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Manhunt for Escaped Convicted Killer in Pennsylvania Now Expanding; North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Reportedly Planning on Meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin to Make Arms Deal which May Help Supply Russian War in Ukraine. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 05, 2023 - 08:00   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some breaking news out of Pennsylvania. So this manhunt that has been ongoing for an escaped killer is now expanding. Also, two Pennsylvania school districts in that area being searched by authorities will be closed today.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: We are standing by for a news conference set to begin soon on the search for Danelo Cavalcante who is serving life without parole for killing his ex-girlfriend. CNN's Danny Freeman joins us now. Danny, you have been covering this several days. What are the tactics being used, right now? What do we expect to hear at this press conference?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, Poppy, a lot of different tactics being used on the ground and, frankly, in the air. One of the ones that we have been speaking about all morning is that police are now using a broadcast message that was recorded by Danelo Cavalcante's mother. It's in Portuguese, and they are playing that message from helicopters and from vehicles on the road in the search area. And it's really a plea from his mother to say surrender, turn yourself in. That's just one of the tactics.

But we've also seen a lot of Pennsylvania state police troopers with their long guns out, standing guard in a lot of different areas just south of the prison where we are and where that escape happened six days ago.

And I just want to note, Phil, like you said, we just got that update from the district attorney's office that this manhunt for this inmate, this escaped inmate, Cavalcante, has expanded. And there are biproducts that have happened because of that. Two school districts, like you said, have closed. The Kennett Consolidated School District, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District as well. Both of those school districts citing that the search situation has evolved.

Now, after we heard that announcement from these school districts, we heard from the D.A.'s office. They are going to have a press conference at 8:30, so really just the next 30 minutes or so, to give an update on this situation. And I just want to emphasize why this expanding search radius is important, Phil and Poppy, because really throughout the weekend, law enforcement officials have been emphatic that Cavalcante has been near the prison in this area, has not gotten that farther, and they've been focused on a two-mile stretch. If this is true that this manhunt is expanding, that will be the first time since this all started that this search will take place further than really this two-mile radius around the area.

And I just want to drill down and really emphasize to viewers, this area around the prison here in Chester County, it's very diverse when it comes to the terrain. There are a lot of wooded areas. There are a lot of creeks, there are even cornfields. And police have said that has made this search incredibly difficult because there are just a lot of places for this escaped inmate and this convicted murderer to hide. Phil, Poppy?

MATTINGLY: We're going to take that press conference live in a half- an-hour. Danny Freeman, I know you will be watching. Keep reporting on it, keep us updated. Thank you.

HARLOW: Meantime this morning, the Kremlin is not commenting on Kim Jong Un's alleged plans to meet later this month with Vladimir Putin in Russia. U.S. officials say the North Korean dictator is planning to meet face to face with Putin to discuss supplying weapons and ammunition for the war Ukraine. We are now learning that Kim wants satellite and nuclear submarine technology from Russia in exchange.

BLACKWELL: CNN international correspondent Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea. Paula, the Kremlin has not said anything at all. You've covered these issues in this area for a long time. What does this tell you about what may be happening here?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, we have had denials from both Pyongyang and Moscow for some time. So that's not particularly surprising at this point. But both Russia and North Korea stand to benefit greatly from this closer alliance, not just militarily, but also politically.


HANCOCKS (voiceover): The first and last meeting between the current leaders of Russia and North Korea was more than four years ago. Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, and his military efforts are faltering. So for Kim Jong Un, the power dynamics have changed.

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: A large power is now dependent on him. That hasn't happened in a while. Are the second thing he gains is the possibility of access to more oil. At the moment that Kim Jong Un is testing his ballistic missiles, particularly the long-range ones, many of which have design commonalities with Russian missiles, he can get a lot of help there.

HANCOCKS: U.S. official believe Moscow could receive multiple types of munitions from Pyongyang in any arms deal, which could be used on the front lines in Ukraine.

[08:05:05] The Biden administration believes North Korea already delivered infantry rockets and missiles for use by Russian mercenary force Wagner last year.

DOO JIN-HO, RESEARCH FELLOW, KOREA INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES: Russia and North Korea have something in common -- interoperability of conventional weapons. For example, North Korea's 152 millimeter artillery ammunition and 122 millimeter multiple rocket launcher ammunition, can be used on Russian weapons immediately.

HANCOCKS: U.S. officials assess Kim Jong Un may travel to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin this month. There is an eastern economic forum in Vladivostok next week. Letters of support have been exchanged between the two leaders. Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was given the red carpet treatment by Kim in Pyongyang in July. The North's military capabilities were on full display. And South Korea's intelligence agency says a second Russian delegation visited at the start of August. By August 8th, a Russian plane is believed to have transferred unknown military supplies from Pyongyang, no evidence or destination given. Pyongyang and Moscow deny any potential arms deal.

CARL SCHUSTER, FORMER DIRECTOR, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND'S JOINT INTELLIGENCE CENTER: Kim is becoming more paranoid than normal over the last four or five years. And so for him this alliance achieves, makes him look less isolated, provides a psychological boost for him and his inner circle.


HANCOCKS (on camera): Both countries are also united by one enemy, the United States. Both countries are interested in seeing an alternative world order where the U.S. is less powerful and where U.N. Security Council resolutions are less able to be imposed. Phil, Poppy?

HARLOW: Paula Hancocks reporting in Seoul, thank you very much.

MARQUARDT: Joining us now is former Trump national security advisor John Bolton. Ambassador Bolton, thanks for joining us. The actual news itself, the possibility of a meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Putin and Kim leaving North Korea to travel to Russia, what does that tell you?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I think this is a big win for Kim Jong Un and the North Koreans in virtually every respect, certainly in the P.R. aspect of it. But in the ties that it will help increase between North Korea and Russia, it's mutually beneficial to both in Russia getting weapons and ammunition. It opens the possibility of a kind of conveyor belt. If China doesn't want to supply weapons directly, it can supply them to North Korea and then, lo and behold, they could, in turn, be supplied to Russia.

But from Kim Jong Un's point of view, for years and year of being dependent on China, for example, people estimate North Korea gets 90 percent of its oil from China, now he has got a real possibility to open up oil and gas coming from Russia. And in this complex relationship between Russia and China, while they are growing closer and closer, Russia is worried about China's aspirations in the region. For example, the critical naval base and port city of Vladivostok right to the east of North Korea was ruled by China as recently as the mid-19th century.

So Putin gains by tightening the relationship between North Korea and Russia. Kim Jong Un gains now by being able to play the two off against each other as his grandfather used to do back in the days of the cold war. And overall, I think it's another example of the U.S. being asleep while significant geopolitical developments are underway.

HARLOW: You think the U.S. is asleep? You are talking about the Biden administration?

BOLTON: Well, I'm talking about many Americans. I mean, look, I think the pursuit of the effort to get a nuclear deal with North Korea now three decades long has proven to be a complete waste of time. I think this recent story about Kim and Putin should tell us how significant it is that we focus on the end of North Korea, not dealing with North Korea, but the reunification of the peninsula.

HARLOW: So Ambassador Bolton, you talked about oil and what getting oil from Russia could mean for North Korea, but what about the weapons technology that North Korea wants from Russia? If it gets what it wants on those fronts, what is the immediate risk to the west, and the more long-term risk?

BOLTON: Well, I think North Korea's been receiving clandestine assistance on missiles and the nuclear programs from China and Russia for a long time. They used to admit it. In recent years they've denied it. I'm not sure those denials are credible. The North Korean missile force is based on Russian-supplied technology, formerly Scud missiles. But the potential now is very significant because while North Korea has demonstrated both that it can detonate nuclear devices and that it can fire missiles that have a range to hit the continental United States, it has not yet demonstrated it has the targeting capability to hit the places it aims at, or necessarily the technology to bring a nuclear weapon back into the atmosphere and a warhead that's secure enough that it's not destroyed on re-entry.


Russia, obviously, has both those capabilities. I am sure that's what North Korea wants.

MATTINGLY: Ambassador, can I circle back to what you said about the idea of the end -- people being asleep at the wheel, or asleep at the switch, to some degree, and the end of North Korea being kind of the necessary outcome at this point, not whatever has been happening, I think, over several administrations, several decades at this point. I guess my question is, how does that happen, right? If you look at allies in the region, while many people look at the current administration's policy as being -- the Indo-Pacific policy as being entirely China-based, when you look at the relationship between Japan and South Korea that has formed and evolved over the course of the last couple of years, you could say that that also has to do with North Korea as well. What's the gap between that and ending North Korea as you propose?

BOLTON: Well, the division of North Korea and South Korea in 1945 was intended to be temporary.


BOLTON: Just as we've seen the division between East and West Germany end. But for decades, American leaders in both parties have just routinely accepted that this hereditary communist dictatorship has to be the strangest form of government on earth today, is just going to go on together. And I think we need to begin with a psychological and political change that we do not accept North Korea as a legitimate state. And I think cooperation between South Korea and Japan --

MATTINGLY: What's the policy -- I understand --

BOLTON: -- and the U.S. is a big step towards it.

The policy is simple but not one that administrations, Republican or Democratic, have been willing to follow, which is even more significant sanctions against North Korea and the determination and making it clear to both China and Russia that we expect that we are going to do what we said we'd do in 1945 and bring the regime back into unification with the South. If we don't focus on the policy, won't happen.

HARLOW: You worked in the Trump administration but have since been very critical of the way that Trump has interacted with courtship with, if you will, Kim and Putin. I am interested in your take on how one of his Republican competitors in the primary, Vivek Ramaswamy, chose not to answer questions about whether he thinks Putin is a war criminal, because it reminds me of some questions that then-President Trump was asked about Putin. Here is that exchange with reporters yesterday in New Hampshire.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes or no, do you think Putin is a war criminal?

VIVEK RAMASWAMY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that Putin is a dictator, and I think there are open questions that need to be adjudicated by the ICCJ. We have an ICCJ for a reason. My job as the U.S. president is to advance American interests. So I think Putin's actions have been craven. I have said it all along.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But do you believe he is a war criminal?

RAMASWAMY: We have to get the facts before we get to the bottom of that.


HARLOW: You previously called the International Criminal Court illegitimate when it issued that warrant to arrest Putin, accusing him of war crimes. What do you make of Vivek Ramaswamy not answering the question of whether or not he thinks Putin is a war criminal? BOLTON: Well, I think Ramaswamy reminds me an awful lot of Donald

Trump. He has very firm opinions on subjects he knows absolutely nothing about, and this was an example of it. And if he supports the International Criminal Court, as he appeared to do in that statement, I hope he reaffirms that and makes clear why he thinks the ICC is a such a good something.

This is something that ultimately is going to have to be resolved either by the Russians themselves or by the Ukrainians, and the main point is that Ramaswamy has made other statements about this war and about what he is going to do to try and solve it. Like Trump said, he would put Zelenskyy and Putin in a room, and he'd have it solved in 24 hours. Ramaswamy is going to go to Moscow, convince Putin to break the alliance with China and end the war that way. I mean, they might as well be in kindergarten talking about a very complex situation. But there is no mistake, I think Ramaswamy emulates Trump every time he can.

HARLOW: Ambassador John Bolton, we really appreciate your perspective this morning. Thanks.

BOLTON: Glad to be with you.

MATTINGLY: And we are less than two hours away from the start of the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is accused of repeatedly abusing his office to help a donor. He denies all wrongdoing and has recently downplayed very serious allegations.


KEN PAXTON, (R) TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Actually, if you kept up, you could read that I am responsible for the JFK assassination and for 9/11 and everything in between.


MATTINGLY: We are going to be live outside the state capital next.



MATTINGLY: In less than 2 hours, the historic impeachment trial of suspended Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is set to begin. He's facing multiple allegations, including bribery, abuse of power, and retaliation against whistleblowers. Accusations of corruption and scandal have dogged Paxton since he took office back in 2015.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live at the Capitol in Austin for us. Ed, what are we expecting this morning? This is a big deal down in Texas.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And the historic impeachment process. But as best we can tell, it's a fog of uncertainty as to how all of this is going to unfold. Remember, Paxton was impeached overwhelmingly by Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Now it moves over to the Senate side for the impeachment trial, and the question is whether Republicans, which dominate that Senate chamber, will convict one of their own.


LAVANDERA: Just days before the start of his impeachment trial, Ken Paxton showed up at a rally to kick off his wife's state Senate reelection campaign.

ANGELA PAXTON, TEXAS STATE SENATOR: Please welcome to the stage my husband, the love of my life, my best friend, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

LAVANDERA: The suspended Republican Attorney General was impeached on 20 articles, including charges of retaliating against whistleblowers, abuse of power, and bribery, as well as misconduct involving an alleged affair. Paxton used this moment to pound the theme that he's the victim of a political witch hunt.

KEN PAXTON, (R) TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: It actually, if you kind of kept up, you could read that I'm responsible for the JFK assassination and for 911 and everything in between.


LAVANDERA: Paxton's impeachment trial begins Tuesday in the Texas state senate, and it features some of the highest profile and unique legal characters in the state. Paxton is represented by Dan Cogdell and Tony Busby. They've described the impeachment of Paxton as a drive-by shooting.

TONY BUZBEE, ATTORNEY FOR KEN PAXTON: This was a sham. It was a sham from the get-go.

DAN COGDELL, ATTORNEY FOR KEN PAXTON: To say this case is not about politics has the credibility, the believability, and the sincerity of the fellow that's trying to convince his wife that he goes to the strip joint for the food. "It's not about the naked women, sweetheart. It's about the food." Nonsense. It's definitely political nonsense.

LAVANDERA: Prosecuting the case against Paxton are the legendary Rusty Harden and Dick de Greenford decades, they've worked the biggest cases in the state. A few months ago, when Paxton's lawyers ripped the impeachment process, CNN asked Rusty Harden to comment, and he referred us to this classic scene from the 1992 Joe Pesci courtroom comedy, "My Cousin Vinny". But the political stakes are sky-high. In May, Paxton was overwhelmingly impeached by Texas House Republicans, 121 to 23.

And Paxton is vowing political retribution against those Republicans who voted against him. Let's clean house. There are 31 state senators. One of them is Angela Paxton, the Attorney General's wife. But she will not be allowed to vote on her husband's impeachment. There are twelve Democrats in the Senate, and prosecutors need 21

votes to remove Paxton from office. The question is whether nine Republicans will vote against Paxton. Veteran Republican political strategist Brendan Steinhauser says it's not clear how this trial will play out.

BRENDAN STEINHAUSER, VETERAN REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: There's a lot of political pressure coming from all sides. This is unprecedented. So, they're trying to do their constitutional duty. They're trying to do the legally, morally, and ethically right thing. They don't know what that is until they really dive into it and see the evidence.

LAVANDERA: Paxton has enjoyed support from Donald Trump and among Republican voters. Steinhauser says Paxton is benefiting from Trump's attack, and that the justice system is weaponized against politicians like them.

STEINHAUSER: That alignment is important for Paxton because it helps him. It gives him some political support among the grassroots voters and activists in the Republican party of Texas, and it makes it more difficult for state senators and state representatives to impeach and then convict him.


LAVANDERA: Phil there is a chance that all of this could be dismissed before it even starts. Senators are expected to consider a wave of motions that would essentially do away with most of the impeachment articles of impeachment. So, it's not clear exactly how that's going to play out in the coming hours.

And we expect if this does go to trial, we do expect to see Ken Paxton put on the witness stand. His lawyers say that he will not testify, but impeachment managers say they will insist on calling him to testify and how all of this unfolds will take place over the next several weeks if it gets that far, Phil.

MATTINGLY: And you'll be reporting on it every step of the way at Lavandera. Thanks so much. Thank you.

HARLOW: All right, so we're standing by for this news conference in just several minutes on an update for that search for the convicted murderer Daniello Cavalcante. He's been on the run since Thursday. We've just learned that the search area is expanding. Stay with us.




JOE BIDEN, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: The great real estate builder. The last guy here, he didn't build a damn thing. When the last guy was here, you were shipping jobs to China. Now we're bringing jobs home from China. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: So that was President Biden taking jabs at former President Trump. He was speaking to union workers yesterday in Philadelphia. The president was touting job creation and organized labor in an effort to try to shore up support from a core part of his base in the primary. Trump is also expected to return to the campaign trail this week after three weeks off of it.

He's got appearances slated in Iowa and South Dakota. Meanwhile, Trump's rivals fanning out across New Hampshire today. That's also where Vivek Ramaswamy spent Labor Day Weekend. He's been going head- to-head with former Vice President Mike Pence ever since that debate rumble over the weekend. Pence called Ramaswamy, quote, "Just wrong" on foreign policy.

In response, Ramaswamy said Pence is misrepresenting his positions, but that he's open to talking with him. Let's talk about all of this. A lot of headlines semaphore politics reporter Shelby Talcott is with us. Also, Maura Gillespie, who served as the deputy chief of staff to Congressman Adam Kinzinger, and Democratic Strategist and Former Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party, Basil Smikle. Good to have you guys back.

Welcome to the table. Shelby, That guy not Trump. That guy or the last guy. That's how he intentionally chose to refer to Trump yesterday on the trail. What's Biden doing?

SHELBY TALCOTT, SEMAFOR POLITICS REPORTER: Yeah, I mean, he's trying to distinguish his economic record from Trump's because it is so important to voters. Every time I'm out on the ground. The economy is one of the top issues that voters talk about and it's not necessarily always in Biden's favor because even though the numbers show one thing, the voters, as you guys have talked about a lot, aren't necessarily feeling it.

And so, what Biden's trying to do here is show that "Hey, no, my economic record actually is really good and you don't want to go back to the last guy." Now, on the flip side, when I talk to Trump's aides, they also recognize that the economy is a top issue. So they're doing the same exact thing, trying to distinguish their economic record from Biden's and saying, no, Biden's is the bad one.

So this is going to be a really big issue, not just heating up in a primary, but going into a general election.

MATTINGLY: Basil along those lines, you saw look, those were sharper words from President Biden when it comes to Trump, even if he doesn't mention it was probably noted. That's a long been a practice of his than we've seen. You also have Sarah Fisher at Axios reported earlier with us. Our team at CNN has matched it with the add buy that's coming with the kind of opening weekend of the NFL season.

Also talking about the economy and economics contrasting with what it was at the end of the Trump administration to now. Is this the thing that helps them turn the corner that I've been told for the better part of the last two years they were just about to turn?

BASIL SMIKLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, yeah. So, let's talk about the ad buy for a second. If you consider the number of swing states, the number of swing state voters has decreased over the last few cycles, and you consider the fact that he has not only had an ad buy in those states but also targeted towards communities of color.

So that base vote, in addition to what he's doing in terms of talking to labor out on the campaign trail. So it's a highly targeted message that I do think works with Republicans who don't necessarily want to vote for Donald Trump and independent voters who have supported Democrats in the past and want to continue to do so.

I do acknowledge that there are parts of the party that are concerned if you're a young voter looking for a new home or you're looking to stay in a city like New York and rent, some of those prices might be too unaffordable for you. But having said that, I think there are bigger parts of his strategy, particularly when you look at student loan repayments, for example, that do think to engage those younger voters.