Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Disturbing Video from Ohio Police Encounter; FBI Sting Nets Couple Accused of Selling U.S. Secrets; House Votes on Stopgap Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling; Biden's Approval Fades; Blue Origin Flies Again to Space. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired October 11, 2021 - 09:30   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Now that's shorthand for a police supervisor. The officer, though, says he'll only call one after Owensby gets out of the car.

I'm going to show you part of that encounter, but I do want to warn you, this is disturbing.


CLIFFORD OWENSBY: I'm not getting out. I just told you, I'm a paraplegic , I cannot get out.

OFFICER: I do not want to have to -- I -- I do not want to have to pull you --

OWENSBY: Can you call your white shirt, please?

OFFICER: I will once --

OWENSBY: If you -- if you pull me out of here, you better expect --

OFFICER: Here's the thing. I'm going to pull you out and then I'll call a white shirt cause you're getting out of the car. That's not -- that's not an option. You're getting out of this car. So you can cooperate and get out of the car, or I'll drag you out of the car. You see your two options here?

OWENSBY: I know -- I know I have rights.

OFFICER: Now, which would you like to do, sir?

OWENSBY: I would like -- I would like that right. I would like for you to call your white shirt.

OFFICER: OK. I will when I'm done. Get out of the car. Get out of the car. Get out of the car.

OWENSBY: Come on, bro.

OFFICER: Get out of the car. Get out of the car. OWENSBY: Listen --

OFFICER: Get out of the car.

OWENSBY: I'm a paraplegic, bro. You can (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hurt me.

OFFICER: Get out of the car.

OWENSBY: You can hurt me, bro.

OFFICER: Get out of the. Get out of car.

OWENSBY: What are you all doing, bro? I'm a paraplegic, bro.

OFFICER: You're making this --

OWENSBY: I'm a paraplegic, bro. I'm trying to tell you that I got help getting into the car. Now (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hurt me. They can hurt me, bro.

OFFICER: Get out of the car.

OWENSBY: (INAUDIBLE), bro, I'm a paraplegic.

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.


OWENSBY: Help! Somebody help!


HILL: CNN's Laura Jarrett joining me now with more.

So, Laura, how did we even get here? What led to that encounter?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Yes, Erica, it's hard to watch that.

Police claim this all started when they saw Clifford Owensby coming out of what they claimed was a suspected drug house. So they stop him, they stop the car, and as you saw in that video, it turns very ugly very quickly. Police later claim that they mentioned the drugs, but they also mention that they found a ton of cash in the car, roughly $22,000. Owensby says that was his savings. And they also -- he also points out they didn't find any drugs in the car, they haven't charged him with any drug-related crimes. Instead, he's been charged with obstruction and resisting arrest, both of which are misdemeanors, by the way.

Now that this footage has come out, he spoke to one of our affiliates about what was going through his mind at the time.


CLIFFORD OWENSBY: This is it. This is how I go out. Just like every other black man I watch go out on TV, and this is my turn.

The way that they have treated me during that traffic stop, I only -- I only feel like I seen some -- I was an actor in a movie out of "Roots," that I -- a movie I was taught growing up about racists and slaves.

I think this type of stuff probably happens all the time. I'm just thankful, if they were willing to do all of that stuff while the cameras were rolling, I can only imagine what would have happened if no cameras was rolling.


JARRETT: Erica, I should also mention that a three-year-old child was in the car at the time of his arrest, as you can hear him screaming and pleading with police there. He has now filed this complaint with the NAACP where he alleges, among other things, racial profiling, unlawful arrest, illegal search and seizure, and failure to read him his rights before taking him to jail.

Now, authorities say the department is going to do an internal investigation here. But a lot of questions. Our team is going to keep digging on this, including finding out what exactly was the police policy here when somebody says that they have a disability.

HILL: And when they ask for that so-called white shirt, too.


HILL: Laura Jarrett, so glad you're staying on it. Thank you.


HILL: A year-long, undercover FBI operation has led to the arrest of a U.S. Navy nuclear engineer and his wife for allegedly attempting to sell U.S. nuclear secrets to a foreign country in exchange for cryptocurrency.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann joining us now following this story.

It is a fascinating take, and not only because it sounds glib, I don't mean it that way, but because of this involvement of a peanut butter sandwich.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This almost reads like a spy novel. It goes back to April 2020, when prosecutors say in this criminal complaint that U.S. Navy nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe, and his wife Diana, sent a package to a foreign country, a country which is not identified in the complaint, offering to sell secrets about nuclear submarines. A few months later, according to the complaint, it is an undercover FBI agent who responds and begins building a relationship.

Toebbe, according to the complaint, wants to carry this out with a cryptocurrency called Monero, and he'll drop off encrypted SD cards. Once, according to the complaint, he receives the payment, he'll give the password for the SD card.

Here is what he says in one exchange according to this criminal complaint. He says, I was extremely careful to gather the files I possessed slowly and naturally in the routine of my job so nobody would suspect my plan. We received training on warning signs to spot insider threats. We made very sure not to display even a single one, and I do not believe any of my former colleagues would suspect me if there is a future investigation.

In April 2021, a year after this relationship begins building, Toebbe asks, according to the complaint, for some sort of physical sign that this can move forward. That being said, and with that done in June 2021, he carries out a dead drop. According to prosecutors, he went from his home in Annapolis, Maryland, to West Virginia, where he dropped off an SD card in half a peanut butter sandwich. There is a similar dead drop two months later, according to the complaint, at which point he is arrested and he and his wife are charged with violating the Atomic Energy Act for sharing, or trying to, these secrets.



HILL: Wow, quite a story. It does read like a spy novel. You are right.

Oren Liebermann, appreciate it. Thank you.

Biden's economic agenda now at a standstill, and it's costing him support among voters. We're live, next.



HILL: It is a rare, quiet morning on Capitol Hill due to the holiday. You can expect that to be short lived. Tomorrow, the House votes on that Senate passed stopgap bill to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warning it is absolutely imperative that Congress continue to raise that limit, but don't count on help with that from the Republicans. Minority leader Mitch McConnell says GOP senators won't work with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling again in December. So much to look forward to.

Our team is following all the latest developments around Washington. Let's begin with CNN's Lauren Fox. She's on Capitol Hill, where it's a little quiet, but, as we said, that's not going to last. Neither chamber is in session today, but there is plenty happening off the clock, right, Lauren?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Remember, this is the months and weeks that we expect Democrats are going to be negotiating with themselves over what to include in that bigger social safety net package. I was talking to some Democrats last week who said even though they are on recess this week in the Senate, you can expect that a lot of phone calls, a lot of Zooms are going to be happening about what exactly the party is going to do moving forward. Remember, they've had this big sticking point over what the top line number should be. And that's really just the tip of the iceberg because they also have to negotiate what is going to be in this bill, and if they are going to shrink this proposal, which every Democrat says they expect to, you are going to have to shave off which programs you're going to include in this.

So there's a little bit of a debate happening right now behind the scenes between some moderates who think you should do fewer programs for a longer period of time and really do them well so that the American public can really celebrate sort of what Democrats are doing here. Then you have progressives arguing they want to see everything included, even if that means you have to sunset some programs sooner than they would have liked. Their expectation is that the public will think that these programs are so overwhelmingly popular that they'll want to continue them even when the expiration date begins. And that puts some more pressure on Democrats down the line. So that's kind of the debate that's happening behind the scenes.

But you can expect this all to pick up this week, even though lawmakers in the Senate are back in their districts this week.

HILL: So that's what's happening on The Hill.

CNN White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond at the White House.

President Biden says, you know, Democrats really need to come together here. The reality is, with his poll numbers fading, there's some struggle happening, and there are some real questions about his political capital and how things are going to move forward and is there enough momentum for his agenda. How much of that is a focus today at the White House?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, listen, that is something that the White House is keenly aware of, and that's a big reason why they desperately need to make progress on these two big legislative priorities -- the infrastructure bill and this reconciliation bill -- because they know that they need to deliver and President Biden needs to deliver in order to bring those poll numbers back up and ensure that he retains that popularity.

Right now his approval ratings are at the lowest point of his presidency. According to our poll of polls, an average of recent polls, 45 percent of Americans approve, 50 percent disapprove. That's the lowest point of Joe Biden's presidency.

But the message that we heard from President Biden over the weekend at this virtual meeting of the Democratic National Committee was saying not only do we need to deliver, we need to keep our promises to people that we made in the 2020 election, but also talking about that unity, insisting we won in 2020 as a unified party and in 2022 we also need to run and win as a unified party. A huge part of that is coming to terms over this reconciliation bill. That gap has been narrowing, but it still remains billions -- hundreds of billions of dollars apart between the moderates and the progressives. President Biden, of course, last week traveled across the country a

little bit to begin making that case. I expect we will see him do more of that in the weeks ahead as well.


HILL: Jeremy Diamond and Lauren Fox, appreciate it. Thank you, both.

William Shatner set to blast off into space this week. I just spoke with him and his crew about that trip, that mission, ahead. Our conversation is next.



HILL: William Shatner, better known as Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," or T.J. Hooker, depending on which show you like better, will have to wait an extra day to blast off into space after Blue Origin postponed its suborbital trip until Wednesday due to windy conditions. Ahead off that flight, though, I had the chance to speak with Shatner and the rest of his Blue Origin crew. Shatner, at the age of 90, will be the oldest person ever to visit space.


HILL: It's great to see you all this morning.

William Shatner, a lot of excitement, as I know you know, about this trip, especially for you. I was really struck by how candid you've been in some of your interviews, that you were a little terrified, you said, a little frightened, obviously excited.

This weather delay, is that helping or hurting those feelings?

WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR, PORTRAYED "CAPTAIN KIRK": It's extending the feelings. It's -- you know, it's a combination of things. It's not all terror, although there's some bubbling elements of that, but also I'm thoroughly versed in the safety of what we're doing. And we've been spending days here, in and out of these very difficult chairs. It's a great workout getting in and out of these prone chairs. And -- and we've been lectured and told about the safety procedures. And so that adds an element of -- of (INAUDIBLE) from (INAUDIBLE) elements of danger.

I feel comfortable but I'm also uncomfortable.


I'm -- I'll be very happy when we go up and -- and we're in weightlessness and we know we're safe because everything else should be all right and we have that moment of inspiration, which I feel will be there when we're looking into the vastness of the universe.

HILL: It is quite a moment, I think, for a lot of people to even just try to wrap their head around. So to know that you'll be experiencing it, you talk a lot about the safety. Audrey, I know recently, 21 of your current and former colleagues, wrote an open letter. One of their concerns was specifically safety. They said they wouldn't get on one of these flights. Did that give you pause at all?

AUDREY POWERS, VICE PRESIDENT, BLUE ORIGIN MISSION AND FLIGHT OPERATIONS: It didn't give me pause. I've been working at Blue on the New Shepard program specifically for the past eight years and my -- my -- a team of very, very talented professionals and colleagues, some of the best that I have worked with in my 21 years in -- in human space flight have been committed to -- to the safe operation of this program. And we very methodically move to these -- these human flights that we've just started recently and safety has -- has always been throughout the design and test and now moving into operations, that's -- that's always been our top priority.

HILL: Chris, you know, William Shatner got the call. As I understand it, you made several calls. You were really lobbying hard. I know you wanted to be a part of this. You have really worked throughout your career to boost excitement among kids in STEM. And you look at this, you've said, as a mission.

How does this flight further that mission for you?

DR. CHRIS BOSHUIZEN, FORMER NASA ENGINEER: Well, I mean, space has always been the domain of governments. And, you know, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a NASA astronaut until I found out I was partly color blind and I was denied access to -- you know, I was denied admission to the Air Force Academy in Australia. So I had to find a plan b.

And it's pretty remarkable now that 60 years into, you know, the space age, there is a plan b and there's a way for regular people to go to space. So I'm really excited to be part of this journey. And I think in another 60 years we'll look back at this, this week, this year, and say, this is when the human race finally began to move into space. It's a really exciting time.

HILL: Glen, you're also using this as an opportunity to raise awareness about what's happening back here on planet earth I know with your donation to What else do you hope, rather, comes out of this flight for you?

GLEN DE VRIES, CO-FOUNDER, MEDIDATA SOLUTIONS: So, I've seen it in life sciences and health care, which is what I work in. When you have an industry that has this innovation being fueled by people who are passionate about the future of humanity, exciting things emerge. And I don't know exactly how space technology and people going into space is going to change society, but I know that it is going to. And I know that the faster we get to more people up there and do things like what we're doing at Blue, the faster we'll make that technology and those benefits available to people all over the planet. This is about the democratization of space and bringing benefit to everyone around the world. And I appreciate that you point that out. You know, we have a lot of problems to solve here. This is about solving those problems.

HILL: Real quickly, before I let you all go, there's a lot of talk about are you or are you not an astronaut after a flight like this. So I'll just go down the line. Glen, you can go first, and then on to Audrey. Will you consider yourselves an astronaut once you're back on planet earth?

DE VRIES: I'm going to consider myself a changed person and it doesn't really matter what you want to call me.

HILL: Audrey?

POWERS: I will. I'll -- I'll take the astronaut title. I -- I would very much appreciate being held in that -- in that club.

HILL: William Shatner, astronaut. How's the sound of that?

SHATNER: Small "a," followed by two ss. It's a little (INAUDIBLE). Yes.

HILL: Perfect.

BOSHUIZEN: Yes, I don't -- I don't think it's fair to call this tourism yet. It's -- it's too early in -- in -- in this new public space age for us to call this tourism. You know, there is risks and I think all of us have made a decision to be a part of this flight and to be pioneers to help open the door to space for everyone else. But, you know, this is space exploration. It's the first steps into space for the human race.

HILL: Great to have all of you with us this morning. We look forward to hearing from you on the other side of your flight.

Thanks again.

BOSHUIZEN: Thanks for having us.


HILL: Well, the Boston Marathon is back today for the first time since 2019. Last year's race was postponed, of course, because of the pandemic, until September 2020, and then it was actually called off for the first time in Boston Marathon history due to the pandemic.

This is the 125th running of the race. To run these 26.2 miles, and remember the point two is always the worst part, all participants had to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. And we at CNN are cheering extra loud today for our CNN colleague, Andrew Kaczynski, who is running in memory of this sweet girl, his daughter, Francesca, known affectionately as Beans, who died of brain cancer on Christmas Eve.


Beans was just nine months old. Andrew's running this year's marathon to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research. And he and his wife Rebecca have continued to inspire us all with their dedication and everything they're doing in Bean's memory. Just ahead, chaos at the airport as Southwest cancels more than 2,000

flights, leaving passengers in limbo. What the airline is now saying about it. That's next.