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CNN This Morning

Manhunt Continues for Escaped Convict in Pennsylvania; Heavy Rain Triggers Flash Flooding in Massachusetts; House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to Present Case for Impeachment Inquiry into President Biden to House Republicans; North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Visits Russia to Meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 12, 2023 - 08:00   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. So glad you are with us on this Tuesday. Let's start with five things to know for Tuesday, September 12th. Police say the escaped murderer still on the run in Pennsylvania is now armed, and we're now hearing he may have stolen gun during a confrontation with a homeowner during which shots were fired.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: And Kim Jong-un has arrived in Russia. We are waiting to see where and when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss a potential arms deal for the war on Ukraine.

And new this morning, Putin, weighing in on the Trump indictments. He says it shows the U.S. political system is rotten.

HARLOW: Congress is back. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has his work cut out for him. He is juggling a potential government shutdown and pressure from the hard right to impeach President Biden.

MATTINGLY: And after all the hype, quarterback Aaron Rodgers debut with the New York Jets lasted less than five minutes.

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

HARLOW: Here is where we begin, really scary new developments in this ongoing manhunt for an escaped murderer in Pennsylvania. Sources tell our affiliate KYW that a man matching Danelo Cavalcante's description stole a rifle with a scope during a violent confrontation with a homeowner last night. That homeowner opened fire, but it's not known if the fugitive was hit. That's according to sources. Police rushed to the area. It's about 20 miles north of the prison where he escaped.

MATTINGLY: People in the area were warned to lock their doors and stay inside. The local school district decided to close today. We are expecting a police news conference in just over an hour from now.

Joining us now is Scott Duffey, a retired FBI special agent who now serves as the co-director of Wilmington University's Criminal Justice Institute. He was involved in an 18-day manhunt for a convicted killer who escaped a Pennsylvania prison back in 1999. I appreciate your time. I'm trying to get a sense right, given these fast moving developments, the suspect now being armed with a weapon, how does that change the dynamic for law enforcement?

SCOTT DUFFEY, INVOLVED IN A SIMILAR MANHUNT IN SAME AREA IN 1999: So that changes everything. And good morning to both of you, Phil and Poppy. So what we had before, and it lasted about 11 days, was a dragnet. So he escaped prison. He didn't get very far. He got into a wooded area in that Chester County, Route 152, that Longwood Gardens, a very different difficult terrain for law enforcement to be able to get eyes on him, right, other than these trail cams that were popping up and giving law enforcement indication that he was still in perimeter.

And then after about 11, 12 days, he breaks that perimeter. It's not shocking. It's disappointing. But it is part of the fugitive game where it's a cat-and-mouse game. And so the chase is on.

HARLOW: You led a manhunt for a murderer in the same state back in 99. It took 18 days, but you guys got him. Is this harder? Are the circumstances now in this case now harder?

DUFFEY: I would say the circumstances are harder and for the very fact of the recent developments as of last night to early this morning, is that he stole a gun. So in 1999 -- so we're looking at two very similar individuals, right. They're both escaped convicts. They both were charged and convicted of murder. And so that is the worst of the worst.

So they escaped. Norman escaped and stole a car and made his way back to his home territory, which was Chester County. And he was bouncing between three states, stealing one car to the next. It's not known what his goal was necessarily. There were some talks about him trying to find some treasure, something that might have been buried from their time as the Johnston gang.

But this guy, Danelo, we're trying to figure out his game plan. He escaped. He, obviously, is trying to figure out where he is going to go. The predictable behavior was predicted in the sense that what did he do when he escaped the perimeter? He went to a territory that he was known with in that area that he is now. I am a little bit surprised that he hasn't kept making that trek, wherever he is going to go.


And so I thought it was going to be the dragnet. Then he broke free. And so now law enforcement pulls back and an investigation takes place where they pretty much go to family, friends, associates, known locations, whatever he was doing in the short time he was in the Chester County prison, whoever he was communicating with. Those would be things that law enforcement would be looking at.

Now, if the reports are true that he has obtained a gun, it's an absolute different game. There is a fight. There's flight. He did the flight, and now it looks like he is trying to put up a fight. This does change the way things are happening.

MATTINGLY: Scott, before I let you go, the idea of a game plan, do you think he has one? The movements seem to have been kind of so divergent, not necessarily following any form or pattern. Do you think he has a game plan here?

DUFFEY: He was a short-term game plan. And so he succeeded in his 12 days within that perimeter that was always changing. Law enforcement is on top of this. But we are talking about trees and grass and unlocked doors that are unending. And so he has a game plan, and that game plan is to stay out. And so when you have that short term game plan, and now retrieving a gun, he doesn't look like he's trying to flee the area, otherwise he would keep making a north-south, whatever he believed was a way to continue to escape law enforcement. But now breaking into a house or a shed, wherever he got this gun, and arming himself, it's -- it appears to me that his game plan is now to fight. And whatever that fight is going to be, law enforcement is going to bring that fight to him.

HARLOW: Well, Scott Duffey, as a former FBI agent, really appreciate your expertise. Thank you.

We do want to go to this now. We have new pictures right now out of Leominster, Massachusetts. Heavy rain triggered this intense flash flooding you are seeing in parts of the state overnight. This left drivers trapped in their vehicles, entire roads impassable in some areas. Officials say 11 inches of rain fell in some parts of that state along a reservoir.

Let's got to meteorologist Derek Van Dam who has been tracking this. Wow.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know what, they have approached 30 inches of rain since June 1st, so a very, very wet summer. That really saturated the ground, and then they get another seven inches from this month, and just within the past day another five. So that just set the scene for flooding. This is what was really the peak of the rainfall event near Leominster, Massachusetts, in Worcester county. The storm system responsible for it is exiting the New England coastline. We are in a bit of a break.

But look at this. This is yet another cold front that's going to bring more rainfall to the area tomorrow. So the potential for flash flooding does exist there. Fitchburg, Massachusetts, just in a one- hour period, approached three inches of rain. The storm total even higher than that, exceeding a half a foot, even nine inches in some locations, including Leominster. You can see rainfall totals highest across Providence into Rhode Island, central and northern Massachusetts.

The good news is the flash flood emergency that was in place across Worcester County has expired at 8:00 a.m. local time. We still have a flood warning in effect, the resulting effects from the ongoing rain that has taken place overnight. But that has come to an end. There is the break. But again, additional rainfall in store with a cold front approaching from the west. There's our flash flood threat for the day tomorrow. And then, Poppy and Phil, we need to focus on what's going to happen to Lee. Will that bring rainfall to Massachusetts, potentially New England? Still a little too early to tell, but we are monitoring it closely.

HARLOW: Hoping for the best. Derek, thanks very much. Phil?

MATTINGLY: This just in, a source telling CNN House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expected to meet with House Republicans this week to make a forceful pitch that opening an impeachment inquiry is the next logical step. Hardline conservatives have been fighting to open a probe into President Biden despite resistance from some of the party's moderates. CNN's Lauren Fox joins us now. Lauren, this development, it seems like everything has been headed in this direction. Now it seems like they are here. What happens next?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy seems to be leaning more and more into this idea of opening an impeachment inquiry. And later this week he is going to make that forceful pitch to his conference in a private conference meeting where they are going to discuss the updates on their investigations thus far into President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

But like you noted, the votes likely are not there right now to open an impeachment inquiry. And while you don't have to put this on the floor of the House for a vote to formally launch the inquiry, that is the expectation right now that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wants to have that formal vote in order to show Republican unity.

So there is still a lot of work left to do on that front, and that is just one of the fights that are looming right now, Phil, in the House of Representatives.


Of course, right now all eyes are on whether or not the House is going to be able to coalesce around anything to keep the government funded past the September 30th deadline. And that is the other fight that Kevin McCarthy is going to be having with his conference. They are going to have several closed door meetings, and they are going to get back to Washington today. They're going to have a vote on the floor at 6:30.

And as leadership aides have been telling me, the hope is that once members come back to Washington, once they start to feel the urgency of that deadline approaching, they're going to be able to come up with some kind of plan to keep the government funded.

But whatever they come up with over in the House of Representatives still has to get through the U.S. Senate, and they are unified over in that chamber when it comes to the appropriations process. They have a plan moving forward. So it's going to be different for McCarthy, if he can't get Republican unity, to move anything in his conference without getting Republicans in the House and Senate onboard. Phil?

MATTINGLY: Yes, 18 days, no House Republican spending bills through the house floor, and we are in the closed-door meetings phase. Everything is going great. Lauren Fox, appreciate the reporting on a very busy week in the House. Thank you.

HARLOW: Right now Kim Jong-un on the move inside of Russia. He is on his way to meet with Vladimir Putin. We are learning new details about this high-stakes meeting. Plus, what Putin just said about the legal cases against former President Trump. We are lucky to be joined in studio by Christiane Amanpour. That's next.


HARLOW: Welcome back. Right now, Kim Jong-un is on the move inside of Russia. The mystery, though, where the North Korean dictator's armored train is heading and where he will meet with Vladimir Putin. Overnight this train was spotted crossing over the Russian border.


And there are new indications this morning that Kim and Putin could potentially meet at a cosmodrome where Russia launches space rockets that is hundreds of miles north of Vladivostok. That is where they were originally expected to meet.

MATTINGLY: Now, 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. Joining us now, is CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour, I want to start we have a lot to get to here.

40 years' worth to some degree, which we'll get to in a minute. But on this point in particular, I'm trying to understand, we were talking about this with David Sanger, The New York Times. This kind of block that is forming. What's your read on the dynamics of Russia, China, and North Korea at this moment?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, I've been talking to officials, particularly in the region, and particularly American officials such as the US. Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, who's very front and center to all of this Indo-Pacific strategy.

His first commentary is if Vladimir Putin seeks to rebuild the imperialist notion of a Russian empire breaching out to North Korea and, to an extent, Iran, that signals weakness by Vladimir Putin and Russia. North Korea is a pariah state. It's been under sanctions for years and

years and years.

At the very most, it has ammunition to give to Russia or whatever. Nobody believes that what it gives to Russia if it does, will dramatically affect the status quo on the battlefield in Ukraine. It also points out how stretched Russia is that it would need to reach out in that kind of way. Obviously, North Korea is probably the one coming in hand for whatever

it can get from Russia.

But what you have, as you just said, is a group of countries, Iran as well, where Russia is trying to get drone technology and the like, that Russia is now having to rely on, all of which are under sanctions. Any

such deals would be a violation of international law.

South Korea, a U.S. ally, big power in the region, has called on Russia to respect and acknowledge, and behave responsibly under the international rules of the road.

HARLOW: Right, and so while the White House has said, Jake Sullivan, specifically the National Security advisor, that North Korea will, quote, "Pay a price", if this moves forward an arms deal with Russia, right? You tilt your head. Because I think the question this morning is,

Does the US --- does the West really have any power over either of these countries in this?

AMANPOUR: I mean, sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions. They are not there are so many already. That is true. But the more they isolate them, I think, the more they think that they can keep them at bay. And certainly, the strategy right now in that region, we put Russia a little bit to one side, but is to not contain, as President Biden said, but to try to build a deterrence against China and any adventures that China might want to play.

So, all of this plays into the bigger China situation as really, you know, it just goes to show that Russia is kind of desperate.

MATTINGLY: You've done so much reporting on kind of how the world is viewing this moment in the United States. I want to play something that President Vladimir Putin said this morning. Take a listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION: All that is happening with Trump is the persecution of a political rival for political reasons. And this is done in front of the public of the United States and the whole world.


MATTINGLY: Russia's meddling in US affairs is not new. I was kind of saying the quiet part out loud to some degree. What's your sense of what he's doing?

AMANPOUR: I would say he would say that wouldn't know. Trump is considered to have been a friend of Vladimir Putin. I mean, he said it himself. He showered very positive praise on Putin, the strongman. He showered very positive praise on Kim Jong Un if you remember going to meet him twice. I covered both of those meetings, but nothing came of it.

And nothing has come of Trump's so-called friendship with Vladimir Putin, just more and more challenges to the United States and to the international world order. Having said that, Vladimir Putin, Iran, North Korea, the lot would probably absolutely prefer all the dictators and pariahs of the world to see a non-democrat, with a small "D"; Authoritarian figure back in power in the White House because they think that that's better for them.

And they're confronted now with a very stiff challenge to propping up democracy around the world and trying to push back authoritarianism under the Biden administration and the massive coalition that he's managed to get through and staying strong over Ukraine.

HARLOW: There is a development this morning in the US. Efforts to get five Americans released from prison in Iran. This is about a waiver to banks to release $6 billion of Iranian money to banks in Qatar, with some restrictions on how it can be used. It's a development, that the right is criticizing, but it's necessary to get them out.

AMANPOUR: Well, first I want to say this.

HARLOW: I wanted to ask about your interview too.

AMANPOUR: Yes, well, firstly, the right or whoever you say are criticizing have gone into these deals before. President Trump himself has released Iranian prisoners in a swap to get Americans out of Iran. There has.


There has been Iranian money given back in the past, Iranian money, in order to get Americans who are wrongly detained back to their families. What this one is about, and I've been reporting this for a while now, ever since got that exclusive interview with the longest- held American Iranian, Siamak Namazi, in Evian Prison. The most extraordinary interview that I've ever conducted. It's just never happened before.

It was so utterly compelling, so sad, that this American had been held for eight and a half years in an Iranian jail just for being American. And so, yes, this is Iranian money, not American taxpayer money that South Korea, not America, South Korea owes to Iran for oil that South Korea bought from Iran, that the United States then stopped the transaction because of the sanctions.

Now they want to get their people back, and rightly so. There are five Iranians who have been released from Evian Jail and are now under house arrest in Tehran, waiting for this final piece of the deal. So hopefully they will be able to come back soon. And that will involve Qatar sending a plane, getting them out of Iran, taking them to Qatar, back to the US.

And this is the last, apparently, stumbling block, the idea of getting waivers because Iran is so heavily sanctioned that it can't even get its own money back.

HARLOW: Right, we should just know it's really your interview with Siamak Namazi, that was really pushing this forward, and you have kept this issue and these voices at the fore, which is so much of what you have done for this network for 40 years.

AMANPOUR: 40 years.

MATTINGLY: It is extraordinary for you to say that. That was one of the most extraordinary interviews.

AMANPOUR: In Evian Prison, the notorious Gulag.

MATTINGLY: Can you step back a minute, if you don't mind? Because I learned about TV journalism watching you in the Balkans. Right, that was my window into these things. I thought that was totally normal. It's not, it was extraordinary. But the 40 years, what stands out to you?

AMANPOUR: Well, here's the thing. 40 years ago, I was a desk assistant. So, I joined CNN out of college, practically, and went there. But I really knew that this was the kind of reporting I wanted to do. I went with a mission to be a foreign correspondent, you know go to the world's crises and try to explain them to people, try to make them relevant to the American people and the rest of our global audience.

And on the one hand, it's a massive adventure. On the other hand, a huge responsibility given CNN's massive and important platform and its reach. But I feel that you know, it's a cliche you really do have to shine that light in places where many don't go.

Iran has always been a pariah. I'm half Iranian, you know ever since I started work, I've sort of had to juggle and straddle this position, having empathy for those who are victims of that regime, including wrongfully detained Americans.

And so, when I got the chance, for instance, to interview Siamak Namazi, I jumped into it. I did not know what the consequence to him would be. That was my biggest fear, What would the consequence be to him? Nobody has ever done that before. Called out that he had phone privileges by virtue of being in there for eight and a half years.

He had moved from harsh solitary confinement into a better, less harsh and with other fellow Americans. But, as you say, the Balkans. That taught me what it means to tell the truth, that in the Balkans when there was a clear aggressor, the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic. A clear victim, the Bosnian state that had just declared independence wanted to be democratic, and pro-Western. It was the first war in Europe since World War II.

Not Ukraine and Russia, that was it. And there were war crimes, and I learnt there to be truthful, not neutral.

HARLOW: That's what I wanted to end with, "Be truthful, not neutral."

AMANPOUR: It's really important.

HARLOW: Your words, Christiane, that have changed so much.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, you can't draw false moral equivalents or false factual equivalence when it doesn't exist, because that's not the truth, that's a lie. So, I've learned my lesson the hard way, the difficult way, and I won't let it go.

HARLOW: Well, we celebrate you. We adore you and we admire you. AMANPOUR: Thank you.

HARLOW: Starting today, what is considered to be the biggest antitrust deal in a trial in decades? United States taking on Google what you need to know.

MATTINGLY: And a new CNN report on the rising cases of injuries among airport workers.


CNN REPORTER: Do you think it's getting less safe?

ERNEST TANGA, RAMP WORKER: I would say yes, because people keep on doing, one person will do a job of three people.




HARLOW: The news this morning, the TSA says this summer was the busiest ever for air travel. There's also a new problem on the rise. The people responsible for loading bags and servicing planes are getting hurt at an alarming rate. Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a safety alert for aviation workers. Pete Muntean has been reporting on this and joins us now with more. What's causing it?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: You know, Poppy working on the ramp, the tarmac. It's loud, it's hot, and these new numbers show that it's getting more dangerous. Worker injuries shot up with the rebound in air travel. But now workers are getting hurt at a rate higher than before the pandemic. And some of them are paying with their lives.


MUNTEAN: When Courtney Edwards went to work on New Year's Eve, she had no idea she would become part of an alarming statistic. The mother of three was helping marshal a flight to its gate at the Montgomery, Alabama, airport when she was pulled off her feet, according to an NTSB report, and into an operating jet engine. Edwards was killed.

UNKNOWN: It's a very tough job, and it's dangerous.

MUNTEAN: Employees working on airport tarmacs are now part of a troubling trend. Injuries among them spiked last year, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration data first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

TANGA: My leg went up to this level. This is what's left of an on-the- job injury that Ernest Tanga says could have been much wrestling work at Washington Dulles as a ramp agent for contractor Swiss Port.