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CNN Live Event/Special
Judge Uses Meadows Own Words To Reject Case Transfer; Georgia Grand Jury Recommended Charging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Other Senators; Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) Endorses Trump, Sparking Running Mate Speculation; Age Debate Intensifies As Former Speaker Pelosi Runs For Re-election; Philadelphia Police Officer Charged With Murder; Morocco Hit With Powerful Earthquake. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired September 08, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: You can watch that on The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper, Sunday night at 8:00 on CNN.
Thank you so much for joining us. Kaitlan will be back here on Monday. CNN PRIMETIME with Abby Phillip starts now.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Brianna. I hope you have a great weekend. You have an hour head start on me and everyone else. So, have a good one.
KEILAR: You too.
PHILLIP: And Good Friday evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip.
Mark Meadows really wanted his Georgia occasion moved to federal court. But, as it turns out, someone took the stand against him. And because of that testimony, it completely doomed his chances. That person is Mark Meadows himself.
A judge rejecting Donald Trump's former chief of staff, citing his own words on the witness stand. You see, when Meadows told the judge that he worked with the Trump campaign on so many things, including setting out that infamous call when Trump asked to find vote, that was not in the scope of his duties as a federal employee.
The judge says that if he were to agree with Meadows, quote, the court would have to turn a blind eye to express constitutional power granted to the states to determine their election procedures, as well as limitations on political activities of executive branch officials.
That comment right there has some major implications for Donald Trump and also potentially for his co-defendants.
Joining me now is Clint Rucker, a former prosecutor for Fulton County, Georgia, who worked with District Attorney Fani Willis.
Now, Clint, Meadows is appealing tonight this ruling, but it is significant that the judge pretty clearly and firmly knocked down a lot of the arguments that he and his attorneys were making. CLINT RUCKER, FORMER PROSECUTOR, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: That's right, and good evening, Abby, thanks for having me. You're absolutely correct in that. I believe this is a major blow to the defense's strategy, not only for Mr. Meadows but for many of the other co- defendants, as well.
I think it was a big part of the strategy, which to have this case removed to federal court and I think in very clear playing language Judge Jones has told them that that defensive strategy is not going to work. So, I think we really need to stay tuned.
PHILLIP: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think there's a lot more to come. Judge Jones also made it clear that this probably doesn't apply necessarily to the other co-defendants, like Jeffrey Clark or even Donald Trump, this particular ruling. But does it set the bar for those other co-defendants who might try move this to federal court?
RUCKER: Right. And while Judge Jones was very judicious in the way in which he structured his order, tailoring it specifically to Mr. Meadows, to allow the other defendants to have their appropriate day in court, I think it does kind of set the tone and the road map for how this case will be looked at once those other defendants actually have their day and their arguments heard before the court.
And so I think that Judge Jones was very clear that this is a strategy that's going to be a tough one to apply, whether it's for the former ex-president or anyone else.
PHILLIP: But let's talk about that, because Meadows did argue that his actions were part of his federal duties. The judge clearly disagreed, though, writing in part that the state argues, and Meadows agrees, that he is bound by the Hatch Act, a law that prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity. Meadows has not shown how his actions relate to the scope of his executive branch office.
However, the Hatch Act, which is cited there, doesn't apply to one person, and that person is the president of the United States. So, is this actually, in some ways, potentially an opening for Trump?
RUCKER: Well, I think that certainly the president -- the former, ex- president has a great legal team, and the fact that he's represented by Mr. Sadow who will exploit that opportunity to make that particularized argument for Mr. Trump. But I think that, factually, we will find that the actions of the former ex-president, with respect to the phone call, with respect to January 6th and some of the other activities, will place him in the midst of a conspiracy that I think will be very hard to argue a removal to federal court.
I think we're going to see all of these defendants right before Judge McAfee in the Fulton County Supreme Court.
PHILLIP: We also learned today that the special grand jury in Fulton County that was investigating this presidential interference in 2020, they recommended charges against a whole host of other people, including sitting Senators Lindsey Graham and then former senators -- now former Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
But Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis who you know well, opted not to charge those lawmakers.
Based on the evidence that we've seen so far, do you understand why she didn't go there?
RUCKER: I think so. As a former prosecutor, we take a special oath to make sure that we administer justice fairly. It's not a game of revenge or retribution. And so it's not a situation in the case of this significance that you would want to just throw everybody in the same bag and blindly go forward.
I think that D.A. Willis was very judicious and very discerning about the way she looked at the report from the special purpose grand jury. I think she carved out with her staff what she was able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, which will be the standard going forward. And I think she made the decision that said, hey, let's go forward with the strongest cases possible, and with respect to the rest, I will exercise my discretion to not pursue they at this time.
PHILLIP: All right. Clint, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.
RUCKER: Thank you very much.
PHILLIP: And here's Lindsey Graham today responding to all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This is troubling for the country. We can't criminalize senators doing their job when they have a constitutional requirement to fulfill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Let's continue this conversation now with House Delegate Stacey Plaskett. She's the ranking member of the subcommittee on weaponization of the federal government. Congresswoman, thanks for being here tonight.
DEL. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): Thank you so much, always great to be with you, Abby.
PHILLIP: You were a house impeachment manager in Trump's second impeachment trial, following the January 6th riot. What is your reaction to what happened today, a federal judge rejecting Mark Meadows' move to move this case to the federal court from the Georgia criminal system?
PLASKETT: Well, I think this is really just the judiciary, which is really trying to hold up the standard of our democracy and really working overtime to try and ensure that the guardrails remain. We know that the things that Mark Meadows is alleged to have done are outside of the scope of anyone who acts as a chief of staff, and particularly, in a post-election manner, trying go to states, to try and interject themselves in that. Never mind being outside of the Hatch Act, it's outside of the scope of a federally designated executive. And, therefore, he did not have the protection of the federal court as a federal officer acting in his position.
And so it will remain in the state court. Fani Willis has done an excellent job, I believe, of narrowing the scope of those individuals that she believes that she has through her are prosecutorial discretion, the strongest case, and is moving board that.
We know that there are so many charges against lots of individuals that probably could have been brought on this and many other issues in the Trump administration throughout his time, but I think that she has tried to bring the most salient to bear to a jury of his peers.
PHILLIP: Do you think that she determined that, for example, when it comes to Senator Lindsey Graham and Senators Perdue and Loeffler, that those charges wouldn't stand as good of a chance of being successful? Is that, do you think, the judgment that she ended up making?
PLASKETT: I can't say what her rationale was or the many, maybe layers of reasons why she might have done it. That may be one of the reasons. Another may be that widening the scope just brings so many other motions that individuals will be bringing, never mind moving from state to federal court or discussions of, you know, the debate clause, which a speech and debate clause that members of Congress have, which is an additional protection.
I think that what she's doing is trying to bring this racketeering case with the individuals closely around the president's orbit who assisted him in attempting to overthrow our government and try to throw out valid elections of many thousands of Georgia residents who voted in the presidential election.
PHILLIP: So, as we mentioned, you're also the ranking member on this House Weaponization Committee, and your counterpart is Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. He's pursuing an investigation into Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her prosecution of Trump and his allies.
But D.A. Willis this week fired back in a pretty extraordinary statement that was made public, calling it basically illegal.
Let's first remind viewers, though, of this moment between you and Congressman Jordan during a hearing earlier this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I think they're brave individuals for being willing to come after they've been named in a letter from the Biden FTC. PLASKETT: Is this your question time now?
JORDAN: No, I'm responding to your ridiculous statements you made in your opening statement.
PLASKETT: Okay. Well, let's get on with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: So, you're pretty familiar, obviously, and I think our audience is, too, you know, Congressman Jordan is really eager for a fight. Do you have any indication here whether he's going to back down?
PLASKETT: Well, he's not going to back down but he doesn't have a leg to stand on while he's attempting to make this stand. He has repeatedly gone after any individual who is trying to bring justice to bear on the former president and his actions, whether it was during the time that he was president, before that with, you know, the New York prosecution of the president, who he has also attempted to try to get information. Now, we're seeing him going after Fani Willis.
And if there are other individuals, whether it's the FBI, the Department Justice, those are the people that he is trying to stop from being justice to the former president.
Jim Jordan has determined that this committee is going to be the save Donald Trump committee, that he is going to be the individual who is going to do whatever is outside of the scope of a member of Congress and the rightful work of this committee to try and stop the work that these individuals are doing on behalf of the American people.
Rather than doing investigations of true weaponization of the federal government, much of which occurred during the Trump administration, Jim Jordan is trying to simply act as a sounding board for new messaging for the president as well as to try and thwart the valid work of prosecutors around this country to try and bring to bear justice on the former president from alleged unlawful actions on his part.
PHILLIP: All right. Delegate Plaskett, thank you for joining us tonight, have a great weekend.
PLASKETT: Thank you, you too.
PHILLIP: And just in, Donald Trump right now getting an endorsement from Kristi Noem. Is this a running mate audition?
Plus, one of his rivals, Vivek Ramaswamy, is telling reporters tonight that he'll deport the children of undocumented immigrants who were born in the United States. That, of course, would be a violation of the Constitution. We'll discuss that.
And as we talk about the age of lawmakers, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing another run for Congress. Barbara Boxer, her former colleague, joins me live ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
PHILLIP: Just in tonight, Donald Trump, his getting an endorsement from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and what could be a potential preview of a 2024 ticket.
But it is an evolution of sorts for Noem who told The New York Times back in November that she didn't believe that Trump offered, quote, the best chance for the party in 2024. And she went on to say, if we narrow our focus there, then we're not talking to every single American.
But just yesterday, she said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): Oh, absolutely, yes. I mean, I would in a heartbeat.
President Trump needs a strong partner. If he's going to take back the White House, he's going to need somebody who knows what it's like to run a business, to be an employee, earn a paycheck but also having a wife, mom and a grandma isn't bad either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: So is this a V.P. tryout? Let's discuss with CNN Political Commentator and Editor-in-Chief of the Dispatch Jonah Goldberg. Jonah, too soon or is this the right time to kind of put out this trial balloon?
JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I think it makes total sense for Kristi Noem. You know, I mean she's been running these ads nationally, paid for with like COVID tax dollars, promoting work in South Dakota and she's -- they're theatrical, and she's trying to get her name out there for quite a bit.
She actually -- I mean, I can't imagine wanting to be Trump's running mate, but that's the world we live in. She's actually a pretty god pick when you think about it because she's actually held office, unlike Kari Lake. She's actually won an election. Kari Lake is trying to audition for this position too.
Moreover, unlike Kari Lake and Vivek Ramaswamy, who people talk about, while she's a very attractive and well-spoken, you know, candidate, she's not going to outshine Donald Trump with the crazy, with the stuff that is going to like generate controversy. She's not going to eat the scenery on the stage.
And Donald Trump does not like to be -- let me put it this way, Donald Trump always wants to be the center of attention, not be sort of playing catch-up to somebody who's getting more attention than he is. And she's makes a lot of sense in that way. PHILLIP: So, in the meantime, Trump's been, until really tonight, he's largely not even been on the campaign trail. He will be in Iowa tomorrow. But all the other candidates, they've really been barnstorming these early states.
I get that this is kind of narrowly politically important move for him today to be in South Dakota with Kristi Noem. But I wonder, is he potentially taking for granted that his lead may not stick that he has in all of these national polls, particularly in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters want to see the candidates there all the time?
GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean, I think so. In fact, I think his lead is inflated. He's obviously a double-digit runaway frontrunner but, as we know, he gets this extra support from voters, who in the past said they weren't necessarily all in for Trump because of the criminal prosecutions.
There's a certain amount of stick your thumb in the eye of pollsters and the establishment and saying you're backing Trump because he's being persecuted and all that kind of thing, which means there's room for him to fall.
And at the same time, the way I think about both the Democratic and Republican race is that we essentially have two de facto incumbents at the same time. As far as Republicans are concerned, Trump is essentially an incumbent, and, obviously, because Joe Biden is the actual president, he's like an incumbent, but they're both pretty weak incumbents.
And the danger, as you put it, for Donald Trump is that he's not an actual incumbent and a lot of these people are putting in this equity (ph) and the leg work in Iowa and New Hampshire, and those states really like to be Independent, like to claim that they're sticking it to the establishment, too. So, it's entirely possible one or both don't what Trump wants them to do in the end.
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, in Iowa today, you know, Iowa has been a place DeSantis and Ramaswamy, they're both trying to kind of value (ph) it now for that state. Ramaswamy today was asked a question about whether he would deport a family of undocumented immigrant if they had a child born here in the United States. Here's what he said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VIVEK RAMASWAMY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The family unit will be deported. As a family unit, we'll not separate families. But we will de-bureaucratize the process for which law-abiding citizens have a path to legal immigration to the country if they meet the criteria.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the child was born in the United States, He has birth rights in the United States wille also be deported in that case? RAMASWAMY: Yes, that's correct. And I think that there are legally contested questions, and I'm honest about this, they're contested, but there are legally contested questions under the 14th Amendment of whether a child of an illegal immigrant is indeed a child that enjoys birth rights citizenship or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: And this is basically, Jonah, an escalation of something that he told me two months ago. Listen to this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: I should say also, I mean, you were -- both of your parents are immigrants to the United States. So, you would have been a beneficiary of birth rights citizenship. But you now are saying would you ban that for people coming into the country. And what is the period of time for which that would be the case?
RAMASWAMY: For people coming into the country illegally. That's the key distinction. And people make this mistake all the time, and I think you've got to be really careful when you talk about the difference between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants. One is founded on following the rule of law. The other is founded on breaking the rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: It's a page out of the Trump playbook, and it's not really -- I mean, it's not constitutional. But what do you think?
GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean, I find Ramaswamy increasingly exhausting for precisely the reasons you're getting at. It's very similar to Donald Trump's I'm going to build the wall, it will be so easy, I can do it really fast, any time Mexico complains, it will be ten feet higher.
Donald Trump mastered the art of salesmanship, which says, what do I have to do to put you in this condo today. And Vivek Ramaswamy is sort of borrowing the same thing. He knows that he says something bombastic, it gets him the attention, it gets him the clicks, it gets him the small donors. And then if he has to walk it back in a few days, sometimes he walks it back, sometimes he just says that's not what I said, and sometimes he sticks to his guns.
But at the end of the day, it's very cute that he says, I understand that this is contested. It's not contested. It's pretty settled precedent in law and interpretation of the Constitution. And at the very minimum, even if you think there's a good argument on the other side against birth right citizenship for illegal immigrants, the president of the United States does not have the unilateral power to do that.
It would immediately go to court. It would immediately be stayed. It would be immediately litigated for years, just like a lot of the wall was. It's just him saying stuff to get attention knowing that there's no downside to him being wrong or being controversial because the sort of the crowd that ones to hear the stuff doesn't care of the stuff either.
PHILLIP: And maybe it's working. I mean, is it working?
GOLDBERG: Yes. I think it is working. I mean, look, he's not having the boom that he might think he would given all the attention he's gotten but it's working for his purposes. He basically said he wanted to get into this in part to be famous and it's helping him be famous.
I don't think for the reasons I was saying earlier it helps him for a V.P. slot for Trump because Trump doesn't want to have to explain why he disagrees with his vice-president. He liked the Mike Pence model. I think he would like the Kristi Noem model, where, basically, they play clean-up to him, but he doesn't care about what they're saying.
PHILLIP: Yes. And as you pointed out he doesn't want to be outshined on the stage by anybody who's young and snappy. So, Jonah Goldberg, thank you very much.
GOLDBERG: Thank you, great to be here.
PHILLIP: And speaking of Vivek Ramaswamy, the presidential candidate has CNN's fact checker working overtime. Daniel Dale is here to save us.
Daniel, Ramaswamy has a pattern of in accurately describing his own stances before he started running for president.
Jonah just alluded to this in just a few minutes ago. What have you learned?
DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Yes. I've counted three times he's done this in the last three weeks alone, each time, Abby, while trying to distance himself from past criticism of Donald Trump. Listen to the latest this week from an interview with MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: You say he behaved downright abhorrent behavior that makes him a danger to democracy. What was downright abhorrent?
RAMASWAMY: Let's actually be really fair to your audience. So, on January 10th, 2021, there in the ballots, days after that incident, I wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing that censorship was the real cause of what happened on January 6th. When asked in response, somebody asked me the question -- that's what I wrote, I'm giving you the facts of what I said. That was published in The Wall Street Journal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DALE: So, I asked his campaign which Wall Street Journal op-ed he was talking about. They sent me the link. I read the op-ed. It does not include any argument about January 6th like the one he claimed on MSNBC he had included. You might say, okay, he forgot what he wrote two years ago but this is, again, a pattern during the first Republican debate two weeks ago, he made two false claims about what was in his own year-old book. He falsely deny that it was more critical about Trump than he was in that glowing debate. He -- and then in an interview on NBC, on Meet the Press, he was asked about that book's criticism of Trump's stolen election lies, and he said, no, no, in the same chapter of that book, I included tons of material, had about 20 pages of an argument that big tech had interfered in that very same election.
While I went and read the book, read the chapter, nothing in there at all in the entire book, let alone the chapter, and that's all, in addition, Abby, to him falsely claiming he was misquoted by The Atlantic Magazine recently. He made some controversial comments about 9/11. He said, oh, no, no, they got that wrong. They put words in my mouth. Well, The Atlantic soon released audio proving that he had been quoted correctly. So, certainly a pattern at this point.
PHILLIP: Yes. Well, Daniel, Trump, on the other hand, is also claiming that polls show his support among black Americans has quadrupled or even quintupled since his mug shot was released. What's the truth about that?
DALE: The truth is that that's not true. So, we identified five post mug shot polls that released specific data on black respondents. In one of them, he actually declined compared to polls taken before the mug shot was released. In four of them, he did see increases, but very small ones, all within the margin of error. We're talking like three points, three points, six points.
So, we're not sure if that reflect as genuine increase or because it was within the margin of error, if that is simply statistical noise. And we have to emphasize, of course, even if there has been a genuine increase with black voters in the last couple of weeks, that could be for any number of hundreds of reasons. It could be gas prices. It could be something about the war in Ukraine. It could be anything. There is no sign or whatsoever that black voters are reacting enthusiastically to the existence of a Donald Trump mug shot.
PHILLIP: I don't know if that will come as a surprise to anyone, but thank you for clarifying that, Daniel. I appreciate.
And 83 years old and running for re-election, former Senator Barbara Boxer is here with so thoughts on Nancy Pelosi's surprise announcement today.
PHILLIP: Should there be age limits in Congress? That's the provocative question that is at the center of an escalating debate in Washington. Dianne Feinstein is 80 years old dealing with public health issues. Same with Mitch McConnell, who is 81. And as for the two presidential frontrunners, Joe Biden would be 86 at the end of a second term. Donald Trump would be 82. And now, Nancy Pelosi has become part of that debate herself. The 83-
year-old revealing today that she is running for another term in Congress. Barbara Boxer is the former Democratic Senator of the state of California and she joins me now. Senator Boxer, thank you for being here. You are close to former Speaker Pelosi. Why does she want to keep going, after all that she's accomplished in her career?
BARBARA BOXER, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: She has more to do. And you know, I'm one who doesn't believe that age means a thing. It depends on the person. Some people are just pathetic at 50, and some are fabulous at 80. Ageism has no place. It's another ism. And I think, you know, for her, she sees the times we are in.
She and I are about the same age. We went through the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the environmental movement, the women's movement, it goes on and on. And we've seen it, and we see it's all in peril right now. And so, I know her, and she doesn't want to walk away at this moment in time.
PHILLIP: She did, though, take a step back after her husband was really horrifically attacked in their home. Is she still concerned about her family's safety? I mean, did that factor in at all in her decision making?
BOZER: Oh, I think her stepping down was something that she might have done before Paul Pelosi was brutally attacked in a horrific situation, we all know. It was a shock to the system. And so, I think her stepping back was a combination of things. But I also think, you know, having served for so long, 10 years in the House and 24 in the Senate, I think the Congress works well when there are people of all ages and very diverse in every way possible because it's supposed to represent the country, the Congress is, the Senate and the House.
So, just to leave because you're of a certain age, I think we're stepping down from leadership was the right thing to do because she can be there still and she can advise the team when they need her and there is nobody in my view who has been more strategic and creative in winning and getting things done than she has been.
So, I think it's a huge positive for her. I think it is a huge positive for her district, for California that I love so much, almost 40 million people and the entire nation. We need leaders like this now, courageous leaders. Look what's on the line, Abby. Democracy itself, our freedoms. Are we going to stand with science? Are we going to rewrite history? You know, these are things that are really pulling at all of our hearts right now.
PHILLIP: That being said, I mean, we mentioned earlier Mitch McConnell and Dianne Feinstein, both of whom, as you know, appear to be experiencing very public health challenges in the public eye. Voters seem to be very concerned about that. Is there something to be said for simply stepping aside and letting the next generation take their place? BOZER: As I said, I think in our government, we do better when the
Congress is fully representative, whether it's age, whether it's gender, whether it's race, whether it's religion, it's all important. Now, if you're not up to the job, the voters are going to kick you out. You don't have to have some date. It's ridiculous. Because as I say, some people are awful at 50, and some people are terrific and effective in getting things done at 80.
So, you know, I know that what I'm saying is not popular in the country. I know people think, get them out of there once they're 70. But it's wrong, because everybody ages differently.
PHILLIP: Look, voters, we had a new poll out this week that said that their top concern is President Biden's age, for example. Democratic voters seem really concerned about this. Why are they wrong?
BOXER: I'm not saying they're wrong. They should consider his age. Absolutely. Look, when I ran, every time I ran, I knew I had positives and negatives. And what I always said to the voters, you know, and by the way, if I had followed polls, honestly, I would have left it after the first term because I ran another three times and two out of the three were just awful polls.
But what I said to the voters is this, I'm not perfect, and they appreciated that. And I said, you know, in those days we use pads. And I said, take a yellow pad and draw a line down the middle. On one side say what's good about Barbara Boxer, what's bad, what I worry about, what I know I can count on.
And with Joe Biden, look at what he's achieved. We don't have time to go into it, but he always says something that I love, even though he said it a lot, but I believe in, he says, don't compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative. And I say, when you look at what he's going to face, a right-wing opponent, and you look at the things that he has accomplished, no president has created more jobs in the time he's had in office than Joe Biden. And he's gotten so much done in a bipartisan way.
So, yeah, his age is a factor. It probably is a factor with Donald Trump. He's only a couple years behind him. And it's going to be a factor when Nancy runs. But I predict people will put that on that yellow pad and say, I don't like that, but I like other things.
PHILLIP: All right. Senator Barbara Boxer, thanks so much for being with us tonight.
BOZXER: Thanks, Abby.
PHILLIP: And a 27-year-old man shot at near point-blank range by police. Video of the incident is now coming out and showing a completely different story from what the Philadelphia police initially said happened. The victim's family speaks out here, next.
Plus, we're getting breaking news. Nearly 300 people have been killed in an earthquake in Morocco and the toll is rising. We'll take you there. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
PHILLIP: The release of police body camera footage of a deadly traffic stop last month has now led to a Philadelphia police officer being charged tonight with first degree murder. Police say they stopped Eddie Irizarry for driving erratically and going the wrong way on a one-way street, and during the incident he was shot and killed.
Now, initially, police lied about what happened, claiming that Irizarry stood outside of his car and lunged at them with a weapon. But the footage shows Irizarry never got out of his vehicle at all. Here's part of it. And a warning to the audience here, this video is graphic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Show your hands. Hey, I'll (BLEEP) shoot you. 413, shots fired, shots fired, 100 West Willard. Get your hands up (inaudible) right now.
UNKNOWN: Move the car. Come on. Move the care.
UNKNOWN: All right. All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Eddie Irizarry's family wanted the video to be released to the public. And joining me now is Zoraida Garcia, his aunt, and Shaka Johnson, the Irizarry's family attorney.
Zoraida, thank you for being here. I'm so very sorry for the loss of your nephew. What do you feel now that this video, this body camera video, has been made public for the entire world to see?
ZORAIDA GARCIA, AUNT OF EDDIE IRIZARRY: I'm just -- I feel very hurt. But at the same time, I just wanted the world to see what this officer did to my nephew, and just frustrated. My family is very frustrated.
PHILLIP: I can hear the pain obviously and the frustration that you all feel, probably more so because the day of the incident police initially told reporters that the officers gave Eddie multiple commands to drop a weapon while he was outside of the vehicle and then two days later the police commissioner said that the shooting occurred while Eddie was inside, citing this body camera footage. What do you make of this?
GARCIA: Yes, it was a lie.
GARCIA: It was a lie. They tried to cover stuff up and I'm glad that we was able to show everyone that everything was a lie. He never got out of his car. He never even was a threat to any of the officers. If you see the footage, he locked his doors, his windows was closed.
PHILLIP: It's very clear to see what happened there, at least from the perspective of this video. Shaka, I want to bring you in here. Can you give us a sense? What is your understanding of what led to this moment that we just witnessed?
SHAKA JOHNSON, IRIZARRY FAMILY ATTORNEY: I think a multitude of things, Abby, led to this moment. One of them would be a severe lack of training on behalf of these two officers, more severely, obviously, with Officer Dial, but a really -- a really gross lack of training, obviously. Pulling on the side of a motorist on the passenger side. Getting out of your police vehicle with your gun in hand. Going across the broad side of the vehicle across the windshield. Telling somebody you're going to expletive shoot them.
And within five and a half to six seconds from getting out of your police vehicle, that person is shot and transitioning toward death by the time you are six seconds out of your car. That is a severe lack of training about the kind of discernment police officers need to have when instituting deadly force, justifiable I might add, deadly force and when that's appropriate. It was not appropriate in this case and that may be the understatement of the year quite frankly. This was quite frankly a murder as what we saw take place.
PHILLIP: Shaka, the attorney for the former officer, Mark Dial, tells CNN, quote, the facts will unmistakably show that Officer Mark Dial was legally justified in discharging his weapon while fearing for his life. This is now a first-degree murder case where you have to prove intent. Do you believe that prosecutors will be able to do that here?
JOHNSON: They should be able to. You know, the video and the multiple angles of videos, the body-worn camera, the video that we were able to procure, all show what Officer Dial and his partner sort of saw, albeit from different vantage points. We know that the non-discharging officer said he's got a knife. We heard that. And then we heard Officer Dial say, drop the knife.
And so, if you just pause and slow it down right there, a knife, which is completely legal to have, by the way, inside of a vehicle with closed windows, as Zoraida said, with a person who has doors locked, with distance in between you, does not give you license in this city, in this state, in this country to shoot and kill a person and institute deadly force in that scenario.
PHILLIP: Zoraida, I want to give you a moment here, a last word. If you had an opportunity tonight to speak with this former officer, who by the way just posted bail today, what would you tell him? [22:49:53]
GARCIA: Why? You took something special from us. And in my eyes, I could never forgive you. I just pray that God forgives you because I will never -- you damaged my family forever.
JOHNSON: May I say something please about that officer posting bail?
PHILLIP: Please do.
JOHNSON: I wanted -- I'd like everyone to see sort of the difference in treatment that has already been rendered. In Philadelphia, it takes about 12 hours for a person to be arrested, arraigned, see a bail commissioner, and have a bail assigned to them. Oh, by the way, first degree murder is typically, you hold the person without bail, is held without bail. This officer was in jail for a matter of, not even in jail, he was in a holding cell, awaiting to be arraigned for a matter of a few hours.
His bail was posted at $500,000. The Commonwealth has an opportunity to appeal that if they don't like what the bail is set at. I don't believe an appeal was done. And then bail was posted almost immediately. And so, by mid-afternoon, well before the 12, 13-hour mark, about half that time, that officer had posted bail and was back home watching the afternoon news as it developed.
And that is despicable. Any other citizen in Philadelphia who's arrested, who is also presumed to be innocent, by the way, does not get afforded those luxuries. If Eddie Irizarry, Jr. had been arrested for homicide or murder generally, he would not have been afforded those luxuries that Officer Dial seems to have been afforded thus far.
PHILLIP: Zoraida Garcia and Shaka Johnson, thank you very much. And Ms. Garcia, we extend our condolences to you tonight. I'm sorry for your loss. We'll be right back.
GARCIA: Thank you.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
PHILLIP: Breaking news coming into CNN. We're getting word that nearly 300 people have been killed. Hundreds more are hurt after an earthquake hit Morocco tonight. And the death toll continues to rise. I want to bring in CNN international correspondent Larry Madowo on the phone from Nigeria. Larry, can you give us a sense here of the extent of the damage that they're seeing in Morocco?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): It's too early to tell, but the damage appears to be extensive. The epicenter of this earthquake, Abby, was in the high Atlas Mountains. That's about 45 miles southwest of Marrakesh. Marrakesh is a popular tourist destination, the most visited city in the country.
[22:55:00] And this is said to be the strongest earthquake to hit this part of the North African country in more than 120 years, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The last time they had something this serious was back in 1900. Footage aired on state television has showed multiple buildings collapsed and people still (ph) out on the streets. There's been panic in different parts of the country because the aftershocks have been felt in as far as Rabat in the capital in Casablanca and other parts neighboring this part, which is where the epicenter of the earthquake is.
It hit about 11:00 p.m. local time, so maybe three, four hours ago. And the depth of this earthquake was about almost 12 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. So that is extensive. That's why you see this number of people (inaudible). I think, could be much higher when it's much higher than it's gone (ph). It's about 4:00 a.m. in Morocco. So, when this is all complete, the numbers, sadly, could be (inaudible).
PHILLIP: We'll keep an eye on this, Larry. Thank you very much. And we will bring you the latest information from Morocco as it comes in, right here on CNN. We'll be back in just a moment.