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NYC Increasing Police Presence On City's Subway System; Jurors To Hear Opening Statements In Weinstein's L.A. Trial; Today: NASA Launches Study On "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena." Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired October 24, 2022 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MIGUEL CARDONA, EDUCATION SECRETARY: We're not going to stop fighting for them no matter who tries to stop us, especially because some of those folks benefited from loan relief last year themselves. So we're going to -- we're going to continue fighting for the American people that need some support post-pandemic.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: This stay kicked in Friday evening. Have you seen a drop-off in applications since then?
CARDONA: No. We've seen an increase.
Look, we're being very clear with the folks that are eligible. We're not going to stop fighting for you. This is a temporary stay. We're going to fight harder than ever to make sure that people can get back on their feet after the pandemic.
Just like we helped small businesses last year, we're going to help regular middle-class hardworking Americans. Parents who are sending their children to college as first-generation college students -- they're the ones also looking for support and we're going to keep fighting for them.
KEILAR: Secretary, thank you so much for being with us at this crucial time.
CARDONA: Of course.
KEILAR: We appreciate it.
KEILAR: New York's police department increasing its police presence inside the subway system after a series of violent attacks.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Harvey Weinstein already serving a 23-year sentence for sex crimes committed in New York. Now the disgraced movie producer faces a new set of accusations in court today.
[07:30:26] BERMAN: The New York Police Department released a video of a disturbing incident last week. A man can be seen pushing another man onto the subway tracks before running away. Luckily, the victim was not struck by a train but he was injured. The NYPD is still looking for the suspect.
In response to recent incidents like this, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the city would increase police presence on the subway and provide additional resources to the homeless and mentally ill.
Adams told CNN's Chris Wallace that it's difficult to bridge the gap between the perception and reality of how safe the city is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, (D) NEW YORK CITY: We have an average of less than six crimes a day on the subway system with 3.5 million riders. But if you write your story based on the narrative that you're going to look at the worst of those six crimes and put it on the front pages of your paper every day, people are going to start to feel what David Patterson just stated. So I have to deal with those six crimes a day -- felony crimes -- and the perception of fear.
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR, "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE?": You're saying that the crime problem in this city is more perception than reality?
ADAMS: No, it's a combination of both.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: With me now, CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, John Miller. John, great to have you here.
You've written a terrific piece, which people can go look at on cnn.com, which focuses on the subways here -- the transit system in New York City, specifically. And it's very nuanced, which I know people have a hard time dealing with nuance. But crime in the subway is actually down from pre-pandemic levels?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Actually, if you compare it to 2019, it's down four percent. Now, the nuance would be in 2019, there were 5.5 million riders and an average of six felonies a day. We're still having an average of six felonies a day with 3.5 million riders and now, 3.8 million riders if you look at the last couple of weeks.
So that tells us a couple of things. Number one, the system is coming back. Number two, per capita -- per rider, the crime has actually increased.
But what's jarring people is which crimes, and it's the stories about people being pushed in front of a train. It's the stories of the stabbings. It's when you look at the overall major crimes -- the seven felonies -- they're up by 40 percent. You have 1,800 incidents.
And it is perception because if you compare it to pre-pandemic, it's down -- but tell that to a victim. And it's making news.
BERMAN: Right -- and if it's in the headlines people pay attention, and then when they go into the subway they're more worried and they see it all around them.
Policing the subway is its own unique challenge.
MILLER: It is, and it's not like a precinct where you can say here's my problem. I can push SRG (the Strategic Response Command) or extra cops into one area and tamp that down.
Listen, shootings in the Bronx were driving shootings citywide a couple of years ago and the push they made there has shootings down almost by half in the Bronx. That's what you can do on the street -- it's geographical.
The subway isn't a community. You can't use community policing. It's the system that binds communities together all over -- all over the city. So, concentrating there is very complicated policing.
The key has probably always been fare evasion. The robbers generally don't pay to get on the system. Mentally ill people often don't pay to get on the system. Homeless people don't pay to get on the system.
So, controlling fare evasion is a tool that they used for years to reduce crime until prosecutors said we're not going to prosecute that as an arrest. Write a ticket. And that's caused fare evasion to really surge.
BERMAN: And then, larceny. There are specific crimes that are actually driving some of the increase now that we're seeing. Explain that.
MILLER: So, the biggest factor in the increase in crime is grand larceny, which is the non-violent theft. And that's people who fall asleep and somebody will dip in their bag and take a wallet or an iPhone, or something that they put down on the seat beside when they look the other way. That's where the real numbers are but it's the violent crime that gets the headlines.
BERMAN: Violent crime gets the headlines.
And again, you can't just flood the zone. It's not as easy as snapping your fingers and saying more money, more cops here.
Eric Adams was talking about that to Chris Wallace and said we're trying to do something, but --
MILLER: Think about the math, though. Four hundred seventy-two stations, 665 miles of track, never mind the trains. So if you put three cops in every station, now you're talking 1,800 extra. You put a cop on every train, now you're doubling or tripling that.
You know, there's basically 7,000 cops in the Patrol Services Bureau and 2,500 in the transit system. So the transit system accounts for two percent of citywide crime. Putting thousands and thousands of cops down there would have a great psychological effect but you'd really be stripping the street.
What happened this weekend is important, though. The governor came up with money for additional officers. That's going to push 1,200 more cops into the subways. That's going to be from overtime where they're going to be working extra days. But that's really probably going to reach the level of visibility that's going to make a difference.
BERMAN: John Miller, great to have you here helping us understand the nuance because it is important even if it's hard for people to digest. Appreciate it.
MILLER: Thanks, John.
KEILAR: The teenager charged in a shooting in a Michigan high school last year is expected to plead guilty to murder charges this morning. Ethan Crumbley is accused of killing four students and wounding seven others.
CNN's Jean Casarez is live outside of the courthouse in Pontiac, Michigan with the very latest -- Jean.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, this virtually came as a surprise on Friday because his attorneys had given notice in January of their intent to seek the defense of insanity. And now he is going to plead guilty, we understand, with no plea agreement, to all 24 counts.
He was 15 years old. It was virtually almost a year ago that this happened. He was charged as an adult, though -- terrorism causing death, four counts of premeditated murder, assault with intent to commit murder, and the possession of a gun during the commission of a felony.
Now, there is no question that he had mental issues because that has come out in evidence in his parents' trial. But I want to show you the drawing that he made at school. It was evidence in his parents' preliminary hearing. And this happened very shortly before this mass killing ensued.
You will see, first of all, there's a drawing of a handgun. His parents had just given him a gun as an early Christmas present -- a semiautomatic. Underneath that he wrote "The thoughts won't stop. Help me."
And then there's a person that appears to be shot. They are bleeding. There is also a laughing emoji.
Then there is a drawing of a bullet and he has written: "Blood everywhere." And then finally, "My life is useless. The world is dead."
So, he is going to be in court today. Of course, the judge is going to have to ask him if this is freely and voluntarily given. His parents have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors believe that they caused the killings by their gross negligence and their lack of duty toward the community and their son.
There is a hearing on Friday because the prosecutor in his parents' case wants to include experts to show a pathway to violence that these parents created that pathway through. The prosecution will have evidence of alcohol use, marijuana use, and multiple affairs. The defense is fighting it very hard that constitutionally, it is prejudicial.
But for today, we expect a plead hearing of guilty on all counts -- Brianna, John.
KEILAR: That is quite a distance to go from considering an insanity plea to then pleading guilty, really, to everything.
KEILAR: Jean, we'll be watching this with you. Thank you.
BERMAN: This morning, two employees of a Dallas hospital are dead after a gunman opened fire in the maternity ward. Police say the suspect was shot and injured and has been arrested for capital murder. He was on parole, wearing an ankle monitor, but was allowed to be at the hospital for the birth of his child. The hospital says out of an abundance of caution, police staffing is now increased on campus.
KEILAR: Opening statements are expected today in Harvey Weinstein's sex crimes trial in Los Angeles. The disgraced movie producer is already serving a 23-year prison sentence for his conviction in a separate sex crimes case in New York.
CNN's Camilla Bernal is live for us in Los Angeles with the very latest. Camila, what are you watching this morning?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna -- good morning.
So -- well, first of all, it's nine men and three women that will be seated in this jury. And what's important here is that even though he is serving that 23-year sentence in New York, he's also appealing. So what happens here is that the case in Los Angeles is going to be very significant in case that appeal is successful, because the jury here will then determine how many years in prison or whether he's not imprisoned for Harvey Weinstein.
BERNAL (voice-over): Disgraced Hollywood powerbroker Harvey Weinstein is facing accusers in Los Angeles. A city he once dominated not the setting for a criminal court case where the former movie mogul faces more charges of sexual assault.
[07:45:02] PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Harvey Weinstein is sort of the poster child of the Me Too movement in terms of somebody who was finally brought to justice.
BERNAL (voice-over): The L.A. trial starts Monday and is expected to last at least two months. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to four counts of forcible rape and seven sexual assault charges. The 11 charges involving five women stem from alleged incidents from 2004 to 2013 in L.A. area hotels.
The trial follows Weinstein's 2020 convictions of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape in New York. He is appealing those convictions while serving a 23-year sentence.
LARISSA GOMES, WEINSTEIN ACCUSER: He is going to be held accountable for more of the crimes that he has committed against women.
BERNAL (voice-over): Unlike in New York where Weinstein was seen coming and going from the courtroom, the 70-year-old, who is now in a wheelchair, will be transferred directly from jail to the L.A. courtroom each day.
During the course of the trial, the five women are expected to testify about their allegations that Weinstein sexually assaulted them. Four additional women are also expected to take the stand, but their accounts did not lead to charges filed against Weinstein.
CALLAN: You have four or five other people coming into court saying the same thing happened to me -- and not only did it happen to me, but he used the same methodology. It gives the jury some comfort in finding that they can believe the victim.
BERNAL (voice-over): One expected witness is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an award-winning filmmaker and partner of the governor of California. Her attorney says she will testify to seek some measure of justice for survivors.
Another possible witness, actor Mel Gibson, who could give evidence about one of Weinstein's accusers.
Weinstein has maintained his innocence and denied all allegations against him. His former New York attorneys reacting after the 2020 verdicts.
DONNA ROTUNNO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And I think it was -- it was tough for him to get a fair trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if you could get one anywhere.
ROTUNNO: We couldn't find one person who had never heard anything about this.
PROTESTORS AT WEINSTEIN'S NEW YORK TRIAL: Hey, hey, ho, ho, their patriarchy has got to go.
BERNAL (voice-over): The allegations against Weinstein helped launched the Me Too movement, encouraging sexual assault victims to share their stories.
The investigation into the mogul now explored in the movie titled "She Said."
Clip from Universal Pictures "She Said."
BERNAL (voice-over): The man who once made movies now the focus of a film himself.
BERNAL: And Weinstein has never admitted any wrongdoing. The case here in Los Angeles is much larger than the one in New York. If convicted, this could add significant prison time to the man who once dominated Hollywood -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Yes, and his attorneys making it clear they'll be trying to put some of the victims here on trial. So we'll be seeing how this all plays out.
Camila Bernal, thank you so much, live for us from Los Angeles.
BERNAL: Thank you.
KEILAR: Is there something out there? NASA announcing the team will spend the next nine months studying UFOs.
And this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Clip from Columbia Pictures "Almost Famous."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Cameron Crowe won an Oscar for his screenplay for "Almost Famous" and it is now a Broadway musical. He joins us ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
U.S. NAVY FIGHTER PILOT: There's a whole fleet of them. Look on the AESA.
U.S. NAVY FIGHTER PILOT: (INAUDIBLE).
U.S. NAVY FIGHTER PILOT: Oh, got it! Woo-hoo.
U.S. NAVY FIGHTER PILOT: Roger.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: All right, so those were U.S. Navy fighter pilots celebrating when they locked onto an unidentified object dashing across the sky back in 2015. Videos like these have fueled years of UFO speculation and questions about extraterrestrial life.
And now, NASA will be looking for more answers here. Today, the agency is officially launching its study on unidentified aerial phenomena.
And joining us now is CNN space and defense correspondent, Kristin Fisher. My goodness -- I mean, it -- this is the kind of thing that back in the day you would have sort of laughed at. But now we've seen these videos taken by professionals in the military. What can you tell us about this team and the studies they'll be doing?
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: So, this NASA study really joins Congress, which has been investigating it; the Pentagon, which has been looking into all of these incidents; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and now, NASA.
They announced this study last summer and just, on Friday, they decided to officially announce its team because the study, of course, starts today. And it's 16 individuals. These are people who are astronomers, astrophysicists, biologists oceanographers. They've got a lot of former NASA, Pentagon -- even some former FAA folks on the team. And a former astronaut -- a very famous former astronaut, Scott Kelly, who famously spent a year in space.
And so, what they're going to be doing is over the next nine months or so they're really going to be digging into all of the unclassified data that's out there -- not the classified stuff. That's for the Pentagon and Congress. But NASA is going to be looking into the unclassified reports.
And they're going to be looking at better ways to analyze and catalog this data that's coming in not just from those Navy pilots and military folks but from civilians and commercial entities, and how they catalog and data -- store all of that data that's coming in, which is just a huge amount ever since this kind of renewed interest in UFOs has come about.
And, Brianna, they are going to make all of these findings public, hopefully. They're shooting for mid-2023.
But the big question is why NASA now? Why is NASA getting in on this? Well, NASA says hey, it's always been our job to kind of explain the unexplainable or almost unexplainable.
The Pentagon and Congress has really been trying for several months now. Now, NASA wants to get in and say hey, we have lots of valuable assets up there, too -- satellites, astronauts, space stations. We want to know what's up there just as much as everybody else.
KEILAR: So fascinating. And those pictures are mesmerizing. You have the coolest job, Kristin Fisher. FISHER: I think so.
KEILAR: Thank you so much.
BERMAN: So, growing concern from inside the Republican Party this morning. Lawmakers questioning what the party will do and not do if it wins back control of Congress.
John Avlon in today's reality check.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): For somebody who has a picture of Ronald Reagan on the wall of his office in the Capitol, the notion that now Kevin McCarthy is going to make himself the leader of the pro-Putin wing of my party is just a stunning thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Pro-Putin wing of my party -- that's tough stuff even from Republican Liz Cheney. But what's really striking is that her language echoes former Vice President Mike Pence just last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, I know there is a rising chorus in our party, including some new voices to our movement, who would have us disengage with the wider world and abandoned the traditional values at the heart of our movement. But appeasement has never worked. There can be no room in a conservative movement for apologists for Putin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: Now, stop to think just how surreal it is to have prominent national Republican voices condemning current GOP leadership for weak- kneed approaches to Russian aggression and authoritarianism just two weeks before an election.
And not only that, they're targeting Donald Trump with his infamous fear of saying anything remotely critical about Vladimir Putin. No -- the warnings are directed at Trump's acolytes and appeasers. The peg is House minority leader Kevin McCarthy saying that Republicans could pull back support for Ukraine if they win back the House.
Now, this isn't only a reversal of traditional Republican belief in a strong national security to defend democracy, it's a sign of things to come. Because fringe figures, like GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, are already demanding more power if McCarthy wants to become speaker, and that will mean more pandering to the outer reaches of politics.
Look, the opposition party almost always does well in the midterms. It's part of the balancing act of American politics. And Republicans are very effectively drawing on frustration about high inflation and crime. So it's worth clarifying what the GOP will do if they take power in Congress. Not the slogans or the culture war grievances, but the actual policies they want to implement.
Take crime. It is a very serious but largely local issue more impacted by state laws like bail reform, while federal solutions, ranging from increased spending to more cops, or new laws to combat gun violence are not likely to happen with a Republican Congress.
Likewise, inflation is really the Federal Reserve's purview, not Congress. But certainly, Republicans can call out increased spending as a cause, even as the deficit has been cut in half under President Biden with the sunsetting of COVID spending.
But with structural spending in mind, Republicans are planning to enact cuts to Social Security and Medicare by holding the debt ceiling hostage when it comes up next year. Yes, the debt ceiling threats are back. And no, it wasn't an issue for most Republicans when Trump was president and increased the debt by $7 trillion while Congress raised the debt limit three times. But with a Democratic president, the debt ceiling is seen as something to ransom.
So here's the stated plan from House Republicans. Social Security and Medicaid eligibility changes. Spending caps and safety network requirements are among the top priorities for key House Republicans who want to use next year's debt limit deadline to extract concessions from Democrats. That's according to interviews by Bloomberg reports with leading candidates to run the House Budget Committee.
Now, this is risky on several levels. First, politically. Social Security and Medicare are very popular, even with Republicans. That's why Trump said he never wanted to touch them, even when his budget proposals did just that.
Then there's the obvious point that this kind of brinksmanship will be massively destabilizing for the U.S. and the world. As the Washington Post's Catherine Rampell writes, "Forcing a debt limit crisis as the world teeters on the verge of recession is the opposite of what you would do -- pursue if you care about strengthening the economy."
Not only that, it's essential to remember that refusing to raise the debt limit is about as fiscally responsible as refusing to pay your credit card bill.