Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Police Believe Killings of Four Muslim Men Could be Linked; Texas Sends More Migrants on Buses to Liberal Cities, Including New York City; Biden Arrives in Eastern Kentucky to Tour Flood Damage. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 08, 2022 - 10:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now is former deputy director of the FBI and CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Andrew McCabe. Andy, thanks very much for being with us.

I mean, it is so troubling to see this string of murders and police have not yet made an official tie. They're obviously looking for that vehicle for a particular reason. But, I mean, the most recent victim, Alex and I were just talking about the fact, 25 years old, he went to the funeral of the two other most recent victims and then later that day was shot and killed. What do you make of this?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, on a personal level, Poppy, the tragedy here is absolutely heartbreaking for all four of these men. And so the deeper -- the more we learn about them, I think the more shocked we're going to be by facts exactly like that. But what's important for investigators to focus on right now are the things that connect these three killings.

I think the police have rightly been very careful about not sharing with the public the information they have that does clearly connect these three killings, but it's imperative now to look at every single fact you can possibly identify from each of these people, from their lives, from the timelines that led them to that moment of their death, places they lived, the businesses they're in, the people they associate with, the place they worship, look at all those facts and then cross-correlate all four events. And that's how you begin to see the commonalities that will ultimately lead to persons of interest and the suspect.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Andy, what needs to be done to move from a pattern, which we now have, clearly, with the last three murders, in very quick succession, to authorities being able to say that the motivation is a hate crime, or at least the suspected motivation is hate crimes?

MCCABE: Alex, that might be some time, because that's really dependent upon motive. And at this point, we don't even have a suspect identified. So, we need to first identify and hopefully apprehend a suspect and then understand why they committed these crimes. And that's assuming there is, in fact, one person who's responsible for all four, which it looks like right now, but we don't know for sure.

The key for them is to focus on those things they have that would lead them to that person. So, right now, it seems the hottest lead is, in fact, the vehicle, the dark silver, presumably, Volkswagen Jetta. There's all kinds of ways they can figure out exactly which car that is and who owns it and who was driving it through the use of things like EZPass and license plate readers and working the data behind DMV records to figure out how many cars similarly described to that one are currently registered in and around the area.

So, they'll work with some massive tranches of data and be able to very quickly be able to narrow that down to a few possible vehicles and people.

HARLOW: The police are saying at this point, Andy, that these were ambush killings, that there was no warning whatsoever. You also have the fact that all four of these victims were from Afghanistan or Pakistan. Two of them, at least, attended the same mosque.

I mean, I guess, what questions are there that would remain for the FBI at this point, looking at this, for the local police to lead them to determine that they are going to pursue this as though they were connected murders?

MCCABE: Well, there are probably some very specific forensic details that link the crimes, and particularly link them in a way that made the police feel comfortable saying that they felt like each of these victims was essentially ambushed. So, that could come down to the way they were shot, the place on their body they were shot, the fact they may not have been looking at their attacker. Maybe they were shot from behind. Things like that could lead you to believe that someone snuck up behind each of these four people and killed them with a firearm.

Once you have determined that, and they are clearly in the same general community, some of them from the same mosque, most of them originating from the same or at least to the same parts of the world. You would then begin to look for people who are connected to that community.

And to be very clear, I don't mean necessarily members of that community, not necessarily men who are from Pakistan and Afghanistan and are Muslim, but it could be someone who happens to do -- conduct a business that serves that community or someone who is located in the area where that community convenes around a mosque or Islamic center.

So, there's -- I am -- I strongly suspect that, ultimately, the person responsible for this is someone who is known within and by that community, for one reason or another, and that is why it is essential for the police to rely upon and further develop their relationship with the Islamic community in that area, someone in the Islamic community knows who it is. They may not realize they know who it is but that's what we have to get to.

MARQUARDT: Well, it is certainly terrifying for that community and for Muslims all across this country. Andrew McCabe, thank you so much for your expertise. MCCABE: Sure thing.

HARLOW: Thanks, Andy.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams claims the governor of Texas is sending migrants to New York City from his state, a bus arriving there over the weekend. We'll explain the facts, ahead.



MARQUARDT: The mayor of New York, Eric Adams, is claiming some migrants are being forced onto buses coming from Texas, but the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, says that these migrants are going willingly.

14 more asylum seekers arrived in New York City on Sunday. This busing strategy that Abbott is taking part in is part of his response to what he says are President Biden's open border policies, which he says are overwhelming Texas communities.

Now, New York's mayor, Mayor Adams, says it's impossible to help the migrants because Texas isn't coordinating with the city. Take a listen.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NEW YORK CITY, NY): It's unimaginable that what the governor of Texas has done when you think about this country, a country that has always been open to those who were fleeing persecution.

That's why it's really important that the governor of Texas is coordinating. They are not letting us know what time the buses are leaving, they aren't letting us know the people on the bus. They're not giving us any information, so we're unable to really provide service to people en route. And we would like to get that information.


MARQUARDT: I'm joined now by Murad Awawdeh. He's the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. Murad, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Now, the city is estimating that some 4,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the city, gone into New York's shelter system since late May. Do you agree with the mayor that these migrants are being forced to New York?

: Well, thanks for having me, Alex, and pleasure to be with you here today. You know, asylum seekers have really already made a dangerous trek, some over 3,000 miles on foot to get to the southern border and then are being bused almost 2,000 miles to New York City.

I think that the bigger piece here is ensuring we see the humanity in people. Folks who are seeking asylum at our southern border are fleeing violence. They're fleeing persecution, impacts of climate change. No one leaves their home because they feel safe. So, it's really important that this country, a country of immigrants, continues to welcome folks and abide by its humanitarian, you know, values.

MARQUARDT: But you say they're being bused. Who is doing this? Who is pushing this? Do you believe that it is the Texas authorities who are putting these migrants onto these buses? Do you believe federal Customs and Border Patrol officers are doing that? Who is doing this busing?

AWAWDEH: Right now, the last to buses that have arrived in New York City were buses from the state of Texas. And Governor Abbott has proudly said that he has sent them. I think that the bigger piece here is folks are being misled at times to think they have to come to New York City. And folks should be able to choose where they want to go.

A couple of weeks ago, we saw our office starting to get inundated with notices to appear, which are immigration court hearing notices that we didn't know who these individuals were, but that mail was addressed to us.

So, there is some weirdness happening at the southern border where people are being assigned, given fake addresses here in New York City, as been noted in the past. And if we really want to make sure that folks have the opportunity to seek refuge in this country, that they are treated and welcomed with dignity and respect.

MARQUARDT: And from my understanding, many of these people who are coming both to New York and to Washington, D.C., don't have friends or family in places in the south, like Texas, as many say migrants from Mexico or Central America might. So, what are you hearing from the people themselves who are making, as you say, this incredibly arduous journey up to the north and eastern part of the country after already having made an --


AWAWDEH: Yesterday we saw a young man also get off the bus and wasn't feeling well.

So, folks are put into these horrible conditions in this country, which is more than inhumane as opposed to receiving, you know, the treatment. They're just being shuttled from one area to the next --

MARQUARDT: -- that's on the city side. Of course, the goal of Governor Abbott is to raise this on a federal level. So, what more are you hoping will happen in terms of coordination between those southern states that are sending migrants up to Washington and to New York?

ADAWADEH: I think, first and foremost, what's most important in this moment is that they actually treat asylum seekers who lawfully are in this country with the dignity they deserve. That's the first thing. The second thing is making sure that we are able to provide care and the services that people need. Here in New York City, folks who we are right to shelter state, so that means anyone who comes here has the right to a shelter. And that's one of the most important pieces for people who are fleeing violence, is to have somewhere where they and their kids can lay their heads at night.

So, I think that right now the federal government needs to step up a little bit and make sure that they are rescinding policies that also created horrific conditions at the southern border, like Title 42 and remain in Mexico, and really coordinate with states so that we're able to move people into where they want to go and then provide them with the care that they deserve.

MARQUARDT: They certainly deserve more than what they're getting right now. Murad Awawdeh, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.

AWAWDEH: Thank you.

HARLOW: Up next, we're going to take you back to Eastern Kentucky as President Biden is set to arrive in just a few minutes. We'll speak with the man coordinating relief efforts on the ground to get meals and supplies to thousands of people devastated by this flooding.



HARLOW: Right now, President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden have just touched down in Lexington, Kentucky. Moments ago, they are on their way once again the president to serve as comforter in chief and to see firsthand how communities in Eastern Kentucky are dealing with the devastation of these floods. Again, we know the death toll there is at least 37 from this flooding.

We have been able to get a connection with Dan Abrams. He's the head of relief operations for World Central Kitchen on the ground. Dan, thanks so much for taking the time. I know how busy you guys are. But we wanted to have you on because of the remarkable work you do in disaster zones around the world. Right now, you're on the ground serving meals out of East Perry Elementary School. Can you just talk to us what people are coming to you, asking for, and what the need is like what you're seeing firsthand?

DAN ABRAMS, RELIEF OPERATIONS, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Sure. Good morning -- lunch, soup, beans and corn bread. And while we do that, we specialize in is figure out what the local cuisine and local -- meals, be as cooked appropriate as possible when we are serving communities in need.

And one thing we learned is the soup, beans and cornbread dish. And the cornbread served without sugar is a specialty. And what we -- is that these dishes are heart-warming and provide dignity and really a sense of normalcy for communities when everything is in upheaval -- people that they have some sense and ability to provide what's next, they don't have to think about food. And we're happy to provide that service to them.

HARLOW: Yes. I think it's just remarkable. As you say, it provides a sense of dignity as well and comfort, not just to provide generic meals wherever you go but to really research, you know, the kind of food that people in that region want and to make it -- the cornbread without sugar, exactly the way they want it. It just speaks to the remarkable work you guys are doing.

We saw a picture just a moment ago of a child, and I just wonder how many children you're seeing also come in with their families. There was this call that you put out for chefs around the state to help as well, and I wonder what the response has been like.

ABRAMS: Yes. We are serving many children. In fact, we're working closely With Save the Children, who has a chapter here, that works to feed children year-round. This is actually any community -- insecurity. And so we partnered with them.


And they have a bus called the Rosy Bus that goes around Perry County with our meals, delivering meals specifically to children.

And just yesterday, I was out delivering meals in a holler, which is what some parts of the communities live in, these areas that are paved creeks and paved rivers that are isolated. And we constantly run into families with -- need. So, we're happy to work with organizations like them to get the needs out there.

HARLOW: How long do you expect to be on the ground helping?

ABRAMS: We're planning on being here as long as the need presents itself. We have really prioritized building a community outreach team that speaks directly with community leaders, government officials and really has their ear to the ground.

Just yesterday, we met a man named Brent who organized his high school friends to get together and deliver meals for us. And we delivered an additional 500 meals. And we'll be delivering more with them out from home to home because we keep finding new need.

But at the same time, we're hearing that electricity is coming back and people are able to go to the grocery store. So, it's about finding the pockets of need that still remain. And I'm proud to say today we're going to reach over 50,000 meals.

HARLOW: Wow, that's amazing. Dan Abrams, thank you to you and the entire team behind you for all you do today and every day around the world.

And thanks to all of you for joining us. It's great to have you.

MARQUARDT: It's no nice to be with you in New York.

HARLOW: Glad you're going to be here this week. I'm Poppy Harlow.

MARQUARDT: And I'm Alex Marquardt. At This Hour with Kate Bolduan starts right after this quick break. Take care.