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DC Police Extends Civil Disturbance Unit Amid Abortion Protests; GOP's McConnell: Federal Ban On Abortion is Possible; Pompeo Breaks With Trump, Attacks Dr. Oz In PA Senate Race; Former Defense Secretary: Trump Called For Shooting Protesters; More Homan Remains Found At Lake Mead Amid Record Drought. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Protests over abortion rights continue across the country, particularly in the nation's capital. The D.C. Police Department is now extended its use of a civil disturbance unit through Thursday.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And if the Supreme Court does indeed turn Roe over -- overturn, I should say, Roe v. Wade -- Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell says a federal ban on abortion could be a possibility.

Some states already have so called trigger laws that will ban or limit abortion if Roe is overturned.

And I want to clarify something from last hour. I said that Mississippi is looking into banning some types of contraceptives, but Governor Tate Reeves came on both CNN and NBC and when asked said he would not rule out such a ban but said that was not his focus right now.

CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju joins us live. So, Manu, what exactly did Senator McConnell say about a possible national ban?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, last week, Mitch McConnell tried to go to lengths to avoid talking about the implications of this draft opinion. He said he wanted to focus on the leak itself rather than what actually could occur if it were to become law.

But when he was asked about this by "USA Today" late in the week, last week, he talked a little bit more at length about what some of the implications could be. He said if the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies not only at the state level but at the federal level certainly could legislate in that area.

And if this were the final decision, that was a point that should be resolved one way or the other in the legislative process. So, yes, it's possible.

Now, he didn't commit to bringing this to the floor. In fact, he also opposes changes the Senate's filibuster rules, so that means in order to advance such legislation, you would need 60 votes under the current rules of the Senate in order to advance a national abortion ban into -- get it through the Senate which seems incredibly, going to be unlikely not just because Republicans are divided over this, but no matter what happens in the midterms, the Republicans are -- if they win the majority, it will almost certainly be a narrow one. Let alone Joe Biden is still at the White House.

But nevertheless, this will still give Democrats plenty of fodder going forward as they plan to push forward their own legislation this week to try to codify Roe v. Wade into law, but even that will fall well short of a super majority in order to break a Republican-led filibuster and won't even get a majority of support at the moment. So, this will go to the campaign season as both sides make their case to the voters.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the campaign season now, specifically Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania, Manu. Former President Trump is supporting Dr. Oz. His former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is supporting Oz's opponent. So, what's happening there?

RAJU: Yes, this has been an incredibly nasty Republican primary. In fact, one of the most significant primaries and races in the country. Pompeo supporting Dave McCormick. He's a former hedge fund executive, someone who has gone after the celebrity doctor, Mehmet Oz for his ties to Turkey.

In fact, Oz, who's an American born, his dual citizenship with Turkey given his parents' ties to Turkey. And they say they've maintained that, he has, to help with his ailing mother there.

But nevertheless, this has caused a lot of criticism from folks who say raising concerns, of national security concerns that if you were to become a Senator, his ties to the Turkish government would raise serious questions.

That's what Mike Pompeo who is backing McCormick told reporters last week.


MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We need to get him and his team to explain why he had time and energy and focus to vote in a Turkish election but not in an American election.



RAJU: Now, the Oz campaign has called these attacks, quote, pathetic and xenophobic, and they said his Turkish citizenship really has nothing to do with the matter and will have not even have any sort of impact.

Because Oz has said he would renounce the Turkish citizenship if he were to become a United States Senator. But notably he was asked -- their campaign was asked if he's voted in the U.S. elections in 2018, and his campaign has not said if he did -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Manu Raju for us on Capitol Hill, thank you.

RAJU: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So, Donald Trump's former Defense Secretary says his former boss wanted to shoot Black Lives Matter protesters. Now, former President Trump is responding. All of that next.



CAMEROTA: Today, Vladimir Putin marked Victory Day in Russia with a big military parade and a speech in Moscow's Red Square. Putin's defended his country's presence in Ukraine and made many false claims.

BLACKWELL: And Putin notably did not announce any new war plans, and the Kremlin says it cancelled a planned military flyover blaming bad weather. William Cohen is a former Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton. Mr. Secretary, good to have you back.

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDER BILL CLINTON: I want to start with a request -- or actually the demand when it comes from a president to his top national security officials, including the Secretary of Defense and saying that these leaks about intelligence sharing with Ukraine must stop. It's bad for Ukraine.

After the last week of reporting, do you believe that a direct conflict or an escalation is more likely than it was a week ago because of the leaks about intel sharing with Ukraine?

Well, I'd have to speculate. I would think not, although I would say having served in that capacity in the Defense Department, I didn't like to see leaks coming out that might put us in greater jeopardy. We're not surprised.

I think Putin was not surprised that we were in some way, all the NATO allies, aiding the Ukrainians to target the specific either areas or his machinery as well or making machinery.

I don't think he was surprised by it. I think it only served to antagonize him perhaps to have it known on a global basis. I don't think it enhanced in any way, put us in greater jeopardy, but I think it's not something you want to do on a regular basis and prevent it if we can at all.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Secretary, I want to ask you about something back here, and that is all the revelations that the former Defense Secretary under President Trump, Mark Esper is now sharing.

And one of them is that he's talking about how President Trump felt about the protesters after George Floyd's murder, the protesters in Lafayette Square, we all remember all of these violent images about what happened to those protesters and he's sharing what President Trump wanted to do to those protesters, so let me play this for you. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What specifically was he suggesting that the U.S. military should do to these protesters?

MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: He says, can't you just shoot them. Just shoot them in the legs or something. And he's suggesting that that's what we should do, that we should bring in the troops and shoot the protesters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The commander in chief was suggesting that the U.S. military shoot protesters?

ESPER: Yes, in the streets of our nation's capital, that's right. Shocking.


CAMEROTA: So, Secretary, here's what President Trump's response is in a statement.

He says: This is a complete lie, and ten witnesses can back it up. Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective and because of it, I had to run the military.

What's your thought on all of this?

COHEN: Well, President Trump -- former President Trump says that about anyone who disagrees with him. He said that Secretary of Defense Mattis was weak. He said that General Kelly was weak. Anyone who posed any kind of a counsel of wisdom to him always seemed to be weak.

Every member that Trump is probably the most inexperienced, the most temperamental, the most lacking in moral character of any president we've ever had. We knew that going through the campaign of presidency.

And by the way, once he got into the office of the president, he ordered some ninja suited federal agents at a Black Lives Matter breakout up in Washington, he ordered them to shoot rubber bullets.

And one of them shot an innocent protester in the head. Others were arrested or detained, dragged off into unmarked vehicles and put in jail without being charged.

So, this shouldn't come as a shock. This is a president who has no moral character whatsoever. Has no sense of the rule of law and has probably the least experience and the most, I'd say, unqualified person you've ever had serving in that office.

It doesn't come to a shock to me. I think if you were to call other Secretaries of Defense -- one in particular that I'm close -- you would find that similar types of statements were made. So, it's not out of character. He believes in using power against individuals.

He doesn't like Black Lives Matter. He has demonstrated a very strong streak of racism, misogyny and other types of character that we've seen play out in terms of how he treats women, how he wants to lock up certain people or individuals.

So, no, this doesn't come as a shock to me. It should be shocking to the people who support him, and that's probably the most disappointing thing in all.

CAMEROTA: Former Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, thank you very much for being here.

COHEN: Good to be with you.


BLACKWELL: More human remains surfaced in Lake Mead. We'll speak to one of the investigators about these discoveries, next.



BLACKWELL: A second set of human remains were found over the weekend at the country's largest reservoir, Lake Mead. Here's what's happening. Water levels have plunged because of this mega drought hitting the Western U.S. and the water's low enough that now people can see these remains.

The first body was discovered at the reservoir at the start of this month, May 1st, inside a barrel. Lieutenant Ray Spencer with Las Vegas's Metropolitan Police's Homicide Unit. Lieutenant, thank you for being with me.

This is bizarre. Every time I read an update on this story, the first person, the first remains, determined to be the result of a gunshot wound, that person's death. What can you tell us about the second set of remains?

LT. RAY SPENCER, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, you look at the first set of remains that is definitely and clearly a homicide investigation. That we are leading that investigation which dates back to the late '70s to early '80s.

The second set of remains at this point do not appear criminal, and that's actually being headed by the National Park Service because at this point, we don't believe foul play is involved. So, we are leading the investigation on the first set of remains that were found a week ago, yesterday.

BLACKWELL: OK. On the second set, do you know if this is -- was an adult or a child?

SPENCER: So right now, again, the second set of remains, we believe are an adult, but it's still very early on. And the Clark County Coroner's Office here in Las Vegas is going to work on identifying that person.

Now, it's important to point out, though, that again is still in its early stages, and there's no foul play suspected on the second set of remains.

BLACKWELL: So, no foul play. All right, that's one development there. Let me ask you, I know that you have not identified these people yet. What are you doing? I read an interesting detail about shoes to figure out who these people were and to maybe find out the answers to how this all ended.

SPENCER: So, in any homicide investigation, the first part of the investigation is obviously we have to identify the victim. And that's what we're trying to do at this point.

We know the victim is a male, and that we believe the incident occurred in the late 1970s to early '80s. And we're basing that upon footwear and clothing that the victim was found wearing. And we know that that footwear and clothing was sold at Kmart in the late to -- mid to late 1970s.

BLACKWELL: I understand that your department expects that there will be more bodies discovered in this lake, at least that's what you said after the first one. Do you expect there will be a third or more human remains discovered?

SPENCER: So, it's not uncommon for us to actually, you know, have an investigation that occurs out at Lake Mead National Park. It's an extremely large park.

And when you look at the lake as far as the water level dropping, you know, often you have a lot of people that have drowned in the lake and their bodies have not been recovered.

In those type of situations, with the lake dropping, there's always the possibility that more human remains could be uncovered with the lake dropping. And that's what we saw here over the weekend with the second set of remains.

And you know, with the water level dropping, there does remain the possibility that, you know, other remains could be found. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's criminal. It's just a fact that there's, you know, often type situations where people have gone drowning at the lake as well.

BLACKWELL: Yes, understood. I mean, when you find the first one in a barrel with a gunshot wound, that answers the question if this was the result of a crime. You say there's a possibility there could be more discovered. Is there an active search of the lake even by, from your awareness, of park officials of more remains in Lake Mead?

SPENCER: No, Lake Mead is an extremely large reservoir. And I mean, it would be completely impractical with the depth of the lake, even when we have gone out looking for specific items it's taken an extremely intensive amount of resources for us to look for something.

And that's when we're looking in a small area. When you're dealing with a lake of this size, it's impractical for us to go out and actually look for any potential other evidence that would be involved in any crime, let alone looking just, you know, without specifics. BLACKWELL: All right, Lt. Ray Spencer, thank you.

CAMEROTA: So, Victor, let's take a look at what the Dow is doing right now. It is down sharply again in the final hour of trading. Down now 720-something points. We'll tell you what's going on ahead.



CAMEROTA: The FAA reports that the rate of complaints involving unruly passengers dropped to a one-year low, and this follows the recent lifting of a federal mask mandate on public transportation.

BLACKWELL: The FAA investigated more than 1,000 incidents in 2021, 415 so far this year. Now the FAA did not offer a reason for the decrease. The CDC still recommends masks on planes and public transportation.

CAMEROTA: All right, let's take a look at what's happening with the first day of trading of the week. The markets continue to fall sharply, down 663 points right now.


Investors are concerned about inflation and a possible recession.

BLACKWELL: Tech stocks took a beating today. The Nasdaq is down more than 4 percent. S&P 500 is on track to finish at a 13-month low. Last week was the fifth straight of losses for all three major U.S. indexes.

CAMEROTA: OK, and "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.