Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Putin and Kim Jong-un Strengthen Ties Amid Concerns Over North Korea-Russia Arms Deal. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Faces Party Divide Over Biden Impeachment Attempt. Escaped Convicted Murderer Captured in Pennsylvania After Two-Week Manhunt. Inflation Rises for Second Consecutive Month, Driven by Energy and Food Prices. Aired 2- 2:30p ET

Aired September 13, 2023 - 14:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking bread and bolstering military ties, Vladimir Putin makes a promise to his special guest, Kim Jong-un. As the U.S. warns North Korea, it will pay a price if it fuels Russia's war machine in Ukraine.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And the battle is on, but not all Republicans want to fight it. What House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying about the growing party divide over his attempt to impeach President -- Biden.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, from crab walk to perp walk, an escaped convicted murderer recaptured in Pennsylvania. We're following these major developing stories and many more all coming in right here to CNN News Central.

SCIUTTO: Show of support to each other from two very isolated world leaders. Today, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un pledged his country's full support for Vladimir Putin's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Comes as U.S. officials are sounding the alarm about an actively advancing arms deal between the two nations. Ahead of their summit this morning, Putin gave Kim a tour of a space rocket launch site in Russia's Far East. Later hinted Russia would help North Korea develop its space and satellite program.

And while Kim is in Russia, North Korea launched two short range ballistic missiles off the Eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula. Just hours before the summit, did not look like a coincidence. CNN's Will -- Ripley joins me now from Taiwan. As you look at this, Russia needs help in its war in Ukraine, ammunition. North Korea would love to have Russian help with its rockets, it says for space, but you and I know that's for ICBMs, as well as possibly space weapons. Do we know what each side is getting out of this?

WILL RIPLY, CNN SENIOR INTERATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This has got to be one of the most bizarre Wednesdays that we've seen, Jim. To see basically a souped up version of the Singapore summit with the former president Donald Trump. You know, those moments where, you know, they were strolling in the park in Singapore. Now they're strolling around in the space center, talking about, yes, helping Russia, helping North Korea launch rockets. And of course, as you mentioned, intercontinental ballistic missiles, potentially helping North Korea to develop some of its most powerful and advanced ballistic missiles that have been unattainable because of sanctions that Russia can help North Korea get around. And all that Kim Jong-un had to do in exchange would be to provide weapons of which he has plenty and ammunition to help Putin's war in Ukraine, Jim.

And so this is for Kim Jong-un a moment, really a victory after emerging humiliated from the Hanoi summit that president Trump walked out of, going back on that green train, empty-handed having to face his people, having to face his inner circle. He's now been able to orchestrate this partnership with Vladimir Putin, who has fallen so fast from world leader to pariah, kind of now at the same level as Kim, that they can combine forces and actually achieve their mutual goals, goals that the West and much of the free world would consider for lack of a better word, evil.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, and listen, an alliance, something of desperation, right? They need each other because not many others lining up to offer them help. Will Ripley in Taipei, thanks so much. Boris and Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, so right now we are tracking, of course, one day after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy greenlit this impeachment inquiry of president Biden. I wanna go to the White House where just moments ago, the White House press secretary reacted to this.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Certainly not going to speculate on what has been a baseless inquiry that the House Republicans can't even really defend themselves. And that many House Republicans have said, they have said they couldn't support their own votes. So, again I'm going to refer you to my White House counsel on any specifics.


UNKNOWN: Sorry and on the speech tomorrow he's going to Maryland. Why is he going to Maryland, the blue state, instead of maybe a red state to talk about this?

KEILAR: All right so we're hearing Karine Jean-Pierre responding to that obviously they're trying to get their ducks in a row as they're facing something that they feel and even some Republicans feel President Biden should not be facing at this point in time.

SANCHEZ: Yes some division even among Republicans about whether this should move forward or not. Obviously on the White House's side Biden's surrogates are slamming McCarthy. The president himself trying to keep focus on policy. You heard a bit of a subdued answer there from Karine Jean-Pierre. In a few minutes President Biden is going to be meeting with his cancer cabinet.

KEILAR: That's right our team is following all of the political and the legal threads here. We have CNN's Priscilla Alvarez with us. We have Manu Raju and we have former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams as well. Okay, so Priscilla, we're seeing this the strategy here from President Biden, the White House from the campaign as well confronting this impeachment probe with sharp rhetoric but also he's trying to keep working.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: And they've been preparing for this. They are going on the offensive and just yesterday White House spokesperson called it extreme politics at its worst. They point out the fact that Republicans haven't been able to point to any wrongdoing that they don't have enough evidence or any evidence for that matter. And so they are going in on this inquiry and saying what do you have to show for it if even your own party can't get behind it.

Now we should know this White House briefing actually started with the White House top economic advisor Jared Bernstein talking about the economy then later national security spokesman John Kirby talking about geopolitics. So, that goes to show that the White House didn't kick off responding to this impeachment inquiry. They kicked off with their agenda and that's really what the White House plans to do and is continuing to do as they respond to the allegations as they come from Republicans.

SANCHEZ: Yeah Manu one of the things that strikes me about this is the fact that there are Republicans who are on significant committees that are currently investigating Hunter Biden's business dealings who say they've not seen any evidence that any of his work is actually tied to the president.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah that's going to be their big hurdle going forward corroborating some of the key allegations here. The Republicans believe that they will be able to get some of that information but it could take some time. James Comer who's leading the investigation told me that they plan to go after bank records. Subpoenas are expected to be issued by Congressman Jim Jordan who's leading the House Judiciary Committee. We do expect a public hearing sometime this month but can they verify some of those key allegations. One of the big questions that Republicans and Democrats have alike and the hurdles ahead as McCarthy tries to move forward and possibly move to actually have a vote to charge the president with high crimes or misdemeanors. Now this all comes as the speaker is facing a range of pressures including about his own speakership.

One congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida has warned that he could force a vote this month to oust McCarthy from the speakership. Something that would require just five Republicans and all Democrats to do over a range of issues that Gaetz says that McCarthy has broken promises according to Gaetz that McCarthy did not keep things that he promised in order to gain the speakership in the first case. I asked McCarthy about all of this and whether he how he would respond if this vote succeeded and he turned around and he took a swipe at Gaetz and said Gaetz was working with Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE SPEAKER (R): (INAUDBILE) So let me be very clear. Matt is upset about an ethics compliant. I don't care what they threaten against me, I am not going to interject into an independent committee like ethics and I am not going to put Swalwell on the intel committee. So they can do whatever they want.


RAJU: So these are all part of the pressures that McCarthy is facing including how to get away from -- get off of possible government shutdown that occur as early as October 1st. That is one of the pressure points here depending on how he moves forward with that idea to proposal to try to avoid a shutdown, could prompt this effort on the far right to push him out from the speakership just showing you the amount of challenges he faces here in the next several weeks. Boris.

KEILAR: Complicating all of this is that Matt Gaetz what he's saying he's not speaking for all Republicans he's not even speaking for all House Freedom Caucus Republicans. We were alluding to that earlier. Ken Buck a member of the House Freedom Caucus has been very critical of this impeachment push. I want to listen to this counterpoint here. This is what he told CNN last night.


KEN BUCK, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I have not seen any of it and some links to President Biden to Hunter Biden's activities at this point.


What Speaker McCarthy is doing is he has President Biden on the one hand, or I'm sorry, President Trump on the one hand, who is demanding that the House open an impeachment inquiry and begin an impeachment of President Biden. And on the other hand, he has spending bills that are coming up and he needs the support of members of the Republican conference to help get that continuing resolution passed and appropriations bills. I believe it was a shiny object from the beginning and I think it was a mistake to start talking about the impeachment inquiry.


KEILAR: It is really interesting to hear that side of things.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It most certainly is. Now, look, let's just go to the Constitution, what it says, how you impeach somebody for treason, bribery or high crimes or misdemeanors. Now, they don't really say how you get there, but those are the big things that it takes to impeach somebody. What Senator, Representative Buck is saying there is that, look, they haven't laid out any sort of allegations for any of these things.

What I think House Republicans have identified is that President Biden has a son who's being accused of a number of potentially criminal acts. That doesn't mean you can impeach a president for it. And until they come forward with more, this is really just an impeachment in search of facts to support.

SANCHEZ: Well, there's also an irony here in the fact that it was the Department of Justice under Donald Trump that laid out these guidelines that said you can't have an impeachment just because the House Speaker says he wants an impeachment. There has to be a call of votes, right?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's the Justice Department's recommendation. It's the Office of Legal Counsel put out a memorandum that says this is how you start an impeachment. It's not law, but it's just the guidance for the government. And what it says, or at least said back then, and it's still the procedures the government would follow, is that the House, the full House has to have a vote to authorize an impeachment. Just one individual, even if he's the Speaker of the House, can't just do it by himself.

SANCHEZ: And it's unclear that McCarthy even has the votes.

KEILAR: Yeah, it certainly is. And we're hearing different things from different Republicans on that. Priscilla, there's no dot connecting the president to criminal wrongdoing. They have not found that. And there have been considerable investigations at this point in time. That is just the status of the situation right now. That said, they really want to draw Biden into this. Are Biden aides expecting at some point he's going to have to confront this head on?

ALCAREZ: When I've talked to sources, the differentiation that they make is the White House is going to go on the offensive and they're going to talk where they can, defend them where they can. The campaign is going to be even more aggressive. And we saw that today when they shot off a fundraising email over McCarthy opening up this impeachment inquiry. But President Biden, we'll see him this afternoon. It'll be the first time that we'll see him publicly since this announcement. And we'll see what he himself says, because even if there is no link, it's still personal to him. They are attacking his son. And so we'll see what happens next. But for now, the White House is certainly standing firm and pointing out everything that you all have pointed out, that they don't have enough votes and that there is no wrongdoing that they've shown so far.

SANCHEZ: We want to get back to Manu, who's on Capitol Hill right now, because Manu, we heard from a very influential Republican senator announcing he is not going to seek re-election next year. What can you tell us?

RAJU: Yeah, Mitt Romney, the influential Republican, the former GOP nominee from 2012, the Utah GOP senator just announcing that he will not seek re-election next year for a second term in Utah. He went on to detail some of the things that he believes he has accomplished, but indicated that at the end of his next term, he'll be in his mid 80s and that he said it's time for a new generation of leaders.

Now, this comes, Romney, of course, has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, a rare public critic of Donald Trump within the GOP, in the halls of Congress. He voted to convict Trump in his first impeachment trial, voted again to impeach him in the second impeachment trial, has called for new presidential candidates as well, had the possibility of facing a tough primary challenge in Utah, but nevertheless decided against running here, would leave a void of sorts among the Senate Republican conference, among some of the Republicans who pushed for some of these key issues.

We have worked along with Democrats in the last Congress to push through one of the most significant achievements of the Biden administration, that's the infrastructure law. Has had a hand in a range of other issues, trying to deal with COVID aid and the like, as well as Ukraine. He's been a central player in trying to push for more money for Ukraine and has been a voice for the Republican Party for so many years. But just in the sign of how much the Republican Party has shifted since his time in when he won the Republican presidential nomination a decade ago, would probably have a challenge in winning a primary back home, even though he believed he could have pushed back against those critics.

But just moments ago, a significant announcement that undoubtedly will have implications for the Republican Party and here in the Senate with Mitt Romney saying he's not going to run again next year. Guys.

KEILAR: Yeah, huge implications. Manu, thank you so much. Elliott, thank you to you as well. Priscilla, thanks, Jim.


SCIUTTO: A dangerous fugitives flight from the law has finally ended after two weeks. Ahead how Pennsylvania law enforcement recaptured the killer who gave them a slip for so long. Plus inflation is rising for the second straight month. We're gonna tell you what's driving it. Perhaps some good news behind the numbers as well. And later a cruise ship with hundreds of passengers on board is stuck off of Greenland. We'll have an update. You're watching CNN News Central and we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: From crab walk to capture, the search for convicted murderer, Danelo Cavalcante is finally over after a two week manhunt. This video just in to CNN News Central. Cavalcante in a hospital gown at the Pennsylvania State Police Barracks. You can see him there from the air. They say officers caught the 34 year old, five foot tall prison escapee just after eight o'clock this morning. Police say a burglar alarm alerted them to an area in the Northern Chester County. Then hours later, a DEA plane detected a heat signal leading officers to Cavalcante's location under a pile of logs. Police say the killer resisted arrest, tried to crawl away, but he could not flee from police dogs.



GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: I believe he was taken by surprise, and I believe the canine played a large role in him not being able to utilize that firearm.


SCIUTTO: Joining me now is --


UNKNOWN: Our nightmare is --

SCITTO: -- Ed Davis, who was in charge of Boston Police during the successful manhunt for the Boston Marathon bomber, that back in 2013. So Ed, in the end, listen, he got away, got out of the prison, took them two weeks to find him. In the end, they were able to take him in, no shots fired, crucially no officers of the law wounded in this. What can we learn? What did they do right here?

ED DAVIS: Well, there was an enormous amount of restraint used in the capture of this individual. The press conference, Lieutenant Colonel Bivens made it clear that, you know, they were able to use the DEA, great technology, military grade, most likely thermal imaging. They looked through the foliage cover, they saw the suspect. They called in that group of -- SWAT team members.

They were able to sneak up on him and get around him in a circle. But when he realized they were there, he fought. He tried to get away. He crawled away. He grabbed the weapon. He continued to crawl with the weapon. At that time, they were authorized to use lethal force, but they didn't. They put the dog out there. The dog took the suspect down. Thankfully, nobody was hurt on either side. That weapon is a dangerous weapon. It's accurate out to 200 or 300 yards. It all ended well.

SCITTO: No question. And we have seen prison escapes and with the escapee not surviving, certainly. It did take two weeks. And let's set aside his escape from the prison, which is one thing. But during that two-week wait and hunt, there was a time when they said he was in a certain cordon, but clearly escaped that cordon. What mistakes, if any, do you think the police made here?

DAVIS: Well, you can call them mistakes. I mean, it's hard to secure an area of, you know, two or three square miles in a wooded area like that, even with 400 officers. Remember, 400 officers have to be relieved, so you can only work 12 hours efficiently. I'm sure they work much longer than that. But it's very difficult to surround an area that large, even with hundreds of officers. So this is a committed guy. He understands what it's like to live in the woods. He was able to sneak through, saw an opening, and got out and got a vehicle. And so those things happen.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, and he got a weapon as well. But before we go, there was a moment here that has caught a lot of attention and even some criticism. That the moment when the officers who captured him stopped to take a photo with him. I believe we have an aerial view of that via video. Is that something officers should be doing at that moment?

DAVIS: Well, if you look through history, back to John Dillinger and Al Capone, that's been happening since cameras were invented. So I don't consider it a big deal. They were proud of the work that they did. I like the lieutenant colonel's response to it. He's proud of the work that the men and women did out there. And they wanted to snap a picture. That's today's day and age. It's the way things go.

SCITTO: And we should note, they were risking their lives, right? This was an armed escapee at this point. Ed Davis, thanks so much as always.

DAVIS: Always a pleasure. Thanks, Jim.


SANCHEZ: Of course. With just a few days left on the clock, Ford making an offer to the United Auto Workers Union. And the CEO says he is optimistic they can cut a deal. We're going to speak to a member of the union about that when we come back.




KEILAR: Second straight month now, the key measure for inflation, the consumer price index jumped. August CPI rising 3.7% compared to the year before. This is slightly higher than the 3.6% that economists have predicted. It's an increase of about 0.6% from the previous month. And that marks the biggest monthly rise of the year.

Trading on Wall Street so far, pretty flat here. The Dow is slightly down right now. Let's discuss all of this with CNN business correspondent, Rahel Solomon. Rahel, energy prices here, fueling quite a bit of this jump. What are the biggest takeaways here for you?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna. Yeah, this is a report where the devil is really in the details here. So as you said, broadly on a headline basis, prices did accelerate 0.6%, but most of that was energy prices. Take a look over the last month. Energy prices and gasoline prices increasing anywhere from 5.5% to 10.5%. Also food prices broadly, that continued to rise. Now, on the other hand, if you strip away those categories, if you strip away food, if you strip away energy, you get what's called core inflation.

And this is really important because this gives us a sense of, presumably the path of inflation, but also this is an area where the Federal Reserve has much more control. And if you look at core inflation, Brianna, you see what appears to be a continued moderation. So prices there rose 0.3% on a monthly basis, a touch higher than what we were expecting, a touch higher than the prior two months, but by and large, a continued moderation. Shelter prices