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CNN Live Event/Special

Democrats Debate Biden's Ability To Win Re-Election; Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) Gives Blistering View Of GOP In Retirement Reveal; Police Ends Two-Week Manhunt For Danelo Calvacante; Paul Landis Raises Questions About The Warren Commission's Magic Bullet Theory In JFK Assassination. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 13, 2023 - 22:00   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: New details tonight on the team behind the capture of that escaped killer in Pennsylvania, including Yoda, the police dog. Officials say that the canine was key in the takedown of Danelo Cavalcante, saying that he bit Cavalcante's head and lower body as the police were moving in to capture him tonight.

You can join Laura Coates for a special edition of CNN Tonight, Manhunt, Capturing a Killer, at 11:00. You won't want to miss it. Learn all about it there.

In the meantime, thank you so much for joining us in this hour. CNN Primetime with Abby Phillip starts right now.

Abby, do you think your dog could do that?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: I don't even want to find out, really, but I will say Yoda looked really proud of himself. He did a good job. Thanks, Kaitlan.


PHILLIP: And good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip.

Right now, Joe Biden is not the strongest candidate for the presidency. The evidence is right there in front of us. A majority of Democrats think that he is too old and they want another candidate.

But as the clock now ticks toward the election, does the president still have the support among the people who got him to the White House in the first place?

In moments, I'll speak with the man who propelled Biden to the nomination and the presidency, Congressman Jim Clyburn.

But, first, one of Biden's weaknesses, according to these critics, is his number two, Vice President Kamala Harris. Her numbers aren't great either. A poll from over the summer showed half of voters have a negative view of Harris. That's one of the lowest ratings for that poll. And among Democrats, she is obviously more popular.

But listen to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier tonight right here on CNN.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Is Vice President Kamala Harris the best running mate for this president?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He thinks so. And that's what matters.

COOPER: Do you think she is the best running mate, though?

PELOSI: She's the vice president of the United States. So, people say to me, well, why isn't she doing this or that? I said, because she's the vice president. That's the job description.


PHILLIP: That's not exactly a loud endorsement. But it is worth noting, Harris, the first black woman to serve as vice president, has sustained unusual and relentless attacks from Republicans. In fact, if you listen to the candidates who are running on the Republican side, you think that they were running actually against her and not Biden.


NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for Kamala Harris.

VIVEK RAMASWAMY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I would look for somebody who, in every quality, I'd go down the list of Kamala Harris, we'd pick the opposite.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): If you want to hear the scariest words on any screen in the country, Kamala Harris is ready to be your president. That just scare the dickens out of all of us.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If we muff this one and Biden gets in again, heck, you may end up with Kamala as president.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, look, I think Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to be the great unifiers of the Republican Party.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to be clear that I pray every night for Joe Biden's good health, not only because he's our president, but because who our vice president is.

HALEY: Every American knows that if Kamala Harris becomes president, we are in serious trouble of losing our country.


PHILLIP: And joining me now is House Assistant Democratic Leader Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina. He's the campaign co- chair for the Biden-Harris 2024 re-election campaign. Congressman, thank you for being here today.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me.

So, as everyone I'm sure knows, you are one of President Biden's biggest political allies, and he is now facing a lot of questions about whether he should move forward in this campaign. Is he the right candidate for Democrats in 2024?

CLYBURN: Well, I certainly think so. A lot of people question whether or not he was the right candidate back in 2020. You may recall the first three races did not go well, first three contests. But on the fourth time was the charm. And he went on to win all the races on Super Tuesday, maybe not quite all, but very close to it. But when Super Tuesday was over, it was a foregone conclusion he would be the nominee.

Joe Biden has had the history of that sort of thing. Running against an incumbent at the age of 29 and defeating him. Nobody gave him a chance then. Nobody gave him a chance in 2020. Here he is, the president of the United States. And now they're questioning him again. I think he's going to be fine.

PHILLIP: You might be selling yourself a little short there in your role in helping him even get to Super Tuesday by endorsing him just before the South Carolina primary.

But I wonder, have you spoken to the president about all of this, about these growing calls for him to step aside for the good of the party and the good of the country?


CLYBURN: Well, you know, I have not talked to him about that. We talked before he went on this trip and he left for message the night before he left, but we have not talked in the last three or four days.

I'll talk to him real soon and I will tell him what I'm telling you. And that is from what I'm hearing from people who really matter in these things, they are all sold on his re-election.

And I know the pundits are there and the people are writing. I saw the op-ed this morning, or the editorial. I still feel that Joe Biden is much closer to the voters than most of these people in the ivory towers.

PHILLIP: Last fall, the House Democratic leadership, including yourself, you made a decision to basically pass the torch to a trio of new younger leaders. Should President Biden do the same on the principle that maybe the time has come for the next generation to take a step up?

CLYBURN: Well, I think he is passing the torch. He is being transitional. He said that when he ran. The question is what the timetable is. People are trying to tell him what his timetable should be. He never said that he would be anything but a transitional president. PHILLIP: Congressman, one of the other elements of this, and you just referenced the column that called on Biden to step aside. It also referenced Vice President Kamala Harris, saying that her low approval ratings should be a factor here. Should Biden consider, as some of these Democrats and liberals are suggesting, should he consider another vice presidential pick?

CLYBURN: No, he should not. I think that Kamala Harris has done a great job. People want her in her first term, first two years, to be the kind of vice president that Joe Biden was in the sixth and seventh year of his vice presidency.

Everybody gets a learning curve in this business. You aren't born a United States congressman, you aren't born a vice president, you have to learn the job. She got elected, she has learned the job, she is doing the job efficiently and effectively and she cannot and should not be held responsible for her gender or her race. And too much of that is involved in these discussions.

PHILLIP: I want to play for you what former speaker Nancy Pelosi said just moments ago on CNN.


COOPER: Is Vice President Kamala Harris the best running mate for this president?

PELOSI: He thinks so, and that's what matters.

COOPER: Do you think she is the best running mate, though?

PELOSI: She's the vice president of the United States. So, when people say to me, why isn't she doing this with that, I say because she's the vice president. That's the job description.


PHILLIP: So, Congressman, just to point out there, she did stop short of a full endorsement of Vice President Harris. And I want to add, because you brought this up about the learning curve, Republicans right now are running on the idea that Vice President Harris may have to step in if President Biden wins a second term. They're trying to use that against her. What do you say in response to what you heard from Speaker Pelosi there, and also to the idea that Republicans say there is no time for a learning curve?

CLYBURN: Well, the learning curve has already taken place. I said she's spent the first two years learning this job. She's learned it well, and she's doing it efficiently and effectively. And that's what matters to me, and that's what I think she's doing.

PHILLIP: And on Speaker Pelosi's comments there?

CLYBURN: I have no comment on that. I just say what I feel, and that's what I stand by. PHILLIP: So, Congressman, while I have you, I wanted to get your reaction to the House Republican impeachment inquiry alleging what they're saying is a culture of corruption involving President Biden and his family. What do you make of the fact that it seems that Speaker McCarthy is planning to move forward with this without even holding a vote on an impeachment inquiry?

CLYBURN: Well, I think he's not holding a vote because they don't have the votes. And the fact of the matter is he may not need the votes in order to start this process, but he has to have the votes in order to end it. I don't think there are people, 218 people in the House of Representatives who feel that a person, a president in this instance, should be impeached for being a father.


And that's all that's taking place here, a man who's being a father to his son. And there's nothing else that connects him to this issue than being the father of the son who's being accused.

PHILLIP: All right. Congressman James Clyburn, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

CLYBURN: Well, thank you very much for having me.

PHILLIP: And now onto a couple of Democrats and two different views of President Biden's chances, former Senior Adviser to Hillary Clinton Philippe Reines and co-chair for Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, Nina Turner.

Philippe, let's start with you here. Is Joe Biden really the only person who can beat Donald Trump in 2024?

PHILIPPE REINES, HILLARY CLINTON SENIOR ADVISER: I think what's funny about this conversation is that the same question was posed to us in 2020, and the answer was an unresounding -- it was a resounding, yes, he is the one to beat Donald Trump, and he's the only one. And it was decisive. I mean, once Biden won South Carolina --

PHILLIP: You mean Democratic voters were decisive that he was the best candidate?


PHILLIP: That seems to have changed, though. And frankly --

REINES: I think that's -- what hasn't changed is Democrats' skittishness about this stuff for the same reason people wanted Joe Biden to win in 2020, because they just desperately wanted Donald Trump out. I think there's the same nerves kicking in now because people are so desperate to make sure Donald Trump doesn't get back in.

PHILLIP: Nina, I want to bring you in here. There is an argument being made here that there is time to choose a different nominee if you're a Democrat. Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. But who would be an alternative, realistically, if Democrats did not have Biden at the top of the ticket?

NINA TURNER, FORMER CO-CHAIR, BERNIE SANDERS 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, if the process was open and fair, we would see. And because it's not open and fair, we can't see. And, obviously, we have an incumbent president right now, so the DNC will not allow for any debates. But there are two candidates running right now to try to win the Democratic nomination, and that's Marianne Williamson and Robert Kennedy Jr., and then you have Dr. Cornel West running as a Green Party candidate.

Many of the other governor types that probably would step into this race and some members of Congress will not step into the race because of the incumbency, and they know that they will crash and burn with the Democrats who control the levers of power, just as they did in 2020.

I disagreed that the handwriting was on the wall in 2020. It was not on the wall in those first contests, as I remember, until people who were even ahead of Senator Biden, before he became -- or vice President Biden before he became the president, got out of the race and jumped in on his side. So, it wasn't decisive early on in that primary about which Democrat could have actually won.

Senator Bernie Sanders could have won and would have beaten Donald Trump, but we will never know because the lovers of power played it a different way.

REINES: I'm sorry, Abby, both I had to speak for myself. I'm older than 35. I am a naturalized American citizen and I've lived in the United States for the previous 14 years. There is nothing stopping me from running for president right now against Joe Biden or against, for that matter, in the Republican field or as a third party candidate. I don't think there's anything stopping Nina.

So, without re-litigating the DNC fix thing in 2016, I think right now, if a governor or member is not running because they're worried about getting shellacked by the president, then that person probably shouldn't be president.

TURNER: But that's not the reason why they're running. You and I both know the reason why they are not running is because they don't want to be shut out. They don't want to become a pariah. If they run against the incumbent president, you and I both know the full force and weight of the DNC and others will come down on those candidates. Those are the reasons why they are not running.

And another point, I mean, in that CNN poll, it showed very clearly that 67 percent of those poll, Democratic voters and Democratic- leaning voters want the Democratic Party to have another nominee, another choice. But yet those in the bubble refuse to listen to what the people have to say.

REINES: But, hold on, those 60-something percent were listened to in 2020. And whether you want to call it early dominating by the current president or later, they voted for Joe Biden too. So, to act as if they had no say in this is wrong. PHILLIP: Let me jump in here because I do wonder, Philippe, I mean, one of the things about what's happening here among Democrats is that it seems like there it's like there are a lot of Democrats who are talking about this privately, I've had those private conversations, and they don't want to talk about it publicly.


The David Ignatius column is making such a big splash because he's saying the quiet part out loud, which is what a lot of Democrats accuse Republicans of being unwilling to do.

I mean, so, Philippe, I guess I'm wondering, I mean, this is the conversation that your own party is having, but nobody seems to want to take it seriously.

REINES: Yes. Look, I have this conversation with friends, and it drives me crazy when they bring it up, when they talk about Biden's health, Biden's age. You know, Gina Raimondo would be a better number two. I want to throttle them, but I take a step back and I ask them, walk me through how it would go differently. You don't want so and so as the top of the ticket or the bottom. Who's the alternative? And, yes, it's a chatter class constancy.

TURNER: This is bigger than --

PHILLIP: Go ahead, Nina.

TURNER: .I mean, this is bigger -- this is really bigger than the chatter class. And this is what we got to wrap our minds around. The American people are being polled. They are being asked the question.

Now, folks in the bubble want to pretend that it's just a chatter class, but, no, it's big mama and big papa in the hoods all over this country, whether they're rural, urban or suburban, who have questions about the president's age, his health, the economy. And it's their right to ask those questions.

What the Democratic Party must do is not dismiss what they're asking but to prove that this president deserves another term.

REINES: They absolutely have the right and even the responsibility to ask, but they also need to listen to the answers.

Truth of the matter is that Joe Biden is 80 and Donald Trump is 77. We can argue about whether that should be the choice between the two people, between the two parties, but that's what's going to be in front of us. If your father is 80 and your mother is 77, you didn't say dad married a younger woman. These are the same people.

When it comes to health, we've had one president who came with an inch of his life to COVID. We have another one who walks with a different gait. And what we see is what we get. He doesn't go and do cartwheels behind the scenes.

People, it's an anxiety. It might be legit to ask. We will have to be open into hearing the answers. I mean --

TURNER: It's legit, though. Don't you agree? I mean, it's legit for them to ask those kind of concerns. I mean, those (INAUDIBLE) the census data right now shows that childhood poverty has increased by over 12 percent. Over the last year, that anxiety, so if we have poor children, I mean, we have poor families, that means we have poor communities.

REINES: This isn't about whether

PHILLIP: Let me just --

TURNER: So, it's economic anxiety.

PHILLIP: I want to raise one more thing for both of you, but I'll start with you, Nina. I mean, we discussed earlier. We heard what Speaker Pelosi said about the vice president, Kamala Harris. She is factoring into this in a way that is very unusual.

Nina, what do you make of the fact that voters seem to be less enthusiastic about her too and that Republicans have decided that that's going to be the issue that they run on here?

TURNER: Well, Republicans are dealing with a culture war here and I'll put that in the parking lot. There is no doubt that the vice president is enduring some things that others may have not had to endure. One is gender and the other is race. Those two factors are true.

And it is also true though that there are policy differences. There are policy differences between Republicans and Democrats and certainly there are policy differences within the Democratic Party. Those of us who are freedom fighting progressives don't rock well with neo- liberals. All of those things can be true at the same time.

And let us not forget, in 2020, the current vice president had to drop -- she dropped out of the race because she was not going to win her own state. So, it's not as though some of these anxieties are not brand new. They were there when she was running in 2020.

But without a doubt, race and gender does play some role. I won't say it's 100 percent but it's definitely there.

PHILLIP: All right. Philippe Reines and Nina Turner, thank you both for an interesting discussion.

TURNER: Thank you.

REINES: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And also tonight, new explosive words from Senator Mitt Romney about his own party as he announces his retirement from the Senate.

Plus, Vivek Ramaswamy pledging to cut a million federal jobs if he's elected, and now Trump is making his own promises. And a bizarre scene during the capture that escaped inmate as crews had him strike a pose. Laura Coates is on the ground there in Pennsylvania. That's ahead.



PHILLIP: Some Republicans don't believe in the Constitution. Those words are not from a Democrat but they are from Republican Senator Mitt Romney. The Utah Senator announcing today that he will not seek re-election.

The 76-year-old was the first senator in U.S. history to vote to remove a sitting president from the same party. And in addition to being an open critic of Donald Trump, he's also heavily criticized some of his Republican colleagues for their blind loyalty to that former president and his populist demagogue message.

Now, Romney cites his own age as among the factors driving this decision for him.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I do think that the times we're living in really demand the next generation to step up and express their point of view and to make the decisions that will shape American politics over the coming century. And just having a bunch of guys that were around the baby boomers who were around in the post-war era, we're not the right ones to be making the decisions for tomorrow.


PHILLIP: And with me now is CNN Opinion Writer Sophia Nelson and Conservative Lawyer George Conway.

Man, Sophia, I feel like we cannot escape this generational issue in all of these different places. There's the Biden of it all, the Romney of it all, the Pelosi. Mitt Romney is saying pretty clearly it's time for us boomers to move on.

SOPHIA NELSON, CNN OPINION WRITER: I agree with him. I admit I'm a little sad. I liked Mitt Romney. The last time I saw him, we were at a fundraiser for Liz Cheney before she lost her primary and George and I go way back and we were talking about this in the green room that the Republican Party we knew is kind of different, would you say?


It's changing.

So, I think Romney is correct on the generational issue I think he threw big shade at the president and at Trump today and said basically you guys need to follow suit.

But I do think the Gen X, our generation, has not really stepped up just yet because the boomers have been on the stage so long and I would like to see more of us run for office and be in office and get involved, as well as millennials. So, I agree.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, and, George, as Sophia was saying I mean both of you are can I call you Republican expats here.

NELSON: Yes, kind of sort of.

PHILLIP: From the party.


NELSON: No, almost.

PHILLIP: For folks like you, this exit of Romney from the stage is a different kind of moment. And he made a really bold statement today. He said a very large portion of my party really doesn't believe in the Constitution. That's a pretty strong statement. And then for him to say that and then say but I'm going to say goodbye, it really almost kind of raises the question does he feel like he can't continue to fight?

CONWAY: Well, I mean, I think he's right about the generational aspect that there does need to be a new generation in both parties But it's very, very sad to see him step away and make that observation, which is undeniably true that so many people now in the Republican Party.

It's now personality cult. It's all about the desires and whims and the fear of one man who is basically a sociopath, the psychopath. And it's stunning to just try to contemplate how this one man has captured an entire party and essentially rendered it devoid of any principle or meaning and turned it into a cult.

And Romney is absolutely -- you know, you look at Romney and he's being very reflective here on that in this book. And you see in him sort of a humility and a humanity and a patriotism that is just almost absent now.

NELSON: You know, one of the things I'll never forget about Mitt Romney is the historic vote for Ketanji Jackson. And only he, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins voted for her to be nominated. And he was clapping and other Republicans were walking out the door angry.

That never would have happened 30 years ago. The Voting Rights Act passed. George Walker Bush was the last president to sign the Voting Rights Act extension. His daddy before him signed it. It was never a question. These things would pass 100 to nothing, 90 to nothing. The first black female Supreme Court justice would have gotten 70 votes on a bad day. And now it's barely and the Republicans walk out on history.

I don't recognize this party. I think that people like us who do a lot of talking and thinking and analyzing are going to have to step up. I'm definitely interested in doing that a little bit later down the road, not much later. But I think that there are going to have to be a new generation of people that come from the party we do that take it back once it's completely ruined. Because if Donald Trump is re- elected, I don't know what's left of the republic, to be honest, after four years and the Republican Party is decimated. I just don't know.

CONWAY: I think the Republican Party is decimated anyway.

NELSON: Well, it's on its way there now.

CONWAY: I think it's there. And because I think there is little doubt, none of my mind, that a man who has been found adjudicated by a U.S. district judge and a jury to be a rapist, who is under indictment in four separate jurisdictions, who stole classified documents and committed obstruction to try to hide them from the government who --

NELSON: But, George, it doesn't matter to these people. That's the problem.

CONWAY: Well, it doesn't. That's the point. And that's the problem.

PHILLIP: Let me play a little bit more from Romney. I think it kind of speaks to the point that you're making here.


ROMNEY: And, again, on the Trump wing of the party, I haven't heard policy other than saying we're going to build a wall. And, by the way, he was president. He was president for four years. He built 50 miles. What did he get done? He said, well, how about the tax change? Well, the tax, that was Paul Ryan. That wasn't the Biden plan. He did -- of course, he had a healthcare plan, remember that, that was going to -- everybody is going to have low cost health insurance that was fabulous? Never proposed, never saw. He was in four years.

So, it's not a policy-centric approach. And if you don't have policy to match your, your rhetoric, ultimately, it's not going to be successful.


NELSON: I mean, listen, Mitt Romney uncut. That's what you're getting now. He's free. He doesn't have to worry about a re-election. He probably would have been primaried by some MAGA person in Utah, right? Mike Lee probably wouldn't have loved him too much because he didn't endorse him in the last race.


And I think he's tired, again, solemn at the Liz Cheney event that we did for him -- for her in Northern Virginia and here you could see it. He's tired of fighting, I think, and he's a good man. Like you said, he's a good human being. I like him a lot and I hate to see him leave the stage, but I get it.

PHILLIP: This conversation often centers around, "Is it Trump?" Is it -- but it's kind of a chicken and egg thing.

CONWAY: Right. PHILLIP: Is it Trump or is it Trump voters? Or is it both?

CONWAY: It's a nasty cycle.

PHILLIP: And then can I add one other factor to this? He talked a little bit today about what else, right? What's another option? Is it a third-party candidate? Is it a kind of no-label situation? He has said, I lobby continuously that it would only elect Trump. He's talking about no labels there.

NELSON: Yeah, I agree.

PHILLIP: And part of that is because the Trump voters, the people willing to vote for Trump, are not necessarily movable in the way that you would expect.

CONWAY: Right. They're not persuadable by reason. They're not persuadable by facts. They try to exclude facts and evidence from their -- their own mind, they turn off what they don't want to hear. The man stole classified documents. They don't want to believe that. So, they just ignore it. They -- they -- it's just a complete abdication from reality.

NELSON: But Abby, I think we have to dig deeper as a country and ask ourselves why are we here? That's the discussion we're not really having. We keep talking around it. And I ask you this. I don't have an answer. Why would anyone want to elect somebody that has four federal indictments against them in 91 counts? That's irrational. It's illogical.

So, something's going on in the country with at least a third, 20 to 30 percent of the electorate, particularly in the GOP, in the primary --that part -- they are turned on by this. This excites them, this revenge, this we're going to wipe out the government. You know, DeSantis wants to slit throats, he says, on day one. I mean, The rhetoric, Vivek's rhetoric, it's violent, it's angry. They're angry, so I think we need to be paying attention to what's going on.

PHILLIP: And I have a feeling that Mitt Romney's spending a lot of time thinking about those issues in a broader context, not just about the United States, but about the history of demagoguery and strong men and what that means for this country in this particular stage. It's a big conversation. We're not done with it. Sophia and George, thank you both very much.

We're dangerously close tonight now to the first ever simultaneous strike against America's big three automakers. Hear what Donald Trump is now telling workers to demand. Plus, chilling new details tonight about how police ended up capturing that escaped inmate in Pennsylvania. Our own Laura Coates is on the ground, live, up next.



PHILLIP: This video right here is what everyone in southeastern Pennsylvania was waiting to see. That is escaped prisoner Danelo Calvacante, and he's a convicted murderer that is now in police custody, in both handcuffs and in leg shackles, after all that he has done. He was captured just this morning, ending a two-week manhunt. Deputy U.S. Marshal says that Calvacante was planning to carjack someone in the next 24 hours and try to drive all the way to Canada. The search for him intensified. My colleague Laura Coates is in Pennsylvania for her special edition of CNN Tonight.

Laura, you're there on the ground, you're seeing this landscape firsthand. Does it give you a better understanding of how hard it was, why it took so long to capture this dangerous man?

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Abby, absolutely. I gotta tell you, the prosecutor and me had to see it for myself. I had been hearing, like everyone else had been hearing about, a nearly two-week manhunt. How could that be? How could he have eluded the authorities for so long? What was this landscape they were talking about and the dynamics in the area? And then I see it for myself tonight.

I'm talking about pitch blackness behind me, but for the light surrounding me right now, you cannot see much more than your hands in front of you in most areas of this actual land. And there's so many different where someone could actually hide. I sat down and talked to people who were in the community, an owner of a farm who -- where this was right behind where I am right now, where he was ultimately captured a few hundred yards away.

What that was like in that area, not only for the community members, Abby, to feel terrorized by this person who they knew was already extremely dangerous, but also was now armed. How did they find him? Where could he have been? The idea of what it would have taken, the vast expanse we're talking about from the prison and here. We are a few yards away from the end of the perimeter. That's how close he really was to being outside of where the cops were even looking for him. Not just cops, of course talking about really what grew into an almost national manhunt.

Seeing it for ourselves, we're going to cover a lot of it tonight. We have the chief detective who actually was overseeing a lot of this stuff today in this county. We'll talk to him, David Sassa, about what his experience was, what this was all lime and what it took to capture this extremely dangerous man.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it's going to be an extremely fascinating special that you have planned for us tonight. The desperation of this man and the danger that people were potentially in that part of Pennsylvania is hard to fathom. Laura, thank you so much and everyone be sure to tune in to that special manhunt capturing a killer. It's coming up right here, up next, at 11 A.M.

And coming up next, Vivek Ramaswamy is now vowing to slash the federal workforce by 75 percent when he becomes -- if he becomes president. Is he trying to one-up Donald Trump here? Plus, the Secret Service agent who is upending the lone gunman theory in the JFK assassination. He is now speaking out in his very first television interview.



PHILLIP: Another day, another bold policy proposal from Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. And this time it's around the federal workforce. Here's what he's proposing to do in his first term if he's elected to the presidency. Listen.


VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It will be a plan that reduces the size of the federal employee headcount by over 75 percent if I'm the next president by the end of my first term, 50 percent of which is implementable by the end of year one.


PHILLIP: I want to bring in now former Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker. He's the President of Young America's Foundation. Governor Walker, thank you for being here. I should say we don't probably, as much as I would like, talk about policy, so we're going to do a little bit of that here with you. This particular one from Mr. Ramaswamy, even he admits that something like this would be an uphill climb.


And I'm sure that you're sympathetic to slashing the size of the federal government, but something this? Is it really reasonable to expect that a president could do this?

SCOTT WALKER (R), FORMER WISCONSIN GOVERNOR: Well, you mentioned it's another bold idea. We just had it at one of our college conferences, and I think that's part of the reason why so many young people are intrigued by Vivek Ramaswamy's campaign. I think it's a good goal to have. I think many people, regardless of party, believe the federal government is too big, too expansive, needs to be more effective, more efficient, more accountable to the American public.

But I think you've got to have more than just a number. You've got to have a plan. We certainly did that, and many other governors did over the past decade at the state level. Part of it means, you know, look at innovation and technology, another part is on attrition and retirement.

Probably the most powerful thing that can be done, and you can't do it alone just as the chief executive. You've got to have the legislative branch, in this case the Congress, involved. And that is taking power out of the Capitol and sending it back to the people.

PHILLIP: I mean, he's --

WALKER: In the case of the federal government, it would be back to the states.

PHILLIP: He's talking about just slashing entire parts of the federal government. I mean, as you just laid out, that's not even a power that the President has.

WALKER: Well, I think that's the key. I think people are interested in it, but one of the things I've heard, not just on this issue, but a number of ideas he's pointed out, is they like the concept in many cases, but they want to know what's the plan, particularly for someone who's not been in office before, they don't have something to point to say, this is how I did it. Certainly, as a governor in particular, one could do that, and either party could say, this is what I did. Now, you can believe I'll do that going forward.

In this case, I think there are ways, but you're right. You can't just come in and say, unlike maybe the CEO of a company, I'm going to eliminate this entire portion of the company. You've got to have, in many cases, a vote of the Congress, an entrenched Congress, both with not only Democrats, but in many cases, Republicans who like certain agencies.

But I think it is powerful and appropriate to point out that whether you're a Democrat or Republican voter, not an elected official, but voters, I think most people for years, I've talked about sending power back to the states and more importantly, to the people by whether it's in education, whether it's in transportation, whether it's in healthcare. I think most of us would rather see those dollars spent in our local communities as opposed to sending the dollars to Washington where we get pennies on the dollar back.

PHILLIP: When it comes to some of these ideas, I mean you have Ramaswamy also talking about foreign policy issues like the war in Ukraine and China potentially invading Taiwan and saying I'm going to snap my fingers and it's going to go away. I'll let Russia keep parts of Ukraine. I'll let China invade Taiwan after a certain point. The simplicity of it is very tempting, I'm sure, to younger voters you talk to. But you're a former elected Republican, when you hear things like this, what goes through your mind?

WALKER: Well, I think voters expect, certainly at the local, state, and I think even more so at the federal level, that we can walk and chew gum. And so, by that I mean, I don't think there's hardly any Americans out there that want to be in another war. We're very cautious of that. You see that either end of the spectrum, whether it's on the Republican or the Democrat side. I think many of us feel frustrated when we look at all the dollars being spent in Europe and other places around the world that we're not doing enough to secure our southern border, which I think many of us view as an outright invasion. But the --

PHILLIP: All that, I just wonder, yeah.

WALKER: I was just saying that the -- but I think in those cases though, it's not an either-or proposition. Some of the times I heard this a few weeks ago in the debate stage in Milwaukee, where it was like it was an either-or proposition. I don't think it is either, or. I think there are things that can be done to address domestic issues that are legitimate and serious, whether it's at the border, whether it's dealing with what's happened in Hawaii or elsewhere, and at the same time push back against oppressors like Vladimir Putin, push back against Xi Jinping.

I think actually when it comes to China, when the CCP's involved, I think we've really got to open our eyes as Americans. That's the greatest threat we face in the near future and something that all of us, regardless of party, should be very, very concerned about. Not just from a military standpoint, where the Navy's being built up, the ports of entry, they're securing around the world, the navigable waters, but even intellectual property, you know, barging in and invading our social media. There's a lot of challenges there.

PHILLIP: You sound like a candidate yourself in some ways. And the nuance that you're talking about here --

WALKER: Stay hard.

PHILLIP: Okay. What you're describing there, you don't really hear that from some of these candidates. And as someone who has also run for president yourself, the strategy from a Ramaswamy and even from a Donald Trump when he was running in 2016, was basically to say, I'm going to throw out the thing that seems unlikely to happen and that's how I'm going to stand out in the crowd. But at the end of the day, even Trump came up against the reality of what he could and couldn't do. Are voters taking that into consideration in this primary?


Or is it working for Ramaswamy to stand out from the crowd?

WALKER: Well, I think he's taken on some of the same playbook, as you just mentioned, from eight years ago, when I stood on the stage next to Donald Trump. I could see where things are happening after that second debate. I joke, I got out before I got a nickname, but seriously, I could see where the trend was going.

I think in this case, part of it, as it was eight years ago, one of the complaints I've had then, as I do now, is with the debate process. I think a process that's great maybe for ratings for the network or the news channels isn't so great for the American voter. Like I said, it's just fighting a minute or two at a time with rebuttals any time your name comes up, it actually would be nice to hear from each of the candidates, whether it's five, 10, 15, or whatever the number is, about how they would actually deal with these complex issues.

As we can see, the last few presidents, debating is not the major responsibility of the President of the United States. Maybe a more important issue for the prime minister in the U.K., but the United States is actually getting things done. And, you know, I don't always agree with everything that Donald Trump says, but as a conservative, I liked the vast majority of things he did during his four years as President on substance.

I think he learned, even if he didn't address a lot of those things during the primary debates, he learned by putting good people around him in many cases to take on those policies and get those things done. I'd like to hear more of that from the candidates on the stage going forward. PHILLIP: All right. We will see if we will hear more specifics from

these candidates. Governor Scott Walker, thank you so much for joining us.

WALKER: My pleasure. And up next, he's the Secret Service agent who's raising new questions about JFK's assassination and that lone gunman theory. And now Paul Landis is speaking out in his very first television interview.


PAUL LANDIS, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: I was afraid I was going to pass out. And I kept telling myself, I got to hang in. I've got to hang in there.



PHILLIP: Sixty years after JFK was assassinated, a Secret Service agent who was just feet away is now breaking his silence. Paul Landis is raising questions about the Warren Commission's magic bullet theory, which says that a single bullet not only killed JFK but also injured Texas Governor John Connolly. Here's how Landis described what happened that day to our own Jake Tapper.


LANDIS: I heard a loud report that I recognized as coming from a high- powered rifle. And I immediately turned, looked over my shoulder to the right where the sound had come from and I couldn't see anything right away. And I turned quickly and looked at the President, and President Kennedy was kind of leaning a little bit to his left towards Mrs. Kennedy.


PHILLIP: I want to bring in CNN's Jake Tapper. Hey Jake, so Paul Landis was that Secret Service agent who was in the car directly behind President Kennedy's limousine. What did he tell you in this interview that he saw that day?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, on Dealey Plaza, he said that he heard three shots, and they came from behind him and above. And he said -- he -- I asked him, do you think that there was a second gunman and he said he did not think there was. Although in a different interview with "The New York Times", Peter Baker, he allowed for the possibility that maybe there was.


TAPPER: But with me, he was more definitive that he did not think there was.

PHILLIP: That's really interesting. I mean, I think that that's one of the big questions that some historians who had looked at this raised, which was there really isn't a lot of forensic evidence to suggest that there was a second gunman. He also, in his book, reveals that he found this intact bullet that was in the limousine and he moved it. Here's what he told you.


LANDIS: I started to put it back and then I hesitated for a moment because I had looked around when I had been scanning the back area, I saw no secret service agents there to secure the car. And we were getting ready to exit the limo. And I didn't want to leave the bullet there because I was afraid people were starting to converge towards the car. I thought a souvenir hunter, somebody might see that. I didn't want to have the press be taking pictures or doing anything like that.


PHILLIP: And he says he also brought it with him to the hospital. I have to say, Jake, I mean, that is a very interesting, perhaps a little odd sequence of events. What did you think?

TAPPER: Well, it's interesting. So, he said that he put it in his pocket, carried it to the hospital, and he left it on the examination table where JFK was being treated at the time. The Warren Commission says the bullet was ultimately found on Governor Connolly's stretcher.

So, they assumed that was a bullet and this is the single-bullet theory called the -- pejoratively called the "magic bullet theory, that the Warren Commission said went through President Kennedy's back out his throat and then hit Governor Connolly in front of him. And this has been used to discredit the Warren Commission's work, the idea that this one bullet, and the idea was attributed to Arlen Specter, then a prosecutor, later to be a senator, that this bullet would do all these things.


And how crazy is that? This calls into question that single bullet theory, because obviously if that bullet was behind President Kennedy, it would not have been the same bullet that would have hit Governor Connolly.

It doesn't necessarily change the idea of whether or not there was one gunman, but it does suggest if Mr. Landis' account is correct and believed, it does suggest some shoddiness by the Warren Commission, which for anybody who knows anything about the Warren Commission, will not come as much of a surprise.

PHILLIP: Jake, thanks so much for joining us to talk about all of that.

TAPPER: Thanks so much, Abby.

PHILLIP: And thank you for watching CNN Primetime. Laura Coates starts right now.