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Erin Burnett Outfront
Bill Cosby Speaks Out For The First Time Since Being Released From Prison: I Have Always Maintained My Innocence; GOP Representatives Join Trump In Texas Instead Of Showing Up To Vote On Jan. 6 Committee; Republican Reps. Cheney & Kinzinger Break With GOP To Vote In Support Of January 6 Select Committee; Sources: Trump Organization Expected To Be Charged Tomorrow; Eighteen Dead, 145 Unaccounted For In High-Rise Condo Collapse; Dozens Die In Northwest As Dangerous Heatwave Peaks. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 30, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We want to take a moment to remember some of those lost in this truly horrific disaster. And you can see the names and the ages of those who have been identified by the authorities. Our deepest condolences to their families. May they rest in peace and as we say, may their memories be a blessing.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, Bill Cosby is breaking his silence as a free man tonight after a Pennsylvania court overruled his sex assault conviction. One of Cosby's accusers joins me with her reaction to this stunning turn of events.
Plus, the Trump Organization and a top Trump Org executive who worked for the Trump family for nearly 50 years facing criminal charges tomorrow. What does this mean for former President Trump?
And new video of the moments just before the Florida condo collapse, showing water and debris in the garage. What it tells us about a possible cause? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Poppy Harlow in tonight for Erin Burnett.
And OUTFRONT this evening breaking news, Bill Cosby breaking his silence speaking out just hours after he became a free man when his sexual assault conviction was overturned. Cosby tweeting, "I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence. Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law."
Cosby's tweet after he was silent at a press conference tonight where his legal team held the decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN PERRY, COSBY ATTORNEY: We said from day one, we just didn't think he was treated fairly and that the system has to be fair. And fortunately, the Supreme Court agreed with us. He's happy, his wife is happy. The system only works if it's fair to all sides. That's the bottom line. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: The disgraced actor released from prison earlier today after a stunning ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that his sexual assault conviction violated his due process rights. Now, despite the fact that Cosby admitted during a 2005 civil lawsuit that he did give Quaaludes to women that he wanted to have sex with. Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in 2018 for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.
It was the first major case of the MeToo era and a major fall from grace for the man once considered America's dad for the role on The Cosby Show that he played. More than 50 women ultimately accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting or raping them over a 40-year span, including 35 accusers who agreed to sit down talk and be photographed for this powerful cover of New York Magazine.
In just a few minutes, I will speak with Lise-Lott Lubin, one of the women who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her. She testified at his trial.
But first, our Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT. And Jason, a stunning turn of events today.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely stunning, Poppy, when you consider it was just last month that Cosby was denied bail after serving some three years in prison. His attorneys, those who represented him came out here a short while ago earlier this evening, basically saying that his conviction was really all about the court of public opinion and politics. Also saying that what happened with the State Supreme Court was a win not only for Cosby, but for anyone that's been wronged by the legal system.
CARROLL (voice over): Walking free. Bill Cosby leaving prison after Pennsylvania's highest court vacated his conviction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just said his heart was racing. He couldn't believe it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL (voice over): The 83-year-old former comedian now home after being released this afternoon. The court deciding that prosecutors violated his due process rights writing, "The subsequent decision by successor DA to prosecute Cosby violated Cosby's due process rights. He must be discharged in any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred."
According to the court, Cosby was originally promised immunity in exchange for testimony in a civil case. A decade later, a different prosecutor used that testimony against him in his criminal trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: We said from day one we just didn't think he was treated fairly and that the system has to be fair. And fortunately, the Supreme Court agreed with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL (voice over): In 2018, Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. That conviction came after a mistrial on the same charges.
Cosby, once known as America's dad has long fought for his release being denied appeal in 2019 and denied parole just last month. His conviction was the first high profile celebrity case in the MeToo era.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR COSBY ACCUSERS: Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
CROWD: Guilty. Guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL (voice over): And his release dealing a blow to the multiple women who accused him of sexual assault. A lawyer for three of the accusers tweeting, "He is not released because he is innocent. He is released because a prosecutor promised him years ago that he would not be brought to justice."
Andrea Constand, the woman at the center of the criminal case and her lawyers releasing a statement saying in part, "Today's majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern despite the ultimate outcome which resulted from a procedural technicality and we urge all victims to have their voices heard.
But Cosby does have some support in former co-star Phylicia Rashad who tweeted, "Finally. A terrible wrong is being righted - a miscarriage of justice is corrected."
CARROLL (on camera): Again, Cosby is at home resting with his supporters. His wife, Camille, is resting with him as well. We're also told that earlier today when we were out here, it wasn't just those people who were supporting Bill Cosby, there were a number of folks out here also who were supporting the accusers. They were very vocal. One of them saying out here earlier, Poppy, that what happened today was a miscarriage of justice. Poppy.
HARLOW: Jason Carroll for us, thank you very much for that reporting.
OUTFRONT now Lise-Lotte Lubin. She accused Bill Cosby of drugging her and sexually assaulting her at his suite at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1989 when she was just 23 years old. She was one of five women who testified during Cosby's trial in 2018. Cosby has denied all of those allegations.
Lise, thank you for being here this evening.
LISE-LOTTE LUBIN, ACCUSED BILL COSBY OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING HER IN 1989: Thank you, Poppy.
HARLOW: Look, you bravely came forward with your accusations against Cosby. You took the stand, you testified, you were so nervous in doing so. You sat on your trembling hands. I remember that and today he is a free man, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court says that he cannot be tried again in this case. What did you think when you heard that?
LUBIN: Honestly, it's of course devastating. It doesn't make him innocent. So this is something I had a conversation with my husband for the past six months that there's a possibility that he could get off on a technicality, which we've seen this in the past before. A technicality doesn't make you innocent. It just means that something went wrong in the system and this is a part of why we fight to change laws, to change statute of limitations.
Why would anyone even have a statute on personal harm? You know what I'm saying? It doesn't make sense. Everything is from an old way of thinking. You know what I mean? And, again, he's still professing that he's innocent but he's not innocent. He is a notorious rapist and he just got away with it.
And this just sets back victims for wanting to come forward and give their voice, because they feel like if you have enough money and you have enough time and money to work with someone that will help you and you can pay them, you can get off just about on anything. So it's just a new fight that we have to go back to.
HARLOW: I wonder then because for you it must have been scary to come forward in the face of all of that and I wonder seeing what has happened now and you talk about what this will mean for victims in the future, are you still glad that you came forward?
LUBIN: Absolutely, 100 percent. Laws have been changed in the State of Nevada. We've inspired the laws changed in California and it was abolished in Colorado. The women work together to do all this. All of us work together. We've made change.
But there's more change to be made and this is just another platform that we have to get over and hopefully we can get America, we can get people out there who are outraged with this to come together and start making these changes.
HARLOW: What recourse do you believe you have because, again, it was so clear in that opinion from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that he cannot ever be tried again on this case?
LUBIN: Yes. But Bill Cosby is not the Bill Cosby he was before. He did spend time in jail. Time is time. He can never get that back. He has become this infamous person versus a famous person and he's going to have to deal with that. His consequences aren't over. He still has to walk through all of this shame and all of this in people's feelings and emotions that are related to this.
And hopefully, this is just the beginning of him having to deal with the consequences, changing more laws, getting more situations out into the open.
Victims coming forward in outrage and saying their truth, and allowing people to make changes so that they can be heard and that they have their rights. This just tells you, again, that some of these people still have this small thinking. And again, it's just a technicality. It does not make him innocent in any way whatsoever. He did what he did. He admitted what he did on tape. You guys played that, used it in court.
He did it. He's just walking around acting like he's innocent to everything and he's not.
HARLOW: He didn't speak in that press conference tonight, but he did release a tweet and let me read it and get your thoughts. He said, "I've never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence. Thank you to my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law."
When you hear those words, what do you say back?
LUBIN: This is why I go to the legislator and I fight for laws to be changed. They're antiquated. They're making changes based on information that is from good old boys of old school type of situation and that needs to change. That doesn't help prosecutors. It doesn't help detectives. It doesn't help the police force. It doesn't help victims.
The bottom line is we are more massive in numbers as survivors of these situations. And if we can collectively get together, we can hopefully make changes. It may not be a change to his lifestyle.
Maybe there's someone out there who has been assaulted by him and hasn't come forward yet and still within the statute of limitations. If that person came forward, we would have another running chance at making sure that he pays even more for what he's actually done, because he is not innocent. He is far from innocent.
But if someone's out there, maybe they're willing to come forward knowing that there's hundreds and thousands of women and victims and men that have been assaulted and people who don't believe in this and want change to support that individual, because I will.
They can get a hold of me, I will and I will talk to every woman that I know that's been a part of this and put in everything that we can to make sure that this situation gets resolved in an appropriate manner where the actual perpetrator is held responsible and accountable for every single act. That's what we need to do.
HARLOW: Lise, thank you and I know you're a teacher and you have two teens at home. And you said at the beginning of this, your fight, I'm working to change laws and protect you and you have done some of that already. We thank you for your time tonight.
LUBIN: Thank you very much, Poppy. I appreciate it.
HARLOW: Of course. OUTFRONT now, Areva Martin, CNN Legal Analyst. Areva, good to have you. Your legal perspective on this ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first, Poppy, I was shocked like so many people have expressed throughout this day with the ruling, particularly since a prior appeal by Bill Cosby and his team was denied. At the heart of this Court's opinion, is this agreement that former DA Bruce Castor made with the Cosby team, apparently agreeing to not prosecute him and allowing him to move forward in a civil deposition and to give testimony under oath. We know that agreement was highly disputed.
The current prosecutor that actually prosecuted Bill Cosby took issue with the fact of even such a contract or agreement existing. So we know the Supreme Court has ruled in a way with respect to that contract that is contrary to two other courts in Pennsylvania.
Well, this is the Supreme Court they spoke and I don't agree with the decision and I worry about that implication it will have on victims and victims who were finding their voice and finally starting to come forward, what that might do to those victims.
HARLOW: Do you think - and that can be maintained. Your point is an important one. However, do you see a legal ground for this decision based on the agreement that was made?
MARTIN: I do not and I think it's a fraud decision and I think it's bad precedent. We don't want prosecutors making side deals with defendants, deals that are not sanctioned by courts, deals that are not shared with victims, deals that are not shared with the people that elect ...
HARLOW: No. I understand that. I'm saying based on what happened, do you believe there is a legal basis precedent for the way the Pennsylvania Supreme Court came down on this one?
MARTIN: No. I think the court got it wrong, Poppy. I think the trial judge got it right.
I think the trial judge allowed the testimony in from the deposition. I think that was the right decision. The trial judge allow the five prior bad act witnesses to testify. I think that was the right decision by the trial judge.
HARLOW: I mean, it was so clear in reading the opinion tonight that they cannot prosecute Bill Cosby again in this case. No more trial, period. There's not really any way around that. Does that mean that's the end of the road for Cosby facing criminal charges at least in the case of Andrea Constand?
MARTIN: Oh, absolutely. As you stated, the Supreme Court in this 79- page opinion was unequivocal that there are no more trials to be had with respect to these allegations involving Bill Cosby. The question remains if there are other victims out there who may have claims that fall within the applicable statute of limitations.
But the reality is Bill Cosby is 83 years old. He has served some time in jail for the conviction, the 2018 conviction. But we will not see the prosecutors in the State of Pennsylvania moving forward with the trial with respect to Ms. Constand's allegations.
HARLOW: Areva Martin, thank you.
MARTIN: Thanks, Poppy.
HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, the House votes to create a select committee to investigate the January 6th interaction with only two Republicans voting for that joining Democrats. This as our own Jim Acosta asked for President Trump this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: Will you apologize about January 6th?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And the Trump Organization and top executive Allen Weisselberg facing criminal charges tomorrow from the Manhattan District Attorney.
Plus, breaking news from Surfside, officials just announced there are two children among the 18 now confirmed dead. This as we have dramatic new video revealing the moments before and after the collapse.
HARLOW: New tonight, only two Republicans, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are joining Democrats in the House to approve that Select House Committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan commission. This as the former president today refused to apologize for the deadly insurrection he incited. Listen to this exchange with our very own Jim Acosta while touring the U.S. border with Mexico.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Mr. Trump, will you apologize about the January 6?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT tonight in McAllen, Texas. Jim, the former President still refusing to accept responsibility for the deadly insurrection he incited. In fact, he was smiling and giving a thumbs up in response to your question.
ACOSTA: Yes, absolutely. I mean, Poppy, we sort of spent a day trapped in Trump's alternate reality about the 2020 election. He was down here to meet with Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas to talk about Abbott's plan to spend $250 million on the border wall to fill in gaps in Trump's border wall that weren't completed during the Trump administration. Of course, Trump used today to continue spreading the big lie to claim that he was cheated out of the 2020 election and so on.
And Abbott's people went to great lengths to keep reporters from asking questions of the former president. And so it was at this event at the border wall where it got quiet for a few seconds. And so I tried to ask the question, do you apologize for what happened on January 6, Trump did not - he knew what was going on, he looked right at me and he did not respond. That was when we heard boos from the crowd.
But keep in mind, Poppy, this was not a crowd of Trump supporters that you would see at a rally. This was a crowd of Republican members of the House who skipped out on the vote today for the January 6 select committee that Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker proposed. And instead, they were down in Texas kissing Trump's ring.
It was just another example of how we're not seeing profiles in courage up on Capitol Hill on the Republican side. We're seeing profiles in crassness in terms of what we saw today, Poppy.
HARLOW: I mean, it's such a telling picture and such an image of representative of what's going on caring more about being with Trump and the former president carrying on the big lie than voting on this critical measure.
ACOSTA: Absolutely. And of course, we all know how they would have voted anyway. They would have voted no. At one point, I talked to Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina. He said he still considers Trump to be a leader of the Republican Party. He claimed to me, at one point during our back and forth, that yes, Trump was cheated out of the 20 elections, so they're all parroting the big lie.
At another point, another Congresswoman, Lauren Boebert of Colorado shouted out, you won, to Donald Trump. It was as if all of these Republican members of Congress were just going to continue to live again in this alternate universe, this alternate reality that's been created by the former president that he, in fact, won the 2020 election. And, of course, we know there's nothing further from the truth, that is the continuation of the big lie, Poppy.
HARLOW: And a dangerous one at that. I mean, all you have to do is look at what DHS and the FBI are warning right now. Jim Acosta, thank you very much.
ACOSTA: Absolutely, that's right. You bet.
HARLOW: All right. Let's get more on this. Let's bring in our Special Correspondent, Jamie Gangel. Jamie, good evening to you. Just two House Republicans voting in favor of this commission, that's
Liz Cheney who did not hold back in a statement before the vote saying in part, "Since January 6th, the courage of my party's leaders has faded. But the threat to our Republic has not. I believe the select committee is our only remaining option."
Very simply, Jamie, what are her Republican colleagues so afraid of?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It seems they're still afraid of Donald Trump. They're afraid of looking bad and I think if you look at some of them, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, he's afraid of being called to testify.
But one of the things that I really found remarkable today, even by Washington standards, was the excuse that many Republicans gave for not voting for this was that it would be partisan. Well, we know that just a couple of weeks ago, they could have voted for a bipartisan commission.
They don't care if it's partisan. They don't care if it's bipartisan. They don't want it, Poppy. And just one note, I spoke to several Republican sources who said to me, they thought it was very smart that Nancy Pelosi invited members of the Capitol Hill Police and Metropolitan Police to visit in the gallery as her guest today.
They also told me that it was very embarrassing.
HARLOW: That's very telling.
HARLOW: Jamie, speaking of Speaker Pelosi. She'll get to pick eight members of this commission, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will get to pick five. Pelosi has not said directly yet if she will pick Republicans, a Republican or Republicans. You would think Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger or at least one of them. Do you know any insight into that?
GANGEL: So my understanding from a senior Democratic source with knowledge is that Nancy Pelosi is seriously considering picking one Republican. And to your point ...
HARLOW: Just one?
GANGEL: ... just one. So let me do the math for you, because several people said to me, well, why not two?
GANGEL: Why not pick both of them? There were 13 members. That means if she picks ...
HARLOW: I see. GANGEL: ... two, then there are seven Republicans and six Democrats.
So that's not that's not going to happen, but I think it is very likely that she will do it. And it's quite apparent since only Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney voted for the select committee. It'll be one of them.
HARLOW: Jamie, I mean, it's not going to happen but, I mean, it would fend off any attacks on - this is more Democrats.
GANGEL: A hundred percent, I agree. It would be the ultimate maybe power move but what did we see today, again? Such a polarized political situation that only two Republicans voted for him.
HARLOW: Right. And a lot of others left town and went to the border with the former president.
HARLOW: Jamie, thank you.
HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, the Trump Organization and Trump's right hand man at his company expected to be criminally charged tomorrow. What does this mean for the ex-president?
Plus, breaking news, sadly the death toll in the Florida condominium disaster is now up to 18. The two newest victims, children. OUTFRONT, obtaining new video on the moments before and after the collapse and it may hold important indications as to what caused this tragedy.
HARLOW: Tonight, the Trump Organization and the chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, expected to be charged tomorrow with tax crimes, people familiar with that matter tells CNN.
Now, the Manhattan district attorney's office building a case around perks awarded to employees and whether appropriate taxes were paid on them.
Our Kara Scannell is OUTFRONT.
Kara, you have two sources saying Weisselberg is expected to turn himself in tomorrow. What more do you know?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yeah, good evening, Poppy.
That's right. Sources telling myself and my colleague Sonia Moghe that Allen Weisselberg will turn himself in tomorrow to authorities where he will later tomorrow face these criminal charges that have to do with benefits and compensation. In addition to Weisselberg, the Trump Organization sources tell us will also be charged tomorrow with these tax related cases. This is -- this stems from this broad investigation that the Manhattan
District Attorney Cy Vance and the New York Attorney General Letitia James had started several years ago and is really focused on the compensation and whether the company and Weisselberg had paid the appropriate taxes that they received on some benefits, includes rent free apartments, company cars, school tuition and bonuses.
Now, this investigation is still ongoing, but tomorrow will be the arraignment for the company and Allen Weisselberg. Weisselberg's attorney has declined to comment. We do know from the former president's attorney that the Trump organization will enter a plea of not guilty -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Any indication what this would mean or could mean for the former president?
SCANNELL: Well, this investigation is still on going. So, this is perhaps the first step. It possible this will be the only charges that come from this. But the investigation is ongoing. Weisselberg will be indicted tomorrow, sources tell us, and that will only add to the pressure that he's facing.
We'll know a lot more when we see the charges and what pressure that is if he decides to cooperate and has any information to share that could change the course of this investigation.
HARLOW: OK. Kara, thank you for the reporting tonight.
Let's bring in Elie Honig, our senior legal analyst, former federal prosecutor, also the author of the very relevant new book on former Attorney General Bill Barr, the title is "Hatchet Man".
Elie, thank you for being here tonight.
So, let's start here. Prosecutors indict the Trump Organization, how much of a concern is that for Donald Trump?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Poppy, if you're Donald Trump this is a good news, bad news situation. The bad news is your company is about to get indicted, the company that bears your name. That means they're going to have a long, expensive difficult legal battle and if they're convicted, that means they could have to pay major fines, restitution and even could spell the end of the Trump Org.
The good news is you're not going to jail based on an indictment of the Trump Org. No individual can go to jail based on an indictment of a corporation. And if you're Donald Trump, I think it's reasonable to conclude at this point prosecutors don't believe they have enough or they're not ready to indict Donald Trump individually. I think it's a bit of a mixed bag for Donald Trump.
HARLOW: Prosecutors are expected to charge one person and that is as we said the CFO of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg. What does it say to you about this broader picture if after more than two years of investigation, it could end with one indictment, again, of Weisselberg over taxes paid on employee perks?
HONIG: This tells me prosecutors are putting a lot of stock in their ability to flip Allen Weisselberg.
He would be the perfect person to flip if you could because he's an insider. He's the chief financial officer for decades. This is a financial case.
That said, Allen Weisselberg has not cooperated so far. His attorneys have insisted he will not cooperate. However, Poppy, I had cases as a prosecutor where the defense lawyer said he'll never flip, he'll never cooperate. When the indictment comes down and says United States versus Allen Weisselberg, or New York state versus Allen Weisselberg, that can change minds.
HARLOW: It feels different.
HONIG: Things change quickly when someone actually gets charged, yeah.
HARLOW: All right. So, we'll see and we'll see what the charges are, as Kara said.
Before you go, I mean, if Weisselberg and the Trump Organization are indicted on criminal charges, then what? Then what happens?
HONIG: First thing they're going to do is seek to have the charges dismissed. They're going to argue these are politically motivated charges. There actually is a way to argue that to a court. We'll see if they can prove it.
If they don't get the charges dismissed, then either they will plead guilty or they'll go to trial. We could see a trial of the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg. It won't be for many, many months but that could happen.
HARLOW: Elie, thank you very much.
OUTFRONT next, breaking the news, the death toll keeps rising in Surfside, Florida. We've learned two children are among the dead. We also have new video in the seconds before the condo collapsed and the moments after.
Can this help lead to a cause?
HARLOW: And extreme heat, deadly heat, temperatures shattering records across the country. Boston and New York as alerts are sounded across the United States.
HARLOW: Breaking news the search and rescue mission continues for any possible survivors of that deadly building collapse in Florida nearly seven days ago. Tonight, officials say two additional bodies have been recovered that brings the death toll to 18 officially. Two children ages 4 and 10 are among the dead, 145 people still unaccounted for.
And tonight, we've obtained new video of the moments right before and right after the collapse moments before the building came down water pouring into the garage underneath and this video taken moments after the collapse complete and utter devastation.
Boris Sanchez is OUTFRONT with much more on the new video.
Boris, good evening.
You just spoke with the couple that took the video.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy, and they are traumatized. They were tourists here on vacation and they were standing steps away from the Champlain Tower South moments before it collapsed. Actually, interacting with residents that were on their balconies trying to figure out what led to a large he impact of thumping sound moments before the building came crashing down. They're now dealing with the impact that.
There is a silver lining, though. Some of the footage they captured just before the collapse could I'm illuminate potentially the causes.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): New glimpses tonight of the scene at Champlain Towers South moments before it collapsed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
SANCHEZ: video captured by a couple staying nearby showing debris and water gushing into the underground garage, an area inspectors said needed repairs years earlier.
A 2018 inspection report warning the pool slab right above the garage had major structural damage.
Adriana Sarmiento and Robert Castillero said they were on the pool deck of the hotel next door last Thursday when she heard a loud crash. Adriana, who's from Colombia, says she became alarmed when their building shook and she say pieces of concrete on the ground. She told Roberto the tower would collapse.
ROBERTO CASTILLERO, WITNESSED COLLAPSE: I never thought that it really was going to collapse because in America, that never happen before. I said don't worry about it. It's not going to collapse.
SANCHEZ: The couple watched as Champlain residents rushed to their balconies, confused about the sound.
Adriana says she and Roberto scrambled into the street to wave to residents to evacuate, but they couldn't understand her The couple has trouble recalling what happened next, remembering only flashes.
CASTILLERO: Dust and then glass drop and then I start running for my life.
SANCHEZ: It took a few minutes to realize what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the fire truck's attention.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): They died, they died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
SANCHEZ: Bruised and bloodied, the couple in disbelief.
CASTILLERO: I said where are the people on the balcony? I didn't realize the balcony was not there.
SANCHEZ: That image remains in my mind. For me, it's been very difficult thinking of everyone who lived there.
Minutes later, emergency crews began arriving on the scene with new dispatch audio revealing immediate calls for extra help.
DISPATCH: We have multiple victims outside of the building, going to need some resources. Require about 40 rescues, we got two coming from Miami beach and we'll use any additional resources.
SANCHEZ: Rescue workers have not stopped working the scene since and with the search soon entering its eighth day, exhaustion is setting in.
JIMMY PATRONIS, CFO, FLORIDA STATE FIRE MARSHALS: They're running on adrenaline right now and we had one member of one of the fire rescue teams who got a little exhausted yesterday. He needed to go get IV'ed up and got into a hospital. Fill him up with a bunch of IV and saline and he's good to go. He's back on site.
SANCHEZ (on camera): And, Poppy, we confirmed today federal investigators will be looking into the cause of the collapse. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will be launching only the fifth investigation of this kind in the agency's history. Of course, getting answers is going to take along time potentially even years -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Boris Sanchez, thank you for that reporting tonight. It just adds to the tragedy of all of this.
Let me bring in the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava.
Mayor Levine Cava, thank you for being here this evening.
MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA (D), MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Thank you, Poppy.
HARLOW: Let's begin again with this new video we obtained. And part of it, you see that water gushing right into -- into the garage and debris into the garage. And we know that were these warnings of major structural damage from that 2018 report, then the April 2021 letter three months ago, the damage in the garage, they've gotten significantly worse.
Tonight, after seeing all of this, do you believe that there was criminal negligence here?
CAVA: This is obviously a tragedy beyond tragedy, and there seems to have been signs of concern. We're obviously going to be part of the investigation, the county is going to be doing everything in our power to make sure that we learn from this and we do all -- everything we can with the county, properties.
And we'll be looking, as well, as to what the county can do across cities because cities are responsible for their own building inspections and re-certifications.
But we know that this is something we have to do together. So we have reached out to our cities. We're creating a working group with experts to explore everything that we can do to improve this in the future.
HARLOW: One of the big concerns that victims' family members have and one of them told Erin on this show this week is that it's basically laypeople that run these boards of these buildings that make decisions in terms of when to fix something. Does that need to change?
CAVA: I think condominium law is definitely an area the state is going to look at. Right now, that is the state's province. They do not allow us to regulate at the local level, which I wish they would.
CAVA: So, we definitely need greater accountability, reporting requirements, transparency about these critical decisions.
HARLOW: Tonight, when you had to announce that two children were among the dead, 4 years old, 10 years old. I remember the morning of the collapse being on the air and seeing that image of those two bunk beds and I knew -- I mean, you just know as a parent, you know as anyone in that moment they were kids and tonight, you had to confirm that. What was that like for you personally?
CAVA: It's horrific. It was just horrific. Nothing worse than burying children.
And we know for the first responders on the pile, it's horrific for them, as well. We know when you talk about they're suffering and, of course, the physical suffering but the emotional, as well.
CAVA: And for the community watching and the family members, there is no consoling this pain.
HARLOW: No. There's not. But the president will come tomorrow and, you know, he knows what the pain is like and the pain of losing a child and loved ones, multiple children and loved ones. What do the families want, do you believe, from the president?
CAVA: Well, I think that the families want to share their pain and their grief and ask the president to make sure that everything that can be done at the federal level is done.
We have this study that will be conducted by NIST, and it will take awhile as was explained, but there are going to be consulting experts all along the way. There are things I'm sure that can be done in the short term, and these families are going to want to be sure that what happened here teaches the world that we can take steps to avoid problems in the future.
HARLOW: Right. Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, thank you for joining us, especially on a night like this. We appreciate your time.
CAVA: Thank you. Thank you so much.
HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, an engineer takes a frame by frame look at the collapse and tells us what he sees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was something here at the bottom that gave way and this is why this entire piece is just starting to come down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And a deadly heat wave across the United States. Tens of millions of people in cities from coast-to-coast being warned about the dangerous temperatures.
HARLOW: Tonight, as rescuers continue to dig through the rubble in a desperate attempt to locate any survivors, experts are searching for clues to explain how a 13-story residential building partially collapsed on itself.
Nick Valencia is OUTFRONT.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the first time engineer Greg Batista has looked at this video in slow motion. He used his decades of experience as a structural engineer in south Florida to tell us what he thinks went wrong.
GREG BATISTA, ENGINEER: Go to that first frame where it begins to fall. There was something here at the bottom that gave way, and this is why this entire piece is just starting to come down. As I progress the frames, you'll see that there is a second that remains behind it or just to the north of it.
Now, obviously when you have this kind of -- this kind of collapse, obviously it's going to try to bring down everything that is around it, basically on this side, on this side and of course the back side. Now, the back side as we see here starts to come down almost immediately with the front side.
I was able to get my hands on the original plans, and the original plans, as this goes down, shows that there was a shear wall. That wall when we looked at the original plans was right there in that section. So that's why it didn't fall immediately. If that shear wall was not there, then this portion that's here would have pancaked also.
VALENCIA: Hanging on by a thread really.
BATISTA: It's basically hanging on by a thread. And due to its loss of equilibrium and the momentum caused by the collapse of the other structure, inevitably, it's -- it gave way and just collapsed on itself.
VALENCIA: As the collapse was unfolding, the "Miami Herald" reports Casey Stratton called her husband to tell him the pool was caving in. Then the line went dead. Batista says the call is a critical piece to understanding what happened.
BATISTA: If there was a hole anywhere right before the collapse, it would have been right at the area where the collapse commenced, where that first domino fell.
VALENCIA: He says the call gives merit to the theory of a potential sinkhole. But what's more likely, he says, is a confluence of factors, including spalling, or rust to the steel rebar caused by the ocean sea saltwater and how well engineers glued the building's columns to its concrete flat plate slabs.
BATISTA: If I used some sort of very bad low capacity glue, of course. If I press down a little bit, it's going to go through. Now, however, if I take precautions as an engineer and say, look, I'm going to use super gorilla glue, then as I press down by finger on it, it's going to keep it that way.
VALENCIA: Batista believes that if this particular building didn't have this super glue system, then that could have contributed to it going down so easily. He says the era it was designed and constructed in in the '80s is also relevant.
BATISTA: The design, the codes are not the same today as they were in the '80s. There's this whole process on the modern -- in our system today that's baked into the system where you have these different layers of overview.
VALENCIA: And this building would have been grandfathered into this evolution of codes?
BATISTA: Yes, absolutely.
VALENCIA: Sadly, Batista says there's a chance forensic investigators may never pinpoint what went wrong or ultimately who is to blame, but he hopes that once it's discovered that this collapse is a catalyst for change.
BATISTA: You know, I've seen lots of accidents before. When you're on construction you see death, people falling from buildings, I've seen a lot. When I went there the first day, I had to -- I had to go home after I was there. It's horrible.
VALENCIA (on camera): Batista says that many engineers agree that the cause of this collapse is complex and likely involves a variety of factors. Among those factors includes the action or inaction of the condo board.
Did this condo board push back potentially against maintenance suggestions made in a 2018 report? Batista says if the price tag is high enough and it raises expenses for residents, in his experience there often is push back. What we don't know is if there was pushback in this case and, sadly, if there was, how that might have contributed to what happened here in Surfside -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Nick Valencia, thank you for the reporting tonight.
Also breaking tonight, this deadly heat. More than 50 million Americans from Maine to Washington state under heat alerts. Right now, Boston hitting 100 degrees for the first time in a decade. LaGuardia airport also touching at least 100, breaking previous records of 97 degrees set in 1964.
It is causing hundreds of emergency room visits and dozens of deaths.
I want to go to our Evan McMorris-Santoro. He joins me from the west side of New York City where, boy, can we feel it. We all heard that alarm go off on our phones, this emergency alert to New Yorkers to conserve power.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. We've had a lot of science fiction movies, surreal moments in this city over the past 18 months. Today was one of them.
I was on the subway when the phones all around me starting buzzing with that emergency broadcast system. Officials saying turn off your appliances because they're worried that the electricity system can't handle the taxing of this record heat wave. Those surreal moments are not just here in New York. We're seeing them all across the country, specifically in that Northwest region of the United States and neighboring areas of Canada where we've seen record numbers of temperatures and hubs of deaths reported amid those record numbers.
Now, it's not just over there, it's over here on the east coast where as you mentioned we're seeing record temperatures all up and down the East Coast, 45 million Americans in this region currently living under heat advisories. That means other officials in other cities are also worried their systems might be taxed. People worrying that the system may not be able to handle this kind of heat -- Poppy. HARLOW: What about New York City? The pools just opened this week, I
remember the public kids, check in for my kids. So you've got that. But what other sort of respite?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, people are hoping that they can go inside some places that there are air conditioning.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: And they're hoping other places they can get help. But the reality is that when heat rolls through a place like this or these other cities, there's just a lot of places where people are worried there aren't the kind of support people need. That's why we see the calls to turn off electricity and try to conserve it.
But it really is a concern about what this actually means. When you look at these numbers, this is real dangerous stuff and stuff we need to think about when we think about the future of this country and what we need to think about next -- Poppy.
HARLOW: A hundred percent.
Evan, thank you for the reporting tonight.
And thanks to all of you for joining us. Don't forget to watch OUTFRONT any time anywhere on CNN Go.
"AC 360" starts now.