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Seattle PD Officer Recorded Laughing After Woman Killed; DeSantis Contradicts CDC, Warns Against COVID-19 Boosters; Trump, 16 Other Co-Defendants Will Get Trial Date In Georgia; PA Police: "Nightmare Finally Over" After Manhunt Ends. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired September 14, 2023 - 09:30 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, happening now, move the f-ing motion, curse words. And a challenge from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy behind closed doors at this minute practically daring his Republican colleagues to try to oust him from the speaker's chair.
Let's get right to Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill. Did he really say that move the f-ing motion?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: According to three sources in the meeting, John, yes, he did say that and this is a defiant House Speaker who is deeply frustrated as they return to Washington after a six-week recess, in part because there is so much Republican infighting.
He announced this impeachment inquiry on Tuesday but they were here to try to pass a defense spending bill, a bill that had to be pulled yesterday because of so much conservative infighting over the best path forward on spending.
You also have conservatives who are threatening to oust him if he brings a short term spending bill to the floor that doesn't have additional riders on it. Matt Gaetz making that threat against the House Speaker. So this morning, which was supposed to be an investigations meeting about this impeachment inquiry, McCarthy stood up and made it very clear that he is not afraid of a vote to oust him.
Now, we would only take five Republicans to remove the Speaker from office if that motion was brought forward. And all the Democrats voted against speaking -- keeping McCarthy but it just gives you a sense of how frustrated the Speaker is in this moment.
He also argued to members that they need to pass something on spending, because if they do not, his argument is that the leverage that they will have with the Senate, which is passing bills on a unified and bipartisan basis is not going to be very high.
He also told them that if the government shuts down, or if they can't get a funding bill, they are going to remain here in Washington working through this. So a lot of moving pieces this morning, but obviously, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, telling his detractors, he will not be intimidated by them.
BERMAN: Any sense of the reaction from the Matt Gaetz's of the world to being dared to basically push for his ouster?
FOX: I mean, for several days, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been sort of tap dancing around this. Every time reporters were asking about it, he would sort of deflect about Matt Gaetz. But I think it's so important to remember here that people like Gaetz are arguing that they do not necessarily support the Speaker.
They went to the -- Gaetz went to the floor and basically put the Speaker on notice. It was such an incredible moment, if you cover Congress to be so brazen, in sort of how aggressive you are about going after the Speaker. So this is a few that continues.
Also, we should know that Matt Gaetz is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. And at every turn, Kevin McCarthy has reminded us this week, he is not going to be getting involved in the House Ethics probe. So a little bit of a backstory there for you. John?
BERMAN: You need a chart to follow all of this, Lauren Fox. And just to be clear, what Kevin McCarthy wants on spending, it's actually been going in the opposite direction in terms of what's been getting through the last few nights.
So unclear if there's any progress there. I'm interested to see what you tell us if you come back on in half an hour, what has changed because it's happening fast. Sara?
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, those are some strong words. And there are some very strong words out today about a police officer. He used this term, "she had limited value." The inhumane awful words used by a Seattle officer about a woman who had been hit and killed by another officer's patrol car.
He uttered those words just a day after the 23-year-old woman was fatally struck. It seemed like it was all a joke to him. He laughed throughout its comments and all of it was caught on body camera. Now, as you might imagine, an investigation is underway.
CNN's Camila Bernal is joining me now from Los Angeles. Camila, a community group is calling the remarks heartbreaking, insensitive, but what are you hearing about a report on the reaction from the officer who just happens to be the vice president of the police officers guild there in Seattle?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he says he was mocking attorneys, but it's hard to listen to what he was saying because as you mentioned, he's talking about a 23-year-old woman and says she had limited value then says, well, the city should just cut them a check to $11,000 to be exact is what this officer was saying. So yes, this is now all under investigation.
I want to go over exactly what happened according to police documents. This actually happened on January 23. And Officer Daniel Auderer was responding to this crash. It was actually another officer that hit and killed the 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula.
And what we're reading through these documents is that the officer that killed the woman was driving at about 74 miles an hour and he was responding to an overdose call. And so, Officer Daniel Auderer was sent to the scene because he was a trained drug recognition expert so he needed to check to see if that officer was impaired in any way.
The phone conversation was then recorded the following day January 24. It's a one-sided conversation but as you mentioned, he's heard laughing and saying that this life was of limited value. Here it is you can listen to it yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER DANIEL AUDERER, SEATTLE: But she is dead. Yes.
AUDERER: No, it's a regular person. Yes.
Yes, just write a check. Just -- yes, $11,000. She was 26 anyway. She had limited value.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: And she was actually 23. Again, he is the vice president of the union. The Seattle Community Police Commission saying that he was reportedly speaking to the president of the union. We've reached out to everyone involved. We've not heard back from any of these officers.
But we do know according to a conservative radio host on KTTH AM, they obtained the statement that the officer gave the office of police accountability. And part of that statement, I want to read it, because this is his defense, saying that it was a mockery to the lawyers and then saying, "I do understand that if a citizen were to hear that, they would rightfully believe I was being insensitive to the loss of human life. The comment was not made with malice or hard heart. It was quite the opposite".
So again, this is his explanation. We'll have to wait and see what the investigation reveals to then really see what happens to this officer. But a lot of people saying this is extremely insensitive to say that a human life had limited value. Sara?
SIDNER: So he says he was mocking the attorneys, I guess, that would be getting involved. But there is a 23-year-old woman who is dead, Jaahnavi Kandula. And I'm sure her family is so distraught at this point, as they deal with her death and now have to hear this.
Camila Bernal, thank you so much for that reporting. John?
BERMAN: The New Mexico governor's attempted briefly banning guns just got blocked. New developments in the battle there.
Fighting the CDC. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is issuing his own guidance on the new COVID booster shots claiming they are neither safe nor effective.
SIDNER: For the Governor Ron DeSantis going up against the CDC this morning. The Republican presidential candidate and Florida's Surgeon General advising anyone under the age of 65 not to get the new COVID- 19 booster shots. That's directly contradictory to the CDC recommendation. It says everyone over the age of six months should get that booster.
CNN Steve Contorno is in St. Petersburg for us. Steve, why is the DeSantis administration taking on this fight and putting up this particular advice to people without being a doctor?
STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Sara, so Governor DeSantis yesterday held a roundtable with a panel of doctors who have been outside of the mainstream on the coronavirus issue. And, you know, before this event started, there was signage that said no way FDA. So clearly sort of signaling what the tone of the conversation was going to be.
And at the end of it, DeSantis said this, quote, "I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe or effective". Now, that's the opposite of what the CDC and FDA obviously are saying. They're saying that these shots and these boosters are safe, and they are effective.
And I should point out that this is not the first time that Florida has been out of step with the rest of the country on the COVID vaccine. He was the -- DeSantis administration was the only one to recommend young children not to get the vaccine. They were the only one to recommend young men not get to the vaccine.
And they also were the only states to not work with the Biden administration to help distribute vaccines to young children when they became available. And so this is another issue where DeSantis is not just fighting with the federal government, but also he's out of line with every Democrat and Republican run state in this country.
Of course. DeSantis is running for president and one of the things he has been trying to differentiate himself with Donald Trump has been the coronavirus. He has accused Donald Trump of listening too much to Dr. Anthony Fauci. And he has been critical of the vaccines that Trump has counted as one of his top achievements at the end of his term.
So this is obviously a step that is going to affect potentially the lives and the health of Floridians. But it's also coming with the backdrop of a presidential race, where COVID, as we see in these cases go up in recent weeks has become centered to some of the arguments we're hearing from Republican candidates, Sara. SIDNER: And yet he is very far behind Donald Trump at this point in time. If you look at the polling, Donald Trump is way, way ahead of him now, further than he's ever been before.
Steve Contorno, thank you so much for all that reporting for us. John?
BERMAN: All right, we do have breaking news. A ruling and one of the major issues we've been watching very closely in the Fulton County, Georgia election subversion cases.
Let's get right to Zach Cohen for the details on what we just learned from Judge Scott McAfee. Zach?
ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY & JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, John, the judge in the Georgia elections subversion case just issuing a new order that makes clear Donald Trump and 16 other co-defendants in this case will not have a trial in October, but they are going to start the evidentiary process and they will move forward with a trial at a date to be determined later.
But this is really the first definitive break in this sprawling RICO conspiracy case. And it does go against what Fani Willis, the District Attorney in Georgia, has been saying her position is that she wanted to try all 19 of these defendants at the same time.
Now, obviously, there's a hearing today where it's a motions hearing for the two defendants who have requested a speedy trial that's Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro. And the rest of the defendants in this case now getting longer to prepare for their trial at a date to be determined later.
BERMAN: So just to be clear, Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell, you can see them on our screen right now. That trial still set for October 23, which is a little more than five weeks from now. I have to check my calendar there. 17 others, including Donald Trump, at a date to be determined. Those cases have been severed, but we still have one of the cases just five weeks away.
All right, Zach Cohen, keep us posted on this, that ruling. Obviously, we're going to get more information throughout the morning including this live hearing with Judge Scott McAfee.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
SIDNER: New details this morning about the capture of escaped convicted killer Danelo Cavalcante after 14 days on the run. And the acts of a heroic dog that we now know is named Yoda. Officials tell CNN he planned to carjack a ride to Canada -- Cavalcante -- and they got so close to Cavalcante. At moments during the search, they nearly stepped on him three separate times. Cavalcante is now charged with felony escape. CNN's Danny Freeman is in Pennsylvania, in Chester County where he has been for pretty much this whole search. Danny, give us some of the more details. You know, we knew this was really interesting with all of the things that were being used to find him in over 14 days. What more do we now know about how this all went down, and what happened throughout the search?
DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Sara, this new reporting that came out on CNN last night really is truly stunning. The U.S. Marshals say that Cavalcante was actually incredibly cooperative when he was questioned by investigators at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks yesterday after he was captured.
And I want to just run through some of the major highlights. First, as you said Cavalcante told police he was almost stepped on three times as he was hiding in the brush and as these intense law enforcement sweeps came right by him. The next thing we also learn is Cavalcante said he existed on watermelon and creek water for many days during this manhunt.
He said he also covered up his feces at times to avoid detection by things like, say, K-9s who are trying to track his sense. The other thing he added is that he surveilled the house from which he stole that rifle before he actually went in and stole the rifle. According to investigators, he was looking at that house and casted basically before he went in.
He also told investigators as you noted that his next plan, had he not been captured in this area behind me it, was, within 24 hours, he was planning to carjack a vehicle, carjack someone and get up to Canada if he could. And amazingly, this was one of the biggest revelations, Sara. He told investigators he had absolutely no help during this 14- day escape.
I want you to take a listen to how the U.S. Marshals characterized Cavalcante's behavior in this interview just last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT CLARK, SUPERVISORY DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL, EASTERN PA DISTRICT: He just answered everything that was given to him. He had no hesitation. We found him to be very truthful. And everything that we wanted to know, all the gaps in the investigation, the questions that we had, in the public head, we were able to get most of the answers from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREEMAN: So, Sara, as you mentioned, Cavalcante had his preliminary arraignment yesterday. He's now charged with felony escape. He's now back behind bars importantly, in a state prison. Police always said, Sara, this was a tactical game of cat and mouse yesterday. The cat won. Sara?
SIDNER: Danny Freeman, thank you so much for all of your reporting throughout these 14 days. We appreciate you. John?
BERMAN: All right. We just got important breaking news out of Fulton County, Georgia. A ruling that we all been waiting for and it comes as we're just minutes away from a new hearing in that case. Cameras will be inside the courtroom. Standby for that.