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Texas Massacre Suspect Is In Custody; New York Mayor Complains Of Racial Profiling; Friend's Testimony Backs Account Of Trump Accuser E. Jean Carroll; Second School Committee Member Resigns In "Ladies" Fracas; "CNN Tonight" Presents "On The Lookout." Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired May 02, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Welcome back, everybody. We have two big stories for you tonight. The suspect in a Texas massacre is in custody. We will have more on that in a second. And in Washington, the rumblings are getting louder that the U.S. could default on our debt in less than a month.
We have our panel of great reporters here tonight to bring us the latest on these and what they're working on for tomorrow. So, we have Lauren Fox, Danny Freeman, Omar Jimenez, and Paula Reid.
Okay, Omar, you have an update on our breaking news tonight. So, the suspect in that horrible Texas massacre is now in custody. What have you learned?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Francisco Oropesa, he was on the run, of course, after being suspected of killing five people, including a nine-year-old, after what wasn't really a dispute, but seems to be one family saying, hey, do you mind shooting your gun on the other side of the house because we got a baby in there trying to sleep.
So, they tracked him down. They actually found him in a town called Cut and Shoot, Texas less than 20 miles from Cleveland, Texas, which is where this shooting happened. And it came -- it was from a tip from the public, where the FBI says the tip from the public came in at 5:15 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., they had actually apprehended him. Take a listen to officials on how they found the suspect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG CAPERS, SHERIFF, SAN JACINTO COUNTY, TEXAS: He was caught hiding in a closet, underneath some laundry. They effectively made the arrests. He is uninjured. He is currently being taken to my facility in Cold Springs. Somebody got a tip. DPS, CID, U.S. Marshals, FBI. We had a tech team. They all meandered over there and found -- found that -- that tip to be true.
JIMMY PAUL, FBI ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We're just extremely happy that the citizen had the courage and the bravery to call in that tip.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIMENEZ: You know, it's interesting, where we are just talking about this last night. And at that point, what we knew was that they had no significant leads. And you see what a difference 24 hours makes. The way they were describing it in that press conference, it wasn't necessarily a pattern of tips coming in. It really was one tip that sealed the deal, essentially.
And as you heard, the FBI assistant special agent in charge for Houston say, they thank that brave person for essentially risking a little bit of their safety to try and get this guy.
CAMEROTA: And all it takes is one tip. And it sounds like that tipster will get $80,000. That's what the sheriff is saying --
CAMEROTA: -- and that he was hoping. Okay, so, now, what happens to the suspect?
JIMENEZ: Yes. So, now, at this point, you heard a little bit of the sheriff, he is in custody. He is facing at least five charges of murder. He is being held on $5 million bond.
We knew from sources, he had been deported four times before. So, there is some investigation going into there as well. And there were some questions to, because of potential immigration status, of how he could have acquired the weapon.
And the sheriff was asked about that. And he said, look, I'm only going to speak from conjecture, all you have to do is buy from someone else on the street.
CAMEROTA: Guys, I think we have some new video right now coming in to us tonight into our newsroom of the suspect. Let us show what it says. I'm told that it shows him being detained. I assume that means captured tonight because he has been detained in the past. He was also arrested for DWI years ago. But it looks like -- this looks to me like from tonight. Uh, yes, this is tonight. It's hard to see at that distance.
JIMENEZ: It is hard to see, but we do know it was a multijurisdictional operation here where you had U.S. Marshals, you had the FBI, you had local police as well.
JIMENEZ: So, that's why you may not see marked vehicles. You would see, you know, trucks or vans that they would typically use here. And we are still trying to confirm what the relationship of this home was to the suspect. Again, not found too far away. He was found inside a home, hiding under some clothes. Presumably, he was able to get in somehow.
JIMENEZ: And authorities don't say that there's anyone else injured here. So, it doesn't seem like he overpowered someone to get inside.
CAMEROTA: Right. This video shows that he was arrested, as they, say without incident, meaning he did not fight back. He wasn't armed under the pile of clothing when they found him. And you can see that he's handcuffed here and being led to a car.
So, thank goodness for that because it was safe to assume that he was armed and dangerous after what he had done to that family. This -- by the way, this video, I'm told, it was taken by a neighborhood. Been lying down in bed at 6:00 p.m., then heard helicopters overhead, and wondered what the commotion was. And that's where we can see the suspect a little bit more clearly and, I guess, marshals in black jackets, uh, putting him into the vehicle.
DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is amazing. I mean, you rarely hear that no one is injured when apprehending a suspect in a potential mass shooting like this. It's incredible that, like you said, no one was hurt and that that he is in handcuffs right now in the back of a law enforcement vehicle.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. It is amazing that they -- it took them a little more than an hour. They got the tip at 5:15, and they arrested him at 6:30. And obviously, he -- I don't know. He wasn't expecting it. He was where they thought he was going to be, hiding under a pile of clothing. So, that's great.
JIMENEZ: And, you know, listening to our colleague, Ed Lavandera, who is actually, you know, down there on the scene, was at that press conference, he said he'd been in contact with some of the surviving family members from this. In some ways, you know, they are glad that this man has been caught. But also, it was something that authorities had brought up as well. That they hope it brings at least some sort of peace.
But when you consider what they're actually dealing with, having lost so many of their loved ones in the flash of an eye over seemingly no real provocation, I'm sure it's some comfort. But I can't imagine it's going to do anything to obviously bring back those loved ones, but help them sleep at night in the near future.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, understood. All right, obviously, we will stay on this as we get more video and more details about that arrest.
Meanwhile, let's talk with Lauren about this fight over the debt limit. Is it getting farther apart tonight somehow?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, as John McCain used to say, it always gets darker before it's pitched black. And that sort of where we are at right now with this debt ceiling negotiation.
I think in part that's because you have the speaker of the House that is of the country right now. This big meeting is expected to happen next Tuesday. So that gives both sides a little bit of time to flex their political muscle. That's exactly what they're doing.
You heard from Chuck Schumer earlier today saying that he is in the same place. He does not think that there should be negotiation over increasing the debt ceiling, saying that if they want to have discussion about spending down the road, they are totally willing to do that. But that is where things stand at the moment.
You also saw House Democrats trying to take some steps to try and put themselves in a position where if you get up to the ex-date (ph), you would have what is known as a discharge petition, which means they could force a vote on the floor. That does require, though, a handful of Republicans to go along with that effort.
And so far, all of the moderate Republicans that our colleagues on the Hill have been talking to have said absolutely not, they are not going to help with that. So that is sort of the emergency backdoor opportunity that already they're saying no way.
CAMEROTA: When Senator Schumer says they should not negotiate on, you know, future budget issues, in the past, did they negotiate? When President Obama was president, they negotiate on this?
FOX: Well, the argument has been that they did not negotiate on the actual increase of the debt ceiling itself. Yes, there were always negotiations over the appropriations process. That is how we fund the government year after year. But they are two separate issues, is the argument that Democrats are making over and over again.
And Republicans are arguing, yeah, maybe that's the case, but the issue here is that Republicans are in control of the House, and you do have to negotiate if you have divided government. And I think that both sides are digging in right now. Hopefully, we start to see some of that break next Tuesday.
JIMENEZ: Well, and you - you've talked about this before. But obviously, it's a very slim majority in the House side for Republicans. So, when Kevin McCarthy goes in to this meeting with President Biden and the other leadership, it's not about cooler heads prevailing in that meeting, but it's -- okay, cooler heads may prevail there, but then it's a whole bunch of other cooler heads within the republican majority in the House that have to essentially coalesce around what McCarthy is able to get out of that meeting. Am I reading that correct?
FOX: Absolutely. But I would also sort of push back on this idea that a resolution is going to come out of one meeting. It's going be weeks- long negotiation. And there aren't that many days to actually negotiate. When you look at the congressional calendar, the House and the Senate are only both in session eight days over the next couple of weeks.
You also have the president going out of the country. You know, the president can pick up the phone and negotiate anywhere that he is, and that is the argument that the White House, but it just gives you a sense that this deadline is not only coming, but it's coming when not all the players are going to be at the boardroom having discussion about this.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Why can't they start earlier? They have phones.
REID: We've all been on Zoom meetings. Why not get it underway? I get you're traveling, but we work from home. Why can't they?
FOX: Well, I think that Congress operates under deadlines. This is part of why getting the ex-date yesterday was so critical to getting these negotiations rolling, because Congress just doesn't operate well when they don't know when the deadline is.
They're kind of like of journalists in that way. Right?
FOX: They just operate well when they know that there's a breaking deadline that they have to meet, and that's exactly what you're starting to see. But I think next week is going to be so crucial even though I do not expect a resolution out of that meeting on Tuesday.
FREEMAN: Sorry. So, can I ask? So, again, to your point, if they're not going to in earnest until Tuesday, are we just going to keep seeing chest beating every single day up to next -- we have a whole week of this, right?
FOX: Yeah. I mean, and really, we've had months of this, right, because the president and the House speaker met about 90 days ago now. And that gives you a sense of like how long this has actually been going on, that both sides have been dug in? I think the reality is there's going be a real impact on people, on the economy --
CAMEROTA: When? Does that start June 1st or before that?
FOX: I think it starts before that. And that is what you saw in the last debt ceiling showdown. What started to move lawmakers was when the market started to move. And that didn't happen because they went over the cliff, it happened because they were getting dangerously close to going over the cliff. So, expected that that could happen soon.
But the question of like, how this impact when the Treasury Department can make payments, I mean, that happens after you breach that deadline. And it really could have an impact on real people. It could have an impact on government workers. It could have an impact on when you get your social security check. You might not get it on time.
And we don't know what the Treasury Department would prioritize. But our best clues are to look back to 2011 and the plans that they started putting together when they started getting worried that Congress was going to go over this cliff. And that really does give us a sense of this has a real impact on what bills the government can pay.
CAMEROTA: Can you come back later and tell us when to start panicking?
CAMEROTA: I don't want to panic --
FOX: You just watch (ph) --
FREEMAN: Every single night.
JIMENEZ: Every night.
CAMEROTA: I know. I don't really want us to panic every night, but just tell me when I need to start panicking.
FOX: I'll let you know.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. All right, stay with us, everybody, because next, Dan has got a story of a Muslim mayor who was invited to the White House, then barred by the Secret Service half an hour before the event. Dan is going to explain what's going on.
CAMEROTA: A Muslim mayor was turned away from a Ramadan reception at the White House on Monday. He says he believes it was racial profiling. The mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey says the Secret Service notified him 30 minutes before he was set to arrive that he would not be allowed to enter the White House.
Danny Freeman is following this story. So, Danny, you spoke to the mayor today. What is happening here?
FREEMAN: Yes, that's right. You know, there are a couple of different things happening right here. And the main takeaway is that we are basically at a standstill with the mayor, members of the New Jersey Muslim community, and right now the White House and the Secret Service.
So, just to kind of, you know, recap what happened, we're talking about Mayor Mohamed Khairullah. He is the mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey like you said. Yesterday, the Biden administration, the White House, invited a number of Muslim American faith leaders and also elected officials to the White House to mark the end of Ramadan.
Thirty minutes before that was about to kick off, the mayor says that he got a phone call actually from a staffer at the White House, from like a social group, and that staffer told him Secret Service has flagged you, you are not allowed to come to this event. And the Muslim advocates in New Jersey, they were very upset about that. The mayor, of course, was very upset about. That is where we are today.
Now, they call it racial profiling. They say that this is an example of -- another example, I should say, of abuse of power by the federal government against folks of Arab descent, Muslim Americans, and that's really where we are at this point. The White House and Secret Service are pretty much not saying anything as to why they made this decision.
CAMEROTA: And then John Miller, our CNN law enforcement analyst, had some interviews about this with other law enforcement.
FREEMAN: Yeah, that's right. So, John Miller of CNN, he said that multiple law enforcement sources told him that the mayor had been flagged for some concerning context over the course of a federal law enforcement counterterrorism investigation.
CAMEROTA: What does that mean?
FREEMAN: That is a little unclear at the moment, and I think that that will speak to the larger point of what it means to be on a watchlist, what it means to be on one of these lists. But I want to play sound from the mayor. We asked him about this today at his press conference. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MOHAMED KHAIRULLAH, PROSPECT PARK, NEW JERSEY: Our core issue today is that there is a secret list, that everyone knows it exists due to the January 26 leak. But our government continues to use it despite it being discriminatory and ruled illegal by a federal judge. This has inconvenienced, harassed, and humiliated me and my family ever since, every time we went through an airport.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREEMAN: So, you could see clearly frustrated and for the mayor here, he feels that this is just one out of a number of events that have happened over the past several years where he feels persecuted by what he believes is the presence on this watchlist.
REID: So, he knows he was not allowed in the White House. Our reporting indicates that he was on this list. But there's no indication from the Secret Service or the White House that is why he was rejected. Is that correct?
FREEMAN: Yeah, that's right. And the challenge is that we're in the bit of a sticky spot because, again, the White House, they don't want to take any questions about this. They continue to refer all questions to the Secret Service.
And the Secret Service, they said, we regret that there may have been any inconvenience to the mayor in this particular -- you know, telling him, hey, 30 minutes before, you're not allowed to come in. But they said, we're not going disclose any information about security procedures and what goes into it. So, they have not confirmed -- REID: That's so interesting.
FREEMAN: -- that the list itself was why we said you can't come in.
REID: That's a pretty big leap and a big accusation for him to make. As someone who has gone in and out of White House gate so many times as a reporter, we know the Secret Service has broad latitude about who comes inside and outside that premises.
But that being said, this idea of a watchlist, hugely problematic in terms of the constitutional protection that you are entitled to in this country. It's overly vague. It's not clear how you get on it. It's not clear how you get off of it. So, it seems like there's a complication of two separate issues.
We don't have a constitutional right to be inside the White House, but it probably would be good for him to, again, continue to bring attention to this issue of a watchlist and how people get on it and stay on it, and then are limited, potentially, in their travel and other opportunities.
FREEMAN: Well, absolutely. You know, what he, the mayor, and also the Center for American Islamic Relations, CAIR, New Jersey, they actually presented us, the reporters who are all in the press conference today, with what they called a redacted version of this list showing the mayor's full name and his birthday, saying, this is evidence that we believe that he has been flagged and they're connecting the dots. This is, perhaps, the reason he was not allowed into this event.
But, to your point, we do not have -- we have not had that confirmation specifically just yet.
REID: It is a great way to bring attention to a watchlist. I think most people kind of forgot about the watchlist.
CAMEROTA: Unless you're on it.
REID: Exactly, and then you never forget.
FREEMAN: Folks in this community, they say they have not forgotten because --
FREEMAN: -- it has been persecution after persecution. The stories are not going away.
REID: Bring it back into the consciousness. Maybe we could try to get some of that system reform. So, if you do find yourself on it and you don't believe you should be, you could maybe get yourself off of it.
CAMEROTA: Right, but there is no process.
JIMENEZ: Yeah. REID: None whatsoever.
CAMEROTA: There is no process to get yourself off it. That seems Kafkaesque (ph), frankly, that it's just --
CAMEROTA: -- never ending and you don't even know if you're on it until you're just flagged somehow.
FREEMAN: Again, let us not forget, even the mayor doesn't know how he got on it in the first place, right? I mean, he was speculating a few different things early today. He actually said during this press conference that at one point, he had gone to Syria, the FBI had actually asked him to be an informant, he declined that, and he said that sometimes is a way to get you on that watchlist.
But, again, it's hard to know why your name appears on it in the first place. Like you said, there's no online form you could fill out to then take yourself off of that or make an appeal, really. It is challenging.
REID: Retaliatory, if you declined to be an informant, which can be dangerous not only for you but also potentially for your family for there to be repercussions. A lot of huge constitutional questions.
FREEMAN: That is the argument that they would make.
FOX: This issue also came up in the broader gun debate on Capitol Hill where there had been some idea that perhaps one way to limit gun ownership would be if you are on some kind of watchlist. And interestingly, this became kind of an issue where some Democrats and Republicans were saying, well, actually, we don't know that much about the watchlist to begin with and it is not clear how someone gets on and off of it, and therefore, that actually might be problematic in terms of a broader discussion about who can buy guns in this country and who can't.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. But that is -- remember that because it sounds it is one of those kneejerk things where you're like, of course, somebody on a watchlist shouldn't have a gun --
FOX: Right. Exactly.
CAMEROTA: -- until you realize that people are mistakenly on a watchlist or on there forever.
FREEMAN: But there could be as many, you know, well over a million people on some of these lists.
REID: Yeah. FREEMAN: And do you go through every single name and make sure that's correct? It's challenging. There's a couple of different challenges, especially when it's kind of hidden from the public eye.
CAMEROTA: All right. Thank you very much for alerting us to all of this. Meanwhile, dramatic testimony from a friend of E. Jean Carroll in the rape and defamation trial against Donald Trump today. Paul has been following the story closely for us and tells us where the trial is headed now.
CAMEROTA: It was a dramatic day of testimony in the civil rape and defamation trial against former President Trump. Two witnesses testifying on behalf of E. Jean Carroll.
A longtime friend of Carol described a phone call that she received moments after Trump allegedly attacked Carroll in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. A second witness testified that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her on an airplane in the late 1970s.
Donald Trump denies any wrongdoing.
Okay, so Paula, you were in the courtroom today. Tell us what you saw. What was it like?
REID: So today was all about bringing forth witnesses who could corroborate E. Jean Carroll's testimony. She has been testifying for several days. She testified, answered questions from her lawyers, and was also cross-examined by Trump attorneys.
The first witness, who you just referenced, Lisa Birnbach, she is significant because she presents a contemporaneous recollection of this alleged assault. She says that she was called by Carroll a short time after this alleged assault. She describes her friend on the phone as hyperventilating, being emotional.
And Birnbach says, when I heard what had happened, it was clear to me that this was a rape. She said, at this time, Carroll preferred to frame this as a fight or a tussle. She wasn't ready to say that word, rape.
Now, this is significant, because we're talking about allegations that are approximately roughly 30 years old. There is no eyewitness testimony. But when you have something like this, when you have a contemporaneous account from someone who says, yes, I've heard about it shortly after, that's really a boost to Carroll's case.
But defense attorneys cross-examined her and pointed to a lot of posts that she has made that make it clear, politically, she is not a fan of Trump. The other witness, among the other witnesses we've heard from today, Jessica Leeds, she alleges that Trump groped her and kissed her on a flight back in the 70s.
She said she was sitting in coach, she was upgraded to first class, sat next to him, and then he had tried this. She said she got out of her seat after a short period of time, didn't tell anyone, went to the back of the plane. She says no one helped her.
But the significance of her testimony is part of an effort to establish that this is a pattern. What E. Jean Carroll said happened is a pattern. Now, we've all heard the Access Hollywood tape. So, E. Jean Carroll's lawyers are hoping that they hear her story, her stories like that of Jessica Leeds, which Trump has denied, and that they will see a pattern and all these will help boost her chances of winning this case.
CAMEROTA: I think we have some sound of Jessica Leeds outside of the court today. Let's listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA LEEDS, WITNESS: I would like to express my support for E. Jean Carroll with her suit against trump. Her story rings true to me. I also would like to encourage anyone who has suffered sexual aggression to know they are not alone and they can speak up.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): What was it like testifying today?
LEEDS: It's nerve-racking. It's not fun. It's not fun. And I hope I never have to tell the story again. So, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: One of the questions that keep coming up both for E. Jean Carroll for Miss Leeds, why didn't you say anything? Why didn't you report? And I really felt, as a millennial woman, a generational divide. Leeds said that, look, at that time, men got away with a lot. E. Jean Carroll has also talked about the shame that she felt even though she subsequently advised women in her advice column to report assault.
So, it definitely feels like "Me Too" has really changed the ability a lot of people have to talk about this really and just thinking about what life was like for them. It's something that's really taken away from the trial.
FOX: It also struck me that when she called her friend, her friend tells her, that was rape, and she really doesn't want to go there. She does not want to have that conversation. And to me, that kind of struck as very much of that time where she wanted to move on. She did not want to continue talking about it.
But like you said, in a cross examination, the question becomes, why didn't you reported, why didn't you tell more people, and I think that that is why the cross-examination is tough.
CAMEROTA: And this friend told her -- her advice. Is it accurate that Lisa Birnbach told her not to go to the police or was this the one who told her you should go to the police?
REID: She was the one who told her she should go to the police. And E. Jean Carroll said, look, at that time, I felt very ashamed. Now, the defense attorney really seized on the fact that she did not report this and then subsequently advised other people to report through her advice column.
It's unclear -- I was watching the jury yesterday when he was bringing this up, the Trump defense attorney just to see how they responded. They were all very attentive. But it's really unclear to me what they made of that.
CAMEROTA: Because there were two friends. One who said he'll bury you.
CAMEROTA: And one, I guess, you're saying Lisa Birnbach, who said that you need to go to the police.
REID: Exactly. And at the time, you know, he was a very famous real estate agent. Obviously, well-known in social circles, but he was not at that time a politician.
JIMENEZ: And on the cross-examination part, you are saying that defense attorneys were bringing up, you know, posts she had made.
JIMENEZ: Clearly, she was not a fan of Trump. I mean, you have that, of course, on one side but, of course, a very powerful accounting of, you know, being on the phone with E. Jean Carroll after this happened. How do you see those two stacking up against -- I mean, the jury of folks who some are probably wondering what you just alluded to, why now?
REID: I really do think that the contemporaneous recollection helped. The reason she's able to bring this fourth well after the statute of limitation is because a window was opened to allow -- for one to allow people to bring these kinds of allegations forward. We've seen this in several states, related to sex crimes, sexual abuse. You can bring forward things that have already passed the statute of limitation.
The hard thing is it's hard to get all the evidence. So, a contemporaneous recollection like this, I think it's very powerful. But in terms of the Facebook post, let me tell you, everything you say on Facebook or social media can and will be used against you, even your friends, in a court of law. Right?
The number of times they pulled out Facebook posts, even the one yesterday from E. Jean Carroll asking if people would have sex with Donald Trump for $17,000, they thought they were just making a political joke, but it comes back to haunt you.
CAMEROTA: So, very quickly, what's going happen tomorrow?
REID: So, over the next few days, we expect E. Jean Carroll's lawyers wrap up their case, then former President Trump's lawyers will be able to present their defense. We only expected there to be one witness. So, this could, because there's usually no court on Friday, this could go to the jury as soon as Monday.
CAMEROTA: Who's his witness?
REID: His one witness is an expert who could raise -- is expected to testify. It is unclear if it absolutely will happen. But their plan is to have one expert testify remotely and that is expected to extend their case. The former president will not testify. We did not expect that he would. But they can bring that outside of court.
Let me tell you, criminal defense attorneys in other cases are like, whew, they were really worried about what could happen if he got on that stand for his other criminal cases.
CAMEROTA: All right. We'll be watching. Thank you very much for the update on all of that. Okay, now, why the word "ladies" in an email has led to a second resignation of a school committee member in one district in Massachusetts?
Omar is going explain what's going on and what's wrong with "ladies."
CAMEROTA: New fallout tonight over using the term "ladies." A second school committee member in Eastampton, Massachusetts has resigned in the wake of a superintendent search gone wrong.
At the end of March, you may remember us reporting the school search committee offered the job to Vito Perrone. We interviewed him. He is a superintendent from another district.
But then they rescinded the offer because he addressed committee members as "ladies" in an email. Perrone says he was told the word "ladies" is a microaggression. Now, committee member, Laurie Garcia, says -- quote -- "The fact that you can say Madam Chair but not ladies, the whole thing is ridiculous."
Omar Jimenez has been following this story for us. I'm so glad you're here to explain this.
JIMENEZ: Yes. So, look, this is -- this is really like a lot of dinner table talk over terms that are actually being used because this is a community outside of Springfield, Massachusetts where, as you said, it started with a guy named Doctor Vito Perrone, he was offered this superintendent job, and he basically gotten the job. But now, it's time to negotiate out of the contract, so he sends the head of the school committee and her executive assistant an email, starting it off with "ladies," and then lays out essentially his request for vacation days, sick days, that sort of deal.
And so, he didn't think anything of it. Well, they received that and they, again, not only said it was a microaggressions but the school committee chair said that it was in many ways insulting because they did not think that he should be addressing people who he would be working with in a professional setting in such a casual manner. They also said that it was because of the amount of days he was requesting off.
CAMEROTA: Right. So, this is what it always confuses me. Was the "ladies" thing a pretext for the fact that they did not want to negotiate his amount of time off? Do we know the answer to that?
JIMENEZ: That's the major question. I would say that's the central question here. And by the way, used the term "negotiate." Vito Perrone would say, we never got to negotiate because I just kind of put forward my request. You know, if there is an issue, we could've worked that out. But then the offer was rescinded. So then fast forward to this and another superintendent candidate that eventually withdrew her candidacy.
Fast forward here, Laurie Garcia is a school committee member who has been going through all of this. You know, dealing with the votes. She voted for Perrone in the beginning. She said that she was forwarded the email that said, "ladies," and she did not even clock that. She was, like, why are they forwarding it, about the vacation days or whatever.
And then when she found out later on that it may have been the major reason for it, she threw her hands like, well, this is ridiculous. And, you know, a lot of people in the community were also coming to his defense as well --
JIMENEZ: -- saying, what are we doing?
CAMEROTA: Is "ladies" offensive?
CAMEROTA: Is it offensive?
FOX: I've never been offended by the term "ladies." I feel like there's a lot of other microaggressions that can happen in a professional setting.
JIMENEZ: Well, yeah. And the executive assistant, who was one of the original people addressed in this email, even came out on Facebook later and said, look, everybody, I'm not offended by the word "ladies." But, of course, she has a job, so she goes, but I respect the opinion of anyone who may be offended by those terms. REID: Oh, come on.
JIMENEZ: Yes. But --
CAMEROTA: But I think that the woman who did take umbrage at being called "ladies" wanted it to be like Miss Camerota. You know, wanted to be just by her name.
REID: It is a very specific preference, right?
REID: It shouldn't undermine someone's candidacy for a job at a time when it's very difficult to find higher education professionals. Do you guys remember Demetri Martin? He had like a great (INAUDIBLE) about the word "ladies." He said you can make anything sound inappropriate by just adding "ladies." It's like, want some pizza, ladies?
(INAUDIBLE) tonight, ladies. That is what I think of when I think of "ladies" being inappropriate within these conducts. Even the idea of it being on microaggression feels absurd. And the idea that this is happening in a school makes me concerned about what these kids are learning about what is and is not appropriate and the extent to which your feelings about a preference should dictate someone else's life.
JIMENEZ: Well, this second school committee who -- committee member who resigned, basically, that was her complain about this process. She said that it's an embarrassment that this process has become what it is, that here they are now a month later from when they believe they were going to have a superintendent, and it's because of this reason.
And another issue here that -- again, there's been a lot of little pieces in the Easthampton community that this was decided to rescind the offer in the executive session of a school committee meeting. So, some of them argued, hey, you went into executive session and you didn't say the reason you are going into it was to rescind this offer or to consider the actual job.
So, now, an open meeting law complaint has been filed with the state from another former committee member while the school committee chair has said, well, we just said we were going to go in there and talk about strategies on negotiation.
CAMEROTA: So, they don't have a superintendent during all of this?
JIMENEZ: They don't. Oh, they do right now.
CAMEROTA: Oh, they hired someone.
JIMENEZ: No. Basically, they are replacing this outgoing superintendent.
CAMEROTA: I see. [23:45:00]
JIMENEZ: But what they're going to have to do now is they decided to go to the state and essentially the state will help them find an interim superintendent until they could then find someone else to qualify and go through the real process.
FOX: This is really bringing me back to some like local reporting days when I would cover school board meetings until midnight and open meeting laws, discussions about that. I think it's really remarkable that a surge that really is pretty perfunctory in a lot of ways turned into a huge national news story because of a conversation about email language, and now I'm going to think very, very hard about how I address everyone.
FREEMAN: You're talking about subtext, right? I mean, that is the thing. Local school politics are some of the fiercest and most intense that's out there.
REID: Oh, yeah. That's true.
FREEMAN: An example of that.
CAMEROTA: Great point. You have to go and speak the language apparently.
REID: On meetings in Massachusetts --
JIMENEZ: I know. I know.
JIMENEZ: (INAUDIBLE) Massachusetts.
CAMEROTA: Thank you. Please give us an update.
JIMENEZ: Of course, I will continue to follow.
CAMEROTA: All right. Thank you all very much. Up next, "On the Lookout," our reporters are going to tell us what stories they are looking out for on the horizon.
CAMEROTA: We're back with our fantastic panel of reporters to tell us what stories they're keeping an eye on. We call it "On the Lookout." First, I will be on the lookout for reaction to this news that we just got into our newsroom tonight. This is a newly-revealed text message.
In it, Tucker Carlson makes strange and racist comments. And we believe that this is the comment, according to "The New York Times," that in part led to his being fired by Fox.
So, in this text, he said he found himself briefly rooting for a mob of Trump supporters to kill a person. This is according to, again, this newly-published report in "The New York Times." Carlson wrote this in January of 2021, possibly the day right after the insurrection. This was a text message to a producer.
Quote -- "A couple of weeks ago, I was watching video of people fighting in the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living shit out of him. It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It is not how white men fight."
"Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they had hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it. Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off. This isn't good for me. I'm becoming something I don't want to be."
"The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I'm sure I'd hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn't gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don't care about those things, If I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?"
The text message, which was included in the redacted port filings in the Dominion Voting Systems case was swept up in discovery as part of the voting machine company's defamation lawsuit against Fox. This is again all according to "The New York Times."
The "Times" reports that that text message alarmed Fox's board of directors and played a role in Carlson's abrupt firing last month. It's too bad Tucker Carlson doesn't realize these things before he says them. Too bad he doesn't realize people's humanity first.
Okay, let's go to our "On the Lookout" segment, guys.
And welcome back.
Lauren, tell us what you're looking out for in the horizon.
FOX: There is a meeting tomorrow with Joe Manchin and Julie Su, who is the nominee for labor secretary for the Biden administration. She is still waiting to hear if three Democrats, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Jon Tester, are going to support her on the floor. She passed out of committee last week. But this meeting is really critical to understanding whether or not this nominee is going to be able to move forward. And, obviously, with Senator Dianne Feinstein still out, the numbers are really close here. There's a possibility that this nominee could be in serious trouble. So, we're going be watching really closely for the tea leaves that come out of that meeting tomorrow.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Excellent. Danny?
FREEMAN: As our Philadelphia correspondent here at CNN, I'm looking forward to two weeks from today the home stretch. It is election day in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania primary is coming up, May 16th. The last day to register the vote was yesterday, but there still time to get your absentee ballot, your mail-in ballot.
A lot of big races. Philadelphia, mayor, Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, and also a lot of big races in Alleghany County in the western part of the state. That's what I'm looking forward to this home stretch of that election season.
CAMEROTA: And that is why you're our Pennsylvania correspondent -- you're our Philadelphia correspondent.
CAMEROTA: Exactly. Okay. Excellent.
JIMENEZ: But no mention of MVP?
FREEMAN: Well, if we must.
JIMENEZ: MVP. No, what I'm keeping an eye on is -- actually, it is a case of deja vu because a year ago, May of last year, we are covering the stories out in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The last three living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre are basically going through reparations lawsuit of the mental and physical damage inflicted on them over the years.
And so, last May, they cleared this major hurdle to try and actually move forward to trial on this. Well, a year later, there has been delays and delays and delays. And now, they are having to go through another motion to dismiss a year later, which is going to be next week on one of the survivors' 109th birthday.
All three of these survivors are over 100. Their defense has said -- I guess, essentially, they're not the defense here, but they are trying to get reparations. They said that the city is trying to whip them out.
JIMENEZ: And so, we're going to be watching to see if actually this is the hurdle that allows them to go to trial.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Paula?
REID: Another Trump case, the criminal case, the first time he has ever been charged. His lawyers and prosecutors will be in court on Thursday to argue over how much the former president can actually discuss the evidence in that case.
It is a really constitutional question because he obviously has a First Amendment right. He's also a candidate for the presidency. But, on the other hand, he rails against the prosecutors. He brings threats upon the judge. So, they have to balance the extent to which he can share details of this case. I think it's a really interesting constitutional question ahead of what is going to be a long process for that criminal case.
CAMEROTA: Thank you all. Really appreciate you, guys, being here tonight. And tomorrow on "CNN This Morning," new development in the Ana Walshe case. What new reporting reveals about an alleged affair and a mysterious note sent days after she went missing. That starts at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. Tune into that.
Thank you so much, everyone, for watching us tonight. Our coverage continues now.