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CNN International: Police: Escaped Pennsylvania Killer is Armed; Kim Jong-un Travels to Russia for Talks with Putin; Thousands Feared Dead, Missing in Libya Flooding; Trump Asks Georgia Judge to Dismiss Charges; Morocco Earthquake Recovery. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired September 12, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster joining you live from London, just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have just received confirmation of another sighting of escaped convict in Danelo Cavalcante.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point he is getting desperate this. At this point can get really dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The armored train carrying the leader of North Korea has now arrived in eastern Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim's weapons can help Putin in Ukraine, and Putin's nuclear knowledge can help Kim grow his nuclear arsenal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The death toll here in Morocco is still steadily rising, but that search and rescue operation is also still ongoing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our house there, all the families is dead.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

FOSTER: It is Tuesday, September the 12th, 9:00 a.m. here in London, 4:00 a.m. in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where law enforcement say there's been another sighting of the escaped inmate Danelo Cavalcante. This time they are warning that the convicted killer is armed.

NOBILO: The 34-year-old was last seen about 20 miles north of the prison that he escaped from. Authorities are urging residents to stay indoors and to secure their homes. CNN's Brian Todd has the details on the latest sighting.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have just received confirmation of another sighting of escaped convict in Danelo Cavalcante. This comes from Pennsylvania State Trooper James McKee. He could not provide additional details, but what we also know is that the Pennsylvania State Police have just issued reverse 911 calls to people in the area. General area where he is believed to have ditched a van on Saturday night. Here are the contents of the reverse 911 call that the Pennsylvania State Police issued to local residents on Monday evening. Quote:

The Pennsylvania State Police are receiving reports of escaped convicts and Danelo Cavalcante in the area of Ridge Road, Coventryville Road, and Daisy Point Road in South Coventry Township, possibly armed with a weapon. Residents in the area are asked to lock all external doors and windows, secure vehicles and remain in doors. Please review your surveillance cameras and contact police if you observe anything suspicious. If you see this individual, do not approach him, call 911 immediately. End quote.

That is the contents of reverse 911 calls being issued to people in the area of South Coventry Township. What's significant there is that the Pennsylvania State Police for the first time are saying that Danelo Cavalcante is possibly armed with a weapon. Up until now, they have not had any indication, they said, that he has a weapon on him. Now they're saying he could be armed with a weapon and possibly in that area where he ditched a van, a stolen van on Saturday night.

This would be the third confirmed sighting of him within the last 48 hours between Saturday and Monday evening. He was previously seen at two ring door cameras where he sought help from former work associates.

Brian Todd, CNN Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.


NOBILO: According to Russian state media, the North Korean leader has crossed into Russia's Far East on his heavily armored Soviet era train.

FOSTER: A source tells Reuters that Kim Jong-un briefly got off the train to meet local officials at a Russian border station before resuming his journey. The Kremlin says he and President Vladimir Putin will meet the next few days, but it's not exactly clear when or where.

NOBILO: We have a better idea of what they will discuss and that is weapons and possibly the transfer of technology. North Korean state media published these images of Kim Jong-un ahead of his departure.

And our Clare Sebastian has been following this closely and she joins us now. So Clare, this would be the first trip that Kim Jong-un has taken outside of North Korea for four years. So it's almost like a dramatic return for him to the international stage, a lot riding on this for both leaders. CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and look Russia, now that

it's confirmed it's happening is making it clear that they're going to sort of roll out the red carpet and agree it's going to be a full- blown visit. They said there's going to be a formal dinner to mark his arrival. We don't know what else at this point, we don't know when exactly. They just said in the coming days. We don't know exactly where. But of course President Putin is, as of now in Vladivostok, attending an Eastern Economic Forum.


And so, I think look, clearly there's a lot riding it on it as you say, for both sides. For North Korea, a sort of return into the arms of what was once a very, very crucial Soviet ally. Now, of course, Russia, possibly technology transfer as you say, which would be one of the most crucial things to watch in this, that Russia could go from backing UN sanctions on North Korea's nuclear program to aiding their nuclear program in the space of some six years. And of course, crucial to watch what any kind of arms deal will look like, given we know that Russia has suffered significant depletion of its weapons and ammunition stores in the war in Ukraine and is now of course looking to new partnerships to sustain that more.

NOBILO: How worried should the world be about the potential for this renewed or reinvigorated partnership?

SEBASTIAN: You know, I think there is enough concern. Certainly the U.S. was concerned enough to leak the intelligence or, you know, officially talk about this in the lead up to this perhaps to try to prevent it. Because I think while you hear the White House talking about, you know, weakness and desperation from Putin in terms of having to court North Korea for weapons. It looks like it could also serve to make both sides more dangerous, right? To give Russia the weapons it needs to sustain the fight in Ukraine. And of course, to help bolster North Korea's nuclear program.

Because even if Russia doesn't supply technology or knowledge in this. They will potentially pay for weapons. That money could be funneled into the nuclear program and they have still got their seat on the UN Security Council. So it could stand in the way of any future sanctions. So I think that is why the Americans were worried enough about this.

NOBILO: Clare Sebastian, thank you very much.

FOSTER: The state of a local emergency has been declared in a town in Massachusetts after dangerous flooding trapped residents and washed away roads. The Mayor of Leominster, near Boston, says there's flooding all over the city. Officials say the floods have submerged cars and damaged multiple buildings.

NOBILO: It comes as storms moved across portions of the Northeast, bringing heavy rains Monday. The National Weather Service says the region received between 6 to 9 inches of rain.

FOSTER: The heavy downpour also created this sinkhole in the middle of a street lined with houses. All schools in the area remain closed today.

NOBILO: Meantime, Hurricane Lee is barreling through the Atlantic Ocean and growing larger. The U.S. National Hurricane Centre says the storm is sustaining winds of 150 miles per hour as it moves towards the Leeward Islands. They predict the storm could grow even stronger in the coming hours before turning north.

FOSTER: The storm will bring strong winds, rain and high surf when it passes Bermuda, but it's still not known what impact Lee will have on northeast U.S. and Canada. Experts say Hurricane Lee is expected to weaken as it moves north.

Now a new report says the U.S. has seen more climate and weather disasters this year than any other year in recorded history, at least, and 2023 isn't over yet. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show there have been 23 disasters that have raked up -- or racked up at least $1 billion in damages.

NOBILO: Experts say natural disasters are happening with more ferocity and frequency than ever before, and the immense cost of recovery and rebuilding is putting pressure on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund this year.

FOSTER: Now Libyan authorities say more than 2,000 people are dead after a major storm and catastrophic flooding. And over 5- to 6,000 people are missing. This happened in eastern Libya with the town of Derna has been hit especially hard.

NOBILO: Officials say entire villages were washed away as about 8 months of rain fell in a single day. One official describes Derna as a ghost town, with bodies lying around in many places there. Phone lines are down, making rescue efforts more difficult, and forecasters say even more rain is on the way.

FOSTER: Now back to CNN's Eleni Giokos following developments from Dubai. We're getting a -- it took a while to get the information out because of what happened and because of the area. But we're getting a real sense of it now, aren't we?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we are. And look, the numbers right now is a stand over 2,000 people have lost their lives. That number is, by many accounts, an underestimation because they're around 6,000 people missing. There were reports of bodies lying around. People were swept away by these enormous rains. Exacerbating the situation, you had two dams that were burst by the pressure of the rainfall. And then that causing even more pressure, basically melting away entire homes and cities.

We've seen so many villages -- is not just Derna, but that seems to be sort of the epicenter of the tragedy that's playing out right now. We've seen Benghazi impacted dramatically, Jebel Akhdar as well and other smaller villages that are currently underwater. It is absolutely catastrophic in terms of what we're seeing.

But the emergency and ambulance authorities say that there was a lack of preparedness. That the authorities hadn't been monitoring the weather conditions adequately or seeing what sea levels are doing and watching what the weather would be doing.


And this storm Daniel had hit Greece as well as Turkey and then moved to the eastern parts of Libya. Search and rescue is currently underway. But as you say, very difficult in terms of communication. In fact, some of the rescue teams can't reach other personnel because they are trapped. Many areas are isolated right now. We don't know the extent of how people are trying to get out. The safety of many of these people that have been trapped in the flooded areas.

But Max, it is unbelievably apocalyptic. I mean, some of the images that we're seeing people hanging onto cars sitting on buildings, on rooftops right now. We know Turkey is sending help. They're sending three aircraft and 168 personnel to Benghazi that will be deployed. The UAE also sending assistance, so to is Qatar and the UN is currently on the ground. Because of a lack of a centralized command or system to try and get aid out as quickly as possible. Because you've got two rival factions in the East and the West that have both been vying for power. But this kind of emergency requires coordinated action by governments to try getting assistance as quickly as possible.

FOSTER: Yes, let's hope they work together. Eleni, thank you so much for joining us from Dubai.

NOBILO: Now to the election subversion case against Donald Trump's former White House chief of staff. Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, have until noon today to respond to Mark Meadows's latest legal maneuver.

FOSTER: Meadows is asking a federal appeals court to intervene in his failed bid to have the case moved from state to federal court. CNN's Sara Murray reports.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mark Meadows, Donald Trump's former White House chief of staff, lost his first attempt to move his case that's been playing out in state court in Georgia to federal court last week. A federal judge there said he was not going to move the case to federal court, sent it back to state court. But Meadows's attorneys are intervening, asking that judge to put his decision on hold essentially, while Mark Meadows can appeal it to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meadows's attorneys are arguing that if this proceeds in state court and Meadows is convicted, that this would be, of course, offensive to his rights, then they should let the full appeal play out there. They're especially arguing this because the Fulton County District Attorney's Office has said she wants to see all 19 defendants in this case, including Donald Trump, including Mark Meadows, go to trial in October 2023.

Now the state court judge has been pretty skeptical of that timeline. He's expected to make some decisions this week about when all of these defendants, including potentially Mark Meadows, could go to trial in state court. In the meantime, though, Mark Meadows again waiting on a federal judge to intervene and potentially decide his fate.

Sara Murray, CNN Washington.


FOSTER: Meantime, Donald Trump is asking a court to dismiss most of the charges against him in the Georgia case. His filings on Monday suggest he wants to use the same legal arguments as some of his co- defendants, arguing the state level election interference charges are rife with errors and legally weak.

NOBILO: Trump also may ask to have his case transferred to federal court but given Mark Meadows's failed attempt to do the same, Trump would likely be facing an uphill battle to get his case moved. As for the federal election subversion case against Trump, he's now asking the presiding judge to recuse herself.

FOSTER: In a court filing, the former president argued there was little doubt that members of the public might believe she has prejudiced the facts in the case and that Trump's -- and Trump's alleged culpability. He points to comments Judge Tanya Chutkan made in cases involving January 6th Capitol rioters, including this one, from a sentencing hearing. Where she said, quote: The people who mocked that Capitol were there in fealty and loyalty to the one man not to the Constitution. It's a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.

NOBILO: And in another sentencing hearing, Judge Chutkan told the Capitol riot defendant, quote:

The people who exhorted you and encouraged you and rallied you to go and take action and to fight have not been charged, adding the issue of who has or has not been charged is not before me. I don't have any influence on that. I have my opinions. But they're not relevant.

FOSTER: In response to Trump's request, the judge has asked for the point of view of the Justice Department prosecutors, as CNN legal analysts are also weighing in.


NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There needs to be a reasonable appearance of bias or partiality, and I don't think that these statements that Judge Chutkan made in those other cases amount to that. She's had to assess the larger context of who's responsible here as part of sentencing, including because those defendants have at times raised it. So if you look at the case law on what amounts to bias, this is not it. And this motion is overwhelmingly likely to fail.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is a fairly high standard for a judge to make the recusal decision.

[04:15:00] Her statement was strong in terms of the fact that it was directed directly against the former president, who now is the defendant in the case before her. But the context is also important. And the context of it is that she was in consideration of the sentencing of other January 6 related defendants. So it's not as if she was just making these comments extraneously or without any prompting. It was in the context of prosecutions for the events of January 6.


FOSTER: Officials with MGM Resorts say their systems are operating again after cyber security issue impacted hotel, dining and gaming activities on Monday. You can see here the slot machines were silent across the sprawling gambling floor at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, The MGM Resorts International website has been down as well, directing people to call for reservations and services in several cities.

NOBILO: The vast casino and hotel empire, isn't saying what's causing the problem, but it says it immediately shut down some systems to protect them, and the company's data. And is working with law enforcement and cyber security experts to determine what happened here.

Updated COVID booster shots have passed their first regulatory hurdle in the U.S. Details on the new vaccines and when they might be available.

FOSTER: Plus, hope is fading of finding more survivors in Morocco after Fridays, massive earthquake. And some villagers say they're left to fend for themselves with help very slow to arrive.

NOBILO: And later on in the show, the new quarterback for the New York Jets, grounded after just four plays, the latest on Aaron Rodgers injury still to come.



FOSTER: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new round of COVID-19 booster shots.

NOBILO: These are mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. They've been updated to teach the body to fight off the latest subvariants of the virus. Another committee and the CDC still have to sign off on the new vaccines before they can be administered to people, but that could happen as early as this week.

FOSTER: An American caver is thanking the Turkish government and team of rescuers from multiple countries for saving his life. Mark Dickey was trapped in Turkey's third deepest cave more than 3,000 feet underground.

NOBILO: He reportedly suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding. More than 200 rescuers worked to get him back to the surface, and he was immediately taken to hospital Tuesday. Here's what he had to say about. The whole experience.


MARK DICKEY, AMERICAN CAVER: It is amazing to be above ground again. I was underground for far longer than ever expected within with an unexpected medical issue. At one point in time while I was waiting for Jessica to get back down with fluids, she made an insane climb of 1,000 meters out of a cave to come back down another thousand meters along with the support of Hungarians and Turkish cavers saved my life. And it was the rapid response to the Turkish Government that got the resources to her. Just -- what can you say? Saved my life.


NOBILO: Rescuers in Morocco are working urgently to find survivors in the rubble more than three days after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake.

FOSTER: The death toll has climbed past 2,800, with that number still expected to rise in the days ahead. Aid has been slow to reach some of the hardest hit remote villages where roads have been destroyed or blocked by debris. State media report Morocco's military has now reached the epicenter with aid and equipment to help clear the roads.

NOBILO: But before any help could arrive, locals rushed to reach survivors after the quake. One man describes how he dug by hand to save people, including his own sister.


MOHAMED OUCHEN, EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR (through translator): I heard people screaming as they were dying. Please pull us out, after I managed to leave, I rushed to save people. We were busy rescuing because we didn't have tools, we used our hands. Her head was visible, and we kept digging by hand. We rescued 25. Eight are still in hospital. The rest returned.


NOBILO: For so many in Morocco, their lives have been forever changed. CNN's Nada Bashir is in Marrakesh after traveling to one hard hit area where residents are losing hope now of finding any more survivors.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, the death toll here in Morocco is still steadily rising, but that search and rescue operation to pull survivors from the rubble in areas worst affected by the earthquake is also still ongoing. And what we've seen over the last few days is a real struggle for these search and rescue teams to reach some of these remote villages in the mountains. And we visited one of them earlier today and it was total devastation.

Now International Rescue teams are now beginning to arrive. But the message that we heard from many rescuers on the ground and that is that it is simply too late. That the hope for finding survivors is dwindling fast.

And of course, there is a real need on the humanitarian relief front. Many of those in these remote villages have been left not only without homes, but without any food, without any medical attention. And that has been a real concern for those impacted by the earthquake.

Now we've heard from the government. They have pledged compensation for those that have lost their homes. They have pledged a swift response effort when it comes to rebuilding the homes that have been destroyed by the earthquake. But for those that are still waiting for news of their loved ones buried beneath the rubble, this will come as no solace.

Many are now questioning why the response didn't happen soon enough. Why they have been waiting days and days for these rescue teams to arrive. Some told us they spent days digging through the rubble with their bare hands.

Now, of course, this is a devastating moment for Morocco. But this is something that the country will be dealing with for months, if not years to come.

Nada Bashir, CNN in Marrakesh.


FOSTER: Rescue teams in the hard-hit mountainous areas are dealing with a number of challenges, including the terrain. And here's CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Where this earthquake occurred in Morocco is going to pose a huge logistical challenge when it comes to recovery efforts. You can zoom in a little bit.


We can see that these -- the terrain is really mountainous. We're looking at peaks that are as much as 10- to 13,000 feet high. And so you have to think getting to these small villages around the mountains is not only going to take crews much, much longer, but also the roads might be much more narrow than, say, if you were just going to one large city. You know, these are very rural areas in the mountains. And so, logistically it's going to be a huge challenge for rescuers not only to get in there, but also get the equipment that they need into these small towns and villages high in the mountains as well.

I want to show you the forecast because moving forward we are going to see a pretty dry forecast which is good. We've been very hot in this region over the last couple days. And so, we are going to see a couple of passing clouds. But as far as rainfall goes, we're going to stay dry, which is good. We do hit the 90s once again Wednesday and Thursday. So the hot temperatures will stick around for the foreseeable future.

FOSTER: Thanks to Jennifer there. Now UNICEF says Morocco's earthquake has affected at least 100,000

children, with thousands of homes destroyed, displacing families and exposing them to very difficult conditions.

NOBILO: The agency also points to the damage done to schools, hospitals and educational facilities, which of course further impacts children. UNICEF says it mobilized humanitarian staff to provide immediate support on the ground.

FOSTER: And now still to come, a New Mexico sheriff calls a recent order from the governor unconstitutional. We'll have the latest on the state's attempts to lower gun violence.

NOBILO: And U.S. House lawmakers go back to work today, but trouble is looming. Why we could see a new showdown over spending and calls for impeachment.