly his folks on the ground, their objective hasn't changed. They've been concerned about this Cavalcante being dangerous from the beginning, they're going to continue to be careful.
But think about how if you are on one of those tactical teams and you're walking through this really very heavily wooded area, hard to see in the best circumstances, and you're thinking to yourself now a guy that I've been looking for, for a few days, now I know for a fact that he has the ability to fire upon me before I can ever even see any trace of him with a 0.22 rifle with a scope. You know, he could -- if he's a decent marksman, he could fire accurately on officers from 50 yards away, maybe even 100 yards away.
So, that will impact the way the searchers on the ground think about the tasks they're going through and protecting themselves. You're already seeing it impact the decisions about what sorts of resources they need. I would expect you will see more armored vehicles, like MRAPs and Bearcats and these other armored vehicles that have become common in law enforcement and police departments over the last ten years or so. You're going to see more and more of those brought out to the scene simply because we want to keep our law enforcement officers safe while they do this very dangerous work.
SIDNER: You bring up the point about all of the things that are being used and have been used even, you know, before he was armed. There is -- they're using aviation, they're using mounted patrols, they're using canines and, obviously, you have all of these officers in many, many different areas. How long might this go on, though? Because you get the sense that things have changed even though they're saying, look, we're still doing things tactically the same. Things have changed. The man is now armed and he's been running for 13 days now and probably getting more and more desperate.
But you've seen cases like this before. Could this end tomorrow, we would hope, or today, or could this go on for a really long time?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, this could end in ten minutes, but it doesn't end until he's in custody.
So, you know, we've seen this movie before and Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens has seen this exact movie before, as has his team.
You know, I go back to 2014, Andy McCabe remember this. You know, he was in the FBI. I was in the NYPD. But there was a domestic terrorist in Pennsylvania, Eric Frein. He opened fire on state police. There was a manhunt that went on for 48 days through the woods.
SIDNER: Similar terrain, lots of wooded areas.
MILLER: Exactly. FBI sent up the operational technology division and served. They had throw drones that were looking at thermal signals, you know, in the woods. It was very challenging. But it went on for 48 days. It cost $12 million. And it ended with a long and bloody shootout.
Frein was armed with essentially an elephant gun that could penetrate the body armor of police. He killed a young state trooper. Biven said at the time it was the most intense gun battle he had ever seen in his police career, and remains so.
So, when you think of the effect on the people involved in this hunt, especially those who were there for the first version of this or the last version of this, in July, they had a hunt for a military-trained survivalist who was hiding in the woods, it went on ten days. So, this has exceeded that. But it's certainly not out of range given the terrain.
And never forget Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park Bomber who disappeared into the Nantahala National Forest being sought by the FBI, the state police, the ATF and the National Guard. And they caught him when he came out five years later to find some food in a dumpster with a rookie cop who did a stop on routine patrol. So, these things will take the shape they take.
BOLDUAN: One thing, Andy, that was brought up yesterday that we did not hear that Bivens talk about today was this disclosure that they talked about Cavalcante's sister, who had been taken into custody and they kept saying that she had failed to cooperate them and chose not to assist and then offered up kind of this, for the first time, a real warning to folks to anyone who's thinking about assisting Cavalcante saying that we will prosecute you to the fullest extent. I was curious what you thought about -- what you think about that disclosure, how worried they are about the fact that they think -- I mean, he obviously is trying to reach out to people and make contact with people and what that could mean now?
MCCABE: You know, it's a really important point, Kate. I think that gets to the heart of why Cavalcante is located in the area he's in. You know, this is not new for fugitive hunts. Fugitives typically go to -- they gravitate towards areas they've been in before, where family and relatives and contacts are located, and that's clearly what he's done here.
He got some transportation, he immediately drove, you know, 25 miles northwest towards Phoenixville, East Pikeland, and now, of course, Nantmeal.
These are the places he knows. So, he feels like he's on stronger ground there and he has the opportunity to try to make contact with people who he thinks can help him, provide him with the resources that he need, whether it's money, food, clothes, transportation or whatever.
So, law enforcement has a very delicate role to play here. They want to constantly be messaging to that universe of associates and family members, hey, if you hear from him, if he reaches out to you, do the right thing, call us, don't help him, help us find him and bring this to a peaceful end.
That's what happened with the first ring doorbell connect on Saturday evening. That person confirmed the video and then called law enforcement, happened with the second person he reached out to that night. That person's friend reached out to law enforcement. So, they want to keep that going. Those are helpful leads.
His sister was apparently a removable illegal alien. She can be deported at any time. It doesn't surprise me that they approached her to try to see if she would cooperate with law enforcement. She apparently did not. And so she goes. And that sends another strong message to this community. Don't help this guy, because if you do, then we have an opportunity to eliminate you from this equation, we will.
BOLDUAN: That's a good point. Andy, it's great to see you. Thanks for jumping on. John, thank you, as always.
BERMAN: Obviously, we will follow this throughout the morning as developments require. And they've been happening very quickly. So, stand by for news on this.
In the meantime, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expected to give his conference a green light to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Biden, though, they've not presented any evidence the president did anything wrong. There is a split inside the Republican caucus. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SIDNER: All right. We're taking you to Capitol Hill, where House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is set to meet with his caucus this week and tell them he supports launching an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. McCarthy is expected to tell the House Republicans the inquiry is, quote, logical next step in the GOP probes.
McCarthy has been under extreme pressure to get this done with some GOP hardliners even threatening to go after his job. And it's not the only issue that McCarthy is having to juggle now. There's also the threat of a government shutdown looming at the end of the month, at about 18 days, I think.
CNN's Lauren Fox is joining us now from Capitol Hill to share her reporting with us. Lauren, does McCarthy have the support he needs to launch that formal impeachment because not everyone in the party is down with this?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sara. I mean, the tension within the Republican conference is going to be a key storyline in the days and weeks ahead. That is because despite the fact that a large number of Republicans in the conference do support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, arguing it would embolden them to get more documents and information in their quest for their investigations into President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
There are some Republican members, some of them in swing districts, who don't think that that is the appropriate step, that the committees have not gathered enough evidence, that the Oversight and Judiciary Committees could continue to do their work without launching this formal impeachment inquiry. Because, despite the fact that, yes, this is a preliminary step, there is a sense that once you open that inquiry, it's very hard not to eventually move forward with impeaching President Joe Biden.
So, Kevin McCarthy has been trying to argue to members on the fence that this is just a preliminary step, this is just a baby step, and yet it is still going to be a very difficult vote for some of those members in swing districts. So, no, he doesn't have the votes that he needs right now but he is expected in this Thursday meeting with his Republican conference to make it clear that this is the logical next step.
Now, this is happening in a broader context, because House Republicans are still struggling to find a path forward to fund the government after September 30th. And there are a number of Republicans who have argued that they want their support for any government funding bill, even a short-term bill, to be contingent on opening this impeachment inquiry.
So, a lot happening up here on Capitol Hill, Kevin McCarthy expected to address reporters later this morning in just a few minutes. Sara?
SIDNER: All right. Thank you for all your reporting, Lauren Fox. We will check back with you. John?
BERMAN: All right. With us now is Democratic Congressman John Garamendi from California. Congressman, thank you so much for being with us.
You just heard that report, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is going to tell his caucus that he supports launching an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, though, he hasn't presented exact evidence that President Biden did anything wrong, but your reaction?
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): It's the chaos caucus. Just take a deep breath and try to get past this bunch of crazy, crazy MAGA extremist Republicans in the chaos caucus. We've got things to do. We've got a government to run. We've got people all across this nation that are dependent upon the federal government actually operating, actually funding the multitude of programs for education to health care and our military. And here they go down a rabbit hole once again. It is just extreme chaos in the chaos caucus.
BERMAN: You call them the chaos caucus, and I hear the footsteps behind you. It sounds like chaos there.
One of the things that is being threatened against the House speaker from members of his own party, possibly a motion to vacate, which is technical terminology for a vote to kick the speaker out of the speaker job.
Now, to pass that, if these Republicans want to throw Speaker McCarthy out of his job, in theory, they would actually have to get Democratic votes to do that.
If there is a motion to vacate, will you vote to toss House Speaker Kevin McCarthy?
GARAMENDI: Clearly, this nation and certainly the Congress deserves a strong speaker. Kevin McCarthy is proving, since he's bending over to the extreme MAGA Republicans in his caucus instead of governing. He needs to stand tall. He needs to simply say, no, we're not going to do that. We've got things to do here. We've got a government that has to be funded.
The end of the month is the end of the fiscal year. The appropriation bills are not moving. They are in the Senate, thankfully. And just three months ago, we negotiated, as part of the debt ceiling, a solution to all of this. A majority, over 300 or so members of the House of Representatives and a majority of the Senate voted for a funding deal.
And here we are, just three months later with Kevin McCarthy unable to control his caucus. He has to stand tall. If he fails to stand tall, yes, he will be removed. Will I or any Democrat vote for him? I don't think so.
BERMAN: All right. So, no lifeline, at least, that you're promising now for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, your fellow member from California. GARAMENDI: For what purpose? For what purpose? For more chaos? For more lack of leadership?
BERMAN: You know Kevin McCarthy. Who might you get if they oust McCarthy?
GARAMENDI: I do. Well, let's find out. What are the options? Maybe we'll have a compromise. Maybe there will be a Democrat. All we need is five Republicans, and then we can get this House moving. We'd have a Democratic speaker. Five Republicans come over and join us. Clearly, there are five Republicans that are sane within that caucus. We know that there are 12 that are absolutely crazy.
BERMAN: Just to be clear, it doesn't seem likely. Most analysts will say it's not likely you're going to end up with a Democratic House Speaker from all of this, but I understand the point you're making.
I want to ask you a question about foreign policy as you are on the Armed Services Committee. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has now crossed into Russia where he will meet with Vladimir Putin. They'll be working out, we are told, perhaps some kind of arms deal, where he'll provide arms, ammunition to Vladimir Putin for his war on Ukraine.
Putin is talking about Donald Trump, though, and the criminal prosecutions here in the United States. Putin said this morning, all that is happening with Trump is the persecution of a political rival for political reasons. And this is done in front of the public of the United States and the whole world. What's your reaction to hearing from President Putin on this?
GARAMENDI: The American democracy system is working, Mr. Putin. We don't have a dictator here. We have a democracy system. We have three branches of government. And one branch of that government has seen suspected crime by the former president. And the former president is being appropriately prosecuted and we'll see how the trials turn out, which will soon be taking place.
As for dictatorship, who is Putin to talk about it? This man is clearly a dictator. He's clearly one who engages in violence. A plane -- his political enemy gets on a plane and, lo and behold, it falls out of the sky. How did that happen? Every one of his opponents, political opponents, seems to wind up in prison or wind up dead.
As for Kim Jong-un and now shaking hands with Putin, this is not new. In the Korean War, that was funded and supported by Russia. They've always been close. It's not new. What does Kim Jong-un have to offer? Poverty? What else? Well, let's see. His people are dying of starvation and yet he continues to pursue nuclear weapons, rockets and the like. That's really one fine partnership. I'm sure Mr. Putin will enjoy that partnership.
BERMAN: Congressman John Garamendi, thank you so much for being with us this morning.
GARAMENDI: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: And on that exact topic, coming up, the bulletproof train and the expected meeting with Vladimir Putin, the very public trip for the unusually very secretive North Korean leader, Kim Jong -un, an arms deal believed to be in the work. Coming up next, the threat it poses to Ukraine and the west.
We'll be back.