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Ex-Corrections Officer Dead, Inmate Recaptured After Police Chase; Elon Musk Confirms He Would Reverse Trump's Twitter Ban; Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Found Not Guilty Of Indecent Assault, Battery; DNI Director: War To Be "More Unpredictable In Coming Months". Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 14:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: The manhunt that gripped the nation for nearly 11 days is now over.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Escaped inmate, Casey White, is now back in custody. And the former corrections officer, Vicky White, who helped get him out, died from what authorities are calling a self- inflicted gunshot wound.

These two were seen in Evansville, Indiana. Authorities chased them. That chase ended in a crash and a flipped car.

Investigators say that Vicky White dialed 911 during that chase.


UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: They're calling into 911. We possibly have them on 911.

We could hear her on the line saying she had her finger on the trigger.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Omar Jimenez is in Evansville with the latest.

So, authorities say that the former corrections officer, Vicky White, was actually the mastermind behind this. What else are they telling you?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor and Alisyn. Well, bottom line, the sheriff here in Indiana said that these two had a faulty plan and that that plan failed.

And that moving forward in this, at least on the Indiana side of things, he considers this case to be solved.

This, of course, is a case that spanned multiple states and multiple vehicles, as well, including the crucial sighting in Evansville, Indiana, area gas station last week.

And it was crucial because we saw the final vehicle transfer to a black Cadillac that was then sighted at a motel less than a mile from this sheriff's office here.

When that Cadillac pulled out of that motel parking lot, that was when that chase began.

And as we heard from the sheriff earlier this afternoon, it's a chase that could have ended much worse than it did.

Take a listen.


DAVE WEDDING, SHERIFF, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IN, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: They went through the parking lot, went through a grass field. The members of the U.S. Task Force basically rammed the vehicle and pushed it into a ditch.

Then we later found out, had they not done that, the fugitive was going to engage in a shootout with law enforcement.

They knew they were going up against a dangerous felon, a murderer. And we have photos of the weapons that were located in the vehicle. There were at least four handguns, semiautomatics, .9 millimeters.



JIMENEZ: And the sheriff also said they recovered a rifle as part of this as well.

Also, $29,000 in cash they believe came from Vicky White's recent home sale. And multiple wigs, as we can imagine, was used as part of disguises.

I also asked the sheriff why they were here for six days if they were supposedly on the run. And all he said was, while he can't get into their minds, he believes that they were trying to figure out where to go next.

But of course, that's all part of the ongoing investigation -- Victor and Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. Still so many questions, Omar.

But during Casey White's extradition hearing this morning, he told authorities that he wants to go back to Alabama. So, are they going to oblige his wishes?

JIMENEZ: Yes. He waived his extradition rights during that hearing.

And one of the few words we heard him say during this hearing came through a very thick southern accent, saying, I want to go back to Alabama.

Now, local authorities in Alabama say they're going to be ready for him. He would go before a judge first and have his arraignment before he'll be transferred what would be back to the Department of Corrections.

And based on what we have heard from that sheriff down there, they don't plan to let him see the light of day any time soon -- Victor, Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK. Omar Jimenez, thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, we're just getting this into CNN. Elon Musk says that he would allow former President Trump's Twitter ban to end. He would reverse it and allow the former president back on the platform. More on that next.



CAMEROTA: Just into CNN, Twitter's soon-to-be owner, Elon Musk, says he would allow former President Trump back on the platform.

BLACKWELL: Twitter banned Trump after the insurrection. They cited the risk of further violence.

CNN chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, is with us now.

So, what more do you know about this decision?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": That's right. This just coming into the financial times conference.

Musk interviewed on stage and asked about his plans for Twitter. We know Musk has been talking about free speech being his priority, opening up the platform, and that includes to Donald Trump.

But as you all said, the context is key here. This all happened in the wake of January 6th when political leaders talked about throwing Trump out of office. And security officials worried about further violence in Washington or elsewhere.

Twitter decided to ban Trump permanently because of the risk he would continue to incite violence.

Musk, on stage today, saying that was a morally bad decision and, quote, "foolish in the extreme."

So, Musk indicating that he will reverse that permanent ban, if he is able to take over Twitter, as he's trying to do.

Now, he said perhaps a time-out would be appropriate if someone was being destructive on the platform or, quote, "a temporary suspension." Or to make a certain tweet invisible, he said. But, quote, "I think a permanent ban just fundamentally undermines trust." So, notable for Musk that he would let Trump back on.

Right now, he is expected to take over Twitter. However, some stockholders aren't so convinced he's going to go through with it. There's still a little bit of skepticism. And he acknowledged that on stage today.

But if he takes over Twitter, Trump will be back. And then the question becomes, will Trump benefit from being able to tweet again or will it actually hurt him? And I don't think any of us have any idea.

CAMEROTA: He certainly benefitted in the past.

I think that Elon Musk just knows that he himself can escape to space and the rest of us earthlings will have to deal with this. That's my take on it.

Brian Stelter, thank you.

BLACKWELL: I think that's a sharp take. I think it is, Alisyn. It's a sharp one.


BLACKWELL: All right.

CAMEROTA: It's a hot one. I know that.

BLACKWELL: All right, listen, we're just getting this in, too. Celebrity Chef Mario Batali has been found not guilty of criminal indecent assault and battery.

CAMEROTA: A judge in Boston delivering the verdict just moments ago.

A woman had alleged that Batali had kissed and groped her while she was trying to take a selfie at a bar in Boston. This was in 2017.

And CNN's Jean Casarez is following the case and joins us now.

Jean, so, not guilty. I mean, this happened pretty quickly once it started.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And this is the one case that has gone to trial. There were criminal charges. A significant amount of time in prison if convicted.

And what the judge said in just delivering the verdict minutes ago was that the alleged victim had significant credibility issues. That the totality of the evidence appeared to show that her motive was financial.

Here's a quote from the judge right here. He said, quote, "The pictures tell a thousand words. And the complaining witness's image in these photographs, her reaction or lack thereof, to the alleged assault is telling." And the facts that went along with that decision, he said that when

these selfies were taken, that there was quite a distance. You could see the tile floor between them. So to allege this groping over all of these parts of her body just physically wasn't able to do at that point.

Also said that there were some pictures taken. Then they decided to retake them three minutes later. And that did not measure up to the judge.

When a significant sexual assault was taking place, you continue, three minutes later, to continue to have the pictures taken and the groping continue.

But he did also say that Mario Batali did not cover himself in glory. His conduct, appearance, and demeanor, not befitting of a public person of his stature at that time.

We believe that's the photographs, cheek-to-cheek photographs. We haven't seen them because this is an alleged sexual assault victim. Maybe these photos will now -- they're evidence -- become public.


CAMEROTA: OK, Jean Casarez, thank you very much for that breaking news.

All right, meanwhile, the nation's top spy warns that the war in Ukraine could last longer and be more unpredictable than originally feared. That's next.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I'm Erin Burnett in Kyiv. And there's a grim warning from the U.S. Intelligence Community today that the war here in Ukraine will likely drag on much longer than expected and will likely get worse in the coming months.


AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The uncertain nature of the battle, which is developing into a war of attrition, combined with the reality that Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia's current conventional military capabilities, likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory.


BURNETT: More unpredictable and potentially escalatory.

John Sipher is the former CIA chief of Russia operations and a non- resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Retired Army Major General "Spider" Marks is a CNN military analyst. Thank you so much to both of you.

John, today's testimony on Capitol Hill comes on the heels of comments from President Biden, who spoke at a fundraiser last night, and he says Putin doesn't have an exit strategy from Ukraine.

When you hear that and combine it with what we're hearing from Avril Haines there about escalatory war, where do you think we're going right now?

JOHN SIPHER, NON-RESIDENT SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL & CIA FORMER CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATIONS: That's the problem is, you know, we've often talked about Vladimir Putin as if he plays a weak hand well. You know, he uses threats and intimidations and that's worked for him.

But now he has turned over his cards and has shown that he is truly weak. And so he doesn't have a lot of places he can go.

You know, he has to -- you know, he has a lot of people and a lot of equipment that he can throw into the fight, so that he doesn't, you know, quote, unquote, "lose."

And so I think that's sort of the most obvious path for him is to, you know, continue to cause destruction and do his best and hope something good comes out of it. Because there's not a lot of easy options for him right now.

BURNETT: General, the DNI director, when she was talking about unpredictable and possible escalatory behavior, also said that Russian success in the Donbass likely won't end the war, which is really crucial, right?

A lot of people said, oh, success in the Donbass, he'll take that and go home. That's not what the director of National Intelligence says.

Here's how she put it.


HAINES: The next month or two of fighting will be significant as the Russians attempt to reinvigorate their efforts. Even if they are successful, we are not confident that the fight in the Donbass will effectively end the war.


BURNETT: General, how does that happen, though? You know, when you see the destruction among Russian equipment and troops that he could still possibly want to escalate and expand. How would he do that?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, bear in mind that he has close to 90-plus battalion tactical groups that are in Ukraine. Now, he has cobbled some of them together, so it's really a definition of their level of readiness.

But Putin enjoys the luxury of numbers. He can continue this type of an engagement.

And, look, let's be frank with each other. Every time the Russians have engaged with the Ukrainians in close combat, they have lost.

So what the Russian forces are doing -- we see this. It's now become the standard operating procedure. They use dumb rockets and they target from a distance indiscriminately. This can continue for the longest time.

And I think it's safe to say, Erin, that Putin is not going to do an about face and depart Russia.

BURNETT: So, John, let me ask you, there are reports that some Russian troops aren't listening to commands in Donbass. And you know, it's unclear if that's true.

You know, what you see around Kyiv from what the Russians left behind, the way that they were living and surviving while they were wreaking havoc and terror on these villages was horrific.

I mean, I don't think it would surprise people to hear that there's incredible morale issues.

But do you really think that that's happening? Do you really think that you'll see some sort of mass refusal among Russian troops or no?

SIPHER: No, I don't think you'll see a mass refusal of Russian troops. And frankly, this is the Russian way of war.

You know, in World War II and other times, they have had things like this, and they have responded to it with brutality. And Vladimir Putin is not above responding to his own people with brutality.

And so you may see, you know, a lot of not terribly efficient and effective troops, but you may see troops that are willing to kill their own to make sure they continue to go forward. Because for these military leaders, they have sort of no choice.

Nor does Vladimir Putin. He has survived on this view that he's a strong man so therefore he can't really back down. He can't agree to something that makes it look like he's losing. He's going to have to invent some other way out of this.

So I think he just continues to push forward and kill until he can figure out a way that at least makes him look like he's had some sort of victory.


BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.

John Sipher and retired Major General "Spider" Marks with us here.

Victor and Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: OK, Erin, thank you very much. We will check back with you. Meanwhile.

BLACKWELL: Prices at the gas pump soaring to new highs. What, if anything, can the White House do now?



CAMEROTA: It's the top of the hour on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alisyn Camerota.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.