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CNN This Morning

Texas Massacre Suspect Arrested Just Miles from Shooting; U.S. Deploying 1,500 Troops Ahead of Expected Migrant Surge; 3 More Busloads of Migrants Set to Arrive in NYC from Texas; Trump Considering Skipping 1 or More GOP Debates; Trump Accuser's Friend: She Hyperventilated in Call After Alleged Rape; Trove of Justice John Paul Stevens' Private Papers Made Public. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 03, 2023 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a spy, like me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you touch me, I'm going to scream.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you just throw a knife at me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought you were going to catch it.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The spy action thriller "Citadel" on Amazon Prime.

All right. Thanks for joining me this morning. I'm Christine Romans. CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. We are so glad you're with us on this Wednesday. Let's get started with the "Five Things to Know" for this May 3, 2023.

The manhunt in Texas is over. Law enforcement have arrested a gunman accused of killing five people, including a 9-year-old. They say a tip led to his arrest.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Also happening today, the Fed is expected to raise interest rates again. The big question, though, is whether the Fed chair, Jay Powell, signals that a pause is to come.

Also, the Biden administration now signing off on sending 1,500 U.S. troops to the Southern border ahead of an expected surge in migrants. The U.S. also announced a new immigration deal with Mexico, aimed at deterring border crossings.

HARLOW: Also this morning, new and promising data just released on an Alzheimer's treatment. Details about the drug the company says significantly slowed cognitive and functional decline.

And Tucker Carlson text message revealed. "The New York Times" reports that that former FOX host sent a message about an assault video that said, quote, "It's not how white men fight."

New information on how that text may have contributed to his firing.

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

We do begin with the Texas massacre suspect accused of gunning down five of his neighbors. He is now under arrest after a huge manhunt. The FBI says it received a tip that he was holed up in a house just miles away from the murder scene.

We're told a tactical team went in and found him hiding inside a closet under a pile of laundry. Take a look. This is video of him, Francisco Oporesa, being led out in handcuffs and put in a truck.


JIMMY PAUL, FBI ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We don't let up. We always said, it's not a matter of if, but a matter of when the suspect is going to be caught. And we're extremely glad that today was the when.


HARLOW: On Friday, investigators say Oporesa stormed into his neighbor's house with an AR-15 gun, murdered five people, including a 9-year-old boy, after the family complained about him shooting outside of his house late at night.

The four-day manhunt stretched all the way down to the Southern border, but this is where they ended up finding him. You can see just how close the suspect was hiding to the original scene of the shooting.

Let's go to Ed Lavandera, he continues to follow this in Cleveland, Texas, where the murders happened.

Ed, good morning to you. Well, look, we were talking this time yesterday, and they had no leads, and now this.


Well, in the last few days, FBI officials tell us that more than 200 tips came pouring in from across the country, as they tried to hunt down Francisco Oporesa.

But the tip that brought all of this to an end came in late yesterday afternoon, and as that news was breaking, the partner of one of the victims told us they were so happy and relieved.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): The manhunt came to an end in a home less than 20 miles from where authorities say Francisco Oporesa shot and killed five people last Friday night.

The arrest was captured on video by a neighbor, who witnessed law enforcement officers descend on the scene of the house where Oporesa was found.

The San Jacinto County sheriff announced the arrest, calling the accused killer a, quote, "coward."

SHERIFF GREG CAPERS, SAN JACINTO COUNTY: He was caught hiding in a closet, underneath some laundry. They -- the effectively made the arrest. He is uninjured, and he is currently being taken to my facility in Coldspring.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Investigators say an anonymous tip led authorities to Oporesa's hiding spot around 5:15 local time Tuesday afternoon. That tip led to a home associated with one of Oporesa's family members, a law enforcement source told CNN. Just over an hour later, Oporesa was captured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just want to thank the person who had the courage and braver to call in the suspect's location.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): A law enforcement source also tells CNN that investigators had surveilled Francisco Oporesa's wife to a home in the same area where the 38-year-old fugitive was arrested. Authorities say they are now investigating whether the suspect had any help in hiding while he was on the run for four days.

CAPERS: Nobody else is in custody tonight, and I'm assuming that they are still at the house, questioning the people that were at the house where the suspect was arrested.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Investigators say it all started when Oporesa was asked by his neighbors to stop shooting his rifle in his front yard, because their newborn baby was sleeping.

In response, he allegedly opened fire on his neighbors in their home, killing five people, all Honduran nationals, including Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25 years old, and her son, Daniel Enrique Laso Guzman, who was 9.

Oporesa's arrest brings a sense of relief for this community that's has been gripped by fear since the deadly rampage.

JOE RUIZ DE CHAVEZ, SUPERVISORY DEPUTY, U.S. MARSHALS: This is a very sad time for the -- the victims, and I hope that this will bring them some comfort and they can grieve.


LAVANDERA (on camera): And Poppy, Francisco Oporesa is expected to make a court appearance later this morning here in San Jacinto County. He has been charged with five counts of murder and is being held on a $5 million bond. The sheriff here in San Jacinto County says there is a chance that

these murder charges get elevated to capital murder charges, which would mean he'd be eligible for the death penalty here in Texas -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. Ed, thank you so much. Some answers for the family this morning, at least.

COLLINS: Some of those.

Also more answers this morning after an urgent manhunt is now underway near the University of California Davis. There were three stabbings in less than a week.

Fifty-year-old David Breaux was the first attack victim who was killed on Thursday. Then on Saturday, 21-year-old college senior, Karim Najm was killed. His father says he had a bright future ahead of him.


MAJDI ABOU NAJM, SON STABBED TO DEATH NEAR UC DAVIS: He was just six weeks away from graduating. This was his last quarter. He was so proud and so happy and so thankful.


COLLINS: Then, there was a third stabbing on Monday that left a woman in critical condition. Her friend says she didn't know what hit her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we turned to our friend, she had been stabbed once. She thought it was a punch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to sleep when you're in fear for your life, bro. It's very, very difficult.


COLLINS: Overnight, authorities have lifted the shelter in place order that had been put in order for Davis, California. Now they're combing through tips. They have not been able to track or link any of the attacks so far.

Officials have described the suspect as a man with curly hair, a thin build, and light complexion. They say he's between 5'6" and 5'9."

HARLOW: This morning, the Biden administration is taking steps to address the crisis at the Southern border. Fifteen hundred active-duty troops will be sent to the U.S./Mexico border, and the administration and officials right there on the ground are bracing for a surge of migrants when Title 42 expires at the end of next week.

The Trump-era policy allows officials to expel migrants because of the pandemic. And this crisis is not just exclusive to the Southern United States.

Any minute now, buses of migrants from Texas, chartered by the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, will arrive right here in New York City. That's where we find our Polo Sandoval. He is at New York City's Port Authority bus terminal. We'll get to you in a moment, Polo.

But let me go first to Priscilla Alvarez at the White House. Obviously, you cover the White House, all things Biden administration, but also have deeply covered the Southern border on immigration. What can we expect from this?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, this is a measure that we have seen the federal government take before, when they anticipate a surge.

And what these troops do is allow Customs and Border Protection officers and agents to patrol, to process migrants.

So what we know from officials is that this will be a 90-day deployment. It includes ground base detection, data entry, as well as warehouse support.

And it's already, to some degree, receiving pushback from Democrats. Senator Bob Menendez, who has been a critic of the Biden's immigration policy, said, quote, "deploying military personnel only signals that migrants are a threat that require our nation's troops to contain. Nothing could be further from the truth."

But Poppy, this is one of many measures that are being taken by the Biden administration as they anticipate an influx of migrants have Title 42 lifts next week.

And it includes also a deal struck with Mexico that we learned about overnight that will allow the U.S. to return certain nationalities, non-Mexicans, to Mexico. It includes expediting asylum processes, as well, and bolstering transportation and capacity along the U.S./Mexico border.

And look, this is an issue that is a political vulnerability for Biden. It's opened him up to criticism from Democrats and Republicans. And it is already stoking tensions with cities like New York City.

COLLINS: Well, and speaking of that, Polo, you're here in New York, where the Democratic mayor here has been very blunt in his assessment of this. Not just how the White House is handling it. He's also been critical of Republicans.

But talking about the effect that migrants here in New York have had on the city's resources, straining them.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly has led to some political friction, too, Kaitlan. And it's important to point out that what we're going to see today here in New York City's Port Authority in Manhattan, is that it's certainly not unprecedented.

The governor of Texas has taken this step before in sending those migrants, who have been processed along the Southern border by federal authorities, who are requesting to head to the Northeast.


We've seen this before. We saw it in August when some of these buses were arriving here in New York City.

Now, we should point out, that is just a fraction. Some of these Abbott-chartered buses are just a fraction of the larger number of migrants that we've been seeing here, now closing in on nearly 60,000 in the last year. And costing the city well over $817 million.

So the concern here for officials is just -- not just the obvious political theater behind all of this, as we get ready to see some of these buses arrive later today, but also the lack of coordination.

One city official telling me this morning, Kaitlan, that had it not been for some of the NGOs on the ground in Texas, that they wouldn't even know that they were coming.

So that really does go -- it speaks to the level of concerns on behalf of New York City officials, the conversation that you guys had recently also with Chicago's mayor. Very similar, as well, as we continue to see these efforts really amped up again by the Texas governor, to send those migrants who are looking to head to other parts of the country, offering them free rides.

And the mayors in those cities are saying that each additional asylum seeker certainly adds more strain to the system that already can't handle any more.

HARLOW: I've heard that from a number of mayors and governors across the country.

Polo, thank you.

Priscilla, thanks very much for that reporting at the White House.

COLLINS: Also this morning, former President Trump is now considering skipping one or more of the Republican primary dates [SIC]. We have -- debates. We have reporting about his potential strategy next.

HARLOW: Overnight, North Carolina Republican lawmakers reaching a deal on new abortion restrictions in that state. What does it mean for women there and how the law stacks up against other states? We'll have that ahead.



HARLOW: So news overnight that former President Trump is considering skipping one or both of the first two Republican primary debates. That's according to three sources -- three -- who spoke with the former president about his plans.

Several recent polls show Trump with a 30 percentage point lead over his next closest potential rival, someone who hasn't even officially announced yet, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

One of former President Trump's advisers told CNN, quote, "Why would we debate? That would be stupid to go out there with that kind of lead."

Our Kristen Holmes, who is following the former president, joins us this morning from Washington.

Good morning. There were threats and debate -- a debate, at least, skipped last time around for Trump. So same thing this time?


Well, look, everyone that I have talked to who has had discussions with the former president in the last several weeks say this is a real possibility.

Now, I did talk to one Trump adviser who advised me that this was still fluid, that this could change. It was early in 2024. And as you noted, Trump's considered main rival, Ron DeSantis, hasn't even entered the race yet.

But according to these people, they are looking at the current landscape and seeing those poll numbers, seeing that lead. And they think it would only benefit Trump's rivals for Trump to get up on the stage with them.

Now, the other thing to note is that there are two other reasons that he would potentially skip these early debates, the first being timing. Trump has told a number of sources that I have spoken to that he doesn't want to debate in August. He thinks it's too early. He wants to enjoy his summer. Trump advisers told me that they told the RNC that before those dates were ever announced.

But I did have two sources push back on that, saying that Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman, called Trump directly and told him about those debates, and there was not this aggressive level of pushback.

The other reason is location. That second debate is supposed to be held at Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Former President Trump has told a number of people close to him that he doesn't want to perform there, because he holds a little bit of resentment for the fact that they have never invited him to speak, despite the fact that they have invited a number of other Republican leaders to speak.

HARLOW: What about the RNC? What they're saying, what they could do.

HOLMES: Well, remember, look, this is up to the former president, to the candidate --

HARLOW: Right.

HOLMES: -- to participate in this debate or not. As you have said, Poppy, he skipped a debate last time around, back in 2016. But the thing to note here is I spoke to a number of RNC officials,

senior Republican operatives who say that they do believe that Trump will eventually get up on that debate stage, when it comes down to it, because he doesn't want see his rivals, particularly Ron DeSantis or Mike Pence, out there getting all of the spotlight, Poppy.

HARLOW: Christine Holmes, really interesting reporting, thank you.

COLLINS: Speaking of former President Trump, he is not going to be taking the stand here in New York during E. Jean Carroll's trial accusing him of rape and defamation. That is according to his attorney, Joe Tacopina, who you see here with him when Trump was in court for a different case.

Carroll's attorneys told the judge yesterday they do plan to show the jury clips from the former president's deposition in this case.

The columnist, of course, as we know, is suing Trump for battery and defamation. She says that he raped her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman's dressing room here in New York. He has said it never happened.

Yesterday, Carroll's friend was called to testify, saying that five minutes after the alleged rape, she heard from her friend. It was -- she was breathless and hyperventilating.

CNN's Kara Scannell is here.

Kara, obviously, we've been tracking the developments in this every day. Yesterday seemed intent on having witnesses to bolster E. Jean Carroll's allegations.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean, her attorneys called her friend, who she called five minutes after, Lisa Birnbach, and she was there to corroborate Carroll's story.

So she provided some vivid details, saying that she remembered she was in the kitchen, it's between 6 and 7 p.m., because she was feeding her little kids, and that she got this call from Carroll, who was hyperventilating, who was emotional. And she said it sounded like she had a jolt of adrenaline going through her body.

And then she said that Carroll recounted to her the same story that we've heard Carroll testify to on the stand. The meeting at the revolving door, going upstairs to the lingerie department, and then that's where she says she was assaulted.

And her friend says she told her, "E. Jean, he raped you, and you need to go to the police."

And that Carroll said, No, no, no, we got into a fight, and, like, let's not talk about this again. And that's exactly what Carroll had testified to.

But they also called another woman who is not associated with E. Jean Carroll, but she said that she was assaulted by Trump on an airplane in 1979. And she provided this testimony, saying that he groped her, he grabbed her.

And the reason why Carroll's attorneys called her is they want to show a pattern. They also played a video from Trump's campaign where he said, "She wouldn't be my first choice." Because they're saying, you know, if he attacks someone, they call him out on it, he attacks them back.

HARLOW: We -- He's not going to testify, as Kaitlan just said, according to his attorneys, but they're going to show clips of his deposition in this trial? Is that right?


SCANNELL: Yes. I mean, and this is a civil case, so you know, there's -- he's not required to be there. It's not like a criminal case.

HARLOW: Right.

SCANNELL: And he has chosen not to appear at all in this entire trial. He's on trial, like you said, with this allegation of rape. He's chosen not to appear. So they can use this videotaped deposition.

They're going to play, I think she said, about 45 minutes of it. And we've seen the transcript of this, so we know what he says. And he calls Carroll nuts. He denies this.

But that will be the one look that the jury sees of Trump in this, you know, facing these allegations and what he says to it.

You know, there's a limitation here. They can't ask him questions based on what's come up now. You know, it will only be what he was asked about in October.

And Carroll's team says that they're going to rest their case probably as soon as tomorrow. So this is moving along.

COLLINS: Yes. And his attorney says it's his call not to come. He's been avoiding court.

Kara Scannell, I know you're tracking all of it. Thank you so much.

HARLOW: Newly-released documents this morning are pulling back the curtain on a pivotal period for the Supreme Court. We'll talk about that.

Also, watch this.





(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Yes, if your reaction is, you need to see that video again, that is what many people said after they watched this. That is an officer in Virginia. He narrowly escaped getting crushed by a car out of control, coming from a cross lanes of traffic during a traffic stop.

Police say the 17-year-old driver of that car was speeding and lost control. Incredibly, the officer only has minor injuries. The teen, though, is facing reckless driving charges.



COLLINS: In North Carolina, Republicans now moving forward with an abortion ban that is all but certain to pass.

State lawmakers revealed the -- the bill after secret negotiations. It would restrict abortion after 12 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, and if the mother's life is in danger. Not as restrictive as bans in other states, but still pretty restrictive.

Governor Roy Cooper is a Democrat. He won't be able to veto this one, though, like he has with other abortion bills there in the state in the past. This time, that's because the GOP has a supermajority in his state.

All this comes after we saw abortion bans fail in South Carolina and Nebraska in recent days.

HARLOW: As some lawmakers push for a lot more transparency and ethics reforms to the Supreme Court, new documents are pulling the curtain back on a really pivotal period for the high court.

The Library of Congress has released a trove of once-private papers belonging to the late justice, John Paul Stevens.

Our senior Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic, has gone through all of them. She joins us now.

And this is so interesting, because it's so rare. And we don't get it for all of the justices.

And -- and I just want to start out, Joan, with one thing that it showed, how Justice Sandra Day O'Connor really provided the early framework and steered the outcome of the 2000 election. Can you take us sort of behind the scenes? We're talking about Bush versus Gore.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Sure, Poppy. Frankly, I live for days like yesterday. I mean, seriously, when you just said I'd been through all of them, no, because there are like 700 boxes.

HARLOW: A lot of them, I should say.

BISKUPIC: I will be, yes. And it's just so great, because while it's rare that these papers become available, it's not exceedingly rare. The last batch that we had came from justices who served until the

early 1990s: Justices Harry Blackmun and Thurgood Marshall.

And this pivotal period, which includes Bush v. Gore, is from 1994 to the year 2004. All of these papers are opened up, so we can see who influenced whom, what other justices who might have secretly steered the outcome, how much they might have been looking to outside forces.

It's just a real treasure-trove to understand how the law of the nation is decided.

And in Bush v. Gore that you asked about, you know, that 5-4 opinion that came down late on the night of December 12, 2000, deciding the election, giving George W. Bush the White House over then-Vice President Al Gore was an unsigned opinion. We weren't sure exactly who truly influenced it.

And what we see is that the actual writing was done by Anthony Kennedy, but he was using a framework that was provided by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, and a woman who herself was steeped in politics, because she was in Arizona state legislature.

And I love to say that she came to Washington knowing how to count votes, and she truly did.

And they worked together, again, to give Bush the White House. But also. to rob Chief Justice William Rehnquist of a theory that he was pushing that would have, frankly, really empowered state legislatures at the expense of state courts and state constitutions.

So we got to see all that, plus some of the tensions behind the scenes. You know, just as Antonin Scalia, who was in the majority, famously used to tell the public, get over it. And we see some of -- we saw yesterday some of what he was writing to his colleagues about how angry he was at dissenters.

But even mild-mannered Anthony Kennedy was saying, you know, You -- you liberal dissenters who are saying that the integrity of the court will be -- will be lost, you're just putting forward something that will be a self-fulfilling prophesy.

HARLOW: It's fascinating, especially when you think of the Stevens dissent in Bush v. Gore, the last line, "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

That was then. We're 23 years past that now.

BISKUPIC: You know, Poppy, and it was Bush v. Gore seemed such -- so unusual, so unprecedented. And that language that you just read from Justice Stevens seemed such a departure from what -- how justices would speak at the time. Now, it's almost like an everyday occurrence among outside critics of

the Supreme Court, but also among some justices inside. The -- you know, the integrity of the Supreme Court, its vaunted impartiality are really being questioned today in a way that, back in the year 2000 --