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Sheriff's Deputies, Hospital Workers Charged With Second Degree Murder In Death Of Black Man; U.K. Follows U.S. And Bans TikTok From Government Devices; More Republicans Slam DeSantis Over His Stance On the Ukraine War; Aircrafts In Sarasota, Florida Came With 14 Seconds Of Colliding Last Month. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 16, 2023 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Three hospital workers and seven sheriff's deputies in central Virginia are all now facing second degree murder charges. Prosecutors say that Irvo Otieno was fatally smothered while in their custody.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: The incident was captured on camera with Otieno was transferred from a county jail in Henrico. CNN's Brian Todd joins us now. So, Brian, the victim's family just held a news conference. What did they say?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, Victor, some new details from the family, from the attorneys for the family. Basically kind of laying out what they saw in this video. The video is surveillance footage from Central State Hospital from March 6th.

This video has not been released to the public we need to say. But it's video of the incident occurring where this person Irvo Otieno, is being allegedly smothered by these sheriff's deputies. And this is basically the moment of his death that's on this video that the family just viewed a short time ago.

The attorneys and the family say that the video shows several deputies, seven of them, and now we're told three hospital employees basically applying force on him, just an amazing amount of force, with knees on his neck, almost alternatively.

Ben Crump the attorney said when one person would take their knee off of his neck, another one would put their knee on his neck, basically until he died. His mother, Caroline Ouko, spoke at the news conference just a short time ago. Here's what she had to say.


CAROLINE OUKO, MOTHER OF IRVO OTIENO: Mental illness should not be your ticket to death. There was a chance to rescue him. There was a chance to stop what was going on. And I don't understand how all systems failed him. I don't understand why one single system could not hold up and say stop, we stop here. My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog.


TODD: And again, the news today that a total of ten people have now been charged with second degree murder, seven sheriff's deputies from Henrico County and now three employees of Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County charged with second-degree murder.

We have reached out to Central State Hospital for comment. We've not heard back. The only attorney for one of the deputies that we've heard from has said that he is looking forward to his -- his client is looking forward to being vindicated in court -- Bianna, Victor.


GOLODRYGA: You can really sense the emotional pain there in his mother's voice when we heard her speaking. Brian Todd, thank you.

BLACKWELL: There's a security review happening right now in London after British officials today joined the United States in banning the social media platform TikTok from government devices.

GOLODRYGA: The move comes as President Biden demands TikTok's Chinese owners spin off their share or face a total ban in the U.S. Juliette Kayyem is CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. So Juliette, these founders own just 20 percent of the company, so what is your reaction to the president's move? Is it a smart decision?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's a decision that has little to do with TikTok at this stage. In other words, there are statements that the Biden administration wants to make about China surveillance technology, and because of politics, because of TikTok's tentacles into the United States, it has 100 million users. TikTok ends up being a good forum for this.

Because this ultimatum that we're hearing about out of CFIUS, this was the treasury department entity that really looks at foreign investments and what these companies are doing in this country. This ultimatum isn't going to get to the issues of data retention, access and privacy.

It's just simply staying stop owning, divest yourself of your investment in TikTok. But it's not getting to the substance of the issue or the substance of the concerns. And that's why we would be the first country to do it. I think other countries are getting TikTok off of government phones. I think that's absolutely correct, but we would be the first to make such a bold action.

BLACKWELL: And if it's a national security concern, it makes sense to take them as several states have said you can't use them on state- owned devices. Federal government says you can't use them on federal devices. But removing them from all devices, that's not a firewall for our personal information. Is it even a speed bump? I mean, because we know about the Chinese assets. Remember the balloon. We know there are satellites and other elements.

KAYYEM: Yes, I think that's exactly the right way to think about it. The theory of this ban is that the Chinese government's accessed information that the United States citizens are putting onto TikTok. So a good example, because, you know, TikTok is used by younger people, so older people watching would be the location of someone, and then their identity may be personal, but their identity may be they work for the U.S. government or for the State Department.

So what the U.S. government is trying to do is trying to make it harder, simply put, layer defenses for a very sophisticated intelligence agency to get access. But as we know, it's a sophisticated intelligence agency capable of trying other means. And have to be honest with you. Without control of the data and privacy rules, in other words, having more rules about data and privacy access, including giving that to a third party, say, a U.S.-owned cloud-based company, this ban is more about trying to decouple the United States dependency on Chinese technology.

And that's consistent with a lot of things we're doing in the sort of trade and technology space. So, this is just one thing. I have to -- look, I'm not a user of TikTok. But 100 million users, a lot of them are not going to be happy. So, we shouldn't think that this is sort of an easy thing to do. There will be a consumer concern about this. So, there's a whole generation that is using this more than say cable or Twitter.

BLACKWELL: All right, Juliette Kayyem, thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Senator Shelly Moore Capito joins the large list of Republicans who are blasting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his stance on the war in Ukraine. We'll have details on the growing backlash ahead.



GOLODRYGA: Florida governor and potential 2024 presidential nominee Ron DeSantis is facing backlash but not just from Democrats. Instead from within his own party. This comes after the Republican characterized Russia's war in Ukraine as a territorial dispute between two countries.

BLACKWELL: Here to discuss, Alyssa Farah Griffin, a CNN political commentator and former Trump White House communications director, and Ron Brownstein, a CNN senior political analyst and the editor at the "Atlantic." We're hearing from more Republicans who disagree with I'd say 2023 Ron DeSantis -- because 2015 Ron DeSantis said something very different. Let's listen. Courtesy of the F-file, a radio interview.


GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: We in the Congress have been urging the president, and I've been too, to provide arms to Ukraine. They want to fight their good fight. They're not asking us to fight it for them. And the president has steadfastly refused. And I think that's a mistake.


BLACKWELL: So that's eight years ago. Why the flip?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think this was a terrible political miscalculation by Governor DeSantis. And I call it a political calculation because it was precisely that. As recently, as you said, in 2015 after the invasion of Crimea. He was in favor of arming Ukraine to the teeth and criticizing the Obama administration for not doing more. This was clearly an effort to cater to the MAGA anti-interventionist wing of the GOP. But what I think he's going to be surprised to learn is that's a vast minority within the Republican Party.


The language that I think really resonates in a negative way with Republicans like myself, is to say this is a territorial dispute. That language undermines and calls into question the sovereignty of Ukraine, a sovereign nation that was, of course, invaded by Russia. So, I think this was one of the first times that he's actually gone a bit too far even with regard to the mainstream of the Republican Party and they're realizing that now.

GOLODRYGA: And yet, Ron, the two front-runners for Republican nominee, Donald Trump, his views and comments on Vladimir Putin and the war aren't that different from what we're hearing from Ron DeSantis. So, it's all reassuring to hear from Republicans now who are disagreeing with that and who are supporting Ukraine's defense and the United States in support of Ukraine for that defense itself. But if they become the nominee, wouldn't you imagine all of that changes? How would they rally around a candidate whose views they differ on foreign policy like this?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Why now? I mean, these are the two candidates who in polls will have something like three- quarters of the total vote in a Republican primary. Both taking this position that is at odds with the really post-1952 Dwight Eisenhower beating Robert Taft Republican Party.

I agree with most of what Alyssa said. I differ in once extent. I think this is clearly an example of Donald Trump being in Ron DeSantis' head. As I said to you before, I think the core of the DeSantis strategy is to offer Republican voters Trumpism without Trump.

To basically say I will be as fierce a cultural warrior as Trump is against all the targets you want to smite, but I don't carry all the personal baggage of Trump. And I think as part of that he is very determined not to let Trump establish a lot of daylight on many of these issues that have enormous appeal to the MAGA base of the party.

The risk, of course, is that by doing that, you're creating dissidence both with another piece of the Republican Party, as she mentioned, and even may be more fundamentally, if you win the nomination, I can't imagine that Joe Biden would be worried about going into a general election basically standing up as the defending of the Western alliance to rebuff Vladimir Putin against an opponent who is calling this a territorial dispute.

BLACKWELL: Alyssa, before we get to the nomination, do you think that this language, this position from DeSantis is enough to alienate some of those never Trump or Trump reluctant Republicans who were looking for a strong alternative?

GRIFFIN: I think it's significant enough in the context of history of the moment that he's going to have to clean it up. A voter like myself, I will not support if he's not some going to support continuing aid to Ukraine.

And the point that DeSantis makes is essentially, China is the biggest U.S. adversary right now. I don't dispute that, but he argues we can't kind of walk and chew gum, and support our Ukrainian allies while countering China. I disagree with that outright. I think most, you know, pro-national defense Republicans think that we can do both of those and frankly a victorious Putin is a boon to China. I think he's going to have to clarify this at some point. I don't imagine he will sometime soon but before it gets closer and closer to a nomination and if he were to get the nomination.

GOLODRYGA: So, Ron, a two-pronged question. How many Republicans agree with Allyssa's view here, and in general, historically, when you're talking about a general election, how much of a priority is foreign policy, especially when it's not the United States directly at war?

BROWNSTEIN: So first question, generally still a majority of Republicans say they support aid to Ukraine, but that number is steadily declining. And I'm guessing if there are polls, more recent polls than what we have seen earlier this year, in January or so, we might be at majority opposition because they're getting such a clear cue from these party leader figures.

It is a big divide in the Republican Party. And you've seen that in the way in which people like Chris Christie have explicitly compared what DeSantis said to appeasement by Neville Chamberland of Adolph Hitler before World War II. I mean, that's a really explosive word to, you know, put into an intraparty debate.

And as I say, in many ways this echoes the debate Republicans had seven decades ago, why Eisenhower and Robert Taft about whether the focus should be defending Europe against Russia or an Asia first foreign policy, which DeSantis is kind of going toward as well.

I don't think foreign policy historically has been the central fulcrum of presidential elections except when we're actively at war, but it goes into the overall equation of whether you believe, A, someone is up to the job, and B, what is the real fault line now, whether someone shares your values.

And I look at DeSantis doing this in the context of him also pushing likely for a six-week abortion ban, for permitless gun carry in Florida. He was taking a lot of steps -- he could be a formidable candidate to help Republicans regain some of the white collar suburbs they lost in the Trump era, but he is taking a lot of steps that could come back to haunt him with those voters if he's the nominee. [15:50:06]

GOLODRYGA: All right, Ron Brownstein, Alyssa Farah Griffin, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Stocks rebound today on the news that an ailing bank First Republic may be rescued. Details ahead.


BLACKWELL: We're just getting this in. Two airliners were about 14 seconds from colliding at Sarasota, Florida, an airport runway there. This happened on February 16th.


GOLODRYGA: The NTSB says air traffic control cleared an Air Canada Rouge flight which was taking off, when an incoming American 737 was coming in for a landing at the same time. The American flight aborted the landing. Now the two ultimately came within just over half a mile each from each other. The report also said that there were 194 people aboard the Air Canada Rouge aircraft and 178 were aboard the American Airlines plane.

The incident is one of seven runway close calls that have taken place since the start of this year.

And of course, be sure to watch "CNN PRIMETIME TONIGHT" as we go inside the cockpit for a closer look at America's aviation problems. Kate Bolduan hosts "FLIGHT RISK, TURBULENT TIMES FOR AIR TRAVEL." It airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

And "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts after this short break.