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Hearing Could Determine If Adnan Syed Conviction Will Be Vacated; Biden: Much Too Early To Consider Second Run; GOP Governors Accused Of Using Migrants As Political Pawns; Man Who Killed 3 People In 1997 Kentucky School Shooting Seeks Parole. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 19, 2022 - 15:30   ET



REP. BETH VAN DUYNE (R-TX): We can't have it both ways. You can't complain that you've got people coming in and not being notified. The same time arguing that your borders are closed. They're not.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Well, Congresswomen it seems that --

VAN DUYNE: We do have open borders in every city now is seeing those results.

BLACKWELL: I hear you. Congresswoman, it seems that you are trying it both ways saying that a Democratic administration should have to notify the states but Republican governors should not have to notify these cities they're sending migrants to. Beth Van Duyne --

VAN DUYNE: I'm saying immigration is a federal issue. I'm saying the federal government needs to do that

BLACKWELL: I hear you.

VAN DUYNE: It absolutely does. There's a lot we can do.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Millions of people listened to the "Serial" podcast on the murder of Hae Min Lee. Now more than 20 years later could Adnan Syed's murder conviction could be vacated. We have the very latest.



CAMEROTA: Right now, a hearing is underway on whether to vacate the conviction of Adnan Syed. His case was featured on the wildly popular true crime podcast "Serial."

BLACKWELL: Syed is currently serving a life sentence after he was convicted in the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. CNN's Alexandra Field joining us now. Prosecutors requested a new trial last week. What's happening now? ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, we could see a decision

today on whether to vacate the sentence. We could have to wait a while longer. The hearing started at 2 o'clock. There has been a bit of a delay because Hae Min Lee's brother requested a delay in this hearing to be able to join in person.

The judge has denied that motion instead they will go back to the hearing once he's able can join via Zoom. Adnan Syed is in the courtroom. He has been there since about 2 o'clock on what could be one of the most fateful days in more than 20 years.

He has of course, maintained his innocence for more than two decades in the murder of Hae Min Lee. The defense attorneys have tried to appeal his convection but it is now the prosecutors who are driving this forward. They're the ones who filed the motion last week to vacate the sentence.

If the judge does decide to vacate the sentence that would put it into a new trial phase. The prosecutors would then determine at the conclusion of the ongoing investigation whether to dismiss charges or head into a new trial. Either way, they're all requesting that the judge release Syed from prison if that motion is granted.

CAMEROTA: I mean, so many who listen to that podcast felt that he did not get a fair shake and in that something had to be re-examined and the podcast was the catalyst. So, it's just amazing to see.

FIELD: Stunning development and really, it's the result of the prosecution taking on this yearlong reinvestigation into the case.

CAMEROTA: Alexandra Field, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, when asked if he will run again in 2024 President Biden did not give exactly a clear answer. How that could affect the midterms now just 50 days away.



BLACKWELL: We're just 50 days until the crucial November elections. President Biden just injected new uncertainty into the high stakes midterms.

CAMEROTA: Last night on "60 Minutes" he said he has not yet decided if he plans to run for re-election.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, my intention as I said to begin with is that I would run again, but it's just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I'd run again? That remains to be seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Let's bring in Alice Stewart, she's our Republican

strategists and CNN political strategist. We also have and Adrienne Elrod, a former senior aide to Bidens 2020 campaign and a Democratic strategist. So, that's where I'll begin, Adrian. You know the Bidens, President Biden's thinking.

Our reporting is that he really hasn't decided yet because he is going to speak to his family at the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Do you think that first lady Jill Biden holds the key here? Might she say enough is enough you've had for years, we're done. Or yes, I want you to run again?

ADRIENNE ELROD, FORMER SENIOR AIDE, BIDEN'S 2020 CAMPAIGN: Well, she certainly is his top adviser. That's made very clear for decades. And they've got such a great partnership. But I think this is going to be a decision that is going to make with his family, with some of the senior advisers at the White House.

You know, I obviously have no insight into this. But I hope he runs again. For major economic bills in the first 20 months of his presidency. First black woman on the Supreme Court. Just negotiated a major rail agreement -- labor rail agreement. So, we have so much to talk about, so much to run on.

But look, this is a tough decision. Any person who is running president, running for re-election wants to think it through and make sure that they're the most capable person to run. And I think that's what he's going to decide with his family.

BLACKWELL: Alice, obviously the president's decision plays heavily into the Democratic primaries in 2024. Do you think it makes a difference for Republicans and your process?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I really think it's as you said, it's early right now with regard to 2024. And I truly don't think this is going to have a major impact on the midterm elections for Republicans or Democrats.

But to answer that question on whether or not he will run again. Anything short of an emphatic yes, I am running again is a true acknowledgement that he has some problems. And he talked in the interview that there were concerns that many people have brought up about his age.

And I don't think age is as big an issue as three other factors that I see as plaguing this president. He is extremely unpopular in the polls. People hold him accountable for issues like inflation as well as prolonged COVID and they also look at him with regard to a bad withdrawal in Afghanistan.

Another factor is that many Democrats would like to see a generational shift in the party and maybe bring in someone younger and more diverse with the party. And another factor is also that many progressives in the Democratic Party would like to see someone a little further to the left. So, those are factors I think that he is also going to consider.


Not to mention the fact that our CNN poll recently showed that 75 percent of Democratic voters would like to see someone new run again and that's something I'm sure that they are weighing again. But I'll defer to my friend Adrienne as to her insight on who she thinks would be a better candidate.

CAMEROTA: I mean, that might have shifted. His poll numbers have ticked up since they were at, you know, rock bottom they have recently gone up with the things that Adrienne spelled out in terms of successes.

But I want to move on to an issue that is very on the front burner right now and that's immigration. Adrienne, you know, I mean, ever since this Ron DeSantis political stunt -- and it was a stunt obviously -- but nevertheless, it got people's attention across the country.

People are certainly now talking about the influx of migrants that the southern border is having to deal with and what the answer is. Do you think the Democrats are engaged enough on this? I mean, the polls -- our David Chalian just said, for Republicans is like a number one issue. Do you -- are you hearing solutions on the Democratic side?

ELROD: Well, this is a play book that we've seen time and time again take place in the Republican Party, anytime things are not going great for them. And they did not have any cooperation on the very wildly popular Inflation Reduction Act, for example.

They were not part of the conversations in terms of passing historic climate change legislation. We can go on and on. So, what they do is they pivot back to we want to have a conversation on immigration. We're going to pull these political stunts --

CAMEROTA: But this is real. I mean, I just want to say they're not making it up. This is real. I mean, in El Paso there having 2,000 migrants cross over a day. They're saying -- their mayor is saying they're overwhelmed. This is real.

ELROD: Sure, it's real but they will not come to the table and have these conversations and try to actually pass comprehensive legislative reform with Democrats. That being said, this is again something that they then time and time again, they don't want to talk about the real issues they are not a part of.

It may get MAGA Republicans energized. Some of those like hard-core Republican base but it does not energize or move independents voters or moderate swing voters. And those are the voters who will ultimately decide what happens in 2022 and most importantly what happens in the 2024 presidential.

CAMEROTA: Alice, as I spoke with Congresswoman Van Dyne about this, is that people understand that Texas, Arizona can't carry the burden alone, sharing across the country. But is there a threat of this going too far and hurting Republicans once they get to the general election? STEWART: Look, I think the interview you did with her was excellent in

terms of pressing on the issues. And I see the real problem here starting with many Democrats who don't acknowledge there is a problem at the border. We had Vice President Harris said the border is secure.

And when you can acknowledge there is a problem, you can't address fixing -- and finding a solution for this. And I think many of the administration's policies have led us to this point. Specifically, with remain in Mexico and Title 42 and prohibiting customs and border patrol agents from deporting criminal illegal aliens.

But here's the issue that is important to move forward. We need to acknowledge there is a problem and we need to recognize customs and border patrol are on pace to have 2.3 million encounters with migrants coming into this country and the burden cannot be on border states solely because of their proximity to the problem.

So, I think it's important to share the burden. I think probably a better solution would be if you are going to send planes and busloads of migrants to states and cities give them advance notice so they can prepare and have facilities in place to take care of them. But most importantly share the burden and not just put it on these border states.

BLACKWELL: Alice Stewart, Adrienne Elrod, thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, so next, a possible parole for someone who fatally shot three people in a high school in 1997. What survivors of that school shooting are saying now.



CAMEROTA: A man who killed three people at a Kentucky high school in 1997 is now up for parole. Michael Carneal was 14 years old when he opened fire in the school lobby where students had gathered for a prayer circle. He injured five others.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in 1998, but Kentucky law requires minors to be considered for parole after 25 years. CNN's Erica Hill joins us now. So, we've heard from families of some of the victims this morning. What are they saying?

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we heard from families of some of the victims. We also heard from to surviving victims and from a local prosecutor. And one thing that really stood out and what we heard from them is they noted this was, of course, another chance for the shooter to potentially be granted parole. But more than one noted they would never have a chance to get back what they had lost. Take a listen.


GWEN HADLEY, MOTHER OF VICTIM KILLED IN KENTUCKY SCHOOL SHOOTING: We, the families of Paducah survivors and people that were at the school and the whole community were given a life sentence by the shooter and didn't have the opportunity to get a second chance, a reduced sentence, and to be released from this sentence.

MISSY JENKINS SMITH, SURVIVOR OF 1997 KENTUCKY SCHOOL SHOOTING: You were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. Also, on December 1, 1997 Michael sentenced me to life in a wheelchair without the possibility of parole ever.


HOLLAN HOLM, SURVIVOR OF 1997 KENTUCKY SCHOOL SHOOTING: I was a 14- year-old child. I laid on the floor in the lobby of Heath High School, bled from the side of my head and believed I was going to die. When I feel that anger, I think about the 14-year-old boy who acted that day and I think of my own children. And I think the man that boy became should get the chance to try to do and be better.


HILL: So, the gentlemen there you heard from there at the end, Hollan Holm, he talked about how that shooting impacts him to this day, the injuries he suffered. But he was the one person today who said, well, I understand the anger, I understand where everybody's at, I do believe he should have a second chance.

So, in terms of what happens next, tomorrow, 9:00 a.m., full parole board meets and we are expecting to hear from the shooter as he makes his case. His attorney has said he was suffering at the time from bullying, from the transition from middle school to high school and also early stages of schizophrenia. We will likely hear more of that tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: Those are devastating statements. Even the statement from the person who believes in granting him some parole or forgiveness, still devastating statements.

HILL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: So, when you said that he'll make his case, are we going to hear from him? Do we expect?

HILL: It's my understanding that we could. But that again is at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, so, we'll see what they say and what the findings are.

CAMEROTA: Erica, thank you very much for the update.

BLACKWELL: And "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after a quick break.