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CNN: Indications That Parade Suspect Was Fleeing Another Incident; Dozens Of Looters In Ski Masks Ransack A Nordstrom Store; WAPO: Biden, 79, Telling Aides He's Running Again In 2024. Aired 7:30- 8a ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 07:30   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We do have breaking news on the investigation of the SUV driver that ran through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing five and injuring 40.

Multiple law enforcement sources now say there are indications the suspect was fleeing another incident when he drove into this parade route. They also say there is no known connection to international or domestic terrorism, and it does not appear to be connected to the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case in nearby Kenosha.

Here's how one witness described this horrifying scene.


KAYLEE STARAL, WITNESSED SUV PLOW INTO CROWD AT CHRISTMAS PARADE: There were a lot of screams and we almost thought maybe it was Santa, but it was a red SUV and it hit a lot of people. After the SUV left, there were multiple people on the ground and the police came through a little bit later saying at least 30 on the ground. And the police said that shots were fired.


KEILAR: The police chief said that those shots were fired by a police officer to try to stop the vehicle and that no bystanders were injured as a result.

Let's discuss this with CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe.

Andy, I think, right now, there's just so much we still want to know. But we did just learn from multiple sources that this appears to be linked to this person fleeing another scene -- another incident. What does that tell you? What questions does that raise?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Well, it kind of confirms some of the suspicions that many of us had last night. If you'll recall, the first few videos that came in, you saw the red Ford Escape careening through the parade route but not -- suspiciously, not hitting many of the people that it passed.

And so, that caused many of us to speculate that maybe he was actually trying to get through that route in a high rate of speed for some reason because there were certainly many opportunities that he could have inflicted more carnage and did not do so.

So, it's -- it confirms that initial suspicion that there might have been something else going on here rather than someone actually targeting paradegoers.

KEILAR: What is law enforcement doing between the vehicle and also this person of interest, but also the scene, which is a huge crime scene?

MCCABE: So, there's two very separate lines of inquiry that are going on right now. First is, of course, fully exploiting that scene. Imagine a serious car accident where there are injuries. It takes a long time for that road to get cleared because the police officers do an extensive investigation that includes measurements and photographs, and collection of evidence.

So, you have that going on here, but across several city blocks where numerous individuals were injured. So, very complicated and extensive work there.

In the second channel, you have investigators really trying to piece through exactly what led to this tragedy. If the suspect or the person of interest who is in custody is speaking to investigators and being interviewed, that obviously helps that along much more quickly. But if not, they have other avenues to follow.

They'll be executing search warrants at that person's residence. They'll be looking through the -- through the vehicle. They'll be trying to establish who maybe his associates and family members are and interviewing those people as well.

KEILAR: I mean, obviously, this person wasn't thinking reasonably. I don't know what kind of incident they were fleeing but it's hard to imagine them fleeing an incident and then thinking that plowing through and killing five people, at least, is somehow a solution to whatever they were fleeing.

MCCABE: Really hard to put any kind of logic on the decisions that were clearly at play here, right? And if I've learned one thing over a 20-plus year career in law enforcement, I've learned that desperate people do strange and dangerous things, all right?

So, someone who is fleeing maybe a scene of violence -- maybe a felony-level potential arrest and just wants to get away from the authorities -- get away from people that might be pursuing him or her, those folks are liable to do dangerous and desperate things in that moment of desperation.

KEILAR: Do you think we'll hear about charges soon? MCCABE: Oh, I expect we will. I expect we will. At least by the end of the day, you should see charges based simply on what we all saw happen on the video, but that investigation will go on.

KEILAR: That's just horrific.

MCCABE: It really is.

KEILAR: Senseless.

MCCABE: It's a terrible tragedy.

KEILAR: Andrew McCabe, thank you so much.

MCCABE: Thanks, Brianna.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Police near San Francisco are looking for dozens of suspects after this brazen band of looters in ski masks ransacked a department store.

CNN's Polo Sandoval tracking that and other stories across the U.S. right now -- Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, you see those pictures. It is clear it was a huge smash-and-grab operation near San Francisco on Saturday. Police saying that there were at least 80 suspects who ransacked a Nordstrom department store in Walnut Creek, California. Officers stopped one of several vehicles and managed to detain at least three people. Investigators, this morning, speaking to them, hoping that they'll lead them to more suspects.


This incident following a series of similar lootings on Friday night in Union Square and other surrounding areas in San Francisco. Unclear, though, right now, whether or not they're actually related.

San Francisco has been struggling with a surge in crime this year. Take the Central District, for example. Larceny there and theft incidents -- they are up almost 88 percent from a year earlier and overall crime up almost 52 percent, according to police statistics.

And San Francisco not the only city that's grappling with these kinds of group grab-and-go crimes. On Wednesday afternoon, several people swarmed into a Louis Vuitton store in Oak Brook, Illinois. They took about $120,000 worth of merchandise there, according to CNN affiliate WLS.

And this next incident -- this next act just awful and cowardly. Philadelphia police searching for a motive and the person who shot and killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child on Saturday night. Investigators say the 32-year-old was shot as she was carrying gifts from her home -- from her own baby shower. Now, the city is offering $50,000 for any information that leads to an arrest, John.

We heard from Philly's deputy police commissioner over the weekend. He says that even after they've recovered a record amount of weapons off the streets that more needs to be done to address this issue of gun violence. As we heard from the police commissioner, that everybody in Philadelphia -- elected officials and police officers, included -- you'd be as angry as they can about this.

BERMAN: Just awful. Polo Sandoval, thank you very much.

So, Jacob Blake's mother speaks out here on NEW DAY coming up. Her reaction to the jury's decision to acquit Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges in Kenosha.

KEILAR: And President Biden telling allies something that he shouldn't even have to tell them under normal circumstances.



BERMAN: New this morning, a report "The Washington Post" that is raising some eyebrows. Normally, it's a given that an incumbent president will run for reelection. You won't even think to ask. And White House insiders won't even think to bother to tell people. But the "Post" reports that the Biden team and president himself are making a point to tell supporters he does plan to run for reelection.

Here's a quote from the article.

"President Biden and members of his inner circle have reassured allies in recent days that he plans to run for reelection in 2024 as they take steps to deflect concern about the 79-year-old president's commitment to another campaign and growing Democratic fears of a coming Republican return to power."

Joining me now, CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein.

First of all, Ron, I literally haven't seen you in years --


BERMAN: -- because of the pandemic.

BROWNSTEIN: I have not been in my hometown in two years. This is my first return.

BERMAN: It's so nice to see you in person.


BERMAN: Listen, you and I have both --


BERMAN: -- covered campaigns for a minute or two. I have never seen an incumbent president or a White House -- I've never seen an article like this -- BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

BERMAN: -- where there is a feeling that there needs to be reassurance that the president is running for reelection.

BROWNSTEIN: Well look, it obviously starts with his age, right? I mean -- but I think there are other things going on here. I mean, there is -- first and foremost, it's not an exaggeration to say an existential dread among Democrats. Given everything that is happening in red states in terms of making it harder to vote and potentially, easier to subvert the result, and given everything you're hearing from Donald Trump continuing the big lie -- accelerating it, intensifying it -- there is a dread among Democrats about what a 2024 Trump victory would mean for the future of American democracy.

And I think concomitant with that there is a concern that no one else, right now in the Democratic Party, looks capable of beating him. There's doubts about Harris. There's doubts about Buttigieg. There's doubts about anyone else.

And there's a third thing, which is that we have a lot of recent precedent for a president coming in having a bad economy when they arrive, having a bad midterm largely as a result, and then recovering to win fairly comfortably. And that's basically the story of Reagan from '82 to '84, Clinton from '94 to '96, Obama from '10 to '12. So, there is reason for the White House to say look, this is the strongest bet that we have even if the midterm goes bad.

BERMAN: Who needs to hear this message, do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: I think -- well look, Democratic donors are -- and Democratic activists I think are, broadly speaking, unnerved, right? I mean, they have unified power. But given what is happening in the red states on so many issues, particularly the right to vote, there is a sense that it's Republicans that are kind of on the march.

And the fact that Sinema and Manchin, in particular, have made it so hard for them to do so many of the things they promised -- particularly respond to this red state offensive on voting -- I think has given a lot of Democrats a sense of drift even though they're passing major legislation. And I think Biden is trying to reassure that whole activist base.

BERMAN: There's a quote in the piece that says one Democratic -- one Democrat involved in campaigns said they couldn't think of a single person they'd spoken to in the last month --


BERMAN: -- who considers the possibility of Biden running again to be a real one. That's a quote in the piece.


BERMAN: I have to say that's not the impression that I get from Democrats. BROWNSTEIN: Well look, Biden's at 42 percent. You know, wrong track (ph) is at 70 percent. People are unhappy with inflation, they're unhappy with COVID, they're worried about the supply chain. All of those kinds of things.

At that moment, sure, do you wonder if he's going to run? Two years from now if the economy -- if inflation is down and jobs are up, he has passed the legislation, his approval is back in the 50 percent range. As I said, we have a lot of precedent for exactly this arc.

Sure, there are other examples through history. But Reagan lost, what, 26 seats in '82; won 49 states in '84. Clinton lost over 50 seats, lost the House and the Senate in '94; won comfortably in '96.


BROWNSTEIN: And then Obama.

So, there is an arc to a presidency and many of the things that they are passing now if they, in fact, pass the Build Back Better agenda, probably will not be felt in time by voters to really affect '22, but it could affect '24.


BERMAN: It's not just a possibility. History would say that there is some precedent here.

It goes into what Beto O'Rourke --


BERMAN: -- said over the weekend. He was -- as Dana asked him directly if he would want Joe Biden to go to Texas to campaign for him there as Beto runs for governor. Listen.



BETO O'ROURKE (D), TEXAS GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: This campaign in Texas is not going to be about Joe Biden, it's not going to be about Donald Trump. It's not going to be about anyone from outside of our state. This is going to be about the people of Texas and what the people of Texas want.

DANA BASH, ANCHOR AND CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Does that mean that you would prefer that he not come, based on what you just said?

O'ROURKE: It means that I'm focused on Texas and on my fellow Texans. Those are the people most important to me. There is -- there is no politician, there is no other person from outside of this state who can help to change the course of this election for better or for worse.

BASH: A big issue -- O'ROURKE: And that's why I'm traveling to every part of this state --

BASH: And --

O'ROURKE: -- making sure that no one is written off and no one is taken for granted, and that we keep the focus on Texas.


BERMAN: What do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Well look, two layers. At one layer, politics 101. Midterm elections are almost always tough to the president's party. You try to localize and separate, especially when the president -- if he's at 42 percent nationally, what is he at in Texas?

But I would say there is a larger point here. When Bill Clinton was elected in '92, California was still a swing state. He won California. He had someone in the White House whose job was to think about how do I fortify my position in California? How do I move California further into the Democratic column?

I thought Biden, when he won the election, got closer in Texas, did very well in the big metros but still lost, would be doing something like that. Would be thinking about how to kind of engineer that long- term shift in Texas. They haven't really done that.

If anything, he's in a weaker position today. All of the fights with the government, which aren't necessarily a negative, but he hasn't figured out how to align and strengthen the forces in the state in all of the big metros that had been moving Democratic. So, I think there is a lost opportunity in Texas that Beto O'Rourke is referring to.

By the way, the Build Back Better plan, if they can get it done -- and one of the key provisions of that is expanding healthcare to all of the people in the states that did not expand Medicaid, which could be a huge calling card in Texas if they can figure out how to play it.

BERMAN: Look, all this talk we're having and all the negativity that some Democrats are feeling could be vastly different one year from now, two years from now.


BERMAN: We'll see.

Ron Brownstein, very nice to see you in person.

BROWNSTEIN: Nice to be back, John.

BERMAN: All right, breaking news just moments ago. Investigators revealing what they know so far about the suspect who plowed an SUV through a parade in Wisconsin. Why it may not have been a deliberate attack.

KEILAR: And next, freedom for two hostages who were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti.



KEILAR: In Haiti, two missionaries are free today after they were kidnapped by a gang as part of a larger group more than four weeks ago. These two hostages were released -- part of this group of 17, which includes several very young children who were traveling on a mission when they were kidnapped by a Haitian gang.

CNN's Matt Rivers live for us with the very latest on this -- Matt.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna. You know, it had been several weeks since we got any substantive updates on the status of these 17 missionaries -- 16 of them being American and one being Canadian.

But it was yesterday afternoon, relatively later in the day, that we heard from Christian Aid Ministries. That is the group that this group of missionaries was in Haiti working on behalf of. And they put out this statement basically confirming that two of the 17 hostages were freed in Haiti.

And they didn't give a ton more information beyond that, saying in a statement, in part, quote, "These two hostages are safe. They are in good spirits and are being cared for. We cannot provide or confirm the names of those released, the reasons for their release, where they are from, or their current location." And they obviously said that "Our hearts are with the 15 people who are still being held."

We do have a source within Haiti's security forces who did confirm the release of these two people. So, this is very good news and a sign, perhaps, that the gang that kidnapped these missionaries, called 400 Mawozo -- it's a very powerful gang on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince in Haiti -- that they are willing to at least let some people go free as these negotiations to free the other 15 people that are still being trapped there -- those are ongoing.

But, of course, there remains a lot of concern over the status of those 15 people. It's now been more than a month. This group was kidnapped originally on October 16th. We know they're not being held in great conditions. And so, obviously, all of their loved ones back in the United States and U.S. State Department, the Canadian Foreign Ministry, and all involved remain very concerned about the status of those 15 people still being held by this very powerful gang on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.

KEILAR: All right, Matt Rivers. Thank you for that update.

BERMAN: So, a big loss for fans of classic baseball movies. Veteran character actor Art LaFleur has died. You recognize him. He was in "Field of Dreams" with Kevin Costner, "Mr. Baseball" with Tom Selleck. And he played the ghost of Babe Ruth in "The Sandlot" and he owned one of the film's most memorable moments.


ART LAFLEUR, ACTOR, "THE SANDLOT": Think about that, kid. I'll see you later. Remember kid, there's heroes and there's legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die.


BERMAN: Art LaFleur died after a decade-long battle of atypical Parkinson's disease. He was 78.

So, it was a big weekend in entertainment, including the return of an iconic film franchise.




Who you gonna call? It sounds like "Ghostbusters" answered the box office call this weekend. The film "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" brought in an estimated $44 million in North America. Good news for the film's distributor, Sony, who released the film exclusively in theaters.

The movie stars Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon and is the fourth in the iconic franchise, which was originally created by Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis. Ackroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson all returned to the movie to reprise their beloved roles.

And fun fact. The movie is directed by Jason Reitman, whose father Ivan directed the original 1984 and 1989 films.

SANDOVAL (on camera): I'm Polo Sandoval in New York City where a controversial statue of Theodore Roosevelt will soon be removed. If you visited the Natural History Museum here in New York you've likely seen it. It's been in place since 1940. It's Roosevelt on horseback flanked by a Native American man on one side and an African-American man on the other.

In its initial removal request, the museum wrote that the statue conveys a racial hierarchy that it, as well as the public, find disturbing.

After a city commission voted unanimously to remove the statue earlier this summer, some members of the Roosevelt family, as well as the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library that's set to open in North Dakota in 2025, agreed that the statue is problematic in its composition.

In a statement, that library wrote that this statue in "...its current location denies passersby consent and context. The agreement with the city allows the Theodore Roosevelt Library to relocate the statue for storage while considering a display that would enable it to serve as an important tool to study the nation's past.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: Our thanks to Polo and Chloe for all of that.

We do have some breaking news out of Wisconsin, so "NEW DAY" continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. I am Brianna Keilar with John Berman and it is Monday, November 22nd.

Breaking overnight, at least five people were killed and more than 40 were injured Sunday in Waukesha, Wisconsin when a Christmas parade suddenly went from celebration to tragedy. An SUV plowed through police barricades and it kept going at a high speed into the crowded parade route.

For those on the scene who witnessed this, belief turned to horror.


ANGELITO TENORIO, WITNESSED SUV PLOW INTO CROWD AT CHRISTMAS PARADE: It was truly horrifying and shocking, and very saddening and upsetting. Parents were running around the area looking for their kids, looking for their families, looking for their friends. People quickly trying to get out of the area, trying to get to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw three people right in front of me get hit. And I saw people on the ground. There was blood. It was really bad.


BERMAN: And we're getting new information just in to CNN. Investigators believe the suspect was fleeing another incident when he drove into the parade route.

CNN's Natasha Chen on the ground in Waukesha.

But first, we want to go to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz with this new information. So, fleeing from one place to another, Shimon.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, that's what law enforcement officials say -- that they believe that he was fleeing another scene -- another crime scene, perhaps. And while fleeing, he drove through this parade route, obviously striking several people.

One of the things that law enforcement was looking at was a lot of the video that's out there now on social media, and they say that there is some belief that this wasn't intentional. That he didn't mean to hit some of these people. Because when you look at the video it seems like he avoided a number of people. So, that's one of the things that law enforcement was looking at.

The other thing they say is that there is no connection to terrorism -- domestic terrorism or international terrorism -- based on research and data that they received and the FBI's work on this so far. They have not seen any connection to terrorism.

Of course, everyone has been on heightened alert with the Kenosha verdict. They say there is no connection to that as well.

And right now, they are just treating it as it is being connected to this person fleeing another scene and driving through the parade route and striking all of these people. That's the information that law enforcement, right now, is working with.

Officially, they have not identified the person of interest. Obviously, they know who he is. He's detained by the police and hopefully, we will learn more about him in the coming hours.

BERMAN: We should know whatever the level of planning.

KEILAR: We don't know what the back --

BERMAN: Obviously, a tragedy for the people who lost loved ones. Five dead, at least, so far. The death toll could rise as the morning continues.

Shimon, if you're still with me --


BERMAN: So, investigators are saying no evidence that they can see of premeditation for what happened at the parade because of fleeing a different crime scene. Any information as to the nature of that other alleged crime?

PROKUPECZ: So, there -- it may have been some kind of a fight or something.