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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is Interviewed about Saudi Arabia; Chief William McManus is Interviewed about an Officer Shooting a Teen in a McDonald's Parking Lot; Defending the Indefensible. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 11, 2022 - 08:30   ET



SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): OPEC Plus, which means Russia and Saudi Arabia, have decided that they are going to have a joint effort to come to the rescue of Russia in the Ukraine at the expense of the United States and the NATO allies. That is as clear a declaration by the Saudis that they are on the other side of history as we can ask for. I really support what Senator Menendez has said. We've got to look at the bare minimum of our relationship and not count on the Saudis at all.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You think Saudi Arabia wants Russia to win in Ukraine?

DURBIN: Yes, clearly it does. I mean let's stop beating around the bush. Putin is desperate. He is losing militarily. He is killing innocent civilians in these massive strikes. He has turned into a war criminal who's desperate. He is hoping to get more revenues to fight on by raising oil prices at the expense of Europe and the west. And Saudi Arabia has decided that they are going to ally with them in that effort. Let's be very candid about this -

BERMAN: As you -

DURBIN: It is Putin and Saudi Arabia against the United States.

BERMAN: Putin and Saudi Arabia against the United States. So, as you sit here this morning, is Saudi Arabia a U.S. ally?

DURBIN: I -- certainly not a trustworthy ally. There may be some aspects of our relationship that are positive for both sides. But I think it's -- we have reached the end of our rope.

Listen, the litany of complaints by this senator and many people in the United States against Saudi Arabia continues to get longer and longer, from unanswered questions of 9/11, to the involvement in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the terrible situation, the famine situation created by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, the list is almost endless. And we tried our best. Joe Biden reached out to the Saudi leader, did a little fist bump there. It wasn't worth anything.

I don't believe we can trust them in the future when it comes to the key elements of the security interests of the United States. BERMAN: You said President Biden tried his best, and you noted the

fist bump. In retrospect, is that a mistake?

DURBIN: No, listen, I'm glad he tried. He made it clear that he was willing to sit down and talk with them even though we know the litany I just gave is not a very good one. He's tried to help the United States and help us battle through this inflation. I'm glad he gave it a try. But now we know the Saudis walked away from this. They would rather be in league with Putin than with the United States.

BERMAN: Stop all arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

DURBIN: I'm not going to vote for one. I don't see any reason to give them arms if they are allies of Putin. Let them rely on Russian migs or whatever they choose in the future.

BERMAN: Would you call for pulling U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia?

DURBIN: Well, I agree with Senator Menendez, we need to be careful that we don't do in this -- our own expense at this point. We should carefully measure those alliances with Saudi Arabia that are absolutely essential and discard all the rest.

BERMAN: So, what would be essential?

DURBIN: I'm not certain at this point. I mean I have been briefed on all the intelligence between the two countries. But when they make that declaration that the OPEC Plus Russia is going to join in concert with Putin and his designs, I mean that's as clear a declaration that they are not our friends and allies as we could ask for.

BERMAN: What have you heard from the White House about what Senator Menendez and now you are pushing for?

DURBIN: I have not heard. I'm not going to manufacture something here. I can just tell you that the sentiment in the Senate is strong in terms of what the Saudi Arabians have done. This notion that they're going to raise our gasoline prices, and we're supposed to look the other way and call them good old boys, to heck with that. I mean this is a terrible regime. It is a kingdom in the 21st century that should be out of business. We --

BERMAN: How long -

DURBIN: Go ahead.

BERMAN: How long do you think the White House should take to act?

DURBIN: Well, I, for one, have -- would do it quickly because they are dealing with oil prices and revenue for Putin to continue this war in Ukraine. The NATO allies have stood strong. We need to stand with them and together to say to Saudi Arabia, you're on the wrong side of history.

BERMAN: Senator Dick Durbin, speaking to us from the home of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, speaking bluntly, much like Abraham Lincoln.

Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

DURBIN: Good to be with you.

BERMAN: Emotions running high at a Uvalde school board meeting overnight, and a racial divide has now emerged. See what happened.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And the police chief who fired an officer after he shot a 17-year-old eating his dinner in his car joins us next.



KEILAR: A police officer is out of a job this morning. A 17-year-old is in critical condition, fighting for his life, after an encounter in a McDonald's parking lot in Texas. We want to warn you, this incident is graphic, and some viewers might find the body camera video difficult to watch.

You can take a look at this here. You see former Officer James Brennand, approaching a vehicle, in a McDonald's parking lot, where Erik Cantu is eating in his parked car. Brief confrontation. You see here, the car starts to move and Brennand opens fire. Brennand has since been fired by the San Antonio Police Department, where he worked.

The teen's family putting out a statement saying that Cantu underwent surgeries to repair injuries to a few major organs. As a result of the penetration of multiple bullets, that he is on life support systems that are keeping his lungs operating at this point.

Joining me now is San Antonio's chief of police, William McManus.

Chief, thanks for being with us.

I know you've been talking to the family here. How have those communications been going?

CHIEF WILLIAM MCMANUS, SAN ANTONIO POLICE: I personally haven't been talking with them. The homicide unit captain has been speaking with them. And it's pretty much all business at this point.

KEILAR: Pretty much all business. So, when you first saw this body cam video, what did you think?


MCMANUS: Well, I'll tell you what I thought even before I saw the body cam video, when I arrived on the scene. I looked at the vehicle. And I immediately had issues with it based on where the bullet holes were. I immediately had issues with it. And I walked back to the - to the command post and I made that known. And then the investigation was on from there. But - but to answer your -

KEILAR: The issues --

MCMANUS: But - but to answer your question --

KEILAR: Sorry, go on.

MCMANUS: Pardon?

KEILAR: Sorry, no, go on. To my question about the video.

MCMANUS: But to answer your question, the video was horrific. There's no question in anybody's mind, looking at that video, that the shooting is - is not justified. And the -- it took us - it took us a couple days to terminate Brennand, but he was gone pretty quickly.

KEILAR: So, even before the video you said that you could tell that there was something wrong here. Was it because it was clear to you that the vehicle had been moving or that it had been moving away? What was it that told you this isn't right?

MCMANUS: Well, number one, we have a - we have a policy that prohibits officers from shooting at vehicles, moving vehicles, except if their life is in immediate -- their life or someone else's life is in immediate danger. This -- and that's - that's rarely the case. But when I saw it, the location of the bullet holes, I had an issue with it right away.

And you - I mean you can tell by looking at the vehicles which way the vehicle is moving when the shots are fired, and this vehicle -- it was very telling to me that this vehicle was moving away from the officer, and moving parallel with the officer. So it was -- it was pretty clear to me at that point that - that we were going to - we were going to have an issue.

KEILAR: Former Officer Brennand has not been charged. The D.A., as I understand it, the process here is they wait for your department's investigation, which it sounds like the homicide department is looking at that, is that right? Could he be charged?

MCMANUS: Correct. And I'll be very candid with you. We -- I anticipate -- we anticipate charges being filed possibly by the end of this week.

KEILAR: Tell me more about that. I mean, what would the -- what would the charges be related to exactly?

MCMANUS: Well, I don't - I don't want to get too far into the investigation, but I will say, in answer to your question, that we're looking at two counts of aggravated assault.

KEILAR: And is the family aware of this? How have they responded to this?

MCMANUS: Again, I don't know what conversation has taken place between the homicide unit and the family, but they will know soon, if they don't know now.

KEILAR: Does that change if Mr. Cantu does not survive.

MCMANUS: Yes, it does.

KEILAR: Then what would you be looking at?

MCMANUS: Well, I'm not sure exactly what the charge would be. It would -- it would be some charge related to homicide, murder. I don't know what the exact charge would be, though, at this point.

KEILAR: Chief, it is - it is horrific to watch. And there is still so many questions about this. And, obviously, we're waiting to see, hoping that Mr. Cantu does survive his tremendous injuries here. But we thank you for sharing this information with us this morning.

Chief William McManus.

MCMANUS: Thank you.

KEILAR: Herschel Walker's October surprise doesn't seem to be slowing down his campaign as two top Republicans head to Georgia today to back Walker in person.

BERMAN: CNN's Shimon Prokupecz confronts the Uvalde school superintendent as families demand accountability.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm going to enjoy this (INAUDIBLE).

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know, it sounds like you -- this is my only opportunity to ask you any questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to visit with these families (ph) now.

PROKUPECZ: I - I understand that, but I'm - what I'm asking you today -




BERMAN: "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a new round of air strikes overnight in Ukraine. At least 19 people were killed in the first round of attacks. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holding an emergency virtual meeting with G7 leaders to respond to the crisis.

KEILAR: Tonight, Republican Senators Rick Scott and Tom Cotton will rally support from embattled Senate candidate Herschel Walker in Georgia. The GOP is standing by Walker despite reports he asked a woman to terminate two pregnancies. BERMAN: A Los Angeles City Council president has resigned from her

leadership role, but not her council seat, after an audio recording was leaked in which she is heard making racist remarks about a colleague's black son. She, along with two other council members heard on the recording, are being asked to step down.

KEILAR: A baseball divisional round begins tonight with a quadruple header of action. In the National League, the defending champion Braves hosting the Phillies and the Dodgers taking on the Padres. And then in the American League, the Astros will welcome the Mariners and the Yankees will host the Guardians.

BERMAN: We are all Guardians.

The NFL, the rule book -- the NFL may have a problem with its rule book. A controversial roughing the passer call almost stopping a Kansas City Chiefs comeback on Monday. The tackle, which some people believe was pretty standard for a defensive player against a quarterback, who even fumbled, but the Chiefs were able to overcome a 17-point deficit to beat the Raiders by one point.

Those are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." More on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning.

Racism and anti-Semitism topping the headlines this week.


A "Reality Check" is next.


KEILAR: Racism and anti-Semitism making headlines as a number of political figures are called out for inflammatory and downright offensive remarks. But some are doing so without even the slightest condemnation from their colleagues.

John Avlon has a "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, there's a lost bit of political wisdom that needs some resuscitating right now. Perhaps best expressed by a quote from Abraham Lincoln. Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with them while he's right and part with him when he goes wrong.

That should be common sense, right? After all, democracy depends on independent minded swing voters who vote for the person, not the party. But folks holding that idea seem to be an endangered species these days.


Instead, defending the indefensible, as long as it's for your side of the aisle, seems to be the new normal. And that's an invitation to extremism. Now, the latest example probably comes from Alabama Senator Tommy

Tuberville, who yelled the quiet part out loud at a Trump rally for GOP candidates in Nevada.


SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): Some people say, well they're soft on crime. No, they're not soft on crime. They're pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that. Bullshit. They're not owed that.


AVLON: Yes, this is the kind of stuff that might have made Lee Atwater blush and say, you probably got to dial that one back there, buddy. But three days later, it's still hard to find elected Republicans who are willing to call out Tuberville's comments. The closest we've seen is from Nebraska Congressman Don Bacon.


REP. DON BACON (R-NE): I'm not going to say he's being racist, but I wouldn't use that language. Be more polite.


AVLON: Yes, a pro tip, the politeness isn't the problem there.

But this impulse to circle the wagons no matter what's been said or done can also be seen as Republicans doubling down on Georgia Senate Candidate Herschel Walker. Yes, even the allegation he paid for an abortion isn't a deal breaker for abortion opponents because it's about power, not principle, apparently. The hypocrisy around family values doesn't even register any more. Walker has denied the report and just keeps on cranking out fundraising e-mails, claiming he's getting smeared, while the consultants keep raking in the cash.

It's situational ethics to a sickening extent. Even Kanye West's tweet that he was, quote, going Defcon 3 on the Jewish people met a muddled response from the same Trumpist GOP that floated him as a spoiler candidate a few years for president.

The Republican Indiana attorney general even decided to defend Kanye, arguing that the real problem was, wait for it, the media not being able to handle independent thinking.

But in the timely reminder that no party or group has monopoly on virtue or vice, "The Los Angeles Times" reporting a leaked audio that captured the L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez using racist language to disparage colleagues in a conversation about racially charged political redistricting. Now, Martinez, who is a Democrat, was caught on tape saying f that guy. He's with the blacks, referring to the Los Angeles County district attorney, while also characterizing the black child of a white council member as being like a monkey and used as an accessory. It's casually cruel, loathsome stuff, revealing how ugly local politics can be beneath all the liberal pieties they say in public. But they weren't speaking or cheering crowds or posting their views on Twitter, but there it is, belatedly for everyone to hear.

Now, crucially, and importantly, Martinez apologized, resigned from her position as president of the city council after her colleagues and constituents demanded it. So that's a welcome sign of some degree of self-policing.

And one final, recent example, again from a Democrat, in this case South Carolina Senate nominee named Krystle Matthews, who's a current state representative and who is black. Well, she got caught on tape disparaging her white constituents. Now, she defended herself saying the tape was edited, but her fellow Democrats called for her to step down as a result, with the party's nominee for governor, former Congressman Joe Cunningham, saying that the Democratic Party cannot and should not tolerate such behavior from our elected officials and candidates. What a concept. So far, though, she's still in the race.

Now, incidents like these remind us all that racism and anti-Semitism still exist and no political party or group can claim pure moral superiority. The key test, though, is how we deal with it, taking in the contest, and most crucially the response, because accountability is always most effective when it comes from within your political tribe, or as Lincoln said, stand with him when he's right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Shouldn't be that hard. Democracy, as well as common decency, depends on it.

And that's your "Reality Check."

KEILAR: That really gets me thinking. We had an interview with the head of NALEO, which is, of course, the non-partisan group that is the leading non-partisan group for Latino and Latina elected officials who hailed Nury Martinez when she came on as the president of the city council. They said it was a milestone.

And now they're calling for not only her resignation as president, because she's still on the council, but they're saying she needs to step down from the council. And he said, you know, she says she was frustrated, but that doesn't fly. That's no explanation for what she said, using these racial slurs to describe her co-council member's child.

So, it's really just interesting how some -

AVLON: That's how you do it.

KEILAR: That some groups are hold some to account.

AVLON: That's right.

BERMAN: I do wonder over the next few days how much pressure there will be because I -- there seems to be a disconnect between saying something, John, racist enough to resign as president, but not racist enough to resign as a city council member there. They're both positions of authority.

AVLON: They are. And we'll see. But the pressure is what's important rather than trying to ignore it, which is a means of excusing it.


KEILAR: Yes, so much pressure. We'll see how they respond here.

All right, John Avlon, thank you so, so much for that.

And CNN's coverage continues right now.