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Truss Facing Parliament For First Time As Britain's New Leader; Police: Woman Disappears After Meeting Man On Craigslist; NYC Returns 58 Antiques To Italy, Including 21 Seized From Met. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired September 07, 2022 - 07:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, British Prime Minister Liz Truss in Parliament -- before Parliament there, tackling tough questions from lawmakers this morning since starting her new job just yesterday. She faces multiple challenges after inheriting an economically troubled U.K.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo is joining us live from Downing Street in London. All right, one day down, how has it gone so far?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, this was a better performance than many may have been expecting. Liz Truss is a wobbly communicator sometimes, avowedly so, but she kept to simple messaging. It was better than her quite perfunctory victory speech on the steps of Downing Street yesterday. She was sure-footed. It was workmanlike -- a real departure from her predecessor Boris Johnson who is often all flourish and rhetoric.

And looking at the benches behind her -- because this is always key and this is the barometer of British politics -- we saw some happy faces and MPs waving around their order papers, which is the government business of the day and a sign of enthusiasm. So she seems to have pleased some of those behind her. But the job ahead is massive.

And what we also saw emerge between Liz Truss and the leader of the opposition was a much clearer ideological divide than we had between Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer over issues like taxes. Liz Truss being a proponent of keeping taxes very low to generate growth. Whereas, the other party in favor of progressive taxation, something I'm sure the American audience will recognize between your two major parties as well, Brianna.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it's interesting Bianca because one of the things that I saw and a lot of people are commenting on this morning is the historic diversity in the cabinet. No white men in the top jobs. And this is historic not just for Britain but really, I would imagine, almost anywhere in Europe. NOBILO: It is unprecedented, I believe, certainly in the U.K., for a political party to have this level of diversity in what we refer to in this country as the great offices of state. So, the most senior offices of the land.

The prime minister obviously now occupied by a woman. Chancellor of the Exchequer -- the money -- the first Black chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. The foreign secretary -- so, the person in charge of Britain's relations with the world -- is now another Black man. And also, we have Suella Braverman in charge of home affairs or international affairs. And she's the second woman of Indian descent to hold that post.

So this is a very big moment in terms of inclusion and diversity. And there's a lot of people very happy to see that today and we saw it in sharp relief in the benches behind her. It was the most diverse that this party has ever looked. Indeed, any party in the history of the British Parliament.

There are some, though -- the detractors -- such as Operation Black Vote, which is obviously a proponent of getting more engagement from ethnic minorities and Black people in the United Kingdom, who say the important thing is not just the tokenism of the royals but what policies do they stand for. Because some of these figures are proponents of quite hardcore refugee deportation schemes, which I know you've spoken about on your program before, and some policies which can make life more hard -- make life harder for ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom. So that's what people will also be looking out for, John.

KEILAR: Yes. Bianca, thank you so much for that report from 10 Downing Street.

BERMAN: So, in his final speech as prime minister, Boris Johnson touted his administration's achievements, comparing his tenure to a quote "booster rocket that has fulfilled its function."

Over the years, Johnson has proved himself something of a man of metaphors.


BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We've talked for a long time -- or I have -- about the distant bugle of the scientific calvary coming over the brow of the hill. I can tell you that tonight that toot of that bugle is louder. If this was a football match then the current score would be 5-1 down in the -- in the match between humanity and climate change.

And I think what you could say today, after two days of talks with around 120 world leaders, is that we've pulled back a goal or perhaps even two. And I think we're going to be able to take this thing to extra time.

In any pride of lions, Mr. Speaker, it is the male who tends to occupy the position of titular of nominal authority, while the most dangerous beast -- the prize hunter of the pack -- is, in fact, the lioness.

ANUSHKA ASTHANA, BRITISH INDIAN JOURNALIST: Seventy-four percent of the British public think you're untrustworthy. Only 12 percent think you're trustworthy. Some say you're like a cat with nine lives. How many have you got left?

JOHNSON: Well, Anushka, on your -- on your second question, you know, we had a -- talking about cats, we had a pretty good kick of the cat yesterday. Not that I'm in favor of kicking cats.

And I am now like one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function. And I will now be gently reentering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific.


BERMAN: There you go. The lions and lionesses, extra time, the booster rockets. But I noted yesterday -- again, the booster rocket metaphor has me wondering what he --


BERMAN: -- really means there because some booster rockets -- they fall into the ocean never to be seen again. But now, when you look at the SpaceX launch, those booster rockets -- they land again and they -- and they are reused. So is he thinking about another launch?

KEILAR: Yes. You took it to its logical next question, which I appreciate, with that sort of metaphor. So thank you for that, Berman.

Six thousand educators in Seattle are going on strike this morning on what was supposed to be the first day of school.

BERMAN: And where is Irene Gakwa? The search is on for the 33-year- old as the boyfriend she met on Craigslist is considered a person of interest.



KEILAR: This morning, police in Wyoming as asking for the public's help with information into the disappearance of 33-year-old Irene Gakwa. Her family in Kenya says they last saw her in a video call in February and they could tell that something was off. They had no idea she was living with a man that she met on Craigslist.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is joining us now with more on this. Tell us what's happened here, Adrienne.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, think about it. Every morning they wake up and every night they go to bed, Irene Gakwa's family wonders where is she.

As you mentioned, they said they last saw her in February on that video call, and then the calls stopped. And the communication between text messaging also shifted. They said she would normally speak to them in her native language or use Swahili slang. The messages turned to strictly English.

Her family says they had no idea she was living with that man whom investigators say she met on Craigslist. Investigators tell us she was in a long-term relationship with him. He is, according to investigators with the Gillette Police Department in Wyoming, a person of interest in this case. We have a photo of him on your screen.


Now, he has been linked to at least five felony charges, all crimes against Irene. I want to share those charges with you. There are two felony counts of theft, one felony count of unlawful use of a credit card, and two felony counts of crimes against intellectual property. Investigators say he maxed out Irene's credit card after she disappeared. Her family reported her missing in March.

Meanwhile, here is where all of you watching and listening at home can possibly help. Investigators with the Gillette Police Department say they need information regarding the possibility of a 55-gallon metal drum, which may have been burned or abandoned within the county. Investigators say any little bit can help.

Brianna, they've executed 24 search warrants trying to find Irene and bring her home to her family.

KEILAR: Yes, some devastating details there in that report. Adrienne, we know that you'll keep on this. Thank you.

BERMAN: So, on the subject of crime, murder rates are down compared to decades past. A spike in some type of crime has many Americans concerned. So, what are lawmakers across the country doing about it?

John Avlon has a reality check.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We're on the other side of summer, which is usually the high season for crime in America. Now, that means we've got a sense of how crime is impacting people's lives, as well as its possible impact in the upcoming midterm elections now just 62 days away.

Now, according to an Ipsos poll from August, crime is considered one of the top three issues facing the country, trailing inflation and the cost of living while narrowly edging out the danger of political extremism. But the truth is rarely pure and never simple, particularly when you're talking about crime.

For example, if you dig into the data, Republicans overall are actually more concerned about gun violence than crime in general, although there's a predictable partisan divide on that.

And there is a rational reason for people to be concerned about crime. After all, we're coming off a record 30 percent spike in murder in 2020 that stayed high through 2021, and that's after decades of decline that some folks took for granted.

But this year, there are heartening signs of decline in homicides and shootings in major cities. While on the flip side, robberies and property crimes are rising. An analysis of crime rates in nearly two dozen cities over the first six months of the year by the Council on Criminal Justice found that murder and shootings decreased slightly year-over-year while robbery has jumped 19 percent.

But the story in different cities and specifically in different neighborhoods is all over the map. In Los Angeles, murders hit a 15- year high in the first six months of the year. In Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, shootings have spiked to record highs, claiming hundreds of lives. While 100 miles to the north, New York City has seen murders and shootings actually decline year-over-year, but robberies and assaults are up big-time.

Now, remember, these are not just statistics; they are people's lives. And there's no one-size-fits-all reason for the sense of instability in America's city streets, but the endless flow of illegal guns is a constant problem. And some critics blame a pullback from prosecuting low-level crimes and repeat offenders out on the streets.

Now, in New York, Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul have both pushed for adjustments to the state's relatively new bail reform laws. And get this head-smacker. New York is the only state in the union where judges do not have the discretion to deny bail due to danger to the community. It's something Mayor Adams calls a common-sense standard.

Now, opponents say that judicial discretion leads to racial disparities. Statistics show that those out on bail usually don't commit violent offenses. Only two percent of cases affected by New York's new bail laws ended in re-arrest. But when they do, that's an avoidable crime that impacts an innocent person's life.

And when the state legislature finally acted on criminal justice this summer, they decided to focus on semantics instead of solutions, officially replacing the term "inmate" with "incarcerated person" in state laws. Seriously, that's what they did.

Now, sometimes we forget that public safety is a fundamental civil right. And it's often lower-income neighborhoods that suffer the most from high crimes, while wealthier neighborhoods stay relatively safe. In fact, Black and Hispanic Democrats are more likely than white Democrats to support increased spending on local police. That's according to a Pew survey from late last year.

Look, politicizing crime seeks to gain from other people's pain, but trying to ignore crime for ideological reasons is both callous and clueless, and it's sure to promote a political backlash.

Ironically, according to Ipsos, almost half the country thinks crime was worse in 2020 than it was during the early 1990s, and that's not remotely true. We're in a better place. But at that time it was a senator named Joe Biden who helped write a comprehensive but controversial crime bill with bipartisan support that helped turn the trend around.

Now, President Biden is belatedly pushing a $37 billion plan to hire 100,000 new cops, improve training, clear court backlogs, and combat gun crime. Now, this doesn't have a prayer of passing before the midterms -- let's get real.


But restoring public safety needs to be seen beyond partisan politics. And that means reforming some of the reforms that have come before, learning from what works, and ditching what doesn't because you're always safest when you confront reality.

And that's your reality check.

BERMAN: John Avlon, thank you very much for that.

Dozens of stolen Italian artifacts are now headed back to Italy, some recovered from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

KEILAR: And more on The Washington Post reporting that documents detailing a foreign government's nuclear capabilities among that material seized from Mar-a-Lago. We're going to get reaction from former Trump defense secretary Mark Esper next.



BERMAN: Nearly 60 artifacts valued at almost $19 million are being returned to Italy in a repatriation ceremony.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office says, These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets. For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership."

With us now is art adviser and curator, Kate Chesnutt. Kate, thanks so much for being with us.

Look, the origins of art -- it's such a complicated issue. When art was taken from somewhere and brought to another place is such a complicated issue because it matters when, and it matters how, and it matters where.

In this case, what do you see?

KATE CHESNUTT, FOUNDER AND CEO, LABYRINTH CURATION: What I see in this case is obviously, the D.A. has gone and done the background work to find where these antiquities come from, when they arrived in someone's possession, and have obviously gone to the Met. And the Met has worked with them to repatriate these antiquities back to their home countries.

This is a growing trend we are seeing all across the industry, whether or not it's the V. Van Goghs (PH) or the Benin Bronzes, and I think it's a trend we'll see continue. And as we move forward, I think there are technologies and things that we can do to help mitigate this from happening over and over again.

KEILAR: How, Kate, does this happen? Just walk us through this.

CHESNUTT: Well, as you know, many artifacts have years of sitting in personal collections. Some in Europe have been in families for hundreds of years and passed down over generations. So when a major collector ends up with an antiquity or an item that is in their possession of ill-gotten means, it's not always immediately evident that is the case. So, the necessary understanding, background checks, paperwork -- it's part of the process that needs to go into acquiring any object from any country.

BERMAN: And again, sometimes it's easy to figure out how this should work or whether it should work. You know, if the Nazis stole art, you want that art returned to its owner.

CHESNUTT: Correct, John.

BERMAN: It gets harder the further back you go, right?

CHESNUTT: Absolutely.

BERMAN: So talk to us about some of the issues there.

CHESNUTT: So, what we're seeing in the art industry is that many of these museums are cultural institutions and they view themselves as custodians of these antiquities and reliquaries, and often, sacred objects from different cultures. However, as you get further and further back, what you see is that sometimes these have been looted for hundreds of years and placed in private collections.

It is my personal belief that each collector or each museum is a custodian of that piece. And I believe that if we have items we should look at where they come from, honor their history, and perhaps consider repatriating them. And perhaps they will matriculate back to the museum at some point, on loan, for the betterment of all -- to be on view for all as an object of understanding and cultural relevance.

BERMAN: It is so important to understand the cultural history of so many of these items.

Kate Chesnutt, thanks so much for helping us understand it.

CHESNUTT: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me today.

BERMAN: And NEW DAY continues right now.

KEILAR: Overnight, a major new development concerning the materials seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago. It is Wednesday, September 7, and I am Brianna Keilar with John Berman.

According to The Washington Post, agents who searched Mar-a-Lago last month found a document describing a foreign government's military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities. And that report highlighting the concerns of U.S. intelligence officials about classified material that Donald Trump stashed in his Florida beach house.

BERMAN: The Post did not identify the foreign government named in the documents but there are nine countries with known nuclear capabilities -- the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, Pakistan, and India, as well as Israel and North Korea.

We should be clear. We do not know if it's any one of those countries. It could very well be a different country that is developing nuclear capabilities or talking about developing nuclear capabilities. So it is not limited to these nine countries you're looking at right now.

Also from the Post reporting, some of the seized documents detail top secret U.S. operations that are so closely guarded many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president and some cabinet members have access to them.

The new reporting comes on the heels of a decision by a federal judge to appoint a special master to vet the material taken from Mar-a-Lago for all kinds of privilege, including executive and attorney-client privilege.

Former attorney general Bill Barr, who served under Donald Trump, says the Justice Department should appeal the judge's ruling, which he believes is deeply flawed.


BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don't think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up.