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Police Warn Escaped Killer Now Armed; Armored Train Containing Korean Leader Moves into Russia; Aaron Rodgers Suffers Injury in Jets Debut; Trump Asks Judge in Federal Election Interference Case to Step Aside; Rescuers Look for More Survivors as 2,800+ Killed in Morocco Quake. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired September 12, 2023 - 06:00   ET


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Let's get things started with "Five Things to Know" for this Tuesday, September 12. Breaking overnight, police say the escaped murderer in Pennsylvania was spotted again late last night and is now armed.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has crossed into Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin about a potential high-stakes arms deal.

Also new this morning, Putin weighing in on Donald Trump's indictments, saying the prosecutions are political and good for Russia.

MATTINGLY: In that federal election subversion case, Trump has formally asked the judge to recuse herself, arguing her past public statements show bias. She's now asking Jack Smith's team to weigh in.

HARLOW: And "Monday Night Football" overnight, quarterback Aaron Rodgers carted off the field with an injury just minutes into his debut with the New York Jets. They still, though, got the O.T. win against the Bills.

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

All right. This breaking overnight, police say the murderer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison nearly two weeks ago now is armed and still on the move.

Officers swarmed an intersection about 25 miles from the prison late last night after a confirmed sighting and sent out this social media post just before 2 a.m. "He is armed. Residents in the area are asked to lock all doors and windows, secure vehicles, remain indoors. Do not approach. Call 911 if seen."

MATTINGLY: CNN affiliate WPVI reports that a pair of shoes believed to be Danelo Cavalcante's were found in the area, and shortly after that police received reports of gunfire.

CNN correspondent Danny Freeman is tracking the latest. Danny, another overnight of major developments. What's the latest? DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, Poppy, frankly, this was

the update that many feared for so many days, Danelo Cavalcante now armed but still on the loose.

And I've got to tell you, we're along Pottstown Pike right now, at a staging area that police have set up. A lot of activity this morning. We just saw an armored vehicle with a lot of law enforcement officers in camouflage racing into this area. This is just indicative of what we've been seeing all throughout the night.

But I really want to explain to you how we got to this moment, because it is important. And I want to tell you what we do definitively know at this time.

Remember, yesterday was actually a pretty quiet day in the search. Law enforcement officials, they were focusing on this area about 20 miles North of the prison called East Nantmeal Township. It's a pretty small little community, still in Chester County, but importantly, it is the community where Cavalcante ditched that stolen dairy van over the weekend. So that was why police was focusing on that area.

But it was pretty low key for most of the day until last night. And we saw a flurry of increased police activity. We saw police vehicles flying down this road, Pottstown Pike. Helicopters were in the air, and then a few things happened.

First, Chester County alerted that there had been a shooting in East Nantmeal at around 10:10 p.m. in the area of Country -- Coventryville Road -- excuse me -- and Ridge Road.

Then police confirmed to CNN at 10:24 last night there was a confirmed sighting of Cavalcante.

Then that reverse 911 call went out to the South Coventry Township community, just about 3.5 miles up this road right here, to lock doors and to lock your windows, because Cavalcante may be in the area, and he is possibly armed.

Then around 1:45 this morning, Pennsylvania State Police confirming Cavalcante is armed at this point. Urging residents in this area to take precaution.

Now, there is a new perimeter, as we understand. Like I said, it's about three miles North of this staging area where all of the media is set up right here.

The search area also, importantly, is just 4.5 miles or so North of where that dairy van was ditched. So Cavalcante still in Chester County, according to police, still in this general area.

And we're working to confirm a little bit more details about what exactly happened last night when it comes to the shooting. What kind of weapon Cavalcante has. But again, day 13 of this manhunt, a lot of developments overnight -- Poppy, Phil.

HARLOW: You say he's still in that area, they believe. So what are they doing to protect the public? We remember right after he escaped, they closed a bunch of schools for a few days.

FREEMAN: Yes, Poppy. At this point, we're still waiting on some updates for -- from some of the schools in the area. We reported that there's one school district in this immediate area that has added extra security. We're expecting that to be the case again today.

There's an elementary school, actually, pretty close to where the new perimeter is right now. Again, we're waiting for updates. It's still in the early hours.

But listen, it's nerve-wracking. We were in that small community of East Nantmeal yesterday into the early evening, and people are on edge, because there was so much police presence. They were searching for someone, and it turns out, according to police, that Cavalcante wasn't too far.


HARLOW: Dan --

MATTINGLY: Very anxious moments. Danny Freeman, we appreciate it. Keep us updated, please -- Poppy.

HARLOW: All right. Right now, Kim Jong-un is on the move inside of Russia, but it's a big mystery where the North Korean dictator's armored train is heading and where he will eventually meet with Vladimir Putin.

Overnight his train was spotted crossing the Russian border. There are new indications this morning that Kim and Putin could potentially meet at Cosmodrome, where Russia launches space rockets. It's hundreds of miles North of a city you've been hearing a lot about in recent days. That is Vladivostok. That's where they were expected to meet.

U.S. officials have been sounding the alarm about this meeting. They say Kim Jong-un wants to discuss an arms deal with Russia to supply weapons for the war in Ukraine, in exchange for satellite and nuclear submarine technology.

Our international correspondent Paula Hancocks is tracking all of it for us. Paula, good morning to you. What's the latest?


We do know that Kim Jong-un is in Russia, and we know that he is heading North at this point.

The defense ministry here in Seoul said they believed he crossed the border in the early hours of Tuesday, local time. It's just after 7 p.m. now. So, potentially about 12 hours ago. But we know that his armored train does not move quickly.

So he's heading North. And we understand from TASS state-run media, they actually asked the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, where are they going to meet? And he said to that, at this point we're not saying, in the far East.

Also saying that it would be in the next few days.

So still, the location and the timing is not being clarified by either side at this point. But what we do know is that there will be a military feel to this meeting. We just heard from state media that the defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, will be part of the discussions with Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Interesting, since he's the one who went and sort of kicked this all off months ago.

This is all happening in the shadow of China, right? You've covered the region for so long, Paula. Can you just talk about what this means for China and how China views this?

HANCOCKS: Yes, Poppy. This is a key aspect of it: what does China think.

Now, we know that today, Vladimir Putin actually met with the Chinese vice premier. He's in Vladivostok. He's there for this Eastern Economic Forum.

And he spoke of the -- the relationship with China, saying that relations between the two countries reached unprecedented historical levels. So we know that China and Russia are close.

We know that North Korea and China are close. China has effectively been propping up North Korea for decades.

And one other thing we know, from South Korean intelligence, is that they believe when Shoigu, the defense minister, was in Pyongyang back in July, pitching all these ideas to Kim Jong-un, he actually pitched the idea of joint military drills between China, Russia and North Korea. So, that would certainly be one to watch -- Poppy.

HARLOW: I mean, we know the West, the United States in particular, has warned against any arms deal. But there are all these sanctions already on North Korea. What is the West's response expected to actually be when this happens?

HANCOCKS: Also a key question. It is something that the West has been struggling with when it comes to North Korea for years. There are so many sanctions against North Korea. The one -- one of the heaviest sanctioned countries on earth.

And yet they still manage to have this fairly impressive nuclear and missile program that's continuing, despite all this.

So quite frankly, if Russia and North Korea decide to do an arms deal, yes, they could bring more sanctions in, but both Russia and North Korea are already heavily sanctioned.

So, there is a concern that there's fairly difficult -- the task ahead. There's very little they can actually do --

HARLOW: Right.

HANCOCKS: -- to stop this if the two countries want to do it. And it means that North Korea will actually get some technology that the West does not want it to have -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Right. And these two leaders are going into this meeting knowing that the warnings don't come with a lot of teeth, a lot of ability to enforce. And Paula Hancock, great reporting. Thanks very much -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: You know, Poppy, there's a reason I was somber when I walked into the studio this morning. While the New York Jets took home a huge overtime win against the Buffalo Bills, it was overshadowed -- And this was something that had a deep impact on many on our team here on set -- by this moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protection breaks down and time runs out. Down goes Rodgers in the sack for Leonard Floyd.


MATTINGLY: A lot of Jets fans on our team. That was star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, his first regular-season game, the savior for the much- maligned Jets. He was injured in the first quarter.

Coy Wire joins us now. Coy, you were at last night's game. Look, there's that running joke about the script writers and the NFL that everything is scripted. But this is the worst script ever. Why did this happen?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: No one can write this. And if you did, why did you do it?

At the stadium, the passion was palpable. No. 8 jerseys everywhere. This was the big debut in the Big Apple. It was like Broadway Joe, 55 years ago when the Jets won their first and only Super Bowl title.


But, then the Jet's biggest star in decades went down. And it shocked the sporting world.


WIRE (voice-over): A New York moment for Aaron Rodgers' debut with the Jets, running onto the field with the American flag to honor those lost on 9/11.

After 18 years in Green Bay, with a Super Bowl ring and four league MVPs to his name, Aaron Rodgers is repping the New York Jets. But in his fourth play of the game, the unthinkable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy cow. I cannot believe this.

WIRE (voice-over): Rodgers ruled out with what the Jets called an ankle injury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, Lord Jesus, don't let this be the season.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unbelievable. Unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the Jets for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't have good things. At all. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.

WIRE (voice-over): X-rays were taken. The team says they're negative, but coach Robert Saleh said --

ROBERT SALEH, COACH, NEW YORK JETS: Concerned with his Achilles. MRI is probably going to confirm what we think is already going to happen, so prayers tonight. But it's not good.

WIRE (voice-over): A season hyped up by HBO's "Hard Knocks," giving Rodgers the star treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A shout-out to Aaron Rodgers for coming to help us out.

WIRE (voice-over): But just when it seemed that all hope was lost, an unlikely hero emerged in overtime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This game is over!

XAVIER GIPSON, NEW YORK JETS PLAYER: In my mind I'm thinking, let's win this game for A-Rod.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a big win! Let's go!


WIRE: Unbelievable win for the Jets, but a huge loss for the Jets. Especially the fans who were really looking forward to this.

This is a sad but possible reality, that we may have seen Aaron Rodgers, one of the greatest NFL players of all time, play his last game. He's 39 years old.

HARLOW: His last game?

WIRE: If this could be a ruptured Achilles, which even the coach you said mentioned it, they fear, that's one of the most difficult injuries to come back from. He's 39 years old. The oldest active player in the NFL. So, this could be a devastating blow.

So we'll see how it goes. I mean, Aaron Rodgers, just an absolute legend of the game. He helped change the game and make it what it is today from the quarterback position.

MATTINGLY: This is really the most Jets thing that could ever happen to the Jets. And again, my condolences to everybody on the team, as a huge Jets fan. Kobe came back and played one more season after his Achilles.

WIRE: We'll see.

MATTINGLY: Kevin Durant did, as well.

WIRE: He was younger.

MATTINGLY: All right. Coy Wire, my friend, thanks buddy.

WIRE: You got it.

HARLOW: I was going to say, all the green behind the cameras on our team.

WIRE: I know. Everyone was wearing Jets jerseys yesterday.

HARLOW: That no one can see.

Donald Trump is asking the judge in his federal election subversion case to step aside. We're going to tell you why.

MATTINGLY: And we're live in the disaster zone in Morocco where rescue teams have been desperately trying to reach isolated villages, devastated by Friday's earthquake. Stay with us.



MATTINGLY: We now want to explore some new developments this morning in two of the criminal cases facing former President Trump.

In the federal election interference case, Trump is requesting that Judge Tanya Chutkan recuse herself. He argues that some of her past comments give the perception of bias against him and that the public will never accept the outcome as justice if she does not appear entirely impartial.

Meanwhile, in the Georgia election interference case, Trump is making his first attempt at getting the charges dismissed entirely, in a motion that adopts ones made by his fellow co-defendants facing RICO charges. Trump's lawyers echoed that the indictment has defects and that the state failed to meet the racketeering statute.

I want to turn straight to CNN's Katelyn Polantz, who joins us now. And Katelyn, I want to start with the effort to get Judge Chutkan to recuse herself. How much weight does this carry?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, this is a motion from Donald Trump's team. They want Judge Chutkan to look at whether Judge Chutkan believes Judge Chutkan can hear this case.

So she's going to have to be determining it for herself, something that she already likely already was thinking about as a judge, as most judges do when they look at this.

And so, as a legal filing, it does have to be looked at by the judge. And she does appear to want to come to some sort of decision on this pretty quickly.

She's asking for the Justice Department to weigh in, in the coming days, and then Trump to say what he wants to say again. And then we would expect to get a decision on this pretty quickly.

But as a legal filing, these things rarely succeed. There are standards here about when a judge can recuse themselves. And so, it's not something that happens very typically in a case.

In this sort of circumstance, it is possibly a legal filing Trump's team wants to make, because they believe they need to do this now so that they can set up -- themselves up for appeals further down the road.

But they also may be wanting to make this as a public statement, saying that, you know, Judge Chutkan could be hurting this trial or the public's confidence in this trial by her statements.

And they're flagging in this filing one of the things she said at a sentencing of a January 6th rioter, an Ohio teacher, who was quite remorseful and who had argued -- the teacher had argued that she was wrapped up in emotions that were brought on by Trump.

And when Judge Chutkan sentenced this woman, she said, "The people who mobbed that Capitol were there in fealty, in loyalty, to one man, not to the Constitution. It's a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to that day."

The Trump team is clearly unhappy that she had said that on the record. They're trying to use this to get her off the case.

MATTINGLY: Katelyn, before I get to Georgia, can I put a finer point on this? Based on your years of experience of covering cases like this, do you believe that this will actually happen, a recusal?

POLANTZ: I -- I do not, but I can't predict the courts. Courts do what courts do.

I haven't seen it happen before, when a criminal defendant asks for something like this in this district court, in this court that has handled these motions from other people around Donald Trump's --


POLANTZ: -- team in the past. And I actually was doing some reading last night. It's -- it's actually very rare. There's lots of law- reviewed articles out there that say that it doesn't really happen that often.

MATTINGLY: Not trying to put you on the spot. I just appreciate your experience and, I think, the depth of your knowledge on this stuff. I do want to ask you about the Georgia case, though. I believe the

court has a deadline today to kind of walk through how it would actually try all 19 defendants. What do we know about their plans there?

POLANTZ: Yes. So that's going to be from the district attorney's office in Georgia. They're going to have to explain, do they actually want to bring all 19 of these people into a trial at the same time in October? Are they ready to do that? How is that going to work?


That's something that's going to have to get worked out. There's a lot of questions around how a trial will actually look there.

Right now we have a trial date for two of the 19 defendants, two lawyers: Ken Chesebro, Sidney Powell. And there's also questions about will other parts of the case be moved out?

But, you know, there's a lot of things going on. Trump is also trying to get these charges tossed. Everybody is going to be road-testing the legality of the case against them in Georgia.

And so there's just a lot of moving parts there that we're going to be watching in the days ahead -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: That may be the understatement of the year. Katelyn Polantz, we appreciate you, as always -- Poppy.

HARLOW: We always love it when Katelyn Polantz pores through law review articles and makes us smarter every morning.

All right. More than 2,000 people have died. This is an update on what is happening. And 6,000 people still unaccounted for after devastating fudge [SIC] -- floods have rushed through Libya. What officials are saying this morning.

Also this --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the moment we've been waiting and hoping for. Mark Dickey is finally emerging from the earth after the past ten days.


MATTINGLY: That's the American who spent more than a week trapped in one of Turkey's deepest caves. He is finally free. How they got him out. That's ahead.



HARLOW: Just utter devastation. Officials in Libya say more than 2,000 people have died and more than 10,000 this morning after missing after catastrophic flooding swept through the Northeast region of the country. That flooding apparently caused by the collapse of two dams after two-thirds of Libya's annual rainfall fell in a single day.

Entire villages have been swept away. Phone lines are still down, making rescue efforts even more difficult.

The country's health minister called the Eastern city of Derna a ghost town and says that bodies are still lying in many places. He is calling on the international community in help in providing more search-and-rescue teams.

Forecasters say even more rain is expected there.

MATTINGLY: Well, rescue teams are ramping up their search for survivors this morning in Morocco after Friday's powerful earthquake has left at least 2,800 people are dead.

The country's military is just now reaching the epicenter of that deadly quake in the mountainous region of the Atlas Mountains, where soldiers are working to remove debris from roads that are blocking access to those remote villages.

CNN's Nada Bashir joins us live from Moulay Brahim, about 30 miles East of the epicenter. Nada, your reporting on this has been extraordinary and devastating. How are rescue efforts progressing to this point?

NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Phil, Poppy, these rescue efforts are progressing slowly.

As you mentioned there, it has been a real struggle for these search- and-rescue teams, particularly the international search-and-rescue teams, who are only really just arriving, to reach some of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. And that is because some of these villages are simply too remote.

Now, if you just take a look here, I mean, the wide expanse is just huge. You can see here the mountainous range. This is one of the regions that has been easier to get to, to be honest with you. In fact, yesterday, we were actually -- another village called Imlil- Intela (ph).

And when we spoke to people at that village, they told us that they had spent the first few days digging with their bare hands, that the rescue teams had only just arrived yesterday.

And of course, hope is dwindling fast. We've spoken to survivors waiting for news of their loved ones. They've told us that they have lost all hope that they have survived this earthquake.

Take a listen to what other eyewitnesses and survivors have had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MOUHAMED AITLKYD, SURVIVOR (through translator): The government didn't come. We didn't see anyone. After the earthquake, they came to count the number of victims. Since then, not a single one of them is left. No civil protection, no assistance force. No one is here with us.

KHADIJA AITLKYD, SURVIVOR (through translator): We feel completely abandoned here. No one has come to help us. Our houses have collapsed, and we have nowhere to go. Where are all these poor people going to live?


BASHIR: Now, of course, these regions are extremely remote. We've been speaking to aid workers on the ground, as well as rescue teams, international rescue teams, who are just arriving. They are still trying to push ahead with that search-and-rescue effort.

But the focus is it has to be shifting to more of a relief effort now, providing that support to those who have survived.

HARLOW: I think -- Nada, one thing that has confounded many around the world, is why Morocco, it seems, has been pretty slow to accept aid from the West. Not just from the United States. From the United Nations, from France, from Italy, from Germany. Why is that?

BASHIR: Well, certainly, in the first few hours and certainly, in the first day or two, we heard from the Moroccan government, saying that they would be leading that search-and-rescue effort, that relief effort independently.

The U.N.'s own coordinators on the ground here in Morocco telling us that they had not been requested to assist in that search-and-rescue operation, despite standing by and being ready to do so.

But what we have seen now is that request for international aid. We've seen support coming in from the likes of Spain, the United Kingdom, Britain, Qatar, some of Morocco's, it has to be said, allies, in that sense.

So that might be a key factor, a key consideration there. And that has to be a clear sense of frustration amongst those who have survived. They've told us that they haven't seen those rescuers on the ground and are questioning why it has taken so long to get that support.

MATTINGLY: All right. Nada Bashir, live for us in Morocco, thank you.

HARLOW: Also this morning, we want to give you this happy update. He is finally out. American explorer Mark Dickey, who was trapped for more than a week about 3,000 feet inside of a Turkish cave, well, he has been rescued.


MARK DICKEY, AMERICAN EXPLORER: It is amazing to be aboveground again. I was underground for far longer than ever expected with an unexpected medical issue. I want to immediately thank AFAD, Ragip Shalip (ph). The support of the Turkish government saved my life. Literally, no questions asked.


HARLOW: Dickey fell ill while on this exploration in the cave. He was suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding and couldn't get out by himself. There was just a huge international effort to save his life.