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CNN This Morning

Surge of Migrants being Processed at U.S. Southern Border as Title 42 Ends; Daniel Penny Turns Himself In as Manhattan D.A. Charges Him with Second-Degree Manslaughter after Choking Jordan Neely to Death on New York Subway; Italy Investigating Why Pasta Prices Are Up; California Lab Reports First Net Energy Gain From Nuclear Fusion. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 12, 2023 - 08:00   ET



STEPHEN BRIGHT, PROFESSOR OF LAW, YALE AND GEORGETOWN: Well, yes, and the Supreme Court has at least said at the guilt phase that we have to have unanimous juries. And there are two reasons for that. One, the jury system, when you have a unanimous jury, it means that every person has the same amount of power. Every person has to be heard. When you have non-unanimous juries, when you say you can disregard four jurors, very often that's the four people of color that are on the jury of the two, three, however many people of color are on the jury.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Stephen Bright, thank you very much -- Professor Bright. I still have a hard time calling you Steve. Congratulations.

BRIGHT: Thank you again for having me.

HARLOW: Appreciate it, very, very much.

BRIGHT: Poppy, great to see you.

HARLOW: The new book again, "The Fear of Too Much Justice, Race Poverty and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts," will be released in June.

CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: And so we've seen success. We will achieve success. It will take time. And to avoid, to avoid the number of people arriving at our southern border, we need to fix the broken immigration system. And by the way, a broken immigration system that was dismantled by the prior administration.


HARLOW: It is the top of the hour, and a very significant Friday with a lot of news, particularly on immigration in this country. That was Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas just moments ago right here talking to Phil on CNN THIS MORNING. We are live on both sides of the southern border as Title 42 expired overnight. The United States bracing for tens of thousands us of migrants who have been waiting to cross.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, at any moment here in New York City we are expecting a Marine veteran to turn himself in after a deadly chokehold on the subway sparked outrage across the nation.

HARLOW: Today's debt limit meeting between President Biden and Congressional leaders called off. What does it mean for negotiations as our nation inches closer to a catastrophic default?

This hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

This morning, the crisis at the southern border is escalating after Title 42 expired at midnight. Take a look. These are live pictures out of Yuma, Arizona. Tens of thousands of migrants have been waiting near the border for this very moment as the clock ran out on the immigration rule. Overnight, a judge blocked the Biden administration from quickly releasing migrants without giving them a court date, and U.S. officials are raising the alarm that it will lead to dangerous overcrowding at border facilities.

We are live on both sides of the southern border at the same border gate. Rosa Flores, you'll see there in El Paso, and our David Culver is on the other side of that wall in Juarez, Mexico. David, let's begin with you. What are you seeing?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, what we are seeing right now is what we saw right when Title 42 officially lifted at midnight eastern time, 9:59 p.m. here in Ciudad Juarez. And that is a rather quiet scene right now. And it's interesting because you can see what our just now few dozen people left. And we have been showing you this over the past few days, and there were hundreds if not thousands camped out here for hours, days, and weeks leading up to the expiration of Title 42.

But they are focused on getting to that point, and that technically is U.S. soil, by the way, was not the deadline for Title 42. We have been talking about this, too. They are on their own schedules in trying to get to the U.S. Everyone has a different plan of action and a different focus. And so it's not a monolith amongst all the migrants that you see. They are all focused on different aspects of when they want to get to the U.S., how they are going to get to the U.S.

But one thing that has been significant is the show of force. What you see behind me are those barbed-wire fences which have been increasing and really coming closer and closer. They have been making this box here, if you will, smaller. And they've been preventing as of the past 24 hours any migrants from crossing over the Rio Grande here to go from Mexico into Texas.

Now, that is mostly Texas National Guard and Texas state troopers. If you go back to November and December, sure, we saw this show of force starting to come on, but now it's certainly more intense, and you are also now starting to see more cooperation between CBP, federal officials in the U.S., and Texas law enforcement in trying to process the migrants.

I would say about 24 hours ago when you had about 1,000 plus people here, you had mostly families. What we then saw 12 hours or so ago was the dividing of different groups. You had families on one side. You had unaccompanied minors put into a group, and then you had single men. And it seems they are down to just the single men that they are continuing to process at this hour.

And you heard Secretary Mayorkas a short time ago right here on CNN THIS MORNING describing the desire to screen, process, and vet. And if you look over here, right at gate 42 as the sun is coming right behind it, you see a line of migrants that are going through that process right now.


The biggest question is, all right, Title 42 is over. What next? As I pointed out, it's case by case, depending on the migrant you speak with. We have been on the trains, the freight trains that migrants travel in from southern Mexico. They make very, very long journeys. Some of them take several months to get here. They tell us they are going to continue to not only try to get to the U.S., but they're going to try to get their family members in. There is a determination, certainly a desperation. But also, if they can't do it legally, as many of them hope to, we see even at this hour a lot of them in the city center here in Ciudad Juarez on their phones trying to go through the CBP one app, trying to get an appointment asylum officers. If they can't get that appointment, they say they will figure out other ways to get across.

Ultimately, though, if it's not legally, they're going to try to go undetected. So that shows you just where their mindset is at, not based on U.S. policy, Poppy, which has been back and forth so many times. And yes, while Title 42 is now officially lifted, they really are looking for what is next for them on an individual basis. And that's got to be stressed here.

MATTINGLY: Yes, what's the root causes that are probably more important than anything else. As this point they've been doing great coverage. Stay with us for a minute. We are going go across the border from Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, where we find CNN's Rosa Flores. Rosa, what have you seen over the course of this morning?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm just across the river from David Culver, and we are seeing exactly that same thing. What he is mentioning are the individuals who are just behind the border wall that you see behind me. And according to the Border Patrol chief, within 48 hours there is about 2,500 migrants, and yesterday afternoon he was here. He spoke to the media about how about 1,500 of those had been processed and that about 1,000 were remaining. And if you remember those -- that video that David Culver was just showing us moments ago, that's exactly what the Border Patrol chief had explained, that in the next 24 hours that they were planning on processing all of those individuals as quickly as they could and that they were going to prioritize families to make sure that those individuals were processed first, vetted first. I can tell you it gets very cold here overnight. That was one of the reasons they wanted to prioritize families and vulnerable individuals.

Now, Secretary Mayorkas just telling our own Phil Mattingly that individual are arriving, migrants are arriving. They are being vetted under Title 8. That's the decades-old protocol, and that the Biden administration has been preparing for this moment for a very long time and that they are focusing on implementing policies that have legal consequences and built-in legal consequences, but also that they have legal pathways for migrants to come into the United States.

Now, one of the policies that has been most criticized is the ban on asylum for individuals who cross over countries and don't seek protections in those countries. And Poppy and Phil, I should mention the ACLU overnight filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration, saying that that's very dangerous for migrants because a lot of them would be likely deported or removed immediately under Title 8.

MATTINGLY: David and Rosa at the border, thanks so much.

And just moments ago, a Marine veteran turned himself into New York City police in the killing of a homeless man in the subway in New York. Manhattan district attorney's office says they will charge 24- year-old Daniel Penny with manslaughter. It's been almost two weeks since this happened. We know it has happened. His attorneys, Daniel Penny's attorneys, are speaking right now. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- now we will wait for the case to get to court, and I have a feeling I will see you all at the courthouse. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: And we have Omar Jimenez there that we want to take you to right now. And Omar, obviously, we have been waiting for this. We knew it was coming. What have you heard up to this point? What were the lawyers saying there?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so that was a lawyer for Daniel Penny, Thomas Kenniff. And he was basically laying out what we had just saw unfold a few moments ago, that Daniel Penny, his client, turned himself in shortly after 8:00 a.m. eastern time. Penny, of course, is the man who put Jordan Neely in the subway in a chokehold, killing him. And of course, he is expected be charged with second- degree manslaughter.

Now, as to the attorney, Penny is inside the police precinct right now where he turned himself in. Later today he is expected to be in court where they do expect an arraignment as well. Previously, Kenniff has described their outlook on the case as Penny was someone who is not only defending himself but people in the train car as well. But of course, on the other side of things, you have had protesters across the city who have said, no, this was a clear example of murder because of what people have at least seen unfold on cellphone video.


So of course, those are the arguments back and forth. The district attorney's office, the official charges that would -- that are going to come down are expected to be second-degree manslaughter as well. One of the things he just said a few moments ago, Thomas Kenniff, was that he -- and this may give us a glimpse into some of the defense -- was that he described himself turning -- or described Penny turning himself in as doing so honorably and in a way that is characteristic of service to this country. Of course, Penny, a U.S. marine veteran. So that may give us some clues into how they intend to defend his actions in this particular case.

But again, it is one that has ignited a firestorm of not just protests here in New York but also discussions about homelessness, mental health, basically all of the factors that ended up, as we understand, putting Jordan Neely in this situation in the first place. And then, of course, the facts that we have heard from witnesses in this that he was acting erratically prior, asking for food, saying he was hungry, saying he was thirsty, saying he wasn't afraid to go to jail to serve a life sentence. And then from there, it's in those moments that are going to be the crux of this case. What happened when he started acting erratically, as witnesses have described, between those words and when this chokehold began. And that, of course, is going to make a major difference here as many have asked and declared, should this case have resulted in death.

MATTINGLY: That's right. Omar Jimenez for us on the scene, thanks so much.

HARLOW: Let's bring in CNN anchor and correspondent Audie Cornish as well as CNN political commentator, "New York" magazine commentator Errol Louis, who knows everything about New York City. And I want you both to way in. Errol, let me just give it to you.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's startling and it's sad, and it's a case that, I think is really starting to bring the city together to have a conversation about some really important problems around mental health, around drug addiction, around how the city responds. At least half a dozen city agencies touched Jordan Neely's life over the last couple of years. That includes the jails. And that includes the cops. And that includes cases where he was in city custody, and we still, as a city, were not able to help this person. And so those are sort of the most important questions in my opinion, long term.

What happens to Daniel Penny? Unfortunately, his defense is largely going to turn on making this seem as if the subways are scary, that people who are sick and in need are also a threat that have to be met physical force, and in this case deadly physical force. A lot of us don't believe that that is true, but that's going to be the conversation that we are going to have.

MATTINGLY: Audie, could I ask you, I heard this before, and it's jarring how many agencies, how many federal or state government institutions had a role in a life and totally failed, totally failed. I am not putting blame on anybody, but for this to reach this point for so many people in this city and so many cities, what does that tell you kind of about the state of things in the country?

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: That's a really big question. I'll draw a circle around it this way. A few years ago this death might have gone unnoticed, and we are now in the kind of post- George Floyd era where there is video and there is outcry and there is not the assumption that the victim is guilty, that the victim is the person who is big, scary, bad, and needed to be taken down.

The flipside is part of the backlash to that dialogue is that it might be OK in some cases for people to believe they can take it upon themselves to take down a threat or anything they perceive to be a threat. And that has accompanied a lot of legislation, kind of stand your ground things, that say I can step in as a regular person and do something. And as a culture, we are now going to have a dialogue about where do those things meet? What is justice if those two ideas clash?

HARLOW: You nailed it. And I think that's such an important and hard and gritty conversation to have that we need to be having more of.

CORNISH: Omar drew a line under it when he mentioned that the attorneys are already saying this is an honorable person, this is a person -- we are going to hear a lot about his military experience. And I am sure we are going to hear about whether that experience should be deployed in a civilian setting under ideas of perceived threat, especially in a trans-racial death.

LOUIS: Hopefully we don't lose the idea that if somebody is on the train, even if you are afraid of him, screaming that he is hungry, maybe instead of a chokehold you give him a sandwich, or you give him a mint or a candy bar.

CORNISH: But that's also a very New Yorker perception, right? You are just like, eh, it's the subway. I think there is a lot of media coverage that says crime is out of control, New York is the avatar for that. And if you want to have a dialogue about that, then you are somehow not admitting how bad it is. A lot of things are going to play out in this conversation.

HARLOW: Thank you, guys, for that very much. And I do want to get your take, obviously, on immigration, Phil just had a really interesting interview with Secretary Mayorkas.


HARLOW: Section America today is the day, Title 42 is gone and now we wait, and we see what happens. What's interesting to me, too, is in the context of it's not just Republicans hitting the administration, it's some Democrats, it's independents like Kyrsten Sinema, saying, you said you've been dealing with this preparing for more than a year, but you're not ready, fair?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, well, yes and no, right? In the immediate sense, could they have prepared better? I suppose you could go, you know, sort of logistically, you could say, well, yes, maybe you should have had more people, maybe you should have put out more warnings, more messaging to stop people from being, you know, sort of fooled by these lies that the traffickers are putting out there.

On the other hand, every person, including and especially the members of Congress, have also been sitting on their hands. This has been brewing for a generation now. And we still don't have a comprehensive policy that in a logical in consistent and sort of morally grounded way, separates those who need help, and those who are eligible to apply for asylum, from those who are economic refugees. You know, it's going to cost a lot of money. And that's why you have to do it through Congress. It's not something you can just kind of one by one.

CORNISH: But it's a political question where you earn points for not solving it. And by that, I mean, it's a great thing to hit your opponent with. But if you actually have to sit and make solutions, well, then you're going to take the political hit, right? The late John McCain found that out several times.


CORNISH: We've heard about bipartisan immigration reform several times, doesn't go anywhere. I'm not saying that won't happen here. But President Biden actually carry Title 42 along from the Trump administration, right? There are lots of policies from the Trump era that he held on to, that's what Democrats are upset about. And if we skyhook curtains, Kyrsten Sinema out of that sentence, because she's not aligned with Democrats right now and is trying to appeal to a Republican base in her state, that is deeply upset with how border security is handled, not the humanitarian crisis. Then you have a whole other dialogue about, yes, you can secure the border, but will that ever deal with what you pointed out root causes.


CORNISH: And those things are tied into the debt ceiling debate, budget debates, because if you don't have money for immigration judges, if you don't put in money, U.S. aid, which many conservatives say we should not be doing on one level or another, those root causes will never be dealt with.

MATTINGLY: The incentives are so catastrophically misaligned.


MATTINGLY: Between the politics and the policy, on this, I'm not saying that this is an easy fix if there weren't politics involved, this is very --

CORNISH: But that's their job.

MATTINGLY: -- but it's just, it's like (INAUDIBLE). I don't know if this is going to happen this time around, I will be going to tell you, nothing is going to happen on this time around.

CORNISH: Easy or not easy is that -- that's their problem. Exactly, that's a choice.

MATTINGLY: It's sad and it's terrible. We have to let you go, Audie knows this I'm like a massive super fan of her podcasts.


MATTINGLY: And every single time that we're on television together, you need to be sure to check out the assignment wherever you get your podcasts. I'm actually super excited for this week for exactly the reason I always talk --


MATTINGLY: -- about which is like, this is a thing that I kind, look at or see in the periphery and it's a very hot political issue.

CORNISH: Talk about the woke and anti-woke backlash and trust me, all those things touch on the things we talk about that today.

HARLOW: And you go there?



LOUIS: It's a great episode.

MATTINGLY: And you get smarter every single time.

HARLOW: Oh, I love it, it's so cute.

CORNISH: Where -- what I need to give you money.

MATTINGLY: It sounds like, embarrassing.

CORNISH: (INAUDIBLE) slip it in the newspaper and just pretend to read it.

MATTINGLY: I needed to chill, be cool though, be cool. All right, coming up ahead, the race to find a way to harness the power of nuclear fusion to clean energy. We give you an inside look at those efforts.

HARLOW: And Penne alla Panic (PH). What's behind Italy's alarming spiking pasta phrases. Good writing.

MATTINGLY: That's good -- that's good writing.

HARLOW: That was on my script.



MATTINGLY: Scientists around the world are racing to find a way to power electric grids through nuclear fusion. It's a game changing energy source that would help slash global emissions. Just months ago, one lab in California had a major breakthrough -- a breakthrough that could lead scientists to harnessing the same clean energy that powers the sun. CNN's Bill Weir got a behind the scenes look at the lab with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Inside this building, some very smart people built a star on Earth. Not the Hollywood kind, that's easy. No, the burning ball of gas in the sky kind. One of the hardest things humans have ever tried.

TAMMY MA, LEAD INERTIAL FUSION ENERGY INITIATIVE: I was at the airport when my boss called me, and I burst into tears.

WEIR (voiceover): Tammy Ma is among the scientists who have been chasing nuclear fusion for generations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut down for shot on my mark, three, two and mark.

WEIR (voiceover): And in the middle of a December night, they did it.

WIER: And you only need a tiny little bit of fuel?

MA: That's right, yes, because our little pellet, that's two millimeters, you can't even see it on this target. It's just two millimeters in diameter.

WIER (voiceover): That target includes an abundant isotope found in seawater and goes into a chamber about the size of a beach ball in the 60s but is now a round room 30 feet across with 192 massive lasers aimed at the center.

MA: There are big laser beams about 40 by 40 centimeters.

WEIR: Wow.

MA: Each one alone is one of the most energetic in the world. Every time we do a shot, it's a thousand times the power of the entire U.S. electrical grid.

WEIR: What?

MA: But your lights still flicker at home when we take a shot. So, we're doing is taking a huge amount of energy and compressing it down and just in 10 nanoseconds.

WEIR: All right.

MA: So, it's about $14.00 of the electricity.

WEIR (voiceover): The National Ignition Facility, then amplifies all that concentrated energy on the target. And if they get it just right, more energy comes out than when in. With no risk of nuclear meltdown, or radioactive waste.

MA: In a fusion power plant, you would shoot the same target over and over at about 10 times a second. Dropping a target in and shooting it with laser. WEIR: So, you'd need a target loader like a machine gun or something like that.

MA: You need a target loader, exactly. So, there's still many, many technology jumps that we need to make. But that's what makes it so exciting, right?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, ENERGY SECRETARY: A lot of people were saying you've invested all this money, it's time to pull the plug because you guys haven't achieved ignition.

WEIR: Right.

GRANHOLM: I mean, it's called the National Ignition Facility, right?

WEIR: At some point you better.

GRANHOLM: At some point you better ignite, yes.

WEIR: Ignite something.

GRANHOLM: I mean, it's really hard to replicate the process that's happening on the sun, on Earth, it's just really hard. And so, when that happened in December, what it says is that this is actually possible. So, it's no longer a question of whether it's just a question of when that fusion is actually possible. Now, let's get to work.



WEIR (on camera): Well, conventional wisdom and the International Energy Agency tells us it'll be decades before anybody's really plugging anything into Fusion Electricity. There is a startup called Helium, which says they have a reactor that can fire plasma rings at a million miles an hour and will demonstrate electricity by next year. And in fact, in a first of a kind, power purchase agreement, Microsoft has already bought Fusion Electricity from Helium for the year 2028. The future is coming fast. Bill Weir, CNN, in Northern California.

HARLOW: Brilliant, another brilliant Bill Weir piece, that was fascinating. Bill, thank you very much. Meantime, the Justice Department says a 29-year-old pilot get this who intentionally crashed his plane for YouTube views will plead guilty to a federal charge.


HARLOW (voiceover): The flight took place in November of 2021, here take a look, you can see Trevor Jacob flying his plane notably wearing a parachute the whole time. After about 35 minutes flying over a National Forest in California. He ejected himself all well videoing himself parachute into the ground. You can see the plane crashing to the ground, largely thanks to multiple cameras attached to it. They caught the video. TREVOR JACOB, PILOT: I cut my finger pretty bad, I cut my elbow. I'm just so happy to be alive. I don't even know man. Thank you, God, thank you universe. I'm in pain man, I'm hurting. Whatever I'm going through, I wish upon nobody.


HARLOW: The Justice Department says Jacob lied to federal authorities about the whereabouts of the wreckage which prosecutors say he later destroyed. His pilot's license has been revoked and he's facing up to 20 years in prison.

MATTINGLY: There's just moments where you think to yourself, we're living in the dumbest time. But I'm an optimist, so, I don't actually believe it. But do you have the like the twinges.

HARLOW: I love that you just said what everyone thinks.

MATTINGLY: Oh, we're not supposed to do that.

HARLOW: No. And you said it out loud.


HARLOW: Not with did.

MATTINGLY: It's Friday. In much more serious news, Italy's government convenient crisis talks on Thursday. The pressing talk -- topic, it was pasta -- it was pasta. The issue isn't if it tastes better with extra parm or if Penne is better than rigatoni but a surge in prices. And pasta prices were 17.5 percent higher in March compared to the same time last year. A commission of lawmakers' pasta producers and consumer rights groups met in Rome to discuss what could be done. Pasta prices have gone up despite the price of wheat falling in recent months. A spokesperson for Italy's Minister of enterprise ensures everyone that the price increases temporary but production costs lowering. An Italian consumer rights group estimated that the average Italian consumes about 51 pounds of pasta each year, which frankly is a challenge that I'm willing to accept and when.

HARLOW: Why does it look so good then? I -- when --

MATTINGLY: I mean, I feel we're generalizing massive --

HARLOW: I know but when you --

MATTINGLY: -- Italian population of people.

HARLOW: I know but I feel like when you go to Rome as one does and it's --

MATTINGLY: As one does? Yes, sorry when I summer in European cities.

HARLOW: Yes, that's Phil, you guys, he's so fancy.

MATTINGLY: Yes, that's -- HARLOW: But it doesn't count, and you don't get fat, and can you imagine what happens if, I don't want to imagine what would happen, right?

MATTINGLY: I would like to if 51 pounds a year.

HARLOW: If do you want, 51 pounds a year, I had this.

MATTINGLY: Moving on, Mother's Day Sunday.

HARLOW: Don't forget babe.

MATTINGLY: There you go. Hopefully, you already got your mom or wife their gift but if you haven't, we'll tell you what the most popular gifts or be better than that.

HARLOW: Sleep. All I want.

MATTINGLY: Sleep. Yes, that's good. Phone call?

HARLOW: All I want is sleep.